I’ve decided. I’m jumping off that building.

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vis_Marriott

Yep. From a top floor balcony. Right over the edge.

No, I’m not depressed, or suicidal.

I’ll be joining up to 91 other “jumpers” as we rappel down the (other) side of one of the tallest buildings in Visalia. And it’s all for a good cause.

We’ll be participating in “Visalia Over the Edge“, a fundraising campaign for The Source LGBT+ Center. The Source is Tulare and Kings Counties LGBT+ community and resource center, currently operating out of a small office space in downtown Visalia. (208 W. Main, Suite B, Visalia. Downstairs in the Montgomery Square.) We’ve outgrown our center, and need to raise money for expansion to a larger facility. This event will kick off our fund-raising efforts to acquire a building large enough to serve our communities.

I had to think about this for a while before committing to taking part, as I’m a bit unsettled by heights. (oddly, not while in a helicopter or plane. Mostly when looking down the side of a tall building. That glass observation thing, the Sky Deck, on the Sears Tower? You’d never get me to step into that.) I’ve decided I’m going to do it, regardless. I’ll convince myself by saying it’s a “bucket list” experience, and off we’ll go. Over the side. Nine floors. That’s not all that high, right?

I’ve set a goal of $2,500 to be raised, essentially by begging. 😉  The minimum to “jump” is $1,000 but I wanted to go a bit bigger. So…

This is me begging you for some money! Yep, hat in hand, asking “buddy, can you spare a dime? Or $20? Or $100?” Here’s the link to my fund-raising page, please go there and give The Source LGBT+ Center some money. I’ll be ever so grateful.

On November 10th, 2018, come join us at the Marriott, and watch as they toss this dispatcher Over the Edge!

Just don’t call 9-1-1, even if I’m screaming, please.

Where I chat with Los Angeles Police Department Communications on Twitter

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lapd02

So today on my Twitter feed, @KC6YRU, this popped up from the Communications Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. In case the font is a bit difficult to read, here’s a recap:

Poll: On average, how long does it take to fully train a new Police Service Representative (Public Safety Dispatcher) at ?”

Choices are 12 weeks, 24 weeks, or 46 weeks. Most respondents got the correct response, 46 weeks.

The next Tweet is what caught my eye.

Great job and thanks for answering our poll. It takes nearly a full year to train a new PSR (46 weeks average). The training is two phases: Dispatcher (RTO) then Call-taker (EBO). The training consists of classroom, simulations and hands-on.

It was interesting to me that LAPD trains on radio first, then on phones. That’s the reverse at what we do at our agency. I Tweeted at LAPDCD:

“You train radio first? That’s interesting. We do phones and CLETS first, radio after.”

They replied moments later (somebody’s working on a weekend):

We do. The PSR position must be able to perform both functions; radio and phones. Historically, radio has been the more difficult of the two, so we train on that first.”

That’s true for us, as well. The radio will kick your ass. It did mine, and I already knew the area, radio codes, and was an experienced ham radio operator, so I did not experience “mic fright” (a very real thing for new dispatchers). It’s even more difficult for folks who have to learn all of that stuff from scratch.

Our training program has evolved since I was a newbie (24 years ago), from three months of combined radio/phones to a much longer process. Now, we train on phones and paperwork first (there’s a ton of “paperwork” these days, even if most of it is on the computer), then radio. As I was thinking about it, it seemed to me that by doing it this way, we build up the confidence of the trainee that they really can handle whatever gets thrown at them. By the time they get to radio training, they’ve handled a ton of 9-1-1 calls, not to mention the endless routine phone traffic.

LAPD has one of the largest communications divisions in the country, so they know what they’re doing. I wonder what their wash-out rate is, and how long they keep new hires?

My interest in law enforcement dispatching undoubtedly stems from endless reruns of Adam-12 in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.

“Adam-12, see the man, a 415 in progress. Adam-12, handle code-2”

And of course the opening credits:

“Adam-12, a 211 in progress. Adam-12, handle code-3”

(they never did say where the 211 was located, but the good ole’ Adam-12 car was shown rolling code-3… somewhere.)

 

What to do… what to do?

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nfl_knee

Decisions, decisions. I’ve been seeing more talk from NFL fans that they’re going to boycott watching the games because of the players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Now that the NFL has taken steps to ban the practice, by threatening to fine the players, some folks I’ve seen on social media are fully supportive of the move. They also say they’re not going to watch any NFL games if players continue to kneel.

Now I’ve got a tough choice.

I support the players who engage in this peaceful, non-disruptive protest. I don’t at all think it’s disrespectful to the flag, veterans, or the United States. It’s full on 1st Amendment in all it’s glory.

But I find football particularly uninteresting to watch. I already don’t watch NFL, so now, to support the players, does this mean I have to start watching??

I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do that. American football is just really boring, and visually unappealing.

Such a conundrum.

July 4 – Civil War

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alexjones

I must have missed the memo. To where do I report for the July 4 Civil War that’s going to be started by us liberals? Is my BB gun weapon enough? It looks like a 9mm hand gun, but I don’t even have any BBs at the moment. I hope the stores haven’t sold out, I’m sure there must have been a run on them by now.

Alex Jones says we liberals are going to launch a civil war this Wednesday. Totally coincidentally, Jones sells lots of survivalist gear on his site, so after you watch his war warnings, you can go buy all the stuff you’ll need to survive this holocaust. Best choose the “overnight shipping” option, though.

I suppose my best contribution will be in the communications/radio tent. I can dispatch the hell out of this war, but I’ll need all the secret codes and unit designators so I know who I’m talking to and what I’m telling them. I’d hate to get something wrong, and have Bravo Unit attack a Starbucks, rather than the Walmart.

Image: Alex Jones Twitter

(I usually don’t cross post, but this one is too funny not to make fun of in as many places as possible.)

I’ve been recruited. By the Illuminati!

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illuminatiBoy, they come right out of the blue!

And via Facebook Messenger, no less.

Yeah, I’ve been recruited. By the Illuminati. Yes, THAT Illuminati!

Yesterday a person friended me on Facebook, then began immediately chatting with me on Messenger.  My recruiter’s comments are in italics, my remarks in bold. Here’s how the conversation went:

Greetings Mr Jim
Thanks for the friendship
How are you doing?
Hi. Taking it easy today. How are you?
Ok I’m pretty good today by the way can’t complain about
I’m from the DC
What about your self?
I’m in central California
Okay good MY pleasure meeting with you today
I like meeting with new friends around the world so how is your work going
Friday night, so it’ll be a bit busy, and probably short staffed again. So, pretty much normal.
Ok very well. My pleasure. But do you know about the illuminati organization?
Only what I’ve seen in the movies. 

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Audio comments, City Council meeting May 21 2018 – Speaker lambastes city, LGBT group

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“THAT’S CHILD PORNOGRAPHY!”

Well, no, it’s not. Not even close. Gabriel Jacquez spoke at the public comments section of the May 21, 2018 Visalia City Council meeting, and took the city to task for allowing our event, Pride Visalia, to take place. During his comments, he drew a really strange connection between drag queens dancing and child porn. Listen to the recording above to see if you can follow his…  “logic”. I can’t.

Immediately following his remarks are mine, given a few minutes after his. I had planned on simply giving a short presentation to the Council about Pride Visalia, and then invite them to attend.

That got thrown out the window after I heard his remarks. I tried to address Mr. Jacquez’s remarks as best I could, without turning my three minutes into a complete mish-mash.

I’m glad it worked out the way it did, it would have been unfortunate had I gone first, and then Mr. Jacquez following. In that scenario, I would not have been able to respond.

Sorry for the poor quality of the image. That’s me, at the podium, in the upper right hand corner of the image. It’s a screen capture of a phone video, which was recording a video feed that was playing on yet another phone. A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.

Sorry that the audio quality is not the best, either. It’s also a copy of a copy, especially that last few seconds.

You can hear the (almost) complete audio at the article by the Visalia Times Delta, here. My comments are attached to the video at the top of the article, Mr. Jacquez’s in the video further down the page. At some point in the future, the City of Visalia should have an audio recording of the meeting, with the full comments. (only a few seconds have been cut, however. Mostly us introducing ourselves, and possibly a bit at the end of Mr. Jacquez’s remarks.)

All in all, a most upsetting Council meeting for me.

Rainbow Dragons at Pride Visalia?

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Baby Dragon

Draco, in an early pic, 2011

It never fails. I should never let them look over my shoulder when I’m on the computer.

I’ve written about them before, back when they were first born. (I can’t tell them they’re hatched, for some reason they don’t like that. I think it has something to do with an inferiority complex about competing with birds. I know, it’s weird.)

Since then, I’ve kept them out of my blogs, and off my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. They’re already insufferably vain, and making them the center of attention would be unbearable. (oh, if you met them you’d think they’re charming, well behaved, and as entertaining as hell, but you don’t have to live with them!)

They’re seven years old now, and quite the handful. Over the years we’ve managed to not burn down the house or set the yard on fire. Mostly. There was that one time I had to convince the fire department that it was just the BBQ making all that smoke, while they hid on the roof, trying to look like I have a strange hobby of collecting gargoyles. Fortunately it was after dark, and they weren’t noticed. Crisis averted.

Their voices are still juvenile, though. I’m waiting for dragon puberty to hit, and for those sophisticated British accents to kick in. Still sounds like a lot of London boys sniffing helium going on around here, and sometimes it gets on one’s nerves. Good thing they’re still as cute as can be. (When they’re asleep.)

Today, I messed up, and I’m not sure how to contain the furor now unfolding in my dragon lair.

Did you see this?

rainbow_dragon

Boy, they did. I was on my laptop, scrolling through Facebook, when I landed on this. I hadn’t realized Draco was behind me, snooping. (I try to keep them away from the computer as much as I can. It’s really hard to clean smoke residue off the screen after they’ve been watching Dragonheart and Eragon on endless loop.) He let out a very un-dragonly squeal, demanding to know what that was. “Nothing” wasn’t going to cut it.

Draco called the others over, and they all huddled around the computer, squeaking and squawking about it, demanding to know what it was all about.

I told them some humans love dragons (I glared at them enough to make them wonder whether I was one of them or not) and had made some buttons and other gear for the upcoming Pride Visalia. They were quite pleased. And, of course, they want to go.

How do you tell a bunch of seven year old dragons they can’t go to the festival to see the other dragons? They’ve decided it’s not just buttons and pins, and that there are going to be other dragons there. Rainbow dragons.

I’m not sure how I’m going to contain this.

 

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