“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”


"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Karl Edward Wagner

So... in a moment of killing time today, I was reading through some of the saved stuff in my cloud drive... ending up in my mixed musings/poetry/philosophy file...

Dang, I'd forgotten what this guy could write.

Most people (of those who know him) just know about his Kane novels, or a few of his short stories. But the man also wrote some very good poetry - mixed in with his stories, or just put about here and there.

Maybe it's just the time of year, or my lack of sleep lately, or my own mind - but it struck a chord. A bit dark, a bit mysterious, a bit ... you decide.

I recommend a look if you haven't read them before.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sign of the Times?

To be honest, I don't use my primary care physician for too much these past few years. Given that I'm down at the VA every other month for things, they end up taking care of most things. But, I still keep him on the books as it were, just for insurance and other reasons.

Up til now that is. Got a letter yesterday he's sent to all his patients on his decision to retire at the end of the year, primarily due to costs and requirements associated with the new health care laws (in particular, that he be required to digitize decades worth of records and such, at his own cost).

While it doesn't particularly hurt my health needs - especially as he's provided a referral to another practice already - it worries me wondering how many others are dealing with this...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Curiousity

As mentioned, today was a long day. Not just hour wise, but in terms of constant reshuffling of priorities, rushing to "critical" incidents that actually weren't, dealing with phone calls and emails and other "I need this now" and the like. Fortunately, I survived it all and made it home to a loving family who made me feel peaceful again.

Somehow in the middle of this, a thought came to mind - with the current situation in the world and out nation.

I wonder if this is the same way that the Roman Legions felt during the time of bread and circuses... the samurai during the Meiji "restoration"... or certain Native tribes when their supposed leaders bartered lands and rights away.

To be there, knowing that the world and rules you had lived by were being swept away, and unable to do much more than watch and hope to tread water through it all. To be faced daily with more and more changes, and wondering when the storm would end.

It's enough to make you wonder.


Ugh

Woke up at 0330 and couldn't get back to sleep, with a twelve hour day working planned. This will be a pleasant day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

That had to sting

Today my defendant in court learned the valuable lesson that your attitude during the stop directly affects the amount of the fine the judge chooses to put on your conviction... Wonder if it will make him nicer to the next officer who stops him.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

I've been tired, cold, miserable, scared, hot, muddy, wet, sandy, half-deaf, broke, and wondering what I got myself into.

I've also been around the world, done things I'd only seen in movies, and proud to call friends and comrades some of the most incredible people you can imagine. I've seen the best and worst of humanity and this nation.

It's changed my life both mentally, emotionally, and physically - some good, some bad. But I will carry those years of service forever. They quite literally shaped who I have become.

To those who have served, or are still serving - thank you. No matter what the job you did, whether you did a few years or a lifetime, only those who have been there understand the price.

Thanks.

A bit more for Tam

OK, once more on this.

As mentioned yesterday, blogmother Tam is having a bit of a health issue, and the community has decided to raise some funds for her. As an incentive, many people are also throwing some things into the donation mix to go along with it.

So - having thought about it, I need to pony up as well.

Added to the list are the following:

Ten Magpul 30-round PMags (winner can choose between tan or green).

One Emerson CQC-7 Mini pocketknife

OldNFO is currently coordinating the giveaway stuff, but $25 gets you an entry for either or any of the other prizes.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Back in the World

Yeah... kind of a prolonged absence. School. Election season. Big storm. Hours of overtime. So, writing on here kind of took a back seat for the past two months - hope you all understand.

But, now things have calmed down a bit, so let's see if I can pull the bottle of scotch away from my muse who has been sulking in the closet...

I'll save the political musings and grumblings - right now I'm just happy it's over & I think we're all in for a rough ride ahead. The international situation is only getting worse, and I'd expect more of that to trickle our way in the next couple of years.

I'm fortunate to have a good job, decent health, and my family is safe. That's better than a lot have, so I'm grateful.

Speaking of grace - Tam over at View From the Porch is having a bit of a health issue, and could use a hand with things. If you haven't yet, please drop by her site & drop a tip off - every little bit helps. There are a few folks (OldNFO, LawDog) etc doing a raffle for things connected to it, so you can speak with them as well. As for me, I just threw in because it's the right thing to do, so no raffles or offers from here. Either way, please help the nice lady in need.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A tale of two recruits....

So my plans last week got changed, as I got drafted to help at the range for our current academy, since they were short on instructors. Pretty much a typical group, some good, some bad - the same things we observe most every time. I did watch some interesting dynamics though...

The first recruit in question was a young girl who folded under the least bit of pressure at any point. Tears and all. Had no real competence or drive to do more than the minimums, and more important, no confidence in herself or real character to show. The kind who every person there was discussing how soon she would quit, pretty much knowing she didn't have what it takes to finish the Academy, much less do the job.

The other one was a little wisp of a girl. Watching her throughout the week she had some first-time shooter problems, but asked good questions & more importantly, she actually listened to what we would tell her. Prior Navy, with a college degree as well, but that isn't the important part. What was important came out in her character on Wednesday evening when we started pushing them a bit more. I was watching from the side as she shot, and I could literally see tears running down her face as she winced between a few of the drills. But, every time I asked her about it, she swore nothing was wrong and kept on going. This went on the rest of the day and she never once backed down, or tried to get out of any of the drills. When we finally finished I got her to the side with the lead instructor and we got the story - she'd played rugby in school, had broken some bones in her wrist & had pins in them which were hurting when she shot from certain positions. But she was absolutely adamant that it wasn't a big deal & she was able to continue. So, we gave her some tips to help with things, and made sure that she knew that if it got too bad she was to let us know - it wouldn't be a sign of failure or lack of ability.

I can tell you, just from watching this young lady this week - she will never, ever quit on us. She may not be the biggest or strongest recruit in that class, but she has more heart than I've seen in a majority of the other men and women. You can teach skills, you can teach concepts - but you cannot teach character. She's one I really hope sticks around, because she's going to be a great asset to the department.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Earning my paycheck

Another full week here with administrative stuff, school work & the like. Then, yesterday got extended by several hours due to me getting a call for a large amount of Civil War ordnance recovered from a house. We get a decent amount here, due to the numerous battles in the region - and it always surprises me that most of the people have no idea it's still hazardous. For example - of the items I dealt with yesterday 90% of them were still filled with live explosives & had fuzes - meaning all it would have taken is some heat, a spark, or even a bit too much static electricity on the wrong day to set things off...

In other news, got a "jury duty pre-screening form" in the mail this week, as my name has been drawn in the pool. Given that block #2 on my form is "Occupation and employer" I predict I'll be hitting the "disqualified" list about .02 seconds after they open it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Random weekend filler

- Took most of last week off for some time with the family before school starts again... ended up being "most" instead of "all" due to a campaign stop by a politician for which we had to do our normal pre-event screenings & standby. On the one hand, these visits are good for a chunk of overtime money every four years - on the other, I'm glad it's only every four years.

- One interesting thing has been the new County policy to bill the respective campaigns for the overtime costs etc. associated with these visits. It used to be something they just dealt with, but now both sides are getting sent the itemized "pay on receipt" letters. I agree with this, particularly given the level of things which get involved & how it impacts our other services.

- The wife & I took the kiddos camping to close out the week - not any kind of a backpacking trip, but still some time in the woods & having fun for them. Good time all around & glad the weather cooperated. I look forward to the day when they can help more though!

- Got a call from my boss's boss last night on a "mandatory social function" Monday night - it's one I don't mind actually, as a gentleman he knows who is very high up in some circles connected to my bomb work is coming to town for the day & wants to meet over beverages and chat about some opportunities. Helps him out, makes the department look good & helps me out down the road, so it should be a few hours well-spent.

- Another side project coming around involves some unpaid consultations I've been doing with a gear manufacturer and distributor who's based locally. So far I've been asked to give input on three projects they're developing or refining for certain specialized jobs, and then was able to submit two project ideas of my own that they're developing prototypes for. On the one hand, yes it would be great to get money & recognition for some of this stuff - BUT - on the more important hand, it's really a huge compliment to be asked for my opinions and ideas on stuff that is being used in real-world applications. Not that by any stretch I'm the world's expert or have all the ideas, but I've already had a few of those "Dang, why didn't we think of that?" moments in the discussions - and the word from the end users has been positive so far as well. Whether or not this leads to something more later, we will see.

That's it for now. My arthritis is acting up, so it's medication and schoolwork time...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Face palms

As mentioned, one of the recent draws on my time has been the fact I've returned to school - in hopefully my final progress towards my degree. Mostly doing it for post-police job opportunities, wherein many of my job offers have already said that a degree of some sort is required. All of my classes are online, with students from a variety of backgrounds and locations.

Which can be.... challenging. In the first place, quite honestly some of these people are not prepared for work at what I'd expect at a college level to say the very least. Leaving aside some generally poor writing and spelling skills, and a lack of ability to think critically or to express oneself - when a teacher has to say numerous times that "Internet speech, text lingo and other abbreviations are not appropriate for college work, and Wikipedia is not a source." it shows the general level many of these people are performing at. Add in the fact that a good chunk have very obviously had their educational backgrounds shortchanged along the way, and my wife is becoming very used to seeing me facepalm or rant at the computer while I am doing coursework at night.

But - I tell myself it's for a good cause, and it can only help me recognize the areas I can improve. Really, it's got to be true.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Death, not warmed over

I have been hit with a bug of something. Pray for my wife, as she is stuck dealing with the wee minions.

I'll be decomposing until further notice.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Never Forget

One year ago:

Our Fallen

NSWC

  • Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, La.
  • Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Ark.
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Conn.
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Mass.
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth.
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, W.Va.
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, La.
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit.
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, Calif.
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, N.C.
  • Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah.
  • Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Neb.
  • Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia.
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa.
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Fla.
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, Calif.
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minn.
  • U.S. Navy SEAL Working Dog Bart

USAR/ARNG

  • Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo. – Assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colo.;
  • Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan. – Assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.;
  • Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb. – Assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Neb.;
  • Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash. – Assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.;
  • Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan. – Assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

AFSOC

  • Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Fla. – Assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C.
  • Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, Calif. - Assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C.
  • Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pa. - Assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C.
Long live the brotherhood.

Split opinion

Spent the morning getting to roll-play the bad guy for a SWAT training scenario, which was fun. Got to enjoy giving a hard time to a few of our negotiators as things went on (all in good fun guys!), and wrapped things up with a nice handcuffing session... Who says this job has no benefits?

Then I went off to an "appointment to schedule a further appointment" at the local VA hospital. Which led to the dilemma of the day... During the pre-appointment interview with the nurse we started with the standard health screening questions, and then went into a series of questions regarding mental health, PTSD and such.

On the one hand, I think this is a good change - for far too long such things were ignored until it was too late, and there was a general stigma about even talking about this stuff. It's nice to see the VA system trying to address the problem, and hopefully it is reaching some of the men and women who need it.

On the other... listening to the way some of the questions were phrased, some of it just seems a bit too "canned checklist response puts you on a list" kind of thing. Not saying it in a tin-foil hat kind of way, but I can see how this system might over-diagnose such incidents the way far too many kids get the ADHD label these days.

Curious as to what everyone else thinks.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Does this thing still work?

Between school, work and a work trip - yes, I neglected this blog. One of those "I've been busy, I'll get to it soon - oh wait, where did the week go?" things.

Anyway, hope I still have some readers out there. See if I can get back to producing something and sharing my thoughts.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Stupid, It Hurts

Yesterday turned into "afternoon/evening of call outs".  The first one ended up being a bit suspicious but fortunately nothing to it. The second one on the other hand...

We got called out to a local house late that night. A homeowner got done with work, went to check the mail & saw what looked like a bomb in their mailbox. Wisely, they then decided to leave it alone & call the police. So, we then show up & do our thing figuring out what is going on.

Apparently, we have a local business who thought it would be a good idea to make up fake bombs and put them in clients mailboxes with a note about the "dynamite business" they could do.

Really? Someone not only thought of this wonderful plan, but no one else in the office stopped to say "Hold on, this might not go over too well these days."

So instead, we scared the crap out of the homeowner, we inconvenienced and scared all the neighbors moved from their homes for several hours, we tied up police & fire resources on a busy Friday night. All because you thought you'd be "different and stand out."  Trust me, you did.

Everytime I read some story in our paper on a bomb squad call & people bitch about "wasting tax dollars" and such, I just want to point to things like this...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Heard in the crew's lounge...

As a prelude to this - a few things to explain.
#1 - I love my wife dearly. My wife and I relate on many levels. But I often do not understand my wife - and for this I am grateful. For centuries men have lamented not understanding women - if we did, wouldn't life be boring? I like that there is still mystery and wonder even after these years.

#2 - Our conversations, particularly once the wee minions have gone to bed, run across an incredible gamut of subjects, often with topics bouncing convoluted leaps from one to another as we read things on our separate computers, discuss the day, share thoughts and answer each other. There are times a flow chart would help bystanders. So, this is just one night in particular. Just sayin'.

#3 - I am only allowed limited input into what my wife wears, and don't often buy her clothing - per her choice, not mine. Apparently, my taste in clothes runs a bit more "sultry/revealing" than what she would choose... So, I'm allowed to buy t-shirts and the like - but blouses, skirts etc. are strictly off limits.

Trust me, those all have a point.

So anyway - the other night, somehow during our discussions and my web searches I got onto a site that had a "steampunk kilt skirt" which I thought looked neat. To which of course she wanted to look at the link:

"Ugh! Go figure - why is it when they label it "steampunk" that it has to be all slutty and everything? All cut short and tacky."  Now, keep in mind that this particular skirt/kilt was knee length and to my eye at least nothing but proper. So, I shake my head and we have some brief banter back and forth on the topic and why I like the kilt & she doesn't.

While all this is going on my internet-wandering is continuing of course, and I end up on another kilt site. I then make a comment about some micro-skirt-kilts they have while trying to find her family tartan amongst them. I also laughingly make the comment about it being a waste of my time even looking. Again, of course, she requests the link.

"Oh those are cool! Do they have my tartan?"

Right about here my head is spinning in confusion & I look at her asking "OK, the first one I showed you was knee-length and you said it was "too slutty" - these things barely meet our daughter's definition of a skirt (covers the panties,) but somehow they're fine?"

"Duh! They're in a tartan!" said with the same disdain and emphasis on my lack - of - clue that you'd use on someone arguing about water being wet. As if it's completely obvious that the pattern alone allows for a much greater overall fabric measurement.

So - I shook my head, smiled, and dreamed of a purchase... No, I don't always understand her - but it's great being able to smile in wonder. I am a blessed man.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Desperate Help Needed

I rarely use this platform to beg for money, but this is a critical situation.

Not for me. For an incredible man. Taylor Morris, a twenty-three year old Navy EOD technician was critically wounded last month in Afghanistan. Rather than letting his team mates be injured he lay there, conscious and bleeding, until the area was clear. Go here and read the whole story.

Taylor lost all four of his limbs in this explosion. He is facing a life none of us could imagine - and doing it with a level of courage which goes beyond humbling.

The man dreams of a cabin in the woods to share with his girlfriend as they grow old.

By God, this man deserves the best gorram cabin ever built.

Taylor's family has set up a website about his life and injuries.

Skip lunch out today. Don't buy that magazine, or download that song. I don't care if you only give a dollar, but I'm asking - no, I'm begging - every one of my readers to give SOMETHING before this weekend is out.

Let us show Taylor and his family just how grateful we are that such men exist, and let us repay just a fraction of the debt we owe him.


EDIT: The paypal link originally posted has been changed. If you wish to donate to the Taylor Morris trust please visit the family website & they have numerous ways you can do so. Thanks to Mr. B for pointing this out.

John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his brothers."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kilted to Kick Cancer

I'll be posting more on this as we get closer to September, but for those unaware the sign-ups are starting.

Let's get this thing rolling early for 2012 and double last year's totals.

Link here at Ambulance Driver's.


Remember


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hoarding, guilt trips and other fun

As some of you know, I spent the entirety of last weekend dealing with a callout and the associated issues, then attempting to recover from the same (technically still not done, as there is one report left I need to re-type). Very very fortunately for me, my Lovely Wife was in a position to deal with the kids and everything else for the time involved, and more appreciated, to support me when needed.

The short version of the story is that we had an elderly gentleman pass away & not get found for over a week. He was a MAJOR hoarder - literally the worst I've ever seen or heard of. Trash piled up from at least fifteen years, over three feet deep throughout the house - food, assorted items, guns, ammo, feces, etc.  This combined with the smell of a body which had been left alone that long in the heat. Oh - and the reason for our attendance - rumors of booby traps and old military explosives. Which means that we spent the next two days first getting a safe access to the inside, clearing the body, and then clearing each and every room of all this stuff.

In the interests of privacy and decency I won't share many more of the details. Yes, we did recover some things out of the house which had to be taken care of. Being confident in your skills is a good thing when stuff like this shows up. Explosive breaching works. For those who aren't aware, I don't care what the label says - chemical suits don't keep the smell of decomposition out. Supportive wives and families are irreplaceable. So is supervision that gives you support & stays out of your way. Some days the overtime money isn't enough for what you have to deal with.

Anyway - when all was done finally, we cleared things up & the body removal people took care of their end. The house was boarded up waiting on inspection and final determination on what to do and how to manage the cleanup. Which is where the other fun afterward came in. 

Apparently, after two days effort, they found a next of kin - a daughter who flew into town. Apparently, when she went out with the building inspector they weren't happy with how the body removal service had done their work - and she called in a complaint to the chief's office. Oh, and also was in a rampage as to how soon she could get all his guns out of property so as to sell them off.

Really? W. T. F. ?????

#1 - it's not our job. All the police do is clear the scene, determine if there is a crime which was involved, and then the body service and the mortuary take care of the remains. Take a little personal responsibility for cleaning.

#2 - more importantly. WTFing F???? 

This didn't happen overnight. Your dad lived like this for years. This trash building up, this lack of care and concern - the mental issues and everything else - but suddenly now that he's gone & you feel guilty you want to pass the blame off on someone else?  Go find a doughnut and perform an appropriate act as it rolls along the ground... While I am sorry for your loss, I in no way am willing to ride on your guilt train for the issues from your father's death.

So yeah, that was my week.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Semi-Bleg

OK - it looks as if I have a good possibility of being able to go to Blogorado this year (thanks for the invite BTW!).  Here's the deal - #1 I don't want to deal with the hassle of flying w/guns; #2 I hate TSA, #3 I'd like to save some money...

SOOOOoooooo....

If any of my readers in the "mid-Atlantic" area (Virginia particularly, but if close by...) are driving out there & have any interest in carpooling, sharing gas/lodging expenses etc. I'd be interested.

Hit me up in comments.

Not sure if I'm feeling pride or terror...

Tonight the Biscuit spent her after-dinner craft time gleefully painting "Zombie Dora" pictures as she talked with me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Musical request

For insane reasons of my own, I'd be curious as to everyone's suggestions for Steampunk-genre music... groups, albums or individual songs. Explanations as to why will be extra-appreciated.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lesson learned

Apparently lawnmower and similar engines don't do well with newer gasoline & the higher ethanol content. Our old mower has died an ignominious death, and now been replaced - with the new mower having a very prominent "don't use high ETOH in this" set of warnings about the documentation and mower itself.

Good to know now. Would have been even nicer to know six months ago with the old one.

National Police Week

This is the start of National Police Week, a part of which is spent remembering those officers who died in the line of duty over the past year.

163 officers gave their lives last year in service to their communities. Please take a moment to honor them and the families they left behind. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I laughed :D


More of a long week

First off, I'd like to apologize to those residents of the continental United States who were stunned by the high-pitched screaming for a half-hour earlier tonight... the Wee Biscuit had a fit the likes of which were extraordinary even for her talents. Fortunately we were able to sort it all out, and she went to bed smiling and happy again.

As for today's amusing quote, it was being told by a defense attorney "Officer, I don't need you to waste your time testifying. My client's a moron."

Some things you just can't comment on...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sad but true



Graphic from Military Times Gearscout.

Anyway, I post this not just because I laughed, but because it's so true.  There is a large percentage of the shooting/military/law enforcement/airsoft/wannabe/whatever crowd who will base their purchasing decisions on gear which is, or is rumored to be used by various Special Forces. Because, ZOMG if THEY use it then it MUST be teh coolest!

And, unfortunately, many companies have picked up on this and tailor their marketing and pricing accordingly. Examples being all around - from a certain watch company which had a few examples tested & rejected but somehow became the "Official SEAL watch," to whole sweatshops worth of gear manufactured in the latest "go-to" camo pattern and sold by the ton at gun shows and flea markets, with no reflection of quality. Many people aren't aware that units buy a lot of things in small numbers just to test them - to see if it is a useful item, or just fluff - but that doesn't make it official issue.

This has really not been great all around, for a few reasons.

- It's led to a whole inflation in perception on both sides of the equation. "Regular" units get the impression their gear must be substandard, since that's not what "So and so" uses - despite a lack of appreciation for different mission profiles and needs; and Special Operations units (particularly the new guys) think that for some reason all their things need to be different. This is nothing new - from the "we have to have 9mm handguns because we need more bullets" turning into "we need .45 pistols because the regular military 9mm isn't good enough," to "everything I wear from head to toe must be from such-and-such because they're the current best."  Hell, I suspect that Roger's Rangers had guys saying "we can only carry tomahawks made by Bob's Smithery down in West-town, they're the heat!" This hurts both sides. There is a lot of "regular" gear that is outstanding - you ask most of the old Special Forces and Recon guys and they STILL think the 50 year old ALICE pack is the best military option around, and they should know. And, there are other things which simply don't cross over - what a line infantry guy needs to ride in a Hummer & patrol the streets is often different than what a SEAL needs to conduct an underwater infiltration and board a hostile vessel or oil platform. The mission drives the gear, not the other way around.

- It leads too many people on both sides to cherish equipment over competency. Doing the job becomes less a matter of knowing the tasks and more a case of "if we had this item we could do it easier." Which is then the slope of blaming the gear - everyone has seen this at the range: "My sights are off, my optic failed, these magazines aren't the best, if I only had ...." Sure - there is value in having the right gear, and you do get what you pay for (trust me, ask my wife about my collection of stuff - and how much I've gotten rid of!) - but relying on it, or thinking you have to replace it every six months with the shinier version is just deluding yourself.

- It has caused pricing to explode like a cancerous mass. We joke that you can take the same bag - you put "tactical" on the label and you double the price, you color it Multicam and you can double it again, and you add to your marketing that it's "Issued to So-and-So" and now you can quadruple it. (Don't ask me what it does to the price when it is a Tactical EOD item!) This hurts individuals who often are buying it on their own dime; and it hurts units/organizations who are forced to spend more of your tax dollars to get what they need.

- As a corollary to this one - don't think that Special Operations always buys something because it's the best. The supply chain is the supply chain - and many times something was chosen because they were the lowest bid on the contract. This is what leads to my note above of people buying their own crap.

- It also hurts availability. When a company is set up to produce X lots of an item, anticipating a demand of a few hundred or thousand to outfit their customers - and all of a sudden they have everyone knocking down their door & now need to make 100X, it slows down receipt by the users who need it.

I could add more, as I'm sure could others. I think the main point being that people need to worry more about what works for them and their needs, and less about what some "special" group is using in a different job.

As for me - just as a note - I'm finding as I age and look at things that I'm discarding more than I'm acquiring; and that I'm looking for ways to simplify and lighten each piece of kit I use. Some of it comes from being older & not wanting to carry 900 pounds of lightweight gear anymore, and some of it has come from experience and the lessons of time.

Now I think I need to plan another bin purge and gear giveaway...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Avoid Bank of America

This has been confirmed through several resources:

From McMillan's Facebook account.... in their words:
 McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years. Today Mr. Ray Fox, Senior Vice President, Market Manager, Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking came to my office. He scheduled the meeting as an “account analysis” meeting in order to evaluate the two lines of credit we have with them. He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and have become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories. At this point I interrupted him and asked “Can I possible save you some time so that you don’t waste your breath? What you are going to tell me is that because we are in the firearms manufacturing business you no longer want my business.” “That is correct” he says.
 Several years ago we had an account with Bank of America which was closed following errors on their part. During this time we found their customer service to be beyond horrible. Since then we have used other banks, and currently are very happy with Wells Fargo - who to date has defined great customer service in a bank for us. Given my history, as well as actions like this, you may rest assured that BofA will see zero of my money for any transaction ever again. 
 
 

Changing outlooks

I'm not sure how much this has happened to other people, but I do know having kids has changed my outlook on a number of things - most particularly work. How I deal with children and parents, things I am aware of, all of those things are different than when kids were just a theoretical concept. Calls where children are hurt or at risk affect me even more so, as I see my own children in those faces.

Yesterday had one of those instances. I was helping out the road guys with some calls since they were short handed. One I rolled on was around lunchtime - a "suspicious vehicle with people hanging out in the back seat" in one of our residential neighborhoods. Since we're getting killed on daytime B&Es around here, I was hoping to at least get a chance to help identify some of these people if not actually catching something.

So I pull up on scene to see the one passenger squirt right up to the front seat, while the guy gets out and tries to look casual as he walks up to his side. Looking at them I can see the nervousness and red faces, as they adjust clothing and try to pretend nothing is going on. It only takes a minute to sort out the particulars - he's 19, she's 14; they met online in a chatroom & he convinced her to skip school and hang out today, no her parents have no idea what's going on etc... They both swear they were just kissing and nothing more, and no intent to go further.

By this point one of the sergeants and the primary officer have shown up as well, as we separate people and start getting a bit more. The guy is almost textbook for a perv-in-training - a few instances in his history, unemployed & living in the parents basement, all the stuff that would make you feel uncomfortable. Plus he has brought a few accessories along for the trip.  The girl is a 14-going-on-20 like so many others these days - old enough to get into trouble & have raging hormones affecting her decisions, but young enough that she has no idea what all of this really entails. In my mind I can see my own daughter, or my teenaged niece - imagining what this own girl's father will think when he learns about all this.

Since it's already decided the guy will be taking a ride with us, I take the time to pull the girl to the side and give her the lecture of a lifetime. I don't even bother to sugarcoat anything - she's old enough to get here, she's old enough to hear the blunt truth. I ask what she would have done if he wanted more than she felt like giving... her "Just leave I guess." answer I quickly dissect with the fact she is 20 miles from home in a neighborhood she doesn't know, she's half his size, has no phone or anything else - as she seems to realize the predicament she was in. I explain about some of the other examples we've had around the locale and the nation of girls just disappearing after meeting someone "nice" online, and the things that have happened to some of them. Finally, killing the last bit of doubt in her mind, I show her the bag of sex toys and accoutrements he had in the trunk of the car...

From there my part was pretty much done. I know she got another earful from the sergeant as he delivered her to her father, and I'm sure dad was even worse. The guy got a trip to our jail & hopefully this at least gets him high enough on the radar we can keep him from actually dong something worse than getting one of these girls in a compromising position. I do know it was one of those times I personally enjoyed seeing someone get arrested and hauled away.

As I said, this was one of those calls that made me think of my own kids and family. We try to shield them from the nastier sides of my job, and to keep what we can of their innocence around. But I also know that before I'm ready to accept it we also need to teach them that "bad people" is more than just an idea, and that sometimes evil wears a nice face.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How it all begins...

An old southern country preacher form Georgia had a teenage son and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young men, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.

One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects:

- a Bible,
- a silver dollar,
- a bottle of whiskey and
- a Playboy magazine

I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself, "and when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be OK, But if picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be. And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasin' bum."

The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table. With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them.

Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's Centerfold.

"Lord have mercy," the old preacher disgustedly whispered, "he's gonna be a bomb tech."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today's Earworm




I so love when my people display their talents...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

They start young

So, out of nowhere this evening our four-year-old daughter took it upon herself to explain to her mother and I that we needed to be careful because "zombie lizards can rise from the grave and eat your brains." All very matter-of-fact as if we should be well aware of this and prepared for the eventuality.

Not sure if I should be proud or concerned - but I definitely see some parent-teacher conferences in the future with interesting looks.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Well-spent

So today:

- I spent some time with each of the kids snuggling, talking and making them laugh.

- I finished two books.

- I finished two miniatures.

- I got several emails done.

- I cooked a nice dinner.

- Now sitting quietly with my wife & enjoying the evening.

Apparently I need to do this "day off" thing a bit more frequently. Plus, not having to wake up before the sun tomorrow will be nice.

Ice Cream Machine is back on...

Hopefully at least.

After the past two weeks of way-too-early mornings & long hours, I have the day off & a return to a normal (or somewhat) schedule. So hopefully that means I won't be too insane at the end of the day to write & I can return to some irregular, irreverent posting.

Thanks for waiting around.

And in a separate note - the fact that they are trying a Three Stooges remake is an abomination before the Lord...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Quote of the night

So, working on going back to school.... AGAIN... to finally finish out the degree. In doing so, discussing with my wife the various course options for my first semester back, pros & cons etc. - particularly given the fact that I graduated high school 25 years ago & have not taken a few of the basics since then.

Which led to this exchange...

Me - "Oh cool, they have math for liberal arts majors. Since I've forgotten all my algebra."

Her - "What, they don't offer math for conservative arts majors?"

Which resulted in me almost falling out of the chair laughing...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Links from the lazy host

Yes, I've been absent - work has been an ass-kicker the past two weeks & until it slows down blogging will suffer.

But, OldNFO put up two posts that I appreciate as a vet, and I hope you all will as well:

THANK YOU TO THE 0.45% ...


And a follow up to Thank You...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Funny, but true...

The guys at Ranger Up hit the nail on the head for a lot of veterans. NSFW but funny as hell.



h/t to BLACKFIVE

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring is here...

and it's nice to throw on the kilt when I get home from work & cool off for a bit with the hot, humid weather out.

Just saying.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shallow, unsolicited, selfish post

Seeing another picture on Facebook today, I am reminded yet again that I have BY FAR the hottest wife on my team.

This isn't counting the fact she's cool, smart, and geeky like me - the woman's also undeniably attractive.

Yes, it may be shallow to say so, but I like that part too :D

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tired Captain is Tired...

As has been mentioned before on here, I occasionally work the DUI specials around town - both for the overtime money, and for the fact that I have no sympathy for drunk drivers. Last night was another such event, what with St. Patrick's Day & Saturday night being rolled into one.

Unfortunately, it wasn't one of my most fun - it wasn't a bad night, just gorram long. I was only supposed to work about five hours & ended up doing just about double that - getting home at 7:30 this morning and getting just a few hours of sleep while my gracious wife wrangled the kids out to give me a quiet house.

Just a few highlights, as I'm not in the mental condition to type a story:

- While I admire the fact that the least-drunk member of the group was driving you all home, the point is they were still drunk...

- Whose bright idea was it to only have on magistrate working on a Saturday St. Paddy's??? W.T.F.???? Having to wait over an hour to get my warrants was simply ludicrous.

- I freaking love people who are whiny crybabies on the side of the road "Oh, my life is ruined, you don't understand," and then when they get to jail are all full of themselves is always amusing.

- No sunshine, when you've peed your pants three times in the course of two hours, the "But I'm not drunk!!!!" argument isn't going to fly very far with anyone.

- When you reek of booze and can't stand, answering "Nothing, I swear!" when I ask how much you've had to drink isn't a good way to start our discussion.

- No Mr. Magistrate, your job is to determine if there is probable cause or not - it's not to do the whole trial that night. Taking thirty minutes to do a probable cause hearing for possession of marijuana is a sign of a problem.

- When you show up to jail and are laughing and saying hi to numerous people in the first ten minutes that you recognize, it might be a sign that it's time to reconsider your life's choices. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why we do this...

Eastside Stories has a great post on why we are cops:

Because I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
Because two-day weekends suck.
Because every now and then someone tells me I made a difference.
Because I hate bullies.
Click for the whole list.

Politi-Rant

As I've mentioned before, I try to avoid the political stuff on this blog. Others do it far more eloquently than I do, plus if I think too long on the topic these days I'm liable to get a stroke. Be that as it may, the recent events in our national circus have a few comments bubbling over the pot, Mostly regarding what I do and don't want in a candidate and an election.

Do I anticipate it changing anything? Of course not. Just like I know not everyone will agree with me. But it's my chalkboard, so I can scribble what I want.

By no means an exhaustive list, nor in any order beyond what comes to mind as I type this morning:

- Have more than a passing familiarity with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And not just one or two of the amendments, but all of them - I hate this trend we have of "well don't attack my pet beliefs, but do what you want to the other side." A nice first step would be telling me how any of your proposed legislative actions are allowed under said documents, and why what you want to do is the government's business. Also, understand what a "right" actually is as opposed to a "benefit or privilege," and understand that the government does not in any way "grant' any of those rights.

- Quit spending your time telling me about how the other side failed, was wrong, or is a child-molesting, heathen, trans-fat injecting, reality TV-watching reprobate. Tell me what YOU are going to do and stand for - not what is wrong with the other side.

- I'm tired of party politics - of either side. They're both entrenched, insider driven organizations, and both are far more concerned in defeating the other side than in doing any significant help for the country. Once you get past the labels it's the same clowns, different circus.

- Additionally, the rich-boy's club needs to end. The fact that Congress has such a high percentage of millionaires yet wants to lecture me on being middle-class is simply ludicrous. Get rid of the system of buying into office, and let's have some people who actually represent all levels of society.

- If elected, remember you work for me & are there at our sufferance - not the other way around. Term limits would be great, as would a removal of the government pension system & incentive to park your ass in office for the rest of your life. Additionally, even though you think it's a popularity contest and you want everyone to like you - I'd rather you go in as a responsible adult willing to piss off people because you're doing the right thing, than see you as another spineless pawn of the latest poll.

- Keep your religion out of office. I'm fine if you want to tell me that you live your life by the Bible, Torah, Koran, or the scribblings on the menu of Uncle Bob's Bar-B-Que and Bait shop - at least I get a reference point for your behavior. But the instant you tell me you want to run the country by those same guidelines you can pack sand. Your faith (or lack thereof) is your business & I've seen what theocracies turn into. Similarly, as long as it's not hurting anyone else, stay out of my church and what I believe or practice.

- Also, quit telling me and others how to live our lives. Whether it's our genitals, our reproduction, our desire or lack of desire for various mating rituals and ceremonies, or the food we want to eat - butt out. Self-determination and responsibility for the consequences of our actions needs to return to the individual and the community.

- For the elephant that's not just in the room, but it's crushed the guests and eaten all the food - the economy, budget, and deficit. Quit lying to us, quit spending more money and buying votes with your entitlements or your business subsidies (same action from both sides, just different recipients,) and quit avoiding the hard decisions. As everyone with a brain has been saying and you keep ignoring we have passed the time for hard decisions and now we have to start cutting away in hopes to even survive, not just to maintain. So - your actions in office need to involve aggressively cutting expenses and programs, and shrinking government to a level of near-invisibility.

- Despite my love of our military and gratitude towards the service members who give so much, it's time for us to stop being the world's policeman. We don't have the money for it, it's not making a difference where it needs to, and we're losing lives in a lost cause. Given the options of building an empire by conquering our enemies & colonizing their lands, or of bringing our people home it's time for the latter. Additionally it's time for the other boys and girls on the playground to learn to take care of themselves (I'm talking to you Europe.) Note - I'm not saying get rid of the military or be weak - if you threaten us then an overwhelmingly violent lesson in the folly of such is appropriate. But once that's done we don't need to sit there for ten years trying to figure out step two.

- Same for foreign aid and development, which as P.J. O'Rourke said twenty years ago seems to be doing neither - to heck with 'em. We can't afford to prop up or subsidize everyone else anymore.

- Start cutting laws, regulations, and agencies not expanding them. Again, the bureaucracy is unsustainable.

- Drugs. This is a tough one for me. On the one hand, I've seen what horrible stuff drug abuse does to people. On the other, the war on drugs has been a dismal failure in terms of stopping the inflow, harming the organizations, or anything similar - and has led to a horrendous erosion of our rights as citizens, and an even worse problem among the populace of an "us vs. them" militarization of law enforcement. The Portuguese model seems to be working well, maybe it's time to give that a try. If not, let Darwin take over.

- Similar is many of our vice, moral and other similar laws. The time, money and people we waste on this is ludicrous.

- Immigration - the other elephant. It has nothing to do with racism, despite the claims - it has to do with the presence of millions of people abusing our system, a great many of whom have no desire to BE Americans, but plenty of desire to enjoy our benefits. You take care of your family before you take care of the neighbors. And for the "do the jobs Americans don't want to do" crowd - that problem will be self correcting when the employer no longer has the option of someone who's willing to do the job for substandard prices just to stay under the radar.

- Welfare reform. Do it. Do it quickly. The growth of a system which has not just allowed, but has encouraged literal generations to stay unemployed and on the dole is one of the greatest failures of a society I can think of. I'm not saying don't give people help - but it doesn't last forever & it damned well better include a plan for getting off the program.

Probably more, but that's all that feels like ranting out right now. Unfortunately, I'm just whistling past the graveyard with eerie music rising in the background...

EDIT: Something I forgot to add, particularly for the media. I don't care who my candidate did or did not sleep with as a consenting adult; I don't care if they smoke, drink, or engage in other legal activities to the same level as any other responsible adult; I don't care if their neighbor in third grade thought they were a pretentious prick. Stick to the issues and quit manufacturing character assassinations to meet your beliefs.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I've had this conversation...


With my wife while we were dating. I believe the exact words I used then were "It has a 200 megabyte hard drive, trust me - you'll never fill it."

Moore's law of course proved me wrong.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Radio Days

Roberta has a post up regarding the changes in the broadcast industry, which got me to thinking...

See, on the "things 99% of the people don't know about me" list - I used to work in radio as a DJ. In fact, as was often the case in those days, I grew up in a "radio family." My father was an engineer (there are still spots back west where I've had the older radio guys ask me "are you any relation to Steve XXXX? based on his time in the field), and my mother worked various station odd-jobs as we moved from place to place. See - broadcasting at that time, particularly if you weren't the major personality, was a bit of a nomadic lifestyle as licenses changed hands & stations rose or fell. So I grew up in those various control and broadcast rooms she discusses, crawling and running around those racks of equipment. When some commercial needed a kid's voiceover my brother and I were among those recruited to fill such slots. So, pretty much the first 12 years or so of my life were spent around broadcasting.

Oh - and WKRP? Radio people loved it, because we all recognized the characters...

Then, when you fast-forward to my post-high school first attempt at college & brief flirtation with grown-up life, time came for me to find a job that paid more than fast food. I started with campus radio on a student's check; and very shortly had one of the other local stations approach me saying "Um, we could use a guy on the midnight shift if you're possibly interested?" So then I had the fun of several nights a week surviving on caffeine, enjoying the eclectic fun of life before corporate mandated playlists, and the eternal 2 a.m. DJ question of "Is anyone out there listening?" Semi-prank calls from friends that were just barely on the side of being able to broadcast, sixty-second rants (an early form of blogging I suppose) and all the like. I'm by no means claiming to be exceptional, but I was certainly doing alright for a kid with no degree or formal training.

In what I think was the right choice though, I was able to look at my options. Having grown up around radio, I knew where I'd be in twenty years - still doing more or less the same thing. Sure, I might be at a bigger market, or maybe program director somewhere - but I was by no means going to be one of those huge-contract radio personalities. I didn't have the talent or the personality which would cross me over from being "good" to "financial draw." At the time I reached this semi-epiphany I was working as a DJ, plus working in television production, and made the decision to leave both for the military career I'd often considered.

Fast-forward twenty-some years and here we are.

I certainly think I made the right decision and am more than happy with it. But it is fun at times to read about stuff from Roberta or others, and think about those days back in a dark control booth, turning the volume up on the mic as I fade in for another intro...

"And, since it's the week before finals, here's your midnight album - side one of Pink Floyd's The Wall, while I study for tomorrow. Free tickets to the concert for the first person who provides the answers to Professor Smith's Algebra I test..."

In which I am fortunate...

that my wife and I are omnivores and occasional hedonists...

From Rev. Paul

and FWIW - my wife is hotter than picture #2, TYVM. My plan is still working :D

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another milestone...


Some of the t-shirts in my collection are rather inappropriate. "Talks like a sailor" does have a basis in fact, and divers in particular are known for their earthy commentary at times...

Usually this isn't an issue - I only wear these things around the house or under other stuff, so as not to cause any problems or such.

Well - new house rule came into effect tonight. When Jacob piped up with a "I want to read what your shirt says," as I'm doing my best to cover things and get a sweatshirt on over it post-haste.

So now, I'll have to be even stricter on my shirt self-control.

Smart kids... the bane of adult humor.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Today's post brought to you by T, M and I.

- While at the public gym gents, I understand you may want to inspect your face for pimples, stray hairs or whatever - but for the sake of my stomach, put your gorram towel on instead of dangling your junk in the community sink.

- Gym towels can be washed, seriously. When they clear an aisle it's time.

- If you've been in the shower for over twenty minutes let's just all be honest - you're not there to get clean, are you?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'm not ready for this...

Based on her (hopefully) unscripted hip-dance display last night, the biscuit is growing up way too fast. Time for daddy to prepare...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peculiar Problems

One of the goals of my mini "dad-cation" this week & last has been to finally finish a few of the miniatures & models I've had sitting about. "All of them" is an impossible task, but at least a few!

Miniatures were last week & went successfully with five completed just in time for game night.

So today I've dedicated myself to two models which are about 90% done, really just needing the painting & detail work to get wrapped up. If I can knock them both out in the next three days I'll be thrilled - since they've both been "in progress" for at least two years...

But, it's led to the peculiar problem of things like "Now which particular green paint did I use on that panel there??? And where is it in my box???"

I suppose there are much worse issues.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sod it all

Here's my controversial statement re: Afghanistan.

To hell with them.

We've spent ten years doing our best to help the country; not counting the events of the 80's and the untold billions in aid monies etc. - lives of our men and women sacrificed in a land far from home.

And now, when some prisoners were using Koran copies to write and pass messages, the guards destroyed those Korans in a way accepted by Islam, the populace wants to take out their fury on innocents again - shooting, bombing and otherwise harming those who volunteered to protect and help them?

I say done with them all - completely and totally. Pack everything up, leave by the closest exit and tell them we're not coming back. Make it or fail on your own, since you obviously can't make it with the grownups. Hell, include Pakistan in the same declaration & leave them both to rot.

There's a time to help other countries and a time to take care of our own. They've had their chance.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Act of Valor

Pre-review disclaimer: I am not a SEAL - and am not representing myself as such. However, I did spend the majority of my military time in SEAL units working directly with these men, both in and out of combat. I still have a great many friends in the Teams and other members of the community. So, my comments are based on my own background and experiences, and may differ from that of others...

***
As I said last night - wow. This movie is one of the first in a long time to really blow me away like that. I had planned to see it since I heard it announced, and made it a date night with my wife - even though she initially wasn't interested in it (beyond a night without the kids). As she had been with me for a number of my years around the community, there were people in the film we both recognized from the past - kind of an interesting thing. But yes, I came out of it affected by memories and the past.

For those who aren't aware of the film background, this started as an intended recruiting film for the Teams; it then morphed into a full feature film. The primary "actors" are all active-duty SEALs, and the movie was filmed with the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy. The various components of the story are all based on actual missions from the recent years, which have been melded into an overall plot for movie purposes.

Don't go to this film if you're expecting Oscar-winning dialogue, great character development, a romantic sub-plot or anything of the sort - that's not what you're going to get.

Do go to this film if you'd like to finally see what small-unit forces experience and act like.

You won't get your cookie-cutter "disaffected loner," "conflicted soldier," or "token red-shirt/minority/comic relief."

You'll get to see real people, taking the time to give you a glimpse into the world they live in every day. Showing you just a bit of what it's like to say goodbye to your loved ones, closing a door both physically and mentally, and going away to war.

Those of you with backgrounds anywhere near Special Operations are going to recognize certain behaviors and tactics right away. You're going to see people using weapons like they know what they're doing. Real room entries, reloads, and all that other stuff. The things I spotted which I know are different were obvious changes for the sake of operational security. But I also saw stuff shown on camera that fifteen years ago we couldn't even talk about - so it was interesting to see the change in public exposure.

For any combat veterans - you may find a few scenes intense. Not overwhelmingly so, but there were a couple of points where the camera work and noise finally approached a fraction of what things are really like - hard to do in a theater. The violence of action isn't glossed over, but it isn't glorified either. Good guys and bad guys both bleed and don't bounce back from injuries.

I only spotted one glaring technical error in the whole thing - and it was from the bomb tech side of things, and something even most SEALs wouldn't be aware of. Even then, I can't say for sure it wasn't made deliberately as a security issue or movie moment. For a movie dealing with this sort of thing that's nothing short of amazing.

The only two "critiques" I have are pretty simple. I would have liked to have seen more of their "normal" lives - tell us a bit more about who these guys are and how they got here. We get a couple of glimpses of the fact these are men with families and homes, but I think it would remind viewers even more that our military men and women are people just like them. The other thing is that there were a few scenes in which the various "toys" or insertion techniques were pretty obviously used as just taking another moment to show off all the neat stuff. From a recruiting standpoint - cool; from a necessary standpoint not so much. Really that's it.

The final bit was absolutely wonderful in terms of respect and honor. The filmmakers took the time to dedicate the movie to those SEALs who have fallen in the war on terror, and to list everyone by name. Yes, I teared up seeing the names of several friends. The entire audience was nothing but respectful during this moment as well.

So, without going on any further, let me just say - go see this movie. Take the time and see and realize what these men, and those like them, do to keep us free.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wow

Go see Act of Valor.

I'll write more on it later - I have to think some stuff through and recover tonight.

But trust me on this one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Goodbyes

Just found out another old friend passed away. A guy I grew up with, my first roommate & a coworker for several years - pretty much 8 years of my life that we spent in near-constant contact.

Years of gaming at least three nights a week. Exploring what passed for ethnic cuisine in West Texas at the time. Trips to the range, or just going for drives and bs'ing late at night. Acting or working backstage in plays; television production and years of shared stories. I've never met anyone else who could do a perfect Don Quixote while drunk, and the few times we ventured into traditional parties were just as epic as everything else. We shared fun & lessons in learning about life, the real world and all that other stuff - all while never abandoning our other dreams.

Come time we didn't so much go our separate ways as paths - he stuck around where his career was progressing, and I headed off to the military and my job here. But we still stayed in touch, swapping notes and brief updates here & there and venturing into those "someday we need to get together" comments.

Unfortunately we'll never have that chance again.

Goodbye my friend - I'm proud to have known you. You were a great friend, and always joyful in life. I know I'm not alone in treasuring the memories and smiles you brought to those around you. The world is a bit darker without you in it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I have not been assimilated!

So recently I've been in the market for a new tablet... the old laptop was starting to have a few too many issues & I have been wanting something a bit more portable.

I'd looked at the iPad but it just wasn't quite hitting what I wanted in terms of replacing a laptop - great for portable stuff, but not so much for file downloads, word processing etc. I thought I found what I wanted when I looked at a couple of the Android tablets as well, with some offerings that had keyboard docks and such as well.

Well, my wife had also been needing a new laptop to replace her old one which had seen much use and abuse particularly with the munchkins. As she is a die-hard Mac user, I picked her up a Macbook Air for Valentines Day this year as a surprise and let her start moving everything over.

Unfortunately I then started playing with it some as well. The size is nice & convenient, it works as a laptop but turns on & off quickly & isn't burdened with too much bloatware. Good battery life, and seemed to hit all the checkmarks I was looking for. It manages to do what I want from both sides without being too big to carry around.

Then yesterday I managed to fall into a deal on another one. So, despite my years of giving her grief as one of the collective (she's not, but it's funny anyways) - now I have one of the Apple computers too. Don't worry, I'm still employed, have no plans to start hanging out at any Occupy movements or coffee shops, and still use my PC as well - but it does appear this thing will be rather useful.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cleanup etc.

Did a cleanup of the blogrolls etc - if you haven't posted in over a year I pulled it...

If there's anyone who has moved their site, or who wants a link please let me know & I'll be happy to update things.

Other than that, enjoying a nice day of cleaning around the house. Snowpocalypse 2012 is due tomorrow, but we shall see...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fighting the urge...

More and more I wish I could use a clue-bat (preferably formed from a rolled-up copy of the Constitution) the various idiots who call 911, wasting our time & everyone else's, and asking us to violate someone else's rights because they find something bothersome or offensive.

"You need to stop this car/person walking/stranger because I've never seen them before and they look suspicious."

"OMG, I saw a man with a gun in a holster at the store, do something!"

"There are people riding their motorcycles on their own property and I don't think they're being safe about it."

"I saw so-and-so do something wrong three weeks ago, why can't you just go arrest them for it now?"

Ad nauseum... An endless parade of Nosy Nellies who think it's not only their job to worry about your business, but also a requirement to direct their own personal police force to Make Things Right.

And the two biggest ironies - #1, these are the same ones who would go nuts in a heartbeat if you suggested doing the same prying into their own lives (and don't see the hypocrisy of asking you to violate someone else's protections;) and #2, have absolutely no grasp of the fact that for every moment the police spend having to deal with this crap, we are unable to deal with a true emergency. And, even worse, you get those young, stupid, or just over-zealous officers who then mentally make the BAD jump to thinking they CAN do this crap - and then we're stuck looking worse and trying to fix their mess.

Rant off...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Art doesn't imitate life, it copies it!

OK - first enjoy today's User-Friendly strip:


Now I told you that, to tell you this...

Way-back-when in my misbegotten but enjoyable youth I was at a particular military training school doing lots of fun things. As part of the training phase we were in there was a great deal of PT (physical training), swimming, running and the sort - to include twice-weekly trips around a very challenging obstacle course. One of the obstacles on said course was a suspended cargo net about 40 feet high or so - you climbed up one side, went over the top & down the other. As obstacles go it wasn't particularly challenging (unless one had a fear of heights,) and it was early enough in the course you normally weren't too burnt out yet to have any issues on it.

I said "normally".

One day in particular we just weren't having fun. I don't know if it was just a mood, if we were really all that screwed up as the instructors claimed or what - but we must have done that course ten times at least - at the tail end of an already long day. Quite frankly, as a class we were spent. And we get told "Do it again, right this time!" as we all line up for another go.

So, one of our officers in the class starts his go - first few obstacles aren't a problem, then he hits the cargo net... and about 3/4 of the way up his arms just completely give out on him. Yep, he falls - and when he lands it isn't even anything close to graceful, it's a purely horizontal back-flop onto the sand. I swear I heard the impact from the other side of the course & it looked like something out of a Roadrunner/Coyote cartoon.

Miraculously, he then manages to get up and stagger to the side - no broken bones, just some really, really nice bruises and pulled muscles...

(honestly, I AM approaching the point here)

So - everyone, instructors included, is more or less speechless at this point. We're all stunned by what we witnessed, amazed he's alive, and not even sure what is going to happen next.

And - before I can think about where we are, the instructors who are listening, or any common sense, I blurt out while looking at him "Damn Ensign XXX - we're going to have to call you HANO from now on - High Altitude, No Opening." The only reason I lived is the instructors all thought it was hilarious too.

Now, I have it on good authority that nickname stuck with him for the remainder of his military career. I'd like my royalties now that it's in comics please!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Full day

- Mostly recovered from the weekend of almost-death - plenty of rest helped out, along with the meds.

- Even managed to get in for a full day's work. Started out with the annual K9 recertification for the dog & I - fortunately he does all the work & I just have to keep up! Then I had to take care of a bunch of administrative stuff which got put on hold last week with me being out-of-sorts. Wrapped it up with getting things set for a full day of teaching tomorrow.

- Came home & took the family out for a yummy barbecue meal - first good appetite I've had in a week, plus I wanted out of the house, and I figured we all deserved it.

Now the kids are in bed, house cleaned, and time for the wife and I to enjoy a quiet evening.

It doesn't have to be exciting to be good.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

When am I?

Ummmm let's see... the calendar thingy is on Saturday, but that doesn't feel right... my poor wife has a look of suffering which implies I've been MIA again... yeah, the past few days have been rough.

After struggling the past month to kick a case of the crud which came home with the kids, this week was taking a decided turn for the worse. As it progressed things started to get more & more out of focus with reality (not really a good thing when trying to work at my job), and I reached the point of saying "ummm maybe I'll go get checked out."

So - off to the Doc-In-A-Box I went, which was an exercise in fun all on its lonesome as I examined the "waiting room from Darwin's rejects" for a couple of hours. Once I finally got in to see the doctor & explained what was going on, a quick examination then turned into a very solidly delivered twenty minute lecture on "you should have come in sooner, don't let it wait so long next time, you should know better" etc. - sinus, ear, respiratory infection and all the associated joys.

After picking up the antibiotics I've spent a good chunk of the past two days in bed, with brief bouts of consciousness and lucidity. I think everything is finally clearing up, which will be a relief to my poor mistreated wife who's been stuck with the munchkins, animals and house all week & minimal support from me. Plus, I have a stack of things this high which I needed to get done for work & that are still waiting...

* * *

We're currently experiencing our first snow of the season (February no less) - almost a blizzard in nature out there... Makes me very glad I'm not working tonight, as the roads and drivers will be nuts.

* * *

And, while I was out of things, it appears that not one but two people went and honored me with an award:




My thanks to Shepherd K and My Daily Kona both for the thought and honor - the delay in response wasn't intentional rudeness!

1) Copy and Paste the award on your blog.
2) Link back to the blogger who gave the award.
3) Pick out five favorite bloggers with less than 200 followers and leave them a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
Tough for me to pick five, and then to pick five who don't have 200 followers, and then to pick five who don't have 200 followers who weren't already nominated! But here's a go at it:

Daddy Bear's Den - even though he was Army, and in Germany.... but seriously - good stuff from another former military guy of my generation.

Egalitarian Misogynistic Rightwing Liberal Anarchistic Screeds
- author Mike Williamson's blog for various thoughts.

Lagniappe's Lair - Former cop, dog lover, shooter - what's not to like?

Old Enough to Know Better - author Steve Perry. Interesting reads on life, martial arts, writing and society.

The Transmogrifier Files
- My reminder that teaching and police work share many of the same customers.

Monday, February 6, 2012

This sums up how much I care...



I also don't mind that the DUI hunt was unsuccessful - it implies that more people were using designated drivers or staying someplace safe, which is always good.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tools Simply Explained

DRILL PRESS:

A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL:

Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light . Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Oh shit!'

SKILL SAW:

A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS:

Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER:

An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW:

One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle... It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS:

Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH:

Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing.

TABLE SAW:

A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK:

Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes , trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

BAND SAW:

A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST:

A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER:

Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER:

A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

PRY BAR:

A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER:

A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER:

Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit. It is especially valuable at being able to find the EXACT location of the thumb or index finger of the other hand.

UTILITY KNIFE:

Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, while they are in use.

SON-OF-A-BITCH TOOL:

(A personal favorite!) Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling 'Son of a BITCH!' at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

Hope you have found this informative.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NSFW


I've had a "PTSD" type post percolating for a while now - stuff my wife & I have discussed, as well as others from my era... still not ripe enough for writing yet, but this comic does hit on one of the major issues of the differing perceptions we face...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bad examples

Despite what he thinks, Derrick Saunders is not a cop - should not have been a cop - and I am embarrassed to think he ever represented law enforcement.

There is zero excuse for DUI, even less for triple digit speeding, and to have the audacity to then think that you were fired unfairly is beyond contempt.

And the fact that the police union there thinks he should be rehired speaks all I need to know about their organization.

Every time I get annoyed at someone who wants to speak bad about law enforcement I then read something like this which justifies the statements. All I can say is that you can rest assured the vast majority of us want nothing to do with such people, and loathe them more than you do.

For the cat people


If you've ever lived with one you'll understand!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Anniversary


From a beginning so secret that the men involved didn't even know what they were volunteering for, to becoming one of the premier special operations forces in the world & a well-known name - the men with green faces have gone far beyond proving the concept of their original mandate.

Sea-floor to space, desert to jungle, in any environment around the world. I can think of no finer warriors I've had the privilege to work with & even though I didn't wear the trident, I'm honored to have spent time among them, and to call a number of them friends and brothers.

Hoo-yah gentlemen. Here's to your next 50.

Monday, January 16, 2012

and we're back...

So, for the past bit, police work has been quiet... no good stories or such to share...

Then, this past week I managed to have two of the "Momma Fargo" style head-banging-on-the-steering-wheel moments to remind me that I'm back at work.

The first was courtesy of some Federal counterparts, when we were out to do a dog & person bomb sweep before a VIP visit at one of our local airports. After we'd taken care of the buildings, the vehicles etc, the lead agent looks at me and says "So can you sweep the tarmac between here and where we're parking the plane please?" Said runway being as typically flat, level and clean of debris as any modern runway...

My partner and I both resisted the urge to simply look across the bare ground and say "Yep, cleared it." But trust me, it was an eye-rolling moment.

Then, this past weekend I worked another of our DUI patrols. Most of the night was slow & useless, due to the cold weather I think. Just before it was time to wrap everything up I managed to find mine though.

Our fun started with what I like to call the honesty game:

"So sir, how much have you had to drink tonight?"

"Me? Nothing."

"OK, you pretty much reek of alcohol, so let's try this again. How much did you have to drink?"

"Nothing," all said with eyes just about bleeding out of his head, and an inability to focus on anything at all.

*sigh*

So it's going to be one of those discussions I quickly deduce.

Then, looking at the center console I ask him, "What's in your glass there?" To which he gives me a vacant look, then before I can stop him picks it up and pours most of it out in the seat next to him...

After I get that issue stopped and resolved I ask him what the hell he was thinking. "Oh, I thought you wanted me to get rid of it."

The night continued much in that vein...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stupid headline winner

From our local paper:
"Penguins in local zoo well suited to cold weather"

Gee... you think?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another New Year

Continuing a tradition, I took advantage of some overtime money last night to work a DUI patrol. My wife & I aren't exactly out partying anyway, and the extra cash is always nice.

- What is it with the ghetto and firing your guns in the air at midnight for fireworks? I swear, I thought I was back in the middle east...

- On the whole, the vast majority of people were polite, friendly and sober - which I view as a success all around. I didn't write any b.s. tickets, and most seemed grateful for our efforts.

- There are however still an amazing amount of people who don't seem to care that they don't have a license or insurance when they drive, and yet get all pissy when I tow their car.

- Yes, when you almost hit my big, marked police truck because you're driving like a fool, I will most likely stop you. And when I find out you're drunk (big surprise) it's off you go... thanks for the gift-wrapped one.

- I really hate drunks who turn into big crybabies when I put the handcuffs on - I'm ruining their life, can't I cut them a break, it's not fair etc. etc. Actually, I just saved you. Saved you from hurting or killing yourself, or someone else's loved one. Saved you from dealing with that for the rest of your life. So man up, take your lumps, and think about who made the decisions that got you here tonight.