Friday, March 26, 2010

Funny E-Mail

I received an e-mail that made me chuckle, and thought I would share it with you, on the off chance that it hasn't already ended up in your In-Box. Here it is:

Subject: Animal Rights activists Protested Leather-Wearing at a Biker Rally


Johnstown, PA (GlossyNews) - Local and state police scoured the hills outside rural Johnstown, Pennsylvania, after reports of three animal rights activists going missing after attempting to protest the wearing of leather at a large motorcycle gang rally this weekend. Two others, previously reported missing, were discovered by fast food workers "duct taped inside several fast food restaurant dumpsters," according to police officials.
"Something just went wrong," said a still visibly shaken organizer of the protest. "Something just went horribly, horribly, wrong."
The organizer said a group of concerned animal rights activist groups, "growing tired of throwing fake blood and shouting profanities at older women wearing leather or fur coats," decided to protest the annual motorcycle club event "in a hope to show them our outrage at their wanton use of leather in their clothing and motor bike seats." "In fact," said the organizer, "motorcycle gangs are one of the biggest abusers of wearing leather, and we decided it was high time that we let them know that we disagree with them using it, ergo, they should stop."
According to witnesses, protesters arrived at the event in a vintage 1960's era Volkswagen van and began to pelt the gang members with balloons filled with red colored water, simulating blood, and shouting "you're murderers" to passers by. This, evidently, is when the brouhaha began.
"They peed on me!!!" charged one activist. "They grabbed me, said I looked like I was French, started calling me 'La Trene', and duct taped me to a tree so they could pee on me all day!"
"I was trying to show my outrage at a man with a heavy leather jacket, and he didn't even care. I called him a murderer, and all he said was, 'You can't prove that.' Next thing I know he forced me to ride on the back of his motorcycle all day, and would not let me off, because his girl friend was out of town and I was almost a woman."
Still others claimed they were forced to eat hamburgers and hot dogs under duress. Those who resisted were allegedly held down while several bikers "farted on their heads."
Police officials declined comments on any leads or arrests due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, however, organizers for the motorcycle club rally expressed "surprise" at the allegations.
"That's preposterous," said one high-ranking member of the biker organizing committee. "We were having a party, and these people showed up and were very rude to us. They threw things at us, called us names, and tried to ruin the entire event. So, what did we do? We invited them to the party! What could be more
friendly than that? You know, just because we are all members of motorcycle clubs does not mean we do not care about inclusiveness. Personally, I think it shows a lack of character for them to be saying such nasty things about us after we bent over backwards to make them feel welcome."

When confronted with the allegations of force-feeding the activists meat, using them as ad hoc latrines, leaving them incapacitated in fast food restaurant dumpsters, and 'farting on their heads,' the organizer declined to comment in detail. "That's just our secret handshake," assured the organizer.

Now, you can of course, go to Snopes, and check it out, and find that this is a piece of satire, written purely for entertainment value. If you were entertained by reading it, then I'm glad I shared it with you. We all need a little laughter now and then.

On the other hand, it does bring an interesting question to mind. Why aren't the patchouli-hippies going after bikers in all their leather gear? I don't really keep up with it much, but I do remember news stories in the past where some animal-rights group or another, would throw paint at people wearing fur coats. Usually expensive ones. I don't ever recall a news story where they confronted a biker group. Could be that it never made the news because they disappeared....but I tend to think it just never happened.

It makes me question the depth of their convictions. They're perfectly willing to spout all sorts of foulness, and do things to humiliate others, as long as there are no severe repercussions. Locked up for a night? Fined? Ordered to pay Restitution? No problem. Facing the prospect of a beat-down by someone who isn't wearing a badge, and therefore constrained to using only 'necessary force'? Hmmm, not so much.

It sort of makes one take a deeper look at themselves, at their own convictions. What would I be willing to stand up for, regardless of the consequences?

Reminds of something I've read somewhere, no idea where or when, but it involved a man being held at gun point, about to be murdered. The man holding the gun told the other to get down on his knees, and beg for his life. The other mans reply, " I'm only going to die once, I'm going to face it like a man, not cowering from it in fear." Couldn't tell you how it turned out, as I don't remember where I read it, but it sticks with me. Hope I'm that confident when the time comes.

Take care all, and remember to laugh once in a while :)


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not so good news...

So, I've been seeing the eye doctor fairly regularly since the incident. All the visits have been fairly perfunctory, with the Doc saying that things are healing, and that it will keep getting better. Say, 95+% chance of full recovery of my normal eyesight with just the drops. Until yesterday that is.

I went in yesterday, and apparently, almost all of the swelling is gone. This, apparently, allowed the Doc to see something that wasn't visible while everything was swollen. There is some sort of flat spot, or divot, in my cornea, in the dead center of the pupil. This is why I'm still seeing everything blurry through my right eye. Now, all of the sudden, the Doc doesn't want to talk numbers when estimating my chance of full recovery. Now, we're talking a month or two of healing, as opposed to the week or two that had been on the table previously. Now, we're discussing things like the possibility of surgery, and the probability of my having to wear a corrective lens for my right eye.

It's become kind of scary for me. I don't know who would understand better, those who wear glasses, or those who don't, but fear having to. All of my life, I've had perfect vision. Better than perfect actually, being 20/10 and 20/12 respectively left and right. Now, all of the sudden, I can't see anymore. I can still see out of my left eye fine, but the right eye is all blurry, and nothing I do can bring it into focus. I discovered last night, that I can no longer remove a splinter from my children's hand. The splinter is so small, that I have to bring it close, with the fuzz in my right eye, I can't see what I'm doing, so I close it, and then discover that with just my good left eye, I don't have the depth perception needed to gauge the distance between the straight pin and the splinter, and just totally miss the thing.

For me, it's a painful realization that I may be like this permanently. I guess because vision is something I've always taken for granted, now that it's gone, I really miss it.

I also must admit, that I'm having trouble being a grown up about it. Meaning that I'm having trouble turning the corner from being upset/angry/scared, and asking "why me?", and getting to the point where I can be thankful that at least I still have my eye, and can still see out of it, if fuzzy/blurry.

I hope everyone out there is doing well, and be thankful for what you have, not angry over what you don't have. I know I'm sure trying.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eye Scare

I hope everyone remembers to always wear eye protection. I know I do. Always have on protective lenses at the range, and when I'm in the field, I always wear protection that looks like generic wrap around sunglasses, but is actually mil-spec polymer that will stop a load of #3 shot from 30 feet. Not that I'd want to test that out myself, but better safe than sorry.

This scare comes from an incident where I was not wearing eye protection. Mainly, because I was in a situation that didn't call for it. Namely, my kids' bedroom, Monday night, after bath time, getting the little ones dressed. The oldest, in a little spat of over exuberance, managed to shove one of the fingers of her left hand into my right eye, and up under the eyelid. I'm fairly certain I startled people up to half a mile away with the shout that escaped me as I ran to the bathroom, fully expecting to see blood.

Luckily, there was no blood. The pain, however, was quite intense. I managed to make it through getting the kids to bed, and then the pain ratcheted up a notch to agony. I swear, it felt like someone had shoved a jacked rock under my eyelid, that was shredding my eye with every blink or movement. I finally ended up taping my eye shut so that I could go to sleep, with plans to go to the doctor's office the next morning if it didn't feel any better. After a fitful night of much pain, and little sleep, I decided that I'd call my partner, see if he could cover for me at work, and then head on to the doctor.

I get to the doctor's office about 0830, and check in. I'm thinking that my only problem, is probably something lodged under my eyelid that I can't flush out, but surely the Doc or one of his nurse-types, can get out for me. I'm told that they'd be happy to squeeze me in, but it'll be about 1630 before they have an opening. I think my jaw actually bounced off of the receptionist' desk at that. Seriously? They want me to wait eight more hours, to see if they can squeeze me in for a five minute eye wash and check?(and we wonder why Emergency rooms are so full of ridiculous problems?) Luckily, this cute redhead with a British accent behind the desk leans over, and points out that there's a CVS pharmacy, with a Nurse Practitioner on duty, about a mile and a half from where we are right now. I thank the pretty lady, and head out.

As an aside, I'm not really sure what the deal is with Nurse Practitioners. They seem like a regular Doc, handling everything I've ever been able to throw at them, just without the Doc in front of their name. Great people when you need something sorted out though :)

I get to the aforementioned pharmacy, fill out the little slip, and sit down to wait. Maybe 20 minutes later, she calls me back. We go through the initial questions as she's filing my insurance paperwork, than she starts looking at my eye. She hems and haws, puts dye in my eye, and looks at it under various lights. Then she turns away, picks up the phone, and calls a specialist. She tells me that there is a cut, directly over my pupil, and she thinks an ophthalmologist needs to look at it with their specialized equipment. So much for something being stuck under my eyelid. The NP tapes my eye shut, and sends me on my way.

I get to the eye Doc's, and have to wait about an hour or so before they can squeeze me in to look at me. It's a long wait, but I don't mind that much, because the NP told me that this is the best eye place in the area, and we don't want to take any chances with my vision. I get back to see the Doc, and he does a lot of poking and prodding, more dye, and a greater variety of lights, all while peeking through one of those eye scope thingies. He sits back, and says "Wow, she really did a number on you." Turns out, there is a layer of skin that covers your eyeball, called the epithelium, or something like that. My three year old, managed to shred mine, directly over the pupil. Bit and pieces of hit hanging out and flopping around. That's what was causing the majority of the pain.

Doc puts some numbing drops in my eye, then grabs one of those little swabs, and proceeds to scrub my eyeball with it. Talk about a freak out. I'm getting shivers just remembering it. He gets all the loose stuff off, gives me a bajillion different drop things to put in my eye, and says see you in a couple of days.

That's been almost a week ago. For those first few days, I was down to about 30-40% vision in my right eye, and what was there, was useless. It was like looking at everything through pea-soup fog, all fuzzy and blurry, and of course, bright light just sent stabbing pains straight into my brain. Now, almost a week into it, I'd say I have 85-90% vision in my right eye, and looking at things through more of a haze than a fog. Makes me think of a smoke filled room. Bright lights, while no longer painful, are blinding. Kind of like it hits whatever is clouding my eyesight, and just intensifies somehow.

The Doc says it should heal all the way back to normal within another week or two, but I swear it can't happen fast enough for me. I've already developed a sort of skittish, nervousness about anything coming up on my right side, and the headaches from my brain trying to sort out the two disparate images from each eye, and resolve them into one homogeneous whole are, quite literally, a pain.

While this was not a circumstance that one would generally wear eye protection in, it really drove home for me the absolute necessity of wearing eye protection when you're doing anything that might put your eyesight at risk. I can guarantee that I'll be getting some eye protection to wear for all yard work now, not just the power tools, and just about anything else I might be doing. You might want to think about your own eye protection, and if it's adequate.

Take care all,


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Catching Up

Catching up, I swear, it seems like all I ever do anymore. I had a paperwork SNAFU a few weeks ago. To be honest, something I should've stayed on top of, but I let it slip by me, and it bit me right where you'd think. When you stop and look at it, in the grand scheme of things, it was a relatively minor screw-up. No one got hurt by it, physically, mentally, financially, or any other -ally that you could think of. Don't tell that to the brass though, cause holy crap what a storm it brought down on my stupid arse.

There's a lot of paperwork in this job, probably at least 65% of what we do involves paperwork and tracking things like who's getting out when, how much money they owe a victim, how much longer we'll supervise them, and if /when they complete any of a myriad of little time wasters a judge might tick off for them to do, from substance abuse counseling, to acquiring a GED , attending any one of a number of classes from victim awareness, to MADD, to anger management. The list is, apparently, endless, and if you forget to check off something before that expiration date comes and goes, your butt goes in the wringer. At least, mine does :p

Anyway, I get dinged for a slippage on the paperwork side, not for any fieldwork, arrests, or any actual interactions with the people I ride herd on, but for not paying close enough attention to an expiration date, and checking off a tick mark. Whatever. I'm a man, admit my mistakes, and get ready to take my lumps. Only thing is, the boss doesn't come out with the clue bat, like one might expect, but with a damned pink slip! Talk about over-reacting. Says this slip-up is a sign that my job performance is sub-standard, and if I can't get it up to scratch in 90 days, I'm gonna have to hit the pavement. Wowzers! Once again, I'm a man, I can own up to my own mistakes, and do whatever it takes to make it right.

Enter my direct supervisor, who I always knew was a bit detail oriented, and my new, weekly checklist of paperwork that must be done. I swear, I've gone from doing a moderate amount of paperwork each week, and having a pretty good handle on what my people were up to, to doing 4 times the paperwork I used to do each month, on a weekly basis, and not even recognizing all the names on my caseload. Once again, it's going to get done, and at the end of 90 days, everything will be just so, and I'll be off the hook, for a month or two anyway, and there's the rub.

I could see the striving for perfection and exact paperwork compliance among 100% of field agents, with axes falling for minor infractions, if we were busting. If the economy was good, our agency was fully funded, and we had field agents swinging from the rafters. However, that is most definitely, not the case. The last time we hired a group of field agents, was like December of 2007, and they've all been let go already, over a year ago in fact. RIFed a few days before their one year probationary period would have expired. They found out a few days before Christmas in 2008 (heck of a holiday present to take home to your pregnant wife eh?). Our agency is supposed to have about 540 certified officers state wide, if a recall correctly. Currently, our roster of certified officers hovers just above 300 or so. Don't believe me? Read all about it here. That's actually a fairly decent article, as newspapers go. It's from down in the Low Country, and they interviewed a local PD Chief. Seems the legislature is talking about cutting our agency's funding to the point that about 100 officers would have to be let go across the state. I like the Chief's take on things, though I've never met him personally, he sounds like someone I'd rather have making these kinds of decisions, than some of the chuckleheads we have in the capitol currently.

Anyway, the crux of it all is this. I've got a pink-slip hanging over my head if I don't do my job correctly. Easily accepted, if you can't cut it, you need to find a new line of work. Only problem is, I've got another pink slip hanging over my head, because the legislature is more concerned with funding unemployment benefits, and subsidized housing, than it is about keeping decent people safe from criminals. That's the one that torques me off, because I know I'm going to ace the performance aspect, but I can't do anything about a bureaucrat with less sense than rock.

Legislature is supposed to be working on the budget this coming week, so in a week or so, I should know whether or not I'm going to have to hit up old contacts in local agencies for a road patrol job. If I do, at least it will probably make for an increase in the number of stories for blog fodder :p

Hope everyone is doing good out there, and stay safe.