Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
What a pleasure it was
What a pleasure it was to have my dad ride along with me last night.
What a nice day it was to do some fire training on roof ventilation. I never realized before how dangerous that stuff could be, even in training.
Showing some 3/4 CDX plywood decking who's boss with a fire axe can get out some great pent-up aggression. *
Getting home to a nice bowl of my wife's beef stroganoff after dropping off yet another person at the jail who insisted that they would have [my] job is good for a bit of schadenfreude, especially when you know what that person is having for breakfast.
*NOTE: More fireman talk in comments.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Wednesday night random thoughts.
--So apparently a pretty funny spare actor named Daniel von Bargen decided to check out, and shot himself in the temple with a .38 , only to find that it didn't work. Still alive and now blind, the guy called 911 and summoned help. This confounds me. First, because all the news reports reference his work in Seinfeld rather than in Malcolm In The Middle, but second, because the guy had to put down his gun, find his phone (he was blinded by the shot) and call 911, and then wanted them to come help him. Amazing. He had been unhappy about needing some toes amputated, before. I would not have guessed that he would find life more worth living after having caused brain damage through a failed suicide attempt. Huh. I'm not trying to make the case that he should have just shot himself again; I'm merely pointing out that the logic that had him shoot once would seem to me to induce a second shot. Perhaps he didn't have a second round chambered? Interesting.
--Well-cooked lentils are worth eating. Seriously.
--I have to evaluate what best plan to use to bolster my mom's fence against my brother's dog that he's leaving there. She's my next door neighbor. I don't want to have to chase the damned hound whenever it gets out. This means some work today. And money. I'm thinking about buying an Invisible Fence setup and running the wire along on the fence with staple gun.
--Why don't we standardize the buttons on the device that we swipe our credit cards or debit cards in? The questions are always different. The soft keys are in different places. One machine says: "Your total is $25.81*. Is this okay? Push 'YES' if you wish to proceed." The next machine says: "Your total is $25.81. Do you want cash back? Push 'YES' if so." And so on and so forth. Look. I just want to swipe the card, get my receipt, and go. Why am I having to look at each proprietary system? When I get into another manual transmission vehicle that I've not driven before, I don't need to study on the fact that the accelerator is on the right, the brake is in the middle, and the clutch is on the left. Can't we just standardize these things?
--It was 80 degrees today.
--My shift partner and best work friend is leaving to go to another agency soon. I have cracked the ice and permitted him to see this blog. It's kind of fun finally letting someone from work know about this thing. He's sworn to secrecy, and I know that he won't tell. He's a great guy.
--There is some evidence that I've been burning the candle from both ends. I don't buy it, though. I've been pretty lazy.
--What's your experience with the durability and corrosion resistance with the firearms finish known as "French Gray?"
--I'm going back to sleep. Need to bank it for the weekend. I should actually be working on my take-home test on Homeland Security.
*Note: This is the root of all evil.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Random Wednesday Thoughts. Day after V[F]D.
--I'm older than I've ever been. And now I'm even older.
--There was a "BuyCot" yesterday, as you may have heard. Folks wanted to boycott Starbucks on Valentine's Day for going hands-off on gun-carriers and refusing to impose more restrictions than the state laws already did. Gunnies around the web decided to show support for Starbucks by giving their business. When I went in to get my wife a Great Big 'Un* coffee drink and myself a pound of coffee, I noticed a couple of middle-aged guys sitting about the place wearing vests, and unwinding with their coffee. I'll bet good money that I wasn't the only armed guy in the joint. While Starbucks reports their shares were "flat" yesterday, I'll bet that their revenues for the day took a little jump. But I don't expect them to volunteer such information. If I were Starbucks, I'd be of the exact same position that they've been taking, lately: "Look, we make and serve coffee. Don't drag us into that battle." That's all I want.
--Valentine's Day was yesterday. I heard more backlash over it ("It's just a corporate-induced holiday to sell things and make the fat cats money!", "It's a damned quid pro quo by the women, who expect the man to do something for them if they expect the women to be physically affectionate!") than I ever had before.
--My 13 year old daughter came home with two carnations yesterday. One was from her girl friend, but another was from a boy. She insists that he's "just a friend," and it's true that he hangs with her circle of girl friends a lot, but still, it's her first flower from a boy. She reported that another one of her friends received from her boyfriend a necklace with a diamond and ruby pendant on it. These kids are in 8th grade. I explained to my daughter that if she received such a gift from a boy, she would be returning it.
--My 13 year old had made home-made chocolate truffles in four flavors to give to her friends at school. She then made cute origami boxes with separators and lift-off lids to give them in. That kid's got skills.
--My 9 year old daughter made dinner last night. She pulled out her Mollie Katzen cookbook the other night and reported that she was making the meal, and we were all expected to attend. So, after school yesterday, she set about to making a hearty soup (she modified the vegetable soup to be vegetable beef soup, because she likes meat), a Mediterranean salad, and a rich chocolate desert. She then set our table thusly:
That kid's got skills, too**. Very good soup. I am told that the soup was better this morning, but I was not left so much as a bite.
--I didn't get to finish my bowl of soup. I got a fire page during dinner. It was an alarm at an apartment complex, and those can be nothing, or very, very nasty. I got up and said, "I'll probably be right back," I said. "No, you won't," my wife said. "But go, anyway." She smiled at me. I got there in time to gear up and jump on the engine. This was the first time that I had ridden in what is traditionally the Captain's seat, front right. As I got in, the air horn went crazy. The driver mildly informed me that I was stomping on the horn button on the floor. I moved my foot off in a hurry. The mechanical siren cranked up, LOUDLY, with us still in the firehouse bay. I had moved my foot to another button. How many buttons were there, anyway? (Three, it turns out.) Given the size of my fire boots, the best thing for me to do was to try to tuck my feet up under my seat, which is how I rode to the call. At each intersection, I called out traffic conditions to my side, and tapped the air horn briefly. It was only as I arrived on scene that I realized that I had forgotten to put on the headset.
The fire alarm was inconsequential. It was my first run.
--After going home and getting the girls to bed, I got toned out for another pair of calls. I went back to the station, and found that most of the apparatus and all of the crew were gone to the calls. I checked in on the radio, and was advised to stand by at the station, in case we received another call. I hung out with a lonely brush truck for an hour, while the other guys worked a wreck several miles out of town, and staged for a police call just out of town (but in our fire district). Here I was: a guy that barely knew where the bathroom was (literally, I had to ask last week. I just hadn't needed to use it before, there), and yet I was the sole guy with the penultimate piece of apparatus in the city (there was also a tanker) there to answer fire calls. I laughed at myself (I know I've got a LOT to learn, and don't take myself too seriously). But it made me feel good to be there for the city, if something DID happen. Like a gun of minor caliber ready in a closet or a drawer. Not ideal. Probably not even adequate. But serviceable, and a hell of a lot better than nothing. This is why I volunteer.
--If you're shocked to read that a rookie volunteer firefighter would be given such a responsibility, don't be. That's how lots of volunteer fire departments are. By area, most of our nation's land is served by VFDs
--I've made a vow to myself to be the slowest, most careful apparatus driver in the department.
--I'm waiting for the mail. I have a small paper presentation due in class today, and the text book that I'm referencing for it, which I ordered a week ago, hasn't arrived. I know that it's been en route for two days. If it doesn't arrive by the time I finish this post, I've got to download it on my Kindle, and effectively pay for the same book twice. That galls me. My fault, though. My class starts in three hours. Better hurry, Matt!
--Just checked the mail again. The book has arrived. (And Matt is again rewarded for procrastination, which might not be best.) Got to run.
*I refuse to use their silly terms for size. A big iced mocha is served in a cup that is closer to a quart than to twenty ounces, so "vente" is just stupid. As a bonus, I got to watch the barrista flinch when I said it. I liked it so much, I ordered a second one. Damn, but those things are tasty. My bride liked her afternoon coffee pick-me-up more than the two dozen tulips that I brought to her office.
**Yes, I see the error in the place setting. No, I didn't see it last night. Not sure I would have said anything.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Hey, look. I'm apparently not dying.
Well, not at an advanced rate, anyway.*
My bloodwork came back, and I had it explained to me this morning.
My PSA looked better than any he'd ever seen.
They checked my blood pressure again, and again it was good.
I need to watch the cholesterol; it was slightly high.
And the good cholesterol was a little low.
No diabetes, which is good. Given that a couple of close blood relatives have it, I'll admit to having been a bit worried about that.
Liver was good, despite occasional efforts in the past to do it harm.
All in all, I'll take this one.
*We're all dying.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
That's kind of interesting.
The folks at Taurus have come up with a new one that I've not seen before:
A compact lightweight snubnosed revolver in caliber .380 acp.
It makes sense, actually, given that there are many folks out there who don't want an auto, or due to their jurisdiction or the class of carry license that they have can only carry revolvers. Also, some may have recoil sensitivity, but are not permitted to qualify with anything less than a .38/.380/9mm caliber. Finally, with the recent surge in pocket autos in the caliber, there's a source of decent defense ammunition in that caliber, much of which is designed to achieve its velocity out of short barrels. 6 rounds of .380 at 70 to 105 grains out of a 1.75" barrel may not sound like anyone's idea of heavy thunder, but it's better than an empty hand, a .25, and a .32 (excepting the .32 H&R Magnum).
It's double-action only, which means that you'd be able to fire it from a coat pocket. The rimless .380 cases are loaded in full-moon "star" clips.
Taurus calls it the M380 IB Mini Revolver. It comes in blued or stainless, and I'm curious what S&W will call their version when they eventually jump on the band wagon to make a better version.
I'm interested in the stainless version, but I wonder: if Smith could make my .38 Special M37 Chief's Special Airweight at less than a pound 30 years ago, why can't Taurus get their new .380 acp revolver out for less than 15.5 ounces? Ah, well, it should be easy to shoot.
As a proponent of carrying mouse guns over carrying nothing at all, I'm interested.
Let's see how they go.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Like a favorite tiresome old great aunt.
I am of course finding that Letters Of Note is becoming a daily read. (and time-sink, damn it all)
I am tickled to see that the late children's author E.B. White had quite the sense of humor, in denying his local government the information that they demanded. Good for him.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Yet another reason why I really don't check in with Fox News.
Honestly, I'd rather listen to NPR.
I've always known that NPR had a liberal bias, but bless their pink little hearts, they think that they're being balanced, and I genuinely believe that they think that they're trying to get the balanced story. Given the length of the soundbites, I can usually form my own conclusions. Hell, I'll say it right here and now: I've donated money to my member station (mostly because the music was superb.).
But Fox News? Their attitude seems to be: "We know that the others are putting out nothing but liberally-biased crap. To balance this, we must-- MUST! spin our news toward our vision of the conservative viewpoint!" This, to me, is actually worse than what NPR or the rest do. It's intentionally and openly putting spin on things.
But that's not what I'm here to point out, tonight. The bone that I'm picking here is that some editor with Fox Sports News missed a unique opportunity. In reporting a new world record for the number of fat-laden greasy chicken wings (337!) consumed in a given period of time (30 minutes!!) with the doubtlessly unpleasant consequences, Fox Sports News did NOT post:
"Kobayashi The Victor In No-Win Contest."
This gives me a sad.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Uh, I guess that's a good thing?
I suppose that it's a Good Thing when the doctor's office sends you a bland snail-mail form letter, requesting you to schedule an appointment to go over the results of all of your bloodwork that got back from the lab following your physical? I mean, as opposed to, say, a phone call with "ZOMG! You gotta get to the hospital speedy-quick!"
Labels: health stuff