And Now a Word From The Sponsor

Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing:

The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer (s) and should not taken as official policy of ANY organization with which I am associated. Reading or sharing any post from this site shall be taken as an indication that you have read this disclaimer and understand it.

Monday, July 31, 2017

What Future Shall You Have?

It is perhaps the most important question you will ever ask yourself.  What future do you want?  Do you limit the possible answers to that question will all of the things you call reasons or certainty?  I don't have the money.  No one will let me. They will think it is stupid.  I could never. 

Do you allow the window of the possible to be tightly closed by your expectations or someone else's permissions?  Do you say no before anyone else has the chance to say yes?  Before the world has the opportunity to make your dreams come true? 

There are many benefits to traveling, to exploring, and to looking upon wonders with eyes of awe.  When you open your eyes to see, you open your heart and your mind to what is there for the taking.  All if it. Sometimes you do not even know it was there in the first place. That is a mystery I have known on my greatest days.   

I am grateful for the life that I have lived.  For the times I have been granted an amazing view of a place, a person, or myself. When I knew that there was something bigger, bolder, and greater than I imagined before.  

That knowing means your choices must be different. it creates a responsibility.  I may not squander the possible.  I may not discard the gift. I do not know how much time remains, no one really does.  But once you have felt the silent autumn mist along the Shenandoah, once you have heard the voice of God whisper in your ears, once you have stirred the laugh of a child, once you have caught the smile of someone who thought hope and joy were forever absent, then you have an obligation.  You have a contract to live your life the way it was intended to be.  You know when you are doing it.  It feels like home.  You know when you are not.  It feels like death. 

That is a very easy choice now isn't it? 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Posts of an Unhappy Man

Jesus tells us point blank. 
He could not be clearer. 
Be as children. 
This doesn't mean put gum in your sisters hair. 
I do not think it means hold your breath until you get what you think you want. 
From a lover. Or employer. Or roommate. 
It doesn't even mean decorate the newly white walls of your room with magic markers.
Think of the child's reactions to where we put our grown-up thoughts. 
Think of the child's reaction to our fears.
We gently tease them about there being no monsters under their bed. 
No bogeymen in the closet. 
And then we throw away a love, a future, a possibility:  
For a fear of: nothing. 
For a memory tying us back to a situation long departed, that never was as strong in the imagined. 
a place nowhere near as perfect as the pages of our adult coloring books make it out to be. 
We stride into unhappy jobs. 
We fail to appreciate the real. 
We rage at demons no more true than a dream. 
And for what. 
To pat ourselves on the back. 
To rest secure in our busy, adult filled lives. With their serious tones and elite status and reservations and performance evaluations. 
All the while secretly longing for something we used to have and have forsaken. 
The free laughter 
The never ending giggle
Love without expectation or bullshit or the taint of what has come before. 
Life. Simple. Childlike. Divine. 
And a lesson of who we need to be. 
Who we must be again if we are to truly know-- 
What is real. And what is just another monster under the bed. 

Marianette With Scissors

You think I am your puppet. 
You call. You text. You scream. You cry. 
All for nothing but a reaction. 
You are a comet. 
But instead of burning bright and moving quickly away,
You look for somewhere, or someone to crater. 
The bigger the splash or the bigger the bang the happier you are. 
Content only in emotional destruction. Never in healing or repair. 
None of your bridges can ever be crossed. 
For they are never not on fire. 
I wonder if you even notice the smell of the smoke. 
Or if it has ever occurred to you 
That the last thing people on islands should ever do 
Is destroy each and every way across the water. 
But I know the answer. I know why you howl without saying a word. 
I know what the night brings.
I feel it too. 
But I will not pass along to your outstretched hand a match or a torch. 
I will not give you justification or permission. 
I have looked above me to see those strings you mistake for love
I know what they really are. 
I will walk away now. 
To distant stand in the glow of the memories and the fire and the pain. 
I will watch as maybe you finally see what is left behind
And wonder what you will do with the strings that are now only
Your own. 

Paul Lynde's Lover

In 1965, Lynde was involved in an accident in which a young actor fell to his death from the window of their hotel room in San Francisco's Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The two had been drinking for hours before 24-year-old James "Bing" Davidson slipped and fell eight stories. (Wikipedia) 

I will never forget that sound. 
I didn't think the latch would ever snap like that. 
I can't even remember what happened next. 
Not unless I pause long enough to be close to this place they call sober. 
It's a trade off. 
I can drown the end part. 
I can wash away everything from
that terrible metal snap all the way to the sound of the siren. 
Carrying you away. 
Carrying away the dreams we shared. The silly visions of a future that I thought was impossible one day before we met. 
And knew was impossible one day after. 
It was only three hours. 
But god were they glorious. 
You made me believe. 
You laughed at my jokes but not how everyone else does. 
Hell, its my job to make them laugh. 
And pray that somewhere in between they never see what is really there. Or who. 
In between the drinks the laughter and that passion you looked behind the bullshit lies of my smile.  
The lies I had to tell to make it out of Mount Vernon. 
The lies behind every... single... goddamn joke. 
Jokes to make it easier for others to take me. 
Even the evil clown can make people laugh. For a moment. Till they realize. 
You saw behind around and through.
To the part that was real. That was me. 
And you were not afraid. 
And I loved you for it. 
And then that window. 
That awful window. 
My past. My future. 
Eight floors. 
I know I may sound selfish now. Looking back. 
I know you had dreams too. You shared some of them. 
But you let that night be about me. Your arm on my shoulder. That look in your eye. 
That amazing to the point of agonizing kiss. 
But turned into one more act. One More Play. One More Role. 
I had to lie. To the cops. To the reporters. To myself. 
To you. 
I didn't make the funeral. 
You know why. 
But that doesn't make right does it?
I had to close the book and move on. 
I had to laugh it off. 
But I didn't.  I have never been able to. 
I can still smell you. 
I can still look down and see your hand in mine. 
As we talked about Hitchcock. And argued about music. And made a universe and a lifetime out of one dingy san francisco hotel room.  
Even tonight. Sitting in this lonely house. 17 years to the day later. 
The bottom of my glass empties to reveal your ghost. 
No matter how many times I fill it- I can not wash away that image. 
Or these memories. 
And the ghost of my future lost. 
Three little hours.  
The one time of my life that wasn't a joke. 
Damn I wish it was. 
I know how to tell those. 

(c) Christopher Blake Carver 

A word or two on Rescue/Engines

On paper it makes great sense, I suppose.  Why have a dedicated rescue when you can put that equipment on an Engine and get it to the scene in more-efficient manner and without the extra staffing required for an additional piece of apparatus? 

However, what do you accomplish when you put the extrication equipment on an Engine but then have to send another Engine Company on the assignment to make up enough staffing to do the Engine and Rescue work?  If you are a department that has widely dispersed apparatus you may actually be in worse shape than with some of your other options.  It might make more sense to maintain the dedicated Rescue apparatus and cross-staff it to a Ladder Company or put the rescue equipment on the Ladder Company.  Or, make sure your Rescue/Engine has a crew of at least (4) people so you don't have to assign an additional Engine unless the situation warrants it. 

On a related note, Rescue/Engines responding to fires are a great indicator of the awareness of an agency.  If you really must assign a Rescue/Engine to a fire as a Rescue, then if it arrives before the "real" Engines on the assignment, shouldn't that apparatus work as an Engine?  This may violate some widely held beliefs, but the presence of a Rescue (especially if it's a Rescue/Engine) is not essential to the extinguishment of a structural fire.  The work that a Rescue Company does at a Fire can be performed by other apparatus (and most likely will be, especially if the Rescue has a lengthy response time).  If they are close enough to be helpful then by all means send them, but we probably need to be honest about what needs done on the scene of a fire and what company is likely to do it. Engine work, truck-work, a medic or two, water supply, and command are  the bread and butter roles- those should be the priority, all else falls under "nice-to-have" 

It all comes back to resource management and making sure we make the best possible decisions about how we use what we have.  Getting caught up on the apparatus designations or reducing our resources in the process of trying to preserve them don't actually do the best good for the public or responders.