Saturday, February 24, 2007

Going Back To School

For some time, now, I've wanted to go to school to earn certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). There are a number of reasons why I want to do this, chief among them is my membership in my "real" employer's Emergency Response Team. (Yes, I have a day job - sitting around and "opinionating" about stuff only pays off for the lucky few).

I haven't been to a real college-level class for quite some time. My computer geek duties send me to technical classes, seminars and conferences a few times a year, but those are normally only a week long and there are no exams. This class runs twice a week for 4 hours and 8 hours on the semiweekly Saturday. There are real tests to study for and homework! This is the real deal, let me tell you.

Most of the members of the class are much younger than I. Many of them are either working towards being a paramedic or firefighter and a few who are looking to hire on with an EMS service to help pay their way through nursing school. That makes for interesting discussions coming from many different points of view.

This class is really keeping me busy, too. There is a lot to learn, as I expected there would be. But I was unprepared for the sheer volume of information. I knew a little about medical stuff and first aid from my time in the Army, but this class goes way beyond anything I learned in the past.

I welcome the challenge, though. I passed the first exam with an 89 and I look to pass the next exam as well. Homework and study!

I'll update later.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"It Takes A Thief" and "The Apprentice"

My wife and I have been watching The Discovery Channel's "It Takes A Thief" for a few months now. It's an interesting show where two ex-burglars case out a home, convince the residents to let them rob the place, show them where their security is lax and then outfit them with tools to help them keep their homes safe. It's astounding how many people don't even lock their doors. When I consider that most of the episodes I've seen are done in the New York City area, I am even more astounded. (I'm not knocking New York City - crime tends to be higher in any large, urban center and locking doors should be a given anywhere one might live). What really gets me going, though, is how many people keep large amounts of cash in their homes. I'm talking about amounts above $1000.

I might be naive about such things, but isn't it safer to put money in the bank? Even if a thief took your bank statements or ATM cards, you would still have a chance to stop them by reporting the theft to your bank and having them freeze your account. Once the cash is gone, it's gone. It doesn't make sense to me. I can understand keeping a couple hundred dollars around the house for emergencies, but any more than that I don't understand. I'm not trying to be critical of those who keep such amounts of cash in their homes, I'm trying to understand the purpose behind it. It seems very counter-intuitive to me.

Another show I enjoy is "The Apprentice." "The Donald" is a very interesting character to me. Whatever you might think about him, you have to admit he is successful at what he does. It's fascinating to watch how he selects the people to be fired.

In this season of the show, the team which loses the given task not only has to go to the boardroom where "... somebody will be fired," but they also must live in the back yard of the mansion where the teams are housed. They're provided tents, cots, chairs, showers, grills and other necessities for life.

What amazes me the most is the way some of the the would-be apprentices whine about having to live outside. Here, they are given the opportunity of a lifetime to possibly work for the Trump Organization and instead of concentrating on that, a couple of them just go on and on about having to live in a tent. One person actually quit because she couldn't handle it.

I like living indoors with all the conveniences living in the US offers. But, I have spent a lot of time living in tents, sleeping on cots, dealing with the weather, etc. What was I doing at the time? I was out there training to defend our Nation so we could all enjoy the freedoms we have. There are men and women out there right now doing the same thing (and in addition taking fire, no less) so these folks could have the opportunity they have to better their lives and possibly make a lot of money doing it.

I say: Take advantage of the opportunity you have and don't complain so much about having to live in a tent. Staying inside the mansion is the prize you get for winning. Take responsibility, focus, work harder and win the next task. Then, you can move into the mansion and the other team can sleep under the stars.