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Tuesday, February 28, 2006Happy Fat Tuesday
So today is Fat Tuesday. For those of you not in the know, Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday to the French) precedes Ash Wednesday (tomorrow... duh) which begins the Christian Lenten season. Traditionally Lent is a time of sacrifice trying to represent how Jesus sacrificed his life for us so we could enter heaven. I've always found it a little odd that by me giving something up... like chocolate... would equal someone giving up their life.
Well to each their own I guess but what is more important is that the Lenten season inspired the holiday of Fat Tuesday where people fed, drank, and partied their hearts out... also known as Mardi Gras. I had intended on going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year. To be honest I have never been before and I wanted to go back to have a good time for a change. Unfortunately, due to work and a few other personal issues, it was not to be.
So I decided in honor of Fat Tuesday, and as an ode to New Orleans, here are a few pictures of my time in the Crescent City during the Hurricane Katrina Response:
Bourbon Street: Bourbon Street wasn't the only Street singing the blues
The 9th Ward: Still underwater on 9/14/05
NOLA Medical Station: Located across from the Aquarium and the Harrah's Emergency Operations Center
LSU Medical Station: The LSU Field Hospital in Baton Rouge
Bad Parking Job: Beached boats were the norm
The Street of New Orleans: Empty and desolate... obviously NOT during Mardi Gras
I've watched on the news some of the Mardi Gras celebrations. Although everyone looks to be having a good time, the streets are half empty. A few miles away in the outer parishes, there is still alot of cleanup to be done and people continue to wait for the barest of necessities. Even Britney Spears, when not endangering the welfare of her child, is aware of the current situation.
The Crescent City was divided on whether or not to even hold this year's Mardi Gras. I am far from a party pooper or one to put a damper on a good time... but in a way I'm glad I didn't go. Seeing as how Lent is a time of sacrifice... well I think these people have sacrificed more than enough so a party is just what they need. But when I go, I'd prefer sights like this to be just a ghost of a memory:
St. Bernard's Parish: This is a house ON A CAR... and if you look real close on the plywood the words "God help us" have been spray painted. I don't know what happened to the occupants of this home... but I hope they are okay.
TAGS:Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Fat Tuesday, Katrina, Crescent City, response, St. Bernard Parish
Monday, February 27, 2006Trimon:War of the Lands
One of the great things about the Internet is the way it allows artists of all types to interact. So author Tia Wood has decided to use the Internet in combination with Google Print to publish her first foray into fantasy fiction entirely on the Internet. We aren't talking about those PDF e-books that require a reader... we are talking about the entire book here on the Internet.
How will she make money you ask? Well hell... I asked myself the same question... and as bloggers we should be interested to know that she plans on using the same type of ads as we have on our own blogs. Could this be the future of e-writing? Will Blogs give way to Wooks (Web+books=Wooks)? Will there be any profitability here?
I for one am not only interested in seeing how this experiment works... but also to see how the story progresses. Check out Trimon:War of the Lands and join the Yahoo! Group to follow the path of not only the idea and concept... but also of Larry Wilson and his adventures in Trimon.TAGS: blogs, wooks, Trimon, novel, ads, profitability
Sunday, February 26, 2006Today is February 26
Most people may not remember, but I certainly recall where I was February 26, 1993. It was a Friday and I was working on a report for my college writing class when the television broke into an uproar. The World Trade Center had been bombed.
I remember watching the breaking news, seeing people coming out of the stairwell’s of the building with soot covered faces. It was snowing that day and in between the flakes hundreds of emergency vehicles had clogged the West Side Highway responding to the attack. Back then, there was the Fire Department of New York, the New York Police Department, and New York City EMS.
I distinctly remember thinking how that was something I might want to do in my free time. It would be another year and four months before I joined the FHVAC and almost two years before I actually became a certified EMT after the college thing just didn’t work out. The perpetrator of the attack, a Kuwaiti named Ramzi Yousef was arrested on February 7, 1995 in Pakistan. He was convicted on November 12, 1997 and is being held at the Supermax prison ADX Florence.
So why mention it here and now? Well, in case no one noticed the United States was about to hand control of six US Ports over to a foreign nation who has had ties to financing this attack on US Soil. Some parties in the US have called this “Arab bashing” and “racial profiling” amongst other things.
I don’t see the Arab bashing. What I do see is profiling… but not necessarily racial profiling. I see this more as political profiling or perhaps even religious profiling. How can the US allow control of its ports, which by the way are some of the most insecure entry points into the US, to be operated by a known supporter and funder of terrorism against the US and its allies? More importantly, how can we allow it to be governed by people who cannot peacefully deal with a few cartoons they might find religiously offensive? Does this mean that all products coming from Denmark and through those ports will be turned around?
People are always asking the theoretical question of “how much does freedom cost?” when talking about the intangible concepts of profiling and government surveillance. I think we should resolve the tangibles before we start worrying about the intangibles. By the time we figure all the intangibles out we’ll find our ports are owned by countries overseas, the southern border owned by Mexicans, and the northern border owned by the Canadians.
If idealists insist on arguing over the intangibles now, then blanket the tangibles. Pass legislation forbidding foreign governments or corporations from owning and operating assets within the United States. Someone needs to take notice and learn a lesson from history… or let’s just start a pool on what US target will be hit next by those cartoon connoisseurs overseas.
Saturday, February 25, 2006Wolf Watching and listening to Gidget
So its another great Saturday night with my wolves... Mickey Dee's was the dinner of choice for them... and soup for me. It ain't right I tell you... ain't right.
So as they're settling down I started surfing around... and it turns out Gidget not only has a BRAND NEW template (of which... yes... I am jealous...) that Stephanie did for her... but she's broadcasting tonight from 9-12 live. So... I'm wolf watching, listening to Gidget, and getting ready to call the Izzy.
Only one thing missing in all this... a beer. So go listen to the Gidget over at the Big Dawg Radio Network... and you can request anything hard core in my honor for tipping you off. Thanks.
Thursday, February 23, 2006YOU BETTER CLICK HERE OR ELSE!!!
Look in the box to your right. See her... sitting there... all seductive like... if you look really close... go on... click away... and get that Sharon Stone moment from Basic Instinct.
Ok... so I have a new renter. You guys need to go see Cat. Not only is her blog beautiful, but so is she. Remember how I had my mental day? Well she has some of the same issues... only she is much more educated on it and much more eloquent about the whole thing. When she says, "Hi my name is Cat." I would say, "Ugggh. Me Cave dog." But don't get rude or anything you ruffians... this is one pussy you don't want to mess with... unlike...
And don't forget to check out the soon to be live:
Ok, so there are alot of beautiful blogs out there. Are there that many skilled designers? Well there sure are alot. Digitally Essential did my friend Monique's blog... and they did a helluva a job. Troll Baby Graphics is another popular design service I've seen a few times but most notable on One Lazy Lesbian, and they have CafePress gear (my CafePress stuff is under review... some crap about trademarks or something). Then there are the creators of the Occasional Bitch template I love and drool over so very much West Designs. Then of course there are the Web Divas who have been held responsible for Mommy's Busy Take A Number. Of course there is also Stephanie over at Mystickal Incense who also does blog design besides making the candles (of which I am eagerly anticipating mine to arrive any day now... ah... soon to be bathed in the aroma of vanilla... but I digress).
Anyone see a common theme in all of this. Right... you are all women!!! Damnit! I am a man! I like to do manly things! I've come to the conclusion that women comprise at least 90% of the blogosphere. Want proof? All the fellas in the house gimme a "Hell Yeah!"! What? What? One more time... All the fellas in the house gimme a "Hell Yeah!"! Oh... okay... good looking RockyJay... glad to see you brother... now all the ladies in the house give me a "Hell Yeah!"! What? What? Oh... right... okay... how about all the BITCHES in the house give me a "Hell Yeah!"! Whoa! Yes... that high pitched roar we all just heard that blew out our speakers are the women of the blogosphere. See... I hate to be a told you so... but I told you so.
Okay. So here's the deal. I'm officially putting out an RFP (request for proposal). Here's what I want:
So what am I willing to pay for all this. I've seen alot of different price ranges especially for a Blogger template. Let's say the price is negotiable... although I will view any bid over $220.00 to be above budget. In addition, you will of course receive credit on the template that will be there for as long as I use it. I will also advertise your site on a variety of Banner Exchanges with one of my Mini-Dog banners and directing any hits onto it to whichever page you like. Right now I'm thinking of 10,000 views... but I may double that depending on your bid price.
Finally... you will be the proud designer of a manly blog. Now how's that for history? So... Blog Doctor's... let the consultations begin... and make me into a Blogging Swan!!!
First things first... BLOGMAD is going to do their Bugout day this Saturday... so if you haven't gotten in yet on the ground floor of this soon to be (hopefully next week) live traffic gem... then do it NOW!!!
To be honest as I so often am… I am in zero mood to be blogging tonight. Today has been a bad day again… not like the other bad day I recently had… but bad in other ways.
Let’s start with the fact Izzy and I have been fighting since Monday. Because we lead relatively complicated lives, Monday is sort of “our” night. However, this past Monday and Tuesday I was stuck working some marathon sessions. Yesterday we were still being snippy with each other, and things worsened of course today. That’s really all I’m going to say about it… it bothers me too much right now to even write about it.
This morning I received two root canals and a screw into my jaw. Yes… I was back at the dentist. I am getting four posts done from doing some severe damage to my grill, and it is taking awhile partially due to cost but mostly due to the fact I hate the dentist. The smell… the sounds… the pain! Right... you too huh?
So my front upper four are being posted. I had two root canals done two weeks ago… and then this morning he did the other two. The root canals aren’t bad when they get done… seeing as how he gases me and throws something like four amps of novacaine when he does them. The after effects are killer. Ontop of the two left root canals he did, he tossed on a temporary crown with a post on one of the two root canals he had done last time. So… I now have a screw drilled into my jaw that is also causing me extreme discomfort.
Now to add difficulty to everything… I ended up on a board today again since my one dispatcher wrecked her car yesterday. She’ll be okay… so don’t worry… but she’s out the rest of the week. So having to do all this talking and stuff today really was not how I wanted to spend the day. Of course… I sounded like crap and had to repeat EVERYTHING at least twice. Yeah… not a good day at all.
So why am I here? Why am I blogging? Well… I need something to take my mind off Izzy… and surfing isn’t doing it. All these pretty blogs out there… all these beautiful nicely laid out with hot graphics blogs. And then… there is mine. Maybe the light text on black background is getting to me. Or maybe I’m becoming narcissistic like that Humpty person. But then what am I to do?
I could try designing from scratch… but let’s face it… I’m old… and with all the new scripts going and different things that have caught on I’d be nuts to think I could come up with something as hot as everyone else… especially the graphics. I’m very bad at graphics. Although I do like my Mini-Dog avatar… still… I feel I need better graphics. Maybe a better all around design. I know what I need… I need a friggin’ Blog Doctor to make my blog look better. Maybe that’ll make me feel better. Maybe that will put a smile back on my blogging persona... maybe... just maybe...
Wednesday, February 22, 2006My Personality
Today is a better day. Let me first say that no one was the target of yesterday's rant... well except for that phony Humpty-Lumpty person. No one should think I was directly referring to them or their own blog schedules about rant days (I mean really Stephanie... so egotistical LOL... but THAT rant cartoon had me ROFLing... Jesus with a gun... that's what I'm talking about!!!)... it was just something I always found peculiar and threw it in there seeing as how my blood was boiling over other things. Thanks and lotsa love to everyone out there who were concerned by my turn to the dark side.
The truth is there have been alot of factors leading up to it. I suffer from a mixture of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression. Now don't go gasping at the sound of it... my affliction is very mild compared to what others are going through with PTSD or the other illnesses that are out there.
One of the most common misconceptions of PTSD is that it makes the afflicted skittish and phobic with a bunch of nightmares. In my case, it makes me lose sleep and my anger becomes enhanced and all consuming because I have problems regulating the emotion under stress. One of my partners likened it to having Multiple Personality Disorder, because I could be smiles one minute and snap out the next. I think MPD is much worse... because at least I know what I'm doing even if I don't see how wrong it might be in the moment... but I can relate to people like Cat who suffer from it... because when I've calmed down... it's usually "Oh shit... what did I do now?"
Having PTSD coupled with clinical depression made the doctors actually consider me a complex case and prescribe meds. I was on them for a short time... but I didn't care for them or the way they made me feel... so now I'm med free against what is "medically sound" advice.
Work lately has been pretty stressful. I'm often left wondering if I want to continue doing what I'm doing as opposed to doing what I want to be doing. Right now I manage a dispatch center with oversight of over 100 units daily. What I'd like to be doing is to be on one of those 100 units. I have my good days and my bad days... and lately its been more bad than good... which builds up to the point where I have a day like yesterday... and I just need to blow.
To be honest... it's probably alot better to blow here than in person. This way no one goes through a window or a desk... no one hears the screams... and I get paid for one more day which means DJ eats. So once again... it wasn't aimed at any one person or group... although to be honest I do think IT2M lost some stock value by adding a guy reviewer... but at least they're remaining honest.
Here's a site that I found that does online Johari Windows. I've done one of these before during a management training seminar... so I'm interested what you my fellow bloggers think of me. So feel free to go on and check it out... and thanks again for all those who expressed concern for me both publicly and privately.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006BEWARE OF THE DOG
Guess which one I’m choosing on this post fucker? Now find out why my bite is worse than my bark.
I can never understand how people can schedule certain things on their blogs. I can understand contest day, self-portrait day, favorite pet day, and all the other days that people can imagine in their wildest and most benevolent days. However, there is one day I could never understand anyone pre-scheduling.
Rant day. How in the bloody hell do you schedule a rant day. Do they divine with tea leaves to decide that every damn Sunday is going to be a rant day? Do they roll a set of decision dice to ascertain from the 1d6 gods of chance what day it should be? Do they set their alarm clock with a metal wire attaching it to their big toe the night before every Wednesday so when the clock goes off they get a shock enough to give them some atrial fibrillation and put them in a pissy mood?
Oh, and what happens when it isn’t “Rant Day”? So do you mean to tell me that if it isn’t rant day then you can’t write about how pissed off you are and instead are required to write about how the kitty looked so damn cute in the outfit you torturously put on him and probably emotionally scarred him for life with? Are you supposed to be all smiles and smootchy bootchies while the world crumbles around you? So its phony ass people like that who I want to take my boot… turn it sideways… and send it right up their asses.
On the topic of phony people… everyone remembers how pissed off I was about poor little Humpty-Lumpty… the girl with the plastic surgery blog who found all these “comments about me on other people’s personal blogs” and was upset about it (mainly because I wasn't quoted). Well guess what… it’s more than her tits that are plastic… ‘cause she’s a phony fuck just like my old man. See… all those comments… came from one place… yes… that’s right… one blog… in fact to be correct, a comment section of one blog. Can you guess the blog? That’s right… the shit stomping ground of the Bitches ‘O’ Blogs…the Queens of PHP... the Dishes of Disasters... I Talk 2 Much.
Now… while I realize they may not be the nicest people… and I admit they can be quite juvenile… hypocritical… kindergartenish… and downright rude… they can also be enlightening… creative… dramatic… but most importantly HONEST. Yes… at least the bitches are honest. So needless to say… a little war went on between the Bitches and the Humpty. Of course one might revel in this and invest in popcorn expecting a long haul… but it turns out Humpty is worse than the little green plastic army men… and she deleted her blog. This dumb ass let herself get run out of the blogosphere by some sniveling foul mouthed little girls… who by the way suddenly have added some dude Charred to their site as a reviewer.
Now if there was ever a day for IT2M to be burned in place… it was with them adding this guy. Not that I have anything against him… other than he is a FLAMING SMOKEATER!!! Oh… right… he’s mainly a Woodlands guy… who btw are probably the nicest smokeater’s out there… you know… bulldozing the bush and making those foundation saves… right… am I feeling it… oh hell no!!! So now that IT2M has been corrupted with the reviewing presence of cock… yeah their stock value just dropped out… right after exposing Humpty for a fake plastic bitch and replacing her site with a nice mockery of their own… or one of their friends.
Friends… that’s a good one… someone should re-define the word or send idiots to a re-education camp on the subject. Do I sound bitter? No… not really… but you know… work has really sucked the last 24 hours… I mean REALLY sucked. You would think a friend might be able to understand… but no… I get shit for crap that’s out of my control. And as with every new friend… the same argument ALWAYS comes up… I’m a workaholic… I’m pretty sure I admitted that somewhere at the beginning of this blog… it was on my Match.com profile in bold… it is the working Modus Operandi of all First Responders I know… and the people who become their friends always wonder why they “didn’t make the priority list”. Don’t worry… when you stop breathing… we’ll come running… unless its after June 1… ‘cause first hurricane to hit the shores I am SO out of the North Eastern hell and into the promised land of the south.
You know… not for nothing maybe there is something behind this scheduling a rant day. Although my problems are far from being solved I do feel a tad bit better… but then again… if that were true and with my hectic schedule… every mofo day would have to be a scheduled as a rant day.
So I found this little quiz... and I took it... and yes... I am in a foul ass mood today... but before I get into that... see that 15% Dixie up there... well I'm on the verge of going at least 100%... oh but wait... how can I go 100% Dixie when I'm only 45% Yankee???
To hell with it all... but this other thing is really kinda nifty...
So I scored as Fox McCloud... now THAT is hot!!!
Monday, February 20, 2006The I Love NYCWatchdog Shop
Visit The I Love NYCWatchdog Shop
Hence the reason you should visit the new I Love NYCWatchdog Shop. That's right... now you too can proclaim your undying love for the world's most unlovable guy!!!
So it seems my last post caused a bit of a stir. I do appreciate the overall supportive sentiment to my opinion as I expressed it. Unlike the Denmark cartoonists, I will not be going into hiding. I do want to clarify one small thing however. Someone seems to think that I was “played” by the creator of Dawn and Night. Personally, I’m not sure how that can be. A few people have claimed it is a different blogger using a different account and name and so on, therefore by doing so have “played” me into thinking they were someone else.
Now understand where I’m coming from… which is New York City for those who don't know what the NYC stands for… so if someone wants to consider that I’ve been “played” by some evil blogger out there who posted some relatively lovely looking recipes on their blog into thinking they were a newbie blogger or something… well then the whole thing has just gone totally over your head because that is hardly being “played”. Even if it is to be considered being “played”… trust me I’m not losing any sleep over this at all.
Consider this, the last person who “played” me did so for over 5g back in 1998. Not to indict myself or anything… but they haven’t been walking straight since 1999. Is 5g important to me? Yes. Is someone pretending to be someone else out there important to me? No, not really… unless the person their pretending to be is me. My name is not Dawn, and although I do like to bake, I’m not a recipe posting type of guy. People are only how they represent themselves… and I was only pissed because I could have used the free creds from them surfing.
Blogging is addictive. I haven’t posted at all since Saturday under a self imposed interdiction. Why? Because I procrastinate. Everytime I sit at the computer to write I’ll usually end up surfing, or writing on the Blog, or doing a multitude of other things. See, today I had 3 articles due for Scrye Magazine. It was a total of 2,200 words at the minimum. Writing for them isn’t like working on my own stuff… because at $.10 a word… writing for them is money while for me is more pleasure than anything else. How much had I done? Well… zero. Up until Sunday morning I had written absolutely nothing.
So I sat down to do it, and although I found myself doing some surfing and some BOTBs late Sunday night to break the block that had formed around the longest article in particular, I finally finished them this afternoon. So my self imposed interdiction on blogging has been lifted… at least until the next deadline.
So because of my self imposed interdiction coupled with a number of work issues that continue to interfere with life, there is a little bit of catching up I need to do for my friends out here in the blogosphere.
First, I got a valentine from Luin over at Faerytale Dreams. Thanks Luin… I’ve never been called a "Knight in a Shining Ambulance" before… so that’s a first for me (especially since I never wash the damn thing). And to all the male bloggers out there… do you guys mean to tell me I was the ONLY one who sent Luin a valentine this year? Fools… fools are you all…
Secondly I got Kudos from Stephanie Davies over at Mystickal Incense and More Blog. In fact… I got double kudos… one for the post before… and another for helping support her by ordering candles. For those of you wondering… yes… I ordered vanilla. Thanks Steph… I appreciate the props and love… right back atcha!
Third is an update on the Izzy. So we’re back to hanging out and spending time together… and although our schedules don’t really permit us to spend as much time as we would probably like… well its high quality time. We saw Flight Plan with Jodi Foster. Of course, it was a bit more entertaining seeing as how Izzy works for an airline. So basically every other scene was a “Is that real?” from me, and a yes or no from her. I really liked those first class leather loungers they had… but she tells me they don’t exist. Damn you Hollywood!!!
Fourth is an update on the Steff. She had a nice Valentine’s Day… the new guy got her flowers, chocolate, wine and some crappy stuffed animal which she promptly threw into a closet. Officer Crumb sent her nothing but a text message… and although she had been teetering on sending him something… she didn’t. I view that as a good sign… Crumb needs to be out of the picture… and hopefully he’ll do it himself before I have to do it for him.
Fifth is an update on the Nick. She didn’t have a nice Valentine’s Day. Once again she got no flowers or stuffed animals… just the Russel Stovers’ chocolates from friends like me who would never hear the end of it if we didn’t. I have to laugh over the whole thing though… if you’re supposedly a commitment phobic person than why would you think someone would commit to 1800flowers.com for you if you can’t commit to dinner with them? I mean really now…
Finally… last but not least… is the Pudding. My wonderful ex-wife has been summer camp shopping. It isn’t bad enough she packs the kids into school at the earliest age possible, or that she continues to stay home all week doing nothing, but now she wants them gone for the summer too. All I know… is the divorce papers say nothing about summer camps. If its something DJ wants to do… I’ll gladly go half… but if its something to just get him out of the house then she needs to think twice. Of course he’ll say whatever she tells him… but I’ll still need to hear it from him before condoning it or not.
I think that catches me up on just about everything. Have a nice day.
TAGS: blogging, procrastination, clarification
Saturday, February 18, 2006The Battle of the Blogs Controversy
I may take a lot of flack for this… hell I may even find myself on the short end of the readership stick for touching it… but if there is a controversy we have opinions on… and bloggers suddenly become afraid to comment on it… then why bother to blog???
As most people know, I am a member of BlogExplosion. BlogExplosion is a traffic exchange where members earn credits and then are able to direct other members to their blogs to read them. BlogExplosion is very innovative in what they offer, and to date, I believe them to be the best blog specific traffic exchange out there.
One of their traffic tools is something called Battle of the Blogs. In Battle of the Blogs, bloggers wager a number of credits against another blog, 15 users vote, and the winner gets 75% of the credits, 25% is split to those who voted, and the loser… well… they got in theory 15 people to view their blog.
Here is a screen shot of the front page of the BOTB page:
As you can see, the theory behind it is explained right away. Blogs are represented by the thumbnail on file with BE. Now once a challenge is accepted, the voting begins. You can vote by clicking further down the page on a battle which then takes you to this screen:
This screen in my opinion is never read. As you can see, it says you must view both blogs before voting, it goes over the credit distribution part once again, and finally and MOST importantly it specifically says, “Battle of the Blogs is designed for BlogExplosion members to have some fun. Remember members have worked hard for their credits so decide your vote fairly based on blog design, the quality of the blog content, and overall which blog you feel is a better blog!”
I participate in BOTB, and I vote on a lot of them since it is a good way to earn credits that will build up while I may not be able to surf for them (since you only get the credits upon completion of the battle). Recently I have seen a number of posts and mentions about cheaters. Now… here’s something I know has occurred in the past. Usually the more credits being wagered means the faster a battle will occur. I know there is cheating when I do a 30 credit battle that ends in two minutes while 60 credit battles continue to collect votes for over five.
Does that make me mad? Sure it does. Not only do I lose credits, and standing in the rankings but I am also cheated on the 15 views I should have gotten. Will I lose sleep over it? Oh hell no!!! Remember that second page and “…members to have some fun.” So, I just won’t battle that blog anymore. If I leave an open challenge, well it is a calculated risk to face that blog again but it is a risk I’ll take since I can make the credits up relatively quickly by voting and surfing.
So why have I not mentioned this before? Well because I never really thought it was that important. BE has a bunch of measures in place to try and prevent the cheating (including allowing only one vote per IP Address), and to their credit they continue on improving it as they further develop the site. Then I read a post on a blog called Dawn and Night during one of these battles. Now Dawn and Night has a little more significance to me than just any blog… because Dawn was a referral of mine who was actually using BE and earning me some extra credits without me lifting a finger. Her post was “exposing cheaters who only vote for each other”. She went on to describe how she was approached via e-mail to join them and listed 6 out of a reported 15 user names of bloggers that were suspected to be part of the group.
There were two things that really irked me about the post. First, she claimed to be a BE member for over a month and a half… which is an outright lie since I know she joined in early February. The other thing that irked me was the fact she turned around and listed these 6 names… with a reported other 9 secret members she hadn’t figured out yet and claimed that she was a “Christian woman” who felt the need to expose them. Really Christian to lie about how long you've been at BE.
Call it a cabal, call it a gang, call it an alliance, hell call it whatever you want… but those people aren’t cheaters. If you look at any of their blogs, they each appear in one another’s blogroll. They are all active bloggers who make mention of each other and have undoubtedly developed friendships. I know that through blogging I too have developed friendships. I know that for me personally I will in all likelihood vote for someone who I am friends with on BOTB as opposed to a complete stranger with a standard Blogger Template. The fact a few of them tried to organize does not make them cheaters… since NOWHERE in the screens above or anywhere I have looked has BE said “Thou shalt not organize into a blogging voting block with friends”. If I’m wrong, I will gladly post where it says that.
Someone will probably say, well how do you know she was really contacted by e-mail. I know because so was I. In fact, I was contacted a few times by what seems to be different groups. Have I joined them? No. My reasoning is relatively simple. I would prefer to have the ability to vote for a blog I like as opposed to committing into an alliance and having to vote for a blog at the time I may not feel is the better blog. That is my personal opinion and a choice I freely make since I see BOTB as more of an entertainment thing than an active competition.
If you can’t tell by my ranking… I lose a vast majority of the time in BOTB. If people don’t like my blog, well I really couldn’t care less. It’s like I said when I got smacked by Princess Pottymouth, I agreed with the dumbass graphic that needed to be changed but I like the black background and white text look I have going. To a large extent… I need to be happy with my blog too… not try to make everyone else happy to vote for me in a game for fun.
I would link to Dawn and Night… but apparently her blog has now disappeared entirely. Perhaps she took a hit from criticism of her abrupt and misleading post. I even searched Blog Spot for it and came up empty-handed. While I don’t agree with her post… I do feel saddened for her… because dropping out of the blogosphere ultimately will probably cost her the possibility of friendships she may have enjoyed.
This post turned out much longer than I originally intended. I guess I should have mentioned I was getting on a soapbox at the start. Sorry to those who find my opinion offensive… but I do not apologize for writing it. Afterall… I am the King of Drama… and hopefully now I can add the Prince of Controversy!!!
TAGS:Weblog, BlogExplosion, Battle of the Blogs, controversy
Friday, February 17, 2006Patching Up With Fixing Humpty Lumpty
Back in December I mentioned a blog I had found called Fixing Humpty Lumpty. So while surfing around through my blogroll today I found myself back at this blog and found this post.
Now, those of you who read my blog must be saying, "Oh he's mad because she didn't find his comments amusing enough to post." Actually the post made me feel very... well... sad. I think its really sad that people can be so critical of others who are willing to share their experiences. I think its sadder, because as she points out, no one was willing to come out and say it to her directly on her blog but they were more than willing to talk about her on their own.
I am also guilty of this. I have written about quite a few blogs and have not told their owners. Granted, usually I am admiring them... but there were one or two where I took a little liberty and got a little heavier and nastier than normal.
While I can't undo the past, I can be sure that from now on any blog I comment on I will be sure to leave a comment on the person's blog telling them what I thought or at the very least redirecting them here to read my opinion of them.
Wouldn't it be nice for all of us to do the same?
So... as for K.T. Smith (aka Humpty) I hear where your coming from. The progress you've made is impressive and I applaud your documentation of it and general blog savviness in the way you present it... and if my previous comments offended you I apologize... and yes... I forgive you for not finding me amusing enough to mention... just don't let it happen again.
While I am a strong believer that only we can make ourselves happy and find whatever ways we can to bring resolution to the problems we perceive ourselves as having (because lord knows not everyone sees the same thing as we do)... but I still refuse to pay an escort hourly to resolve my issues.
TAGS: plastic surgery, perceptions, Humpty Lumpty
Wednesday, February 15, 2006I Have A New Renter!!!
I have a New Renter!!! The Newsbitch Chronicles have rented space for the next week here at The Pile. She claims to be a journalist in training... but hell... her writing puts half the New York Times to shame!!! Vibrant, funny, intelligent, an Undead Mage in WOW, and maybe a bit odd... but let's face it... if I was normal why on earth would you want to be here? Hence the reason why you would feel just as, if not MORE at home over there.
So as you know there's a box that says Current Renter... so go over there and click on the icon and give her a visit... it will be WELL worth your time. Thanks.
I won the Valentine's Day Writing Contest over at Mystickal Incense and More Blog!!! I want to say thanks to Stephanie @ Mystickal Incense for having the contest to begin with, to all those who voted for me and had the kind words, to all those who thought it was horrendous but kept their mouths shut, and especially to Marie and Sebastian... because without them there would be no story.
Some of you may be wondering where that actually came from. It is actually part of the *WINK* "novel" *WINK* I've been trying to write since January of 2005... the one that I've been blocked on. I have been doing a little more writing on it... not as much as I would like... but it is coming along and relatively nicely... I think...
So thanks again!!!
Tuesday, February 14, 2006Blogging Valentine's
I blame my mother for most of my problems as an adult. Amongst the vast majority of my childhood torture was something that I think allows me to love as multiple people at the same time as I do as an adult. That occurred during Valentine's Day. See, mom, in her infinite wisdom used to make me write a Valentine Card to EACH AND EVERY girl in my class. Now, some people would say, "Well that's great, you were assured a Valentine!" WRONG!!! If you think getting your heart broken once was bad... try getting it broken 17 times (the most number of girls in my class in the 5th grade... 17 of the little bitches) on the same day!!!!
Is it any wonder I generally despise the holiday? No... of course not. But like any good sucker I continue the traditions instilled in me by Mother Dearly. One thing I have changed, however, is now I only ask 1 girl to actually be My Valentine. So here's the basic rundown of what everyone got:
So... because of my mother's breeding... well I'm also going to send out some Valentine's here in the blogosphere. I really wasn't sure how to go about that... so I decided on these little graphics with links to their blogs. Here are my Blogging Valentine's:
One of my first and dearest Blogging Buddies... Monique and I share the fact that our lives are up and down... seemingly beyond out control... and we pour our souls into the same kind of sparkly electronic machine to entertain the masses (that would be you out there).
I don't exactly remember how I met Stephanie. I think it was a BE kind of thing... but she has one helluva blog cooking. She actually has themes, contests, rant days, and tons of other stuff. She's a daily dose of goodness no matter how scarce the goodness is that day.
And that my friends are my Blogging Valentines... so stop by their blogs... and tell them how much I love and adore them for me since I know no other way how!!!
Monday, February 13, 2006Another Traffic Initiative
So I found Blog Advance while surfing around today. I've been involved with their Top Sites list for awhile but have recently discovered they are a traffic generator along the lines of Blog Explosion. While Blogclicker and BlogMosh perform relatively well... I do prefer Blog Explosion over them all... thus far. So we'll see if Blog Advance has anything to bring to the table that BE hasn't already.
See, my problem with this it seems the snowstorms are ALWAYS breaking records. To be honest, maybe it was because it was a Sunday, or maybe it was because I refused to answer my pager when work toned me out to go in, but it didn't seem so bad or horrible. As evidenced by the photo above, DJ and I got some quality time in with the white powder. Of course we also ended up both taking naps putting bed time from 9:00pm off until 11:00pm... but hey... record breaking snows only happen once a childhood right???
Saturday, February 11, 2006You Can't Make This Up
This is a video I shot at around 5 something this morning while trying to locate an overturned vehicle on the Grand Central Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway:
You can't make this stuff up folks. In case you didn't notice, the car with the blinking lights IS the overturned vehicle. It apparently righted itself and the driver kept on going. As if to make things worse, he was followed for around a mile and a half by another ambulance and a FDNY Captain had the opportunity to bring him to a stop but no one seemed to want to point out that he was in an accident and his car was severely damaged. Granted, he was in denial, was obviously oblivious by the fact his roof was SMASHED in, his engine was overheating, and he was riding on rims. It seems no one else was willing to point this out to him until I decided to offer to change his tire. Gotta love those municipal workers.
Here are a few stills of the car on the side of the road:
This is a close up of the smashed in roof
Physics dictate that when you are hit from the front or the back the force of the impact will smash the metal together and push everything OUT from the roof/hood/trunk. Physics also dictate that at the point of impact that point becomes pushed IN.
Therefore... by the power invested in me with over eleven years EMS experience and the dual declaration of the law of physics... regardless of your ambient stupidity, yes my friend... you rolled over.
YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP FOLKS
Friday, February 10, 2006Visit Bridget, Comments Calling Jessica, and Woodstock 99
First things first… you guys need to go visit Gidget over in my Current Renter Box. No one has been showing her any love and that is just totally wrong. Even if you hate me… go visit her. She’s even got a stalker! So go over… visit… show the love.
I would also like to say that I appreciate the feedback from my dilemma with Izzy. I should make a little update… we spoke in person last night for about two hours. While I would like to say everything’s worked out… well we still have our own individual fears and idiosyncrasies so… I still want to see what everyone has to say and please vote in the poll on the sidebar. A three way tie is not the way I want to see it end… even though we all know that The Steff’s opinion is what I would end up taking anyway.
Oh… and my dear dear Jessica… like I said… you can only vote once… but what you don’t know… is that you can leave a comment. Just click on the word that says comments beneath the post and you can say whatever your little heart desires!!! I don’t even require you to join Blogger… so there ya go… all yours to rant away… and I look forward to hearing from you first hand.
Now to the meat of tonight’s rant/post/insane annoyance. I hate people who drop names as if it should really mean something.
Here’s a great example. Back in 1999 I worked in the Medical Transport sector for Woodstock 99 in Rome, New York. Yes, that was the one they burned. Now during the week I was there I saw A LOT of things. Things like naked people who had no business being naked, security guards wearing gang colors, exploding propane tanks in the dead of night, and the New York State Troopers hat and bat response at 4:00am. All of this was well and good.
I also met a lot of different people there. Doctor’s, nurses, other EMTs and Medics, musical artists (ICP RULEZ!!!) and their groupies (ICP GROUPIES RULE MORE!!!), janitors, caterers, and a bunch of others including a copule thousand patients. Everyone was really cool and we did walk away with some life long friends… and I even walked away with a future wife who would then become the ex-wife Pudding I love to dislike.
So tonight, 7 some odd years later, I get a call from a doctor at a hospital. Her patient, a pediatric who travels over 38 miles out of Manhattan to get home from a regular treatment appointment she has CHOSEN to have in Manhattan. Now we brought her in, but taking her out is always a problem. They always try to schedule her at the height of rush hour, which means even if we pick her up on time she’ll sit in traffic for three hours.
So we’re two hours late on the pick-up. A bunch of people call in with emergencies and all our regular transports get backlogged. So this happens every Friday. This doctor has apparently been charged with waiting for the pick-up… and having somewhere to be this “Valentine’s Day” weekend (her words, not mine)… so she says to me after five minutes of me trying to explain to her that we have been inundated with emergencies and traffic is slowing us down… and keep in mind I answer the phone with, “Good Evening dispatch, Big Dawg speaking how may I help you?”… so she says, “Well if this truck isn’t here in five minutes I’m calling your boss, Big Dawg. I’m very good friends with him from when we worked side by side at Woodstock together.”
Right. This idiot dropped my own name to threaten me. I was dumfounded as she just ranted on about how “Big Dawg” would be SO upset if he found out this was how this patient was treated, and blah blah mofo blah.
Finally, she asked for my name… and I said, “My name is Big Dawg, so when you call me about me, I highly suggest you remind me who in the bloody hell you are from ’99 that I should remember you!” I was HEATED.
She gasps… I guess not many people expect someone like me (being someone who can actually make change happen) to actually be on the other end of a complaint… and so she says, “Why it’s me… Gina… from Friday night…behind the trailer…” DAMN!!! Right… red thronged medical student. Hey… I wasn’t married yet!
Needless to say… I hate when people drop names on me… especially my own!
Thursday, February 09, 2006Love
This is an entry into Stephanie Davies Valentine Day Contest over at Mystickal Incense & More. This is actually something I had written awhile ago... but undusted it last month for something else... and I think it's more fitting here.
I can honestly say that an angel touched my cold old soul tonight.
I have never been a warm person. Normally, most people see the gruff exterior I put out there, and keep their distance. That is what it is there for after all, in an attempt to keep myself from emotional distress when they turn on me. They always do. Yet, tonight you showed me not only that your true beauty is what is inside you, but also you melted the ice that had trapped my own soul.
Tonight had started out like any other night. I arrived at the station ready to spend the next eight hours with nothing but the book I’m reading, my partner, and the misery of those who decide to call upon us for succor. When I got there, Bob was already sitting in the waiting room, casually flipping through a magazine. When I sat beside him, he turned to me and said, “Aren’t you gonna be cold tonight?”
I never wear a jacket. I find them too restricting, so basically I wear my short sleeve shirt and vest all year round. When the snow hits I’ll probably add a turtleneck underneath and maybe a sweatshirt over it all. I just don’t like wearing jackets, and he should know this. We have been partners for four years. So I asked him, “When have you ever seen me wear a jacket?’
“Never. Maybe you should start.”
“Maybe I should, but it won’t be tonight.”
“I’m not going to be the only one getting out of the vehicle tonight,” he huffed, turning back to his magazine.
I could have reminded him that tonight was his turn to drive, and the driver is always the one who gets out first to check for injuries. It’s one of those unwritten laws. I think the only one above it is the “If it bleeds, stop it.” I could tell him so, but what’s the point. Four years as partners does something. It no longer becomes about communication. It becomes about having the instinct to know your partner better than yourself.
I tend to think all relationships are like that on certain levels. The vast majority of my best relationships are the ones where I can agree to disagree with someone. Like Bob, we can have huge arguments and fights, yet on the next call we are more in sync than ever. It always seems to be the people who can’t take criticism or my brutally honest ways that I never get along with. Like Lisa.
Lisa and her partner Jeannie are the EMTs we relieve. You’ve probably seen them around, Lisa has short spikey blonde hair and Jeannie is short with long black hair always in a bun. They’re both all of five foot one, so it is possible to look right past them and never see them. The problem I have with Lisa is she thinks she is the Lieutenant at our station. She does the stock, so she thinks that makes her the boss. At the same time, she feels like she is the mother of us all and is constantly in everyone’s business and knows better than the rest of us.
Lisa walked into the lounge and threw the keys at me saying, “Try not to mess up the truck tonight Bastian.”
I didn’t say a word.
“Are you deaf? I said try not to mess up the truck tonight. You two are always busting the truck up and I’m tired of driving around in the spare.”
Bob dropped his magazine. He stood, grabbed the batteries from the table, and left the room. I stood as well, swiped up the magazine he left, and headed to the door. She stuck her arm out in front of me, blocking my path. The copious amounts of perfume she wore was overwhelming. Her breath was tinged with garlic while hissing, “You have a hard time listening to what people tell you.” Now she’s leaning closer and the garlic is mixing with her perfume to create a noxious odor. “If you mess up the truck I’m telling the Lieutenant and I’m sure you’ll have something to say then.”
I ducked under her arm, and out into the crisp cold night. There I took a deep breathe of clean air while admiring my rolling sanctuary. The sleek curvature of the ambulance stood silently before me. The blackened rotators glimmered under the light of the full moon. Jeannie was already at her car, and she had left the door wide open. If she weren’t such a firefighter freakazoid I would have married that girl just for understanding and always leaving the door open.
With a skip and a jump I was in my soft cloth seat. Pulling the door closed, Bob took his cue and off we went down the driveway. My hand hovered over the available button. The accelerator was pressed and the truck bucked into gear over 30 mph. Ahead our launching pad, a speed bump, lay wide open. With a final grunt Bob pushed the truck to go faster. A second later we were airborne. Launching into the night I depressed the available button. We landed onto Main Street with a thud, a shower of sparks from the undercarriage, and the familiar chirp of a message from the central dispatch computer. The screen was alive. Glowing sickly green in the dark were the two words that remind me why I love this job. Signed On.
As the building passed me by I went over my mental checklist. Trauma shears, check. Oxygen key, check. Black ballpoint pen, check. Soda, missing. Not a good sign when the driving force of caffeine is absent on an overnight tour. Bob is already in sync with me. After ten blocks or so we pull into a bus stop in front of the Main Street Smoke Shop, known to us as Habib’s.
Habib doesn’t own the store. He’s the stock boy inside the store who makes sure our sodas are cold. I walk in behind Bob, who has decided to take the lead tonight. He heads for the newspapers, while I go to the soda refrigerator in the back. After squeezing past the refugees taking shelter in Habib’s warm store while waiting for the city bus, I grab our sodas from behind the chocolate milk which is where Habib puts them specifically for us, and head to the counter.
I snag a comic on the way, Tales of the Night. I just love goofy supernatural comics. I love how they portray werewolves getting all wolf like, aliens descending on the earth to eat our heads, and of course Mummy’s rising from crypts to get back their gold. Of course the absolute best are the vampire comics. Those are so laughable. As if burning holy water, fresh clove garlic, and taking two pieces of wood to form a cross is going to stop a bloodsucker right in their tracks. If they only knew. Then again, thinking back on Lisa’s breath, I can understand the garlic part.
At the counter I throw up my hands so he sees the sodas and comic, and then I’m headed back into the howling wind to get to the truck. Climbing back in the distinct sound of a job coming across my screen comes from the computer. I look, and sure enough it has coughed to life a message about an accident. I depress the enroute key as the speakers boom, “One David for the trauma.” The microphone is already in my hand when I reply, “One David take the verbal sixty-three, it isn’t going through.” The dance begins.
Bob is walking out of the store when the dispatcher comes back over the speaker with, “I just got it One Dave, going northbound on the Wyck. It looks like shmagma.” Ah, shmagma. Yet another make believe word created in the world of the fighting emergency medical services. Shmagma is a curve in the Kew Gardens Interchange where the Van Wyck Expressway northbound melds into the Grand Central Parkway westbound at the same time as the Interboro Parkway eastbound. Sounds confusing? It is, hence the reason why we call it shmagma. It’s all about keeping it simple.
Bob hops into the seat and hits the lights. The street is awash in red as we pull off. Flicking the siren to life as we both light a cigarette puts us into full groove. Cruising down the Boulevard of Death at a steady pace of sixty-five miles per hour, with the flash of our rotators, the mashed sounds of our sirens, radio and Korn’s cover of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, I’m in euphoria. Can you wonder why I love this job?
We weave and slide our way down to the expressway entrance. Turning onto it, we can tell there’s a problem by all the red brake lights now facing us. Bob doesn’t skip a beat, and in a second we’re precariously riding on half the shoulder and half the roadway. Slipping beneath the overpasses we enter the interchange while traffic around us has come to a complete stop. The ride is bumpier as the shoulder starts to rise into the embankment that allows the Interborough traffic to merge.
We’re practically driving on two wheels when we clear off the embankment with a thud. About twenty feet in front of us is the wreckage of a minivan. It’s lying on its roof with the wheels still spinning pointed to the Union Turnpike overpass above it. Bob swerves around the minivan and we come to a stop about fifteen feet past it. I depress the on scene button on our computer with one hand while my other hand opens the door. Hopping down from the truck I toss my cigarette to the ground and squash it. Emergency over. We’re here.
Looking around I see a group of people behind a twisted section of guardrail on the grass directly across from where we parked. They’re in a semi-circle looking down at something, some of them standing and others are kneeling. Bob is headed over to the minivan, so I’m getting the people on the grassy knoll. As I begin walking over one of them says, “Just keep breathing into her mouth.” Hmm… not a good sign.
As I step over the guardrail the smoke eaters pull up on the other side of the group where the Grand Central Parkway eastbound roadway is located. A portly fellow looks up and says, “Oh thank goodness the fire department is here!” At this point I look over his ignorant baldhead and see her. She’s lying on the ground, slightly twisted while a woman tries to blow air into her lungs, and a man wearing a red ski jacket pushes down on her chest with both hands. Her black hair is matted on one side to an ashen gray face by the deep crimson hues of dried blood. My mind tells me she’s dead and there is no hope, but there are other things that guide my decisions when I’m out here. Instinct takes over and thus the dance continues.
My right hand slides to my portable and presses the button to put it on low output while my left hand grabs the microphone clipped to my jacket and presses the button to transmit before saying, “Dee, I got a traumatic arrest.” Taking my hand away from the radio, I placed it on the portly man’s shoulder, “Sir, I need to get in there.” He looked at me with wide eyes and a quivering lower lip as he climbed to stand and allow me through into the circle. “Sweetheart, stop breathing into her mouth like that. Sir, you need to cup your hands like this and move up by about three inches.” I held my right hand out and interlaced the fingers from my left hand on top of it.
While the man in the red jacket re-positioned his hands, I knelt down at the girl’s head. Her eyes were half open. They had been hazel, like yours. They were shallow and empty, unlike yours that are so full of life. I placed my hands on either side and cradled her head, with my fingers right behind her jaw. As I pushed the jaw up the popping sensation of dislocation reverberated through my fingers and up my arms.
The heavy smell of smoke filled my nose, and I turned to the source. The smoke eaters had made it out of their shiny red fire engine to give us lowly EMS guys an audience. The one standing closest to me didn’t look older than twenty years old, and his turn out gear looked about three sizes too big for him. “Get me your BVM set up and let’s start bagging.” He didn’t move. “That means you Smokey!”
From behind the dumbfound firefighter came his lieutenant with their oxygen bag. Here was a boss who had no problem getting down to play in the mud. He was on his knees next to me and had the bag valve out in seconds. Once he passed me the facemask I sealed it over her mouth that was now tinged blue. The lieutenant attached the bag valve to the mask and then turned his oxygen tank on. The hiss of the oxygen filling the bag was soothing as he tried to squeeze the air back into her.
Bob had made it to the embankment with the board and collar. Stepping in between the crowd that had continued to look on, he dropped the board beside her. Then he bent down and wrapped the rigid collar around her neck. Taking a kneeling step back to put the board in front of him he looked directly at me. The groove was back. “Log roll to the right on three…” She looks about twenty years old herself. “One…” someone in the background is muttering about how she was in the back seat. “Two…” and we rolled her onto the side as he used his knees to slip the board underneath. “Rolling left on three…” The boy in the background is crying now. “One…” he’s trying to choke back tears while pointing out a light pole. “Two…” and we rolled her back onto the board. I glance up and see the light pole, thus the image of her slamming into it after being ejected from the car enters my mind. Clarity descends on me as the dance goes on.
Bob straightened her on the board as best he could before strapping her in. He looked at the dumbfound firefighter and said to him, “Probey, get down there and hold stabilization.” The firefighter still didn’t respond. He has been frozen in the moment. Once again, someone stepped in from behind. The smell of smoke was almost overbearing, and as I felt his fingers slip into the pressure points of the displaced jaw I gently withdrew from the coolness.
With my hands freed up, I immediately secured her head to the board using a blanket horseshoe head roll and some medical tape. “You call for medics?” I asked while pulling the first piece of tape across the chin line.
“Of course I did. Zero X-Ray on the way, but we’ll be gone before they find us,” replied Bob as he finished securing her to the board with the straps. I know I didn’t even need to ask, but I always do and there’s no reason to interrupt the groove. “One Boy is already here so once we load we’re out.” I just nod as I pull the second piece of tape across her forehead.
I glance behind me. There, in between the firefighters standing around, I can see him. Wearing a denim jacket over a black t-shirt, I see the tears streak down his freckled cheeks. His arms are behind his back, and I see an arm clothed in police navy blue holding onto him. “… My mom’s car. She’s going to kill me,” he mumbles while he swaggers a little. The long arm of the law has a firm hold of him. He’s not my problem. She is.
“Let’s move her on three…” I say snapping back to the task at hand. The firefighters who had been watching start scrambling around the sides of the board except the Probey. “One…” her color isn’t getting any better, probably because she’s already bled out from the inside. “Two…” and into the air she rose, suspended on all sides by the hands that were there to save her. The two firefighters at the head didn’t miss a breath. I placed my right hand on her chest to continue where the displaced civilian had left off as we started to move towards the stretcher. That’s when I didn’t feet it. There was no sternum, or ribs, or anything solid for that matter. Mush. Nothing but mush. Still, I kept the rhythm as we cadenced to the side rail, past the light pole that had destroyed her insides.
Once at the guardrail Bob hopped over and carried her by the feet over the barrier while everyone else stepped away upon reaching the barrier. I had to straddle it for a split second before crossing over it. The firefighters doing the breathing stumbled over it, losing the face seal for a few seconds. They were quick to reposition and we continued to the back of the ambulance. Once there I turned to the firefighters and told them, “Jump in first and get ready to resume bagging as soon as we load her.” Like good little puppies they obeyed while Bob hooked the safety latch. I positioned myself at the feet, lifted the stretcher up, and Bob brought the wheels to meet it in mid-air. When I heard the clank of the metal on metal I pushed the stretcher in and the lock cinched closed.
Into the back I went, back to compressing the mush with one hand. With a bang and a clack the back doors shut closed. With my free hand I grabbed the microphone clipped on my vest and called out to the voice, “One David with the priority. ETA for the medics?”
“Zero X-Ray is on your back One Dave. Zero Ex how about it?”
“Zero Ex, we’re about five minutes out, trying to loop around into the interchange.”
“One David cancel the medics and get the crayon out for the notification to hospital ninety-seven.”
“Zero Ex continue in to see if One Boy needs you, and One Dave go with the note,” replied the voice as Bob lurched the ambulance forward, his foot on the accelerator. The sudden motion would normally throw someone off their feet, but it’s a simple twist in the dance and the groove is continuing.
“One David I have an approximately twenty year old female, multi-trauma secondary to vehicular ejection at a high speed in full arrest. Our ETA is three minutes, and clear the bay because the warp drives are engaged and I’m coming in hot.”
Instinctively I let loose of the microphone and grab the handrail attached to the roof as we start into the sweeping left turn that takes us off of the parkway. Its part clockwork, part rhythm, and all groove. Unfortunately the firefighters aren’t tuned into the same frequency, and the one holding the seal of the facemask slides right off the seat. He lands with a thud, but to his credit he rolls with it and scrambles back into the seat as fast as he could.
“One Dave the notes in and the bay’s being cleared,” said the deep raspy voice that could only be Marcus. I guess he woke up in time to make our reservations. I would have answered immediately but we were about to go airborne over the ridge at the top of the hill. Sure enough, up we went. “One Dave you guys copy?”
Grabbing the microphone as the wheels crashed back to earth I acknowledged him with a simple “Four.” Straight and to the point. That’s how I like to be. That’s how Bob drives. Hence the reason we’re now screaming down the one-way street the wrong way.
I peek through the space leading to the front of the cab. I can see good old gray-haired Henry in his orange jumpsuit outside with the garden hose spraying down the bay as the last parked ambulance pulls out. Henry sees us, but he wants to make sure his part of the dance is done.
I’ve only seen it from the outside once. It was about three years ago when I had to work Zero King instead of One David. The boss thought it had been a good idea at the time. Well if he had any good ideas left he wouldn’t be supervising a non-municipal garage of black sheep. So with the ground wetted down from Henry, coming in at forty plus, Bob slams the brakes and cuts the wheel a hard right. The vision of the ambulance swinging into the bay and sliding sideways has never left my mind’s eye, and I can feel every bump as he repeats his patented maneuver. Once again, the firefighter slides off the seat and we lose the facemask seal. I’m half expecting the ambulance to tip over as the wheels rumble across the wet bay in a direction other than they were meant to go and the inertia leans me forward… but we don’t.
The groove is on our side, and we come to a perfect stop a whole three feet from the wall. I’m still pushing on mush as the firefighter is struggling to get back up into the seat. I hear Bob’s door open and then slam closed. The doors fly open as I’m rolling my head around in a circle to crack the tension the cartilage has built up in my neck. “Let’s go,” he says to me, but I’m already hopping out of the back of the ambulance.
He’s grabbed the foot of the stretcher and pulls it out. I allow the wheels to crash to the floor so I can undo the safety latch and let the firefighters out with the stretcher. They’re still bagging away as I jump onto the side of the stretcher to continue compressions. As we pass through the first set of doors I notice Henry moving to the ambulance to shut it off. He’ll finally secure the back of the truck and bring us the keys to end his part of the dance.
Through the second set of doors and into the trauma room across the hall is where we roll. Bob kicks the door open, and then it hits me like a sledgehammer. Vanilla. We’re under the bright lights, the climax of the show, and I’ve lost the groove. Instinctively the words form in my mind, but they don’t come out. Vanilla.
“Twenty something female found in full arrest with civilian CPR in progress,” reports Bob in the distance. My arms are continuing to pump into the mush and I’m beginning to feel the same way as the stretcher turns and I see you standing across the hospital bed. Your golden hair pulled back in a ponytail. Your hazel eyes behind the safety goggles your wearing. Your body embraced by the plastic of the trauma gown. Nothing has ever struck me as so beautiful at such an awful time. “We’ll move her over on three…” My hands are finding the side of the board but my eyes remain locked on you. “One…” deep inside I’m going gooey. “Two…” silently I’m glad I haven’t eaten just in case. “Three…” someone actually said three?
In the air for only a second, she set down softly. The bright lights highlighted her gray skin and sunken eyes as the firefighters continued to breathe for her. Under the radiance of the light I realize my mistake. My eyes lock onto her face and the horrible truth is revealed. She’s not twenty… not even close… she can’t be more than fifteen.
“You’ve brought me a corpse.” Involuntarily my head snapped up as my mind slammed back in place. The scent of vanilla persisted, but no longer held its alluring effect over me. Scanning the faces in the room, I identified the sound of the voice with the short doctor wearing glasses at the head.
“We’ve brought you a patient in traumatic arrest,” I answered him quickly while my insides solidified.
“There is nothing for us to do here. I am after all the doctor,” he replied while using his index finger to push his glasses further onto the bridge of his nose. Behind me came the sound of the individual cracking of Bob’s knuckles. He went slowly, one finger at a time on one hand, and then the other.
“If you’re telling me you don’t want to do anything, that’s fine. Understand this, we brought you a patient. You’re the one treating her like a corpse,” and then no sooner had I said it but I heard your sweet voice echoing in the room. “One and two and three.” There you were, standing on a stool doing compressions.
“Nurse!” yelled the doctor, “What are you doing? Stop that this instant!” I was back in the groove, and casually strolled around to the head of the patient where the doctor was standing. He smelled of bad aftershave and curry. A horrible mixture I would never conceive in the wildest parts of my imagination.
“We at least owe working this patient up to the Eeh Em Tees who brought her in if not to her and her family,” was what I thought I heard you say. I was too focused on the doctor.
The doctor’s face turned a deep crimson. While his eyes squinted down and his jugular extended, I clasped my hand on his shoulder. I know you were wondering what I did then, but I simply leaned in towards him and whispered, “Do as she says.”
“Okay, let’s work her up!” said the doctor after the split second it took my words to sink in. From there, Bob and I stepped back. Our dance had ended, and yours had just begun.
Silently we rolled the stretcher outside into the bay. In the still of the night I light another cigarette from a shaking hand. Adrenaline. It happens whether you want it or not. If you have no love for it, there’s no reason to be here, because there’s plenty of it to go around.
Yet, ten minutes later when the doors slid open, the last thing I expected was vanilla. Your scent preceded you around the side of the ambulance where I was standing. You too were shaking. It wasn’t adrenaline. As I looked into your soft hazel strewn orbs the tears that flowed down your soft cheeks told me that.
I don’t know why, but my arms just opened to you. Into them you fell. My heart skipped a beat as my arms wrapped around you, and then another as yours wrapped around me. For that brief moment, warmth had returned to my body. Your hair, the source of your vanilla scent that has consumed me, was a mere two inches from my nose. I breathed deeply and felt all the tension slip away into the night. “She’s gone,” you whispered.
Then, at my most relaxed, I could also feel your tremendous pain. The compassion and sympathy you felt for this young girl whose life had been snuffed out. It infected me like a virus, and for once in a very long time I felt something other than pain or misery.
Love. I actually felt unconditional love.