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NickDG last won the day on January 28 2019

NickDG had the most liked content!

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  1. None of the below is gospel, just my take on how I remembered things . . . It's been a while since I've seen the movie, which I liked a lot, however it wasn't exactly the film it started out to be. I first met Marah Strauch, who created and directed Sunshine Superman, many years earlier. She had come across a carton of old BASE VHS tapes her deceased Uncle had shot. His name was Mike Allen, and he was BASE 163. I'm not certain if she knew her Uncle in life as he was killed in a 1992 automobile accident. However, looking through the box of tapes and photographs she felt a connection to her Uncle, not through parachutes or jumping which she knew nothing about, but through photography which they both shared a love. Trying to find out more about her Uncle she found me, and others, who knew and jumped with Mike. And when she phoned it was always, “Hi, Uncle Nick,” as we all became defacto Uncles to her and she a Niece to all of us. She began attending Bridge Days and other BASE events, always with her cameras, and she became a fixture in the BASE community. Around this time she starting talking about a film on the history of BASE jumping. And, of course, I was all for that. And she came to my home a few times to interview me, and I passed on all I had learned about the history of the sport. And not just me, she did that with many others who jumped with Mike. And like I'm want to do I emphasized the part Carl Boenish played in the development of BASE jumping, and how there had been plenty of parachute jumps from objects made prior to Carl's time that registered on the world only as inconsequential stunts. It took a combination of Carl's talent as a film maker and the majestic scenery El Capitan provided in 1978 to lite the fuse that detonated the bomb that became BASE jumping as we know it today. And Carl did that in something he called a simple film poem using little to no words. Of course, you can't make a movie over night (although I haven't seen 'Hex' yet) and at least four years or so went by as Marah sought funding, gathered more materials and footage, and kept interviewing BASE jumpers. Then she met Jean Boenish, who up to that point had been very protective of her late husband's legacy. Maybe a bit overprotective. I interviewed her for my BASE magazine and prizing personal information out of her was difficult, even though I knew her fairly well. She'd even jumped on me (gently) for using one of Carl's photos in a story about him I wrote without her permission. And I told her once, all of Carl's films and other works should be in the public domain or people are going to forget him. And when Marah came along I think Jean saw a way to solve that problem. Something between Marah and Jean must've clicked and Marah realized she now had access to all of Carl's films, and that was something no one else had. And I don't fault Marah in the least for it, but that's how the focus of the film morphed from “The History of BASE Jumping” to the “Carl & Jean Boenish Story.” I'm actually very happy the movie turned out the way it did. Marah gave Carl Boenish a foothold in history with her movie in a way none of us who knew and revered him ever could. And I know Marah also did a lot of work preserving Carl's films for future generations. But, I will say this - the broader view of BASE jumping history – the nitty gritty nuts and bolts part of it, well, that film hasn't been made yet. And I really hope someone eventually does make that film.
  2. Not a physical copy like you asked about, but every issue of PARACHUTIST is online (for free) going back to 1957. They are here:
  3. What bugs me is even a cursory search of the internet would have showed you the name 'BASELog" is the name of a logbook I designed in 1989. You really should have used another name, or at least asked my permission first. Here is the first BASElog and I've sold around 100 of these over the years. And I know a few people still using them. NickDG :-) BASE194
  4. Back in the early days of the BFL we would joke about who would be BFL #420, and it seemed okay at the time as I, for one, never thought the numbers would ever get that high. There's absolutely nothing funny about it now . . .
  5. The FAA has, or at least did have, a rule that if you're a certificate holder (pilot, rigger, mechanic, whatever) and you die, you have thirty days to notify them.
  6. The FAA database is hopelessly out of date and chock full of dead riggers with seal symbols that come up as good if anyone checked. My good friend Frank Mott passed away back in the mid-2000s and he's still listed as an active rigger. His seal symbol is MH4. If you use it (Frank wouldn't mind) just anonymously send his widow 20 bucks.
  7. Lisa is at my house. Afterwards we went out for Sushi and it only took her five minutes to have entire place in stitches.
  8. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times John Sherman saved my stupid ass. I BASE jumped with Racers. And used it doing AFF Cert Courses. As you never know when that 2 or 3 seconds extra time John and Nancy crafted into that rig will save your life by basically making either container disappear. NickDG
  9. >>If it is a case of nobody manning the job, I wouldn't mind doing it
  10. NickDG

    The Sponsor Monster

    No Fear . . . At an early 1990s Bridge Day in West Virginia I was kind of shocked to see the first inroads of corporate tentacles into the sport of BASE jumping. Among the booths set up in a Fayetteville school gymnasium by a fledgling BASE equipment industry there is a new non-BASE related company called "No Fear" hawking their popular line of t-shirts. Most old school BASE jumpers who were there, including me, saw this as a sacrilege. They tried to give away a few shirts for free just to get the ball rolling. But when someone tried handing me one I said, "Get me one that says, "Big Fear," and I'll wear it. I wanted to say more, but it would have been pointless. These were just kids who answered an advert to come work for some "dynamic" new company. BASE jumping was still very much an underground activity in those days, and there was no graphical internet and certainly no YouTube. And except for Bridge Day we were still being chased in the middle of the night by cops and security guards. Or so we thought. The next day two BASE jumpers were handcuffed and arrested on the bridge for outstanding (BASE related) warrants. Believe me, if "Anonymous" masks were available in those days many jumpers would have been wearing them as BASE was still very much a combination of parachuting and bank robbery. But that wasn't my main beef with No Fear. Nobody owns BASE jumping. You can't rent it, bottle it, or sell it. Each of us during our active years as BASE jumpers are merely stewards of a pretty spectacular human endeavor. And it's a legacy stretching back to the 15th century when crude but effective parachutes are being jumped from tall stone towers in Europe. These devices were marketed as a way to escape the fires that often engulfed these towers which were filled with straw furnishings and where flaming torches provided the lighting at night. In more modern times like the 1980s and 1990s that legacy was bolstered by every BASE jumper who broke a leg (or worse) trying to learn something new from a piece of gear or a new technique. And those lessons were passed around the BASE community mostly by word of mouth. There was email in those days and internet bulletin boards were starting to appear but not many BASE jumpers were computer savvy enough to be using them. The very first email I sent was in about 1986 and it was to another BASE jumper. Our legacy includes many things which also means talking about Carl Boenish. And in the thirty years I've been writing about BASE jumping I seldom fail to mention him. I know many of the younger jumpers roll their eyes but in my way it's how I was paying Carl Boenish back for all he did for us. So it was in that frame of mind I stood there in front of that No Fear t-shirt booth and wondered, is this right? Is it something we should embrace or reject? What would Carl think if still alive? But this is almost ten years after he died and there were plenty of BASE jumpers on the scene who didn't care much for history and/or didn't worry about where BASE jumping was going. And I understood that way of thought. To many of them BASE jumping was just another cool thing you could do with parachutes and nothing more. So it was inevitable that corporate sponsors, for good or ill, would come into our world eventually. There's an old adage in advertising. You don't sell the steak, you sell the sizzle. And in a world going bonkers for extreme sports we had the sizzle. But we could stave it off for a while and that was the consensus of the staff manning Bridge Day that year. No Fear was just using us and the sport of BASE jumping for money. And it seemed dirty. So we fired the bridge day organizer who took it upon himself to allow them in. And that was his first and last year in that position. Now here we are all these years later so let's look back at how things turned out. (This is fun, isn't it?) BASE jumping isn't the sport it used to be, but neither is skydiving or anything else for that matter. And except for a few bumps, like when Redbull callously took axes to way more than a few trees at an exit point to get better film in the can, it hasn't hurt us as much as helped us. And we knew a long time ago that BASE jumping would never grow and progress if it remained underground. So it that regard its helped a lot. It used to be if you wanted to organize a BASE jump with permission you had to first explain what BASE jumping was, and that's no longer the case. I know Redbull, and other companies like them, use BASE jumping to sell their swill to teenagers, and I felt some joy when No Fear went bankrupt but in the end, I think it worked out for both these corporate entities and BASE jumping as one hand washes the other. NickD :-) BASE 194
  11. Find an experienced evaluator in your area who might have video of past courses. If you can sit and have them explain what you're looking at it will really help. Here's a portion of a course I evaluated at in Lake Elsinore, it's a bit dated but it might help you out. NickD
  12. Have fun tomorrow, Bill. Wish I could be there. When I look back on my own skydiving career I realize the three most important things have been the throw-out pilot chute, the 3-Ring release, and woman. And without the former two there would have been a lot less of the latter. NickD
  13. Congratulations to Alan!!!! Proving less is more in first class non-glory hound fashion. NickD :) BASE 194
  14. I went on my Meals on Wheels delivery route yesterday with a first time volunteer and we were chatting when she asked what brought me to California. I told her skydiving and she said, wow, my grandfather was killed skydiving. So thinking I might have known him I asked his name. Turns out she is Bob Buquor's granddaughter! Her Mother was just four years old when Bob was killed and neither of them knew much, if anything at all about Bob. The Mom did attend a Starcrest event in Bob's honor but that's all. I'm looking to put them in touch with anyone who actually knew (or jumped with) Bob. So please let me know if you can think of anyone. NickD :)
  15. Sort of happened to me once. I was JM with a load of static line students in a C-182. We lined up for T/O and a few moments after the pilot put the power to A/C he passed out cold. I pulled the throttle back, pushed the student that was up against the panel to the side, and reached down with my hands to work the rudder and brakes. We ran off the RWY but I managed to get it stopped before we hit anything . . . NickD :)