Police Officer Nels (Dan) Niemi

Police Officer Nels (Dan) Niemi
San Leandro Police Department
Monday, July 25, 2005


Dan -

It has taken me this long to actually work up the internal fortitude to write. In the 7 years that I knew you, we had a very unique ride. First, meeting you and Dionne via my wife ...funny how the girls paired off, while you and I talked planes, computers, and other miscellany.

Then in the following years, our weekend chess matches (where you regularly handed me my hat), some things like Mission City Coffee, the constant refills, and a King's Gambit will always trigger memories...

The late nights at your apartment in Campbell, working on your home computers, while you hung on every word, watched every screw turn, asked a bazillion questions ...pal, you never had to provide the coffee and pizza as payment, your company and desire to learn were all the recompense that I could ever have wanted.

Your quickness of uptake in tech rolled itself into my getting to hire you into the IT arena, working with me every day. The ideas, reflections, and good times shared at our Friday lunch over at Chevy's made the whole week of putting out network fires well worth it.

Once our IT paths parted, and you went into Law Enforcement, we saw less of each other, but we still tried to get together once a month, for lunch, coffee, or pretty much any excuse to get out of the office. I loved hearing about some of the things you were doing, and can't tell you how much I enjoyed giving you even more tech knowledge to help in whatever capacity I could.

I'll miss you forever, and count myself blessed to have been your friend.

:: On the Radio -- The Offspring - Gone Away

:: My mood meter reads -- Blue ...


Ban Automobiles!

A repost from an article that I wrote for ca-rkba.com ...back when I was the webmaster there ...

Before you start sweating, let me make this perfectly clear; the following is satire. Anyone who takes it seriously needs a CAT scan. When one realizes that driving is a privilege, and not a right, then this article becomes scary.

Statistics obtained from the US Department of Transportation:
"There were 37,324 fatal automotive accidents in 1997 involving 57,060 vehicles."

Over 37K! Children are killing children! Violent deaths! All because of the evil, evil automobile! We heavily regulate the law-abiding citizen, impose stiff penalties for breaking the laws, and revoke driving privileges when necessary … yet the statistics get worse every year! The only way to stop all of these vehicles from continuing their murderous rampage is to ban them from our roads.

To this end, I propose that the entire population of the United States should become Amish. As the Amish have no automobiles of any kind, we can rest safely, knowing that our children will never have to worry about passing that grueling driver's exam.

Join the campaign! Everyone who signs up now will receive a buggy wheel, absolutely free!

If you want a society truly free of auto violence, then Ban Automobiles! Be Amish!

And before you go ripping me ...no ...I am not anti-Amish.

(By way of contrast yet another interesting statistic:
Ohio State University Extension - Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
590 Woody Hayes Dr., Columbus, Ohio 43210
From the factsheet, 'This Sign Means Caution - Driving Safely in Amish Country'
"Statistics show that more than 65% of all traffic deaths occur in rural areas and 50% of those deaths are on country roads. Ohio reports, on average, more than 120 buggy accidents per year.")

And, in conclusion:

Excerpt from the study, 'More Guns Equals Less Violent Crime'
by Professor John R. Lott, Jr.
University of Chicago Law School
"The number of accidental handgun deaths each year is fewer than 200."

Fewer than 200.

I feel FAR safer with a gun in my hand than I do a steering wheel.


Mr. Lucas: Sellout ...or Sith Lord?

NOTE: I'm about to post up MY take on the latest Star Wars flick. If you haven't seen it yet, stop reading this post. You have been notified ...

So ...my wife and I went out Monday, minus the child units, to go see Revenge of the Sith. We had both heard that there were several instances of Bush-bashing in the flick, and that there was a decidedly liberal slant to it. I wanted to see this, to quote Vader from Return of the Jedi, " ...with my own eyes".

All in all, the movie was visually stunning - a masterpiece of CGI animation, worthy of the beautiful visuals that the original three movies provided. Far and away better than Episodes I and II. Well worth seeing a second time, as we were forced to sit in the very front row ...horrid view from there.

Negatives? The script was not as flowing as I would have hoped, and the world-hopping was dizzying and disjointed at times. Oh ...and that whole political fly in my sci-fi ointment ...

Immediately after the movie, the wife and I discussed some of the dialogue ...and at that time we both found it to be just as it was feared ...slanted left. As the movie contains political intrigue, some inferences to today's world just HAD to be drawn.

Since then, I have been putting in some reflective thought, and have some vastly different opinions. I'm pretty sure that Lucas intended that the slant was left (Bush as the Empire, and the Jedi as the face of the modern liberal). By his own statements at Cannes, Lucas claims that the movie was written before the Iraq war - "We were just funding Saddam Hussein and giving him weapons of mass destruction," he said, adding, "The parallels between Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable." Mr. Lucas obviously disagrees with the current government.

However, there are some serious flaws in his delivery, if he indeed was trying to put the Republican side to the flame with his latest installment.

What am I saying? The Empire represents liberals ...and the Jedi represent conservatives. Gasp!

Don't think so?

After saying that, I'm sure an explanation is in order.

First off, let me set the table with a couple of definitions:

Main Entry: de·moc·ra·cy
Pronunciation: di-'mä-kr&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form: plural -cies
1: a. government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b. a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
2: a political unit that has a democratic government —dem·o·crat·ic /"de-m&-'kra-tik/ adjective —dem·o·crat·i·cal·ly adverb

My Take -- "rule of the majority" = 3 wolves and a sheep sitting down to decide what's for dinner.

Main Entry: re·pub·lic
Function: noun
1 : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president; also : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government
2 : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law; also : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government

My Take -- "body of citizens" = 4 wolves working together to hunt down dinner.

Pretty simple, right? And, as the Pledge of Allegiance says, "and to the Republic ..."

That aside, the review ...

A Line from Emperor Palpatine:
"If one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its aspects, not just the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi. If you wish to become a complete and wise leader, you must embrace a larger view of The Force."

Replace "Jedi" with "Christian" and "The Force" with "The Universe," ...Oooooh. In Star Wars, "The Force" is presented as a religion, even as early as Star Wars - A New Hope ...where the Imperial General calls Vader's "religion" antiquated.

Does it now make sense, then, that the Empire more closely represents the liberals of today? No? Read on ...

Another line from Palpatine:
"Good is a point of view."
As with modern-day liberalism, the concepts of good and evil must be grayed to draw someone to the dark side. If, however, the concept of absolute good and absolute evil exists in a person, the lure of evil is nowhere near as strong. Looking at modern-day political beliefs, moral ambiguity is a purely left-wing approach.

The next parallel here is when Anakin Skywalker goes to the Jedi Temple, and proceeds to kill the children who are being trained as Jedi. When looking at the conservative slant, I see many faults. One of these is allowing themselves to be pigeon-holed into the political side of "right-to-life".

However, abortion is purely the domain of the person, not the group. In the left-wing mindset, an abortion is acceptable simply because childbirth has the potential to be a problem.
Note the word, "potential".
Anakin's murder of the "younglings" in this movie was for the exact same reason. Had it not been for Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padme's children would not have lived. Had Padme been left behind on the lava planet and discovered there by Palpatine, he most likely would have made sure that they were destroyed ...indeed; this is again evident in the first three movies, where Palpatine states that "The Son of Skywalker must not be allowed to become a Jedi".

And to put a wrapper on it, there's the scene that Liberals will point to as purely representative of Bush and the current government ...

"We shall change into the first Galactic Empire for a safe and secure society."
"So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause."

The left will say that the comments by Palpatine shadow similar statements made by Bush regarding the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. I feel that Padme's statements more closely echo what the modern Republican would think ...as I watch a society of sheeple being slowly led down the primrose path, cheering all the way ...as their personal freedoms and constitutional rights are handed over one by one ...until, like the Sith Lord's clone army, they have no individuality or freedom.

One of my wife's favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin is as follows:
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Well put, Ben.

:: On the Radio -- John Williams/The Imperial March

:: My mood meter reads -- Happy Monkey ...


Take a deep breath ...

...and exhale.

Finally, the week from hell is over.

I'm feeling particularly proud of myself this evening, as today I was able to resolve an issue that no one, not even the developers, could. I won't grind out the technobabble, but suffice to say that there was a massive degree of difficulty in it.

This culminates a week of issue after issue, distraction after distraction, and deadline after deadline. At least I can sleep better at night now. Or, more precisely, should be able to sleep better at night.

On the homefront, the lovely wife is out doing the dancing thing, watching my brother's band play. I'm on kidwatch, with the boy. The girl is staying the night with her maternal grandmother ...and damn but it feels good knowing that she won't be waking up the household at 3:00AM just to get a drink of water.

My 6-year wedding anniversary is Sunday (May 29th). I have no cash, no clue what to do, and no way to plan to go out and do anything, as any plans I make will invariably conflict with the wife's plans.

At least we both have Monday off, as everyone else does Memorial Day Monday. The neat part of that? The kids will be at daycare (not closed!) until 3:00PM, leaving the wife and I most of a day together to reminisce on the days before children, and to get in some much-needed adult conversation time.

I'm thinking Movie Date ...we both want to go see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. On the flipside, we both have heard that it was a total Bush-bash ...I'll wait until I see it to believe it. Please, Lucas, say it ain't so ...f-ing liberals.

:: On the Radio -- Dashboard Confessional/Vindicated

:: My mood meter is slightly broken.


From all angles

Today is just one of those.

You know. Busy -- but for no apparent reason. At all.

I've put out just about every major fire at the office, yet, I'm still going to need to take work home with me. Hate that.

Next up :: Design and implement Global Storage Management best practice guidelines. Woo Hoo. My lab needs more hardware, damn it.

To top it off, my favorite son (and only, if you're wondering) is sick today, and my wonderful wife (also only, if you're wondering) was gracious enough to arrange for and deliver him to alternate daycare.

Thanks both, April, and Danielle. Saved my sorry behind from needing to deal with being out of the office today.

:: On the Radio -- Linkin Park/Breaking the Habit

:: My mood meter reads -- "Look, a moving target!" ...


End of an Era ...

Well kiddies, this is it. I've finally decided to retire forever from playing flag football. Why, you ask? Hmm ...perhaps a top 10 list will cover it.

1. The refs suck. No, I mean REALLY suck. Badly. So. Sick. Of. That. Shit.
2. I'm turning 33 this year. (Gasp!) I'm not the speed demon I used to be, and I'm nowhere near big enough to be an effective lineman. The football skills and instincts are all still there, but that year layoff after seperating my AC joint in my right shoulder really killed my speed.
3. I just don't have the time or patience to hit the gym and get back what I lost as referred to in #2.
4. I have better things to do with my Saturdays ...such as housework, laundry, watching the grass grow. Getting annoyed at my lack of playing time while watching the refs screw my team over yet AGAIN is not placing ahead of anything in my "love to do" list.
5. We stopped going to get beer and pizza after games. Fuck that. This team was built on beer and pizza. Take that away, and what you get is a bunch of sweaty, sober guys playing a game. Whee.
6. Did I mention that the refs SUCK?
7. In general, I'm just not having any fun anymore. Would you go and get your skull caved in every week, for little to no reason at all? No? See my point?
8. I can't afford new football gear ...yeah, that's it ...my gear is old, and I'm too cheap to replace it ...yep ...
9. My family and friends are far more a priority to me than wasting 2 hours of my Saturday to get in on 5 minutes of gametime. Were I still able to start on the team, perhaps I would be less inclined to retire. Alas, this is not the case.
10. I'm sure I've said it ...but to reiterate ...the refs SUCK.

At least it was fun while it lasted. Maybe I'll go to a couple of games next season and watch. Probably not ...

On the upside, playing flag football had to be one of the best things of my week ...up until last season, I constantly looked forward to the weekend, and the game. Hated rainouts, and loved being on the field. Now that has changed for me ...I don't look forward to going and watching other people play. Not worth my time or effort to go looking for some other team to prove myself with.

So, good luck, Pigskins, and maybe one of these days I'll see you at beer and pizza after you win a championship.

:: My mood meter reads -- Blue (Cubed) ...


Well, well.

Or, not so well.
I'm lazy ...fact. Over a month since my last post, and I'm starting to wonder if this is really worth the effort.

Anyways ...over the last couple of weeks, the entire household had the flu. Not pretty seeing what a nasty flu virus does to a 2 or 4 year old kid. Worst is the 2 year old ...they can't tell you what's happening until it's too late, and there's a large mess to clean. To top it, last Friday I had a tooth removed, on a very emergency basis ...so now I'm on codine and very tired.

The good news? I bowled really well last Thursday (212, 222, 223 for the set), and on Saturday I had a batted pass and 2 INT's to help my flag football team beat our second upper-division team this season ...running our record to 5-1 and placing us second in the standings with only 1 game left to play.


:: My mood meter reads -- Hungry ...