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    In 1993 my friend Dot had told me about her exhilarating experience skydiving up in the Mojave Desert, and I decided to give it a shot. I was working 4 tens Monday - Thursday with every Friday off, and had a regular group from the project that played golf on Fridays and another group of friends that worked as little as possible so there was Skiing locally, plus Mammoth, Tahoe, Donner and various other places in season, or camping in the Sierras or Big Sur, and or any number of different things a 25yr old dope smoking idiot could do on a 3 day weekend. So along comes April and my 26th birthday, so we make plans to drive up to California City on Thursday night. We spent the night in the hangar and were up early took the static line class, and I still remember "Feet and knees together, Identify ripcord, grasp it with both hands, Pull and throw it away" I also remember the PLF, watch out for a line over, if risers are twisted (mine were) grab with hands and pull apart to remove twist, and of course if chute starts to open while on the plane, get out fast, or it will violently pull you out. Class ends, we get our chutes put on, and they are so tight I could not stand up straight. We get on plane, and Bill being shorter has to sit where there is no side to the plane "N29173" as we start to taxi, and then leave the ground Bill has a death grip on the only thing he can grab, my knee. I get him to release me and I see the "No Fear" sticker in the rear window, first reaction to the sticker was "Bullshit" I'm full of fear. we get to 3500' drop the flag thing to check winds and the Jump Master tells Bill to get in the door, then ready position, and Go, and he just disappears, fuck.... well I gotta go now. We banked right so the Jump Master can make sure things are ok, and get lined up for my run. He tells me to get in the door, and I swing my legs out and am sitting with them being blown back, then it's ready position, and I turn my body to face mostly forward with my ass hanging half in and out of plane, my left hand on the edge of the floor and my right on side of the fuselage, I am look at the JM and waiting for his signal when I come to the conclusion that if I don't go right now, I will chicken out and crawl back to the other side. At the same time I push off and arch he points and yells GO. it was a surreal experience at first, the wind has stopped, and it becomes really quiet as I am hanging in midair watching the plane just zoom away as I seem to have become motionless, and Hear the flapping then a slap / bang kinda sound and the chute is open. Lines are twisted so I grab the risers and pull them apart and I remove the twist. I then hear a voice in the speaker "if you can hear me turn to the left" I grab the toggles and pull on the left one. I then notice that where the chute harness was so tight when it was put on , it's not anymore and it feels like I'm sitting like on a swing. I start to fly the chute, pulling on one toggle then the other and having the time of my life, a feeling like no other, no drug or any physical activity has been nor ever was any better. The guy on the ground gives me instructions and lines me up with the landing, I can see the ground rushing up he gives the command to flare and I touch gently down on both feet, which is followed immediately by my ass bouncing off the desert floor. I get up gather my chute and have a smile on my face that could not be wiped of with a brick. He asks me if I had fun and before I answer yes, he says that he knows I did because he could hear me laughing all the way down. I don't remember the ride back to the hangar, but I know I didn't walk. I get my Logbook and the JM has put "good arch, very aggressive exit, good jump" or words similar. Last night I was looking at the photo which I believe is the one from the first jump, many months later someone had found the camera that had slid or rolled out of the plane when they banked to watch me, and the film was still good, I had another photo taken on my second jump just shy of the 3 month expiration date on my training, and we did make a third jump a week or two after that. So I got two photos for the price of one, and in the 31 years since I have misplaced the logbook, and both original photos, I posted a copy under the static line heading last night. I was able to identify the LZ from the Google satellite shot but was saddened to see that the big circle with the large black dot in center doesn't exist anymore and while researching what had happened to the jump school I stumbled across this webpage. The photo of me in arch leaving the plane with the LZ below, and a tiny sliver of the runway visible has been my desktop wallpaper since 2000 or so. Back when we were all stuck with a top three shittiest Windows edition of all time "ME" Millenium Edition, it has also been used on every work desktop I have had since, and XP, followed by Windows 7 which is just NT by another name. I am still using 7 and avoided 8, and don't want 10, nor 11, 7 works fine, and I have never had any issues with it. I still remember using DOS when it didn't even have a number, and only 5-1/4 floppy drives. I fucking hate microsoft, and have used Linux Ubuntu, but not enough to learn the tricks, 7 / NT was proven for 15+ years so I'm keeping it, like my copy of Office 2007, since I absolutely refuse to conform to the new FUCKED UP you no longer own the software, you rent it yearly BULLSHIT. I started using these things when my Dad was given one before it was released to the public for sale, we got the complete software suite, with Basic, Excel, Word, etc. and none of them had any numbers or editions we also had Adventure. anyway sorry for the anti microsoft rant. I want to thank ZigZagMarquis and the youtube videos that were posted. specifically the following link which gave me the tail number of the plane I left while still in working order. https://youtu.be/ybd2cZIAqWg?si=dE7vkA5zEYqkbcnb
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