Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallows Eve

I realize I've been a slacker as far as updating everyone on my life..not a whole lot to report just now. We went to Gatlinburg 2 weekends ago and had LOTS of fun and laughs, then went to a family reunion this past weekend. I'll give details another time, but right now I want to discuss Halloween. I have to work it...again. This is my 6th Halloween here and I've only had 2 of them off. Here's the news article to explain it since it does a better job than I could.

Fright night on Franklin Street: a haunting tradition on Chapel Hill's main drag

Oct 30, 2006 : 8:17 pm ET

CHAPEL HILL -- Police Chief Gregg Jarvies can remember his first Halloween on Franklin Street. It was 1972, and he was a UNC student.

"Halloween mostly consisted of costume parties at the local bars and fraternities and dorms," Jarvies recalled. "The people in costumes on Franklin Street would just be there because they were walking home."

These days, Halloween on Franklin Street is far more than just students walking to or from parties. It's the party itself.

Tonight, about 50,000 people are expected to gather in the street for the annual spectacle. It's not an event the town or university set up. It just kind of, well, happens.

"There's no advertising done for it," said Robert Humphreys, a longtime Chapel Hill resident and the executive director of the now-disbanded Downtown Commission. "In fact, the only advertising that is done for it would seem to discourage people from attending, explaining they have to park far away and ride a bus in. But it doesn't.

" No other event -- except, perhaps, for UNC men's basketball championship celebrations -- draws so many people to Franklin, Chapel Hill's main street. Yet longtime residents and officials are unsure exactly how Halloween got so big, or what the draw is.

As Jarvies noted, people, mainly students, first began gathering on Franklin in the 1970s and 1980s, more as a means of getting to and from parties than anything else.

Humphreys was in the Jaycees, and would walk home from volunteering at a haunted house they organized.

"We noticed there were a lot of people on the street in costume," he said. "We thought, 'Wow, this is kind of cool.'

"Apparently, a lot of folks shared that sentiment.

As the population of Chapel Hill grew, so did the crowds on Franklin. People learned that downtown was the place to see the most interesting costumed characters.

By the mid-1980s, people started gathering on the sidewalks about 9 or 10 p.m., and those in costumes would parade down the street, Jarvies said. Back then, of course, people would remain mostly on the sidewalk, he added.

By 1990, the Chapel Hill Police Department was sending extra officers to Franklin to keep the crowds out of the street. A year or two later, police barricaded off parked cars to prevent rowdy revelers from damaging them. Soon after, the police prohibited parking on Franklin on Halloween night.

Then, by the early- to mid-1990s, the police were closing off a portion of the street altogether.

"We actually had to block traffic," Jarvies said. "The crowds got so big we could not keep them out of traffic anymore."

Since then, the number of people coming downtown has grown and grown. In 2003, when the holiday was on a Friday, around 60,000 came to Franklin for a party that lasted until past 2 a.m.

About seven or eight years ago, Jarvies said, MTV named Chapel Hill one of the top places to be on Halloween.

Every year since, people come from across North Carolina and surrounding states to visit Franklin. Busloads of students from other colleges show up each year.

This year, police expect around 50,000, and have planned for a record 400 officers to provide security.

For the first time, police on horses and motorbikes will patrol, and a longer stretch of Franklin -- between Roberson and Raleigh streets -- will be closed. Shuttles from four park-and-ride lots will take busloads of people downtown.

The police are setting up checkpoints, and any part of a costume that could be used as a weapon is forbidden.

The celebration has evolved into a two-fold event. In the first part of the evening, families tend to gather on the sidewalk, watching the beginnings of the crowd form. But as the night goes on, the children go home and the street becomes filled with university students and out-of-town visitors. The crowds, at times, have grown so big that people can barely walk.

Jarvies said he thinks the number of people has leveled out. But police expect more in two years, he said, because Halloween will be on a Thursday, traditionally a party night for college students. Despite some violence in recent years, for Humphreys, it's all in good fun.

"I've only missed one in 25 years," he said. "I hated to miss it, but I was on a cross-country trek."

Tonight, we've had 11 EMS calls back to back...all for alcohol poisoning and a drunk girl who fell and busted her face. We have no more EMS units to send..they're all on calls. So, we keep getting calls for EMS and have no one to send..sooo..the officers are yelling at us b/c EMS hasn't gotten there, like it's my fault or something. We also had a foot pursuit.

I can't forget to mention that tonight they wanted to switch over to the 800 mgh radio system. They gave them to the officers on Franklin St. and gave us a handheld radio to monitor, but never bothered teaching us how the radio's operate. All the regular shift officers are still on our old system...so they have no way to talk to the guys who are out on Franklin St. Nice, huh? While I've been typing, we've had 3 more EMS calls, a fire alarm, a fight in progress and so much garbled radio traffic I have no idea if I have everyone where they need to be. There's also the issue of all the streets being blocked off around Franklin creating a crapload of detours and traffic nightmares.

Last year, they said that would be the last year. 70,000 people + alcohol ended with stabbings, shootings, muggings, etc. I'm not sure why they expect less people this year, but they more than doubled the amount of officers out there and only gave us one more person. Three people in here to handle 50+ officers, 25 security guards, 5 parking control guys and 20 hired security monitors on only 3 frequencies..on 2 different separate radio systems. Sigh...and the shift is only half over.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Man Flesh!

My dad told me about this over the phone since the teacher is from his hometown. How crazy is this?? His home town is so tiny, you never hear it in the news...unless it's just bad news. I got this off of www.topix.net

Teacher charged with disturbing corpse in century-old vault.

The Associated Press
October 06, 2006
It's not anything anyone would call school-related

A high school science teacher is charged with breaking into a century-old funeral vault, handling the remains of a corpse, and taking photographs of two students holding the bones inside the crypt.

Authorities have charged Candace Longworth, 31, of Bastian, with a felony charge of disturbing and defiling a dead person from a place of burial and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The teenagers have been charged as juveniles.

'It's not anything anyone would call school-related,' said Tazewell County Commonwealth's Attorney Dennis Lee. 'It's just bizarre.'
Longworth has been suspended from her job as a biology and earth science teacher at Rocky Gap High School in Bland County pending the outcome of the legal proceedings, according principal Robert Morehead. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct. 23.

Longworth could not be reached for comment.

Lee said the Sheriff's Department began an investigation after it was contacted by the school administration when least one of the two teenage girls began showing pictures of herself inside the vault holding the bones.

The vault, which is partially below ground, is in a cemetery in Pocahontas, a town on the West Virginia border established in 1884 for 114 coal miners killed in a mine explosion.

Authorities allege the teacher and students entered the vault through a large crack. No bones appear to have been taken, Lee said.

Pocahontas Mayor Anita Brown said the town has taken steps to restore the historic cemetery. She said she was attempting to contact descendants of the person buried in the vault.

The felony charge against Longworth carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

UM.. ok..what was the teacher thinking? Dad said there were rumors that it was a civil war soldier grave and that they'd broken into it, stole his boots and put them on Ebay. Now that would've added some real spice to the story..as if there wasn't enough. Here's another news story from http://www.richlands-news-press.com/

Bland County teacher charged with defiling Pocahontas grave

Richlands News-Press/Clinch Valley News
Tuesday, October 3, 2006

TAZEWELL - A Bland County high school teacher faces criminal charges in Tazewell County that she defiled a century-old grave in the Pocahontas Cemetery.Commonwealth's Attorney Dennis Lee said Candace Lee Longworth, 31, of Clear Fork Creek Road, Bastian faces a felony charge of disinterring or defiling a dead person from a vault, grave or burial place. Longworth also faces two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Lee said an investigation by Tazewell County Sheriff's Detective Tom Reid indicated that Longworth and two students visited the cemetery and found a grave that was over 100 years old which had either been opened by someone or by nature.

Lee said Longworth - a biology and earth science teacher at Rocky Gap High School - and the two youngsters entered the grave and handled the bones but didn't remove them from the cemetery. He said their actions gained attention when another teacher saw pictures of the students with the bones and reported it.

Longworth is free on bond and awaiting an Oct. 23 preliminary hearing. Neither Bland County Superintendent of Schools Don Hodock nor Rocky Gap Principal Robbie Morehead was available for comment on Longworth's status as a teacher.

Now see, that headline made it seem as if they broke into Pocahontas' grave and messed w/ her bones..as opposed to being in Pocahontas County. Misleading, if you ask me.

When Dad told me about this, I had images of people sneaking into the grave w/ black hoods and long draped coats made of human flesh. That seems morbid, but when I think of the back of the coat having hairy man nipples and a happy trail leading past a belly button on it, it makes me laugh. Alright, well I guess it's morbid that I would laugh at that, but I have a strange sense of humor. There is absolutely no point to this blog. I just wanted to share the story. I guess I should've put that at the beginning, huh? Too bad! You read this whole story and you're about 2 minutes closer to becoming a coat of flesh yourself!! Muwaaaahhhhahahahaha!!!! I hope when that time comes, no one takes pictures with your bones.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

One Past Uranus

So I heard the other day that they've decided to out Pluto as a planet. C'est vrai! Pourquoi?? Je ne comprend pas. They said it didn't fit in with the other planets because it rotated on a more elliptical orbit instead of round, so they're saying it's not a planet. Mmmmkay...based on this theory....the little nerdy guy back in high school isn't a human....because he didn't fit in with the others. Those little nerdy guys are the ones who became astronomers, astronauts and physicists.

Poor little Pluto. They also said that other objects have been labeled planets and they took the titles away because they had no atmosphere. Um..they had just said before that comment that Pluto had an atmosphere. Ok, so the rules don't even apply to Pluot b/c it's such an outcast. That's messed up. It's been out there by itself in the cold desolate expanse of space anyway...and now it can't even call the solar system "home". Now..it's truly alone..sniff, tear..
What acronym are they going to teach the kids now?? They can't use the old one anymore since there'll be no pizza at the end of it. Will it just stop at "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nice"? That makes no sense. " Nice what?" "Nothing..there's nothing there." Yes there is...there's Pluto!!

I vote we make Pluto a planet again, but since my vote doesn't count for crap, I vote we come up with a very cool new acronym to teach the kids on how to remember the planets. Like, Merv's Vulcan Ears Moved Jim's Servile Unicorn Nowhere. No? Any suggestions??

Port City to House of Blues!!

Originally posted 9-16-2006

I wasn't sure which catagory to put this under since I was at a work conference...but the only part worth writing about involved alcohol, so it goes under nightlife. There were some neat classes..but it got in the way of the drinking and dancing. I'm not a drinker..but if it's free..stand back people! I drank every night this week. Wednesday, I had something called a Capecod and then 16 Buttery Nipples. I'm surprised I didn't turn in to one...much to Jeff's disappointment I'm sure.

I met some awesome people and had more fun than I've had in awhile. Anyhow, Brooke, Robbin, Amy and I tore up the dance floor on Wednesday and went to bed wayyyy too late. I miraculously avoided a hangover so I was ok. We discussed skinny dipping, but figured that since our room overlooked the pool..so would many others and we didn't want to get in trouble w/ the boss..you know how it is.

We left the next morning and they dropped me off at IBM where Jeff and I turned around and headed to Myrtle Beach to see Rusted Root. We shopped a little, had seafood for dinner and then hit HOB for some rockin' music. The opening band was great, but nothing compared to RR. They sound even better live.

We danced and watched others as they twirled around to the sounds of a true jam band. It was here that I learned something Jeff has tried to explain to me for years-- Dancing has little to do with moving your ass to the exact beat of the song so that you look appealing to the opposite sex. It's all about how the music makes you feel..even if it's loosely based on the rhythm of the song. There may be a small underlying beat to the song that no one else can hear..but you FEEL it..and go with it...probably coining the phrase, "dances to different beat". You can call it hippie dancing or whatever..but it felt great to do it! I realized..no one gives a shit what you look like out there..you'll never see them again.

They played from 10 until about 1:30 and then after our eardrums were murdered and a short walk on the beach, Jeff and I drove home and climbed into bed around 5:30am. I'm exhausted and have to work a weekend that I should have off...but it was a hell of a week and I wouldn't change a thing. Well, except I should have at least flirted with that hot guy that was there. OH..and missing my friend Eric's concert on Sunday...If you're reading this...again..I am SO sorry. I will see you guys play though! We'll be back soon! I really need to get back to work...such as it is...I can at least pretend something's going on. Hmm..maybe I can try to find that hot guy here on MySpace....

Rusted Root, Baby

Originally posted 9-1-2006

Woo Hoo!! September 14th at the House of Blues, Baby!! I'll be there!! They're also playing at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill on the 12th, but I'll be at a conference in Wilmington. The 14th is the day I'm scheduled to come home, but we made plans around it.

So far the plans are that I'll come back from Wilmington, meet Jeff at work then leave for Myrtle Beach. We'll shop a little, have dinner and then watch the show and come home afterwards. At least I get to sleep the next day before work...Jeff will only get 3 hours before he has to get up..but it's Rusted Root!!! So worth it!!

I missed them last time b/c we didn't know about it soon enough and I couldn't get off work. Not this time!! My tickets are on the fridge and my calendar is marked!!! I'm so excited I think I may do the dance of joy!!

First Autumn-like day...

Originally posted 9-1-2006

Today was awesome. The perfect day as far as I'm concerned. It was in the mid-70's, very windy, overcast and damp. To most of you, I'm sure that sounds like a dreary, depressing day, but those kinds of days are when I feel most content. I actually got upset when the sun came out for a bit. I opened the bedroom window and listened to the wind whip through the trees and the raindrops fall as the sky teased with rain. I snuggled further under the covers with my pillows all around and just smiled as the breeze fluttered across my face and through my hair. The only other sound was Farley batting at the blinds trying to get up in the window to look out.

For awhile before I went back to bed, I just stood outside on the deck in my pajamas and let the wind tangle my hair while the dogs played in the grass. It was completely silent except for the wind through the trees. No cars going by, no planes flying over, no lawnmowers mowing, no dogs barking or people talking...it's like the world was holding it's breath waiting for the rain to come. Or maybe they were enjoying the silence as much as I was and didn't want to disturb it. Either way, it was a perfect day for me.

I slept all day as usual but got up a little early to go back outside. I took my time driving in to work so I could enjoy the weather as I drove. There's just enough chill in the air to make me wish Jeff were here so we could cuddle. Anyhow, I just thought I'd mention my very peaceful and content day. After a typical NC summer, today was a blessing!

Daddy's Little Girl

Originally posted 8-28-2006

I heard this poem/story on the radio the other morning and I teared up even though I don't have a daughter. Maybe I teared up because I am a daughter and thought back to my own first day of school and how my parents must have felt. Anyhow...to those of you who have daughters or are a daughter...I hope you enjoy...and try not to cry if you're reading this in the presence of others...I dare you.

Trust You'll Treat Her Well

by: Victor Buono, Source Unknown

Dear World:

I bequeath to you today one little girl ... in a crispy dress ... with two blue eyes ... and a happy laugh that ripples all day long ... and a flash of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you'll treat her well.

She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning ... and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine. Prim and proud she'll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say "Good Bye"... and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.

Now she'll learn to stand in line ... and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She'll learn to tune her ears to the sounds of school-bells ... and deadlines ... and she'll learn to giggle ... and gossip ... and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And now she'll learn to be jealous. And now she'll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she'll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in a sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew. No, now she'll worry about important things. Like grades ... and which dress to wear ... and who's best friend is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she'll find new heroes.

For five full years now I've been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and father and friend. Now she'll learn to share her worship with her teachers ... which is only right. But, no longer will I be the smartest man in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time ... she'll learn what it means to be a member of a group. With all it's privileges. And it's disadvantages too.

She'll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud. Or kiss dogs. Or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms. Or even watch ants scurry across cracks in the summer sidewalk.

Today she'll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I'll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to become a woman.

So, World. I bequeath to you today one little girl ... in a crispy dress ... with two blue eyes and a happy laugh that ripples all day long ... and a flash of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you'll treat her well.

Snakes on a Kung Pao Chicken

Originally posted 8-19-2006

Last night was awesome!!! Jeff and I made reservations at P.F. Changs and had one of the best meals I've had in a long time. We ordered potstickers..which are veggie/meat dumplings for those of you who don't know...but they were fried instead of steamed like we asked...we'd already started eating them before we realized it..so we got those for free. Then they brought us the steamed ones..so we got 2 appetizers for the price of one. Sweet!! The Kung Pao Chicken was incredible and Jeff's Beef Szchwan definitely woke up the taste buds! The dessert was the best part though..banana rolls. MMMMMM!!!! Two bananas sliced in quarters, rolled in a pastry and deep fried, served on a bed of caramel around a scoop of pineapple & coconut ice cream and topped off with fresh berries. OMG..I'd kill my own mother for this stuff!!! A warning..I do NOT recommend taking a sip of a Pear Mojito after a bite of the banana roll...it's way too sour and a real kick in the pants! The Mojito was very very good too..I was impressed. The mint and lime were more prevalent than the pear, but you could taste enough of the pear for it to be enjoyable.

After dinner, we went to see Snakes on A Plane. Ok, I admit I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of going, but I loved every second of it! Samuel L Jackson is just...well, a genius. The movie was filled with his classic lines he's known for...such as...."I'm tired of these MF'N snakes on this MF'N plane!!" as well as people getting bit by snakes in unfortunate places and a dog who meets an untimely death. You have to go into it not expecting much. If you're expecting a straight up action/thriller..well...you won't be disappointed, but you can't take it seriously. It was hilarious watching people fight snakes...not scary..much. There were a few moments that made me jump. The sheer anticipation as you watch a snake slither unnoticed by someone's head and then coil to attack them...ah...so great.

This was just a fun movie to go see. Most movies you see require the audience to shut up so you can pay attention...this isn't one of those movies. The audience cheered and clapped at the high points...like when Sam Jackson uses a stun gun to zap the snakes..or the snobby rich girl's dog getting eaten by the huge snake..or the couple in the bathroom getting bit while having sex...there's oh so many moments like this and I was thoroughly entertained the whole time. I don't want to say too much and give away the best parts! It's very cheesy...but really well done and just so...FUN. It lived up to all the hype that's been made about it so I apologize when I said it was going to suck. It didn't. It rocked!!! Go see it!!! NOW MF'R!

Remember the Constitution??

This is an article Jeff found and posted on his blog..it rocks! Also, the Federal District Court Judge ruled that the NSA Warrentless Wiretapping program Bush proposed..is unconstitutional. SWEET! I'm glad someone has some common sense! Enjoy!

The US Constitution: Anybody Remember It?

by: Trisha Shore

Its a quaint little document, really. One of its major problems, of course, is that it was written by white males and as everyone knows, there must be ethnic and gender diversity in anything worth keeping these days. And so it goes out the window, this little document thats been holding our country together for a couple of hundred years or so.

I say good riddance. Why, really, do we need something that protects us, for instance, from searches and seizures that are unwarranted? So many of us sheep, really, are thankful that our Masters protect us from the big, bad, ugly terrorists. Nobody thinks anymore that our Masters should be protecting us from, well, from our Masters. Some of the used-to-be-sheep have figured out that maybe, just maybe, those delightful, deceitful Masters of ours have actually allowed such atrocities as the whole 9/11 thing to happen.

Nonetheless, it was a quaint document, that Constitution. It said something about how the peoples right to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." In other words, someone cant just go x-raying my underwear at random, unless my underwear has been doing something it shouldnt. There needed to be, in the days of the Constitution, some probable cause that my underwear was guilty of something. Guilty these days means that you ride the subway or board an airplane.

Yesterdays government-schooled children, who have now become obedient adults, think its entirely reasonable to submit your keys and pocketbook to be searched. The police commissar, excuse me, commissioner of New York City, claimed, evidently with a straight face, that "common sense prevailed" when Manhattan subway riders were subjected at random for searches of their private property. "At a fitting moment," commissar explained, "the court upheld the constitutionality of the bag inspection program, one of our key strategies for deterring a subway attack." Evidently a key strategy for dismantling the Constitution as well. But really, whod notice?

When the recent supposed terrorist attack plot resulted in people who had to give up their bottled water and wine before boarding an airplane, we are now expected to acclimate ourselves to the new travel restrictions. Jamie Bowden, a former terminal manager at London's Heathrow Airport, said the new rules may be here to stay. "I think certainly here in the U.K. and certainly in the States as well, people are now getting used to kind of a new way of travel . . . I think, although the airlines certainly don't want these kinds of restrictions, if they believe through government intelligence that it's much safer to fly like this, that may be a new way that people are going to have to get used to flying."

A new way, indeed! And people have been primed for such searches by allowing attendants at such fabulous places as Disneyland to perform cursory searches of our belongings. Our children are being conditioned to believe that our private property belongs to everyone.

The airlines are supposedly independent entities, but the reality is that they are partially funded and controlled by the government. They have every right to ask passengers to do whatever they wish; passengers have every right to take another form of transportation. The problem with this latest government intrusion on airline travel is that no one seems to be complaining. Maybe our Masters are seeing how far weve drifted into servitude.

As some have suggested, perhaps the next step will be for our Masters in the TSA to ask us to travel nude. Oh well. Whatever! say the sheep, who are afraid to seem baa-aa-aad to government officials. Those officials tell us over and over, and we believe it, that if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. The propaganda is working. Most people interviewed by mainstream media seem happy that their sodas are being confiscated: A college counselor made the inane statement that the loss of liquids via TSA search is "part of the price you pay for traveling during a time like this." Yes, in post-Constitutional Amerika.
I should have known we were in trouble a few months ago. I read a story in the Raleigh News and Observer regarding sobriety checkpoints for cars. But its unconstitutional! I wrote the author of the story. To his credit, he was also under this evidently arcane belief, the idea that the U.S. Constitution has some degree of influence in our society. But an overwhelming majority of his readers told him that to question the Constitutionality of checkpoints was to endorse drunk driving. Oh, brother! Or rather, Oh big brother!

And so it should not have surprised me when I found out that people who had to throw out their bottled water before boarding a flight deemed it merely an "inconvenience." And they actually believed that somehow, throwing out that water would save their lives.

A little note here: When I spent a summer in Manhattan during college, I had a boyfriend who used to fly from North Carolina to New York to visit me. He used to bring a certain herb that our Masters have deemed illegal. Personally, I always thought it quite odd that our Masters could tell us what we could and could not grow on our own property. Nonetheless, he brought some of this herb when he came to visit me. He has gone on to be a father, and a husband to someone else. And I have gone on to be a mom, and a wife to someone else. Neither of us has time to fret much about that particular herb anymore, but neither have we nor anyone else suffered one iota from his bringing it on the airplane. A few years later, bottled water is now deemed illegal to bring on an airplane. Yes, bottled water. Do I want my progeny to grow up in a country that has limited so much freedom in so little time?

I have little hope for the sheep of this country, few of whom seem to be noticing that our Constitution, the basic document of freedom for our country, is becoming what George Bush said it was a few months ago: merely a piece of paper.
So it goes. But if the supposedly freest country on earth is no longer free, where might those of us who truly love and believe in freedom place ourselves? Please let me know. Im longing to visit my dad and my friends in North Carolina soon. And I dont want to submit my bottled water to a TSA screener.

A Tribute to Dispatchers

One of my co-workers posted this on his blog and I thought it would benefit others to read it and understand what I do for a living..

A TRIBUTE TO DISPATCHERS By Chief Thomas Wagoner, Loveland Co. PD

Someone once asked me if I thought that answering telephones for a living was a profession. I said, "I thought it was a calling."

And so is dispatching. I have found in my law enforcement career that dispatchers are the unsung heroes of public safety. They miss the excitement of riding in a speeding car with lights flashing and sirens wailing. They can only hear of the bright orange flames leaping from a burning building.

They do not get to see the joy on the face of worried parents as they see their child begin breathing on its own, after it has been given CPR.

Dispatchers sit in darkened rooms looking at computer screens and talking to voices from faces they never see. It's like reading a lot of books, but only half of each one.

Dispatchers connect the anxious conversations of terrified victims, angry informants, suicidal citizens and grouchy officers. They are the calming influence of all of them - the quiet, competent voices in the night that provide the pillars for the bridges of sanity and safety. They are expected to gather information from highly agitated people who can't remember where they live, what their name is, or what they just saw. And then, they are to calmly provide all that information to the officers, firefighters, or paramedics without error the first time and every time.

Dispatchers are expected to be able to do five things at once - and do them well. While questioning a frantic caller, they must type the information into a computer, tip off another dispatcher, put another caller on hold, and listen to an officer run a plate for a parking problem. To miss the plate numbers is to raise the officer's ire; to miss the caller's information may be to endanger the same officer's life. But, the officer will never understand that.

Dispatchers have two constant companions, other dispatchers and stress. They depend on one, and try to ignore the other. They are chastened by upset callers, taken for granted by the public, and criticized by the officers.

The rewards they get are inexpensive and infrequent, except for the satisfaction they feel at the end of a shift, having done what they were expected to do.

Dispatchers come in all shapes and sizes, all races, both sexes, and all ages. They are blondes, and brunettes, and redheads. They are quiet and outgoing, single, or married, plain, beautiful, or handsome. No two are alike, yet they are all the same. They are people who were selected in a difficult hiring process to do an impossible job. They are as different as snowflakes, but they have one thing in common. They care about people and they enjoy being the lifeline of society - that steady voice in a storm - the one who knows how to handle every emergency and does it with style and grace; and, uncompromised competence.

Dispatchers play many roles; therapist, doctor, lawyer, teacher, weatherman, guidance counselor, psychologist, priest, secretary, supervisor, politician, and reporter. And few people must jump through the emotional hoops on the trip through the joy of one callers birthday party, to the fear of another callers burglary in progress, to the anger of a neighbor blocked in their drive, and back to the birthday callers all in a two minute time frame. The emotional rollercoaster rolls to a stop after an 8 or 10 hour shift, and they are expected to walk down to their car with steady feet and no queasiness in their stomach - because they are dispatchers. If they hold it in, they are too closed. If they talk about it, they are a whiner. If it bothers them, it adds more stress. If it doesn't, they question themselves, wondering why.

Dispatchers are expected to have:
-the compassion of Mother Theresa;
-the wisdom of Solomon;
-the interviewing skills of Oprah Winfrey;
-the gentleness of Florence Nightingale;
-the patience of Job;
-the voice of Barbara Streisand;
-the knowledge of Einstein;
-the answers of Ann Landers;
-the humor of David Letterman;
-the investigative skills of Sgt. Joe Friday;
-the looks of Melanie Griffith or Don Johnson;
-the faith of Billy Graham;
-the energy of Charo;
-and the endurance of the Energizer Bunny.

Is it any wonder that many drop out during training? It is a unique and talented person who can do this job and do it well. And, it is fitting and proper that we take a few minutes or hours this week to honor you for the job that each of you do. That recognition is overdue and it is insufficient. But, it is sincere. I have tried to do your job, and I have failed. It takes a special person with unique skills. I admire you and I thank you for the thankless job you do. You are heroes, and I am proud to work with you.

Chief Tom Wagoner, April 12, 1994

No AC & One Less Mouth to feed

If this week were erased from time, I wouldn't miss it. Sunday, our AC went out again...that makes the 4th fan in 4 years we've had to replace. It has something to do with the power flickering and causing surges..but it sucks. Also, whenever it gets really hot outside, or it rains..or gets too cold..our phone line goes out. Sprint can never find the problem...so they suck.

Monday, I felt sick..I couldn't keep anything down and I had a throbbing headache..this lasted through Tuesday night. The house was up to 92 degrees, so I'm sure that didn't help. I ended up curling up in the floor of the office since it's the only room w/ AC. We have a window unit in there due to the heat that the computers put off..think of it like a server room. Tuesday night, my kick ass husband got the AC fixed...so while the house cooled down, we went out to dinner. When we got back..it was cooling off and I was actually able to sleep. Ahh.....AC is the best invention ever.

Today, when I got up to get ready for work, I made sure all my animals had food and water and when I checked on the fish, one was floating belly up. He'd been sick for a LONG time, so I was wondering how long it would take. Last August, they both got sick and I've been treating them ever since...but realized a month or 2 ago that I can't afford to keep treating them. The oscar that lived has a few spots on him, but he's doing alright. Damn hole in the head disease. So..I have one less mouth to feed and being that he was about 8.5 inches long and weighed about 1.5 lbs...that's a substantial amount of food I'm saving! It was still a sad day though..he was a cool fish.

Even though this week sucked, I've had worse..so I guess I can't complain too much. I have a weekend off to look forward to..and date night with Jeff! Woo hoo! We'll go to dinner...probably either at Maggiano's or Ted's Montana Grill and then go see Snakes on a Plane since Jeff's been waiting on it to come out for months. Hmm..Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill sounds good too though..or P.F. Changs..or Rockfish Grill....there's also a Cheesecake Factory there...hmm...can you tell I'm hungry?!?!

Even though Rockfish Grill is incredibly yummy...out of respect for my dead oscar, Hoover and to honor his memory...I think I should avoid eating fish this week. I also had to move my fish to a tank that wasn't on the kitchen counter b/c I didn't want them to see the slaughter of salmon and flounder while Jeff and I cooked week after week. Think of the horror that those little fishy eyes beheld due to my careless placement of the fishtank. C'est la vie. It is too late for regrets now. Ah well..time to get back to work. Au revoir Hoover...you will be missed..though I won't miss you biting the hand that fed you.