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Saturday Morning Cartoons…I miss you.

For the past 45 minutes my family and I have been watching intro’s to the Saturday morning cartoons I watched when I was growing up. I think my wife was the first one to talk about the Gummi Bears and we went from there. We sang what we could remember from the theme song and then I went to YouTube to find the intro. After watching it and seeing the look on my 7 year olds face I had to play more. I felt like a little kid again watching these intro’s and it took me back. I remember waking up early as all hell with my little brother, before my sisters were born of course, and getting a box of cereal and a gallon of milk and turning on the tube to watch some cartoons. I remember we would destroy the box of Honey Combs, Pacman, Captain Crunch or Smurf cereal and almost the entire gallon of milk. If we didn’t want cereal we would snag a box of honey grahams or Oreo’s and we were set for the morning. Did my parents care? Hell no! They got to sleep in and now that I’m a parent I understand that sleep is a lot better. This is especially true now because the Saturday morning cartoons blow!

I have been up a few times and watched cartoons with my boy and it’s not the same. They have revamped Sonic the Hedgehog and the bad guy who looks exactly like Dr. Robotnik is actually named Dr. Eggman. At first I was baffled and told Logan this was not Dr. Eggman, it was Robotnik and a few weeks later he schooled me on it.

“Hey dad, you remember Dr. Eggman?”

“Umm…you mean Robotnik?”

“Uh…yeah well it’s not Robotnik. You want to know why?”

“Sure buddy, tell me what you know.”

“Well, last week on the show they said that Robotnik is Eggman’s grandfather. So…”

Yep! That’s right, I got schooled by my kid. It’s all good though, at least he knows about Robotnik…umm let’s move on shall we. They also have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but they’re many many years into the future and it’s just odd. Dragon Ball Z is still cool but everything else blows! Bring back The Gummi Bears, Shirt Tales, Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Talespin, The Wuzzles, Snorks, Muppet Babies, Heathcliff, and all the other badass cartoons that I had growing up. Bring back the early¬†Nickelodeon which was actually Pinwheel. After morning cartoons on Saturday it was on to Pinwheel where one could watch Mr. Wizard and You Can’t Do That On Television. Then when I got a little older and Pinwheel turned into Nickelodeon we had Snick on Saturday nights where one could watch “Are You Afraid of The Dark?”

I could go on and on and on but there are way too many to mention here. If I did I would have to dip into the Disney Channel with Kids Incorporated and Good Morning Ms. Bliss, which turned into an NBC hit and renamed “Saved By The Bell”. Anyway, I just wanted to write about this since we spent so much time looking at video’s on all these cartoons. We had the golden age of Saturday morning cartoons and now our kids have crap. I believe there is a channel called Boomerang that has all the old shows but it’s not the same. If anyone can remember any other cartoons let me know! Cheers!

 

Within the Trenches Episode 1

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911headGood evening folks! I am very happy to announce that the first episode of Within the Trenches went live today. My good friend Whitney joined me and I have to say that it went great. For those who don’t know what Within the Trenches is, this is a podcast version of a segment with the same name on Jabber Log that revolves around 9-1-1 dispatch. I started writing about my experience about a year ago and it was meant to be interesting and educational for the readers, as well as therapeutic for myself. The posts have done great on my blog and I wanted to take it a step further by creating a podcast based on the stories of 9-1-1 dispatchers.

I recently launched a Kickstarter project for this podcast idea in order to raise $1,500 to buy the equipment needed to make this a four person show. As of right now I have 8 days left in the campaign and $330. This first episode is a taste of what this show is all about and it is my hope that I can still make my goal. I will provide the link below to the Kickstarter page where you can pledge and depending on how much you pledge, you can get a reward as well. Right now the majority of the pledges are going for $25 and that can get you an official Within the Trenches t-shirt, a thank you on the sponsor page and a mention in one of the upcoming episodes of the show. I hope you will enjoy this first episode and there is a lot more to come. Thanks again to Whitney and everyone who has pledged to help bring the project closer to it’s goal.

Within the Trenches Kickstarter Pledge Page

The Good, The Bad, and The Funny of 911 Dispatch

Lately I have been talking about the good and the bad of 911 dispatch. Today I would like to talk about the funny stuff that happens. This is the stuff that no one hears about unless you’re a co-worker or a friend who has heard or read our stories. I know I have written about a few already but here are some more to tickle your funny bone. When you think of 911 dispatch you think about emergency calls, police, ems, and the fire department. The majority of the calls we get on 911 are non-emergency. Most of the people who call on 911 with a non-emergency call will ask for the non-emergency number but we take their call on 911 either way. They are going to get us anyway so we take it. Those are the nice people. We also get calls from people who start yelling and swearing at us because they’re upset with their neighbors dog running in their yard and tell us to just get someone out there before they shoot it. These people are not nice and are ones that we talk to almost every other day.

The frequent callers are also the ones that make my job interesting and funny. I remember dealing with a couple who were always calling about their arguments. Every time the officers went out there they would end up clearing the address without anything being resolved. Now, it wasn’t because the officers didn’t do their jobs, it was because the couple kept saying that they were fine and didn’t need our help. Well, one day I took a call from them and I was speaking to the soon to be ex-husband who I will call Jake. The poor guy was upset because his wife, who I will call Emily, was fed up and ready to move out. Before I move on I want to make sure you understand that I’m not trying to be a jerk here. No domestic situation is ever funny but sometimes the information is misunderstood and you just have to go with the flow and laugh it off. I could hear Emily yelling in the background saying that all Jake cared about was their little girl. I figured she was talking about their daughter but I was wrong.

“Sir, are you ok?”

“Yes…”

“Where is Emily at?”

“She’s at the house and I’m at the end of the driveway with our little girl waiting for the officer.”

“Ok, so whose all involved? It’s you, Emily, and…”

“Our little girl. She’s so upset.”

“Yeah? How old is she?”

“She’s almost 5 years old sir.”

“Yeah! You just wait until the officers get here! I’m outta here”, Emily yelled in the distance.

I started to hear a yelp or crying of some sort.

“Sir is that your daughter crying?”

“My daughter?”

“Yeah…you said you were with your little girl.”

“Oh…no she’s not my daughter. She’s my dog.”

EGG ON MY FACE! The whole time I thought this was the guys daughter and it was actually his dog. I could hear it yelping more and more and Jake began to sniffle as well. What else could I do or say?

“Sir are you ok?”

“Yes, but my little girl is upset and I’m getting upset as well.”

I took a deep breath and went for it.

“Well sir, the officers will be there soon. Just hold her and comfort her. Let her know it will be okay.”

“It’s ok honey. Everything will be alright.”

I couldn’t believe it worked. At first I wanted to hold up the phone so that I could chuckle. I mean, why would I tell the guy to comfort his dog? It seemed hilarious but it actually worked and Jake, as well as his dog, were able to calm down. Calls like this one can go either way. You can say something that will ultimately help or you can say something that will make you feel like a jerk. For example, I have taken calls where I…well, let me put it in dialog form. It will work better that way.

“Can you hear me? Hello, are you there?”

“Yes, I can hear you now. I think someone is trying to break into my house and my dad is at work.”

“Ok, where is your mom at?”

“Um…she died a few years ago.”

D’oh! This is the kind of conversation that sucks because you’re thrown off your game and you think for a moment that you just jacked up your call.

“I’m really sorry.”

“Oh it’s fine. You didn’t know she was dead. I do miss her though.”

So now the caller is thinking about her deceased mother instead of the person who is breaking into the house. Another example comes from a call that I posted where I thought I was speaking to a Carl and it turned out to be a Carol. Calls like this are very funny but it’s only afterward that you’re able to laugh. At the moment of FAIL there is no time to laugh. One can only apologize for the mistake and hope for the best. There are also calls where we speak to the disturbed. These are the calls that take good speaking skills and customer service. When you take a call from someone who hates you for no reason you have to take it like a professional. Let’s look at some dialog.

“911 where’s your emergency?”

“AHHHHHHHH!”

“Hello? What’s your address?”

“You don’t need my address! You just need to listen!”

“Ok sir, take a deep breath.”

“I will take nothing! You need to copy down this number and call it! It’s a matter of national security man!”

I didn’t know what to think at first. The guy was calling from a pre-paid phone and had no GPS coordinates so there was no way for me to locate him.

“You listening!?”

“Yes sir, go ahead.”

He gave me the number and I could hear him huffing and puffing.

“Now! You need to call this number and tell them they are trying to hurt the President!”

“Sir, what number is this?”

“It’s to the Whitehouse man! You need to call them!” *click*

The guy hung up on me and I chuckled a little. He called a few more times and yelled at me like you wouldn’t believe. What else could I do but laugh after each call. Think of Sam Kinison yelling at you over and over for no reason and saying things that would make the devil blush. That was my night and when I finally got the chance I called the number.

“Whitehouse switchboard how may I direct your call?”

I was speechless…

“Hello?”

“Hi…umm…I wasn’t expecting anyone to answer the line.”

“Why not?”

“Well my name is Ricardo with 911 dispatch and there was a guy calling about…”

Before I could go any further the operator said the guys name.

“Yeah that’s him.”

“Oh yeah, we’ve taken several calls from that guy. He’s harmless.”

We shared a chuckle and hung up. I couldn’t believe that the guy actually called the Whitehouse with the stuff he was telling me. I got a few more calls from him over time but in the end he was able to get the help he needed. It’s the calls like the ones I have mentioned that make my job so interesting. I have dealt with every type of call you can think of. It takes thick skin, good customer service, and common sense to do what I do but the most important thing you need is a good sense of humor.

Within the Trenches at the Mini-C

The following are pictures that were taken at the Mini-C conference in Boca Raton Florida. This was an excellent experience and the show is going to continue to make more appearances at different conferences. Cheers!

(click any image to start slideshow)

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