Monday, March 31, 2008

In Awe of the KC135

We watched the KC135 do a touch and go the other day. Impressive; seeing something that large come down, float above the ground for a moment, then with a quick bump, soar back up into the sky. I've seen the small Falcon jets do it, but this plane is enormous and I'm sure it takes a talented pilot to make this manuever work.

The KC-135 Stratotanker's main mission is air refueling. It provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft as well as aircraft of allied nations. The KC-135 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations. More info on the KC135

We were all sad to see the F15's leave the base, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this guy practicing his stuff!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Asian American Experience

Please take a moment to read Old NFO's post on a reunion held for a particular group of Vietnamese refugees rescued by a Navy P3 Orion aircraft in 1975.
Years ago, I lived in Kemah,TX a very small shrimping village just south of Houston. During my stay there, I lived in an apartment complex just blocks away from Galveston Bay. At that time, many rescued Vietnamese familes were moving into town. I can remember watching the plight of many of these "boat people" on television. Some of those trying to escape from their homeland didn't survive, others were plucked from their makeshift boats/rafts, one by one. Quite a drama to watch. I'm not sure how or why such a large group of these people were placed in Kemah. Their introduction into the community was not gradual, it was sudden. One family took over the local 7-11 store, another bought the laundry mat, and many others took up fishing for shrimp. A family of eight moved into the two bedroom apartment next to mine. I can remember this influx of people into the community causing a controversy among the local residents. There was a rumor passed around that these people had received grant money to start a business. This was upsetting to many who were struggling to survive the economic recession.(1980) Add to that, the hard working Vietnamese shrimpers who instead of working just six hours a day like their counterparts; brought their entire family out with them and worked their boats day and night, eventually depleting the stock. The situation became volatile, and the day that I moved away, the newspaper headlines were reporting that the KKK had burned a cross in the front yard of an immigrants home. There were other reports of racism against the Vietnamese all across Houston. I did some research online and located a site that explains in much more detail the the Asian American Experience in Houston. I had no idea at the time, what a huge issue this had become.
Twenty eight years later it is all different. From the report:
"Houston's growing Vietnamese population, the second largest in the United States, has remained highly independent, maintaining many businesses throughout the city. The community benefits from high rates of achievement in education, establishment of varied professional services, various Vietnamese-language media, and events throughout the year to preserve language and culture."

You've come a long way America.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How To Handle A Verbal Attack

Unfortunately, I was involved in a verbal attack by my daughter yesterday. Without going into details, I can tell you I was shocked, devestated and speechless. The attack was in public, unreasonable and although somewhat typical of a teenagers frustrations, it was not my daughters typical behavior. Hours after it happened, I was still going over and over in my mind the events that led up to it, trying to understand why it happened and of course, wondering why in the world I didn't feel that I had responded appropriately. I thought of a lot of things I thought I should have said, things that I had wished I'd said but after awhile it became clear to me that by walking away without responding in the same manner, was indeed the best possible solution to the situation at that time. All of this made me realize that I really don't know how to handle a verbal attack. I wanted to share this with you because I did a little research and found that I am not the only one apparently with this issue. I found a website that looked quite interesting. Why You Need To Master Verbal Attacks I decided to write about this subject because of a coincidental situation that occured on a blog that I read daily. It was a post that was political in nature and drew in some controversial comments. In some ways I felt that the owner of the blog as well as some of the other commenters were being abused by one particular commenter. The situation was handled rather well, and I was impressed by the maturity and self restraint that was exhibited. I would really love to start a conversation about this subject, so please take a look at the website, and share your thoughts and opinions on this in the comment section.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To all my friends, readers and blogpals....

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

"All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it."
Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Here's hoping that you find a joy in today, however large or small!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dangerous Smoke - A Rant and Wild Ravings

Tonight we nearly had another tragedy directly related to cigarette smoking. No, not a medical call (Can't breathe, on oxygen, still puffing on a butt). I'm talking about the guy who didn't extinguish his freaking cigarette. Apparently he'd been smoking a butt while sitting in his recliner in the living room. Got up to go to bed and while he lay sleeping in his bed, the cigarette he didn't put out, fell into a crack in his cloth recliner and set it ablaze. The only reason he's alive tonight is because his daughter, who stays with him, woke up in time to call us. No smoke detectors in the house, no fire extinguishers, nothing. Tell you what, if I was that guys daughter, I'd take that old man's smokes away from him! In a HEARTBEAT! No three strikes you're out. You f'd up, almost burnt the house down, nearly killed both of us, that's it old man! It never ceases to amaze me how careless John Q. Public can be. How many times have you been driving down the road and see some fool in the car in front of you, toss his cigarette out the window? (The world is my ashtray). Hmmmmm.... very dry season, flammable object tossed upon dry grass and leaves.... BRUSH FIRE! Oh how I wish I had a dang dime for every one of those calls (Fire in the median on the highway, fire in the woods, fire in the mulch in a parking lot)! Never mind the countless calls for house fires and oops I dropped a cigarette on my lap while I was driving.... and crashed my car. JEEZ people! The worst calls are the ones involving children; accidentally burned by a cigarette or worse, a lighter left carelessly lying within reach. I can tell you from first hand experience, these are all too familiar events. My message to all those ignorant, careless, smokers: STOP IT!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Something To Look Forward To!

Oh yeah.... April 9th! No Agenda... FOUR Glorious Days of Nothing but Beaches, Museums, Aquariums, WHATEVER I WANT TO DO!!! Going Solo... just me, myself and I!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies?

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (Map, News) - Christopher Burda said his friend was so despondent over her father's death and other problems that he believed only a major jolt would snap her out of it.

He said he was "calling her bluff" when he retrieved the 9 mm Beretta he had bought from her father and even reloaded it with three fresh bullets after it failed to fire on Nancy Choquette's first attempt.

Moments later, she lifted the gun to her head and used it to kill herself in Burda's kitchen.

Burda now faces up to 20 years in prison after a jury convicted him Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter in Choquette's death on Nov. 21, 2005, her 51st birthday.

Jurors, who deliberated for just over an hour, sided with prosecutors who said Burda should have known Choquette was too suicidal and intoxicated to be trusted with a loaded weapon - particularly one with such emotional significance.

Burda said he and Choquette, who lived in nearby Stamford, Vt., were talking in his kitchen that night when Choquette's mood changed to anger, frustration and despair about "how hard life was."

He told police her last words to him were chilling: "I'm going to do it, and you're going to watch."

"It was like she needed a slap in the face to just snap her out of it," Burda testified. "I couldn't hit her or touch her, but I was thinking, 'What would jog her?'"

Choquette had told Burda more than once that she was suicidal, Prosecutor Joan McMenemy said.

"He is a primary cause of her death," McMenemy said. "She pulled the trigger of the gun that the defendant provided to her not once, but twice."

Man Convicted In Death of Sucidial Woman

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

This is what I get to see almost every morning, sitting at my desk. We have been blessed, having a room with a view. Seeing the sunrise is one of the perks of working the midnight shift. Every morning sky is different. I wish I was talented enough to paint the sky, with all of it's rich colors, darkness into light. The promise of a new day ahead for most. For me, a nice sleep awaits.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Today I attended a Power Point training on how to handle NON-EMERGENCY CALLS. Yes, they actually required us to attend this training! I was amazed that they were able to find enough material on this subject to fill 6 1/2 hours. Thirty individuals from various police, fire and dispatch centers (8 from our COMM center) came to our facility to listen, learn and share their experiences in dealing with John Q. Public. Let me tell you, what could have been a real boring session, turned into a very interesting and humorous learning environment! Several of the films that the instructor brought with her were hilarious!(Pardon me maam, you said you're locked "inside" your car?) The main focus of the training was to bring us to a positive place, thinking of the caller as "the customer" and delivering exceptional "customer service". The roles of the dispatchers in the room varied from one person dispatch for a PD, to COMM centers full of dispatchers who handle mostly emergency calls and transfer non-emergency calls, to FD firefighters who dispatch when needed, etc. There were several people who had taken the job of dispatcher with a PD to get their foot in the door because they wanted to be an police officer. I'm not sure if they really wanted to be there at first, but I'm glad they came. When they do get to be officers, they will be able to relate to the other side of the mike! There sure was a lot of experience sitting in that room. 15 years, 12 years, 10 years on the job, some just starting out with only 3 months under their belts. It was a good mix. Most of the workbook contained material that I had already seen/heard in other trainings but I did come out of the class with some useful information. Everyone had something to share, a funny story (open mikes, mute buttons that didn't work, unusual calls). Overall, I think it's good to get together with others in the field, as a reminder that we all share a common experience, a common bond. Now if we can just get some training for John Q. Public!

I always knew I'd go this way.....

Monday, March 3, 2008

Not for the Faint of Heart or Queasy of Stomach

Steve Don't Eat It

You've heard the old line from the Life Cereal commercials - "Mikey will eat anything" ? This guy puts Mikey to shame. Consider yourself warned!