Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday thoughts.

--I'd like to thank the good people at Sharpie Permanent Marker company for putting such a good cap on their excellent markers. I pulled out some laundry out of my previously-mentioned Duet washing machine the the other day, and a Sharpie pen marker fell out on the floor. I checked everything. Not a single drop of ink had leaked. Amazing.

--I doubt that less than 90% of the evidence that I've packaged up in my career in law enforcement had markings on the packaging from Sharpies. NONE of the software discs that I've sent in were devoid of Sharpie ink.

--Cops often clean up nicks and scuffs in their black duty leather with Sharpies, too, as a field expedient.

--My elder daughter got all A's on her last report card. This continues her year-long streak of all-A's, despite taking all the honors classes that she can, being first chair in band, being well-ranked in tennis, and taking a purple ribbon in FFA. Come to think of it, if she gets all A's this coming six-weeks, it will be all A's for two years straight.  She doesn't know for sure what she wants, but said that she's not interested in going to A-Con again, this year. Aww. :(

--When she showed me her report card, my daughter told me that she really, really wanted a coffee milkshake. I chilled some fresh coffee, and ran her to pick up some Bluebell's Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Strangely, while I made the concoction in the kitchen, my daughter was not impressed with her father's rendition of Missy Elliot's "Milkshake Song." I get no appreciation around here.

--An Aussie is having the Titanic II built in China, and plans to have it launched from England to New York in 2016, under Chinese naval escort. He is starting up his own line of cruise ships called the "Blue Star" line. Are we sure that shouldn't have been "Red Star"? He says that it will be like the original Titanic in every detail... Except that it will have modern engines, navigational and comm equipment, and presumably a bigger rudder, and fewer people locked down in steerage.

--Speaking of James Cameron enterprises that involve some risk and leaving everything you've ever known, Planetory Resources, Inc is a new start-up private company that has some big names (Cameron, Google) backing it, to mine asteroids for their metals. Initially, it would be robots doing the work. But this is a helluva a way to beat the gravity well issue, I'm thinking. Build from raw materials in space. At least, get water for support and fuel. Enough with just NASA doing the space exploration. That profitize this mutha. I'm every bit as excited as Stingray is about this, but I'm too polite to say so.

--My neighbor built one helluva fence repair for a case of Bud longnecks. I have another half case to give him. He's a good guy.

--I've not yet posted about the NRA Con. I will. I have to say one thing that surprised me: I had a great time at a convention. Who knew?

--I've got this paper due Weds at 5PM. I can't seem to get motivated. All I need is an 83, by my reckoning, to get the A. After a semester of graduate studies about Homeland Security, I can tell you with some credentials that the vast majority of the funds that we as a nation are spending on Homeland Security are horribly misspent. First thing: Fire the TSA. Second: Disable the USA PATRIOT Act. Third: get the feds out of our communications companies. It should go without saying that our troops in Afghanistan should be home NOW, right? I promise you, I will vote for ANY presidential candidate that promises to do these things. And if Obama did them before November, I'll vote for him. Watch me.

--Early voting starts today for the Texas primaries, so that I can cast my vote for Ron Paul. If only I could find a wookie suit in my size. (Ironic, isn't it?)  Ah, well. It's too hot for such. Maybe I can find a brown coat. 


More music. You're going to like this.

Referred to me by friend Spear.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cabin In The Woods

Go see it.
It's as good as LabRat said.
I refuse to tell you anything about it, because it's best for you to go in cold.
I will say this: if you've heard that it's a horror movie, and don't want to see it because you don't like that genre*, go see it anyway. One can explore a genre in a new way.

If you like Joss Whedon, you will love this.

I fail to understand why this flick is not getting more buzz. Go see Cabin In The Woods.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just let it play.

From friend Rabbit, I get this.
Gorecki Symphony No. 3 "Sorrowful Songs" - Lento e Largo

Open it up, let it start playing, and then surf in another tab for the next nine minutes.

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Odd, that.

Apparently, in Germany, it's considered quite controversial for a harassment victim to publicly out her harasser. Ariane Friedrich, the highly-photogenic German high-jumper whose day job is working as a police officer, got some unwanted email from a fellow named Thorsten Dersch, who asked her to have a look at his genitalia, with picture attached.

One thing that Germany and the U.S. do apparently have in common is that it's traditional to at least get to know a lady before you go to presenting her photographs of your genitalia on a social basis. Herr Dersch hadn't met that standard yet. You might say that he jumped the gun. You might say that the bar was set a little higher.

Frau Friedrich invoked what seems to me to be her right, declaring that she wasn't interested in his suggestion that she investigate another sporting event. She didn't publicly share the file that he sent her, but referred the issue to the police.

This seems to be frowned upon in Germany, if I read the news correctly: apparently they believe that she should have let the system take care of it. That fascinates me. Their culture is evidently so wrapped up in giving all power to the central government, that it actually believes that a private citizen cannot publicly name her tormentor, without police permission.

How far does this extend? Are threats similarly considered privileged communications? She did not receive that message in the performance of her duties as a police officer (in which case, I would have a bit of a problem with her releasing info on a suspect).

Folks, the social contract that I've always understood has been that, once you fire off your love letter, your horny email, your sext*, your voicemail message, or whatever: it's the property of the person that you gave it to. Yeah, we all see the confidentiality notice boilerplate at the bottom of emails, but a bit of silly gray writing at the bottom of a page does not circumvent a person's right to free speech about personal matters.

Not here, anyway.
*What a world we live in, that has changed so very much in these last 15 years. Back when I was in high school, if you wanted to document your pride and joy in the altogether, you had to buy a Polaroid camera and its expensive film, or else you had to know a lab that was cool with such things. Nowadays, practically anybody with a phone can take a picture of their tender nethers, and distribute the image to everyone that they know, faster than it took me to write this paragraph. People that wouldn't dream of putting a rifle in the hands of a 16 year old will give that same kid a car, a camera phone, and a debit card.  So we find juveniles and adults who act like juveniles sending all kinds of unfiltered pictures with such abandon that we're having to write new laws about them. (Note: That's a REALLY good law that Texas just passed.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

And we're back.

St Louis was quite impressive. I liked it. As a matter of fact, I woke up there this morning, and we drove back just now.

I collected a lot of interesting stuff.

Meeting more of my people was great.

But right now? I've got to go to work.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

This may get a bit sketchy.

Off at 0600. Have to sit on a board of review at 1000.
Have to get some sleep and pack before going to work at 1800.
Then work twelve hours.
Then get off, drive to OKC, and meet with my friends. Then we really travel, east to St. Louis, to meet my other friends at a little shindig that I'll be reporting on. Media credentials should be awaiting me.

Then, back on Monday, in time to work on Monday evening.

We'll, uh, see how this goes.

Oh, yeah-- my phone broke. So I'll be hitting the phone shop to get another one of those, too. Instead of sleeping. Crap.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Shop Tawk

Last night I had a nice chat with Sam, an old co-worker of mine from back when. Sam works in what most folks would consider a small town, but which is the biggest town in about 20 miles in any direction. As such, it's a hub, and as a hub on the interstate highway, it's a local Mecca of business. And dealing drugs, while not a legally-sanctioned business, is still a business. Sam reports that they're finding their local gang list is blossoming like flowers in spring.

"Local" is misleading-- the gangs are oriented toward California and Chicago. Some of the members really are from there. (I was not aware that Bakersfield, CA was a gang haven.) But they're showing up in Sam's neck o' the woods, and they're getting pretty bad. There have been some rather heavy drive-by's of houses. That crap doesn't fly much, in semi-rural Texas.

My good buddy LawDog, further up the (different) road, is similarly working in a hub town, with similar gang problems.

In the small town that I work for, we're too close to other much larger towns and cities-- the gangs aren't really a problem so much as the individual naughty folk.

Half a decade ago, when he got his third arrest in as many days for it, Sam had observed to me that "the whole world's on meth, now." We agreed that it wasn't the possession of methamphetimine that got us worked up-- it was the lifestyle that was repeatedly surrounding our meth users. (Theft, burglary, robbery, criminal mischief, fights, DWI...) He told me last night that in his current town, he's seeing a year's worth of our old city's bad guys in a shift.

I may ride out with ol' Sam one of these nights. No, I don't want to go work with his city, at all. But it might be enlightening to see how they do things there. Just to see.

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Well, at least it served some purpose.

Finding it to be a floating hazard, the US Coast Guard decided to sink the tsunami-dislodged Japanese "ghost ship" Ryou-Un Maru, yesterday.

To see the video, it looks like they needed the gunnery practice.

Interesting that they decided to use the 25mm cannon. I would have thought that a 5" gun would have been more appropriate for sinking a 200' vessel, but perhaps the USCG ship Anna Kappa hasn't got such armament. Or perhaps they wanted to let everyone get a shot. I'm guessing probably it was a Mk 38 that they used?

The depths of my ignorance about such things naval have not yet begun to be plumbed, I tell you.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Thursdays are thursdays.

--Budweiser and Country Time lemonade makes a pretty good shandy.

--New link here: Ghetto Hikes. Funny, funny stuff. 

--My 13 year old went to see "Mary Poppins" at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth on a school trip. Think the kids have been wearing out their teachers this week with cockney accents and "Chim-Chiminey..."??

--It's okay if you don't like kids. Lots of good people don't. But if you're not a nurturing, caring person for kids, I implore you not to go into education, or any field in which you might be required to, you know, nurture kids. 

--I need to replace some shingles that got blown off the roof. 

--While going to visit my partner in Fort Worth last week, I got into heavy traffic at 65 mph, and had no place to go when I suddenly had a very large aluminum extension ladder appear before me in my lane. I struck it with my little Honda Civic. It blew the front right tire, broke the plastic front bumper, tore out some plastic shielding underneath, and there's an odd sound even yet that may be from a crack in my exhaust, and from a loose engine mount. I was on an elevated highway, and called Ft Worth PD to come keep traffic off of me while I changed the tire. There was another guy who stopped. I was hoping that the ladder had come off of his truck. He said that he had stopped to help pick up the ladder after he had seen it blow off of the red pickup with blue stripe, which kept going. Everyone be on the lookout for a red pickup with blue stripe. Bah. 

--We're celebrating my younger daughter's 10th birthday tonight. I'm about to take her out to pick a phone. It's sweet how they beg me to buy them tracking devices. 

--It's wrong that I laughed at this stuff. It's more wrong that I went through the site for 5 minutes, laughing harder and harder. The final straw was when I laughed at this

--I took my wife's car last night to a (SAE Certified) shadetree mechanic friend of mine last night to have him fix an overheating problem. (Needs a new water pump.)  While it was there, I asked  him to change the oil and brake pads. He quoted me an outrageously low price that would barely cover parts. I always overpay him by about 10% what he asks, but this time I may go closer to 100%. Ever since that time that I got him out of a tight spot, he's been overly-generous.  I'm trying to supplement his income. He's a good guy. 

--Interesting article about an interesting guy:
‎"'This generation is so dead,' he said at one point. 'You ask a kid, ‘What are you doing this Saturday?’ and they’ll be playing video games or watching cable, instead of building model cars or airplanes or doing something creative. Kids today never say, ‘Man, I’m really into remote-controlled steamboats.’ They never say that.'" 
Jack White via the NYT. I never said that, either. But suddenly, I'd like to find me one.

--When I was in my early 20s, I didn't really have a clue what women wanted. But one thing was for sure: I wasn't about to let them find out about my bizarre interests!


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Monday, April 02, 2012

Monday bits.

--Saturday we practiced drafting and water movement at the fire department. It was actually pretty fun. First, we threw up a temporary pool, made of a folding steel frame and rubberized canvas. It was about 10'X20'X3'. I pulled the lever over the chute at the rear of the tanker truck, and we had the tanker emptied in under three minutes, and 3,000 gallons in the pond. We then practiced drafting water from it through the engine, and had guys practice handline technique, refilling the pond. We also nursed the tanker, and used it like an "engine" to pump to a handline. We were taught to have the nozzle man backed up by a hose man, both leaned forward into what looks for all like a stance for shooting SMGs and shotguns. But it was just a piddlin' 1.75" attack hose, so the guy in back wasn't strictly necessary. (NOTE: The guy at the nozzle gets all the glory, but it's the guys behind him that do the real work. If they're doing their job, the nozzle guy has it very easy.)

--When I got on the nozzle, I asked for more pressure. I had my backup guy step away from the hose. I called to the engineer: "More pressure! MOAR!!"  They took me to 170psi (100 foot hose), and I finally felt it feel like it might push me over. I wasn't doing it as a stunt; I really wanted to know how much I could handle on my own. Frequently, we arrive at a fire with nobody much to help. An engine might arrive with one engineer and a hose man. I feel very confident about handling a 100 foot 1.75" hose with 150psi. 170, I could do, but I want a really firm place to stand, and I want the engineer to have eyes on me. More than that, and I'll look like this guy, but not having as much fun.

--I noticed that the round analog gauges showed some space for negative pressure, and showed us somewhat above zero when the pumps were off. I asked why. The captain explained that they showed atmospheric pressure. He snapped his fingers to recall it. I mentioned that it was 14.7 pounds, or about 30 inches of mercury.  He said, "Yeah, I knew it was somewhere around 20 psi." Later, in the firehouse during whiteboard talk, one of the young cocky guys looked up from his iPhone and announced happily that atmospheric pressure was 14.7 pounds, unlike what I had said. "You said it was about 20 psi!" He crowed. I found myself surprised at irritated this made me. "Look, you might not have been paying attention in school, but my A's in college physics were earned, you little piss-ant," I began. "I could no more forget SATP than I'd forget the speed of c or the distance of an A.U.!" He scurried off.

--My old college roommate had the cork break in his bottle of MacAllan sherry-casked 12 year-old. He called me over. After we reduced the volume, it was filtered and decanted. What a fine way to spend a Saturday evening off.

--My neighbor has offered to put up the rest of my fence for a case of Budweiser. I bought said case, and learned that he drinks longnecks only. So now I've a case (minus two) of Bud red in cans. Maybe we'll cook with it, or just keep it around the house for friends. Eh.

--My daughter was upset that her tennis coach had told the kids that if they skipped the tournament that he set up tomorrow, they were off the team. This after he had changed the date of it. Lots of kids had planned to go on a trip to see a play with the school, and had a mandatory band practice. I found myself sitting in the office with the principal today, saying, "Look, I refuse to slam the instructors in front of my kids, but can we PLEASE back the pressure off my kid a notch, here? She loves it all." She assured me that this would all be worked out to my satisfaction. This would be the first time that I've ever been in the principal's office on either of my kid's behalf. I really meant it when I said that I support them whole-heartedly. I suspect that that sentence is uttered in that office with somewhat less sincerity by some.

--This week we have a board of review for a new officer, which I am to sit on. I'm picking up my partner to have him sit on the board, too. It'll be good to see him back in the saddle in some way, again.

--Asparagus is shooting up out of the ground in our garden at such a speed that one should wear eye protection while about the garden. I'm only sorta joking.

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