Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The nice folks are sending free gift boxes of sauces to our military boys and girls serving in harm's way overseas
Drop by, give them an 'Attaboy', and spread the word.
The videos will be posted later -- if Blogger gets the problem worked out.
A Gentle Reader sent me an e-mail detailing an encounter she had earlier this year, an encounter she believes was intended to make her a victim. Attached to the e-mail were videos from two separate security cameras, one showing the the incident and the other showing actions of ...
Since my Gentle Reader was not harmed, nor the victim of crime, we shall not refer to her opponent as "Critter". He may -- doubtful, I believe -- have been an innocent man in the wrong place, at the wrong time. While, as I stated above, I have no doubt that he did intend an assault or other crime, he did not follow through. Since everyone is innocent until proven guilty, we shall refer to him as "Person of Interest".
The camera-view of the actions of the Person of Interest -- POI -- following the incident are particularly interesting.
I have spoken with the young lady, and with her kind permission, I will reprint pertinent paragraphs of her report -- redacting personal and ID information as per usual for The LawDog Files -- and add my own commentary following.
Before we start there are two things I feel I must make clear.
The first, and least important thing is that gratitude should not be rendered to me. The young lady makes a point to thank me for advice I have written on this blog. I was not there. It was not my instincts, nor my reflexes, that carried her through the incident.
Yes, I have posted some advice -- however -- the initiative to read that advice, to remember it, and to apply it when necessary, is all hers. Not mine.
Second. Above all else, remember: she came through this incident without being harmed or victimized. Survival is not a graded test. You do not survive an encounter with an 80%, or a 90, or a 70. You either survive it, or you do not. It is, simply put, pass or fail.
My Reader passed. Which means she did everything right. As I comment on her report, I will mention things that I would wish that she had done differently; and other of my Gentle Readers will doubtlessly feel other tactics would have been more viable. Maybe so, but bear in the front of your mind: she came through the incident without being harmed and without being victimized -- therefore she did everything right.
So, we begin:
My story begins early on Friday the [redacted]th of [redacted]. I live in rural [redacted], but work in [redacted], on the edge of what is rapidly becoming known as the bad side of town. Never knowing what traffic is going to be like, I leave pretty early to make it to the office on time. This particular Friday found me arriving exceptionally early due to a lack of utter fools on the road (for once. Every once in awhile, it DOES happen!), so I decided to swing into a local establishment to grab a breakfast kolache, then head back to work. I pulled into a side of the drive that’s not normal for me and noticed a Character walking along the back edge of the lot. Not unusual as we’re pretty surrounded by apartments and we’re between them and the local bus stops. Fortunately, I have assigned covered parking at my office. Unfortunately, it’s in the back far corner of the lot from the building, and right close to where said Character is walking. I keep my eye on the guy as I pull past him and turn down my row and park.
I sincerely suggest that my Gentle Readers read Gavin de Beckers' book 'The Gift of Fear'. While I do not agree with some of Mr. de Beckers politics, his book about intuition and survival is priceless. Please do not order it from Amazon.com -- Barnes and Noble has it in their on-line section.
The intuition of my Gentle Reader is warning her about this man. Many people these days ignore that tiny voice in the back of their minds. Person of Interest is a minority male. It would be all-to-easy for the lady in this situation to write off the warning note of her intuition as being the product of stereotyping, or of unconscious racism. She did not do so, and thus managed -- in my mind -- to avoid becoming a victim.
That was my first mistake.
I should have kept driving. I drive a small Rav4, and I’ve got a huge Ford with a truck bed top parked on one side of me, and a huge suburban parked on the other side, so when I park, I can’t see anywhere but right behind me. Not sure of what the Character is doing, I decide to wait in my locked car for awhile, and watch for him to pass along the back of my Rav4 on his way (presumably) to the bus stop. I put on some lipstick. I listen to an interview on the radio. I gather all my belongings. The entire time I’m trying to watch the back of my truck in the rearview mirror to see when he passes by. He never does. So I try to look through the windows of the Ford next to me to see if I can see him. They’re tinted, and while I can barely see through them, I certainly don’t see my Character back there at all. So I make the assumption that he went a different way.
This is where things begin to go pear-shaped. The POI has broken pattern. If he had followed the pattern he was in when she first saw him, she would have seen him pass her vehicle. He didn't, and the way his pattern was broken suggest he was hiding from her. Why?
That was my second mistake.
I decide to go ahead and grab my stuff, get out, and head into work. I lock the car behind me, step out from behind my truck and make the realization that the Character had hidden on the other side of the Ford and had waited for me that entire time. I usually walk at a pretty good clip, so I was walking fast when I came out from behind the cars and I keep going. He proceeds to get in step behind me. Huge warning sirens are going off in my head. I start looking all over the parking lot. Unfortunately, I’ve timed it well. There’s no one else out there. And since he’s walking right behind me, it’s pretty obvious that he’s got something nefarious in mind. I make a point to look over my shoulder at him a couple of times so that he knows I know he’s there. That doesn’t deter him in the slightest. By now I’m starting to get frantic. I’m making sure to stay in as open an area as possible as I cut under another set of covered parking and finally get out in the open parking. I don’t know if he’s after my purse, or after me and I’m on the verge of panic. Yet, I’m also flying through things in my mind on what to do, and a lot of things start popping up. The thought crosses my mind that my body language will have a huge effect on what occurs. If I act like a victim, I’ll be one. Also, I’ve heard in situations like this that one of the best things I can do is confront the guy and a lot of times they’ll back down when they see you’re not afraid. So I pull my hands up and grab my purse strap in front of me (lesson number 1 from you: don’t leave your hands at your sides, use ANYTHING as a weapon). Then I abruptly turn around and ask “Can I help you with something?” while making sure to stare straight in his face. When I did this, I discovered he was not more than a couple steps behind me. He had gotten way too close. My abrupt turn and question caught the Character off guard. The look on his face was priceless. He managed to mumble a ‘no’ and walked past me as I stood there watching him. I let him get a bit in front of me then started walking, keeping him right in front of me and in sight until he started off to the side of the building and I turned to go into the front door.
The video shows a parking lot, bordered on the far side by a covered parking structure. The parking lot is two spaces wide, and a minimum of twelve spaces across, with five vehicles parked. Gentle Reader and POI are the only two people ever seen. The two enter the field of view at the top right, with POI about 8 to ten feet behind Gentle Reader. At the time she turns to confront him, he has advanced to somewhat under lunging distance -- well within her comfort zone.
This is a wide open outdoor parking lot. It is not a bar, checkout line or other choke-point where we accept others inside our personal space. So, why is he so far into her personal space?
She turns to confront POI, and he walks away ahead of her. I would have preferred that she wait by the end of the car where the confrontation was initiated, then leave the area 90 degrees to his route -- but she got through the incident without being injured or victimized, so my preference is only that -- a preference.
As POI exits the area, he surreptitiously removes a cell phone from a pocket on his left side -- away from Gentle Reader. This is the end of the first video.
On the second video, we see POI walking away from the camera. He operates the phone, and then begins speaking into it as he walks away. I count four glances back at Gentle Reader before POI breaks into a leisurely run and disappears off the top of the screen.
Why is he running? He is wearing khaki slacks and what looks to be a knit short-sleeved shirt. He is in the Deep South, in summer -- why run? It is not a panicked run, nor is it the run of a man responding to a threat.
My gut tells me that Person of Interest was considering an act which he believed that my Gentle Reader would probably object to. When she turned to confront him, she disrupted the flow of events that he expected to occur -- or that he had experienced conducting similar acts in the past.
When she didn't respond the way he expected -- when she became more difficult prey -- he broke off and called a friend for either back-up or a more speedy escape from the situation. The glances back were to see if Gentle Reader was doing something threatening -- calling police, summoning bystanders or the like.
Finally, unexpended adrenaline that he built up during his expectation of committing his act, together with the need to get away from his unexpectedly-difficult intended victim caused him to break into a run, evac-ing the area.
I do believe, based on the videos and on information provided by my Gentle Reader that she did, indeed, avoid an assault or other victimization.
She further identified where she thought she could have done better, and decided upon further training to increase her options, should a similar situation present itself.
She did very well, and I thank her for sharing her experience with me, and allowing me to share it with the rest of my Gentle Readers.
Bloody hell, they're up.
One thing I should have pointed out in the original post is that the area that POI runs through at the end of video #2 is the same area that he and Gentle Reader first appeared at the beginning of video #1.
There is something about eclipses that tweaks the buried primal part of the hindbrain. I know that there is a simple, rational scientific reason for the moon fading and taking on the hue of old blood.
Well, rationally, I know this. Down in the bones, though, a teeny part of me wants to make damn sure that it isn't the result of a dragon with a celestial-sized appetite.
So, I sat on the front porch under that huge red moon and drank a glass of wine until she began to reappear from the shadow cast by her daughter, then went back to bed.
Rather nice -- although getting up this morning for work was a bit harder than usual -- but small price to pay for making sure the moon's not getting molested by assorted mythological ghoulies.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
A friend of mine who took various Interview and Interrogation courses with me many, many moons ago stayed up to listen, and called me afterwards to ask about a couple of the other panel members. We got to postulating about verbal cues, and wound up betting the afore-mentioned steak dinner regarding those two.
Today I discover that one of us owes the other steak and taters.
Congratulations, AD and Babs, I'll think happily of you two kids as I chase my rare ribeye around the plate.
Ah, the good ol' days of marathon, all-night, Mountain Dew-fueled AD&D, Chill and Shadowrun sessions.
I particularly like the Evil Overlord posters.
Hi! My name is LawDog, and I'm a geek.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Eight cups water
One cup mint leaves
Four tea bags
Half cup of honey
Two coffee filters
Put your eights cups of water into a pan and heat.
Put half of your mint leaves into a clean coffee filter, and tie off with clean string. Trim off excess coffee filter material. Do the same with the other half. Roll each bag of mint gently to bruise the leaves, then bung your tea bags and your improvised spice bags of mint into a container big enough to hold all the ingredients.
When the water comes to a rolling boil, whisk in your honey until dissolved. Turn off your fire and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
Pour the honey water over the mint and tea and allow to steep to the desired strength. Fish out the tea bags and the mint bags, then serve over ice or put it in the 'fridge and pour a glass whenever the mood strikes throughout the day.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Well, we're back.
Actually, we got back about 0130 hours on Monday morning, but it's taken a bit of time to peel ourselves off the ceiling -- metaphorically speaking.
Moving two little old ladies from one home to another, whilst simultaneously planning and conducting a 100th birthday party is not -- I say again my last, not -- for the faint of heart.
Nana's party went off rather nicely. Here's a picture of the party girl -- she's the one in the blue:
In Nana's own words: "I look pretty hot for a chick turning 100."
The Governor of Texas sent a nice little plaque:
As did the Mayor; while President and Mrs. Bush very kindly sent a card.
While Nana was being feted, the rest of us humped all of her gear out to the truck, carried it back into her new home, put it back together and fetched Nana.
The new place is rather nice -- we'll see if it suits Nana.
I'd like to extend one whopping Liverpool kiss to the upper management of Hearthstone. While the caregivers there were absolute darlings, nothing quite says, "Happy 100th Birthday!" quite like jacking up your rent by four hundred and fifty US dollars per month -- five months into your one-year contract.
I'm all for capitalism and all that -- so we'll be taking our hard-earned capital somewhere else.
And if any of my Gentle Readers are considering an assisted living facility for a loved one, I'm going to whole-heartedly suggest that you by-pass Hearthstone or Carestone facilities.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
To work around various schedules -- and other things -- we're celebrating her birthday a wee bit early on this weekend.
1907 to 2007. She's literally gone from horse-drawn buggies to the Space Shuttle, the abacus to the personal computer, and wood-fueled fireplaces to nuclear power.
Two world wars, inoculations, powered flight, telegraph to telephone to e-mail to the World Wide Web, the sheer amount of history and change that my little Nana has seen boggles the mind.
The President, the Governor, and various local dignitaries have sent her letters and certificates of congratulation which she has thoroughly enjoyed.
And in acknowledgement of her 100 years on this little green dirtball, the management of the facility at which she resides has jacked up her rent by $450 a month.
After the celebrating is all done, we'll be gently moving Nana to a new residence and hoping like hell it doesn't blow her mind too badly.
See you guys on Monday.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Today I notice that a Chinese couple is attempting to name their newest sprog "@".
Nope, that's not a typo. They are attempting to name their child after the "at" symbol found in e-mail addresses around the world.
This is fresh on the heels of the New Zealand couple who, foiled in their attempt to name their child "4Real", instead named him "Superman".
Which beats out the previous contestants -- a couple in Sweden who wanted to name their baby girl "Metallica".
I suppose I shouldn't whinge -- after all, America is the home of Kal-el Coppola Cage, Moon Unit Zappa, Fifi Trixibelle Geldof, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence and last -- but certainly not least --GoldenPalaceDotCom Silverman.
Am I the only person who foresees a crowd of grade-school kids chanting, "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ..." just before third grader Kal-el Cage or Superman Wheaton is yard-darted into the turf from the top level of the football bleachers by a pack of sixth graders?
Children are sweet. Children in large packs are savage, vicious and sadistic little heathens who live by the Law of the Jungle.
Might as well tie a rib-eye around that kids neck and send him out to play with the rottweilers now -- let him get used to the treatment before he gets to elementary school.
When my legions of flying monkeys complete my Plan for World Domination, this bushwa is going to stop.
And because I will be a libertarian despotic tyrant, I won't even order folks not to hang silly-arsed names on their children.
No, I will simply open a folder for each child stuck with an unfortunately cocked-over name. Inside this folder, I will place several pre-signed, blank conspiracy warrants and two pre-signed pardons.
And every time little Kal-el gets punched in the mouth ("From Krypton, huh?" Pow! "Guess not, loser!") or young Superman gets thrown off the bleachers ("If you're really Superman, you should be able to fly!"), then Mama and Daddy get arrested for Conspiring To Make A Child's Life A Living Hell, and are punished along with the heathens.
The pardons will come into play when young GoldenPalaceDotCom Silverman finally loses his grip on his mud and sets his parents bed on fire. One pardon for one criminal act committed upon each parent.
It's only fair. Not only that, but as your Emperor, it will be my solemn duty to ensure that stupidity -- especially blatant stupidity of this calibre -- hurts.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, I got my final payment slip from the local hospital, and I stood in the living room with the cheque in one paw, and the envelope in another; and I said: "I really don't want to send in this last payment. I'm not ready to go back to the hospital yet."
Sunday morning, at or about 03:45, I was helping Reno strap a selection of fishing poles into the back of his pick-up in preparation for a run to Lake Texoma, when a sudden piercing pain in my face announced that Something Wasn't Quite Right.
"Reno, I think I just hooked myself."
"Oh, yeah. I hooked myself good."
Quick work with a Leatherman -- the carbon-steel American Express card -- and I hauled butt into Reno's bathroom to discover a hot-pink jig buried shank deep in the side of my nose.
Well, to make a long story short, we expended not a small amount of my blood to discover that extracting said jig was a wee bit beyond our powers.
On a side note, I can testify that Mustad makes a damned fine hook.
So, off to the local ER we go.
Thankfully at 0400 on a Sunday morning, the local Emergency Room is blessedly short of customers.
I walked up to the triage desk, and the Sweet Young Thing in the Hot Seat asks, "What is the nature of your ..."
I silently point to my now-dripping snout
"... holy [deleted]!"
Attracted by the yelp, several ER staff immediately descend upon the triage desk. "How did you ..." "You did ..." "What the hell ..." "How in the hell did you get a fishing lure stuck in the side of your nose?"
"Well," I announce, as the adrenaline started to short out the old mouth-brain connection, "There I was, minding my own business, when this little bit of pink wanders across my path, and I couldn't help myself."
Note to self: if you wander into a deserted ER at four in the morning with a fishhook sticking out of your nose -- everybody is going to come take a look.
So. There I am, on the hospital bed, surrounded by twelve -- count 'em, twelve -- nurses, paramedics, techs and such when the doctor enters the room, announces, "What do we ..."
Somewhere near the front of the room, I hear a late comer, "How in the hell did .."
The doctor pokes my snout a couple of times with his forefinger.
Reno murmurs, "Trolling ... pink ... jump on it every time."
Doc sayeth, "Hmm."
Doc leaves. Reno takes the opportunity to snap pics with his camera phone.
Doc comes back with an armful of stuff, suggests dryly that I might want to close my eyes.
I'll give the man props: I didn't feel the needle slide into my nose one little bit. Of course, when the local anaesthetic lit off a bonfire in my snout it kind of ruined the whole effect ...
What really concerned me was when the doctor mused, matter-of-factly, "Looks like it's already been used" just before something smelling strongly of fuel oil clamped onto the jig.
One would tend to thing that an ER would have a set of side-cutting pliers on-hand -- so to speak -- rather then having to pilfer the janitors tool box, but that's a minor quibble.
Lots of tugging as the doctor proceeded to drag me by the nose all over the bed, accompanied by a chorus of "Eep", "Ook", "Jee-zus" and the like from the twelve fascinated bystanders.
I would like to thank various approved deities for modern pharmaceuticals, because --despite the comments to the contrary from the peanut gallery -- I didn't feel a bit of pain.
I was a bit worried that the doctor was attempting to rip my nose of my face to get access to the hook, but when it became all-to-apparent that the hook wasn't coming back out the way it went in, the doctor paused his 'Dog-dragging activities, announced, "Huh", and changed grips.
A sudden firm wrench, an odd popping sensation, and I'm pretty sure we lost a tech or two when the doctor twisted the point of the hook out through the top of my snout.
He clamped a gauze pad on the holes, took my hand and said, "Firm pressure here and here until the bleeding stops. Tetanus booster."
"That's it?" I asked.
"Well, and a 'scrip for antibiotics. And some lortab -- your nose is going to be bruised."
"Hell with the lortab, I'll take a tylenol. Direct pressure?"
"Anything mild enough to be treated with pressure means we can still make the lake while the fish are biting. Thanks, doc!"
You know, one wouldn't think that particular statement would generate the sheer number of rolled feminine eyes that it did, but then the distaff side of the species has always been a pleasant mystery to me.
Fishing wasn't bad, either.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
He knows me so well -- I have a weakness for movies with air-ships. Give me a movie with witches, swordplay and air-ships -- there's no contest.
Stardust it was.
Good movie. It actually has a plot, and the Bad Guys are Bad, the Good Guys aren't, and the Good Guys win.
Advance warning: the plot is heavily romance-driven which may cause some uneasiness on the part of any stray Neanderthals, but there's more than enough humour, hocus-pocus and stray thumpings to make up for any perceived mooshy-ness.
If you didn't enjoy The Princess Bride, then this movie probably isn't for you. If you did enjoy it, go see Stardust.
Michelle Pfeiffer was deliciously evil, Bobby DeNiro appeared to be having a monumentally good time with his role, the kids were earnest without being stiff and the extras were well into the spirit of things.
This one gets the LawDog Paw of Approval.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
For those Gentle Readers who may be less-worldly than others, the Mustang Ranch was, at one time, the largest brothel in Nevada as well as being the first licensed bordello in that State.
However, while interesting, this is not the part of it's history that is really fascinating. What we're interested in is this little tid-bit buried way down in the article: after several years of tax shenanigans by the owner, the Mustang Ranch became the first (Official. Licensed.) brothel run by the United States Federal Government.
They lost money.
Let us allow that simple, yet profound, truth sink into our synapses, shall we?
The Federal Government of the United States can not run a bordello and make money.
One cathouse. Just one. Not "one in every state". Not "one whether you think you need it or not". Just one single legal bawdy-house with an already-established customer base.
And they couldn't keep it out of the red.
Now, this is just my opinion, but if your money-handling skills are so poor that you can't even make a profit selling sex, then you have absolutely no business getting involved in more complicated financial areas.
In other words, if "Slam, bam, thank you ma'am, here's a hundred bucks" is too complicated for you to make a profit, then you might just want to keep your meat-hooks out of, say -- health care.
So, the next time some bright-eyed little bit starts chanting about "Universal Health Care", I'm going to loudly and firmly opine that until the Federal Government is capable of running a profitable brothel ... they've got no business trying to run my health care.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
That's a guaranteed cure for what ails you.
Of the five current contenders for the position, I've gotten cross-threaded with four of them.
Looks like there's a pretty good chance the ol' 'Dog is going to be moving onto greener pastures. Something I've probably needed to do for a while now -- but it still kind of bums me out a bit -- and said bumming isn't conducive to a writing frame of mind.