My junior negotiator


Last week I attended a 40 hour basic crisis negotiation class along with two other co-workers. We went to this training because we are the newest members of our department’s negotiation team.

On Wednesday I picked up my daughter from gymnastics. When she got in the car she said, “I tried some of the things you learned,” referring to the negotiator school.

She went on to tell me how she asked a girl at gymnastics how her day was. That particular question came from a negotiation book I just read. The goal was to ask that question and then use “mirroring” to get the girl to keep talking about her day.

The girl answered by saying, “It was good and bad.”

“It was good and bad?” asked my daughter.

The friend replied back and added more about her day. My daughter then repeated back the friend’s last words in the form a question just like she did with “It was good and bad?” This went back and forth at least five times as my daughter got the girl to keep talking.

With enthusiasm in her voice my 11 year old said, “I was shocked that it worked so well.” She was very proud of herself. She then said, “Can I be a junior negotiator?”

That made my day. The innocence and the smile on her face were truly a negotiator dad moment.

The candle call


You just never know when something new or different is going to happen at work.

A few weeks ago, I responded to a major injury collision on the west end of the city. After the crash, one of the drivers was transported to the hospital and later died. The other driver and passenger remained at the scene and stood at the northwest corner.

A group of their friends showed up and stood by with them. Before I knew it, one of the friends was sitting on the sidewalk playing a guitar. There was a hippie like feel in the air as other people sat down next him. The only thing missing were candles.

A little bit later I saw a guy holding a Jesus candle walk into the street from the opposite corner. When he was told to stay out of the street he said, “I want to put the candle out for the guy.”

“Put it on the corner,” someone told him.

“But he died over there,” he replied.

The man figured out he needed to stay out of the street and put the candle down at the southwest corner. He lit it and a short time later the flame went out.

About an hour later I heard arguing at the same corner where the candle was. I looked and saw a two guys yelling at each other as they prepared to fight.

Didn’t they see the police cars and the cops standing in the middle of the street? First the guitar, then the candle and now a fight? Was it a full moon?

We walked over and separated everyone. It was just bizarre and we shook our heads at the madness.

When it was time to leave, we called for tow trucks and took down the crime scene tape. As the tow truck drivers cleaned up, something caught my eye. The was a candle with its flame shining brightly in the night at the northeast corner. I didn’t see who left it, but it was a symbol of just how different this call was.

Now there were two candles on opposite corners. This was the first fatal crash where candles were dropped off while I was still there. Even after all these years, there’s still room for plenty of “firsts.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

A night in Hollywood



The other night, I took my kids to the Hollywood Bowl to see John Williams conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. We sat there under the stars as they played music from movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superman.

When the concert was over we took our shuttle back to the shopping center at Hollywood Bl and Highland. My kids asked if we could take a stroll on the Hollywood Walk of Fame when we got back there.

It was almost 11PM and there was a carnival like atmosphere on the Walk of Fame. Besides the street performers, there were also vendors selling hot dogs from grills.


The smell drew me in like a magnet. The sizzle of the the hot dog, grilled onions and peppers had me pulling $4 out of my wallet before I knew it. Both of my kids passed and said they didn’t want one. After paying,  they watched with anticipation as I ate it. After one bite I instantly knew it was the best hot dog I’d ever had.


Then there was a man with a giant snake on his shoulders. You couldn’t help but stop and look at that thing hanging from his shoulders. He  was quite the attention getter. There was also a guy wearing a mask walking around carrying a backpack with a cat strapped on top.

He saw us looking and said, “You can pet him. He’s a nice cat.” He then leaned down so my daughter could pet the cat. I’m surprised the cat didn’t have a mask on too. Here’s the funny part. The masked guy with the cat seemed normal and fit right in.


Only on Hollywood Bl can you see a masked catman walking around next to Superman and Batman on the Walk of Fame.

It was a great way to end the night.