Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's a reprisal now.

Because of this vlog post, photo album, and e-mail reply I've been ordered to see the Chief Medical officer of the FDNY, Dr. Kerry Kelly. I really hope this is some kind of practical joke, sending me downtown using taxpayer dollars (it's overtime- because it's on my own time). I had originally planned my day to get college transfer transcripts from Purchase College and attend orientation for Cont. Ed at CUNY John Jay.

Instead I may be railroaded for complaining and exercising my free speech on my off time. I don't think there's a danger of being sent to the gulag or some political re education camp. It's too expensive. Maybe I'll be ordered to sign papers and leave the department.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What is a Web 2.0 blog or vlog?

Watch the Video

I drank a small beer with with Bre Pettis, Eddie Codel, and Bill Cammack. I had to ask what makes a blog or vlog Web 2.0. My answer is it's got to be on Wordpress (which I haven't tried yet), have RSS 2.0, and have assorted choices for social bookmarking (which I don't use on my Blogger template). I've become a true Johnny Come lately in the internet.

links: Save Darfur, Voter Reform, The World Can't Wait

Friday, May 25, 2007

Weird Slips

In my interviews of war survivors (see video section), I ran into weird slips of language that stayed in my mind. For example, when I asked in Tagalog what sort of tasks one did as a refugee, one of my interviewees answered "gathered firewood" for cooking, except it was worded first as "gathered toys for burning".

I got shivers thinking about this strange slip. A long time ago, unsupervised as a child, I watched a black and white horror movie (Rosemary's Baby?) wherein babies were burned in a furnace and the heroine freaks out upon this discovery. Also, while collaging I unconsciously depicted a toy bear lying face down first. Upon analysis, I had to affirm my individuality by placing the bear right side up.

I really think that people who suffer from trauma pass these on unsuspectingly on to others like their spouse, children, and friends. Without the cathartic, sublime qualities of art making, insufferable people become codependent burdensome souls (read: family).

Alas one of my interviewees is married to a private investigator, and it has been their business to conduct surveillance on their own family. I think it's a measure for propriety since one of their nephews was jailed for domestic violence. One of the children became a meth addict and died from organ failure, leaving a mistress, wife, and orphan.

The toppled toy bear to me is a conditioned reaction, a surrender to something in the past that can't be put away. I once watched a famine victim talk about eating rats, and it took great bravery and honesty for her to admit it. Society it seemed, does not appreciate survival. There was a hurried move for normalcy and not enough time for debriefing.

Great big boulders and rocks have a threadbare carpet thrown over them. It's like a stiff dead horse with its legs up in the air in the middle of the living room. How can one possibly explain that in dire circumstances, people had to eat anything- rats, twigs, anything they could get their hands on during war and famine?

Maybe there's no need for explanation. Just love from a distance.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Emergency Services

Emergency Services

I have a pager that I subscribe to so I can chase emergencies to cover. Tonight I stayed home to clean my apartment. In that time my service told me about one mysterious package for bomb squad to check, 2 seperate incidents of people leaping off buildings, one electrical blackout in Queens, one ship fire in Brooklyn, one store fire in Queens, 2 seperate stabbings in Brooklyn, one armed robbery in Queens, and an injured sanitation worker.

I made my 4th year as a NYC Firefighter this month. I talked about it briefly in my jobs post. I've made some posts about working at my firehouse: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

I think the cool thing about working in the fire department is the unity in good acts. What I don't like though is the "spin" people make up, the covering up of truth, and generally censorship you'll also find outside of the fire department.

I see people take unfairly a bad rap, guys with skeletons in their closets, and individuals who agree with the general consensus even if it's false. The rule of thumb is this: what happens inside the red doors (read firehouse doors), stays inside the red doors. This is pretty much the rule for most corporations and in many ways the Fire Department has more loyalty among its members than some families I know of. The team you are in may be the last one you're with in the worst scenario.

My company responded to about 3800 calls last year. Seven blocks south of us, the same type of company (a CFRD engine) had 1000 more. Three avenues east, the same story. Four blocks west, where there is less population, 1000 less reponses.

You can respond to calls but not all of them take time. Tonight, L-154 out in Queens responded to a fire at a store and some 3 hours later an apartment house. It may be two jobs but firefighting is a really physically demanding job. Each guy on average has about 60 lbs of gear on him.

For an engine man you're working with a hose team to get water on the fire. A ladder man could be opening stuff up to find the source of smoke or pulling people out. Both teams work in the dark where footing is slippery and you're really not 100% sure if the structure will hold up after the heat and water has taken its effect.

I could put in a transfer to a different engine company to get more skills. My company is basically in the middle pack as far as responses go. There's a lot of false alarms and we try to cut those down by writing tickets to alarm systems that have too many repeat offenses within a month. It's "bread and butter" work.

My company's location is quite convenient. Port Authority Bus Terminal is four blocks north. Penn Station is five Blocks south. Grand Central Terminal is three avenues east. I've got an urge though to try a different engine company. I'm a cow, looking at the fence, seriously thinking about greener pastures.

What I can tell from experience though is that sometimes the grass is just as good and sometimes much worse. The fire department is great in this respect because if you do leave your company, if things don't go right, you can return from where you came.

This was not the case for the US Army. I was in Europe for about two years and after this I chose to join the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, NY. In Europe, I was in support for the super troopers in the 1st Infantry Division. We went to Bosnia in 1996 for six months.

The six months I spent in Bosnia were better than the eight months I had to serve with the 10th Mountain Division. You had something to do in Bosnia but being in Fort Drum, it was too cold because there was little to do. Everything I learned in Europe went down the drain and I had to culturally re-learn everything.

I think being in the 10th Mountain Division taught me to take my winnings and just run with it. If they blamed you wrongfully, insulted you, stole from you and dished out injustice it was good in the end. Lessons learned, you learn to behave wisely instead of being fool.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tropical Shirt

Tropical shirt looks like someone falling out of an airplane would see.

Catch Up: Job Union News & Nasty racist E-mails

Watch the Video

I am starting to vlog in 16:9. The Flickr album and Blogspot entry are linked here.

links: Save Darfur, Voter Reform, The World Can't Wait

Catch Up: April 24, 2007

Watch the Video

I read off my blog entry from April 24, 2007. I am starting to vlog in 16:9. The Disney clips are not CC; they are under fair use. Made with iMovie 4 and Quicktime Pro 7 Apple software.

links: Save Darfur, Voter Reform, The World Can't Wait

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Chinese Poetry

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Another quick video post playing with the 16:9 setting on a regular DV camcorder. I pushed it thru iTunes to get its compression iPod compatible (Advanced Settings> Make selection iPod compatible). I want to see if the RSS 2.0 feed picks this up and loads it into a video iPod. The previous video post was picked up by iTunes but the compression had to be corrected. I used the automatic iMovie NTSC 16:9 setting (720 x 480) and made the thing smaller using QT Pro 7. I still looked like Bert though. I think I'll just import directly to DV then downsize it proportionally using QT Pro 7 on the next vlog post.

Bill Cammack has a Vlog Death Match at vlogdeathmatch.blogspot.com. I've made music vlog posts before- 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 etc, etc. The challenge is make a music video. I'm really not a watcher of music videos but i have covered live bands (Alice Donut, Dysrhytmia, Hogg, and Jerseyband) on my vlog.

If it's a band, music is number one. I've made lousy music using Acid 2.0 and Garageband, and no freakish music video is ever going to get them any play. I even gave them away for free.

Anyhow my entry is some Japanese chanting Chinese poetry over my baking bread and folding a Judo uniform. The music is called "Song of Friendship in Poverty". You will have to hit up someone like Nathan Miller (who did a great entry) to get a translation. My entry is the torpedo that will sink the party boat.

CC share alike for the video only. The audio isn't mine.

links: Save Darfur, Voter Reform, The World Can't Wait

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Recurring Nightmare Scenario for Horror Flick

I have this recurring nightmare of being in a circus. I hang around the show and the orphanage sends incriminating photographs of me as an uptight square. I never get to be the trapeze artist, human cannonball, or clown. I'm stuck with scooping elephant droppings. The orphanage thinks I have a stake in the cotton candy stand but they are mistaken. Still the incriminating uptight squareness haunts me with every communique ever suggestive of the orphanage's maintained relationship with me. It reaches out with moldering moldy tendrils digging into my skin like roots sucking the life out of me. The branches above me dangle their gnarled claws, sighing "we like sugar, we want sugar". A sign nailed to the trunk says "Mother".

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

NYC Vlogger Meet Up

Watch the Video
Just a quick video post playing with the 16:9 setting on a regular DV camcorder. The lighting was quite awful. Anyhow there are accompanying photographs I took on Flickr (just look me up -fld1970), they're in the Vlog Meet Up album. The photographs are better lit. Next month I'll have something better for the lighting. I hope this 16:9 works fine with iTunes and the iPod. I have a 4 year old mini DV camera. I don't want to go HD yet because my web syndication doesn't really need it. If people want to see my pores or the capillaries in my eyes I will be happy to give them a hi res picture of me if they can't find one on Flickr. Made with iMovie 4 and Quicktime Pro 7 Apple software.

links: Save Darfur, Voter Reform, The World Can't Wait

Sunday, May 06, 2007

One example where education is needed

You'll need to read it in its original size. Even for a union job, stuff like this makes its rounds. The labor movement should not include racists. page 2, page 3, page 4.

Race e-mail

Race e-mail-pg2

Race e-mail-pg3

Race e-mail-pg4

My reply is:
To the original sender (TERMITEPJ[at]AOL.COM) and forwarders of this e-mail (goughs5[at]aol.com, lsfdny[at]aol.com, patriciagibbons[at]mchsi.com, amdv1[at]juno.com, bw5431[at]netzero.net):

I'm really at a lost for what to say. In the War of Independence, people of the same races fought one another, in the War of 1812 too, and the Civil War as well. In WW I (the war to end all wars), WW II, Korean War, and in the Vietnam War- the Vietnamese, the Soviets supplying weapons. I really don't know how to answer your question.

In my family, there's one doctor, 4 nurses, a handful of financial managers, 2 commisioned officers presently serving in the US Navy, one architect, one electrical engineer, one medical office manager, and me a firefighter. I myself served with the US Army in Bosnia and both of my grandfathers were in the Bataan Death March in WW II. The one that survived went on to the Korean War and retired as an captain in the US Army.

As proud as I am of my family, I can't give you an easy answer and a civic lesson is out of the question. Although I totally disagree with your position and your use of racist language, I've taken your e-mail into consideration. I am forwarding this just to the following people and groups for now.

The FDNY Holy Name Society
FDNY Hispanic Society
The Columbia Association, FDNY
The FDNY Emerald Society
The FDNY Vulcan Society
NYC DCAS EEO officer
NYC FDNY EEO officer
NYC DOI EEO officer

Maybe someone will get back with you,

Francisco Daum