Sunday Metal – Bruce Dickinson

This may not be strictly metal, but dude… Bruce Dickinson singing Tom Jones’ “Delilah”?

It’s simply awesome.

Sunday Metal – W.A.S.P.

Yup. More live W.A.S.P.

This is from 1985. This is what made them “dangerous”.

Sunday Metal – Weedeater

Weedeater’s set from the 2013 Maryland Deathfest.

Special appearance by Pepper Keenan, playing roadie around 3:30 into the video.

Sunday Metal – KISS

This claims to be one of the earliest recordings of KISS, including some songs from the Wicked Lester era, and also one called “Life in the Woods”.

It’s also cool to hear some well-known songs (like the opener, “Nothing to Lose”) with different and additional verses.

How to improve response time

It took 20 minutes for Austin Police to respond to a deadly stabbing on January 3, 2020.

20 minutes.

Austin police said they received a call reporting a man with a large rock was verbally threatening people at Bennu Coffee on Congress around 7:50 a.m. When an officer arrived, about twenty minutes later, the suspect was being held down by customers inside.

Full story.

Last week I wrote about how taking (immediate) action saves lives. In that, I noted how the latest data I’m aware of put APD’s average response time at 8 minutes.

Average.

Which means your situation might take longer.

Like 12 minutes longer…

“According to Emergency Communications Standard Operating Procedures for Priority 2 calls, dispatchers should send the two closest available units within five minutes of the call entering the queue. This did not occur and is part of the internal review,” police said in a statement.

I’m not going to get too hard on APD, dispatch, 911, whomever. Everyone involved is human, and that means mistakes can happen. It means that sometimes things just won’t go ideally.

Twenty minutes.

Consider a recent Facebook post by the Austin Police Association wrote:

This comes at a time when the department has 180 vacancies and the city council is considering canceling a cadet class of 80 officers in June.

which is only going to serve to increase response times…

And when you consider the stabbing was only prevented from getting worse because people in the immediate vicinity took swift decisive action…

Truly, the only way you’ll see response times go down is to learn how to become a first responder.

(and ensure politicians don’t prevent or prohibit us from doing so).

Sunday Metal – W.A.S.P.

Live W.A.S.P., from around 2000 I think.

Blackie and the band sound really good, and Blackie has a most unique mic stand. I actually remember some sort of drama around it back when Metal Sludge was a thing.

 

Taking (immediate) action saves lives

On January 3, 2020 in Austin:

Police say the suspect assaulted a customer at a coffee shop “for no apparent reason,” then ran to a nearby restaurant where he stabbed two people, before climbing up and jumping off the roof of the building.

Full story.

I don’t want to talk about how this was seemingly random violent crime occurring at 8 AM on a Friday in a “good part” of town. I want to talk about how immediate response saves lives.

Local NBC affiliate KXAN published an article with the title: “Police say civilian intervention was ‘helpful’ in South Congress stabbing, experts encourage training“. Refreshing to see this in the mainstream media.

Austin police credit Bennu Coffee customers for trying to subdue a suspect who later was accused of stabbing two people Friday, possibly preventing more violence.

[…]

“It was extremely important that they intervened and got involved and detained the individual,” said APD Sgt. David Daniels. “We don’t recommend individuals getting involved in a situation, but they chose to do that. And, it was helpful.”

It’s understandable APD isn’t going to recommend it. What’s good to see is the acknowledgement that swift decisive intervention – BY THE PEOPLE RIGHT THERE RIGHT THEN – helped stop bad things from continuing to happen.

Experts at Texas State University tell KXAN the average response time for police is three minutes.

I don’t know where they got their average. Latest data (Oct 2019) on APD response time for a “lights & sirens” top-priority call is an average of 8 minutes – up 10% from last year. And that’s average… your call may take longer. Couple that with fewer officers, the fast-rising Austin population and traffic, you better expect your call WILL take longer.

(Updated: on 2020-01-11 we learned it took APD 20 minutes to respond to this incident).

I don’t know how you regard three minutes (or maybe 8 minutes), as a lot or a little bit of time. But consider it’s basically the length of a typical song. So pick your favorite song – actually, pick a pop song you don’t like so we don’t create negative association. Now play that song. Listen to it from beginning to end with no pausing, no stopping short. When the song starts playing, imagine someone punching you in the face… maybe punching along with the beat. And I don’t mean friendly punches, but say Conor McGregor or Floyd Mayweather Jr. unleashing on you. Until the song is over. When the song ends, that’s when police show up to stop the beating.

That’s a long time. How much pain do you think you’ll be in? Or maybe not pain, but in the hospital? Dead?

Let’s try the same experiment, but this time you’ve got your biggest baddest friend in the other room. As soon as the music – and the punching – starts, your friend can rush in and stop the beating. Not much time will have passed, nor many punches thrown. I don’t know how much pain you’ll be in, but I’m sure it will be far less than the first scenario.

Let’s try the same experiment again. But this time, you know how you box, or at least dodge and weave and duck and run. When the music starts, you fight back. How does that change the outcome?

The ability to respond immediately (minimization of wait time) makes a BIG difference.

ALERRT emphasizes the need for civilian response training to better respond to mass attacks, teaching tactics on how to avoid and defend yourself in such situations. Since its inception, ALERRT estimates its training has been taught to at least 400,000 civilians nationwide.

“Sometimes it’s not a decision,” ALERRT Assistant Director John Curnutt added. “The decision has been made for you, because it is happening. You are going to do something or not. You are going to own a situation, or it’s going to own you. That’s the only option you have at that point.”

We all prefer to make our own choices and dislike when choices are made for us. But well-adjusted folks know sometimes life makes choices for us – how we respond to what life throws at us is what it’s all about, and the more we can do to be prepared to handle life’s eventualities makes a big difference.

Look… I’m not saying everyone needs to buy and carry guns. If that’s not your thing, that’s fine.

What I am saying is, you’ve been on this Earth long enough to know “shit happens”. And when it does, typically the sooner it can be addressed, the better the outcome. Why do you think it’s so important to learn CPR? Why is it a good idea to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers? Can you look back on your life and think of a time where if you were just a little better prepared, some bad situation could have turned out better?

So if this means in 2020 you finally get certified in CPR, excellent! Or if after reading this you go change the batteries on your smoke detectors, great! And if it means you want to carry pepper spray, or become proficient with firearms, that’s fine too. The bottom line is working to make yourself a better and more capable person. So when the inevitable shit happens and you’re Johnny-on-the-spot, YOU will be able to make that positive difference instead of waiting for someone else to hopefully make the save.

Make yourself better.

2019 – Becoming Stronger

I’m not a “New Years” type of person – it’s just another day. If something is so important to my success, why wait until some (distant) future date before starting it? Start now.

But, reflection is the zeitgeist of now, and I got to thinking some… so here’s 2019.

It was a year I became stronger.

At the day job, I was on truly the most challenging and trying project of my 2+ decade professional career. I did reach my breaking point – and broke – from it. But I can also see I wouldn’t have weathered the storm and emerged on the other side, if I hadn’t already been strong. So that’s good. And I never would have thought it, but it sparked something inside me. I’m finding a new and renewed purpose in my professional career (beyond code monkey/architect): to helping build technical leads. We’ll see where this goes. I’m thankful for a supportive employer.

At my other job, I amassed 149 hours of formal training – most I’ve ever done in a single year. I broke through some mental (and thus skill) plateaus in my shooting, such that I was able to earn a Light Pin from Gabe White. I also graduated from the inaugural Rangemaster Master Instructor & Development course (if you can’t place the gravity of these things, they are a big deal). Made a lot of solid progress this year. The breakthroughs I had have helped me be become better, and set forth a good road ahead of me.

At the gym, I had both gains and setbacks. I finally broke through a long drought. I’ve been chasing a goal of “2/3/4/5”. That is, 2 “wheels” on (military) Press, 3 wheels on bench press, 4 on squat, 5 on deadlift. A “wheel” is a 45 lb plate, thus 225 press, 315 bench, 405 squat, 495 deadlift. I achieved those lifetime goals: closing out the year with a 225 press, 320 bench, and 515 deadlift. But squat eluded me, with a 358 best. I found my white whale, doubled-down, and wound up injuring my lumbar area. I changed gears, started tinkering with RPE and Conjugate, and literally on the last chance to squat in 2019 I hit a definitive 405 squat with the SS Yoke Bar (which is tougher than a normal bar). I set a goal of 2/3/4/5’ing in 2019, and I pulled it off totally unexpectedly. I attribute a change in mindset, initiated by injury, and having some supportive people around me that pushed me to be better (esp. Steve, Clay, and my wife). Truly, having 400 lb on your back, letting it sink you to the depths, not letting it crush you, then decisively rising up against that crushing force – all while knowing it’s been your lack of confidence, your fears holding you back from achieving your goals? The iron teaches you about life like nothing else.

At home, there’s a lot of change, with the kiddos getting older and dipping toes into their own independent lives. Working to pull back, allow them to be their own adults and not “parent” so much, even if it makes you wince and worry. Guiding them down new paths and roads, towards being a man or woman standing on their own 2 feet.  Being thankful for the strong-ass woman I’ve been fortunate to be married to for 2+ decades, for without her I’d not be able to stand. Diving deeper into my affection and love for her. With our age, time together, kids lives’ changing, and so on, that also means OUR relationship is changing. We must respond to the change, and build an even stronger bond between us.

In myself, dealing with the constant of what 2019 was, I withdrew a bit online. You all have enough people in your daily digital feeds bitching, proselytizing, manifesting hypocrisy, or some other sort of negativity to make you sick. I worked to only post when/if it could make people smile, laugh, be thankful, or some other sort of positive message/feeling – especially trying to make people smile and laugh. Or videos of me lifting, which of course is the primary reason I’m on Instagram. I have my opinions on issues, my “silence” (if you gauge how much I speak solely by what I say/post online) doesn’t mean I don’t work or contribute or fight for or against things. I simply prefer to be the sort of person that, when you think of me, you smile. There’s enough shittyness in the world – I can work on myself to minimize contributing to it, and also work to contribute better things.

So…

2019 set a bunch of stuff in motion, primarily because “bad things happened”. As the saying goes, “tough times don’t last; tough people do”. I’m not saying I’m tough, but I am saying I’m still here. And through those tough times, I’ve found some pretty cool things that I hope to continue exploring in my future.

And yes, thank YOU for your support… because if you read this far, I guess you care about me somewhat. Thank you for caring.

Sunday Metal – Cannibal Corpse

Old Cannibal Corpse with the classic “Hammer Smashed Face”

Sunday Metal – KISS rehearsal footage

This is a pretty cool find. It’s KISS in 1976, rehearsing for a tour.

It’s not the best footage, but it’s pretty cool. No makeup, simply rehearsing their live show, complete with lights, choreography, everything.

Later in the video, it’s full dress rehearsal, with makeup and everything.

It’s not just about playing music. It’s about the music and the show.