Space Geek: Another private spaceship begins testing

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Dream Chaser took to the air for the first time, in what is called a “captive carry” test.  Designed to test hardware, facilities, and ground operations, the test was conducted at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County, Colorado.  A heavy-lift helicopter…  lifted it.  Eventually, they’ll let it go, and see if it can fly!

This one sure looks more like a spaceship than the Dragon, which just successfully docked with the International Space Station, and splashed down today in the Pacific Ocean.  Of course, the Dragon is a working system, based on tried and true technology.  The Dream Chaser is following in the footsteps of the Shuttle, a very much more complex design.  I’m crossing my fingers.

Very possibly, in the near future… Correction: Done Deal

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I’m hoping.

UPDATE:
It’s a done deal. A cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada and back, leaving June 8th. Guess I better start watching old Love Boat episodes on Netflix to see how cruising is done right!

Sledgehammers, gnats, and the occasional sane response

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I’ve always been a jeans and casual shirt kind of guy.  I seldom get dressed up, even for work.  Apparently, that’s about to change.

Recently, my employer put out an updated policy manual.  Most of it was simply rehashed, and sometimes reworded, things that had “always been”.  Some of it was new.  One new part was the dress code.  In the number 1 dairy county in the United States, and the number 2 agriculture county, denim jeans are no longer acceptable wear.  Even though we work in the basement of the Sheriff’s Office/Jail, and are not visible to the public, the kind of clothing I’ve been wearing for all of my 17 and 5/6ths years of employment here is suddenly not acceptable.

Well, not “suddenly”.  Just “kind of suddenly”.  The manual came out either late last year, or early this year, I don’t recall precisely.  We were all required to electronically “sign” that we had read a copy of the manual.  (I had a bit of a problem with this, as we were required to click off that we had read the policy, BEFORE the computer would allow us to actually read it!  Sometimes government logic is best not studied too deeply.)

We were supposed to comply with the “new” regulations at that time.  Needless to say, few did.  In our defense, however, the policy was not enforced until yesterday.

Recently, somebody elsewhere in the department wore something they should have known would not pass muster, even under very relaxed attitudes.  When they were called on it, they immediately responded with “but dispatch can wear jeans!”

That’s when the shit hit the fan.

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A time warp is the only explanation…

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The calendar said it was Monday.  My phone said it was Monday.  The newspaper said it was Monday.  Tulare County seemed to think it was Friday.  Friday of a full Moon.  On a Friday the 13th.

It started off quietly enough.  A nice staffing level, not much going on, things running fairly smoothly.  A nice, calm, reasonable Monday at 9-1-1.  The officers and deputies were all out getting into their routines, as Mondays are generally the beginnings of work weeks for them.  Some subpoenas to be served, maybe a warrant or two, and informants to be talked to, in order to glean intel over events that occurred on the weekend.  We were settling in there in dispatch, looking forward to sedate work shift.  We should have known better.  Just when you think it’s all good…

“WHO SHOT YOUR MOTHER??”

That’s the phrase that led our descent into chaos, nearly shouted by the Duty Officer, on a 9-1-1 call…

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What’s it like at 9-1-1? It’s like this…

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Our center is not as roomy or well lit (too many of my co-workers want to work in the dark!), but this video gives a great overview of most modern 9-1-1 centers.  We don’t have to do the medical pre-arrival aspect in our center, that’s handled by the Tulare County Consolidated Ambulance Dispatch staff, and the Tulare County Fire Department has their own dispatch center, but everything else is pretty spot-on.  Whatever the type of call, we deal with it first, directing it to TCCAD or TCFD if required, or taking information and dispatching Tulare County Sheriff Deputies, or police officers from Farmersville, Exeter, Woodlake, and Lindsay Police Departments.  Prince George’s County, Maryland, has a state-of-the-art 9-1-1 center, and is an example to which other centers can aspire.  Every type of incident here, except the medical instructions, is something I’ve dealt with in the past, and just when you think you’ve heard it all, the Universe will toss something at you, as if to say “oh, no you haven’t!”.

Hi, Dad

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For some reason, and I’m not sure why, this picture reminded me of my father.

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Search engine ups and downs

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Checking the stats for the site is part of the fun of having one’s own blog.  Recently, something in the mystical world of Internet algorithms had conspired to make search engines put a particular picture from my site, and hence it’s related blog post, near the top of the returns when the term “vacation” was entered.  That drove a lot of hits here, and my counters were getting a bit of a workout.

Well, it appears that conspiracy has ended.  As of a few days ago, the traffic directed here dropped suddenly, and the search term “vacation” hasn’t been showing up in the stats page with anywhere near the frequency of the past few months.  It looks like we’re back to the only visitors being those who are actually interested in my blogging!

Of course, this means I’ll have to work on my postings, both in frequency and content, to see if I can bring the numbers back up to the levels to which I had become accustomed!

Two of my Queerlandia posts re-blogged at national LGBTQ site

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It must be my lucky week!  I’ve had two Queerlandia blogs re-posted to a major national gay blogsite this week.

First, on Thursday, my post about a former Merced County Deputy Sheriff suing the department for sexual harassment was posted to their “Around the Nation – California” page.

In that article, I wrote of the harassment Ricardo Olguin endured at the Merced Sheriff’s Department.  It was posted to Queerlandia early May 3, and was reposted at LGBTQ Nation later that day.

On Saturday, May 5, I posted a blog as rebuttal to one that appeared earlier in the week at Queerlandia, in which the author calls Dan Savage a bully and a hypocrite.

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