Sunday, August 31, 2008

That was some good sleep

So party peoples,

I realized I didn't bring the usb cable for the camera which means that you all need to wait until I get back to get any decent photos. Here's what I can tell you....

Got on a plane in Boston yesterday at 1:15PM, got to Baton Rouge through Houston around 7PM. Was told to report to the Louisiana Emergency Operations Center for a briefing before we went to the hotel. Was then assigned the night shift, no briefing, and worked until 6:30 AM today.

Wait, it gets better. Came to the lovely Days Inn. Which has been rated 43 out of 51 hotels in Baton Rouge. Their computers got fried last night and so they couldn't access any reservations which means they couldn't give me a room because they didn't know which ones were vacant. At this point, I was so tired I contemplated either sleeping in the lobby on the floor or walking up and down Airline Highway singing Ethel Merman songs. I ended up sleeping in my co-worker's room who was on the opposite shift I was.

Woke up an hour ago. The manager gave me a room and was very nice. I was actually impressed at the system of hand-written papers and notes she had. This hotel is completely full. Mostly of evacuees, but also responders.

The scene down here isn't really chaotic, yet. More of a controlled urgency. However, we haven't had landfall yet. I'll write more when I can. I haven't done the late shift for this long since 2004 as a cop. The sleep patterns come back. A cold, dark room is all I need.

My eyes hurt.

It's 5 AM. We landed at 7PM last night, came to the Louisiana State EOC for a quick briefing, and then I've been working here since then. My fleabag hotel will feel like the Ritz. I need a bed badly.

At least the Globe thinks I'm an official.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What do you pack for a deployment?

So I'm leaving for Baton Rouge in a few hours. Surprisingly there's no direct flight from Boston. I'm trying to keep 13 days of stuff into one suitcase as I have two carry-ons. I really have no idea what I'm walking into. I also am not sure of the dress code, so I packed a bunch of slacks and polo shirts. You can never go wrong with those.

My agency asked if we wanted a satellite phone. I said sure, picturing this:

What I got was a bag so large I could use it for human trafficking. It's huge and has an antenna like this:There's no way I'm not getting stopped by the TSA and strip-searched. I wore cologne today to keep my dignity.

A lot of people are asking what I'm going to be doing down there. Well, I'd like to say that Louisiana is putting me on an oil platform and having me yell at the storm so it gets scared and changes course. However, I'll be working in their State Emergency Operations Center as part of the EMAC A-Team. (Insert B.A. Baracus joke here) From the website:

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), established in 1996, has weathered the storm when tested and stands today as the cornerstone of mutual aid. The EMAC mutual aid agreement and partnership between member states exist because from hurricanes to earthquakes, wildfires to toxic waste spills, and terrorist attacks to biological and chemical incidents, all states share a common enemy: the threat of disaster.

Since being ratified by Congress and signed into law, in 1996, (Public Law 104-321), 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands have enacted legislation to become members of EMAC. EMAC is the first national disaster-relief compact since the Civil Defense and Disaster Compact of 1950 to be ratified by Congress.

The strength of EMAC and the quality that distinguishes it from other plans and compacts lies in its governance structure, its relationship with federal organizations, states, counties, territories, & regions, and the ability to move just about any resource one state has to assist another state, including medical resources.

EMAC offers the following benefits:

  • EMAC assistance may be more readily available than other resources.
  • EMAC allows for a quick response to disasters using the unique human resources and expertise possessed by member states.
  • EMAC offers state-to-state assistance during Governor declared state of emergencies: EMAC offers a responsive and straightforward system for states to send personnel and equipment to help disaster relief efforts in other states. When resources are overwhelmed, EMAC helps to fill the shortfalls.
  • EMAC establishes a firm legal foundation: Once the conditions for providing assistance to a requesting state have been set, the terms constitute a legally binding contractual agreement that make affected states responsible for reimbursement. Responding states can rest assured that sending aid will not be a financial or legal burden and personnel sent are protected under workers compensation and liability provisions. The EMAC legislation solves the problems of liability and responsibilities of cost and allows for credentials to be honored across state lines.
  • EMAC provides fast and flexible assistance: EMAC allows states to ask for whatever assistance they need for any type of emergency, from earthquakes to acts of terrorism. EMAC's simple procedures help states dispense with bureaucratic wrangling.
  • EMAC can move resources other compacts can't - like medical resources.

So all of this requires a lot of paperwork and I'm going down there to assist with that. I'm not sure what the internet situation will be down there, but I'll try and provide updates. Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I wanted a real Po Boy

Just found out I'm being sent down to Louisiana for maybe up to 14 days.

Stand by.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bells are Ringing

I was just called by my old partner Will with good news. Tonight he proposed to his girlfriend of 7 years, Andreyina (Nina). She said yes and he called me first to let me know .

Will and I were partners for about 3 and a half years. It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but that time was spent in a car for 8 hours a day about 6 inches from each other. That kind of situation either works really well or really poorly. Fortunately in our case, it worked perfectly. I always tell people that my life in the NYPD was nothing like TV depicts it, except my relationship with my partner. He was across between a brother and a best friend. He is like family to my family and I am to his. It's a relationship I cherish very deeply. So it made it all the more special when he said I was going to be his best man.

For the ladies and curious guys, the Frosty in this post is the vehicle he used to propose. He apparently stuck the ring on the top of the Frosty. This made me laugh as I thought maybe it was going to be at the bottom of a White Castle carton. I'll never forget when I first got a ride home from Will when we carpooled from work. We stopped by McDonalds and proceeded to eat it on an overpass over the BQE. When we got done, he asked "You finished?" and then took my trash and opened the window and flung it out onto the street. "Welcome the the 9-0*", he said, and then put the car in gear and drove me home. Something told me then, this would be the start of something really special.

Congrats Will and Nina. Your kids will be super short.

* The 90 is the 90th Precinct, that covers Williamsburg. All Precincts higher than the 19th are called by their individual numbers. For example, 2-8, and not 28th. Trust me on this.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh My God

The Amish guy just said the ravens were sick because of as he said in Amish-accented English(?), "The Mad Cow Disease."

I'm watching this mostly because I've seen the SVU episode already. Nurse sister kills her brother who ran the home nursing aide business. Sister ends up being the serial killer.

TV moments

So I was going to be productive today. Had plans to maybe buy some new sunglasses or go out to dinner with a friend. Instead, three letters stopped my plans dead in their tracks.


7 hour marathon.

It's really an incredible show and mostly realistic. The real SVU actually spends most of their time talking to kids who claim one of their parents touched them as a way to get back at them for not letting them borrow the car, or grounds them for a weekend. Also, they don't work through the night. A little known fact is that the Detective Squads in the precincts go home at 1AM. Then Nightwatch takes over. Nightwatch you say? Why isn't there a show about these nocturnal investigators? It's because they only take the cases until 8AM when the Precinct Squads come back in. It's because you lose leads if you wait hours before working the case, so these guys essentially collect info and the drop the case back on the desks of the other Squad Guys.

Currently on Sci-Fi is the made for TV movie Kaw, about evil ravens who terrorize a school bus holding a sports team. It's like The Birds but with a better title and Amish people for some bizarre reason. By the way, this Amish guy has the worst accent and beard I've ever seen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Better or Worse....Better or Worse

So I went to the eye doctor this morning for my biennial checkup. I have amblyopia and an astigmatism in my right eye, which in english means I can't get laser surgery. It also means my parents are horrible people who didn't get me checked out when I was a baby. But let bygones be bygones I say. So this means that once every few years, or whenever I want new glasses, I have to get them checked.

There are two games the eye doctor plays with you. The first one is when they put the drops of yellow stuff in your eye to dilate them. This renders you completely incapable of seeing anything close to you. Or as I call this game, "Race to finish the Newsweek before it all becomes blurry." I always lose this game. And my work e-mails suffer as well. Another byproduct of this is that you become like a vampire when you go outside because your eyes take in every bit of bright sunlight there is. They do offer to give you these disposable sunglasses which go over the regular glasses. However once you see them in the mirror, you are inclined to kick your own ass.

The second game they call involves this medieval device.I can't believe that in 2008, we still do exams with something that looks like it came out of Dr. Emmet Brown's laboratory. (Points if you name the movie) So you end up squinting at letters that are terribly fuzzy and the doctor moves these lenses around and asks, "Better or worse?" And he does this about 50 times. Halfway through, you're squinting and trying to read and also trying to wonder if there's any difference at all between these damned lenses, so you just start making things up. I mean it's obvious that there's not this one lens which makes my vision perfect so if I screw up a little bit then my eyes will only be a little bit worse.

So I got the new prescription and will probably get sunglasses, but actual sunglasses and not these God awful things. Or this nerd paradise either.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So I'm back and I have to post other thoughts on my trip to Ireland, but thought I'd share a slideshow of some selected photos from my time there. Chew on this while I get over the jet lag and get back to the commentary.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thoughts from Ireland

I'm over here for the week, taking some great photos and enjoying Guiness's home court advantage. Here are some thoughts:

  • I keep looking the wrong way when I'm crossing the street. It won't be long before I'm hit by one of those double decker buses.
  • Black and White pudding isn't pudding. I'm not sure what it is, and if you know don't tell me. I have a feeling it's like Lamb Fries from Funny Farm.
  • The women here are beautiful. Maybe it's the lilting accent or the pale complexion with the raven dark hair. I think they're just being nice to the dumb American.
  • Watching the Olympics from a Great Britain point of view is weird. I've never seen Badminton on in primetime before.
  • The train crossings here stay down for a long time before a train goes by. I mean like at least 5-7 minutes. This wouldn't stand in America as we're impatient bastards.
  • Something about seeing an Oscar Wilde play in Ireland is cool.

Off to the Horseshoe bar and to meet a bloke for an interview.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I'll miss that sum-uma-bitch

So interspersed in the news about Edwards having an affair with a fairly unattractive woman, Georgia and Russia starting a war, and a tourist getting killed in China was this sad story.

Bernie Mac died this morning. He was 50 years old. His hometown paper has a write-up.

I found this clip from the Kings of Comedy tour. He was by far the best one of the four. "I took a hammer and I slapped the fuck out of him." Best line ever.

Rest in peace Bernie.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Good move

Guess what ad campaign Greyhound Canada had to pull today?

In case, you don't know why they had to pull it, a public safety reminder not to fall asleep on the midnight bus through Manitoba. Unless you have a headache.

Monday, August 04, 2008

They should be ashamed

There was a movie made in 2006 with Donald Faison and Jamie-Lynn Sigler about a black guy who was raised by an Italian family his whole life. Then he meets his real parents and has to learn how to be "black." Now as if this train wreck wasn't enough, the title is perhaps one of the most wonderfully awful things I've heard in a long, long time.

I give you the trailer for Homie Spumoni.

No, I'm not kidding.

I have been shamed

So this morning I went to the dentist for the 6 month check-up. I go to Gentle Dental which is a chain up in Boston. This is fine except everytime I come in I get "Last time you were here, you were seen by Dr. Glebman. He's now in charge of our Braintree office/He was locked up for that thing with the kids you may have seen in the papers. I'm Dr. WhocaresbecauseI'mblowingthispopstandsoon."

So after the guy stuck his fingers in my mouth and told me I had no cavities I got my cleaning. This is where I noticed the hygienist using more gauze than usual and the suctiony thing too. I was apparently bleeding like a Tarrantino movie. Why? Not enough flossing. And as she explained last time, when you don't floss your gums recede and then your teeth fall out of your head. So make sure you floss out there. Very important.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Real Laughter, Real Pizza and Real Thunderstorms

Greetings from Gotham, 

I arrived in New York late last night for a weekend wedding of one of my high school circle of friends.  Got in just late enough to have a glass of sangria with the boys and their significant others.  I'd like to give a shout-out to the Wendy's in Rocky Hill, CT.  Yes Wendy's, you decided to hire a guy for the front register who was either severely brain damaged or had his body ravaged by years of drug and alcohol abuse.  This basically meant that he moved at slow motion.  Which normally I wouldn't mind, but I was racing the old GPS estimate of when I'd get in and I could just see that clock ticking upwards as he looked for lids for some lady's chili.  

But I've been ensconced in my parent's place mostly due to the torrential rain, need to iron before the wedding, and some infomercials that were pretty choice.  I heard from a reader last night that I don't blog too often.  And she has two kids, so I guess there's no excuse.  Sorry Aloha.  I'll do better I promise.