Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Blue label gun.

I just got a brand-new Gen. 4 Glock 19. Given the reduced price that they put this on, I felt like I had no choice. I'm ordering Trijicon HD XR sights for it, and am shopping light-bearing AIWB holsters. Any suggestions for best ones?

It's probably time that I carry something more substantial than the mouse guns which I tend to carry off-duty.

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Knee.

There's swelling most of the time in the left knee. After a workout, it throbs for a couple of days. I went to the hotshot orthopedic surgeon who replaced the knees of a couple of my friends and close family. He ordered an MRI, and I went in yesterday to have him explain it to me: "Your knee is borked. You will need a total knee replacement."

I asked when, and he said that he'd like me to try to hold off a few years, because the service life on these things is only about 15-20 years for an average person getting them, of average weight, of average physical activity for a person receiving them... who are generally much older than me. I am well above average in most of those categories.

In the meantime, he wants me to use ibuprofen (which I'm responsive to) to keep the swelling down, and drop 50-100 lbs. (The last time that I was 100 lbs lighter, everyone asked if I had end-stage cancer or AIDS. I'm not going that light again for a LONG time.)  50 lbs would put me at about 242, which isn't a bad weight for me. Of course, running and walking to get my cardio are out, and he's not big on elipticals trainer machines, which I have been using. Maybe bicycling, and definitely swimming. There is a natatorium in the  town next to my town, and annual passes are $125.

I'm looking at bicycles in the 22.5" frame size.

So, I've got some stuff to do, and a body fitness level to trice up.

Of course, that very evening, a "CPR In Progress" call came in. I drove quickly to get to the scene, out in the county. The mobile homes at the site were scattered with no rhyme or reason, and most were not marked. I got out of my cruiser, and ran to a house, which the residents declared to be a different address. Seeing the engine and the ambulance pull up and block my cruiser, I ran south, down the hill toward the next house 100 yards away, and upon finding that address on the porch (please post your address in very large, reflective numbers), I sprinted another 50 or so yards to the next house, and found the appropriate mobile home behind it. I ran in and made patient contact, bringing in the ambulance and fire guys. Once we had the patient buttoned-up in ambulance to go to hospital, a couple of firefighters laughed and said, "Dang, Matt G, we haven't ever seen you run like that before!" I let them know that it does happen, from time to time, though it was amusing that it should happen the same day that a fancy orthopedic surgeon told me not to.

The next morning, the knee was throbbing, some. Eh.

So, less food. More pushups. More coffee (obviously, because that's usually the best answer when you don't know what else to do). Less (I won't say "none at all") beer.

To paraphrase an internet friend of mine who is rapidly recovering from a hernia surgery with post-op infection: Getting fit isn't complicated; it is merely hard.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

A better day than you had, I'd reckon.

Thursday, my father texted me: "Want to go get lunch?"
Well, of course I did. We met at the Indian (dot not feather) place. They were closed. We went to a Thai place. There we drank Thai iced coffee, ate over-spiced curry, and chatted for hours, camping at our table.
We went next door to a coffee shop, and killed another hour and a half there, drinking strong black coffee.
When I finally left, I'd managed to steal 5 hours with my dad.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Since last we spoke.

--I made eggnog again. This time, I went with a recipe recommended by Zercool. It is buttery meringue fluff, with bourbon. Not bad.
--Donald Trump, the man whom I called "un-electable," has won the election for President. I don't care for him, but I hope that he is a successful President. Because how could I desire my President to fail? I cannot. I was wrong about his ability to get elected; let us hope that I'm wrong about his competency as POTUS.
--My dad and I went hunting with some friends, last month. My dad shot a nice buck (with his own handload, a 165g GameKing out of his .308 Savage Scout rifle), which has its antlers in a European mount on his living room wall. I'm pleased.
--I am walking some in the mornings, and am trying the gym again. --I'm training a guy at work. This kid is going to be a great cop. Hell, he already is. But don't tell him that; nothing good comes from a big head.
--The boss is leaving town for a week, and leaving me in charge of the shop, again. It's a small shop, but it's mine for the duration. I don't mind, on a temporary basis.
--My elder daughter is in her last week of her first semester at university. Her grades are good-- it looks like she may have a 4.0. There are, naturally, some minor stressors.
--My younger daughter is in her last week of her first semester at high school. Her grades have been good, but she has a couple of B's right now which I find unacceptable. I recall my elder daughter found freshman year to be very stressful, and sophomore year to be a breeze.
--I'm about to lay a new Invisible Fence around my dad's yard. Any advice? Seems like mostly I can just lay it in the furrow cut by me edger.
--I've got three Safariland holsters which I don't wear, because they are dropped too far, or the slot for the belt is the wrong size (too big, which is almost as useless as too small). Surely there are adapters to fix this. This is about $300 in leather/plastic.
-- My pickup is loaded right now with an estimated 1300 lbs (I'm guessing, but we'll find out) to take to the dump. Yesterday I took a trip which netted 560 lbs. Storage and back yard cleanout! As soon as I've drunk my coffee, I'm headed there.
--My results from my Wellness check came back, and my doc just wrote all over the 9 page report and sent it to me. That's seriously awesome, and I'm going to send him a thank you note for it.
Here I attach the highlights, for me to refer to in the future. It seems that my combined cholesterol is too high (HDL: 38 (needs to be above 40) LDL: 165 (needs to be below 100) Total: 225 (moderate risk)), and he included scripts for statins. Shame-- I like grapefruit. My triglycerides are down. My hemoglobin A1c is "great," which makes me happy, because adult-onset diabetes runs in my family. The kidneys, liver, thyroid, prostate-- all look good. Lipoprotein is low, which apparently means that my risk of heart attack is lowered. "LP PLA2 Activity" is elevated to "not good." There's a page on "Lipoprotein subfractions" which I don't pretend to understand, but apparently LDL Peak Size of 217.4 angstroms is a high risk category. I gather that the statin will address this.
Apparently I need to take supplementary Niacin, fish oil, and supplementary vitamin D3, along with my prescription statin (trying Lipitor). Fortunately, that whole plan is doable for about $10/month.
--According to Wikipedia, that supplemental D3 that I'm going to take is produced by the ultraviolet irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol extracted from lanolin found in sheep's wool. Interesting. I don't have an allergy to sheep's wool, but my wife does; I wonder if she would have a reaction to it, or if the 7-dehydrocholesterol is refined enough to where the allergens would not be present?
--I gave the Drug Talk to my elder daughter today: "You will be exposed to drugs. You will see them, and you will be surprised at who uses them. Those people are making a mistake. It is not immoral to take drugs; it is unethical to do so, because it is against the law, and because you will have to lie about it. It is desirable to be able to tell the honest truth, when asked if you have used drugs. It also exposes you to less risk. If you have experimented, don't do it again. If your friends have, hope that they don't again. A person is not ruined when they have tried drugs, but it makes their life a little harder. Don't make that error." She told me that she hasn't, and that her friends don't. I believe her (I hadn't asked.), but I told her that she'll eventually see it, and to be prepared. Many will say that this talk is too late. If it were the first time that we've discussed the issue, it would be. But this was more of a recap of what I've said all along.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Responding to a comment from an old post.

I just got a reader comment about a post that I had written over two years ago, in which I was asked,

"Why is your off duty course different from your duty course of fire?
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:25:00 AM
The answer I gave was: "A worthy question. Frankly, we want our officers armed while off-duty, but we don't want them inserting themselves into every hazard which they might come across. By policy, if they carry off-duty, they are are to carry concealed. For that, and for convenience's sake, off-duty guns are typically much lighter and more compact than duty guns. They are frankly harder to shoot well. An Airweight Chief 1 7/8" barrel five-shot revolver just isn't as easy to hit with, as a full-sized Glock with good sights is. Our duty qualification far exceeds the state-mandated qualification minimums, includes multiple timed reloads, and shooting on the move. (In fact, 24% of our shots are fired while moving, at 10 yards.) Our off-duty qualification, however, meets the state mandate." For the past couple of years, we've considered differentiating between "Off-duty" and "Backup Gun" qualifications, but have decided not to. However, if an officer wants to wear a gun that he's qualified with for off-duty, but wants to wear it in uniform (say, for an off-duty gig, or if it is approved for carry on duty), he must shoot the full duty qualification course with it, from his proposed duty rig. The question may be posed: "Why aren't you holding your off-duty shooting to the same standard as you hold your on-duty shooting?" The answer is that, usually, the off-duty officer is not going to have the same duty to intervene as he would when on-duty. The off-duty officer is carrying, first and foremost, to defend himself and his family in the face of retaliation. Some of us will carry bigger guns (which are easier to shoot) during the cooler months, and then switch to lighter, smaller guns during the summer months. The fact of the matter is, we need to adjust our response to an off-duty deadly force encounter to meet what we are equipped and prepared to work with.

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Saturday, October 01, 2016

October 1st. The best month.

--The weather has finally taken a cooler turn, with highs only in the low 80s, or even, on some days, in the high 70s. This has done wonders for my mood.

--We've been having minor car problems. The aged-beyond-its-years-and-miles '97 Honda Civic which I passed on to my elder daughter has required three rescues in the past month and a half. Two of these were simply old hoses needing replacement. One was a new coil. The Check Engine light came on about the time that the muffler started getting loud, so I replaced the muffler, and it got quiet, but the light came back on after being reset, and the code continued to say that the catalytic converter was the problem. On this car, that's on the exhaust manifold (stupid design; don't put one of the most expensive parts on one of the cheapest parts, the latter of which is likely to need replacement due to cracking.). I had this replaced about 130k miles ago, and it was a $900 part back then. This time, it was about a $650 part, and that's getting too close to the cost of the old car. I shopped around, and found an aftermarket one for $189, with just $8 for shipping. My shade tree mechanic said that he'll change it out for about $50 for me. (I always tip him heavily, though.) So for under $300, I get that problem fixed. Come March (when the lack of an AC makes my daughter whine again), I'll sell it, and buy my elder daughter (now a freshman in college) a newer car. Nothing fancy, you understand. Maybe a 10 year-old Accord with a manual transmission. (Did they still make them with manuals, in 2007?)

--I've been working a fair bit of off-duty, lately. Gotta pay for those car repairs, those college expenses not covered by scholarship (they are legion), a little trip up to Colorado I'm taking, soon, and a little rathole money for this fall.

--I'm training a new guy at work. Smart young fellow. New to the work.

--I went shooting yesterday, and was surprised that, at 15-17 yards, my shots were dropping off the bull that I was shooting. I approached, and found that some of the missed shots were keyholed. They had tumbled. This was Speer Lawman 125g TMJ .357 Sig out of a fairly-clean Gen 3 Glock 31. I checked the bore: still shiny. WTH?
I suspect that the two in the 7 ring were also tumbling, as well, but they weren't full-profile when they struck the paper.

--I just got a Don Hume leather pocket pistol for the G42, and it has a useful feature: a hook on it (cut into the leather pattern), to drag against the bottom of your pocket when drawing (as seen on the Emerson Wave lockblade pocketknife), so that your pistol pulls free from the holster every time. At $35, this was an inexpensive piece of decent kit. No, I don't carry a .380 as a primary gun, but it makes a nice BUG on my vest at work, and there are times when I can't get away with any kind of gun burka, and must pocket carry.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The opportunity

I was on patrol, and saw a little car pull through the parking lot of the convenience store to avoid the stop sign. I shrugged, and pulled it over at the next intersection. The driver dutifully pulled off the state farm highway, and onto a residential surface street. I approached from the driver's side, and introduced myself and explained why the driver had been stopped. He began to contest it, but I told him that I would need his driver's license and insurance. He handed over the insurance right away. Huh-- that's what most people have to look for. I asked him for a driver license. He hemmed and hawed a bit, and I asked him if he possessed one. With his palms up, he admitted that his was under suspension.

"Go ahead and step out, Jerry," I told him, as I stepped back from his door.

I could see it dawning on him: I had never asked his name, and he had never given it during this interaction. Yet I knew who he was.

I could hardly mistake those prison tats, and his scars and marks. I had been a jailer who had hated him, once.

"Hate" is a strong word. I don't use it a lot. But I had felt that emotion for this man, whom I had served many a breakfast in his solitary cell. Jerry couldn't be with other inmates, because he stirred up too much trouble. Maybe that was just the way he liked it, and something that he had figured out in the 22 prior stints that he had done at our jail. Jerry was an equal-opportunity criminal, who, in addition to dealing drugs, seemed to be working his way through the index crimes, though he hadn't yet committed murder, to my knowledge. Bored and in a cell all day, George would figure ways to screw with the jailers. Noisy arguments, spreading rumors to other cells (they could talk to each other), false reports about other inmates, false written complaints about jailers-- he did it all and more. And he had focused on being a particular ass to me.

I will tell you that I never retaliated. Not once. Not after having to explain away BS complaints about me (thank GAWD for CCTV and stored video) by Jerry. Not after having been made late going home to write him up (at my sergeant's direction) for starting another disturbance.

So, when I came across him on this traffic stop, I thought, "Huh. This feels like one of those tests which we sometimes have to give ourselves."

I decided not to arrest him for his suspended license. I issued him a citation for Failure To Present Driver License. I did not impound his vehicle. I asked him about drugs in the car, which he denied having. He offered to let me search his car, and I did. He then shook my hand, thanked me, and drove away.

I thought: man, there was your opportunity for a little payback. John Van Maanen might have been a bit disappointed with me; I had not kept "The Asshole" in check.

At some points, though, you just have to let a thing go, and I guess that I had. I'm a little embarrassed that it even occurred to me to turn the screws on old Jerry, just because of how he had been.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Ray.

The week before last, on Monday, the Tribe started blowing up my phone. I got the word that Ray Carter, AKA Gay Cynic (of Northwestern Free Thinker), had been sent home from the hospital for hospice care. He was given about two weeks to live. I called Ray, and told him that I was coming on the weekend. He said that he looked forward to it. He seemed in good spirits. We texted and emailed through Wednesday, but I had to work on Wednesday and Thursday, and was so busy, I wasn't even getting by enough to see my father in a rehab hospital, where he was mending from an infection in his ankle. (And still is.)

I flew up to Seattle on Friday, 27 May. I arrived tired and with a headache, and checked into my room as quickly as I could, and sent Ray texts to let me know when he was ready to receive a visitor. After a few hours, I sent some to his mother, but got no response. Finally I called her, left a message, and was called back: "He's not doing well. He took a turn yesterday, and he's not really able to receive visitors just now." I told her that I didn't want to be a burden, but that I would come over in the morning, after calling ahead.

The next morning, I called, and Ray's mother said that he wasn't doing well, but maybe a visitor would help. I arrived at his house on a lovely street, full of flowers, at about 8:30AM. I was let in, and waited in his room to meet Ray. I met his brother Tim, who was very nice. When Ray came into his room where I waited, he was lethargic from the OxyContin and Oxycodone that he was receiving to ease the pains from end-stage liver failure. But he was there. We talked as he lay in his bed. He swung his feet off the bed and said, "Let's go." He wanted to sit in the living room.

Under an afghan on the couch, Ray fielded all kinds of questions that I had about his early life. I've known this guy for over 7 years, and I really didn't know his origins. He had wanted to be a police officer, but felt that a gay cop at that time (the early '80s) would never receive backup. He had worked as a night security guard at a college, and as a dispatcher. He had been an office worker. He had sold electric cars and bikes. He had worked for the Second Amendment Foundation. Throughout the talk, his mother and brother filled in what Ray couldn't say. Ray fell asleep often, and then grew cold and had to go to bed.

I excused myself, and got lunch, and spent a couple of hours at the Pike's Market. I bought fruit from a stand where the vendors used sharp knives to hand slices of peaches to passers-by. Some years ago, Ray had led my family though the market, and an attractive Asian gent handed each of us slices of peach. He was probably about 21. My then-14 1/2-year-old daughter was grinning and blushing as she accepted the peach, obviously quite taken with the looks of this guy. I then realized that behind her, Ray had a very similar expression as he stood back a bit to appraise the bounty of the fruit stand, before accepting his own complimentary slice. I laughed at the memory of this.

I didn't find the coffee shop where I had gone with Ray down on the Market, some years back. He had to use the restroom, and since I was in line, he handed me a $10 and asked me to order for him what in my family has come to be known as the "Ray Carter Special." It's an accomplishment when an order for a drink can make a downtown Seattle barista's eyes widen, but apparently asking for 8 shots of espresso over ice in a to-go cup will do just that.  I did find a nice coffee shop in the Moore Hotel, and ordered a latte, which came to me with coffee art on it.

I went back to Ray's house a little bit depressed. It is a lonely thing, to go alone to a place where you had enjoyed yourself with family and friends.

Ray looked better. He was awake and sitting up on the couch. A new crocheted afghan was laying across his lap, sent by our friend Bonnie. He liked the flowers that I had brought from the Market. His sister-in-law and niece were there, too. We talked some more. He sat on his recently-delivered hospital bed.. He fell asleep. I talked into the night with his brother and mother, and then went to the motel.  The family wanted to know about Blogorado-- they said that Ray always lit up when he talked about it, and looked forward to it, year 'round. I knew that they weren't of my political bent, but it was important to me that they know that this was a group of people from different walks of life who loved each other as a chosen family.

In the morning, I bought a cup of coffee from a bikini coffee hut, and went back to Ray's house. I was met at the door by his brother Tim, who told me that Ray had passed away in the morning at about 3:30 AM. I was fine, and entered, and said nothing, and then realized that I had owed Ray a lot of hugs sent by friends, which I hadn't really given him. In our group, no one gets away without a hug, but that's for leaving, or maybe initial greeting. I'd sat in bed with Ray, and held his hand, and gripped his arm, but I hadn't wrapped him up. I started to mention this to his family, and for some reason my voice cracked.

My friend Zercool had sent me an email that he had tried to send to Ray, and had asked me to read it to him when I could. I had failed there, too. So I read him what Zercool had sent me to say to him. I didn't do well. In fact, I blubbered a bit. But I got the words out over Ray's remains.

I hugged his family and left to SEATAC, playing Grateful Dead's "Box Of Rain" on the rental car stereo from my iPhone. I'm not a Grateful Dead fan, but this song spoke to me, as it was written by one of their band members, for his father who was on his deathbed. I played it on repeat, and sniveled a bit as I drove through the softly-falling Seattle rain. And then I came back home to north Texas.

Ray Carter was a good man, who cared more about family and friends than anything. He was a man with eternal optimism, who went by the moniker of "Gay Cynic." We are all --even his political adversaries-- diminished by his passing. I'm glad that I got to see him one last time.



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