“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

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blogroll Addition

I feel bad, as he has apparently linked me previously - but recently found Straight Forward in a Crooked World. Good reading from someone with experience, and he currently has an excellent series on what to do if in a bad situation overseas which also would apply nicely to unrest here.

Drop by and give him a visit.


Anyone familiar with Wesabe as a financial software solution?

Seems my copy of MS Money has flown the coop, gone tatters, kicked the bucket, shuffled off it's mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible - to add to which, apparently Money wasn't making enough money to stay viable, so MS has support consisting of "suck it up" right now...

Any help would be appreciated. Freeware good, but if the consensus is Quicken or the like just share your thoughts. Kthanxbye.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Brief reappearance

Wow - the 'net here tonight is working at a blazing-fast 11kbs - about four times what it's been for the rest of the week, so I'll try to get a quick post going. When you long for even dial-up speeds you know it's bad... And of course, the hotel says there's nothing they can do & swears really they do have a high-speed connection.

My week was fortunately much better than my poor wife's - she is stuck dealing with illness, sick children, work and all the other stuff alone, while I'm out here. Send the poor woman some help folks! Wishing I was home to help and have time with her and the munchkins, trust me.

Class for the week has gone well, although keeping me busy. Lots of studying and all that this week, with next week being a lot of practicals - outside enjoying the sun and hoping not to get too stressed by things. Sorry, can't go into much more detail than that on things...

Per diem is a wonderful part of trips - in that I get spoiled eating out every night (and even found one place which made a steak even I consider good!) On the other hand, dang I miss my kitchen and cooking!

Got my old, fat lazy butt up today with a coworker & went for a nice 3 1/2 hour hike up in the mountains. Some good time outdoors, sweat and effort which I definitely needed and appreciated. Certainly a much better way to spend my Saturday than a lot of other options.

Not sure how the connection will stay, so will post again as I can.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No soup for you!

Apologies to all, posting is likely to be down for a while. Seeing as the hotel's definition of "high speed internet" apparently means it only takes 10 minutes for a page to load, much less trying to get things written prior to the system locking up yet again...

Hopefully the interwebs will be unjammed soon, until then sorry...

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Long day driving, just two quick observations:

- Why the heck are hotel room AC units set at temperatures more suitable to hanging sides of beef than human consumption?

- I forgot one of my wife's key lessons in life & forgot to bring a real pillow, instead of the one provided... oops.

- In the new label of the day, at one point we drove through the now-named "Lower Mudflapistan" - those of you with similar towns may use the term at your will.

Tired now, been up 21 hours... nighty night.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


- The week finished off as busy as it started. Spent a sixteen-hour day working with an unnamed group of Feds providing them some local support, the kind of thing that fortunately doesn't come along that often, but when it does tends to be quite the big production of folks and effort involved. On the one hand, get the Feds involved and you can just about guarantee it turns into a stunning goat-rope with changes every five minutes that have everyone jumping through hoops... On the other, despite what a lot of people preconceive as "Local/Federal" animosity is usually not present - at least at the levels I work at. Headquarters folks can be idiots no matter where you work, but the guy on the street usually tends to be pretty decent & it was the same this time, which was nice.

- Another couple of reminders from the job, along with the military & federal guys along: #1, dang these guys are getting younger and younger! Very much felt my age looking at some of the "kids", especially realizing several of them had combat tours already under their belts & were experienced. #2 - based on pictures and such, I still have the hottest wife amongst local, Federal and military bomb squads that I've seen :D I'm happy to take that prize.

- I won't go into particular names, but if you want to know a lot about the character of someone/group, listen to the comments made by those who work for them when amongst their peers... Apparently the impression being made by the administration and staffers upon those who work closely for them is NOT very good at all... Kind of sobering.

- Spent the past two days packing & preparing for the aforementioned six week training trip... Managed to get everything sorted out, taking enough to be comfortable but not insane & will have my computer along for sanity recovery. Not sure how much blogging I'll get in, but at least I can get online.

- The wife and I actually got a sitter last night (who we are QUITE grateful for!) and made it out to see the new Harry Potter installment. Sad that it's probably been close to a year since the last time we made it out to a movie in the theater... Anyway, I did enjoy it, although as my wife pointed out saying they took liberties with the plot and story is putting it mildly!

- Also made sure to cook some nice meals the past few nights to make up for being out of town. Not sure who's going to miss my being able to cook more - my wife likes the meals, and I'm going to miss the kitchen... Despite what some would prefer, I myself don't relish the thought of eating in restaurants for the next month and a half every meal.

- Yes folks, I was good - spent time with the kids as well! Going to miss my little monkeys every day... even when they wear me out they do it with a smile!

Anyway, I have to be up at OMG-what-time-is-it tomorrow, so I will wrap this up. More posting to follow as appropriate.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

(More or less) Done

10 weeks of work.

170 different line items.

A 9-inch thick stack of summaries, quotes and justifications.

More hours than I can count at work and at home, on top of my normal duties, in research and preparation; including a last-minute stretch of about 250 new requirements I had to get done in two days.

Yes, today I wrapped up my grant submission package for our board of supervisors to approve next week. Then, when I get back from my six-week trip I'll hopefully get the pleasure of placing all the orders.

Still, it's nice that my unit will be properly outfitted for the next few years, and to know I had a hand in it.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Officer "Smith's" discussion today on his pre-work preparations got me to thinking about a similar little discussion we had a couple of years back. Police work is one of those jobs that tends to have many layers, and involve a lot more preparation and thought than most people realize & it can be challenging to teach someone new these aspects.

The lesson in question we were discussing involved traffic stops, particularly at night. We had a younger recruit officer who was having trouble with all the different steps involved, and his training officer was getting a bit frustrated in trying to smooth things out. So a couple of us got together and started talking things out & helped him realize exactly the number of things involved in just pulling the car over:

  • You have to be driving normally and safely in the first place, watching out for other traffic, lights etc. - and keep in mind, you are still driving throughout this whole process, accountable for your actions and safety, and pretty much needing an extra pair of hands to really be effective!
  • Pay attention to the radio.
  • Be aware of what else is going on in your area - other calls for service, officers on stops nearby, critical incidents which may have the radio tied up etc.
  • Observe the violation - be it a light out, some traffic violation, a possible drunk driver, vehicle matching some suspect description or whatever.
  • Decide to make your stop, possibly running the vehicle information as you prepare to do so, and all the while still watching them as much as possible.
  • Get in a good position behind the vehicle, watching for them to notice you and possibly try to run, hide or throw illegal items, produce weapons, change drivers (yes, it does happen while moving!) or anything else.
  • Choose a safe location to stop.
  • Call in the stop, letting radio know your unit number, what plate it is and where you are, possibly how many people are in the car, along with any other special information.
  • Activate your emergency lights and takedown lights, both letting them know you are stopping them and illuminating the inside of the vehicle.
  • Continue to watch the vehicle, being prepared to pursue if needed or safely moving to the side of the road with them when they stop.
  • Position your car behind theirs, cant your wheels for some protection, and letting the radio know if the location has significantly changed or there is something more suspicious or you need backup cars.
  • Put your car in park (and trust me EVERY cop has forgotten to do this at least once!), put your hat on, get your flashlight in your off hand and step out of your car still watching the violator...
And keep in mind this is all happening in a number of seconds usually - the whole time your mind playing the "what if?" game - What if they run? What if they shoot? What if it's a drunk? What if it's just some normal citizen who made a mistake? What if this or that happens? The questions that help keep you alive, because on the day it happens you've already worked through your possibilities...

As you can see, it's a lot to do and to keep in mind in a very short span - and this is just the part of stopping the car, you haven't even gotten up to it and talked with anyone yet. Factor in that you do similar things and processes for most of what we do & it becomes even more daunting. Then you add the stress of a field training officer watching your every move, noting what is good and bad, and all the effort you put into getting through the academy hinging on their evaluations. It's easy to understand why some people get overwhelmed with just this little bit & have a hard time with things - the constant pressure and need to do so many things at once is just one of the reasons the job isn't for everyone.

Hopefully this gives the non-cops just a small picture into another part of our world. For those of you with friends or family on the job I would encourage you as well to do a ride along in order to grasp even more.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More randomosity

Yes, it's a word. I said so.

I've managed to have a nice, relaxing weekend with my wife and kids... no callouts, no insanity, and a chance to get a chunk of stuff done. Very much nice and appreciated. Plus, it gave my wife a chance to get a nap today and get some of her work things done over the weekend - so while she didn't get to sleep late, at least it helped some I hope!

Unfortunately I also have a to-do list waiting for tomorrow (which WAS a day off) which keeps growing exponentially... So I'll be working on an eight-inch stack of paperwork, getting my police truck fixed, and trying to fit in a few more errands along with it. Plus somehow getting in a good run, working on packing for the upcoming trip, and oh yeah, spending time with the family as well...

Spending a wonderfully quiet evening, listening to the rain outside and watching an old movie with my wife. Both of us enjoying the little ones being asleep and the chance to relax. One of those advantages to this whole "normal schedule" thing that I've grown fond of.

Made it to the local gunshow yesterday, with the rare combination of having the time as well as a little bit of extra money for a few things I was seeking. Unfortunately it ended up being a complete waste of time. On the good note things like black rifles, magazines and ammunition have all reappeared in stock; on the bad note the prices are still higher than they really should be (although starting to move back down) & the amount of junk that is out there is still disproportionate to the amount there. Didn't find any of the things I was looking for, but I was also good in that I avoided making any idiotic purchases.

In the sole work excitement of the week we had a call for a Civil War shell a lady had in her attic... apparently this thing has been there for at least 80 years (probably longer, though not all the way back to the 1860's) & had even been played with by the family kids for years; but she has recently had dreams about it going off & decided it's time for it to be gone. Wise choice I agree, so it ended up taking up most of the day with us getting it out of her place to the demo range and making it go away. After the time I've spent with this stuff it still surprises me the number of people who have no idea how dangerous some of these old war shells, grenades and whatever can be - but it seems every couple of months we are dealing with it yet again. Job security I guess.

Book plug

I'm not usually one to plug recipe books, particularly since I don't use them much myself... tending to kind of just get basic ideas from the collection & then make things up as I go. This tends to frustrate my wife to no end as well, since she will ask how I did something for a meal and I really don't have an answer...

Be that as it may, I did get a hold of one recently which I have found to be a nice addition to the collection; useful for grilling, roasting or just seasoning in general. Soaked, Slathered and Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill covers rubs, brines and marinades very well - explaining the difference between each, giving suggestions and working for both the neophyte and experienced cooks.

The meal this week which brought the post to mind was a rack of lamb I picked up, brined for a few hours and then put on a chili based rub before about three minutes a side on the stovetop grilling pan, and then finishing up in the oven. We accompanied it with couscous, some fresh bread and vegetables on the side. The meat came out wonderfuly tender and moist, with a nice browned crust on the outside but still so soft you could cut it with a fork. The seasoning worked well to complement the flavors rather than overwhelming them, and everything in the meal balanced out well. It was a very rare occasion for one of my meals, in that I didn't have any self-criticism in how things could have been better!

So, if you're looking for a good book for yourself or another who cooks, I can certainly recommend this one. Give it a try.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Short notes

- Yes, my "publish post" button still works, just haven't felt like I've had a lot to write about in the past few days. Busy with work stuff, family time and getting ready to be gone for a month, so kinda letting my mind wander elsewhere...

- The VA finally got my re-rating done since the whole diagnosis issue on my arthritis and related problems last year. Not complaining - I know these things take time, and it was certainly much faster than the two years my original rating took. Actually came out SURPRISINGLY higher rated than I ever expected. Which I felt somewhat bad and conflicted about at first, until my wife reminded me exactly how bad off I was when I wasn't on my medication for everything... kind of put stuff in perspective, and reminded me that if it wasn't for the wonders of modern chemistry I would be lucky to be able to work at all, much less as a cop. So, it is nice that the medical professionals agreed on this and are doing the "right" thing I guess I can say - it's not about the money as far as I'm concerned, but more the fact of ensuring my medications and care aren't going to be a burden for my family ever. Given that my meds alone would hit in the neighborhood of a thousand a month if I wasn't covered, that is a significant worry off of my back. Especially since this is something I will have to continue for the rest of my life (yes my prepper friends, if society collapses you will quickly be leaving me in the cold as a burden on the tribe!)

- Thanks for the folks who expressed concern last week over my difficulties in sleeping etc. It's pretty much straightened out now, and looks like it was definitely related to coming down from the painkillers. I'm sleeping better & have much fewer of the other after-effects, so hopefully it will be sorted out completely soon. Now I just have to wait for my next appointment to find something new in conjunction with the doc that doesn't have these same effects...

That's it for a short post, but wanted to share the bits.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tempus fugit

With the change back to days my wife and I have been able to watch more movies from our collection together these days - being on the same schedule is kind of nice! It's a good way for us to spend our evenings with the laptops, enjoying the shows and just relaxing.

So one of our recent choices was Singles, which we have both always loved & just hadn't sat down to watch in a while. We both enjoyed catching up on the music, the mood & sharing our individual recollections from that time in our lives - it was before we had even met, so we had our separate stories and laughs.

Which then led to the observations about the enduring nature of the film... and the realization that it's been almost twenty years since it was released. I still find it hard to believe I'm 40 years old, technically an adult and supposedly following some plan in my life... I mean heck, I was 18 when my mother was 40 - my own kids are still toddlers, so there is no way I'm that old! But, there it is - I'm getting older, and the music and movies and everything else from my "formative" years are now considered classics or oldies...

That's ok though, I think I'm progressing fine...

Another good night

Had an amusing and productive night over the weekend - spent the first part just catching up on some dog stuff, and cleaning out the truck. Stayed away from all the admin stuff & the radio was quiet, so there weren't even any calls to help out on. After that I called it an early day, since I had plans to work another special last night. Number one, it's good for the overtime money & #2, I always like finding drunks as we all know. Plus, maybe I'd get lucky and stumble into something more, although I wasn't holding my breath...

So, I headed out for the special a few minutes early, since I needed to gas up the truck and all that. Then, while heading into the spot for the night I spot a car that looks good - enough that I know I'll get something out of it, but I figure it will just take a couple of minutes to sort things out and get on with things at the roadcheck. Turns out that, yet again, I was wrong...

Starts out with a suspended driver and a passenger both, and a car that just reeks of weed from 10 feet away. Given that this is what we call in police work a "clue" I was happy when one of my old midnight shift coworkers pulled in behind me to back me up on it, as it let me jump right into getting the guys out of the car and starting the next phase of the investigation. Of course, neither of the stories matches up and the pat-down comes up with a VERY large chunk of suspicious money as well on one of them.

Then we get to the car... surprise, surprise... not only do we have the marijuana from our earlier party, there's also some cocaine left in the back. We then start what I call the "toddler game" that all these guys seem to play - you know the "Who's is this?" "Oh, not mine! I've never seen it before!" Doesn't matter if it's their car, their bag, their pants, or even their wallet with ID in it - once you find the durgs suddenly nobody owns or knows anything... And, it works just about as well as when a four year old tries it. Meaning not a bit. Heck, I don't even know why they still try it - like they operate under some misguided hope that the cops are going to say "Oh, well if no one owns the dope I guess we'll just go away then!"

Of course, that doesn't happen - instead, it just leads to me digging through every bit of the car I can, pulling out more evidence of both use and dealing & then a nice trip to jail. One of them is making his first trip and really not sure what to expect; the other has a long history of this very thing so he & I both know the game. The funny part is though it's the guy who's done time for dealing who has all the incriminating pictures on his phone - shots of him with cash, with drugs etc. Yes, over the past few years the criminal element has embraced technology as a way of scoring their victories as well apparently - not even thinking about how it can come back to haunt them later. Not that I'm complaining, just helps me out more.

So I get to end my night with a couple more drug arrests, plus taking a chunk of drugs and money off the street... I also got the fun of feeling like a street cop again for a little bit. I love what I'm doing now, it's a nice change from the road and all of that - but there are times I do miss playing the game and finding things like this. One of the benefits of my flexibility now though is that I can still get out and do this sort of thing now & then.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


For all that you'll read cops gossiping and griping about the antics of citizens, we are about ten times worse when it's one of our own - trust me, it makes a family reunion look tame by comparison! Should one of our own mess up, do something stupid, or just be boneheaded we tend to be much less forgiving than we would of others.

So you can imagine the irony I felt yesterday backing up another officer on a stop, and walking him through the procedures of a pretty simple marijuana arrest. Sure, for a new guy it might be a bit to remember, but this was a pretty experienced officer.... who just happens to run one of the department drug dogs. The trouble is, he's been so busy the past few years finding dope for others that he had forgotten what to do when he found it on his own!

Now, I wasn't mean - I certainly helped him handle everything for the arrest and get on his way. But you can bet this will come up in a good teasing moment later....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Not only did I not get "right to sleep" - being up til 4 am tossing & turning...

But I had the computer eat a major document that I had been working on for several weeks... stupid me didn't have a data backup, but I did have hardcopy, so repair isn't too horrible.

Plus, my poor wife is dealing with health issues of her own.

One of those days all around at our house... so it was delivery pizza & a quiet night here.

Let's hope tomorrow is better.