Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some things I don't get

I don't understand the relationship between women and shoes. I don't understand how in 17 years of marriage, the mustard squeeze bottle is eternally almost empty..Even the brands change, but the low level of mustard is a constant. I don't understand how my kids will come home from the government school mad at me for killing the planet with our 1998 Dodge Durango, then they leave all the lights on and the door open with the furnace running....
Another thing I don't get----people enter the country illegally from south of the border, attempting to escape the poverty socialism has brought their home nation although rich in natural resources and work force. Same people illegally register to vote (thanks, Acorn!) then vote socialist.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

He saw this coming

This is James Madison. He's considered the Father of our Constitution (I recently read the original in the hall of records. Very cool.) If you want to delve deeper into the constitution, the federalist papers are a good resource.
Our founding fathers were pretty darned bright. I love it when someone argues about the constitutionality of something or other, but hasn't really put any time into studying it.
My biggest beef with Obama and socialism is the redistribution of wealth---tax the rich to give to the poor....Chimp pointed out that Obama will get elected because most people believe McCain's plan favors the rich, and most are not rich.
(These quotes are from the Federalist papers, No. 10. If someone does me the ultimate honor of actually being interested in this, well, read No. 51 too)
"A number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community" was his definition of a 'faction'. Today we'd call it a special interest.... Anyway, Madison went on: "The most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have forever formed distinct interests in society" I bet just about everyone can agree with that statement. Madison felt a direct democracy posed a threat to individual rights and the right to hold property...
"A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found to be incompatible with personal security or the rights of property and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths"
This is why Madison, (along with Jefferson, Jay, Hamilton, etc) designed our Republic with checks and balances, and a Bill of Rights...Particularly the fifth and fourteenth amendments protecting private ownership from public use without just compensation....
Here's what Madison was saying. In a strict democracy, there is nothing to stop the humble majority from voting themselves into the wealth of the rich minority. The poor are very temporarily a bit wealthier but there is zero incentive for the ones that can make money to continue to do so, and the democracy fails. There has to be ways for people to retain their property, which is for the greater good.
Madison's spinning in his grave.

Good old Dodge

1993 Dodge Dakota extra cab 4x4 with the 4 liter motor. 200k miles. Left rear and rear window replaced with a sheet of lexan. Windshield cracked, both taillights plastic broken. Rusty. Fuel gauge busted. Radio not working. Holes in truckbed where rocks that outweighed the truck landed. Interior looks like a wolverine was let loose in there....Kind of smells like it, too. Parking brake release is a bare cable.
Runs great.
My Dad, (dead over a decade now) went with me to work the deal when I bought it new. When he died, Mom and I drove it (the truck) to the mortuary then to Home Depot for materials to build his coffin. I brought our first born home from the hospital in it, pulling over every 10 minutes to check on her. (Same daughter is learning to drive now, in the same truck) Middle child may have originated in the same truck. Back when money was tight, made good side cash roofing, building additions, and building decks with this truck. All the materials for our copter station were hauled in it. Rebuilt two homes, totally built one and starting another---hauling way more than the specs say. Moved massive rocks. Spent a Christmas Eve getting people unstuck by pulling them out. Turned it into a big float for Christmas caroling hay rides. Pulled stumps. Erected powerpoles. Drove down Disneyland Mainstreet in it---after hours, to get a tandem axle trailer to recover someone's broken down car again, on Christmas Eve. Been as far south as Loreto, in Baja. Been all the way to Kalamazoo with a cab-over camper.
As long as it keeps plugging along, I'm going to keep it. I doubt I could sell it for what it's worth to me. The one thing that dressed it up a bit was putting really big burly tires on it.

The project starts

Officially started the big project yesterday, 10/23/2008. I'm building a house from the ground up across the street from our house. It will be my second time doing this.
Our long term financial plan has always been to end up with 4 houses--- one for Annamarie and me, and one for each kid to get their foot in the door...They are rentals in the erstwhile. Every property we've ever purchased was distressed in one way or another (only way we could afford them) and this was no exception. It was a probate sale. Cash for the lot, and cash for materials/permits, do all the work ourselves. I know, I know----the housing market is down. I'm still sticking with the plan. I'm hoping to one day be accused of being wealthy. What folks don't see after the fact is the hard work, heart ache, time away from family, and bodily wear and tear it takes to end up with a home, free and clear.
So back to the project. I have the septic permit, which was a huge step. Before I install it I have to move the driveway. In the process, I'm making parking for my neighbor so they can park on the uphill side of their house. If I make the concrete myself (sand, gravel, cement, water) it's $53 a yard. If it's delivered, it's in the hundreds.
That's the theme for these projects. If it's less expensive and better quality, but lots more work, do it that way. That's where you make the profit---sweat equity. (OK so it's lots of fun, too)
This blog's probably going to morph from copters and politics to frequent construction updates. And copters and politics.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I'm scared

Look, I know pre-election stuff feels a bit like we're on opposing sides of a football game with the left v. right stuff. Really, I distrust most government. I work for a city and get contracted out to state and federal stuff. The people aren't evil, but we often take the path of least resistance, and agencies tend to try to take on more duties to get a bigger slice of the budget pie....So, things just grow.
Like Shoo pointed out, when you have one party in charge of the legislature and one in charge of the executive branch, they sort of bottleneck and limit each other.
Well, the judicial branch has taken to legislating from the bench. The democrats control the house and senate, and we're reaching to the FAR left for the democrat candidate for the presidency.
We are heading for an all left wing government, one that is already starting to defend socialism. This is not what our forefathers had in mind for us. Next time you are in line for the DMV, imagine that you aren't renewing your license, but trying to get medical attention for a very sick child. Imagine you dream of starting a business, but the red tape and stipulations on how you must treat every employee make it impossible. Imagine the unions get so powerful they chase every last industry overseas.
The democrats already have plans to fasttrack quite a few issues dear to them---socialized medicine. More taxes for industry and the real hard working small business owners that work 14 hour days and never take vacations, to make things work and keep people employed. Imagine an eviscerated military, and global threats that are ignored and allowed to fester.
If you plan on voting for Obama/Biden, will you please tell me why? If you are caught up in the charisma, or trying to stick it to somebody, or hate Bush so much you want to send a message, will you please think about the things that have made this nation great and the freedoms you're giving away? Finally, will you explain to me where he money to support it all will come from? This nation is strong, but not indestructible.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Not looking good for the Conservatives

Bad move to run a centrist against a far left guy.... Still, McCain is far ahead of what I expected, after the media and others painted Bush as both an idiot and a diabolical terrorist. If Obama wins, I won't leave the country--but my money might.

If I could talk to Obama, Here's what I'd tell him.

1) What's good for Wall Street IS what's good for Main Street.

2) If we hadn't gone into Iraq, they'd be much further ahead with a nuclear warfare program than Iran is now.

3) Your tax plan is punitive against some damn hard working Americans. Not only do entitlements discourage people from living to their full potential, but creating a financial ceiling discourages the American entrepreneurial spirit that drives productivity.

4) The GDP doesn't come from the government.

5) Families are the most important thing of all

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

EMS Nostalgia day

The prehospital medical director from Scripps Health asked if I'd do a presentation for the continuing education day. She wanted me to compare Advanced Cardiac Life Support (all the stuff paramedics do for someone in cardiac arrest) 'then and now'. By 'then' she meant when I started out; there has been quite a few changes, but everything I came up with, comparing protocols and such, was just....boring as hell. Last thing I wanna do is get up in front of 50 peers and be boring. So, I didn't go back 22 years. I went back 3,500 years, and chronicled all the things people tried to resuscitate others through the years. Protocols like covering the deceased with burning dung to re-warm the body. Blowing strong tobacco smoke up their.....(There's a long tube in your body with an opening at each end. It wasn't the mouth) and so on. Thank God for Google image search.
It went well and was well received, and they want me to give it again...Rick Kendrick, (inventor of the 'Kendrick Extrication Device') spoke before me....Not exactly a hard act to follow.
UCSD Paramedic Class 36. Only 9 passed. 3 of those 9 counting myself work for San Diego. 2 for poway, 1 for a private ALS provider. Not sure where everyone else ended up

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Television adds 10 pounds; Computers make you fat

While in Yosemite, I was hiking a little and got winded. That bothered me. Sure, it was 10,000 feet up, but it's just walking!!! New rule for me---always spend more time doing aerobic activity than sitting in front of tv/computer/video game. You can blame the current obesity epidemic on convenience food if you want, or latch key kids, or school lunch programs. You can compare the frozen dessert section or the frozen pizza section to the frozen vegetable aisle and see how little space the veggies get. I really think the biggest culprit is getting entertainment, enrichment, competition, everything else all from sitting in front of a computer.

Night drill

Just got back from the preliminary night drill. Everything went 100% perfect!!. We coordinated a rotation so there was never two helicopters in the drop zone at the same time, and practiced who communicates what to whom, it all worked. It's really much clearer through the NVG's than this picture but I just wanted to see what happens if you take a digital picture through a NVG tube. It was pitch black out. I could have taken a picture of that too. Or you can just close your eyes tight and get the same effect. Everyone did super except one of the pilots, Chris. He did extra super-duper!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fire Prevention Week

It's fire prevention week. Bake a plate of cookies and deliver them to our nearest fire station. We always have lots of public events during this week, now doubled with our new agreement with Calfire for night firefighting. We were demonstrating the night firefighting stuff so while doing the groundfill operation I took a picture. It's kind of hard to tell what's going on----there's a firehose with a camlock attached to the tank to fill it. During the day we use the snorkel and just suck up the water, but at night that's not an option.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Busy week

There's this Department of Homeland Security focus group thing. We give input as to where DHS dollars would be best spent for new technologies for the response community; usually the meetings are back east somewhere. This time, though, we hosted in San Diego. I ran a tour of our dispatch center, and of the helicopter station. A few of the User's Working Group got to go for a night flight to see the night vision technology, mapping data, infrared, microwave downlink, etc. The meeting the next day was somewhat productive....
The UWG Chair is from a state's legislature. We put ihim up in the cabin, and he appreciated the quiet time. We had time for a hike up Cuyamaca Peak which was cool because once at the top, it was a sea of clouds on the coastal side over San Diego.
After the hike I had just enough time to clean up, dust off my 'Class A' uniform and take Annamarie to the retirement ball. It's really fun----they put a slideshow together for each retiree. A 5 minute summary of their entire life, complete with music that captures them. The same guy has been putting these together for years. When you see some of the absolutely incredible lives these people have lived it makes you proud to be part of the same department. They are the ones that make the badge meaningful.
Annamarie has a medical condition that ties her corneal reflex to the shutters of cameras. If the shutter opens, her eyes close.