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About this blog

Some life experiences as told by a firefighter/hobbyist programmeowr.

Entries in this blog

Here I Am...

Hey guys, I'm still around.

I recently started a myspace account here, so feel free to drop by.

--> I got the job. I am now a paid-on-call firefighter for Holtville, California. I also passed the written exam for full-time firefighter, though I don't expect to have that position for some time. I took the exam for reserve firefighter on Saturday, and I'm pretty sure I passed it. It was the same as the test I took to get into the academy. Let the good times roll, man.
Well, my subscription runs out next Friday, and I won't renew it until much later on, so this'll be it for a while. Oh well.

Aside from that, the end of my semester is, what, a month away now? Finals are coming up in the next several weeks, so it's time to study.

I'm also being hired at one of the local departments as a "paid-on-call" firefighter. That's a very entry-level position, and I plan on doing it for six months or less. It's not much. I will also be testing this weekend for being a reserve firefighter at the department I've been volunteering with, and hopefully that will turn out well.

Bye bye for the time being, GDNet+. It's been fun.


Well, I've completed my only 6-week class of this semester: Hazardous Materials for First Responders. It was a weekly class that would go for 5 hours at a time. It wasn't really hard, but it took a good bit of studying to pass the tests. We had to learn how to recognize the presence of haz-mat/dangerous goods and how to deal with such an incidentmeow. (Hold life safety above all else, isolate and deny entry to the scene, make appropriate notifications, etc.) It was boring at times, like anything, but we got through it. Actually, I think I'll take some chemistry later on so I'll be better prepared for this at work. All in all, I'm happy now that it's over.

[sigh of relief]

PS: SIN is a responder's acronym for Safety, Isolation, Notifications. [evil]
A strike team was sent from my department to the wild fire around LA last Wednesday. From the news this morning, it seems the fire is getting under control, so they should be back by tomorrow or Tuesday, if they're not already. I was called in at 0400 last Thursday to fill in as a volunteer, and apparently I was the only one who responded to the call. (The other volunteers meow and reserves didn't answer until 0730.) And yes, it is really really cool now to use military time. [rolleyes]

By the end of October, I'll be a certified Hazardous Materials First Responder in two levels: Awareness level (where I identify the materials involved, isolate the area, deny entry and call for backup) and Operations level (where I carry out Awareness procedures and follow up with defensive operations). I've also put my applications in for two firefighting positions at my department: Reserve, and Firefighter I. A reserve is just that, and a FFI is a full-time position with better pay. I'm applying for both to see which one I get. The written exam is on October 19, so let's hope I get the job.

I'm instituting something new for my journal: I'm going to insert the word "meow" at someow random location in every journal entry from now on, and you guys will get points if you find it. And it's just to be fun, I just want to put something extra in there. (I mean, heck you can use CTRL-F and it'll be right there.) And yes, I got the idea from Super Troopers. [grin]

Take it easy guys
Well, I was cut from my old position because of conflicts with my school schedule. I was in the receiving dock at a department store, but now I'm just "on-call." That means I don't have a schedule, but they'll call me into work if someone is sick. I might keep it for a few extra bucks now and then, but I may quit just as well.

Meanwhile, I'm applying to be an entry-level firefighter at a nearby department where several other cadets work. They'll have me come in every five days for 24 hour shifts while I attend the academy, so it should be a pretty nice gig. It's a small town department, though, so I don't expect much from there.

It'll be alright.


I went ahead and added a mugshot to my webspace, and posted it in this thread. Here it is again:

Regarding my blocks game, my schedule didn't allow for it yesterday, so I didn't get any coding done. I think I'll follow a process over the next week to finish it, following methods from Game Architecture & Design (by Morris & Rollings). It'll be alright.

Some good news about Dad: His tumor has shrunk to a third of its old size, and the doctors are giving him a much longer life expectancy of 12 to 24 months. We are hoping, of course, that he'll last even longer, because the guy's just too stubborn to give up like that. [smile] We're all happy here.

I love C# :)

Wow, MS really laid it down when they made all this. I am thoroughly enjoying C#! [smile]

Okay, SDL.Net is all up an running, and it's just great. Rob Loach and jendave have been of huge help over on the SDL.Net forums, so here's a shout out to them.

What I really love is VS's code exploration, which makes this really easy to learn. It's a huge help. On Monday, I'm going to make a little blocks game. It's not Tetris because I'm sick of Tetris, but just a little game involving building blocks. If my schedule allows for it, I'll finish it up and post it next week.

Again, thanks guys.

Benji Goes .Net

Okay, some cheery news now. I started on C# today after using C for several years. I like it so far, but as I expected, I really need to upgrade this computer now. I'm short on memory by today's standards (though 128MB still sounds like a lot to me) and it's easy for the whole system to crawl when VC# is open.

So I need to get that taken care of, and it actually sucks because I don't have much money right now. If anyone knows of a good site for this with good service and cheap prices, please let me know.

Anyway, I like C# so far, and I think I'll continue using that for a while. SDL.net looks interesting, though I think it's also time to start learning DirectX. (Yeah, start. I never really bothered with it before.)

Cheers, I'm doing fine right now. :)


I was chatting on #gamedev when I got the phone call from my dad, who's in the hospital. His cancer is terminal; the doctors have said he has three months to live. He wanted me to know that he's very proud, and that it's made him very happy to see the progress I've made as a person.

He says that if he could live a longer life in good health, he'd gladly do it. However, he says that people are not meant to live in pain like that, and he doesn't want his life to be extended just so he can be alive and be sick. He's happy with what his kids are doing, and he wants all of us to keep going, keep it together.

This is a very painful thing for me. However, while I'm not one to believe that all things happen for a reason, I don't plan on giving up. My dad is a very strong person, and he never taught us to do that. We'll be fine. Let's just hope that those three months turn out to be much longer.



About a month or two ago, Dad went to the hospital again with severe stomach pains. This was a few months after his as yet unexplained episode with anemia. They knew his blood count was incredibly low, but they couldn't explain where it had went because he wasn't bleeding out.

Adenocarcinoma. That's what my dad has. What's genuinely fucked up is that he was diagnosed just recently but he's already in the fourth stage of the disease. There is no one tumor now that can be removed.

The chemotherapy has since cut my dad's weight by fifty pounds-- he's a twig. His intestines are currently all backed up, which has made him especially miserable. It is incredibly painful to see my father in this state.

Cancer is not fun. I never stopped to think about it because before this I wasn't around anyone with such a disease for very long. I actually once thought it was a simple thing where the doctor tells you you're going to die and so you die. It's just not that simple. It's a painful, ongoing segment of misery for every last person involved.


I responded to my first fire yesterday (September 5, 2005). It was just a little smoldering brush fire. My partner and I put it out by spreading the dry, smoking brush out horizontally and covering some of it with dirt. You spread it out horizontally because fire burns upward, vertically, and this helps to mitigate that.

Well, it was only a tiny fire, but it's a first. I'm glad I got to help. Of course, after my 12 hours of volunteer service at the fire station came 6 hours out at the cantinas in Mexicali. [smile] I'm having so much fun doing this; I can't wait to start working for this department.

I've decided that I do not want to be a programmer by profession, nor am I interested in any IT-related fields. Hence, while I've made a lot of friends here (and I mean that; you guys are generally really cool), I don't feel that my presence here is the best use of my time.

I wish everyone here the best, and I know that each of you will do very well in whatever it is you decide to do, be it programming, graphics, music, production, and (yes) even advertising. :P

Take care everyone,
Benjamin Heath
My father, Larry Dennis Heath, is going to the hospital at the time of this writing. They'll probably keep him there for some time, so he will not be coming home tonight. We found out yesterday that, in all likelihood, my dad is diabetic. His blood count is also very low, and he may be anemic. (My mother had a fight with anemia a few years ago; this is scary.)

That's it. This whole thing is encouraging me to follow a different light, and possibly to go vegetarian for the most part. I have no problems with eating meat, but it seems a culture that has encouraged the massive consumption of it is wrong. The first thing out the door in this house - we're all agreeing on this - is the diet. Of course, I know that my father's consumption of food is not the whole problem here.

edit: Okay, all is well. My dad is going to be fine. I have not heard a doctor's word on the matter, but nothing has been said of my dad and diabetes, so I guess that means he's fine. They ran some tests on him today, and they're building his blood back up with iron and other treatments. He's doing okay.

At present, I'm working at Home Depot. I do not wish to continue with the company, but I respect the training that I have received from them. For one thing, I'm a certified forklift driver at my store (and that's what I really enjoy doing). So I'm there loading pallets of building materials onto people's trucks, the whole deal. That's the fun part of my job.

Now, I'm done with it. I'm going to tie up some finances and put in my two weeks notice. I don't want to invest so much time in a retail job that it wouldn't be cost effective to start something else. I'll be moving into real estate next month, and I will also complete my certification as a licensed life insurance agent in the state of California. This will be my income for the next year, at least. Meanwhile, I'm still going to school, and I think I'm going to go for a degree in math. Not sure yet.

And ya know what... I'm going to announce a game here, just to force myself into making one. :) Okay, I'm going to make a game somewhat like Metal Gear. I think I'll write it in Python with Pygame. Bug me about in a month if I don't say anything about it before then.

I have two living brothers, one sister, and one first-born brother who was born with a birth defect and died shortly afterward. I'm the youngest, and that's why my parents called me Benjamin. (It means "son of fortune", and Benjamin was Jacob/Israel's youngest son. His offspring, the Benjamites, were warriors famed for being left-handed or ambidextrous. This was (and is) an outstanding quality in a sword fight.)

This spring, I will turn 20 years old. My two brothers will later turn 25 and 30. (All the boys, with the exception of Stephen, the firstborn, are 5 or 10 years apart, give or take a few months.) My father will be turning 56 this year.

Now, I'm really beginning to see that as you grow older, you don't really stop growing or even changing. I'm told that I was born with a full head of jet-black Cherokee hair, but that quickly turned light brown and almost blonde. Now it's getting darker again. My father has said that his hair did the same thing.

As time passes, it's very apparent that many things about me really come from my dad. While I've adopted many of my mom's attitudes and some of her other little quirks, I'm coming to realize just how close I am to my dad. We share many of the same looks; we're both calm and collected public speakers; we share an interest in history, especially in the effects of various religions on it; we both like brunettes with green eyes, etc. ;) The list goes on forever.

My father has a Navy portrait from his service in Vietnam at ~18 years old. Many people look at this and comment that he looks just like me in that picture. (The sad note is that it was his service in the war that would cause the death of his first son.)

I have inherited a lot of things from my family's past. With roots in Scotland and Ireland, Germany and America, Asia and the Middle East, I continue to learn of past dealings of the families that I come from. My name is starting to carry a deeper meaning to me, and, at times, a sad one. But the Sun hasn't faded yet.


PS: I'm in love. She is the most beautiful young woman I know. I don't know how else to put it, or even if I really should, on this journal. It's everything about her: her Mayan nose, her long brown hair, and a firm and very spiritual mind. I am in midair with this woman.
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