someone in the International Trauma Life Support organization is a Trekkie
firetruck
zadok_allen
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(no subject)
firetruck
zadok_allen
Station 11 covers a district right next to ours, and they had three structure fires the other day - we beat them to be first on scene (and first in the door) in their district for the first two fires. We almost beat them into their district on the third fire but they only had about half the distance to cover, and it was south of their station and we were coming from the north. Probably best that we didn't get the trifecta because they would have likely suffered some WTF questions from our Battalion Chief. At the last call we were all in a vigorous trash talking battle before we'd even found the fire - good times. XD
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giving a mixed review on a book I haven't read
firetruck
zadok_allen


My cousin recommended this book to me and I found this NPR interview with the author.

I probably wasn't going to read the book to begin with, but I'm definitely not after reading the interview. The biggest reason, I suppose, is that I've been doing the job almost twice as long as this guy did it and I don't really want to hear any more war stories. I don't find the EMS side of the job to be nearly as much fun as the Fire side and I still don't read firefighter novels. The details in the interview are what really ruined my impression of the book though:

1) He talks about how respiratory calls are more rewarding than shooting calls because, on shootings, "there's really nothing for you to do. That's really a job for the surgeons." It's a boggling statement - he had to have been on a lot of shooting calls in Atlanta. My experience has been that it entirely depends on how much damage the bullet(s) did. If it just lodges in some muscle and doesn't break any bones or put a hole in the head or a lung or a major blood vessel then sure, a bandaid and monitor will do. But if it hits anything vital and the patient can't compensate then all of the sudden there's a ton of work to be done. To say that there "isn't much to do" gives me the impression he never had a critical GSW patient or he wasn't doing his job. My best guess is that the statement was a careless attempt to reinforce the idea that respiratory calls are especially rewarding.

2) He talks about how patients who overdose on heroin will frequently wake up and become violent when given Narcan, the antidote. That's true, but it's always been true, which is why they teach that you only give enough Narcan to make the patient start breathing again - the goal is to *not* wake them up if you can avoid it. He hyperbolically says he's given it "10,000 times," so why is he still making the rookie mistake of giving too much?

3) He talks about two incidents that convinced him he needed to get out of EMS. The first was when he found a skull fragment stuck in his boot tread and chuckled about it, horrifying his wife. That's gallows humor - it's almost required, in my opinion, in order to help cope with the crappy things you're exposed to in the job. Yeah, someone who is completely outside of that line of work may think it's "sick" and it's not something you want to do in front of the public, HR, or the chaplain, but it's normal. The second incident was when he was on the scene of an assault at 2am, and he found himself yawning. He thought it meant that things had become too routine, and feared making a mistake. I think it meant that he was sleepy. I'd have never made it past the first year if the red line was a yawn.

Maybe there's much more in the book than just war stories. Despite my curmudgeonly criticisms, I would bet that if he's a reasonably good writer it would probably be a fun book for people who are not familiar with emergency services to read.

just finished
Deep One
zadok_allen


Prophets of the Ghost Ants was a unique novel that I guess falls in the category of epic fantasy - something like a cross between "Conan" and "Honey I Shrunk the Kids". The exposition briefly explains that the earth suffered some sort of environmental crisis that caused, through the process of evolution, humans to shrink in size so drastically that they were able to symbiotically use ants as mounts and draft animals. Humans are broken up into feudal, iron-age tribes and their cultures and means with which they wage war are molded around the species of ants they've domesticated; carpenter ants, leafcutter ants, bomber ants, and in some cases, termites or cockroaches. Carlton has a deep well to draw from since the natural world so often has monsters and treasures more fantastic than what most writers can imagine. The war scenes, in particular, are brutal and terrible in manners not explored by most fantasy novels. The main negative I found in the book was the use of rape as a weapon of war. It's realistic for a relatively primitive, feudal society, and it's never gratuitous or as horribly graphic as what I read in Jose Saramago's Blindness, but there's a lot of it. It's a fairly regular occurrence and it's explained frankly and without any florid, emotional prose - in fact, the impassiveness with which it is described is part of the problem. Aside from that distasteful detail this is a unique fantasy epic that I would have otherwise 5-starred on Goodreads.

Footfall is a world-wide alien invasion by Niven and Pournelle - the same guys who wrote Lucifer's Hammer, one of the best post-apocalypse novels ever written and probably the single book that drew me to the genre. Footfall shares many of the same aspects of a good post apocalypse story, with the added benefit that it's kind of a world-wide "Red Dawn" scenario as well. I still couldn't take the story very seriously, unfortunately, because of the authors' decision to make the aliens look like baby elephants. I simply could not take them seriously. I suspect the authors felt they could make them sinister by describing the aliens' ruthlessness and overwhelming technological superiority, but it wasn't enough for me; it's still Dumbo with a ray gun. The book also suffers from a 4-page dramatis personae and not enough time to flesh all of those characters out, but the same mistake is made in Lucifer's Hammer - once you figure out who the main players are you can practically ignore the other characters. That is, of course, assuming you're as bad with names as I am, heh.
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PERSEC
Deep One
zadok_allen


A bit of a personal security failure from one of my Facebook friends. That's a big damn window right next to that safe, too. I would presume that the cabinet and cases next to the safe are where the ammo is stored.

Of course, this home is in a rural area where neighbors look out for each other, the owner is a retired Sheriff, and they have a few yippy dogs who would be tough to sneak past, so it's certainly not a "soft" target but I still wouldn't want to give the wrong people any ideas - especially when these folks also like to post when they go on vacation.

recently finished
re-animator
zadok_allen


Survivors is the last of a serviceable zombie apocalypse trilogy. I say "serviceable" because it's a good series from a strong writer who took some effort in keeping a measure of realism in the action, but it wasn't a ground-breaking series in terms of themes or imagination. It's definitely worth reading if you need a zombie fix, but it's otherwise not especially remarkable. The strangest thing about this series is that this book was finished posthumously; the author died at the age of 26 and the story was finished by a friend at Permuted Press. I recall being in a brief panic after I had just finished the second novel and then learned of the authors death. How self-centered is that - the guy's dead and I'm worried about an unfinished trilogy. Anyways, I suppose he had a good outline written up or something because the change of authors doesn't really show. One more odd thing about this novel - there is virtually no acknowledgment of Recht's death and the labors of Permuted Press to finish the novel for him - the dedication reads "To Z...may his memory always be a blessing!", but otherwise there seems to be some effort to minimize his passing. The family kept the cause of death a secret so, unfortunately, I would assume it was self-inflicted in some manner or another.

I picked up The House on the Borderland because it was listed as a favorite of H.P. Lovecraft. There are some undeniable similarities in HPL's and Hodgson's writing, and Hodgson manages to create some fantastic frights in the story of a man in a huge house in the wilderness, under siege by a horde of pale, subterranean humanoids reminiscent of the Morlocks. Unfortunately, the action is slow to start and then gets horribly thrown from the track in the last quarter of the novel when Hodgson inexplicably veers off into some time-travelling existential bullshit for several unreadable chapters. He returns to the Morlocks at the end of the novel for a final thrill and satisfying conclusion, but it wasn't enough to salvage the book. I'd recommend sticking with HPL for this kind of story.
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Who's a crafty, nerdy, recycler?
Deep One
zadok_allen


The hutch on which my TV sits has limited space, so I used up the scraps from my 2014 bookshelf project to make a kennel for my XBox. Scrap wood, hand-me-down and yard sale tools, and 16 deck screws that I had to pay for. XD

(no subject)
Deep One
zadok_allen


I read A Kiss Before Dying as another exploration into mystery novels and crime noirs. It was written back in the '50s and got an Edgar Award for best first novel. The book had a strong, clever female character but she was ultimately hamstrung by male characters in the story, which was disappointing but unsurprising for the era. The manner in which the characters were horrified by the thought of a pregnancy outside of wedlock was charming. I don't know too much about psychopaths or how well they were understood back in the '50s, but I thought Levin did a great job of writing one. The charisma, vanity, and lack of empathy aspects were especially well drawn and believable. It's a clever novel and the type of book readers are compelled to flip through after they've finished in order to catch the twists they missed.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a short and fun sci-fi thriller that was also written in the '50s. The basis of the story is a pretty standard secret alien invasion plot, but the strength of the novel is how well it shows the paranoia and self-doubt that breaks down the human survivors as they begin to suspect the true nature of the dopplegangers in the town and their homes. The wiki entry on this book largely points to bad reviews, some forgivable plot holes (I hadn't even noticed them) and bad science, but I thought it did a disservice by ignoring the fact that it was a legitimate and successful psychological thriller in its time - and still is in my opinion. No reason not to pick this one up if you're looking for a quick and classic sci-fi treat.
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The less graphic version of my night on the medic:
firetruck
zadok_allen
ER Nurse: "I heard you pulled another one from the clutches of Death tonight."
Me: "Yeah, but not before Death had a chance to roll the guy around in his own shit for a few days."
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firefighter Jenga
firetruck
zadok_allen
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