Monday, January 6, 2014

How To Fix the World (when you feel powerless)

"It seems like I can't get a break, and I don't know why." You said you're saddened by the world around you, and that this year will be no different. I've never really known the answer for either of us, but my time overseas helped me understand how we construct our reality. Because even as I sit here, free and surrounded with love, I feel the remnants of our dark past. 

When it comes to problems such as apathy, ignorance, and violence, their sheer magnitude can be daunting for one person to tackle. "Who am I to stop this?" you've said, "or how could I even possibly stop this?" You said it was easier when I was by your side, willing to fight battles and never afraid to tell bullies to bugger off. You joked about me being an Orc at heart because I don't fear confrontation, but I'll be honest. I fight because I'm afraid. 

While your response was to shy away from the world, mine was to transform into something aggressive so that I could protect myself and others. But, in my time away, I've learnt that you can't always yell and brawl your way to a better world. You only end up leaving behind a trail of destruction in your ironic attempt to ensure justice. 

Improving the world also requires gentility, and quiet selflessness. 

I slowly stopped wielding axes in battle when I realised how inertia applies to goodness. If an object in motion stays in motion, then the goodness you bring will last longer than any weapon. We both know that a strong team isn't solely comprised of battle-hardened warriors. So how can regular people fix the real world? 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

How to realistically deal with a home invasion (picture steps)

I've had encounters with bandits who felt that they deserved my stuff more than I did. When you're the victim of a break-in, the sudden feeling of vulnerability leaves you helplessly frozen. All of my smack talk about being a fearless warrior went out the window, and I started considering actually leaping out of the window.

via Johnny Grim
I needed a plan! Someone tried to enter my apartment in the middle of the night. I wasn't sleeping; I was playing video games and chatting on the phone with my sister. He was persistent in knocking, but I refused to answer. Luckily, this man ended up leaving without confrontation.

Today, I checked my inbox and found out that my apartment community sent out a mass email warning about the nighttime prowler.

Actual message, edited for privacy.
That made me ponder, what else could have happened in that situation? I recreated the scenario and came up with a more effective tactical plan, in the case the nighttime prowler decides to pay me another visit.

Hark, barricade the main entry!

Once you see an unfamiliar face at the door, do not answer and do not open it under any circumstance. I don't care if it's a bloody lass or a grandma with a plateful of cookies. If you aren't expecting anyone, it's a trap!

Sneak away, grab any large objects, and jam them against the door to form a little barricade. This will buy you time to wobble towards a safe area.

Arm yourself with nearby makeshift weapons!

Depending on the room you're in, you might have a number of handy weapons available. You can be a sports brawler!

If you keep free weights lying around for motivation, pick one up and lob it at their head!

Or maybe you're more of a cleanly pyromaniac.

Monday, November 25, 2013

How does it feel to be bitten by a police dog?

I was accused of stealing drugs and bitten by a police dog. The former was a mistake and the latter was a willing choice on my part.  

 Birmingham Campaign (image by Bill Hudson)
I was anxious to meet with the Canine Unit and hound them over police dog stereotypes. But before we met with the canine officers, I walked around the police station to satisfy my spying urges. I was spotted by one of the officers I met at the Kent County Jail during my ride along. He popped his head out of the door and smiled mischievously at me. 

I tried to run away, but it was too late. Another officer showed up and soon they were teasing me about the incident with the mad drunken lady. They asked me if I'd like to take pictures of them, too.

I bowed my head in defeat, but shot them a vengeful glance. I boldly declared, "I'm only being polite because you have tactical advantages!" They kept chuckling so I stumbled back to the classroom, vowing to seek retribution. 

I scurried into my seat and overheard Mark taunting JD about his new mustache for Movember. I won't share the barrage of insults, but it involved him owning a van that says "free candy!" on the side. I thought it looked rather spiffy, like a true blue Texas ranger.

via OG 13
The detective from the Vice Unit came up to the front of the class. He sported a proper beard that was given murmurs of approval. He told us about the naughty shenanigans they put a stop to, such as drugs, gambling, and short-term dating

He passed around all sorts of drugs in tightly sealed baggies. I took curious sniffs at most of them, eyeballing their scent and texture. Tiny rocks of pure cocaine were labelled with prices up in the thousands. Liquid heroin was a thick, goopy brown mixture that I could mold between my fingers. I saw a baggie filled with THC lollipops, and giggled because the manufacturer stuck labels that said "like us on Facebook!"

I felt hungry, so in my naive innocence, I pulled out a snack to scarf down. I didn't realise that my ziploc bag of grapes looked very much like the bagged drugs that were being passed around. I heard a loud gasp behind me, and quickly realised why the lass was terrified. She thought I opened one of the sealed baggies and tasted a sample of the drugs.

I sputtered in protest, hoping she'd calm down before we caught the attention of nearby officers. I quickly convinced her that I was merely munching on a bunch of Black Concords.

While I had no interest in stealing drugs, I had to physically restrain myself from nabbing one of cute puppies they soon brought out. Four new officers appeared after the break, guiding two beautifully glorious police dogs. 
Sgt Darren Geraghty with his K9 Izzy.
Officer Todd Wuis and his K9 Boris.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

10 Realistic Suggestions To Be Happy Right Now

There's no shame in feeling down every now and then. Whether everything in your life is running smoothly or in shambles, you can inexplicably be hit with the depression bug. I too, have felt unexplainable sadness, so I've scoured the web for helpful advice. I found a lot of helpful articles that I enjoyed reading. However, the articles rarely gave suggestions as to what I can do at this very moment.

It's easy to follow positive advice when you're as motivated as a chirpy chipmunk, but what about suggestions for when you feel as energetic as a drugged walrus? If you could use a hand to yank you out of a slump, then you're in luck. I've come up with a list of 10 ways to bring happiness within the next few minutes.

1) Send spam texts to someone you like. Screenshot their reaction.

When the last thing you feel like doing is talk to people, troll them instead.

The anticipation of their reaction is enough to make you cackle evilly.

 And you will rarely be disappointed by their response. Extra points for anything cat-related.

2) Buy delicious treats. Eat them all while in your skivvies. Regret nothing.

Some souls will try to convince you that vegetables are the answer to everything, but sometimes, you need a spot of junk food to perk you up. 

via Danny Ngan
Eating unhealthily doesn't make you a bad person. A bad person shanks people and kicks puppies. Unless they were stolen from the puppy you just kicked, it's okay to enjoy eating cookies.

Monday, November 18, 2013

My First Ride-Along With the GRPD...On Halloween

What's it like to spend a 12 hour shift with a GRPD officer on a rainy Halloween night? It involves stolen candy, irish drinking songs, and being accused of soliciting prostitution.

As a pleasant perk of Citizen Police Academy, we were given the opportunity to ride along with officers on a day of our choosing. Since I was feeling particularly mischievous, I decided to sign up for October 31. I've often heard that officers hate working on Halloween, so I was positively itching to experience the horrors of the night.

via CarrieLu

The Day Arrives

When the day finally came, I was a little nervous to ride along with Officer Stevens. I was hyperventilating in fetal position at the police station bathroom. What if we had nothing to talk about? What if I offended him with a stupid joke? Oh god, what if he was that officer who caught me scarfing down a Frosty in an empty parking lot at 3 am?

I was simply told, "wear comfy shoes, no jeans." Since the rules were so vague, I couldn't decide between my Captain America or Commander Shepard costume. I ended up wearing an all-black ensemble. I had the ability to blend into the night, if the situation called for it.

via Jeyhun85
I arrived at the station and was given a vest. I put it on with trembling hands and waited for Mark to lead me into the Squad Room. During what was possibly the longest elevator ride ever, Mark told me that I missed out on the action-packed shift last night. There were shooting homicides at a place called Chicken Coop. "They've got good chicken, but not worth dying for," joked Mark.

It was that moment. It was that precise second when I realised that all my talk of wanting to fight criminals, to tangle with baddies, and wrestle around with crooks, was all but a fantasy. All the witty one-liners I've thought of, the perfectly timed explosions as I slowly walk away while quipping "look's like school's out!"...that wasn't real police work. Real police work involves mistakes, mistakes that could result in death.