Wednesday, July 9, 2014

where am I now? Map basics for dispatchers

Odd, even, north or south – how do I get there? Map reading basics for dispatchers.

One of the most basic tasks and yet awkward to teach is geography. How does one help a new dispatcher learn the jurisdiction of an agency’s response zones, especially a large area? Having an understanding of how the department’s assigned area is laid out will help in the taking of calls for service, coordinating of radio traffic, and handling of in-progress incidents.

First, one must know how what reference books are available for his or her communications center. For example, in a previous agency, I had a standard Thomas Guide (street map), City Water Dept. map, and a map of the city with the police beats & state census tracts marked out. Each radio station had the same City map, but the fire side had the response districts while the police one had the beats. At my current one, I have multiple maps of the state (we’re a State-wide dispatch), a topographical atlas showing detailed locations of water guzzlers, multiple water maps of specific areas, maps of state & regional parks, hunt zone maps, and endless on-line reference resources. At one point, I’ve used each of them.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Saintly queen: Tamar the Great of Georgia

Judge according to righteousness, affirming good and condemning evil,” she advised. “Begin with me--if I sin I should be censured, for the royal crown is sent down from above as a sign of divine service. Allow neither the wealth of the nobles nor the poverty of the masses to hinder your work. You by word and I by deed, you by preaching and I by the law, you by upbringing and I by education will care for those souls whom God has entrusted to us, and together we will abide by the law of God, in order to escape eternal condemnation…. You as priests and I as ruler, you as stewards of good and I as the watchman of that good.”

Part of the speech given by Tamar the Great, Queen of Georgia to the Church Council during the beginning of her reign.

What do you get when you cross Divine Right and an iron hand? The answer is an army-leading, kick-ass female fighter who was named Co-Ruler of the Bagrationi Dynasty by her father when she was a teenager. Queen Tamar of the Caucasus reigned over Georgia for 35 years. Georgia is nestled between the Daruband & Black Seas. When Tamar died, her lands encompassed the area from the Caspian to the Black Seas all the way from what is now modern Azerbaijan to southern Russia. Her allies included her nephews, Alexius & David Comnenus, Byzantine Princes who established the Trebizond Empire with the help of the Georgian army.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

NHL conspiracy theory and game scheduling

I wouldn't have wanted to be in Las Vegas if I didn't have to. It was triple digit temperatures in LAs Vegas this week. Ovie tweeted photos of hanging out in swimming pools. I bet half the people there had no idea who he was (could they even understand what he was saying?). Tickets to the event were a little pricey, though.

This year I had to watch the replay from home since I was scheduled to work. Darn those pesky Game Wardens - you would think they would understand the importance of the NHL Awards show and all take the day off, right? The job must go on...somebody has to answer the radio & phones.

Break out the Xanax because I'm depressed. Once again, poor Patty is DENIED silver. No Lady Byng trophy for Patrick Marleau. If it wasn't enough that his team, the San Jose Sharks failed to make their goal (sorry, folks) of bringing home Lord Stanley's Cup to Northern California, then at least he could have carried home to San Jose from Las Vegas. Instead, he hung out with the boys.

Let's face it. Patty's not known for being an enforcer. How many times have we seen him drop the gloves? Perhaps if Marleau had been a little more assertive, the team might have followed suit and they would have not allowed LA to win those four games.


Hey, don't smack down the messenger. I happen to like Marleau. I think he's a skilled player but this season's post-season melt down was just the tip of the iceberg. LA turned up the heat while SJ decided they wanted to hit the golf courses early. How else do you explain the loss?

My husband has maintained that the professional sports (all teams in general) have an idea who they want to do well' each year. When we watch games, he points out obvious missed calls by refs that benefit the opposite teams. "See, that ref wants San Jose to lose."

I try to stick up for the zebras. "No, he just didn't see the incident. He was watching the play on the other side of the ice." Sometimes its tough to justify non-calls - such as a puck passing across the goal line but the ref refusing to acknowledge the goal judges or linesmen trying to get their attention to go to review. I saw this watching other teams, too, not just San Jose. I think there were two key points in SJ's post season loss. The first was Vlasic's injury and the second was the failure to score on a five-on-three power play. LA gathered momentum and never looked back.

This week the NHL released the 2014-2015 pre & regular season schedules. Let's beat a dead horse to a bloody pulp: the San Jose Shark's opening game is on the road - in Los Angeles - where the Kings will raise the Stanley Cup banner.

Who in the NHL has it out for San Jose to start them against the team that turned around a 3-0 deficit to a win in the first round? How cruel is that? Couldn't the Sharks have started out playing Anaheim then the next game played LA? The scheduler must have spent a long weekend at a S&M club getting whipped within inches of his (or her life) by some leather-clad dominatrix to come up with that plan.

I just hope the NHL decides to go ahead with giving San Jose the outdoor game this coming season. I know it is a carrot, but after all the team has gone through, they deserve it; just don't have them play LA or Anaheim. Make it interesting. Bring in Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas, or Montreal for a Canadian flair.

San Jose fans are just as loyal as other other team. We've stuck around despite the dismal losing post-seasons. We love our our team. We wear our teal proudly. We were ripped out of seeing the Hanson Brothers at our All-Star event because the League didn't think the brothers properly represented the spirit of hockey. That's okay, Owen Nolan gave us a hat trick to remember. Now, give us an outdoor game.

We will support it and the Bay Area & the world will see how great hockey is.

Meanwhile, Patty, Joe, Edouard, Logan, Tomas, and all the other guys...enjoy your summer and we'll see you back in September.

Go Sharks!

stay safe out there

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hockey books to get through through the summer

What can a hockey fan do in the off season to get their hockey fix? Well, you can keep up with your team news on their web site. There is always Twitter or NHL, ESPN, Sportscenter, etc.  Too bad Sportscenter & ESPN tend to focus on other areas when the boys of winter are on hiatus.

Sure, I follow horse racing and some coworkers are in to NASCAR (still don’t get that endless circling around over & over gain, but whatever makes your happy).

Here’s a suggestion: read a book. There are some wonderful books out there about the sport we love. Just to get you started, I’ve listed some of my personal picks. There are a couple I haven’t actually read yet (the few are on my To Be Read , or TBR, pile).  Currently, I’m working my way through Bernd Bruckler’s “This is Russia: Life in the KHL” which I am enjoying the hell out of.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Daddy's not amused: the Princess Pirate

Its Renaissance fair season and many fairs have theme weekends. One of the favorites, thanks to the the Disney ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films, is the pirates days. Pirates were the scourge of the seas. These ships crewed by men who came from all areas of the world and every level of society thumbed their noses at society. But, were they all men? No, women sailed the seven seas as well as their male counterparts. Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Grace O’Malley are well known. This is the story of a Swedish Princess who fled her palace to lead a ship: Alwilda of Sweden.