Alternating Currents Archive

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I’m building an archive for my blog posts that appear at the Visalia Times Delta’s Community Blogger pages.  I’m in the process of copying the existing blogs to this site in order to preserve them.  Some have already been lost in “updates” by the VTD and Gannett, so from now on I’ll be posting a copy of each Alternating Currents blog to the new site.

The Facebook “American Challenge”

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American_challenge_09302014

Seems there’s a new “Challenge” thing going around Facebook, called the “American Challenge”. You’re supposed to show the world how ‘murican you are by taking a picture with the flag, a gun, and the Bible. Never one to want to miss out on the latest trend, here’s my contribution.
The Flag, of course. This one flew over the United States Capitol on September 5, 2004. The gun? A BB gun I bought at KMart 25 years ago, for $12. Don’t mess with me, I’m pack’n! The Bible was given to me by my maternal grandparents as a Christmas gift in 1968. I was 11 years old. In less than 2 years, I was a confirmed atheist. I don’t think that was my grandparent’s intentions, but there you go. The whole gay thing came later.
Just remember, “American Challenge” takers, this land is my land, too.

I think his name was Murphy

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murphys_law

Sometimes the universe conspires to bring together a multiplicity of situations, each of which would be a minor problem on it’s own, but when combined create potential for deadly mayhem.  Last night I experienced that perfect storm, and it could end badly. Here’s a list of the things that could go wrong, and did:  He didn’t call on a 9-1-1 line, and he didn’t speak English. Once a translator was on the line, he didn’t mention the single most important fact of the situation, or the translator failed to properly understand the emergency.  He started off asking to speak to a particular officer, but mangled the name so badly that I had no clue who he was referring to, and wasted precious time trying to figure out who he might have meant.  After much too much time was wasted on what would turn out to be unimportant details, he got around to explaining the problem. I about fell out of my chair once I understood what he was trying to convey.  I was yelling for an ambulance to start, getting deputies responding code 3, and basically cursing him and the translator (to myself, never out loud) for beating around the bush when speed was of the essence.

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Another crazy dream

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I usually don’t remember my dreams, but when I do, they tend to be really odd.

Here’s a recap of this morning’s random neuron firings.

For some reason, I’m going to Bakersfield to see a person who may have been some kind of University-level instructor or counselor.  When I get to Bakersfield, I’m in a crowded downtown area, and having difficulty finding a place to park.  I finally locate a vacant spot, and end up having to walk a great distance to find the place I’m supposed to be.  When I locate the person I’ve supposedly made an appointment with, he says “that’s next week. I can’t see you know”.  We do this in the middle of a large public space, indoors, like a large entry pavilion area.  I follow him outside, still trying to figure out why he won’t see me, when some other man makes a comment about More

She couldn’t find the pick up window in the drive thru

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donknottsI am stunned. Really.  I went to my local Subway Sandwich shop for lunch today.  As I pulled in, there were several cars in line at the drive thru, so I elected to go inside.  That new menu kiosk ordering board throws a lot of people, and I was in a bit of a hurry.  There was a woman ahead of me, picking up a sandwich.  I couldn’t help but overhear, and what I heard left me feeling like this image of Don Knotts.

She had to come in to pick up the order she placed on that drive thru menu board, because she couldn’t find the pick up window!  

She drove right past it, but did not see it.  She was even looking for it, according to what she told the woman behind the counter.  “That’s happened several times”, said the Subway employee.  I really hope she was just trying to make the lady feel a bit less dimwitted.  I’d hate to think it was all that common to have people walking among us who can’t find the pick up window in the drive thru while they’re in the drive thru!

I think what scares me even more is the thought that this woman is very likely someone’s mother!  If I wasn’t an atheist, I might very well be saying “heaven help us!”

What Dreams May Come – breaker breaker

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I seldom remember my dreams.  They fade as I wake, if I recall them at all.  Today I awoke remembering the dream that just ended, and it starred my old CB radio.

Cobra CAM 88

I own a Cobra CAM 88 Citizen’s Band radio.  It’s a 23 channel, tube type AM transceiver, and I have a Silver Eagle D-104 power mic connected to it.  I bought the radio used in the mid-to-late 1970’s from my buddy Marc Cooper, who I believe got it from his uncle.  It’s probably a mid-60’s radio.

D104In my dream, I was showing the radio to a friend, and hooked it up to try it out. Now, I haven’t even turned on a CB radio in probably ten years or more, let alone keyed one up and talked.  But I did in this dream, and heard distant stations coming in by skip.  (skip is when a radio signal bounces off the ionosphere and travels much farther than normal.  When sunspot activity is high, you can hear stations from the east coast easier than you can hear locals.  High power amplifiers add to the noise factor!)

The odd thing about this dream is More

July 5, 1994 – Communications Operator I

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911_dispatchers_never_see copy

I walked into the building at 7am, July 5, 1994, for the first time as an employee.  Communications Operator I.  Three months of training lay ahead, and a year’s worth of probation.  The place was the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the room was in the basement, in a space originally designed to be a gymnasium / weight lifting room.  As of today, I’ve put in 20 years in that cramped space.

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