Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's Official!

I just finished my shift, and I don't have to be back to work until April 12th at 15:45! I leave for FLORIDA in four days and I do believe I might actually get in a post or two before I leave! YAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Public Service Note

This was in my work email today.... thought I'd pass it on to you.
How to Lock Your Car and Why
I locked my car --- as I walked away I heard my car door unlock I went back and locked my car again three times. I looked around and there were two guys sitting in a car in the fire lane next to the store. When I looked straight at them they did not unlock my car again.
How to lock your car safely -
While traveling, my son stopped at a roadside park. He came out to his car less than 4-5 minutes later and found someone had gotten into his car, and stolen his cell phone, laptop computer, GPS navigator briefcase.....you name it.....
He called the police and since there were no signs of his car being broken into - the police told him that there is a device that robbers are using now to clone your security code when you lock your doors on your car using your key-chain locking device.

They sit a distance away and watch for their next victim. They know you are going inside of the store, restaurant, or bathroom and have a few minutes to steal and run. The police officer said to manually lock your car door-by hitting the lock button inside the car, that way if there is someone sitting in a parking lot watching for their next victim it will not be you.
When you hit the lock button on your car upon exiting...it does not send the security code, but if you walk away and use the door lock on your key chain - it sends the code through the airwaves where it can be stolen. Something totally new to us...and real.
Be aware of this and please pass this note on...look how many times we all lock our doors with our remote...just to be sure we remembered to lock them....and bingo someone has our code...and whatever was in the car...can be stolen.
Snopes Approved. Please share with everyone you know... Good information!!!

Out Sick

I've stumbled out here to the computer just long enough to send my apologies for not responding to emails etc. I have a nasty case of strep throat and am headed back to bed. For now the cat has control.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's Not Spring Yet....

The Korean War Memorial in Hyannis on a cold day in early spring.

Veterans Beach was nearly deserted. The light of the sun from behind the clouds danced on the water.
Just around the corner at Kalmus Beach, the waves were choppy and the winds were blowing a steady gale.
Back at home, my indoor Azaleas and a hot cup of coffee took care of my Need for Spring Fever!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Cabbie Tale

Where do I begin? There are so many stories that come to mind when I think of the years I spent as a cab dispatcher in a large mid-western city. For ten years, I worked with the most diverse group of people that you can imagine. From all walks of life, they were a mix of young and old, both men and women, multicultural and with varying degrees of education. Looking back, I realize how dealing with these people on a day to day basis, increased my ability to understand human nature. Or maybe I should say, I increased my ability to understand that I will never understand human nature?

When I am asked to tell one of those stories about back then, I always tell this story. It makes me laugh, even now when I think of it. The only problem is, unless you really, really "knew" Woody, the story might seem a bit callous. This is my first attempt at "documenting" the story, so perhaps I can elaborate enough on who Woody was, and why this particular story was and still is completely hysterical to those of us who knew him.

When I first started dispatching in 1985, Woody had already been with the company for a few years. He had a prosthetic leg, due to a motorcycle accident. I don't know how long ago the accident was, but he had been nicknamed Woody for as long as anyone could remember. He was in his mid 40's and he was newly divorced. His wife, I was told, had cheated on him with another cab owner. Woody had a reputation for being a trouble maker, malcontent and general (pardon the expression) jackass. He was a constant burr in my side, and harassed most of the other dispatchers. He accused us of cheating him out of good runs, and even when he did get a good run, he was always looking for a way to make you feel like you had done something wrong. He was an intimidator,impatient and condescending. This one particular evening Woody was driving cab. He liked working the west side of the city, it was were he lived, and where he was most familiar with the regular riders from that part of town. I don't remember where he picked up the fare, but he ended up taking them to the east side. The east side of the city was where the ships docked; and so sailors, merchant marines, refinery workers, and general riff raff populated the bars and clubs in that area. I was surprised when Woody actually made himself available for a call after he had dropped his passenger. He usually high-tailed it back to his side of town. Sure enough, it wasn't long before we got a call from the Ship N Shore Bar on Front Street. He grumbled, but he went. He hated bar calls; because it meant him getting out, going to the door and yelling "Cab" into a room full of loud music and noisy drunks. These type of calls were notoriously "No-Runs", either the caller had left by other means or wasn't watching for the cab. Woody, after waiting five minutes, called it a No Run and placed himself back in service. A minute later, the call came in from the Ship N Shore again. This time Woody didn't just grumble, he yelled over the radio. But he did go back to the door. I don't know what happened after that, I can just imagine what spewed from Woody's mouth when he got to the door. He had a nasty temper. When I got the call from the owner of the bar, that Woody was involved in a fight, I knew we had to get someone there quick. I gave the "Zone 30" over the radio which alerted all of the drivers that one of ours was in trouble. I then called the PD. I will never forget the report that the first cabbie on the scene gave me. "Get the Police! They've taken off his leg and they're beating him with it!"

Of course, the only thing that was hurt was his pride, which he recovered by the next day; and as much as we wished he would have learned his lesson from being such a bully, I don't think he ever did.

It took years before he and I got along. I don't know why, if it was him getting older, or wiser, but he did mellow out after a while. Sometimes he would come up to the dispatch office for a few minutes to hang out and drink coffee with me. It was then that I got to know how much of a prankster he was. He would wait for me to key the mike to dispatch a call, and then unceremoniously stomp down on his prosthetic leg creating the most gawd awful "hrrrrrrumpf " as the air escaped around the opening between his leg and the device. (In laymans terms, it sounded like a gigantic phart) Here I was, just about to start a dispatch, mike open and transmitting when all of a sudden..... "HRRRRUMPF" over the air! Needless to say, I almost threw him out the window.

Woody passed away several years ago, from a heart attack they said. I don't know if he was still driving cab for a living then, but I'd like to think that he was. He was certainly someone I will never forget. God Bless you Woody, you butthead.

Still Alice

I just finished reading the book Still Alice, by Lisa Genova, PhD. A friend of mine, loaned me her copy of it, with the highest of recommendations. It wasn't the "you should read this", kind of recommendation. It was more like "YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK!" kind. She was right. I couldn't put it down. When I was done, I realized how important it was to pass on her recommendation. YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK!

Still Alice is a compelling novel about a 50 year old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph.D in neuroscience from Harvard University. The story is fiction, told by the main character Alice Howland, a Harvard professor of linguistics. It is a heart wrenching, emotional look at the slow decline of cognition that occurs with early onset Alzheimers. Still Alice reports that demise accurately, as it happens to the Howland family, and they all struggle toward acceptance. But this is not a sad or depressing read. It is positive and uplifting. There is no "happy ending" but the author allows the reader to experience Alice's fight for dignity and her resolve to reach out to others with the same diganosis.

Definately worth your time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lift Off!

From NASA:

Space shuttle Discovery launched March 15, 2009 at 7:43 p.m. EDT, carrying a crew of seven and the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The successful liftoff highlighted a day of perfect Florida weather and a smooth countdown.

Because Otis is a possible landing site if the Space Shuttle got into trouble, our FD went on full-alert tonight. There is a window of time after lift-off from Cape Canaveral that if the shuttle needed to land, it could land here. Our runway is one of the longest on the east coast, but I was glad that we didn't need to test that it was long enough tonight. All the bells and whistles, apparatus and equipment were dispatched out on the runway, while all of us in the COMM center were closely watching NASA TV. It brought back the memories of when I was a kid, watching the Apollo Moon Landing.
I remember how I was in complete and utter awe at the fact that I was watching a man walk on the moon. I remember sitting close to the TV, watching the grainy black and white figures and I can still hear Armstrong's words, "The Eagle has landed". The excitement is still there for me, as I watched this launch, in full-screen mode on my computer. The countdown, the lift-off... all an intrical part of a larger picture; man's technological advances so evolved that we are now able to put an object as large as the shuttle into orbit. At launch, the Shuttle, external tank, solid rocket boosters and all the fuel combined has a total weight of 4.4 million pounds! It can also carry a 65,000 payload. To me, that is an awesome feat! Tonight's only regret? If I had been able to be outside, I could have witnessed the streak across the sky, along with the others who knew and watched.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Northwest Wind Blows

These photos were taken today on the northside of the Cape. Things are still looking rather brown and dull on the nearby marsh and except for the pine trees that dot the road up through the sand dunes to the beach, there is very little green vegetation.

The wind is out of the northwest and as you can see the surf is up on Sandy Neck Beach.

I caught a glimpse of a group of divers making their way to the beach, carrying wetsuits, masks, air tanks. Not for me, I thought. Too COLD! Even in the middle of the summer, the water temperature at Sandy Neck only gets up to 50-60 degrees.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I am hoping to shed some light here on what does NOT constitute an EMERGENCY.
These are some of the types of calls that we field every day. Please remember that for every call that ISN'T an emergency, there is someone with a real life or death emergency waiting to be helped. We don't want to discourage anyone from calling 911 - we are always willing to help, no matter how big or how small the problem. We would however, really appreciate those calls that are NOT EMERGENCIES to be called in to the NON-EMERGENCY business number that can be found by calling 411 or looking in your local directory.

Please do not call 911 to tell me that your power is out. Or to ask me why your power is out. Please call your electric company.

Please do not call 911 to report that your husband found a HUGE RAT in your garage. Please call an exterminator.

Please do not call 911 to report that there is a dead skunk on the side of the road near your home. (yes, I know it stinks and you want it removed) Please call the Department of Public Works Roads Division.

Please do not call 911 because your phone service was shut off. We know that we are the only number that continues to work after phone service has been terminated, but we can't call your phone company for you. Please go to another phone to make that call.

Please do not call 911 to obtain the NON-EMERGENCY number of your local fire/police department. Please check your local directory or call 4-1-1.

Please do not call 911 to find out when the storm is going to arrive. Please watch the news, check the weather channel or call the weather desk at your local newspaper.

Please do not call 911 to find out if your child has school today.

I'm sure everyone has seen the latest 911 debacle about the woman who called 911 about her unhappy experience at Burger King.


Please do not call 911 to complain about a food order. Please speak to the manager or contact the owner of the business.

Hope this helps clear up any misconceptions on when to call 9-1-1.

A fully loaded Russian IL-76 cargo plane...... payload 1 million pounds --- 500 Tons!!
This really raises the pucker factor....

Listen to the "controllers" in the tower who are Australian: Ya gotta love it.
"The Vodka Burner" as the Aussies call it, literally uses every inch of runway....... WATCH THE WHOLE VIDEO.. (shot from the tower) You can HEAR THE CONVERSATION IN THE TOWER. They are incredulous--that it makes it....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Winter of My Discontent

Lately, I have found it nearly impossible to write anything of substance for this blog. Every feeling, thought, idea, word, seems to have been already written, discussed to the max, explored, dissected. I am fighting the time constraints; my work and general living. I find myself pushed to the brink of closing the blog. Yet, the connection with those who graciously comment, and read what little I do post, stops me from succumbing to that temptation. I admit it. I have been in a funk since the election. It has crippled my writing ability. I am in a state of depression over the way the president has chosen to address our emergic issues. I am full of fear for our future, each day growing more and more concerned about the decisions that have been made. It is in each and every post that I read; news, blogs, emails. I don't understand the people with blind faith, the people who are so biased, who have unjustifiable faith in the ONE, who can't see what is happening to us as a country because of his policies. I don't understand their continued admiration and acceptance? Every day I find factual information that should scare the bejeezus out of any normal person. It is pointed out to not only me, but to anyone who wishes to learn, in emails sent to me, by articles posted by respected authors, in pictures taken...things that have been done that just don't seem to be appropriate... the words are whispered, "revolution" - doesn't that scare anyone or is it just me? I am frightened by what that might mean! Am I ready to stand up for what I believe? Are You? Socialism is a dirty word in this country. Yet, for those of us who see it blossoming in our own back yard, are we strong enough to stand up and say NO? There are so many in this country, who voted for this man. This man who brings so much change, so fast, in such a great quantity that there is no time to react, to actually understand those memorandums, (how many pages were in the stimulus bill?) I am afraid of what has happened to us as a country! The American citizens have elected people into political office that have desecrated our constitution, who are trying to put laws into place that rescind our liberties, that will devour our civil rights. I see it every day, in the headlines, the financial reports, and in the lives of my close friends and relatives, all touched in someway by what is happening. The specifics of what I am talking about have already been discussed as I said when I began this post. I could cite many examples of what I am talking about... but you already know these things.... you have already read about them, talked about them. I know this because I read, every day.
I have a very good life. I am healthy, my family is relatively healthy, I work, I have a roof over my head, food to eat. All of this can change in one defining moment... as could your fate, and the fate of those around you. Will you be ready? Have you done all that you can do? What is our responsibility to each other? I feel as if I am an alien in my own land. Practices are being put into place that I do not agree with. Laws are being changed that will affect our future and our children's future. What do you believe in? What are you willing to risk? The real question is how does one survive when all that one believes in is in jeopardy?