February 2006

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February 27, 2006:

Wow, well, talk about a crazy way to end a month. On Friday night last week, I got an email from a nice woman named Patricia who was writing me about a plan crash that occurred in OH. She said one of the passengers name was James Canders and after doing a Google search came across my site with my friend by the same name. After reading her email and then the news article I figured it wasn't James because it said he was from Wyoming (I didn't realize at the time there there is a Wyoming, MI). I tried calling James that night, but it was 2:00 AM his time so when he didn't pick up, I didn't think twice about it. I didn't think much of it the next day, but again, I didn't think it was him...

Today (Monday) I got an email from Jeff, James' former roommate and he confirmed that it has been James in the crash. After getting the email, I called the hospital and spoke with Jame's Mom. His family is there with him and ll things considered, he is doing well. I offered to fly out there to be with them, but for right now, I'll be staying put. His mom appreciated the gesture, but since he's in the ICU, he can't have visitors and they already have too many people out there. When the time is right, I'll fly out to MI to visit him, but for right now, I'll be staying put.

From my conversation with his mom and then later on with Jeff, here is a summary of his condition:

James is currently in the ICU at Detroit Henry Ford Hospital. His injuries are not life threatening and he is getting better each day. He is conscious, alert and can communicate by writing/using sign language (because is jaw is wired shut). He has some pretty bad facial injuries but for having been the passenger in a crashed plane he came out pretty well. He lost about 7 of his teeth in the upper part of his mouth. The worst of the injuries is a metal plate he had put in his chin.

I'll be posting updates to my journal as I get them from Jeff, so feel free to stop by here for updates.

Here is a copy of the article about the crash and also some pictures. As you can see, both James and the pilot were VERY lucky to survive.

And no, at this time, I don't have any information on what the cause of the crash was....

"Pilot, passenger injured in crash
Sunday, February 26, 2006
By Ken Kolker
The Grand Rapids Press

Moments after a plane crashed just short of a farmhouse in western Ohio, a Grand Rapids-area passenger staggered from the wreckage.

James Canders, 32, of Wyoming, who works as an airport manager, was covered with blood and disoriented as he headed toward the pilot, who was still buckled in the plane.

"He said, 'What the hell happened?'" recalled James Baltzell, whose home was just missed by the Cessna, which crashed in his side yard. "That's all he kept saying."

Canders was in critical condition with facial injuries at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. The pilot, Joel Avore, 35, of Greenville, Ohio, underwent facial surgery Saturday at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. A report on his condition was not available.

Baltzell, his wife and their son were watching television about 2:20 p.m. Friday when the plane crashed near Rockford, Ohio, about 87 miles southwest of Toledo and along the Indiana border.

His wife, Shirley, saw sparks as the plane hit power lines, then they heard a scraping sound as it clipped a nearby elm tree. Seconds later, they heard the crash.

Baltzell said he opened the side door: "My God, it's a plane in our yard.'"

The red-and-white 1967 Cessna two-seater was nearly snapped in half, and the windshield was shattered, he said.

The pilot, buckled in the front seat, moaned before closing his eyes. His face was covered in blood.

Canders also was bleeding from the face. Baltzell said he wrapped Canders in blankets and towels and led him to his porch. An ambulance arrived within five minutes.

Canders is operations manager at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek, responsible for all field work, maintenance and security, City Manager Wayne Wiley said.

The pilot, who co-owns the plane, picked up Canders in Battle Creek on Friday and was flying him to Phillipsburg, Ohio, near Dayton, plane co-owner Earl North said. Canders planned to pick up a plane he had just bought and fly it back to Michigan.

The crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

North, of Dayton, said he was amazed the pair survived. "It was so buckled," he said. "It didn't glide in; it dropped."

The plane was removed from his yard Saturday after federal investigators examined the wreckage."

There is another article located here with the following pictures:

The last time I spoke with James was the weekend before last when he called me to share a glass of wine over the phone. LOL, I was drinking rum at the time, but it was the sentiment that mattered :) Here are some pictures of him that he sent me last fall, just before he returned home from Iraq

February 26, 2006: Had a really nice weekend. On Friday night, I went up to Michael and Shannon's and spent the evening with them. We had a fun night together over a few bottles of wine and a good dinner. It was great seeing them and the kids! I spent the night there and on Saturday morning, met up with Ben and it was off to Napa for the day. We visited 4 wineries (I'll get all of the names up here later on today w/the details). After that, we headed back down South and stopped in SF to visit Matt & Ian for an hour or so before we headed out to Oakland for dinner. We had a great meal at Mezze, which is one of my all time favorite restaurants (introduced to me by Ashish and Jill). Dinner was great, but the the ahi tuna appetizer and bread pudding deserts were highlights and simply 'to die for!' LOL :)

On Sunday, it was a nice day of R&R. I spent a few too many hours logged onto the computer playing World of Warcraft and that afternoon, met up with Matt, Ian and our mutual friend Matt for an early dinner at his parents place in San Jose. Mmmm, nothing like having a full blodied Italien cook a fantastic 5 course meal for you. Great food, wine, conversation, people, food (yes, mentioning that twice) made for a great afternoon.

February 24, 2005:

So it was a good but long month. Not to get into it too much, but for most of the past month, I was in kind of a 'funk'. You probably know how that goes. Life's "little" problems seem to catch up with you and all of the good stuff that's going on always seems to have an undercurrent of 'blah' that eats away at you. Partly is due to the weather (where did that sun go!?!? LOL) but yeah... not really. It all boils down to Penz is just looking to find the right guy to fill that void that's in my life. I know he's out there. Over the last 9 months, I've met some really good people of whom I tried dating, but it just didn't work out, and that can be frustrating after a while... And that's all I'm gonna say about it for now (don't feel like talking about it anymore right now). But I do want to say thank you to Ben, Tim, Gini, Paul, Kevin, Porky, Becky, Ashish, Jill, Michael and Shannon. LOL, I appreciate you letting me bend your ears over the past month and suffice to say, I'm feeling much better.

Earlier this month, I took a little vacation and went back East for about 9 days. On the 9th, I flew to Rhode Island and stayed a few days with Eric and Crissy Larson. We had a really nice visit together. Eric and I got to spend some quality time together and it was just great to do nothing but hang out. We caught a movie on Friday (the new Pink Panther) of which we agreed was OK, but Steve Martin is no Peter Sellers. So, after seeing the movie, it was off to Best Buy to pick up copies of all the original Pink Pather's with Peter Sellers and then we proceeded to spend the weekend watching them. LOL, talk about fun!

On Saturday the 11th, the three of us went up to MA to visit Tim, Suzanne, Seth, Gini, and the dogs :) Hehehe, we had a really nice visit together. I couldn't believe how big my nephew is getting. He's doing great! My poor brother had just had surgery the day before on his wrist. He had injured it during a ski trip accident and they had to operate on it a second time. Poor guy is going to be laid up for about 6 months until he can really start to use his hand again. I hope that that time passes quick for him (though I know it's going to be challenging).

Uncle Penz and Seth having lunch together :)

After we left the Penziner homestead, we made a stop by Eric's father's place where we met up with Paul, his girlfriend Kara (she's REALLY NICE!!!), and Eric's mom even came by. We all shared a few bottles of wine together before we all eventually headed back to RI where we spent the night eating, drinking and having a great time together. LOL, to celebrate, Mother Nature dropped a foot and a half of snow on us! Nothing like a little Nor' Easter blizzard to remind me why I moved to CA :)

Penz (that's Sam in his lap), Paul and Kara at the Larsons

On Monday, I would fly from RI down to Fort Myers, FL where I'd spend the rest of the week with Kevin Barnes. We had a great visit together. Again, lots of 'relax' time, plenty of good eating/drinking, and most importantly, spending quality time with a good friend. Doesn't get much better than that!

Ribeye steaks, grilled shrimp, asparagus and sweet potato fries. Not a bad 'last meal' :)

Oh yeah! Kevin and I both got new tatoo's! Heheh, I had some additional work done to mine and he had a brand new one done. I'll post pictures of them on here soon.

I got back to CA on the 18th and spent that Sunday catching up after being away for 9 days. On Monday, it was back to work. Speaking of work, I'll soon be writing about a new opportunity that I have accepted at Avaya. For right now, all I'll say is that it's going to be a promotion, with a lot more responsibility, visibility and yeah, probably more stress too :) Details on that next week.

Right now, I'm without cats! I took them up to Justin's place in SF just before I left on my trip (he usually watches them when I'm gone but ever since he moved further North, it's a little harder for him to do so). Since he is their co-father, I figured it was about time for him to share custody, so as of right now, the Mow's have relocated to SF. They have a much bigger house to play in and more people to be with. It's a bit of a burden off of my shoulders since now I don't have to worry about them when I travel (and yes, now I don't have to clean the box and deal w/the cat hair. Oh yeah, I also got a new couch the day before I left on my trip, so not having them destroy it is a good thing too!!). Yes, I do miss them sometimes, but for right now, it's what I want do to.

February 23, 2006:

Heheh just a quick update that yes, I'm still alive! LOL, I'll do a big update for February shortly.

All the best,


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