Friday, September 30, 2011

What I Learned Over the Weekend

I can’t believe my Greensboro trip is over. I came home with my suitcase bulging with yarn and my mind bulging memories. Unfortunately, I didn’t come home with a camera bulging with good pictures. I made the mistake of taking a camera my son had with no idea what all the buttons were for. Let’s just say in some of the photos I took, people appear to have two heads.

I am glad I focused on watching what was going on instead of trying to take pictures of everything. It’s the same about taking notes. I do best when I just pay attention to what is going on and write down things later.

The morning after I got home, I wrote down a summary of the weekend. When I thought over all that had happened all I could say was whew!

What made the biggest impression on me were small details I heard about during the Writers Police Academy conference. Like the tanks on firemen’s backs aren’t filled with oxygen, but compressed air. It turns out the tanks are dangerous. If they get knocked over, they can act like a punctured balloon and more or less explode.

I mentioned last week my surprise that there is one universal key for all handcuffs. I tried on a kevlar vest and more than the weight, it was the denseness of it that I found uncomfortable to wear.

One of the workshops was on jail searches and was given by a female corrections officer. She mentioned that some of the prisoners do their time on weekends only, and how hard it is to keep them from bringing in contraband. They’re allowed to bring in clean underwear with them, and are very clever about putting things into neckbands and seams. They’ve been known to sneak things in with their bibles. They glue a couple of pages together and put stuff in it. No corrections officer is going to go through all the pages.

I learned that cops have to put handcuffs on bodies just in case they aren’t really dead. The cyber crime specialist said the biggest chance of having your credit card information taken is when you give it to a server at a restaurant. And that it is true, people can scan your credit card and get the information on it while it is safely tucked in your wallet.

A man who taught future police officers at the public safety junior college that held the workshops said to succeed, the students had to learn out to step out of their comfort zone. He also seemed very concerned that the students he was getting now had been brought up using their fingers to play video games instead of going outside to play and using their whole bodies.

I also learned that grits taste much better if you add some butter, but then what doesn’t.

I am going to try and include a photo. One that has somebody with only one head.


Planner said...

I always thought two heads were better than one!

Dru said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing what you learned with us.

Betty Hechtman said...

Lol, Planner. As it is, there is some kind of extra brightness in the photo I used. I think it has to do with the fact I'd just come in from my rainy trek to the murder scene in the woods.

Betty Hechtman said...

Dru, what I learned makes for interesting conversation. Who wouldn't find it fascinating that a small bottle of botulism (it looked about a liter) is enought to kill everyone on earth. I don't think it really had botulism in it either.

Monica Ferris said...

I didn't know that bit about handcuffing corpses. Very interesting! I see your point about listening carefully and then writing notes later, because while you're writing down one thing you miss the next two. But I need to write at least a couple of words about every point. They make a sort of mnemonic I find useful. But my memory's a sieve.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm more like Monica about taking notes, Betty. I was even that way in law school. I'd write everything down as I heard it, then transcribe the notes into legible form that also helped me remember the material better.
Sounds as if you got some great material for future mysteries!

JanG said...

Your two destinations show my reasons (and others' reasons, too, I'd bet) for enjoying crafty mysteries. Cozies by definition take something soft and innocent like crochet or pets or beading, then find something sinister in the plotting and characters. The unexpected is already part of the story, but it takes enormous skill to turn it into art. You and the others on the site do a great job of adding humor without making death or other crimes trivial -- no small thing, to me. Some do not manage as well, and they fall by the wayside. Thanks for some great reads, to you and the others as well!