Posted in Humanity

The Restaurant

The locations from which video evidence has to be collected vary. A lot of the time it is motels, the seedy ones, where people let their guard down to shower, sleep, and eat; things required by the human body there’s no getting away from regardless of where you are in your life and the world. But there are other places, like fine restaurants. There was one restaurant where expensive steaks and lobster are served. A place where there are tables near the windows with spectacular views of the valley below, the skyline of the city in the distance; white table cloths, candles, carpeting, and a rich wood interior. They offered me a drink… Two fingers of whiskey. Neat.

Posted in Humanity

Pitbull

One of the first times I went on a field call, Cortney went with me.  I was still in training for the most part and still needed introduction to the nuances of acquiring video evidence and the places I’d be going to do it.  On this particular occasion we needed a lot of video.  Days of it.  So, the plan was to pull the hard drive from the DVR and bring it back to the lab where I could process it.  The location was a particularly nasty motel along the strip and having the two of us there was better than being alone.   Oftentimes with places like this one, the protocol would be to call for “back”; the man or woman with a uniform and, more importantly, a gun.  Two people is good, but two people and a gun was better when you had meth-heads, heroin addicts, or whatever other…

Posted in Humanity

The Cat and the Camera

The bag in my inbox was different than what I was used to seeing.  It wasn’t flat and it wasn’t a small manila envelope with tape around it.  This was a real piece of evidence in a bigger bag with red tape and marker over the tape to indicate tampering should it be opened.  There was a barcode label as well; official, clean, intimidating. As the new guy in the lab, there was still much that I needed to learn.  I knew the basics but I could sense on a daily basis that there were things I needed to know but didn’t yet.  It was unsettling but exciting at the same time.  A life-long learner, I never get tired of finding out something new.  Especially when I was interested in the subject from which that information flowed.  But, I felt tentative whenever handling something I wasn’t quite sure I should…

Posted in Humanity

A Hard Lesson Learned

There is that saying that if it doesn’t kill you it only makes you stronger.   That’s what people say, anyway, right?  And if you learned from a bad experience, at least you got something out of it…yeah, that’s cool, but when you’re in the midst of that hard lesson and you DO nearly get killed, I’m not sure that’s in the forefront of your mind. So, as experiences go, getting punched in the face is one of the more unpleasant ones and one of those times where you’re not thinking, “ah, can’t wait to find out what I learn from this.” A punch in any general proximity to your head is fairly crappy and multiple hits takes it beyond horrible.   Your head’s hard and for a reason.  The brain is an important organ and needs a lot of protection.   Thus the up-armored nature of the skull bone.  I guess, too,…

Posted in Humanity

On Being Poisoned for Profit

This is a bit of a rant, so if you’re one of those who takes things personally, or gets all hot and bothered by things people write, well, maybe just pass on this one. I do a mental exercise every so often.  If  a commercial comes on while I’m watching TV, I try to put myself at a remove from it.   The goal here is to be more an observer than the passive participant that is often how we experience TV.  Doing this allows for evaluating the commercial more objectively and I can tease out the subtle message the marketers are trying to send.  Sometimes I do it for fun, sometimes to tell my kids so they understand that it is not reality, just marketing to separate people from their money. One group who has mastered the ability to manipulate us by preying on the phobias, inadequacies and especially desires…

Posted in Family Humanity

Living the Hyperopic Life

About fifteen years ago, in a former life, I worked with Josephine and Josephine had a plan.   She was driven by a single goal which was to work as hard as she could, climb the corporate ladder and make enough money so she and her husband could retire at forty-five and live the rest of their days in relaxed splendor. Jasmine planned to begin working part time about two years ago.   In her mid forties, she felt it time to spend more time with the kids who had, up to this point, been brought up by nannies.   She was considering going freelance and starting her own consulting business.  Her  time would become her own and she’d made enough money that she and her family were pretty well off. Hunter has worked extremely hard for the last several years trying to grow his company and build a solid nest egg.   He…

Posted in Humanity

Happiness Served Here

“It’s ‘The Decade of Discontent’,” I said a few years ago during a conversation about being in your forties.  And it occurred to me this very well could be.   Professionally, people of this vintage are often on the cusp of deciding to chase the money, continue to chase it, stop chasing it or do something completely different in an effort to find that which fulfills them most.  The children are grown, but not all the way so there is still that dependence but independence has crept in so parents aren’t “needed” as much.  The body starts talking back too, asking “what exactly are you doing working me like this and why is coffee not involved?”  And then there’s the big stuff.  Shocking and unexpected news, friends divorcing, cancer and people who have life smoke a curveball they just weren’t expecting or didn’t really deserve. I had a former friend tell…

Posted in Humanity

I am a Human Tesla Coil

It happens every year. As we descend into shorter days and longer nights. As the earth’s axis tilts the northern hemisphere away from the sun and the light and radiant heat strike the U.S. at a more oblique angle, things change. The air cools, water condenses and when the temperature gets cold enough, it freezes and floats to the ground robbing the air of moisture and humidity. Dryer means more static electricity. And more static electricity means more getting lit up any time I touch a remotely conductive surface. Albert Einstein once posited that if we evolved properly we would eventually exist as pure energy. Imagine that, all of us just blobs of light or sparkling spheres floating around. The fashionistas would certainly figure out a way for us to change our colors and we wouldn’t need to drive any more, we’d just float to where we needed to go….

Posted in Humanity

Sex, Violence, and the Imbalance of It All

You’re watching TV. An attractive couple lies in a bed breathless and obviously happy. They hold each other and whisper sweet nothings. Planting a quick kiss on her lover’s cheek, the woman says she’ll be right back, pulls to comforter to cover her nakedness and slides out of bed. On the way out of the room the comforter slips revealing her bare backside. People are up in arms. Two performers are singing a song with subtle erotic intent. It is a song about a man desiring the woman and promising her they’ll be together before the song finishes. With the final assertion that he’ll have her naked by the end of it, he reaches over and strips away part of her bodice to reveal a bare breast, a star covers her nipple. People lose their freakin’ minds! A man is being chased by the evil doppleganger of a female character….

Posted in Humanity

After 30 Years, I Finally Understand

There are some things in life that you experience young but only fully understand when the wisdom of age has layered enough of it’s dust upon your heart. Over the past decade, there have been more than just a few times which, for me, bear this consideration out. One such instance has to do with newspapers, AT&T, a money changer and a 12-year-old, toe-headed boy who was just not aware enough because he just wasn’t old enough. From the time I sold newspapers at the old AT&T building in downtown Wayne, PA until now in my current self-employment and business ownership, I have only been fired once. And it was from that paper selling job (I wouldn’t call it a paper route because I just stood there and sold papers, no route to follow.) Of the 15-20 positions I have held, I have always kept myself to a standard of…

Posted in Humanity

Foot Traffic

Imagine this! You’re walking North on Wilcox heading to dinner at the Castle Cafe, or maybe breakfast at B&B. About half way down the block a new business is setting up shop. They have boxes and equipment outside up against the front of their store. It’s mostly moved out of the way, but there’s a lot there so it’s kind of crowded. Because the sidewalk is not very wide and there are parking meters at the curb, the path to get by has become just wide enough for one person. The pedestrian traffic is not all that heavy, but there are a few people on the walkway. As you approach the narrowing of the sidewalk you move to your left to pass the store front and avoid running into their stuff, you suddenly sense a presence off your left shoulder and before you can think, someone has cut in front…

Posted in Big Numbers Humanity

Having Everything and Having Nothing

We were passing through Vail the other day on the way to a camping trip and stopped off at a 7-Eleven to stretch our legs and see what the big 7 had to offer (not much). On a whim, while purchasing a few comics for the boys, I threw two dollars on the counter and said “two, quick picks.” This is a silly but entertaining thing I do maybe once every 2 years. Part teaching opportunity, part mental exercise, the purchase of a lottery ticket always sparks conversations that evolve in interesting ways. This year, with the hurricane in Texas, I was able to think in two realms. Having a lot and having nothing. Having a Lot Being able to buy anything you want is always — or at least most times — the fantasy of those purchasing lottery tickets. I would venture to say most people aren’t walking away…