Death or Glory: Jumping Without A ‘Chute

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Illustration by Jon MorenoA doorless brown van rolls slowly over the ground of an empty field, kicking up a cloud of dry dirt as it comes to a hault. I step in to see that all the rows of seats have been removed. Instead the whole interior is fitted with floor-to-ceiling brown and beige shag carpet.“Welcome to the Shaggin’ Wagon!” the driver calls out.For my brother Mark’s 18th birthday I thought there would be no better gift as a send off to college than jumping out of a plane 13,500 feet above Earth. After all, if you could jump out of a plane, you can do anything. It seemed like a perfect metaphor for beginning a new, unknown chapter.The Shaggin’ Wagon was our ride to glory.But first there are a few things to take care of—like signing our lives away in front of witnesses, staring into the lens of a tiny video camera held by a really perky blonde-haired girl, and reading from a prepared statement.“I understand that skydiving is a potentially dangerous activity that can result in injury or death. I, Jaclyn Gallucci, take final responsibility for my own safety.”About 10 others wait for their turn and giggle nervously. It’s about 8 in the morning. I didn’t eat anything because I didn’t want to get sick after the stunt plane fiasco. In groups of two, names were called. It takes a lot of time to risk your life and there were about a dozen people ahead of us waiting for their turn. One hour passed. Two hours passed.“Jaclyn and Mark?”Now it was our turn. We step into the Shaggin’ Wagon and drive across the field, get strapped into our harnesses and assigned a tandem partner—the person who will be strapped to your back during the jump. Not that I had any thoughts of doing so, but you can’t jump out of a plane by yourself the first time. It takes training and dozens of tandem jumps to get an A-license, which allows you to jump on your own. It takes even more training to become an instructor.As nice and sweet as it sounds, you also can’t jump through a cloud, without getting beaten to death by mother nature, I learned. But although a little hazy, the skies were generally clear and we were given the okay.We climb in a small plane, just the four of us, attached in twos, and the pilot. The engine revs up and we get higher. And higher. And higher—the kind of high where everything starts looking like a map.Mark is the first to jump.“Are you ready to jump out of a plane, Mark?” I hear his instructor ask.Why am I doing this to him? This is a stupid metaphor. Stupid! If we survive, my parents are going to kill me!“Absolutely!” Mark answers and they jump right out.I’m in shock. “Absolutely?!”This was my idea and now I’m the nervous one?I watch with my legs dangling outside of the plane and the deafening sound of the wind up there. I see Mark’s bright red chute open below. I look at my feet over the world. Then out of the corner of my eye I see something that looks like a red deflated balloon twisted up and moving erratically, speeding toward the ground, getting smaller and smaller.My heart stops and in that split second of panic all I could think was, “I just killed my brother.”Before I could even process the thought, my skydiving partner points to the left and I see a big white chute floating peacefully toward the ground.“They had to deploy the reserve chute,” he tells me. There must have been a problem, but don’t worry, that’s what the reserves are for!”Not only do the instructors have a reserve, but every jumper has one, too, so even if one back-up fails, there is still another.Later, watching the video, I saw the impressive MacGyver-like moves my brother’s instructor used to calmly deploy the back-up chute. While free-falling, this guy pulls out a pocket knife, cuts the failed chute off, holds the rip cord in his teeth, finagles something else and, as non-chalantly as if he just finished making a sandwich, a new chute appears like nothing. Wow.If you were questioning why you need a license to jump on your own, ladies and gentlemen, here is your answer.I inch closer to the edge of the plane, I’m halfway out. “Ready!?” my instructor yells out.“Yep!”We slide out. Free fall. I remember learning in physics that’s a speed of 9.8 m/s². It’s the feeling you get when you’re going downhill on the roller coaster and you get that chill in your stomach, except that feeling doesn’t go away. You just keep going down. Free fall lasts about 60 seconds.I feel a tap on my shoulder. That’s my cue to get into starfish position, arms and legs out as we plunge toward earth. Beautiful. The sky that wasn’t blue on the ground was blue up here and I was flying through it. Then a sudden jerk from the pull of the rip cord.We’re floating. I could stay up here forever. I’m not scared at all any more. I swung my feet up in front of me and saw them above the trees and houses again. The last time I did this I was in Disney World at Epcot, riding Soarin’, an aerial illusion trip in front of an 180-degree IMAX projection dome that makes you feel like you’re flying over some of the most beautiful places on Earth.This time I really was.My instructor tells me to give a thumbs-up to the tiny camera attached to his wrist as we float to the ground. As I get closer, I see my brother land gracefully on his feet, but more importantly, alive, in front of me. Now it’s my turn to stick the landing. The key is to keep your legs parallel to the ground and slowly lower them like a plane’s landing gear. I didn’t quite find that sweet spot, and I hit the ground in a blaze of glory like I was sliding into home in Game 7 of the World Series. My new metaphor? If you can jump out of a plane—and your chute fails—and you still make it out alive—you can do anything.last_img read more

What is the state of your marketing?

first_img continue reading » We all have our favorite states. It might be your native state, a destination state or an adopted home state. If you are like me and are a native Texan your favorite state may also be an attitude (for example, my wife was born in Oklahoma but she moved to Texas when she was 10 days old; thus we celebrate her birthday ten days late because when she got to Texas is when she really started living!).When it comes to your marketing, what sort of state is it in? Is it strong or weak? Is it fun or boring? Is it effective or ineffective?Here are some possible “states” your marketing might be in along with potential solutions for how to improve:State of Confusion—Does everyone in your credit union know what your brand is? Would they answer the question “What are you about?” with the same answer? If not, then you have brand confusion when you need brand consistency. A confused brand is a weak brand.Solution: Develop a brand plan that clearly identifies your target audiences, your brand vision and your key messages. Train your staff to your brand. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Missing Dearborn County Woman Found In Pond

first_imgAn Aurora woman who was missing for several hours was found dead in a pond on Wednesday morning.Paula Lynn Dean, 57, was reported missing about three hours before emergency personnel, who were looking for her, found her body in a private pond on Dutch Mill Road.The woman who had Alzheimer’s, was located around 9:00 a.m. Police do not believe foul play was involved.Family members said Dean was a very loving and upbeat person, and always a smile and good word for everyone. She was a 35 year employee of Aurora Casket Company.An autopsy will be held to determine the exact cause of death.last_img

ISP hiring dispatchers in Versailles

first_imgVersailles, In. — The Indiana State Police is accepting applications for a Regional Dispatcher position at the Versailles Post to help staff its Regional Dispatch Center. Successful applicants must be able to receive, record, disseminate, and accurately dispatch information to police personnel, other law enforcement agencies, and other support services.A high school diploma or GED equivalent is required as well as the ability to successfully pass a typing test. Two years of public safety communications experience and an emergency medical technician certification are preferred but not required.  The applicant should also reside within driving distance of the Versailles Regional Dispatch Center located in Versailles, Indiana.Pay starts at $30,082 per year.The deadline for applications is January 12, 2018.For more information and to apply, go here.  Once on the website, click ‘Apply for State Jobs’.  Then type ‘Regional Dispatcher’ in the Keyword box.  The job opening should appear.  Persons that are interested may also contact Sarah Collins at the Versailles Post for assistance.812-689-5000.last_img read more

Clippers coach Doc Rivers espouses voting, freedom of expression – steers clear of China firestorm

first_img For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Landry Shamet avoided touching the hottest topic in the sport: “I don’t have any comment on that.”But he readily did say he appreciated Rivers’ willingness to talk about issues beyond basketball with the team.“He’s very open to having conversations about some things that are important, that not a lot of people might be comfortable talking about,” said Shamet, a 22-year-old guard in his second season in the NBA. “We feel like we have a culture here where we can talk about things like that, and I think it’s good for all of us to be able to talk and understand different perspectives on areas and topics, whatever they may be. It’s pretty cool that he goes out of his way to want to educate us and also give us an opportunity to give our opinions and that sort of thing.” PLAYA VISTA — With a voter registration booth set up amid a festive employee lunch in the parking lot outside the Clippers’ training facility on Tuesday, Coach Doc Rivers ended practice inside by gathering his team at center court and espousing the value of political participation and awareness.He stressed the awareness part when he, as Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr had Monday, told reporters he wanted to learn more about the Hong Kong protests that inspired Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to tweet “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong” on Friday.The since-deleted tweet, supporting pro-democracy protesters who are engaged in a months-long anti-government standoff in the Chinese territory, resulted in swift fallout, with Chinese businesses and officials – including former Rockets All-Star and current Chinese Basketball commissioner Yao Ming – condemning Morey for the stance he took.Morey, along with others in the Rockets organization tried to apologize. NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass issued a statement, widely decried in the United States, that the league recognized “that the views expressed by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.” “It’s America. We don’t get killed for saying what we believe in – what we get is disagreed upon,” Rivers said. “We can disagree. I can disagree with everything you say, I have the right to do that and I have the right to say so and that’s good. That’s what this country is about, freedom of speech, and we should always have freedom of speech.“But I did tell (players) this, freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequences. Like, you can have freedom of speech, but there may be consequences for what you say and that’s why we get back to the thoughtfulness. Think about it before you say it because there could be consequences.”center_img Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum That was followed Tuesday by NBA commissioner Adam Silver offering a sobering defense of Morey’s right to express himself: “What I also tried to suggest is I understand that there are consequences from that exercise of, in essence, his freedom of speech. We will have to live with those consequences.”And in Playa Vista, after discussing his ongoing effort to encourage his players to vote, Rivers said this: “I don’t make much of it. That’s a great example. I didn’t know enough about it, so first thing I did today was I went online and I started reading about the whole thing. That will be a topic for our guys, though, that we’ll talk about.”He approved of Silver’s defense of Morey’s freedom to express himself, acknowledging that such freedoms can come with consequences.Related Articles Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more