“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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brief end of year post

Today was a much better day (in terms of my performance) at work - still a ways to go, but some of the dog stuff is starting to make sense. And yes, it is far more than just grab the leash and walk around, for those who wonder! But, we got some good training in & ended the week well.

I plan to take the family in this weekend when I feed and clean him to start the introductions - my partner can't come home to stay with us until I'm off light duty, so he's currently at the police kennels. I'll try to get a picture or two if he bothers to sit still long enough - right now he rivals Jacob for energy and desire to run around.

I should probably do some nice, introspective end-of-the-year discussion, but I just don't feel like it tonight. A lot happened this year - some good, some bad, some I couldn't control, plenty I brought on myself. But, all-in-all - my life is ending this year better than it was 365 days ago, and for that I am grateful.

I have a wonderful family I never dreamed of. A wife of beauty, strength and intelligence - we challenge each other, and both are far from perfect; but I still smile when I think of her at random moments and am amazed she still puts up with my own crap. I have two children that have every indication of being all I could have hoped for - intelligent, curious, happy and healthy. The fact that both of them think the greatest thing in the world is when I walk through the door; and that they have incredible smiles they share as they look in my eyes, makes any sacrifice worth it.

As for the blog - I have enjoyed being able to write and share my thoughts, and hopefully somehow grow from it. While I am nowhere near the caliber of many I admire, and will never have all their readers, I have been stunned at the ones who have wandered by and read my words and shared their own comments. So, I hope I can continue the same in the future.

In regards to the changing of the year (at least for those following the Gregorian model) -

I wish you all a happy, safe, and wonderful New Year.

For any I may have harmed, I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me - as I am seeking to forgive others.

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One tired puppy...

No, not the dog - me!

Yep, started working with my new partner this week.

First off, we are taking what is normally a 12-week school, and compressing it into six. So Sean has to be somewhat on the ball & play catch-up.

Second, I have a great, intelligent, enthusiastic & energetic two-year old Labrador retriever who loves his job (going out and finding explosives), and can't wait to do it every time as fast as daddy will let him.

And third, I am pushing 40, a few health issues recently that have slowed me down some, and coming off of six years of working midnights trying to adjust to a daytime schedule.

So yes, this all combines to have me a bit worn out! Between mentally trying to learn what I'm doing (I'm fortunate - this dog is already trained - HE knows what to do, I just have to figure out how to do my part correctly), and keeping up with him running everywhere he goes plus working the practice scenes, it's adding up. Not in a bad way - I'm certainly not complaining. And I can definitely say that I found a challenge of something new that I know pretty much nothing about (the dog side of things). But it's definitely a change from the life I was living this time last month, and yep it will take me a little bit to adjust.

Other than that, the new job definitely looks good. Much more personal freedom than I had even on midnights, and once I get done with school a bit more flexibility in my schedule as I need it. About the best comparison I have is when I moved over from the regular Navy to the special side of things - a corresponding increase in training and self-responsibility, but more trust to go with it.

So, sorry it's a light post tonight, but my brain is done & I also have a wife and children who don't feel well & need me well rested to assist.

I'll see if I can come up with more to share tomorrow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not much here, but visit the link...

For some reason I'm hitting one of my introspective, quiet moods again - nothing wrong, just a phase I go through here & there...


I would like to ask folks to drop by and wish my wife a happy birthday today! Comments to that effect would be appreciated by those up on the helm here.

What with taking care of two kids, an insane husband and everything else, sometimes she loses track of how incredible she is... So, hopefully today I will get a few chances to remind her.

Thanks ya'all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The holiday greeting

I did want to take a moment to wish everyone out there, no matter what your faith or belief, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Solstice, or whatever you may or may not prefer. May you find time this season to be with people who love you, and to enjoy a bit of happiness in your life.


So I'm sitting in Domestic Court the other day, dealing with an unfortunately rather typical boyfriend/girlfriend dispute which involved him hitting her & tossing her around. The prosecutor is one that I work pretty well with, and since the defendant was gone when I got to the initial scene I am mostly around to verify what was reported and charged at this point.

The first sign that this was going to be fun was when the guy showed up without a lawyer and said he wanted to defend himself. Now, on some traffic tickets, this may be an alright choice... but for a criminal charge? No thanks - I'll take the professional who knows how a courtroom works, what laws apply, elements of the offense and all that stuff... but that's just me. This rule is pretty much proven true in this case as well though, since when he gets up to testify in his own defense, his statements pretty much make the case for us even without the victim.

Well during said assault he had helped himself to her cell phone from her purse, for which he got charged the larceny, along with some other alleged items. So as the prosecutor starts asking him about this in court he says sure, he still has the phone - he has it here today. Then, asking about what else he may have taken, he spouts off that yes he took a bottle of her medications from her purse, along with some other "drugs", because they were bad for her and she didn't need them...

I'm already shaking my head as the prosecutor jumps on this like a cat on a mouse. So what happened to those drugs?

Oh - I brought them here today as evidence. (Of what, I'm not sure.... )

And do you have a prescription for any of those?

No, like I said, I took them from her.

I'm just writing things down, more and more amazed as I listen to this guy not only dig himself deeper into his already-present hole for the larceny, but into brand new drug possession charges as he hands all the stuff over to us right in front of the judge.

So, instead of a nice, quick court appearance and going home, I end up spending the rest of my afternoon packaging 11 different kinds of drugs, plus writing a new report and swearing out new warrants. Which means I now get at least two more appearances in court with this guy, after watching what can only be described as a painful crash landing in front of the world...

The only good part is, he said now he "thinks he wants a lawyer for this stuff."

Nice to know some people CAN learn.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Preview spot

Question: What do you call someone who represents himself during a trial, and manages to talk a whole slew of fresh charges out of it?

Answer: Tomorrow's blog post, when I can get home at a normal hour and spend time with my family first!

Tune in for the fun.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend stuff

Got up this morning & did a few house things, while my wife got the presents wrapped for the kids.

Worked on getting a "to-do" list going for the week in the new job.

Now she has gone to spend some time with her family & pick up our spawn, so I have the house for the afternoon.

Which started out by finishing up a viewing of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" as I cleaned the work guns...

See, in my own way I am adapting to this weekend life!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Woke up and had the privilege of spending the morning with two wonderful, intelligent, beautiful and unexpected blessings of my children; playing & laughing and just getting to be their father while mom went off to do some things she needed.

Bundled them off to spend the night with her parents, who are in town and bravely volunteered to help with the care of the two handfuls.

Took a wonderful nap (this daytime thing is still throwing me), then took care of some of my work stuff preparing for the new job.

Relaxed quietly in the house for a bit.

Took my wife of ten years today to a Spanish tapas bar in town, where we had a great meal that reminded us both of where we met and the life that grew from that point. Then we came home and spent some quiet time together before she went off to a VERY well deserved night of sleep with nothing to wake her before she is ready.

Now I'm sitting quietly, answering a few emails from friends old & new, and listening to music in a home with holiday lights and the warmth of a family.

I have nothing to complain about at all.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Figured out that I hadn't updated my blogroll in far too long, since I've been using Google Reader & not paying attention to it - so hopefully I've corrected that! If I've missed anyone who would like a link just let me know.

Remembering the balance

Marko makes an excellent point about the first and the second amendments here. I like to think the rest are in the same package - all of them support each other.

Well said sir!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lots of stuff today, but not a huge post on it...

Spent the majority of my day at the VA hospital - no crisis or anything, just followup on both the arthritis & my recent surgery. Got my stitches & pin pulled out (interesting sensation there, let me tell you), and some antibiotics since there is a minor but not unusual infection where the pin was at. It was apparently a VERY busy day for the hospital - I had to park at a lot almost ten minutes walk away, and was behind 60 other people in line to get my blood drawn at the lab for an example. So ended up taking about 5 hours to get everything done there, but fortunately all ended well. Next followups a month down the road & progress being made on both ends fortunately. Though yes, I had to hit the painkillers when all was said & done, plus I was starving and dehydrated by that point. Fortunately I learned long ago to take a book on journeys like this, which let me finish one that had been pending.

After that fought traffic on the way back to "my" side of town & hit the grocery store for some supplies. Then made it home in time to get a bit of a chance to talk with my wife & play with Jacob before cooking a nice dinner for everyone. Then, a bit more family time with everyone & bundling them off to bed...

Having given it a several week rest break, I also reconnected a hard drive I had that was going bad & got it stable long enough to get the last of my saved info on it - nothing critical but nice to recover it before trashing...

So then, I get a text message from my boss to all of us... We have all been anticipating some promotions & transfers coming soon & it turns out his name is on the list to switch to a new area & group of people. Unfortunate for us, as he has been a good supervisor for the past several years - knowing who he can trust, giving us leeway to do our jobs without micromanaging, and shielding us from a lot of the bs that flows down from above... Unfortunate for him as well, in that we quite honestly made his job pretty easy & his next crew won't be quite the same. But, all these things happen in an organization such as this & you just make the best of it.

Well, as I am taking care of a couple of phone calls as we all discuss what to do to say thanks for his work, I get a message to call one of the other lieutenants - the one who is in charge of the bomb squad among other things (one of my side duties). We had one of our two full-time guys get promoted & I have been chosen to not only take his spot, but to get his bomb dog along with it. Now - this is something I knew could happen in the unit - it had been discussed when the recent group including me had joined up, as obviously they wanted to make sure we were OK with it. But, I also know a couple of the other guys were much more vocal in "wanting" the dog position than I was - I certainly am not against it, but I like my road job as well & just being a part-time tech... Still, for whatever reason, I have come out the choice on this one.

Not complaining by any stretch - the family and I have discussed it & everyone agrees it is good. It will be a bit more of a stable schedule for a while, and a good career move for me to broaden my experiences. Plus, in all honesty, I need a new challenge - like I said, I love my road job, but I've been doing the same thing for six years now... and I know I've been a bit complacent about it lately. Pretty much the only challenges there are the ones I am giving myself... combined with the bad guys of course, but the job in & of itself has become "routine" - which is only a short step from "boring and lazy" - and that is dangerous.

This ended up longer than I planned & I still only said half of what I had to - but I will wrap it up with this.

So - a good change coming, but I am unsure of what a lot of it will entail. Not flying blind without a rudder, but definitely going to have a lot to learn and change in both work and my home life as I adjust. Not sure what I will be keeping & what will go by the wayside as I shift roles, but I know it will be interesting.

I look forward to sharing it with you all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My little browncoat

I have a couple of posts percolating but nothing ready to release yet into the wild...

So in today's filler I wanted to share the latest child story. It seems that while I was at a court appearance today, Jacob (not wanting to take a nap) for his quiet time asked for a movie. And very specifically asked mommy if he could watch daddy's spaceship movie.

Meaning Firefly.

Nope, he didn't even make it through the first episode before getting distracted by my getting home... but I'm still proud! They both will get plenty of exposure to it later I have no doubt.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Possibilities lost

just some more of my insane old thoughts...

the full moon shines
shadows dancing brightly in the forest
dreams some, others a fragment of truth
all slipping free as fingers grasp vainly
seeking on a cold night

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Somewhat of a ramble on this one, but I hope it makes sense to people.

Like most other areas my department is facing a financial crunch right now. Fortunately, we haven't hit the possibility of layoffs or anything yet; but things like new hires, travel, new equipment and training have all taken a hit. The particular discussion tonight is just part of my budget/training rant - which goes back all the way to the Clinton administration for my experience & history of things...

Anyway, as many of you know, between the military actions of the past 7 years & the fact China and India are buying up tons of raw materials, the price and availability of ammunition has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. This has not only affected civilian purchases but police agencies as well - several times recently we have faced shortfalls in our availability of ammo for training, and delays in ordering new supplies. Add that to increased costs & reduced budgets, and obviously you develop a problem. And, despite what some people think, police officers don't get unlimited free ammo & time to practice with from their departments. Heck, my agency is considered pretty generous around here, giving officers 100 rounds every month to use during a free training day.

So recently we got the news that as opposed to our previous two qualification shoots every year for officers, we are going down to just the state-mandated once a year that everyone is required to re qualify. The other time is going to be spent on active shooter training using airsoft pellet weapons.

I have a couple of things that bother me about all of this.

Number one - this now means that officers are only required to fire their weapons one day a year - as long as they meet the minimum scores, nothing else is needed. Given that the averages for experienced officers in gunfights is already about 10-20% of rounds hitting, this to my mind is not a good mindset to start building in people. Shooting for the minimums, and only doing it once a year, is not conducive to building competent, tactically proficient police officers.

Sure, the chance for people to practice will still be there - but I've been doing this job for a while, and cops are like everyone else & the vast majority aren't going to do anything more than what is required to get by. About ninety percent of the folks who take advantage of those practice times now are those who are already decent shooters & like doing it - the people with problems are rarely the ones who show up.

Second - while I see the addition of force-on-force active shooter training as a good thing, and a chance for some of those "non-tactical" officers to build new skills, it is a SUPPLEMENT to, not a replacement for actual trigger time. Just the same as flying a jet simulator is a great way to add to the skills of a pilot, it never replaces stick time in the air. Unfortunately though, as I said, I've seen this before when budgets start to slide & the mindset quickly follows. It doesn't take too long before the administrators start thinking that this sort of training is safer & cheaper than shooting at all... or for other types of training to be cut back in similar ways since we can just do it on a tabletop walk through... Which combines with the training budget cuts in general - one of the easiest things for the administrators to justify, since it's almost always "what if" money. They certainly don't want to cancel funeral escorts or shut down the police athletic league or anything like that - that is visible to the taxpayer & voter, and tends to generate complaints... But sending two guys off to a week long school that MAY someday be "useful" in the eyes of the staff - that is easy to cancel. So, as of very recently, we have been told there is no more money for training for at least a year that involves sending anyone outside of the department... Then we run into a lack of trained people to deal with these issues when they do happen. Or an agency scared to do things like use a SWAT team when called for, because Catch-22 - they haven't been trained enough.

Which then starts the same trickle into new and replacement equipment. Again, we have already seen cuts in areas such as new TASER cartridges for proficiency training, new cars as they wear out and such. Just like the 90's military I see a lot of agencies down the road facing the issue of working with old weapons and gear far beyond their intended lifespan. Things like ballistic vests wear out - but again, it's an "acceptable risk" until someone you care about gets killed because it didn't work as intended...

Going back to the original point that started all this... I'm also concerned that we are going to see a serious drop in weapons safety among our officers. We are cutting their practice time in half, and replacing it with what many are going to view as "goofing off" and playing with toy guns against each other. So, instead of reinforcing the fact that shooting and guns are serious, deadly business we are just going to build more chances in for people to be dumb, violate one of the four rules, and a tragedy to happen. Which then (seeing any patterns here?) gives the administrators a reason to cut back even more on shooting, training and other "dangerous" activities - because someone might get hurt.

I have a lot more thoughts on this, but I can tell it is already a random, wandering collection of words... I am curious as to if any other agencies are experiencing similar cuts or changes in their training programs. I'll see what I can add when my brain makes more sense of everything.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Old friends

OK, fine, maybe Facebook isn't all annoying...

my wife has socialized there a bit, but after my initial signup I really didn't do much - just didn't hit any of my "interesting"buttons...

well, out of the blue recently, two friends from 20 years and a couple of lifetimes ago have gotten ahold of me.... so I guess that is something redeeming. I'm looking forward to catching up with them & seeing how our respective paths have gone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gratuitious surgery pics

Work safe, but maybe not dinner safe!

One being the nice sized pin stuck in the joint.
The other showing most of the incision and the pretty stitches.... looking forward to all of this being out soon!

Just figured I'd share with everyone.

Overachieving I guess...

Because, only I could be out on medical leave and STILL arrest someone...

Had a case in domestic court this week, where history repeated itself. The young lady of the couple has a bad habit of once her husband gets to court on an assault charge changing her story. To the tune of this has happened a number of times in a very short period.

So - he beats her up, we go out there & deal with things, take him to jail - then when the case gets in front of the judge, it never happened, or it didn't happen that way, and he walks out free to do things again.

I don't often get on my domestic abuse soapbox here, since it's pretty much the same attitude as most people - I don't have any tolerance for men who beat their wives (or vice versa), and I fully support changes in the law which took away the bad former habit a lot of departments had of letting these things sort themselves out as normal spousal troubles...

But as a cop it gets incredibly frustrating to deal with the same couples again and again, because "this time he changed, "he didn't mean to hit me," "but I love him," and all the other excuses people trapped in these relationships make. Yes, I understand the cycle of abuse. Yes, I know it can be hard to walk away, especially after years together, or with kids, or what have you. But I also know of the resources available for help, of the fact we make SURE the victims know about and are contacted by some of these support systems, and even by the speeches I've given reminding them that it will only happen again. Only to, once again, arrest someone for beating up the people who trust them most & then watching it all go nowhere...

Anyway, back to the point of the story...

So yet again we are playing that same music and dancing the same steps in this particular case. But instead of the normal "I don't remember what really happened" or other vague excuses, this girl looks at the judge under oath and testifies that she deliberately lied to us, that she wrote a false statement and all of that. Which means (since I also was lucky enough to have a prosecutor who brought along his integrity and backbone to the courtroom), that we charge her with filing a false police report.

The bad part is - I KNOW he assaulted her - I know the report was true... but nothing is getting through to this lady on the situation she is in, because every time he promises to change she is believing it & because she has her head wrapped around all his bullshit. So, maybe now that she is seeing other consequences, she will reconsider what to do with all this stuff...

So yep - I get an arrest with minimal work on a day off - but it's not one I'm exactly proud of & I wish there was a better solution to things...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Because the week was already going so well...

So about 2am this morning I was sitting at the corner, considering wandering up to bed when... out of the blue... I got that sudden feverish feeling combined with the kind of stomach cramps that made me wonder if death was really that bad of an option.

I spent the next five hours between the couch and the bathroom, and I won't disgust you all with the details you can probably figure out. Right about 730 I felt calm enough that I went up to the bed and spent the day in & out of a coma, with more trips to the bathroom. Unfortunately, this meant my lovely wife got to spend the entire day dealing with both children (and Jacob was in rare form) without any help at all - which I feel horrible about.

Finally made it downstairs & somewhat better a little bit ago, getting to spend some time with the munchkins before bed. Things seem to have calmed down enough that Gatorade & chicken soup are making me feel better, so we shall see how tonight goes...

Yep - I can't blog a decent cop story for crap lately, but you all get all my lovely health tales!

Just hoping the rule of threes doesn't kick in on this week - I don't need any more issues...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Typing one-handed and not why you think...

As mentioned previously, I had hand surgery the other day, so am a bit more off than normal right now...

I had a tendon in my little finger that decided it no longer wished to do the whole "hold things together & help them work" thing, which has progressively been getting worse. Pretty much to the point that the last several months the finger has been hyperextended & out of socket even at rest, and takes me actually pulling it into place to sit normally. Not horrible amounts of pain, but definitely uncomfortable.

So, after talking it over with the doctor & scheduling one appointment that fell through, things finally got fixed Thursday. Showed up nice & early at the VA Hospital, another round of anesthesia etc. Got one good laugh when I found out my case is apparently famous there - several nurses and such saying "Oh, that was YOU..." in reference to my last appointment - and letting me know that the hospital has some new procedures in place to hopefully keep the same from happening in the future. Refreshing and funny at the same time. Anyway, got rolled into the ER and drifted off under the nice medications, woke up a bit later as they finished everything & then off to post-op and release.

Short version is, they ended up cutting the tendon into two pieces & re-anchoring it in new spots, which will keep the finger slightly flexed & hopefully solve the issue. Oh, that and leaving a nice, long pin sticking out of my finger for the next week while stuff starts to heal - which they will pretty much just yank out during the follow-up, good times all around... Anyway, that hand is now all bandaged up, stitches in a few places, and I get to take it easy and enjoy nice, narcotic painkillers for the next week as needed... Just looking forward to this part being done & being able to start the arthritis meds again - unfortunately, they had me stop all of those while this is going on, to not affect the healing and recovery.

Obviously, due to the recovery issues, this means I'm taking a short vacation from being a road cop. As opposed to using up all my vacation time, and driving my wife nuts with 8 weeks of me being at home, bored and looking for stuff to do, I'm going to be helping out in our training department for a little bit. Right now the plan is for me to fix some of the things in our field training program which have been neglected in the past few updates, and try to improve the overall system. The good part is that the supervisor I'll be working with has a similar mindset to mine, so we will balance out well in approaching this. The bad part is that it will be Monday-Friday daytime stuff - we all know what a fan I am of that...

Anyway, just wanted to share the update on all that. In other news, just getting ready for the holidays, finishing up the school term, and exploring the depths of insanity... Once the next few days are done my mind should be lucid enough to write in English again - though I think I was channeling Uncle Duke for a bit last night...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still alive

Had my hand surgery today - doctor showed up, all went well but between little sleep & lots of meds not really up to a real post. Really, content will return soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Meme in lieu of actual content...

Highlight/Bold what you've done & share any comments you wish...


1. Started your own blog. You're here aren't you?
2. Slept under the stars. Yes, and far overdue to do it again.
3. Played in a band. Dear heavens no! I have ZERO musical talent.
4. Visited Hawaii. Lived there for 3 1/2 years in the Navy.
5. Watched a meteor shower. Several times.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland. and Epcot. Not a Disney fan anymore though, so no return trips planned.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. See above note about musical talent...
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Very interesting to see miles from home at night with no other lights around.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. A few times unfortunately.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked. While working in Israel - very different attitude there, and the citizens are great about giving military personnel a lift.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Ah yes, the famous "mental health" day...
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping. and skinny bar-hopping...
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise. Do military deployments riding a ship count?
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. One side of the family at least, not the other.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Money has never been the key to satisfaction - they toys are nice but money is just a convenience to get such things.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing. One hobby I miss.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. I can unfortunately say "yes" during an intoxicated evening long ago... I think their are still people in pain from the event...
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa. Just a few coastal spots unfortunately, not enough exploring.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. My walk home after a night out in Spain used to be a mile down the beach to my apartment.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Not as a patient though.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Used to get paid for it even!
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason. No, but I've given them for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book. Well, halfway - I have some small things published in the gaming community, but no full books.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. Fathered two, if we count that?
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. More than one, a number of times.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

back soon

Lots of work
Little sleep
Feel like crap

Regular blogging back soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ookami uragawa

Under the moonlit mountains
the echo of the wolves
reaches to God as the snow falls softly

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Well done Marines!

Story from the National Review on a 250:30 battle which saw the USMC prove their worth again - particularly a designated marksman assigned to the unit.

Well done sir.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Nothing amazing to share today - didn't go out and do any superheroic stuff or write any massive award winning essays.

Instead I went with the family to a late breakfast at a place my wife wanted, so that she could enjoy some of the things she likes that I don't normally cook & someone else got to clean up. Then we hit Home Depot for some crown molding - with the upcoming new TV system, we want to relocate the speaker wires to run along the ceiling better than they do now & also improve the room a little bit. Nothing ostentatious but it should look better. Then it was home & I took the dog for a nap and mowed the leaves in the front yard to mulch while everyone else napped.

After that it was cooking dinner, time playing with the kids & a little bit of schoolwork. Oh, and did a few minutes of model & miniature work as well - just trying to get the feel back for things.

All in all a great quiet day & I think everyone enjoyed it.

Tomorrow I have in-service training, which shouldn't be too horrible this time since I'm also getting a new laptop and digital camera to use at work. Plus, my coworkers and I are bound to have plenty of snark to share, so that will help time fly.

Hope your day was as enjoyable wherever you may be.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New toys and Google-fu

So... I'd been not-even-hinting for a while to the wife about wanting a new TV. Yes, even though I don't watch much of it... I hate most network programming. But for movies. And eventually hoping to get decent cable again (I HATE that it is all-or-nothing packages - it should be a freaking buffet line, choose what you want & pay X per channel, but that's a separate rant). She has generally tolerated it, putting me off with very reasonable sense til it was a good time. Well, recently she told me it was something to look at with the upcoming holidays. We discussed our respective wants & needs, she set some very fair limits to keep me from being stupid & we've been kind of comparison shopping since then.

Screen size honestly was the least of the issues. I wanted a little bigger than she did (gratuitous size joke at your leisure here), but neither of us had a desire for a wall-filling TV that would dominate the room. After looking in the stores and standing back from things we settled on the 40-46" range as being good for our wants and needs. Definitely bigger than the 9 year old 27" we have now, but not overwhelming.

We did the whole LCD/Plasma debate - looking online, sharing thoughts & finally looking at stuff in the stores side-by-side (and yes, we settled on plasma, as her artist's eye definitely notices the color improvement, and I just thought they looked better for some reason).

Same thing for the 1080/720 discussion - though this one was harder to solve. She honestly didn't see a difference between them. At first I was holding firm on wanting 1080, in order to be ready for advances to come down the road (and because I have horrible geek urges to buy the better of the two toys). Unfortunately, this desire was putting the sets out of our price range. So we planned to see what the big holiday sales looked like & work from there.

Well, this morning Kyleigh and I did a bit of holiday shopping after her nap. At the tail end of the trip I went by one of the electronics giants, knowing they had a variety to look at and wanting to compare again. Plus, I knew they were doing the whole "pre-black-Friday" thing & wanted to see what popped up. I had pretty much settled in my mind that if we had good deals on a 720 pixel resolution TV that we would jump on it, just to resolve the issue and keep me from whining more! Plus, with the upcoming surgery, it would give me a recovery toy of sorts...

So I look around and compare some sets and find a good solution that is well within our price range. I find a sales drone that isn't overly pushy and seems knowledgable, and I start questioning him on some of the stuff between the 720 resolution and the 1080 same brand series right next to it. I'm still pretty much ready to go out the door with the lesser one, when he points out that there IS an unadvertised sale price on the 1080 - $300 off - and that the 1080 version comes with a free Blueray player as well... So - for basically $100 more, but still in the original budget plan, I get the 1080 AND a Blueray player that I wasn't even planning on.

Believe it or not, I did still debate for several minutes. But, realistically it was too good of a deal to pass up, so I put the order in - none were in stock, but they should be here by Friday. All going well, next weekend we will have the chance to see if the HD difference is as good at home as it looked there (I have a feeling it will be even better away from the massive wall-of-video), and then we can start figuring out what movies are worth getting on Blueray for us and what stays as it is. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our regular DVD's will look better as well due to the technology, which means we don't have to look as deeply. Mostly it will be the old VHS tapes we have & a few of the perenial classics that we both know will be watched plenty more.

So.... given the convolutions of my brain... this is how we get to the Google-fu.

See, we started discussing the "movies to copy to DVD/Blueray" discussion... which led me to think about some of what was still on VHS. Which led me to think "Hey, there was a song off of one movie that I liked, but I don't think I ever got it off the old cassette tape I had made back in Spain ten years ago." Which led to the cabinet to look through the vids. Upon finding it and the title, I did the old Google-action & found the movie... then at least the one song title I wanted. Which then led to a Youtube find of it, and a download and conversion to mp3 for the iPod... all in the space of a few minutes. This technology stuff is neat!

(oh and the movie was "Blood and Concrete" and the song was "One Girl in a Million" by Jennifer Beals for those who care. I found it catchy.)

Let's see, other than that. Got to spend time doing fun stuff with each of my kids. Angel Food came in today, and we used some of the choices to make a nice simple dinner for the evening. Then my wife and I spent time together watching Ronin and enjoying some quiet Saturday evening togetherness with no madness. So all-in-all no complaints about how today went here.

More Meme...

This one from CrankyProf:

Here are some rules:

–Share seven random or weird Book Facts about yourself.
–Then tag seven other people.
–Notify the seven others that they have been tagged.

Oddity ahead!

  1. I am literally incapable of reading just one book at a time - at a minimum I will have 3 going at once. I may even take a break from one for a few months due to distractions or boredom, but I can generally pick it back up and not be lost as I continue.
  2. I have read The Lord of the Rings at least once a year since I was twelve years old, and I still find something new each time I read it.
  3. Like several others on this list would say - I often prefer books to real people. They tend to be my little world to escape to when I am stuck at family or social functions I don't feel comfortable or get bored in - you will find me in a quiet corner enjoying myself and being a good boy.
  4. Despite the above, even when I'm reading I tend to have decent situational awareness as it were. This annoyed the holy crap out of a number of teachers in high school, as they tried the "Ah ha, he's not paying attention, ask him a question and embarrass him back into the class." game when I was reading my own stuff out of boredom. After the first couple of rounds of "Sean looks up, calmly answers the question, then looks back to his reading." they usually left me alone.
  5. I can't recall ever being particularly scared or freaked out by a book. Movies yes, dreams yes, real life sure. But even the "scariest" books I've read have not really hit that chord in me ever. Then again, I don't read much in the horror genre, so maybe it's just a lack of exposure.
  6. Due to some bad luck in the past I am horribly loathe to loan out books I love. I will gladly buy someone a copy of something just to share a great story, but I feel like it's parting with a bit of myself to let them take my copy home, no matter what the promises of return.
  7. Almost every book I love has at least a handful of dogeared pages - for a quote I love, a thought that struck a chord, or an idea I would steal if my writing ever progressed beyond "idiot on a keyboard that even the 100 monkeys would mock." I can go back to these marks years later and still tell you what it was that caught my eye.
So I'll be somewhat random with my tags here...

Lovely Wife; Amy; Brigid, Tam; Lawdog; Ambulance Driver; and PJ.

I knew it was too good to last...

Our headline of the night...

"Beavers back in Britain after 400 years"

Though I hadn't realized the whole "personal grooming" thing had been around in England that long, thinking it was mostly a 90's and 00's thing that happened...

Which reminds me of the funniest Crocodile Hunter line episode ever, but I will stop here...

Oh like none of you thought of the innuendo either!

Friday, November 21, 2008


So apparently, sometime in recent history (maybe it's the new medications), I have developed a wonderful new superpower. You see, I am actually TWO different people now.

Yes, that's right - I can do something, and a mere moment later the person involved thinks I am someone COMPLETELY different! Talk about a great skill, that I plan to use to full advantage!

I found out about this new ability quite by accident.

We had a call the other night in the early morning hours for a possible break-in; which our dispatchers quickly updated to what sounded like a domestic dispute, given the comments they could clearly discern over the phone. So, I show up with a couple of the other guys, and we find Contestant #1 in the front yard, staggering, yelling, and otherwise annoyed with the world... He quickly explains to us that it was just him thinking he could ride his bicycle in the back yard real quick (at 0-dark-30 mind you), and it fell in a hole making noise that woke his wife up. But everything was fine, and we needed to leave.

Well - I don't know how other states are - but in Virginia we are mandated to investigate any possible domestic. It doesn't mean we have to arrest someone, but I at least have to do my job and make sure everyone is ok, see what really happened & at least do a report. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just work with them!

But our intrepid intoxicatee is adamant that no, he doesn't want to talk with us anymore; and that no, we aren't going in to the house to talk with his wife. This pretty rapidly passes my level of "willing to listen to crap" and I go ahead and explain his options, and when he declines to cooperate I put the cuffs on him.

A short couple of minutes later we determine that no, there wasn't a domestic issue requiring further action - but he still is going to take the ride for public intoxication. You hang out outside, too drunk to think straight, and you get us to have to deal with you then yes, you get to take the ride... Of course, the whole time this is going on he is cursing and talking all the normal stuff that happens in these situations.

"But wait," you say "where's the whole superpower thing Sean?"

Don't worry, I'm almost there.

You see, a good portion of his big talk is directed at me specifically - I'm an asshole, I must be a rookie for arresting him, he can't believe I'm doing this at his own house, etc. Nothing I haven't heard before. He's still talking the full collection as I leave him with one of the guys while I go bring my car up for our ride.

A mere 30 seconds later I buckle him in the seat and we start towards the jail. During which, the ENTIRE drive, arrest report and processing, and everything else he is consistently talking to me about "That other asshole cop who arrested him. Oh, you're cool man, I know you're just doing your job but that other guy was messed up."

I mean, seriously - it takes me a couple of minutes to figure it out - he 100% believed I was a completely different person than the one who put the handcuffs on him, told him he was under arrest, searched him and everything else. It's not like I changed clothes, took off some magical ninja disguise or anything like that! I mean hell, I didn't even have a hat on hiding my ugly head! But I think he would have sworn under oath at that point that two different cops did all this - and it's not like I even changed my behavior or anything!

So - obviously that's why I have superpowers! Either that, or that whole alcohol makes people not smart thing again...

But I like the superpower option better!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just a thought

SO, for anyone out there considering opening up a business like say, a hospital, here's an idea for you.

I really like the whole "checklist" thing - where they make sure you're the right patient, they make sure they know what the surgery is and what part of the body it's on, all that stuff - double checking things before they proceed. I mean, it just shows a thoroughness and professionalism and level of patient care that's important... that kind of thing counts you know.

But, I kind of would like to see an addition to the list...

How about we make sure the gorram surgeon is in the gorram hospital at some point????

Like maybe BEFORE we sedate the patient, put a nerve block in one arm, and generally ensure that they can't go anywhere for the next 6-8 hours???

I bring this up because yes, it actually happened to me this morning.

Got up at 5-ish, had my wife (who hates mornings more than I do, and despises cold ones in a way that can't be written on a non-adult website) drive me to the hospital and sign me in. Got undressed & into the "doesn't even pretend to hide stuff" gown. They roll me into the pre-op ward, check everything out and I'm ready for the day. Heck, they're even predicting I may get to call for my ride home by noon. All the right stuff is double checked, and in comes the anesthesiologist. They get the sedation started, and drop a nerve block in for my arm.

Speaking of, that's a strange experience I'm not looking forward to repeating - when you can tell the limb is there but can't do crap with it is kind of not fun.

Anyway, I lie there while that all takes effect & I'm nice & comfortably numb, in true Roger Waters fashion. Then they roll me into the operating room and I zone out while I wait...

Well, a short time later, I realize we are moving again and they're saying "Oh, we're just going in here to wait for a little bit, just hang out." So I am lying there in & out of things when I start to realize it's been a good hour and a half of waiting here & so I call the nurse over to ask what's going on. She mumbles something about "I'll go get one of the doctors so they can explain everything." and wanders off, as I wonder what is going on here.

About 15 minutes later in comes one of the residents and the charge nurse, who explain that ummmmm, well, no one at the hospital quite knows WHERE the surgeon is this morning. No one has seen him, he's not answering his office or cell phone, and they just aren't sure what is going on. But just hang out a little longer, and as soon as we find him we'll get this whole operation-thing rolling right along...

Given that I've had about 5 hours sleep in the past two days I take the opportunity to drift in and out for a bit, letting the medication help me nap for a while. The next thing I know I take a look at the clock and we are rolling up on 1pm... I figure this is more than enough time to figure out SOMETHING, so I call the nurse-with-no-answers over again, who wanders off once more in search of a doctor.

I get a different one back this time - later finding out it's the head of this department. I will say this positively about the man - he was far less pleased than I was. He then took the opportunity to explain to me, quite honestly, that the problem was completely on their end - the surgeon in question had a death in the family, had left town & not cancelled any of their appointments, and that he was going to do everything he could to make things right & resolve them quickly. Which means that he's going to try to get me in there far sooner than normal scheduling, and he was on his way up to the main adminstration right now to make sure it was sorted out.

I was a grown-up boy too - I didn't rant or rave, throw anything, or otherwise display a temper - particularly surprising since I hadn't been able to eat or drink anything since the previous night, and was starting to feel it. However, this man was very obviously displeased with what had happened and how it reflected upon his staff, and sincere in his efforts to fix things however he could. He particularly felt bad since he knew we had arranged family things, childcare and time off from work specifically around all of this, and how much it inconvenienced a number of people.

Ended up taking a few more hours for all the drugs to be out of my system, sort out what little paperwork there was & then for my wife and the kids to make it up there to drive me home. Now I'm supposed to get a call tomorrow with a very-near future date for my return trip, and hopefully a successful conclusion.

But you can bet I'm going to tell them I need to actually see the freaking doctor before needle one goes in my body next time!

And that's MY day in a cracked nutshell...

"So, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Have a court story to share from today, plus a comment about yet another fun drunk last night.

But I'm working on 3 hours sleep, and I have to be up at 0430 for tomorrow's surgery, so it will have to wait.

Instead, I will leave you with someone else's words that mine will never match:


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln,
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

November 19th, 1863

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One of those meme things...

Taken from Julie

5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago

- Getting paid to live in Spain and workout every day
- Getting ready to get married
- Still trying to figure out what I'd do when I had to find a grown-up job someday
- Partying like it was 1998
- Pretty much still being somewhat stupid

5 Things on My To-Do List Today

- Sleep
- Cook dinner
- Spend some time with my family
- Download the weekly school assignments
- Go to work

5 Snacks I Like

- Hot tamales (the candy)
- Cliff bars
- Sweets in general
- Think that's about all I can imagine...

5 Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire

- Be debt-free
- Make sure the kids had money for college
- Give some back to the people who have helped us when needed
- Build the house the way we wanted
- Finally travel again

5 Places I Have Lived (for various lengths of time)

- Colorado
- Spain
- Hawaii
- Virginia
- At sea

5 Jobs I Have Had

- Police officer
- U.S. Navy - got to do a number of things
- Radio DJ
- Gentleman's club DJ/bartender
- Waiter

5 People I Tag to Answer

- My wife
- Amy
- Anyone else who cares to

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fortunately not as big of a problem at my house....

Funny hits....

So on today's search term hit for my site, we had the following from the UK:

"what did pirates eat for dessert"

hmmmm not really sure if I have an answer to that one... though I'm sure rum had a lot to do with the ingredients.

or did wenching count as dessert or an appetizer? just saying.

A shiny link

Found this site doing some Google-fu shopping, and had to laugh and enjoy...

Serenity Tales is primarily a set of fan comics set in the 'verse - some decent some ok but still worth a look.

But honestly, my FAVORITE part by far is the little sub-series called "Notes On A Fridge (On a Spaceship)" - exactly what it sounds like, a collection of notes the various characters have left each other during their daily activities. Freaking hilarious, and I can picture each of them perfectly - the author got it spot on.

Drop by, give them a read, and encourage them all to do more. Thanks.

A better day

Fortunately a friend was able to quickly diagnose and fix the problem with the pipe today, saving me even more aggravation and money - a very unlooked for blessing which I am very grateful for.

I got some good time with each of the kids to play and hang out and let them have fun, which was nice.

Caught up on a chunk of school, which at least put a dent in one half of things.

Cooked a nice dinner which we all were able to sit and enjoy together - a southwestern chicken, rice and veggies for all to partake in.

Got a stack of leaves out front raked, letting us see the sidewalk again.

And spent a bit of quiet time enjoying a movie with my wife before she was able to get to bed early to rest.

So all-in-all, a much better day. Hoping tomorrow shows the same kind of progress.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Life on the see-saw...

Back & forth the past couple of days, just one of those cycles...

Made it to the range Friday for some non-stressful, no-rush, quiet time shooting by myself. Grabbed a spot on the rifle deck and spent two hours on just some fundamental stuff. Not thrilled with how I was doing, but not horribly mad either - and I knew enough to know when to call it a day. Finished up with a little shotgun and pistol work, which was right about the point of diminishing returns so I called it a day. But overall I was glad to get out and have a chance to just work on my needed practice, as opposed to spending most of my time teaching others. I like instructing and all that, but at times I need to focus inwards instead of outwards...

Came home & finally worked on the water heater, which was successful. Unfortunately, in doing so, one of the valves I shut off decided that was the last time it felt like being fully functional in the old plumbing, and developed a nice steady drip. And of course the "current" home warranty plan we picked up doesn't kick in til NEXT week... so I'm stuck between trying to fix it myself & possibly making things worse, or else paying a plumber to come in next week.

Worked a few hours of OT tonight in one of our problem areas with a good partner. Apparently no one wanted to go to jail tonight, but we got some good info on some other things & forwarded as needed - so we at least justified our time out there & kept the bosses happy. The sad part is that we talked with more people and put more effort into it than the 14 people who were actually working the road at the time... there is definitely a difference in how the two different platoons approach things & it shows in stuff like this. It was nice to get out and not worry about calls & just look for the things that caught our eye though - definitely makes me wish they would bring back our unit that used to do this all the time, then I might actually be willing to transfer off the road. As it is, I'm glad we have a supervisor who trusts us enough to let us come do these things when need be.

On the other side of annoying, the VA all of a sudden decided that the surgery scheduled for next week ISN'T covered under my disability rating, and since they aren't in my HMO's network I will get stuck with the full bill... really great to know this close to things, especially when this has been in the works for several months and they've treated everything else. So, my options are do the surgery now & hope to win the fight over a several thousand dollar bill, or else put it off... I'll know more Monday after fighting things out over the phone.

But... to focus on the positive...

I got to spend some good time with my wife this past couple of days, even time that one or the other of us wasn't exhausted, rushed, or otherwise occupied and could just be a couple again.

Jacob has discovered the joys of Lincoln Logs and normal-sized Legos, and has been having great fun with both as special toys he can play with in the office without having to share. And watching him create, problem solve and imagine what he wants to do is amazing and incredible and reminds me again and again how smart he already is. It also lets him spend time with me when I am on the electronic addictive internet machine, as it gives him something he isn't bored with that lets him explore - and it reminds me to pull myself away and remember what is important.

Kyleigh has discovered that while books are quite tasty, no matter how many times a grown-up says "No", they also seem quite interesting to look at page-by-page... watching her sit and flip through them, even though I know she is just mimicing what she has seen, makes me smile realizing that most likely we have brought yet another bibliophile into the world who will find a quiet joy in the printed word as she goes through life... she also has expanded her "daddy give me attention" rules to include just sitting next to me on the couch playing and laughing with things, her only need to be close and interact.

So yes, life isn't perfect, but I certainly am not doing that bad... perhaps this week will find the balance more towards the center...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another rainy night without...

So, the work week is over.

I have a stack of schoolwork which has been pending for neigh on a semester (at least parts of it).

A desk and "to do" list around the house that's pretty much equally as long.

And it's been a week of catnaps again, so I could sure use some sleep.

But after a nice night with the family, and everyone off to bed now, I'm going to sit here with quiet music & enjoy the sound of the rain outside and just "be" for a while.

Reality can return in the morning.

(sorry for the gratuitous Queensryche lyric

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you

Today is Veteran's Day.

I have no pithy post today, no great stories I'm going to share.

and I did my honors to those we lost on Memorial Day.

Today I just want to say thank you to the living - to every veteran out there, whether I served with you or not. People from the cooks and the mechanics, all the way up to the flag officers.

Those who did a few years for the college money and honorably moved on.

Those who are serving still, until they day they get forced to retire.

and those who survived but lost part of themselves physically or psychologically, which we can never repay.

Thank you for being men and women brave and selfless enough to put something bigger before their own needs, and to give that part of your life in service to this country.

We will always be grateful.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Jon from A View from a Cube payed me the compliment of following my blog - you all drop by and give him a read... looks like he's similar to me, in that his topics bounce about almost as much as his thoughts... and not in a bad way!

Noting from a read too - it's interesting the number of Browncoats who were voting this go around, and the choices they made...


This is the time of year where I often find myself becoming more homesick than normal...

My wife has written before of her upbringing in East Africa, the times she misses her own places of comfort and the moods the seasons bring. And I can certainly relate.

I come from literally the other side of the world; growing up out west, with the Rocky Mountains a constant backdrop to the sky, one of the hardest times of my life was moving away from that to where it was flat and dry in west Texas, and then further on as my life led me down different roads. But a part of me always was back there, in my thoughts and dreams, in where I called "home" as nebulous as the concept was.

After all, for ages the Ute were known as "The People of the Shining Mountains" to the surrounding tribes, and sometimes blood runs deep.

Despite the joy I had traveling the world, and the time I loved living on the beach at the taxpayer's expense (Thanks everyone!), I had always planned on ending up back there. I would finish school, or settle down somewhere with my mountains, the different games of each season to enjoy outside, and just the feeling of being where I have some sort of tie to the past.

No matter how you plan though life throws us curves at times. Waking up married one day (ok, it wasn't THAT quick, but still...), to someone with her own family and roots. Leaving the military a few years earlier than planned, and then trying to find a department to sign off with. Things just worked out making more sense for us to stay in Virginia when this all happened - after all, my family is scattered to the four winds, we were already here and had some connections, etc. So, here we are 6 years later and I'm a resident with an established career and family...

But when the year starts to turn to a close, the leaves change and fall from the trees, and the air takes on that evening chill... I start to miss home even more. That crispness in the air that tells you snow will be here before morning. The glow of the sun setting behind peaks close enough to touch. The wind blowing in the distance through the pines, that sound like running water as nature breathes. Stars shining like diamonds above as you are just that little bit closer to what lies above. I see pictures such as this, and I feel the longing inside.

This post isn't meant to be particularly maudlin, or to complain about where I am - I certainly don't regret the choices I've made. Take it as just the howl of a wolf late at night, who misses the echoes of his cry sounding through the wilds of home...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Starting the weekend

Managed to survive the election without any EOD calls, surprisingly - figured on at least one suspicious package somewhere with someone going stupid... Then made it through a long day of teaching at the academy. Plus today managed to assist some in getting the old spare room/new office painted at last so we can shift everything over tomorrow. Add in a long morning in court, a few administrative tasks, and helping out with a solo release board for one of the new guys tonight & it's been a long few days.

Fortunately I have the next few off. A chunk of house stuff to do, more schoolwork that I've been horribly neglecting, and a brisket to cook. Plus time with the kids and wife in there, and maybe even some sleep.

Not as exciting as some weeks of posting, but I'm not complaining one bit.

Monday, November 3, 2008

More from the dumb choices files

Only on the road one night this week, due to some training stuff going on. It managed to be a busy one, though I avoided the majority of the drama - friends got tied up in one homicide & then another shooting, while I ran around covering the more mundane calls...

Stuff finally slowed down a little bit after midnight & I had a chance to search for good stops on the (now-empty) roads. Finally when I was headed up to grab a drink since I was having no luck I found a car with recently expired plates, so pulled him over for the chat.

Well, lo & behold he happens to be suspended due to some recent court fines.

So, I take care of the ticket for his plate, give him his suspension notice & let him know that a tow truck is on the way. I can't very well let him drive after all, and his car is sitting on the roadway so it is a safety hazard.

While we are waiting on the tow truck he's dialing every number he can trying to get a ride and getting more and more frustrated. Then, when the tow shows up he rolls up his window and is refusing to get out of the car... Then when he does roll down his window he starts ranting and raving that I NEED to wait for his girlfriend to get here to drive the car for him, that he can't afford a tow bill, etc.


What is it that makes people think that they are going to win a simple pissing match like this on the side of the road? That throwing a tantrum is going to suddenly make cops change their minds and go "Awww shucks, you win!"

I spend several minutes clearly explaining his options to him - that his car is getting towed either way you cut it, the only real choice he's making right now is whether or not he's going to let me get my job done & if he is going to jail or not. I don't raise my voice, I'm as polite as can be, but I make it VERY clear to him that his options are dwindling the more he plays this game...

Well, he refuses to budge, so into the cuffs he goes - this guy (who seems nice enough, and certainly didn't give me any problems other than this) turned a simple pre-payable expired plates ticket into that and an obstruction charge. I let the magistrate know the full story, and that he was polite and otherwise cooperative with me, so he was released on his signature. But it still annoyed me - I've got other people I'd much rather be taking to jail than just someone who felt he had to be stubborn at the wrong moment, and I am sure he'd much rather have gotten a ride home and sorted out the tow bill later. But, once I tell you that if you don't do X, and you call me on it, I pretty much have to arrest you - it's the same as when your kids call you on cleaning their rooms, if you don't do it things only get worse down the road... or at least that's my "child care theory of law enforcement."

After that the rest of the shift went pretty slow. Had three different deer kamikaze into the side of officer's cars last night - so apparently their is some great Bambi offensive planned in the near future or something. One of my district partners apparently couldn't handle putting his out of its misery last night, so I took care of that for him - not out of any bloodthirst or cruelty, but because the poor thing was stuck there suffering & I would rather it be done quick then everyone sit around dithering and staring. Of course, being cops this means he has now been opened up for a world of grief for the next week or so, as people were asking him if we needed to drive his car for him, do his reports and all that... all in good natured fun.

So that's the excitement of last night. Wondering how many (if any) bomb callouts we will get tomorrow with the election & post-election fun, and otherwise just waiting for the rest of the week to go by.

To close, please make sure you vote tomorrow if you haven't already - I won't lecture on candidates or platforms, just ask you to make sure your voice is heard if you are eligible.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bad apples

I was talking with a non-cop friend the other day, who shared with me the story of a traffic stop they were in recently.

I won't go into the full details, but it boiled down to what (in my opinion) was a questionable stop in the first place... normally I'm all for "two sides to every story" and I can certainly name plenty of times that I've had a valid stop on someone, or even arrest, that they really didn't understand until later. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of those cases from what it sounds like...

But the unfortunate part was this officer's behavior once the stop took place. He apparently never identified himself, and spent a good five minutes on the side of the road yelling & ranting at my friend about various things, without ever explaining why they had been pulled over or anything else. Just a whole collection of rudeness. Then he got in his car & drove away. And I trust this friend enough to believe that is how events occurred if that's what they say happened.

It's officers like this who give the rest of us a bad name, and make our jobs harder. Now you have a normal citizen, who's never had an issue with cops before, pissed off at the entire profession because of how one idiot acted. From here on out every time they see a police officer, or even worse gets stopped by one, this is the memory they are going to start with. Which means their interaction is going to already be at a negative level when it shouldn't have to be.

Even worse happens when these idiots pull these games on some of the thugs out there... now you have someone who's already anti-law enforcement, and you've just given them more reason. So the next time someone else stops them, especially if they're riding with their crew, their mind is going to remember... and is more likely to say "I'm not going to get disrespected like that again." and end up fighting, or shooting someone who has no idea what brought this on beyond the badge they are wearing.

I have a job to do out there. Sometimes that job requires me to be abrupt with people, to arrest them and sometimes even to be violent with them. But that doesn't mean I have to be rude, disrespectful or treat them poorly while doing so. I've written people multiple tickets and gotten a thank you as they drove away. I've taken someone to the ground in a painful hold and called them sir the entire time. It's people who bring too much anger to this job, or who take everything personally, that make the citizens wonder about what their police are doing, and makes it harder for me to do my end safely and fairly.

Just a brief rant.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Absent lucidity

No real good stories from the past two nights, sorry...

and apparently the insomnia is back with a vengeance - and my schedule is already messed up for the next 48 hours...

hope to return to rational thought soon.

and thanks for those that have commented lately, I'll catch up with them tonight.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Do people not read?

I've noticed an increasing trend over the past few months of mine and other DUI arrests for people completely out of their gourd on medications. Not illegal stuff, just prescription stuff they have no business trying to do more than operate a TV remote on, much less drive a car.

And usually mixed up in combinations that would make a college street-pharmacology major proud...

Do people just not read warning labels or listen to their doctors anymore? I mean, I have simple stuff I take and it has more labels on it than most appliances - I've seen the warnings on the stuff you can't drive on!

My favorite recent quote on it was this:
"Didn't they say anything about not driving when you take this stuff?"
"Oh yeah, but it doesn't affect my driving at all, so I didn't stop."

This from the guy who just backed his vehicle 30 feet into a wooded ditch between highways at speed...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Soldier of the day

Here is the story of a Digger who definitely has earned full credit for his Regiment - good job sir!

Random Feline Filler

I have been firmly convinced for years that if you laid a newspaper out in the middle of the Serengeti a lion would show up inside of five minutes and lay across it as you were reading.

Discuss amongst yourselves. Show your work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Falling apart

People who get arrested generally fall into three different categories, which you can pretty quickly figure out as soon as you start looking at their records (if not sooner).

One is the career criminal/user - they get into the system early & it's just a constant bounce back & forth for them - pages of history and they know how the game is played.

Another is the one-time mistake - that person who does something stupid at the wrong time, and ends up getting arrested. Hopefully it is the only occurrence in their life & they move on from it, and it's more common than you think the number of people you know who probably have a minor offense in their history. Their but for the grace of God and all that...

But today I'm going to discuss the third type - that person who has had some major event, and all of a sudden they enter the spiral. It could be a spouse leaving or dying, loss of a job or just financial troubles. But something kicks them off the path they've been on their whole life, and now they are starting that circle.

I guess about 90% of the time in my experience the catalyst will be drugs or alcohol or both - the person starts using something to cope with what has happened, the sudden loss of control as they are cast adrift, the only way they can numb the pain. And unfortunately this abuse quickly leads them into other problems.

I've seen someone take their lives from being a successful high-school teacher to living on the street as a prostitute, in less than a year, all because of a crack cocaine addiction.

Watched someone else smoke and snort away a house, a car, a job and a family because their new boyfriend got them hooked on stuff, and it made dealing with a disability that much easier.

And, most recently, watched someone take themselves from 50 years of a spotless life, to multiple alcohol and driving offenses in a span of a few months once his wife left him.

For me, at least, the saddest part of these kinds of cases is the way things end. Your career criminals generally bounce in and out of jail, as I said - sooner or later they get a good long stretch away or else they die on the streets & that is that (sad as it is, very few are ever really rehabilitated, but that's another topic.)

Your one-time offenders usually move on & never have to worry about it again - most they have is a good story about a night they spent in jail once for being dumb.

But these folks move from a generally spotless life to serious offenses in such a quick time, I don't think they ever really even comprehend what they are doing to themselves. They go from that first minor arrest all the way to actual felony time - sometimes before the first cases even make it to court. It just surprises me at how quickly a life can fall apart and people can get trapped in their own mistakes.

Unfortunately, I don't have any earth-shattering revelations or fixes in this post... I don't know some magic way to spot these people early and save them from the path they are on, when someone else in the same conditions pulls through just fine.

It's just something I was thinking about following the past week. The sadness of seeing good lives go to waste.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Double standards

Roanoke Cop has had a good series of reader questions up, including advice for those looking to enter law enforcement. Just wanted to add my own comment on that tonight.

Being a cop means you're going to have to make a decision. I don't mean the simple everyday stuff "Where will I eat?" "What to wear today?" I don't even mean the normal police work "Do I want to stop this car?" "Should I write her a ticket or give her a break?"

No, I mean that late one night, when you're all alone with no one to ask for help, you will have to decide how to deal with someone who wants to fight you. Who doesn't want to go to jail, and who certainly isn't going to cooperate. And who has already made the decision about what they are going to do to avoid it. And you never know which call, which stop, which moment it is going to be.

Your backup is going to be a ways away, you will have two billion thoughts running through your head, and you have to make your choice right then.

And, whether you shoot them, fight them, spray them, use a baton or a TASER or whatever else you have to do, you make it home.

THEN the hard part of being a cop begins.

Because this is the one that is going to run to their attorneys, to the press, to internal affairs, and to everyone else they can think of - or their family will do it if it was that kind of unfortunate situation.

They will accuse you of every sort of misbehavior possible as they swear to the angelic innocence of the person you had to deal with.

They will demand you be fired, demand you be charged for crimes and sent to jail.

They will call you every name in the book that will raise the flags of their cause, whether based upon the slightest truth or not.

They will threaten lawsuit after lawsuit; and if you are lucky you will have a jurisdiction which helps you when this happens - otherwise you face the risk of your own home and assets being tied up for years while the courts decide whether you made the right choice in the split second you had.

You may even face the threat of Federal charges.

The stigma of being labeled by the press and the public as a bad cop, or a bad department. Of wondering, even after it is all said and done, if that is what they are going to whisper behind your back.

All based on that one moment's choice.

And the very worst part of it all - you will have to turn your cheek and suffer in silence. Sure, you will have your coworkers, family and friends that you can talk to. But when the press publishes these things, when the news shows you as the nightly headline, and when the crowds call for your head you have to keep your mouth shut, wait for things to be resolved and grimace every time someone asks a friend or family member what is going on with these accusations towards you. Even when you know you did the right thing, when you are innocent of everything they accuse you of being, you have to suffer in silence and play the game.

When you are ready for that, THEN you can start thinking about being a cop.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some days off

Worked the last two nights back on the road. Both ended up being rather busy - nothing majorly dramatic, but apparently it was the weekend to drink, act stupid, argue with your significant other, etc. So it kept me from getting any schoolwork done, much less anything else.

Did manage to get a couple of easy DUI's out of everything. Saturday was someone who was at home arguing with her boyfriend & decided that going outside to slam her car into his was the way to show him... didn't work out quite so well for her, but at least she didn't give me any problems.

This morning I was SUPPOSED to be coming home early (the new meds are still doing a bit of a number on my stomach, and after the past week I was done) when a guy driving a bit fast in front of me & weaving managed to grab my attention. One of those that I KNEW was going to be a drunk even before I stopped him, but let's see what happens anyways.

Yes, he was - another of the "nice and friendly" ones at least. Every defense attorney's nightmare too. I was starting all of the tests out when he asks me "Wait, is this to see if I've had too much to drink?" Well, yes sir, that's exactly what this is for. "I've had way too much to drink."

Thank you sir. That's the kind of statement that pretty much makes the rest of what you say superfulous. Of course, still have to go through the rest of the process and do a full file on it (which is why I win more of these cases than lose them - that whole attention to detail thing), but with a statement like that you are pretty much hosed in court.

Now I get a few days off with no work obligations. I have a chunk of things I would like to get done around the house, schoolwork desperately in need of catching up, and rumor has it there is a family somewhere in the building that I would like to see. Plus I'll be just thrilled if the new meds level off & I quit feeling sick every meal - if this is the fun of morning sickness I'm glad my gender got a pass!

A few post ideas percolating as well, and perhaps I'll have time for one or two of them. But, that's a summary of things for now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No good stories

Spent the past week teaching at the range for the academy going through right now; this was one of the harder groups from an instructor side in that it took a lot of work. The ratio of students really needing attention to those who were already somewhat competent was a bit more skewed than normal. This meant that not only were we all feeling a bit more frustrated with things, but we ended up having to spend a lot more time with the one group & kind of short changed the other. Fortunately yesterday and today I was able to shift over to one of the groups with more experience, and help them fine tune some skills. Kind of let me end the week on a high note.

Only other highlight of the week was getting shot - lol no, nothing like that! Caught a ricochet round in the hand at one point, which left a nice cut & bruise but fortunately nothing more. Gave me a good laugh & that's about the only long-term effect.

Also managed to get a chance tonight during their dinner break to do some shooting for myself - just to unwind with one of my friends who also teaches. It was enjoyable, but I definitely have been working a lot more on my pistol skills than rifle in the past year & need to balance that out...

So, nothing thrilling but wanted to let the world know I am alive & such.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Early hours

Yes, a very early post...

Teaching at the range again all week, so have to be up for "daytime" hours... but even this is early.


One of the fun side effects of one of the medications I'm on until the new stuff kicks in is a bit of insomnia... which I have always been plagued with anyway. So when I woke up at 0445 tossing and turning I figured I'd just get up so I didn't wake anyone else up in the process.

Ah well, at least this way I'm not rushing out the door at the last minute.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Playing with Google Reader, following etc over the next week - so I know the page looks a little busy, but I'll try to get it manageable and useful. Any thoughts as I proceed from others are of course welcome.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Busy times

Just a busy work week - nothing incredibly fun, but keeping me running around & tired, so real posts waiting for a day off.

I have noticed that it is apparently the month for women to be getting all the DUI's... not only my last four, but several others among coworkers this week. Apparently it's some new equality thing I missed....

anyway, going to unwind for a few and then bed. I have dreams of cooking a real meal before work tonight.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Safe bets


- the only ID you can produce is a check cashing card...

- and you say "well, I don't know WHERE my driver's license is, I haven't seen it in a while."

- and you're driving a "friend's car" that magically is short of a lot of paperwork...

The odds of you being suspended and not supposed to drive are suspiciously high.

Just your cop lesson for the day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That time of year...

Halloween is pretty much my favorite holiday. Just something about it I've always enjoyed, particularly the stories, spooky elements and all that stuff. Every year right about this time I like seeing the different decorations cropping up and that chill in the foggy fall air...

Well, the other night let me know the season was starting a bit early for me. Point in fact:

Yes boys and girls, that is a bat.

The poor thing flew right into my windshield at 3am, breaking his neck and making me a bit jumpy for a moment wondering what had happened. Then I pulled over, made sure he was dead as opposed to needing just a few moments to recover, and shook my head wondering at it all...

Hopefully that's the scariest thing that takes place when I'm working this Halloween season!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Good & bad...

First... until certain things get resolved, I went ahead and deleted the prior post... sorry about that, but part of the job.


Spent a long, but useful day at the VA seeing the rheumetologist, getting new x-rays and blood work & all that other fun. Fortunately I was smart enough to bring a book for the various waiting periods.

The nice part is, that the doctor agrees with what the other had said on vacation & we have pretty much reached a definitive diagnosis on what is actually going on. This takes it from the "we know you're in pain but can't really say why" realm into something solid; additionally it lets us move treatment from a pain management side into actually treating the disease - a very nice change after 8 years of progressively worse attacks and having to use stronger meds to even function daily. We have to wait for these final labs so that she is sure of some things, but hopefully everything will soon be under control.

The bad part is that the medications in question are some rather potent stuff, although not in the higher doses that things like cancer would see; and that I will most likely be taking them for the rest of my life. Meaning that along with having to make sure we keep an eye out for side effects, that I will also have to forgo the pleasures of beer, wine or any other alcohol to ensure my liver stays functional :(. I've been told that yes maybe like once a year I can enjoy a drink, but basically this is my last week enjoying the fruits of the vine...


No more quality microbrews. No more nice Australian wines. Not even a sip of Glenmorangie now & then on a cold night.

On the other hand, I'll be healthy and pain free hopefully, so it should be worth it.

But I definitely plan on enjoying a few samples in the next week as work permits!

Man, this is going to put a serious dent in my Celtic street-cred...