Better And Better

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Relax.

Some of the people that I respect keep calling me a "Mother Hen."*

Whoever is sharing my shameful secrets disseminating these falsehoods about me shall be dealt with accordingly. (In this case. See next blog entry.)

For now, relax. The winds blow the clouds where they may.


__________________________
*So sue me for caring. :)

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Today's earworm: 1984

Count the '80s references in this awesome video by No More Kings: "Sweep The Leg."
I turned 13 later that year.

I count three early-eighties references right off-hand. Anyone else see more?

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The thing about freedom and equality...

...it spreads.

My co-worker came into the police department this morning to relieve me. While I finished up on a DWI report, he checked his web-based email, which popped up the news. “So,” he said with what I perceived as a smirk, “New York state has made it legal for gays to marry…!”

Good. Maybe we’ll be next,” I said.

“I know, right?!?” said my conservative, VERY hetero, recently-married cop buddy.

Despite the stereotypes and the expectations of the opposition, many, many of us stand behind equality. More than the bigots know. That’s part of their downfall.

My friend may well have been trying to set up a derisive joke, but the things he said over the next few seconds told me that really, he'd just been waiting to hear someone else say that they support equality. I'm glad that I could answer that call. I think that he'll feel more empowered to next time start that discussion with, "It's about damned time."

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Monday, June 20, 2011

The connections

I keep pointing this out, because it's so damned amazing: most of my friends I know because of modern communications.

I believe in my friends' willpower and intense dedication to do right, and to come together, sometimes to do great things, and sometimes just to have great times. All because they moved some pixels around on a screen, hit SEND, and caused some pixels to move around on other person's screens.

I converse with extremely smart people on a fairly regular basis, with no other passcode or birthright than that I send them an email and they write back. How amazing. I've been doing this for a quarter of a century.

See now the brief lecture of Jim Gilliam, who had the same epiphany but on a MUCH more significant level. While I may owe my social life to the Internet, Jim owes his physical life to it.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Project A Kon

And speaking of Larry Correia, that reminds me-- I ran into a guy dressed out as one of his characters out of his excellent series of Monster Hunters International books.

He was very nice, and let me take his picture. I mentioned that I'd been a moderator with Larry at The Firing Line and The High Road for some time, and he asked if I wanted a patch. I've never gotten an MHI patch, so I was excited to get this one. I think that I'm going to sew it onto my patrol bag. I may put velcro on the back, and put it on my department gas mask bag, or on my fast response bag.

I ran into the guy at A-Kon, an anime convention for serious nerds. What was I doing at A-Kon, you may ask? Well, I think that I was being a good daddy. See, my elder daughter and her best friends have gotten deep into reading all manner of Japanese cartoon books called Manga. They watch videos of Japanese anime. They copy hundreds of Japanese pop songs in MP3 format to trade among each other to play on their iPods and phones and convert to CD format to play on my dadgummed car stereo when we go places.

So when my 12 year old daughter, who had just been recognized by Duke TIP as a really bright kid for doing exceptionally well on the SAT in 7th grade, got all A's for the six weeks, the semester, and the school year, she was getting a big reward. And she wanted A-Kon. I took her and her two best friends.

Folks, I've been to a few county fairs, a goat ropin', and I've seen ducks copulate, but I've never seen anything like this.

We drove into downtown Dallas to the hotel. No parking for blocks. We finally drove into a parking garage that was almost full, for $18 to park. We walked into the hotel amidst hundreds-- nay-- thousands of people dressed in various costumes. My daughter was not in costume, but she had dyed her bangs aqua (hey, they grow out). She was so normal-looking, that she was almost invisible. I just wore khakis and comfortable shoes. I was invisible.

We walked in as the conga line of several hundred passed us. The leader was a belly dancer with 8 foot butterfly wings of gold. Following her were all manner of costumed nerds who were in their natural habitat, mostly between the ages of 14 and 30.

It was as if, repressed of their chance to be social during their daily lives, these youngsters had finally found Their People, and took the opportunity to crawl out of their shells. They were jubilant. When they found someone in a similar costume, depicting the same character that they had come dressed as, they didn't get upset. Indeed, they would happily embrace, as would long-lost friends who had finally reunited. I saw this over and over again. They minded not at all if you asked to take a picture of them (or better yet, with them). It was a high compliment, and the most popular had worked on their poses. My daughter was a little jealous of her friend who was repeatedly recognized for the character whose costume she wore.

I paid the registration fee for all four of us. But that was it. (Besides snacks, lunch, supper, and a little help with a pin when a girl came up short.)

We saw furries, cross-dressers, perverts, and robots, both real and imagined. We saw storm troopers. We saw girl storm troopers. We saw video game characters. We saw faux Florentine fencing demonstrations. We saw people dressed as stone angels. We saw browncoats. We saw steampunks. We saw movie heroines. We saw superheroes. We saw strange mixes of culture that defied explanation. It was a throng of nerd-dom, taking up three stories of the hotel.

And next year, if she gets all A's, I'll take her to do it again.

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TANSTAAFL

Longtime internet friend Larry Correia writes his hilariously on-point reactions to a Yahoo article about people who are getting out of paying their mortgages due to their own misplaced values, and are spun as heroes for it.

I laughed out loud. Seriously.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Another life lesson, learned at work.

"Sometimes, You Just Need To Know When To Give Up On A Case."

Important lessons like this are learned, when cleaning out your desk and file cabinet in preparation to move to a new office.

The argument goes on in my head: "Let it go."
"But if I could just find that other witness, we could..."
"That case is from 2008, Matt. Let it go."
"Maybe I should hold onto this tape for a bit longer...?"
"That case was adjudicated in 2010. Let it go."
"This training information would be useful..."
"...If you had a time machine, and needed to know about legislative updates for the session ending in 2009. Let it go."

The blank tape supply got a much-needed influx of newly-wiped tapes, and the shredder needed emptying twice, and the trash bin is overflowing with dead trees that gave the ultimate sacrifice sometime early in W's second term. And so it goes.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

You want to fix the medical system? You want reform?

I've got a very simple law that we could pass that will go a LONG way toward medical healthcare reform.

Require that, within one business day, the healthcare provider give you a straightforward answer to this question:

"How much is this going to cost?"

Mom is in rehab for her new knee, which she had put in last week. The orthopedic surgeon called it one of the worst --if not the single worst-- knees that he's ever had to replace. He told me that Mom should have come in 10 years ago to get that knee swapped out. Mom's answer (she walked 150 yards in to the pre-op room, unassisted) is simply, "Yeah, but think of how far that replacement knees have advanced, in the last ten years." Good point.

Mom's a super star at rehab, and is actually being released early. This makes her cranky elder son very happy; we've been missing her next door. (Yes, I've been visiting daily, but it's not the same.) But when her family liaison person called me to ask me if I had any questions, I asked her, "What's the cost of this? How much are we saving daily by having her come home early? What is the average daily cost of her care?"

She didn't know, but turned me over to a person at their facility who could "better answer my questions." That lady didn't know, either. "We don't do any billing here," she told me. "That's done from the corporate offices in Pennsylvania."

But she went on to assure me that the bill was to be sent to Mom's insurance companies, who typically covered most of these things, before we'd ever get a bill.

"But somebody, somewhere, knows what this costs," I protested.

"No, we won't really know, until we bill the insurance companies, and see what they pay," she told me.

This is ridiculous.

The attitude that it doesn't matter, because there is insurance, is the reason why the costs are spiraling.

On the first of this month, I changed over from my old PPO to a new Health Savings Account*. Thus, when it's medically-oriented, I want to know what EVERYTHING costs.

I know what I make per hour. I know what the overhead is for my job. I could, after checking a few figures, answer the question "How much does it cost to run the police department in Matt G's little town for a single day?"

Why is this so hard?

________________________________
*I've got a $3000 deductible to fill each year, before my account turns into a classic PPO. My job kicks in $180 a month to a savings account that I pay out of.

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Liberally Lean In The Land Of Dairy Queen.

Barry Green is a former district attorney in Wise County By-Gawd, Texas. He still practices law there, and he just doesn't seem to give a damn what you think of him. You kind of have to admire that in a man. Funny stuff.

He also has some decent off-the-cuff local news updates and thoughts for north Texas.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

That which should be viral, but isn't.

I have printed LabRat's Rules For Relating and posted them on the wall at my PD. Then I promptly pulled them down.
They absolutely deserve attribution, but with attribution, I would shortly be "outed" as a blogger. (The guys I work with are nothing if not tenacious.)

I've similarly considered printing them in small pring, and handing them out to Select Customers as a public service.

At any rate, go read, and know that LabRat is wise beyond her years.

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