Tuesday, March 05, 2013

That was new...

Went down to the almost-a-dentist this morning and saw an SUV in the parking lot with an antenna farm on the roof and so many radios and orange flashers on the dash that it was a wonder the driver could see out.

Got up to the fourth floor and there in the waiting room, looking like 300 pounds of chewed midnight blue polyester-clad bubblegum, was a guy in unbloused BDU floods revealing an inch of white tube sock above his scuffed boots, a mechanic's shirt, an orange-lined blue jacket, a basket-weave belt with pouches for radio and multitool, and a mesh-back ball cap with "INDHS" and "HAM" flanking either side of the state seal.

I've met cop mall ninjas and fire department mall ninjas and even EMT mall ninjas, and everybody and their brother has met SEAL Delta Ranger Sniper mall ninjas, but I don't believe I'd ever clapped eyes on a DHS mall ninja before. This was an entirely new variety of holster-sniffer in my experience, but I guess every organization with a uniform has its badge bunnies; somewhere some poor schlub is wearing blue gloves and searching himself for secreted explosives while moaning "Yes, TSA Agent, yes!"

So, this guy goes driving around and pretends he's America's ninety-seventh line of defense, somewhere on the org chart between the USCG Reserve and the Knights of Columbus?

Yow.

Dream big, my friend...

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. No X-ray specs or metal detecting wand?

Antibubba

Anonymous said...

Google Ham Sexy for more info on this strange breed...

rickn8or said...

What's it like trying to complete a dental appointment while giggling helplessly?

BGMiller said...

And you didn't take pictures?

Why ever not?!?!?!?!?


BGM

og said...

We call the cars hedgehogs. The driver is the distant ancestor of what will become daleks.

Suzanne McCarley said...

I've met two. One had a pet potbellied pig, and I used to follow the other to work once or twice a week (at 10 mph below the limit.) He must have wired his paraphernalia into his truck all by himself, because his brake lights turned off only when he slowed down and stopped.

You can spot that species a mile away, no binoculars needed.

drjim said...

They're common called 'whackers' in some parts of the country.

Even though I'm a Ham, and do some public service events, I refuse to associate with 99% of the RACES/ARES/DCS people.

They're all a bunch a wannabe cops/military here in SoCal, and having to deal with them is frustrating beyond belief.

The day-glo vests, the hats, and the occasional "Amateur Radio Operator" *badge* lends these guys ZERO credence in my book....

Roberta X said...

We're not all like that, you know.

Anonymous said...

Wait, the dude wasn't REALLY INDHS??

And for those who haven't flown recently, the TSA at airports now have spangled epaulets. I expected a mustachioed commandante to appear and stride around in mirrored sunglasses.

drjim said...

And shiny knee-high black boots.....

Justthisguy said...

What is it with some people? Don't they know that others will point at them and laugh?

As a rather strange person myself, I have always taken care to act and appear normal, so as not to get beaten up, or arrested, or something.

Dammit! Act normal and dress decently when out in public!

Aesop said...

OMG Tam, you mean you passed up the $20 finder's fee to recruit this guy for an upcoming episode of "Doomsday Preppers"??

Personally, I'd have wanted to skip the dentist, head over to the mall, and after acquiring road flares, batteries, a kitchen timer and some electrical tape, I'da just left him something on his car hood to get him in real good with the local constabulary, and watched the circus...if not for the fact that actual working stiffs would be out of service to attend his YouTube-worthy party.

Having a conscience is such a pain.

Maybe just keep a few "Bigfoot Hunter" and "Black Helicopter Defense Squad" bumperstickers in the glove box, instead.

TinCan Assassin said...

Tactical Knights of Columbus? Why didn't anyone TELL me?

KM said...

And you didn't take pictures?

I'm shocked at the oversight myself.
That moron would have believed ANY story you told him to get the pic!

Anonymous said...

The big thing in Northern Virginia is to have your mobile radio setup in your POV with your call sign as your license plate number. There' s two in parking lot at work, and the weird thing is: the owners seem like perfectly normal people.

R said...

At least the USCG Reserve has real soldiers in the Port Security Units. Small boats, big engines, and crew served weapons seem way more bad ass than mall ninja to me.

Weer'd Beard said...

Well there, you now need to find a NMFS Enforcement Ninja and you'll have the complete set, and you can hang it in a shadow box on your wall!

Woodman said...

Ok, now you have rule 34rd the TSA. Thanks, thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:54, the callsign license plate is an official VA plate (I have one myself).

Tam, as stated previously, you had your first whacker sighting. They're not exactly stately creatures...

Drjim, The ARES groups here in NOVA seem to be pretty well run (I only have experience with them, other states/areas may be different). While there are a few goobers, most of them honestly want to help, not get in the way. The local govts request their assistance for a variety of events and needs, provide facilities, include them in training exercises, etc. They're hardly a bunch of unorganized whackers with a false sense of authority.

Chris

Mike in KY said...

Sometimes when mother nature is misbehaving and the weather radar automation is sending everyone to the basement at every hook shaped pink echo, I'll turn on the scanner bank that stores the freqs for the power company trucks and the local ham repeaters.

Those guys positively experience weathergasms during those times. They do make pretty good storm spotters, though, whenever they're not yammering about their rigs.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Anon @ 0054: It's not just NOVA that has plenty of those - they're pretty common in SW and South Central VA, too. As Chris said, it's actually an official VA license plate.

Most of those people are perfectly normal, they're just really into their hobby.

Brick said...

So if I do buy one of these, it might give others the impression that I am putting on airs?

http://www.brickolore.com/2013/02/time-for-new-car.html

Jennifer said...

"Yes, TSA Agent, yes!"
Well there went breakfast. Not as good on the way back.
Why are there no CPA mall ninjas? There's 3 letters. High-speed low-drag 10-key skills.

Rob K said...

I work with two guys here in Indiana who have their call signs on their license plates and they're normal... for computer geeks. They come at it from the geek end of the spectrum, not the super agent operator end. I think that's the big difference.

drjim said...

@Chris
You're right, it depends on what part of the country you're in.
The big cities/urban areas are the worst for the "Mall Ninja Ham Op", while the rural areas are more down-to-earth, and don't go for all the tacticool stuff.
The best group I've ever worked with has been SATERN, the Salvation Army Tactical Emergency Radio Network.
They knew their stuff, and didn't come across like a bunch of FBI/CIA/Mil/Police wannabes.

Robert Fowler said...

Aesop said...
Personally, I'd have wanted to skip the dentist, head over to the mall, and after acquiring road flares, batteries, a kitchen timer and some electrical tape, I'da just left him something on his car hood to get him in real good with the local constabulary, and watched the circus...if not for the fact that actual working stiffs would be out of service to attend his YouTube-worthy party.

Now that I've wiped the coffee off the screen.....

You forgot that you need a foot or 2 of a couple different colored wires. Really adds to the effect.

Joanna said...

You forgot that you need a foot or 2 of a couple different colored wires. Really adds to the effect.

Better yet, make them all red.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Better yet, make them all red."

Or yellow.

Windy Wilson said...

Drjim -- And a Sam Browne belt? Or are those out of style now with the wannabees?

KM Actually he may have gone all secret agent had Tam tried to photograph him. I had to deal once with Mr. CIA on a tour I took. He told stories about tracking the CEO of Global Crossing to his hideout in Namibia, and insisted I delete a photo that had him in the background, for security reasons. About the only thing I believed him on was his fluency in Spanish, which he used to hit on all the waitressed. Tam's lil Ninja might not have wanted his picture taken at all as part of the schtick.

global village idiot said...

Guy didn't go by the name of Gary, did he? I might know him.

Re: those guys who put their call signs on their license plates...

If you ever feel like interacting with one in such a way as to make HIS flesh creep, do this:
o Write down license plate
o Visit www.qrz.com
o Look up his call sign
o Write down address
o Use Google Earth or whatever satellite imagery app your smartphone has to "visit" his home
o Strike up conversation
o Ask him if he's ever going to clear the detritus out of his lawn
o Present smartphone and show him how you come by your information
o Ask him if putting his call on his plate is such a good idea

It's going out of favor among many hams for just this reason.

gvi

Ed said...

Growing up, my friend's father was a HAM. When we built crystal radio sets, we tied them into one of his antennas with his help and got great reception. His father was also a Metropolitan District Commission police officer (now part of the Massachusetts State Police), so he did not have the wannabe behaviors.

Anonymous said...

They ARE fun to laugh at, but as both a ham and a gun person, bearing with some of the wackadoodles in the gun hobby can be worse. And DON'T tell me you haven't seen them ;-)

BillH

by the way, the qrz.com trick only works if you login and for the life of me I don't know why a non-homa would sign up for a qez.com account... just to freak out some geekhammallninja? Who's scarier now?

Anonymous said...

non-ham

jeez, can't type worth a hoot tonight. Good thing I'm not pistol shooting or running morse code.

Ross said...

Hmm... So my cousin in the USCGR really WASN'T deployed to Iraq? Strange... he had me AND his brother the Seabee fooled.

(I grant you he wasn't in combat - that he told me about, anyway - but was inspecting ships coming in for contraband. Still... hardly as safe as mowing the lawn in Enid, OK.)

Tam said...

I have found, through many years of blogging, that no matter what I write, every individual sentence is going to give somebody who reads it, somewhere, a case of butthurt.

If I only wrote things guaranteed to cause nobody anywhere any butthurt at all, this screen would be blank.

(I'm expecting an angry email from the Hemorrhoid Sufferers of America about my flippant use of the term "butthurt" any moment now...)

Justthisguy said...

Ya know, Tam, that reminds me of an autistic gal I used to correspond with, who was born without an anus. She spent a lot of time in hospitals when she was a toddler, wondering if she would still be alive after the operation was over.

She managed to stay alive and grow up, and get a Cum Laude degree from Berkeley.

Her guts never really worked right, though, so she got herself a cecostomy. That is, the surgeon made a hole in her tummy right in front of the start of her large intestine, and installed a plastic valve there. She can now insert a hose there, and "blow sans", as the submariners say.

She has found this very convenient on at least one occasion. There was a spell of hot weather, and she had no air conditioning. Therefore, she parked herself in the bathtub and ran cold water through her colon to cool herself down. Perfectly rational, amirite?