Monday, July 31, 2006

Oh, Kosovo!

Kosovo Video

Norwegian troops of the Telemark Battalion in Kosovo as part of KFOR do a parody of the Beach Boys song "Kokomo."

Nigerians Clone Interpol

In a sign of ingenuity, a group of Nigerian/419 scam artists have cloned the Interpol web site on a server in China in order to add legitimacy to their attempts to separate people from their money.

Interpol has a bulletin at the link below about the fake site which also contains a sub-link to a good general write up on the whole Nigerian/419 scam system.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Since making fun of Wikipedia is becoming something of a national sport, I thought I would join in by pointing out that today's featured Wikipedia article is about Bulbasaur, one of the 400 odd creatures that inhabit the Pokemon universe.

It is a well written (for the moment), well researched, in-depth article. It just happens to be about a fictional animal from a Japanese cartoon.

You can see the article here:

Unfortunate Fountain

Somebody has spotted a swastika shaped public fountain through Google Earth.

Details and a picture are available on The Register here:

I think the clincher for me is this quote from the man who designed the fountain 27 years ago, "The Germans don't have the monopoly on the swastika, it is an ancient symbol of the Sun god."

So it wasn't a mistake, he did this on purpose. But, then, nobody seemed to mind until just recently. The fountain will be changed into a shamrock according to the article, which should be safe as long as the Irish steer clear of fascism, genocide, and lederhosen.

Grass Valley Police Blotter vol. IV

At 1:21 p.m., a man called from the 100 block of Scotia Pines Circle to report a juvenile's father drove by yelling at him. He also found a rock in his yard.

[Was the driver yelling at the caller or his own child? Was he yelling a threat or was it perhaps a warning to watch out for that rock in the caller's yard. Later one of the caller's shoe laces became mysteriously untied.]

At 1:06 p.m., a caller from Highway 20 reported a possible bicycle accident a mile above Uren Street. The ambulance was canceled. No medical attention was needed. Cyclists had been lost.

[What was it about being lost that made this situation look like an accident? Or was the bicyclist lost in the sense of being dead?]

At 9 p.m., a caller from DarkHorse Road reported two people were walking toward Combie Road and they had been in the area for several hours. Another resident told the caller he witnessed a man strike a woman and it appeared the woman was trying to evade the man.

[I can see how people in law enforcement might come to view the general public with a cynical eye.]

An 11:10 a.m. a caller from the 29400 block was screaming into the phone that her husband had broken her legs and then hung up.

[No word if the police followed up at the Soprano residence.]

At 1:05 p.m. a caller in the 16800 block of Southridge Drive reported receiving harassing phone calls from gay rights and anti-abortion groups for the last month.

[How odd that this person should form the intersection of interest for these two groups. Still, it is nice to see them getting together on something.]

At 1:35 p.m. a caller from the 17200 block of Benedict Canyon Lane reported someone drove onto his yard the previous evening and ran over his dog.

[I would like to report a country western song in progress...]

At 2:20 p.m. a caller from Upper Circle Drive reported a person was posting wanted posters of him all over the street.

[A new level of neighbor relations!]

At 5:05 p.m. a caller from the 16300 block of Norlene Way reported someone had smashed her van, motor home and a dirt bike with a hammer.

[For me, the mental images are either of a very large hammer or Hot Wheels(tm) sized vehicles.]

At 6:26 p.m., a caller from the 17000 block of Alexandra Way reported someone threw a rock, putting a hole in their trailer.

[Hell of an arm on whoever did that... or hell of a cheap trailer.]

At 9:37 p.m., a caller from the 11400 block of Marjon Drive reported his ex-girlfriend came to his residence and punched him in the face several times.

[Ouch! And no arrest reported. Does that mean he had it coming?]

At 10:30 p.m., a caller from Pasquale Road reported hearing six gunshots.

[Unusual precision for a member of the general public!]

A 10:40 a.m. caller said last weekend while at a restaurant on Sutton Way, a man kept driving by and yelling at him, "I'm going to blow up your Jeep!"

[This call came in on Tuesday, so it didn't seem that he took the threat seriously. Odd behavior all around.]

At 9:21 p.m. a man called from the 200 block of Sutton Way to report that his girlfriend had just assaulted him. When police arrived, he was arrested for assault and violating a restraining order.

[All his pals are no doubt telling him "Smooth move! You called the police on her, yet you got hauled off!"]

At 12:20 p.m., a caller from a grocery store on the 600 block of Freeman Lane reported that an unshaven, dirty-looking man with long dark hair may have been mentally unstable or having medical problems. A second caller said the man stripped down to his underwear and was attempting to use public transportation. Police checked the area and were unable to locate the man.

[Attempted use of public transit in ones skivvies. No word if he was successful in his attempt. It has to be the heat.]

At 2:48 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of Neal Street reported a juvenile had a knife. Police made contact with the juvenile, and the knife was taken for safekeeping.

[Safekeeping! I wasn't sure that was a single word, but Merriam-Webster seems to think it is. Does "safekeeping" mean the kid is going to get it back some day, or that it is being kept safely away from him?]

At 5:13 p.m., a caller from the 17000 block of Norlene Way reported a broken-down red golf cart in front of a house. Deputies were unable to locate the driver.

[It was inevitable, with the rise in the use of small electric vehicles, that someday they would start age and break down on the public streets. Soon you will begin to find them up on blocks in front of rural mobile homes.]

At 4:01 p.m., a caller from the 400 block of Nimrod Street reported a fight between Girl Scouts and horseshoe players. Deputies made contact. It was only a parking dispute.

[It is entries like this that make me regret that there is no video associated with the police blotter. You have to believe the police were eager to roll on this call, just to clear up the mental image of Girl Scouts vs. Horseshoe Players in a battle royale. Then it turns out to be a parking dispute.]

At 6:06 p.m., a caller from the 400 block of Nimrod Street reported four men were sitting in front of a bathroom by a horseshoe pit drinking beer. The people were cited for violation of a city ordinance.

[They were, no doubt, still cooling off after the big confrontation.]

Source: The Union (

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Least Effective Thank You

I noticed, when I was paying the bills the other night, at the bottom of the PG&E bill there was an entry that said they wanted to note that I always pay my bill on time (I don't, but never mind) and that being such a good customer deserved recognition.

This was all in tiny print at the bottom of the page after all of the waivers and other legal statements.

I suppose it could been in a worse location, but at the moment I cannot decide where that would be.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Grass Valley Police Blotter vol. III

At 3:05 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of Richardson Street reported protesters at Nevada County Citizens for Choice were walking in the street as well as on the sidewalk. The caller wanted officers to ensure the protesters were within protesting guidelines. Officers were unable to locate the protesters.

[I hate to get on the police as they have to deal with all of this silliness, but come on, they were unable to locate the protesters? I suspect that they had something better to do.]

At 1:43 p.m., a caller from the 400 block of South Pine Street reported she woke up and found a man with short blond hair wearing a tank top and blue shorts in her house. She thought he threw something against her house before he left. Police took a report. Nothing appeared to be missing from the house

[For no real reason, I feel sure that it was Owen Wilson. I can picture it in my mind.]

At 12:07 p.m., a caller from the 10000 block of Kearney Court requested that deputies make contact with a woman who had been drinking, screaming and was going outside naked. Deputies arrested the 47-year-old woman for failing to comply with a court order.

[Now if she had been 27, it is less likely this would have resulted in a call. Maybe. Still, one wonders what court ordered prohibition she violated; drinking, screaming, or public nudity.]

At 6:06 p.m., a caller from the 11000 block of Alta Sierra Drive reported a man was screaming at the top of the driveway again. Police arrested the 53-year-old man for resisting/obstructing a police officer.

[More screaming baby-boomers. This has to be a symbol for something.]

At 5:10 a.m., a caller from the 19000 block of Highway 174 reported a female had been screaming for approximately four hours. Deputies responded and arrested a 23-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man for inflicting corporal injury to a spouse/cohabitant.

[Were they hitting each other or had they ganged up on a third person, the screaming female? This is also an interesting measure of tolerance. Screaming from 1am until at least 4am was okay, but somewhere around 5am it became too much.]

At 3 p.m., a caller from Highway 174 near the Memorial Park pool reported a bicyclist was causing major traffic backup along the highway. Police made contact with the bicyclist, and all was OK.

[All was OK! Unless, of course, you were stuck in traffic behind this guy.]

At 8:51 p.m., police arrested two men in a grocery store parking lot on the 100 block of Neal Street. A 30-year-old man was arrested for using offensive words in a public place likely to provoke a violent reaction and a 23-year-old man was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.

[I find these charges both oddly specific and yet vague. I guess the litmus test for the first charge was the second charge.]

At 10:46 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of East Main Street reported vandalism - a tree was taken out of its pot for the second time. The caller requested extra patrol.

[This seems like the work of pretty ambivalent vandals. I am pretty sure Genseric, King of the Vandals who lead the sack of Rome, would object to the association. But, then, he was called Genseric the Lame, so who knows?]

At 11:45 a.m., a man called from Washington Road to report a group of people drinking in the park across from the store and a man with no shirt on threatened to dump trash in his yard.

[Having no shirt must just ruin your credibility when it comes to dealing with the police. The description "shirtless" just cries out as a warning in the police blotter.]

At 8:56 p.m., a man was admonished for calling 911 five times with the intent of annoying the dispatchers. He was advised he would be cited if he did it again.

[So, apparently, you are safe the first five times, but after that, you are gonna get it.]

At 9:38 p.m., a woman called from Willow Valley Road to report a male juvenile came to her door and appeared to be disoriented. The woman gave the juvenile water and a flashlight. The juvenile was walking in the area. Deputies gave the juvenile a ride

[Did the caller try to contact the kids parents?]

At 3:14 a.m., a caller from Via Vista and Ridge Road reported two men left an unknown substance in the roadway, and it was on the caller's tires. A deputy advised the substance was duct tape.

[Was the caller concerned that IEDs had made their way to Grass Valley?]

At 5:10 p.m., a woman from the 100 block of Mill Street reported receiving multiple calls from a person called Dave who said he was watching her work and was going to follow her home.

[Okay, creepy, and you have to call the police for this. Still, I cannot help wondering what would have happened if she had started on the Cheech & Chong "Dave's not here" routine.]

At 10:32 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of King Court reported being involved in a vehicle collision with two trees on Highway 49. The person was not under the influence.

[No doubt that the dispatcher, confronted with somebody calling in to say that they had hit two trees, automatically, and not unreasonably, assumed alcohol was involved.]

At 12:07 a.m., a caller from the 900 block of Sutton Way complained about a room full of noisy occupants. According to the caller, the manager has been unsuccessful in calming the occupants down. The occupants were contacted and told to keep the volume down.

[I like the phrase "a room full of noisy occupants." I would assume that this involved a motel or some other high density living arrangement, but it could have taken place at the monkey house at the zoo for all we know. Koko could be signing to her keeper, "Tell the chimps to shut up then show me your boobs again!"]

At 6:52 p.m., a woman from the 11000 block of Sierra Springs Circle reported that her juvenile son smashed windows in her residence with a baseball bat. When contact was made with the reporting person, her son was not there. She did not want to press charges but said she would contact officers when he returns for law enforcement admonishment.

[I hate to bring up the "wasting my tax dollars" line of argument, but discipline your own damn son lady!]

Source: The Union (

The Company Move - Part 3

Time passes.

Responses to questions about the move are few and far between.

Equipment begins to arrive. We find places to stash it. Routers, switches, a KVM for the new lab, 19 enclosed racks, power strips, and huge new servers are now sitting all over our building, waiting for a home.

People start digging through boxes for items they need. Two people who went on long vacations and expected to come back to a new building have to set their computers back up in their old locations.

March blows in. We are told that we will be "GO" to move on March 20th. Access to the building is just waiting on one more signature.

At this point I have to speculate. We are told that the hold up is that the owner of the building has to sign something to let Sun sub-let the 7th floor to us. Sun has no employees at all in this building, just a big sign on the outside, but it has managed to sub-let the first six floors. My theory is that, somehow, Sun screwed over or otherwise pissed off the building owner while sub-letting the first six floor because the owner is dragging his feet big time. The first agreement of intent needs the signature of the building owner, but if the owner ignores it, the agreement will be considered signed after thirty days. The clock on that started running on March 1st.

On March 30, the agreement of intent is considered signed. Now we can move onto the details of the lease.

However, it is now April 1st and our own lease on the building we are in has expired. We are now paying month-to-month which, according to our agreement with the landlord, means paying DOUBLE our current rate per square foot. Smithers goes to "negotiate" with out landlord to try and get that number reduced. Hah. I can't imagine what a landlord with seven empty buildings can see as the advantage to lowering the income he is getting. Still, through some inducement, he gets them to change it to a day-by-day lease, so we have an incentive to get out sooner, but the price is the same.

And things grind on at the new building. The owner is coming up with all sorts of restrictions and such to add to our lease agreement. We have to change back any construction we do on our floor when we leave. We cannot change the air conditioning. We can change the air condition (because it turns out Sun owns the A/C units) but we have to put back all the ducting as it was when we leave. We have to submit plan and permits for all of the work we want to do (but we don't have access to the building yet!) We cannot have a floor loading of greater than 50 pounds per square foot. This technically means that I, and some of my co-workers, will not be allowed to come to work. Others will merely forbidden to stand on one foot.

And these are only the items that made it to me and I am not plugged into the process at all.

Meanwhile the contractors are pissed at us, and justifiably so. We promised them work, made them accommodate our schedules, and now, two months after our proposed start date, we are still stringing them along without paying them a red cent.

On or about April 13th, Smithers, under heavy pressure from his boss and the CEO to finish up this move, decides he needs a plan B.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Company Move - Part 2

September arrives and we begin asking about new buildings again. More whispers about place in locations not far off from the past list, though at least Sand Hill Road was no longer on the agenda.

We were told in October that the hold up on getting ourselves signed up with one of these locations was getting a letter of intent passed through the legal department of our parent company. Still, we had enough time to get things setup, get access to the building, begin the move in early February so that come April 1, 2006, we would be free of our old building.

The legal excuse continued until early November when it was announced that we are being sold by our parent company to one of our biggest competitors. This is the real reason nothing has gone on since September.

We are told that we won't be able to sign a lease until the deal is closed because our parent company doesn't want to be on the hook for anything and the buyer won't sign anything until we belong to them.We are assured that the deal will close by the end of November, first week of December at the latest. After that, we can get on with our moving plans.

January 1, 2006: The deal closes.

During the second week of January, the Director of Facilities for our new company shows up. I will call him Smithers. He comes in and talks to us enthusiastically about moving. He is going to send out a survey for us to take so he can get our input. Some of us go talk to our old CIO. He has been given a nice severance package if he stays for a given duration and has been relegated to an advisory role. He tell us that all of his work has been tossed and that Smithers is here to start from scratch.

Smithers takes his survey and then talks to us about the results. He, at least, does not have a vested interest in moving the building closer to his home and through some very faulty calculations, declares that in our current general area is the best place, commute-wise, for our office to be located. We can see on his chart that he has left off the people in Fremont and a couple in Gilroy who would skew the whole thing south, but at least in the same area means nobody's commute gets worse.

Smithers says he is going to hire a real estate rep out here (having let go the one we had been working with for five months) and that said rep will meet with the departments to find out their needs. Smithers will be off in the UK finishing up moving the one of the company facilities out there.

Departments without a lot of inherent infrastructure... people who can do their jobs at home on a laptop... remained unconcerned. My boss, who is directly responsible for a lab with 180 servers and the entire infrastructure for our software build system, was starting to get nervous. We get together our space requirements and deliver them to the real estate person.

She goes off to do her thing. She comes back and asks if a place that is all offices is okay with us. Well, Tim is gone, our VP isn't opposed, so we say sure, why not. Despite the fact that I keep hearing different people claim that "such-and-such a group doesn't like offices" I have yet to find anybody at our location who would choose a cube over an office.

Smithers gets back and tells us that they need to get some stuff together and signed, but we should be ready to move at the end of February. That gives us a month of buffer on the back side. That also doesn't give us much time to get our crap together for the move.

We get shown the new location, the 7th floor of the Sun building off of Great America Pkwy, right next to Birk's. We get in electrical people, cabling people, moving people, an architect, and start laying out how this is going to happen. We promise extra money to the contractors to get stuff done in time for the move. We cannot have any down time! We put in rush orders on equipment for the new place. We spend because timing is everything!

January 30th, moving boxes arrive. People begin packing up their cubes and offices. My boss packs up nearly everything in his office the day the boxes show up.

We put up a floor map of the new building. We let people pick their offices. Only a few of us have been to the new building, but people are getting excited. New stuff, the promise of a better building, something we were told we deserve, and everybody gets their own office.

I am one of the people who has been to the new building. The offices are 7'x9' and have sliding glass doors with 'privacy stripes' on them that look like they are etched into the glass from a distance, but are in fact stickers. If you took out the desk and put in two bunks and a toilet, it would be a prison cell. I am asked to stop using phrases like "Orwellian" to describe the new place. My boss wants me to be more positive and I have to admit that yes, the place looks cleaner, nicer, it lacks the distinct smell our building has had since the second floor men's room plumbing gave out last May, and that on the 4th of July we can all watch the fireworks at Great America.

About the second week of February we are at the point where we can do no more without regular access to the building. We get the real estate lady to let us in to do some planning, but we need to have the place opened up for us to get electricity in place, air conditioning routed, labs build up, networking done.

Then the word comes down. We are working out some issues in the contract. It will be a little more time before we move.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Grass Valley Police Blotter vol. II

At 1:30 p.m., a caller from the 200 block of Sutton Way reported a stolen 1990 Chevrolet Camaro, possibly taken by the caller's brother. The vehicle is registered in both brothers' names and it was not stolen.

[The summary is awkward in an amusing way, as it makes it sound like two distinct statements, as opposed to my read, which is more along the lines of, "somebody who owns a vehicle cannot be charged with stealing said vehicle."]

At 6:16 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of West Berryhill Drive reported three juveniles were kicking what appeared to be a dead animal and were trying to put it in a bag. Police made contact with the juveniles, and the item was not a dead animal. They had dressed up a dummy and were making a film.

[I hope the film has as surprising an ending as the blotter entry.]

At 8:08 p.m., a man called from the 300 block of Pleasant Street reported a woman would not leave the residence and threatened him with a knife. Police arrested the woman for spousal abuse.

[Again with the police blotter surprise endings... like some bad horror story... and the assailant was... HIS OWN WIFE!]

At 11:01 p.m., a caller from the 300 block of Vistamont Drive reported someone rang the doorbell. Extra patrol was requested, and an officer was given the information.

[Growing up this was something that earned the equivalent of "You darn kids!" sort of rebuke, not a police presence. I wonder how the officer felt getting called out for a "ding-dong-ditch" incident?]

At 7:52 p.m., a woman called from the 13000 block of Quarterhorse Drive to report an injured fawn on her patio. The neighbor dispatched the deer.

[Great stilted prose. THE neighbor (not just any neighbor) "dispatched" the deer. Since we were talking about a fawn in the first sentence, THE neighbor might have dispatched the fawns mate to go get help for all I know.]

At 9:13 p.m., a woman called from the 13000 block of Bitney Springs Road to report she was in a fight with her sister who lives on the same property. She said her sister threw a metal rod at her but did not hit her. She said the two had been involved in civil lawsuits against each other and this was the result of "bad blood." The woman also said there is marijuana growing on the property and she wants deputies to confirm everything is legal. Deputies mediated the sisters for now.

[There is a Patty & Selma "Simpsons" episode in this, I just know it. The temptation to change the metal rod to an inanimate carbon rod was huge, but I took an oath of no editing. And we are all cool with the marijuana growing on the property, right?]

At 10:52 p.m., a man called from the 18000 block of Waterfall Lane to report he returned home from church to find his goat was stolen. He requested extra patrol.

[I'm sorry for this guy's loss, but goat theft is just amusing in and of itself. And returning from church only to find the goat gone....]

At 11:27 p.m., a man called from the 17000 block of Round Valley Circle reported a woman was hitting him. Dispatchers could hear a "loud racket" in the background. The woman was throwing things around and screaming that he hit her, too. The man said the woman was pulling his hair and biting him. He said he did not need medical attention. The woman was arrested for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant and damaging telephone lines.

[I was expecting to find that it was his wife, but we're left with the possibility of it just being an insane roommate or live-in girlfriend. I wonder if it is fun for the dispatcher when they can actually add to the crime report. Damaging phone lines is a crime? I could see if she chopped down the telephone pole, but I have to figure this was happening in the house.]

At 10:16 p.m., a caller from the 16000 block of Mabert Road reported a man was using his appearance to intimidate other people who were attempting to access the river. A deputy made contact with the caller and would attempt to locate the man and advise him to refrain from the behavior.

[This one wins on awkward phrasing alone. And what was it about his appearance that other people found intimidating? Was he large? Ugly? Wearing a T-shirt with a threatening phrase printed on it? And did he take the deputy's advice and refrain from the behavior? Like so many stories of Nevada County, there is no resolution.]

At 12:31 p.m., a caller from the 500 block of Wiley Street reported a neighbor was yelling obscenities over a fence at kids in the pool. Police made contact so that the person would stop yelling.

[Good, because I would hate for the police to make contact merely to join in with the yelling of obscenities.]

At 10:38 p.m., a caller from Kathleen Way reported a group of three boys and two girls were running around the neighborhood and hiding behind cars. Police checked the area and could smell smoke. The area was checked extensively and police were unable to locate the children or the source of the smell.

[Can you actually "check" something extensively? I always think of "checking" to be a somewhat superficial effort. "Yes, I checked, it is still there." An extensive search I could see, but extensive checking sounds like an attempt to do the minimum to keep the caller happy.]

At 11:33 p.m., a woman called from the 100 block of Kathleen Way to report she could smell smoke behind her house and she said juveniles with firecrackers were in the area. Police checked the area again and were unable to locate any juveniles or firecrackers.

[It is difficult to steer clear of Keystone Cops references at this point. At least we know where the smoke came from now. Again they "checked" and again they came up dry.]

At 1:29 p.m., a woman called from the 14000 block of Pammy Way to report two men entered her residence claiming to clean carpets. They handed her a brochure with hardly any information on it and when she said no, they grabbed it and left on foot. Deputies were unable to locate the men.

[I am pretty sure they were going to try to sell her a Kirby vacuum cleaner. (see]

At 1:36 a.m., a woman called from Indian Springs Road at McCourtney Road to report a man was hitting his head on a tree as she passed several times. Deputies were unable to locate the man.

[People are still gripped with World Cup fever I see. If this were a college town like Chico, I would assume she was witnessing a performance art piece with a title like "The Passion of the Zidane" or some such.]

At 9:46 p.m., a caller from Western Gateway Park reported a man was walking back and forth and may have been intoxicated.

[Could it really have been a woman? Could the distracting presence of a man hitting his head on a tree have caused the intoxicated behavior? The time stamp says "No!" but my heart says, "Yes!"]

At 10:04 p.m., a traffic stop on North Church Street at Richardson Street resulted in the citation of a 35-year-old man. His driver's license expired in 1999.

[Yeah, look... i was going to take care of that you see, but you know how things keep coming up... and... well... one thing pushes out another....]

At 12:54 p.m., a caller from the 17000 block of Knoll Top Drive reported a juvenile was home alone and a person wearing a ski mask walked into the driveway and up to the garage. Deputies were unable to locate a trespasser.

[This had to be a prank, but at least it seems reasonable to call it in. But a ski mask? In Grass Valley? After noon? In July? That is a quick way to get heat stroke, if nothing else.]

At 12:57 a.m., a caller from the 17000 block of China Flats Road reported he was beat up by his girlfriend, then he hung up. He called back to say he would not cooperate with police and wanted to give his girlfriend another chance. He said the fight was not physical, and he did not have any visible injuries.

[She hurt him with her words. (This is a Jerky Boys reference that exactly one person will get... but he will laugh at it.)]

At 2:40 p.m., a woman called from the 700 block of Zion Street to report a man has been entering the business and making her feel uncomfortable. She does not know the man, but he was telling people they are friends.

[Now, is a real crime occurring here, or is this more of something that requires "peace officer powers?"]

At 11:15 p.m., a man called from the 19000 block of Matthew Road to report his brother had been acting strangely after a discussion about inheritance. His brother was chasing him and asking him "where his big knife was." Deputies responded and separated the brothers.

[I imagine that one of them then drove off in their jointly owned 1990 Chevrolet Camaro.]

At 9:36 a.m., a caller from an apartment complex on Pleasant Street reported a man was being hosed off in a grassy area by another man. Police made contact with a man, who said he was just hot and he wanted someone to hose him down.

[I always move my favorite entry to the end. It is sort of the big close theory of performance. Originally I had the brothers because... well... they earned it, plus then I had nice set of brothers bookend stories. But then this over heated guy had to get hosed down in the grassy area by another man. Was he naked or anything? Does this have implications for the future of a Gay Pride Parade in Grass Valley?]

Source: The Union (

The Company Move - Part 1

A story of work place absurdity in at least three parts.

Approximately five years and four month ago my company signed a five year lease on the building in which I work. The bubble had burst on the web frenzy, there was no more frantic Y2K buying to prop up the industry, my remaining stock options were under water and doomed to remain so for all eternity, and our director of facilities, in a move that some speculate lead to his being let go, managed to lock in the sky-high monthly rent on our crappy building for another five years. (With increases over the five years to be, you know, fair to the landlord.)

So while 7 of the 10 building in our complex ended up empty, we paid the internet frenzy era going rate for office space in Silicon Valley. We would hear in quarterly result meetings that the mill stone of the rent hanging around our neck was keeping us from being profitable. Occasionally some optimist would approach the land lord of the day (the complex turned over owners 6 times during our lease, although I don't know if you should really count the bank repossessing the property as an "owner") to try to negotiate some reduction in our rent, as though the owners could see some advantage in cutting off their minimal revenue stream.

Three years ago we got a new CEO. We will call him Tim. The new CEO, a former Apple Exec, hated our building from day one. He had degrees in the "science" of Sociology, so he would bemoan the lack of "warmth" and "energy" in the building. He wanted more "buzz" and a better sense of "collaboration." However, he was also pretty sharp when it came to business and got us to a point where the quarterly results meetings included a complaint about how much more profitable we would be if it were not for this 60,000 square foot drain on our bottom line, so we cut him some slack on the touchy-feely stuff. After all, not many of us were overly fond of the building at any price, and having the CEO tell us it was a bad building only built up our dislike.

About two years ago, Tim started to talk up his vision of a new building for us. While nobody was keen on his disdain for offices (a view shared by our engineering VP, who likes to sit in his huge office and tell fond stories of working at HP after college where nobody had an office) or his vague quest for more "warmth," he did also talk about better locations (which, in the end, meant closer to his home), better facilities, exercise rooms, cafeterias, and carpets that did not leave a bad smell on your hand should you accidently touch them. Basically, he wanted something that we would admit to working in with out duress being involved.

Around February 2005 Tim announced that we were going to begin looking in earnest for our new home. Tim told us how "A" level real estate was available at a fraction of what we were paying per square foot for our, at best, "B-minus" space. We were happy. We got whispers from our CIO, a very competent guy under whom the responsibility for facilities rested, about the places he and Tim visited. Some nice places in Mountain View where we would share a cafeteria and have access to a full gym, one no Moffett (north), one on Charleston (even further north), and another place on Sand Hill Road (cripes, too far north!).

Tim lives in Palo Alto (and is a neighbor of Steve Jobs) and so he concentrated on locations between his home and our current office in Santa Clara. That meant we were moving north. At the time a Dilbert cartoon ran about his company moving and the fact that the new location was close to the CEO's home was purely coincidence. I still have this cartoon in my office.

About a month and a half later, Tim said at a company meeting that the search for a new building was being postponed. No landlord wanted to commit space to a company that was a year away from moving. At the six month mark, however, landlords would begin to entertain our interests, so the search would begin in earnest in September.

Shopping Spree

There are some internet rumors you just wish were true:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Grass Valley Police Blotter vol. I

At 2:14 p.m., a caller from the hospital reported receiving a package with 19 .45-caliber shells inside and another package filled with medical supplies.

[How odd... medical supplies being delivered to a hospital.]

At 8:18 p.m., a man called from the 13000 block of Indian Springs Road to report his ex-girlfriend spit in his face during a child exchange and made threats to physically harm his new girlfriend.

[I was looking for a follow-up assault arrest... but no such luck.]

At 11:25 p.m., a caller from the 16000 block of Lower Colfax Road reported two men wearing pants pulled down low were in her driveway throwing rocks at her residence and harassing her animals for the last five minutes. It had been happening for the last couple of days. Deputies were unable to locate the men.

[I think the traditional response to this is to run out and shout, "You kids get off my lawn!"]

At 4:38 p.m., a caller from Idaho Maryland Drive and East Main Street reported seeing a suspicious-looking man wearing all black with a black top hat and a holstered gun. Police made contact with the man and everything was OK.

[The suspicious armed man all in black... he's O-K! A top hat though?]

At 9:49 p.m., a caller from Cordell Court reported hearing a sound like someone was yelling for help. It was unknown whether the sound was a parrot. The caller was concerned someone may be hurt. Deputies checked the area and were unable to locate the sound.

[It is unclear how a parrot became part of this report. Did the caller bring it up? Did the dispatcher? Were the yells for help mixed in with phrases like "pretty bird?"]

At 1:57 p.m., a caller from a business on the 100 block of Neal Street reported a man using the phone may be under the influence. Police arrested the 20-year-old man for probation violation and possession of an opium pipe.

[Possession of an opium pipe! No doubt the police will find volumes of romantic era poets at his residence.]

At 12:46 p.m., a caller from the 900 block of Maidu Avenue reported a woman was causing a disturbance. A deputy arrived and she punched him in the stomach. The 59-year-old woman was arrested for battery on a peace officer.

[Not a smart move. I hope he was wearing his protective vest at the time.]

At 1:36 a.m., a caller reported juveniles were carrying signs and when the caller confronted the juveniles they left the signs in the front yard. The signs say "hard core" and the caller would hold the signs until they're reported stolen because they would not fit in a patrol car. The juveniles were interviewed as possible suspects.

[I don't think there is much in the way of a red light district in Grass Valley. Was there a skater convention in town maybe? And now the caller has signs that say "hard core."]

At 3:54 a.m., a person came into the police lobby to complain about a convenience store clerk locking the door then being rude. The person said there was no criminal activity, but requested the department use its "peace officer powers" to resolve the issue. The person was advised a private business can open and close at the owner's discretion, and although the clerk was rude, it was not a crime.

[I just like the phrase "peace officer powers" and the idea that they could be used to combat rudeness and unreasonable closing times.]

At 8:05 a.m., a man in the police station lobby wanted to talk to an officer about hazardous cell phone use during driving. He said someone almost ran him off the road.

[I think the station lobby might be the place to hang out.]

At 12:16 p.m., a woman called from a business on the 15000 block of Roving Way and said she contacted a man yesterday about him getting repairs done. The man stated that if she sent out the same worker, he would "shoot him." The woman requested a log entry for the incident.

[I gather that his work was not up to par.]

At 12:23 p.m., police stopped a man who was parked in a restaurant parking lot on Nevada City Highway and told him to sober up before driving again. The man drove off in a tan Ford and police arrested and booked him into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on suspicion of drunken driving.

[And yet there is no law against stupidity.]

At 4:35 p.m., a caller from the 500 block of Whiting Street reported there were people in the pool having sex. An officer contacted all parties.

[I originally read this as "An officer contacted all INTERESTED parties" which lead to a mental image of a very crowded pool scene. The caller does not mention to whom the pool belongs. If it was his pool and he wasn't involved, I could see him calling it in.]

At 6:17 p.m., a woman from the 600 block of Packard Drive reported she and her family were picnicking under a tent when an arrow tore through the canvass and landed on the table. No one was injured.

[This reminded me of taking archery in P.E. in high school. Boy, there was a dumb idea. Give some 14 year olds bows and arrows and let them shoot at targets near the fence of a residential zone. We never came back with as many arrows as we took out.]

At 3 a.m., a caller from George Way reported dogs had been barking at a neighbor's house for three hours and was worried something might be wrong. A deputy found the dogs were barking at the wind.

[The wind!]

At 1:46 a.m., a man was reportedly passed out on the ground on the 200 block of Broad Street. Other people helped him up and he took a cab home.

[And they all lived happily ever after.]

At 5:53 a.m., a caller from Bennett Street reported an elderly white female with a floral shirt and a bag was walking in the middle of the roadway. The woman was located and was no longer a hazard.

[Grass Valley: Where they call the police when old people jay walk.]

Source: The Union (

About The Grass Valley Police Blotter

A regular feature I plan for this blog is excerpts from The Union ( police blotter. I refer to the city of Grass Valley, where I have relatives, some of whom roll their eyes at the pleasure I get from the police blotter, but the occurrences listed actually happen all across Nevada County, California.

Items from the police blotter will always be reproduced exactly as printed. My own comments on items will be in square brackets.

Since the items for the police blotter are provided as a community service to the The Union, I am going to assume my taking excerpts is fair use, though I will attribute them to The Union in each post.

What Is In A Name?

My name is Herbert Stanley Morrison. My parents named me for Herbert Morrison, the radio announcer whose great moment of fame was the coverage of the explosion and fire that destroyed the Hindenburg.

"Why would they do this?" I hear you ask.

There are several contributing reasons for this decision.

- First, my date of birth happens to be May 6th, which is also the date of the Hindenburg disaster.

- Second, my grandmother used to speak of seeing Herbert Morrison lecture while she was a student at Northwestern University, so his name comes to mind in our household perhaps a little more readily than in the average American home.

- Third, my father is something of a trivia nut case, so had this idea already formed in the back of his mind on the off chance I came out on the right date.

- Fourth, my mother admits to being in a weakened state after my birth thus reducing her usual resolve in resisting my father's sometimes odd and always obscure ideas.

- And, finally, our last name is Morrison. My father told me that if our last name had been Bannister, I would have been named Roger, since my birthday is also an anniversary of Roger Bannister breaking the four minute barrier for running one mile.

Which brings us to my middle name, which, as far as I can tell, is not the middle name of the famed radio announcer. My father says he did not know Herbert Morrison's middle name but, when fishing about for it, a co-worker told him it was Stanley. The co-worker was from England and was thinking of the Right Honorable Herbert Stanley Morrison, MP, who had recently passed away, having apparently grown up in a household where "Oh, The Humanity!" was not a common refrain.

Things were hard before the web.

So I appear, technically, to have been named after a British Labour Party politician (and one time Foreign Secretary) and not the radio announcer. Still, in the spirit of the naming, I am going as the namesake of the radio announcer. He has a much better catch phrase.

In The Beginning...