Sunday, April 30, 2006

My new tenant: Noi !

Welcome to Noi.

She's from Singapore so be polite or she might cane you (but not in a creepy way)!

Go check her out. She's full of enthusiasm.

Tell her I sent you!

Voicing My Thoughts

Wolf Creek, a movie review. And a pet peeve.

This movie is worth a rental for the clever gore and beautiful scenery (if you are into that kind of thing). The website is fantastic (Wolf Creek).

This being said, I have a huge problem with one part of the whole movie.

Dear Movie Directors, Producers, Screenwriters, and Studio Publicity Agents,

Please do not tell me your movie is ‘based on a true story’ or ‘based on true events’ if the piece of cinema you are peddling is linked to the truth only by the thinnest strand.

Case in point: In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s there was a series of murders of backpackers in Australia. From what I’ve found online (Crime, it’s a good story. Click on it after reading my rant. The tale on Crime Library is pretty well written.

Wolf Creek is not about this story. It resembles the Backpacker Murders because a) the victims are backpackers, b) it takes place in the Australian Outback, and c) it’s a serial murder situation. That’s about it. Everything else is made right up.

The “making of” documentary has the writer/director Greg McLean saying something along the lines of “I wanted to make an Australian Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and he did a pretty good job. The beginning is a little slow and there are some problems I could enumerate if I wanted to ruin the movie for you, but overall I’d recommend getting it. Not buy it, but rent it.

The thing about both the beginning and the end is that the level of drama is ratcheted up by the phrase “Based on True Events” and some ending updates which sound newsy.

But IT’S JUST PLAIN NOT TRUE. Nothing about the details of the movie is the least bit true.

Well, neither is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and they did the same trick (freakin’ John Laroquette’s voiceover is pretty great). Ditto ‘Blair Witch Project.’

Anyone who likes these kinds of movies will know this trick. It’s not new, it’s not all that clever, and it’s not necessary. Anyone who doesn’t like these kinds of movies will not appreciate seeing it. Promise. If you don’t like “slasher” movies, this isn’t for you.

Why couldn’t they have said “Wolf Creek: Boogeyman in the Outback!” and called it good? It’s still a decent horror movie. Not a 5 star rating but a solid 3.

But saying “Wolf Creek: Based on True Events” is silly at best.

I wouldn’t recommend hitchhiking in Australia, though. Actually anywhere.

Hitchhiking = Stranger Danger. The boogeyman might get you.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Two Books Everyone Should Read

I was going to say that these two books comprise the two testaments of Eric’s Bible, but that’s overstating it just a little.

The books are:

“The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker.

I’ve talked about this before. Everyone should read this especially women and even more especially adolescent women. It advocates listening to your “sixth sense” of impending peril. It also discusses sending unambiguous messages with regard to dating.

Go buy it today!

While you are the bookstore (or online) buy a copy of the second testament:

“Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.

This book and it is a great compliment to “The Gift of Fear.”

It discusses rapid cognition: the split second decisions that we make and why they are sometimes very apt and why they are sometimes quite wrong. It also mentions why people generally love tall men at first sight (bastards!) and why police departments nationwide are changing their policies with regard to high-speed pursuits.

Both are very well-written.

If I had funds for philanthropic work, I’d be handing out these books to schools, libraries, daycare centers, summer camps, youth groups, and pedestrian passersby.

But I don’t, so buy your own copy.


For free, read ghost stories at my tenant’s site here: Ghost Stories.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bad Manners

Today on the way home from work I stopped by the local "quickie-mart" for some ice. Alas, we have no icemaker at home.

Following me into the store was a short, thin, saccharine blonde carrying on a short, thin saccharine conversation on her cellphone.

She wandered through the store, talking all the while, until she found the single item for which she was searching: a pack of gum.

I had stopped to use the ATM so she was ahead of me in check-out line. She never spoke a word to the clerk but continued her conversation throughout the entire transaction. She then asked another employee where the bathroom was (I guess she was going to use the gum as a suppository?) but was still on the same call when she walked back to the restrooms.

I was going to break my rule of "never talk to anyone, anyone, anyone" and mention how rude it was that the woman never got off the DogGamn phone long enough to acknowledge the clerk while carrying on the briefest human interaction. The reason I did not break my rule is that the clerk was talking on HIS cellphone the entire time during the transaction with me. And in a foreign language.

Jesus wept.

Photo: PhoneContent

Don't forget to check out the new Ghost Stories HERE !

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Non-PC Polymer Clay

Okay, here are the latest polymer clay creations.
I'm still getting my chops down, so it's hit and miss.

Two small mirrors, the first very basic:

The second using two kinds of mosaic effects:

And, just to be non-PC with my pc, here is "Gumby the Cutter"


This Week's Tenant: Ghost Stories

Andrea Allison has a great blog about ghost stories.

Go check her out HERE !

Tell her YOUR ghost stories. I know you have them. I know this.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Second Best Easter Ever (Blood On the Snow)

The best Easter was undeniably in the year 0 CE. This was when Jesus Christ, a prominent radical Jewish leader, returned from the grave after his crucifixion by the Romans, found several well hidden colored eggs, healed a lame rabbit, and disappeared, thereby predicting there would be six more weeks of winter weather.

The second best Easter was April 1, 1991, in Anchorage, Alaska.

If you think the next story is made up, even the officer's name, then you are mistaken. This is something which, to quote Dave Barry, I cannot make up.

It was a bright day at Russian Jack Park on Sunday, April 1, 1991. The sun was shining on the snow, which was several feet deep in the wooded areas but easily navigable in the main staging area of the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt. 15,000 colored eggs had been hidden for the event.

*In doing research for this post I discovered that Kiwanis are not birds indigenous to New Zealand but instead an organization which took the name of a Native American word roughly translated as "we have a good time – we make noise" and was founded in Detroit, Michigan to distribute Christmas basketballs to the poor children. *

The troubles of 1991 ('the troubles' comes from an Irish phrase referring to anytime the shite hits the pub) started when several intrepid egg hunting children were, as quoted in the Anchorage Daily News, "lost in the woods and stuck in punchy, waist-deep snow. Others were complaining of frozen fingers and toes."

The Kiwanisians requested aid with a general child round-up. The aid came in the person of the highly decorated Officer Fred Jones.

Fred Jones walked through the woods into progressively deeper snow. Anyone who has walked in waist-deep snow knows that it puts one at a significant disadvantage when confronted by a local moose. Anyone who has seen a moose in the summer and wondered why the aforementioned Jesus had given it long spindly legs would understand in the winter.

So a moose, attracted either by the eggs, the noise of the children, the cracking of tasty branches as adults, children, and one police officer tramped through the snow, or perhaps looking for another moose with which to have a little back-alley love approached Officer Jones.

Officer Jones tried to move away from the moose and to scare the moose away with the traditional police warning "Freeze, Moose! Step away from the eggs!"

There are not any "No Moose Left Behind" government programs to educate the moose in English, so the moose instead charged toward Officer Jones.

Being stuck in the snow and unable to free himself to avoid being trampled, Officer Jones took the only action available to him at the time.

Officer Jones unholstered his service handgun and proceeded to, in front of hundreds of horrified children, blast away at the moose. Irreparably perforated, the moose fell and bled out into the snow as children fled and cried in shock.

Luckily no people were hurt in the dramatic daylight shootout and a charity was able to salvage the moose meat to feed its congregation.

Children at the event never forget that Easter. They still sing the familiar Anchorage Easter song: "Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity hoppity – wait, it's Officer Fred Jones! Blam Blam Blam Blam!"

It should be noted that the next year Officer Fred Jones decided to take leave during Easter and was out of town on the day of the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt and Rotisserie Moose Bake-Off.

And that, boys and girls, is the story of the second greatest Easter ever.

Please pass the jellybeans!

Also, visit Blue Monkey Jammies
She has a great Easter cartoon!

Friday, April 14, 2006

This Week's Tenant: Blue Monkey Jammies !

Say 'hello' to Annie the Aussie! (she doesn't call herself this, I do)

She writes daily observations and posts funny pictures, including naughty looking fruits.

She uses delightful exclamations like "bugger!"

I want to ask her if the "c" word is less offensive in Australia than it is in the USA, as the "c" word appears to be in the UK. Yet I'm too much of a gentleman to ask such a question.

Go see her site, not only because she spent good BlogExplosion credits to rent on my site but because it's a great blog.

Famous Aussies:

Natalie Imbruglia
Hugh Jackman
Russell Crowe
Naomi Watts


The Blue Monkey Jammies!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I Saw A Movie About A Poet

A poet by the name of Charles 'Hank' Bukowski.

The movie was a documentary, the closest I could get to knowing the truth.

Not Barfly, apparently that was a crap movie that Bukowski hated.

I hope it paid some of his bills.

I'm not much of a poetry reader. I'm not much of a reader. I'm a listener. I listen to audiobooks. I like the sound of words being spoken. I used to read. My wife says ADD. I tend to agree but it seems like an excuse. I have the crutch of audio and I use it. Can't just limp along ignorant, right? I listen to NPR and lots of books: thrillers, horror, non-fiction, whatever I can get my hands on. Well, figuratively since most of my audio is digital. No dusting.

Back to the poet. I wouldnt' want to have lived his life. He wrote some great stuff but he... well, he neither seemed happy nor like a very nice guy.

How would you rather be remembered:

a tortured artist, an asshole but a genius ?
a happy, nice person ?

Maybe we don't get to choose.


The Genius of the Crowd
by Charles Bukowski

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art

Sunday, April 09, 2006

One False Move

Boy's 911 Call Ignored as Mom Dies, Family Says
By David Runk,

DETROIT (April 7) — A 5-year-old boy called 911 to
report that his mother had collapsed in their apartment, but an operator told him he should not be playing on the phone, and she died before help arrived.

The family of Sherrill Turner, 46, does not know whether a swifter
response could have saved her life, but relatives want to know why the operator apparently treated the call as if it were a prank.

Police said the 911 response was under investigation.

Turner's son, Robert, placed two calls to 911 after his mother collapsed Feb. 20 on the kitchen floor. During one of the calls, an operator said: "You shouldn't be playing on the phone."

In a tape of the call, parts of which were broadcast by Detroit-area television stations, the operator said: "Now put her on the phone before I send the police out there to knock on the door and you gonna be in trouble."

In an audio of the tape played on TV, some of what the boy says is unintelligible.

Delaina Patterson, the eldest of Turner's 10 children, said police did
not arrive until three hours later. She said only Robert and his mother were home at the time.

Detroit police spokesman James Tate said it was at least an hour before authorities arrived, but he said he did not have details.

By that time, the boy's mother had died, he said.

"The operator may have believed he was playing on the phone," Tate said.

Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said it was important not to rush to judgment.

"If disciplinary action is recommended following the completion of the
investigation, then that is the course that will be taken," she said.

The 911 operator remains on the job amid the investigation, Tate said.
04-08-06 11:43 EDT


Okay, here's the problem: This looks so bad.

In my jurisdiction the call to check the residence would have been loaded right away. How long it took to get there would depend upon how many other calls were holding at the time and their priority (not just what the computer said but the dispatcher's discretion and instinct).

Most times it is kids playing on the phone. I am usually pretty firm with kids about the fact that they need to put an adult on the phone NOW, but I'm willing to listen to why they won't if they can come up with a reason. Mom's sleeping? Wake her up. If the child cannot wake up mom then we go lights and sirens and an ambulance goes with.

Easy to Sunday-night quarterback, though.

I'm happy to note that they didn't release the calltaker's name. If she's found negligent then fine but not until.

Either way, that calltaker is screwed.

If you are possibly responsible for the death of a stranger, go visit my renter: the Dramedy of Life. Tell her the story, she'll enjoy it!

Friday, April 07, 2006

This Week's Tenant: The Dramedy of Life

She's a romance writer, a Capricorn, and a Virginian.

Her eclectic tastes include: William Shakespeare, Laurell K. Hamilton, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Eminem, and the Dixie Chicks.

Go check her blog out, it's good stuff!

The Dramedy Of Life

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Isn't she lovely?

Kelli is now 13 months out and 154 lbs down. Lookin' fine, if I do say so myself
(and I do).

Love you, baby!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Polymer Clay Creations

Okay, so it's not metallurgy but it's cheaper and I can get my creative juices flowing without the possibility of fourth degree burns.

It's a little therapeutic; I can get into a zone and listen to a book or whatever and get lost in the detail work. It's all pretty amateurish so far but every one gets better. Here are the things I've made so far in the order in which they were made.

Anyone have any hints or tips ?


The First Gargoyle
The Black Panther Gargoyle
Sugar Baby (not yet fired, still in progress but looking okay)

Monday, April 03, 2006

All the cool kids are doing it

I don't have any piercings. I'm not opposed to them but there's one type which I just don't understand:

I guess I understand the need to be weird. And I guess I could understand how it could add complexity to a certain type of lovemaking (although it seems an unnecessary addition, but that' s just me).

But I hate watching someone play with their new tongue piercing or clicking it against their teeth. It's not a "fingernails on the chalkboard" reaction like my wife would have to someone hitting their teeth with a fork. I've been known to tap my front teeth repeatedly with a fork to irritate people. Not to irritate my wife though, I'm not stupid.

Plus I'm scared of the pain of getting my tongue pierced. And infection. And loss of proper enunciation.

And I'm something of a spaz (my lovely wife thinks so, at least) so I can see this happening:

And that's just plain embarrassing at the ER.

Oh and check out Tricia's blog. I don't now if she has any piercings but you could ask!


After looking at all those thousands of pictures of razor blade wounds and burn marks I thought that I might dream about cutting last night.

I shouldn’t have been concerned.

I tell people that I don’t take my job home with me, which is mostly true. Being a call-to-call job based on reaction instead of projects with deadlines, it’s easy to leave after the last call of the day and not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow starts with a clean slate.

Yet some calls linger. The parents who lay down in a bed with their infants for a nap and accidentally roll over and smother them to death – those calls will haunt me for a while. Ditto the teenaged girl who arrives home to finds her brother has committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the head. I can carry the sense of horror home.

That kind of stuff I consciously try not to dwell on. Writing about it helps but a certain lingering sense of the unfairness and inhumanity proves helpful to keep me going too.

This is what I do. These situations are what I get paid for and what I get great satisfaction in reacting to appropriately.

While I don’t exactly spring out of bed every morning whistling because I’m so happy I get to go spend 12 hours working for the Man, I do have a sense of pride in what I do.

If I won the lottery (if we had a lottery and if I was the type to buy lottery tickets) I’m not sure what I’d actually do. I’d have to have some organization in my life or I’d slip into total agoraphobia.

Which, I guess like cutting, wouldn’t be all that bad if one could still function. Yet it wouldn’t be much of a life either.

Luckily I don’t have vast wealth to corrupt me. Ha!

Also, don’t forget to visit Tricia! She updates often and usually has something interesting to read.


Photo: KnottyPineAntiques

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cutting Class

I never wrote about how interesting the Crisis Intervention Team academy was last September. I might write about the team and the training in more detail but the short definition of the Crisis Intervention Team is this:

It’s a group of officers and dispatchers who receive special training and have special interest in helping meet the needs of mental health consumers.

Understanding that officer safety comes first, the “tactical approach” (tasers, hobbles, etc.) to dealing with unreasonable subjects is not always the best method of dealing with mentally ill folks.

Plus a good CIT dispatcher can smooth the way for officers or even eliminate the need for officer response. In my agency we feel lucky to have been given the training but there is no additional pay for being a member of the team. This means that the folks active in the team are dedicated to spending their own extra time with these folks.

It’s just good customer service too. Since most folks will either have a mental crisis in their lives or have a close friend or family member have mental issues, it makes sense that we get training in how to best deal with folks in crisis.

Also, no one particularly wants to shoot and kill a mentally ill subject. It looks bad and it’s a lot of stress for the officer doing the shooting.

Anyway, last week I taught a 5 hour class on the basics of assisting mental health consumers to our new dispatch academy. One of the areas I researched in advance was “self-injury,” “self-harm,” or “cutting.”

The CIT leader happened to see my cutting section (complete with a multimedia presentation) and offered (flattered me into) giving a longer lecture about cutting at the advanced CIT training this summer. Wahoo!

Oh wait, there’s all the work getting ready.

Cutting fascinates me more than ever now that I've done a lot of reading on the subject. This is a huge deal.

While not a diagnosis in itself, cutting can be indicative of lots of mental problems: borderline personality disorder, depression, etc. And all the cool kids are doing it.

Cutting isn’t about suicide; it’s about coping.

Some of us deal with their daily stresses or the stresses of adolescence, grief, abuse, mental illness, etc., by drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, taking drugs, over-eating, or (I’ve only heard) exercise.

Others cope by cutting, burning, pulling hair, biting, and otherwise causing themselves harm. It’s like a pressure release. Quotes from cutters include:

“… It gives me a sense of control. I get to be in charge of how much I bleed and how much pain I feel. Sometimes I feel it’s the only thing in my life I have control over…”

Today I looked at, this is not an exaggeration, about 6000 pictures of self-inflicted wounds. It was horrible. I looked at the photos the same way my father watches the Operation Channel: wincing but unable to look away. I paged through these photos for hours looking for ones that show representative injuries.

I have about 50 photos which show “great” injuries, ones that are not decorative or suicide attempts or caused for sexual gratification. There's a lot of crazy bloody ugly stuff out there.

I wonder how the crimes against children detectives do it, looking at abuse victim's pictures all day long. I guess they get the satisfaction of putting the bad guys in jail.

You don't put someone who cuts in jail. You often don't put them in a hospital. If the injuries are not life threatening and they pose no danger to others, cutters have the same rights as you and I. They don't put smokers in jail. They don't put alcoholics in jail. They don't put fat people in jail (thank goodness!).

I'm thankful that for all the little problems I have, including a little "mentally ill lite," cutting is not an obsession/compulsion/addiction I have. I have nothing but sympathy for those who cut.

I wish them the environment and the support where they can stop harming themselves, even if it's a sort of release of tension to them. As a CIT dispatcher I can at least understand and teach my fellow CIT members to not judge the consumers with numerous scars and instead provide them whatever service we are there to provide with as little additional stress as possible.

Anyone out there with cutting stories? Anything you want me to share with my crew this summer?