Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Darwin Awards

They are out again for the year 2006.

I make no claim of validity for any of these stories, but they are amusing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Grass Valley Police Blotter vol. XXXIV

At 12:33 p.m. a California Highway Patrol officer reported a man in the turn out-area by Bear River Gas yelling at himself and making passersby nervous.

[Why didn't the CHP officer do something about it? I mean besides report it.]

At 12:40 p.m. a caller from 13000 block of Highway 49 reported receiving a call from an ex-employee who said if his check wasn't ready when he got there, "It's not going to be good."

[Depending on the state of the checking account, even if it is ready I assume there is still a chance it won't be good.]

At 2:48 p.m., a caller from Wolf Road reported an older white male with gray hair at the turnout by Best Gas yelling and jumping into traffic. The subject threw a cup at a vehicle as well.

[See, if the CHP officer had shown a little initiative we would have had one less cup-related incident this year on our highways.]

At 9:01 p.m., police in Auburn alerted local law enforcement to be on the lookout for a 19-year-old suicidal woman who threatened to jump off the Foresthill bridge.

[Well, you know where they could start looking....]

At 11:24 p.m., a caller from West Main Street reported two men were going in and out of traffic with something in their hands, perhaps baseball bats, pretending to hit vehicles. Police contacted the men and the items they were carrying were cardboard mailing tubes. No crime was committed.

[I always thought "go play in traffic" was a Vaudeville joke, but it seems to happen with alarming frequency in Grass Valley.]

At 8:31 a.m., a caller from the 100 block of Neal Street reported people from a homeless shelter were loitering. Police contacted four people.

At 10:38 a.m., a caller reported a person from a homeless shelter was loitering on Neal Street at Mill Street.

At 11:37 a.m., a caller from the 100 block of Neal Street reported a man and a woman were carrying backpacks and loitering. Police were unable to locate the loiterers.

At 12:17 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of Mill Street reported a person was smoking marijuana. Police were unable to locate the person.

[Turmoil at the corner of Mill and Neal Streets. By the way, when you're homeless, just about anything you do constitutes loitering.]

At 6:38 p.m., a caller from the 10000 block of Mystic Court reported someone got into her mailbox, ripped up her mail and left it all over the ground. The caller said there were other victims. A deputy took a report for petty theft.

[Petty theft? I am pretty sure that is a federal crime right there.]

At 4:40 p.m., a man called from Blackledge Road and Grey Goose Lane to report a bearded man in his 40s wearing two different colored shoes was walking in the bushes. He was holding a stick or a bat and appeared to be looking for something. Deputies were unable to locate the man.

[I am betting on a cardboard tube from some wrapping paper... and that he was looking for his bowling ball, going by the shoes.]

At 12:53 p.m., a caller from Nevada City Highway reported a man was trying to get money out of a coin machine at a car wash. Police were unable to locate the man.

[If this is anything like my life, the man probably first put some money into the coin machine in hopes of getting change.]

At 2:14 a.m., a man called from a fast food restaurant on Nevada City Highway to report he refused service to two men in a four-door Chevrolet Blazer and they threw unknown objects at a vehicle in the parking lot. Police contacted the caller, determined there was no damage to the vehicle and were unable to locate the Blazer.

[I wish I knew why he refused service. It was probably after closing time.]

At 3:55 a.m., a burglary alarm went off at a restaurant on the 11000 block of Nevada City Highway. Police responded and the drive-up window was open. Police took a report for burglary.

[Let me think on this one. I am betting on two men in a four-door Chevrolet Blazer.]

At 3:08 p.m., a caller from buck Mountain Road reported a person was sitting in the middle of the street in a purple Camaro. The car had stalled after spinning donuts.

[Again, if you're going to do donuts, learn how to get in, burn your rubber, and make your get away. Either that or stick to gravel. My grandmother could do donuts in her diesel Rabbit in gravel.]

Source: The Union (

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Recent Phishing Attempts

Over the last few weeks I have received "phishing" emails disguised as official email from each of the following organizations, listed in order of likelyhood of success.

PayPal/eBay - They are the same company now, so I will lump them together. I do actually have accounts with both services. I have not been taken in by these phishing emails, but at least there is some non-zero chance that it could happen.

CitiBank - A good shot. A lot of people have CitiBank accounts. I am not one of them.

Fifth Third Bank - Here on the west coast you are probably lucky if somebody has even heard of this bank. I used to work with banking related software packages, so I have heard of them, but the name still screams "Phishing!"

Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken AG - What were they thinking sending this to US addresses?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grass Valley Police Blotter vol. XXXIII

At 5:02 p.m., a caller from the Memorial Park pool reported a female streaker ran into the pool area. Police made contact with the swim coach staff, and they were unable to locate the girl. It was possibly a juvenile prank with a blue van involved.

[It was a prank, as opposed to... just another crazy naked person?]

At 7:07 p.m., a woman called to report she was approached by suspicious-looking people, and she felt they were trying to get her alone inside a department store on the 100 block of West McKnight Way. One man was in his 30s with blond hair in a ponytail. He had bad teeth. One woman was heavyset and had long blond hair. They had been driving an older green hatchback Datsun. Police checked the area, but were unable to locate the people.

[I like what stands out for people in these descriptions. Bad Teeth.]

At 5:18 a.m., a caller from the 800 block of Old Tunnel Road reported a man was outside an apartment screaming. Another caller advised the man may have had a gun. Police arrested the 32-year-old man on suspicion of having a controlled substance and violation of probation. Police were unable to locate a gun.

[again... if you're on probation, keep quiet.]

At 2:58 a.m., around five people on the 300 block of East Main Street were advised to quiet down and go inside.

At 4:40 p.m., seven to eight juveniles were reported to be drinking alcohol and screaming in the parking lot of the Bonanza Market on the 300 block of Broad Street.

At 5:14 p.m., three to four juveniles were reported to be throwing bottles onto the freeway from the Broad Street overpass.

[Like seven or eight shots, more examples of the imprecision of the general public.]

At 12:06 a.m., a vehicle overturned at on Combie Road. The driver was driving under the influence and sustained minor injuries. California Highway Patrol provided assistance. One person was transported to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Grass Valley Interagency Command Center could not provide information on the extent of injuries or the number of people involved in the accident.

[I just put this in because it mentioned the Grass Valley Interagency Command Center, a federal facility, which probably does not care about a car accident unless it causes a major forest fire.]

At 11:41 a.m., a caller from the 100 block of Berryman Avenue reported people were trying to move a vehicle by wrapping a chain around a telephone pole. Police contacted the people and advised them of proper methods for towing. Police also advised them not to drive because of the status of their licenses.

[Proper method of towing #1 - Try towing your vehicle with another vehicle and not a stationary object.]

At 8:55 p.m., a woman called from the 1000 block of La Barr Meadows Road to report her father would not return her ring. Police made contact with the woman and her father. They were advised the issue was a civil dispute.

[He won't give it back to me!]

At 8:18 p.m., a caller from a bar on the 26000 block of Highway 49 in North San Juan reported a man was shooting a rifle from a red Toyota truck. The man drove away, and a deputy found the same truck over an embankment off of Highway 49 at Milhous Drive. The truck was abandoned and the gun was in the vehicle. Deputies checked the area for the 30-year-old Grass Valley man and arrested him on suspicion of exhibiting a firearm in a threatening manner, discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner, carrying a concealed weapon and drunken driving.

[Drinking is the key. It explains all of the other behavior.]

At 6:35 a.m., a woman called from the 10000 block of Sky Circle to report people were taking pictures of her through her windows and breaking into her house. She said it was an ongoing issue. She requested extra patrol throughout the day and night.

[More fun in the neighborhood. Maybe she is famous?]

At 8:37 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of Argall Way reported hearing someone shaking a paint can behind a laundromat. Police arrested a 42-year-old man for possession of chemicals for intoxication.

[Maybe the shaking of a paint can is an obvious sign that chemicals are being abused, but it seemed like a Sherlock Holmes level logical leap to me.]

At 5:13 p.m., a caller from a gas station on the 10000 block of Wolf Road reported two men were fighting. One man was holding a gas pump. Another caller reported they were pushing and shoving, then they left.

[I realize that the one man was probably only holding the pump nozzle, but the mental image of the whole pump is amusing.]

At 1:09 p.m., a caller from North Church at Richardson streets reported a man parked his gray Toyota in front of a fire hydrant. The caller told him to move, and he said, "It's a public street, I'll park where I want." An officer cited the man for parking in a no-parking zone.

[Showed him!]

At 2:03 p.m., a caller from the 200 block of Sutton Way reported the theft of Christmas lights. It was the third time they were stolen. The caller requested extra patrol.

[My grandmother used to fret from time to time that people would steal the Christmas lights on the house. I guess her fears had some foundation.]

At 1:07 a.m., a caller from the 300 block of First Street called to report a woman was heard yelling and crying. Police arrested a 20-year-old man for possession of an alcoholic beverage by a minor.

[But what about the woman? You remember, the yelling, crying one?]

At 3:22 a.m., a caller from a motel on the 900 block of Sutton Way said a man wanted to report his vehicle was broken into. Police contacted the man and arrested him being drunk in public.

[Well, it could have been worse. Standing there by your car with your keys in hand can get you a drunken driving arrest.]

At 4:30 a.m., a caller from a drug store on Sutton Way reported a man was passed out in the bathroom. Police made contact with the 42-year-old man and advised him to move along.

At 5:24 a.m., a woman called from a cafe on Sutton Way to report a man was on private property. Police made contact with the same man who had passed out in a store bathroom. The woman said she would allow the man to stay a while longer because he had nowhere else to go.

[Well, at least somebody had a heart.]

At 2:56 p.m., a caller from the 10000 block of Lime Kiln Road reported that a man he was going to transport in an ambulance said he would shoot someone if he were transported. Deputies arrived, and the man was transported by ambulance.

[Presumably nobody had to be shot to get this trip underway.]

At 11:26 a.m., a woman called to report her husband was refusing to allow her to leave the residence. She said she was fearful and wanted a deputy to make contact. A deputy called back and determined there was no domestic violence. The deputy said the woman's husband would not let her use the car and he was not keeping her at the house against her will.

[Was she drunk?]

At 7:46 a.m., a man called from the 200 block of Mill Street to report that upon returning from jail, he found pictures torn up in his living room. The man said he thought his wife tore them up. He requested a log entry.

[The case of the torn up pictures!]

At 3:43 p.m., a caller from a grocery store on the 700 block of Zion Street reported a shoplifter was stealing spray paint. The 42-year-old man was arrested for petty theft with a prior jail term for theft. Before he was booked into jail, he was taken to the hospital emergency room, where he was treated for a broken arm he suffered prior to the incident.

[He was walking around with a broken arm and then decided to shoplift some spray paint. Odd.]

At 10:53 a.m., several 911 callers reported an elderly man in a blue Ford Ranger with a camper shell was driving the wrong way on southbound Highway 49 at Brunswick Road. Police made contact with the 80-year-old driver.

[As long as they did not make contact with his vehicle... head on contact, that is.]

At 2:59 p.m., a woman called to request deputies check on her adult daughter on the 10000 block of Mooney Flat Road. She said her daughter had been missing for four and a half years, and she thought she was dead. The woman said she thought a stepmother killed the family. A deputy checked on the house and found that three juveniles living there were fine and that the mother and daughter have not gotten along for several years. A deputy called the mother back, but she did not answer her phone.

[The joy of families.]

At 9:37 p.m., a caller from Park Avenue at Pioneer Park reported a car was doing doughnuts and got a flat tire. Deputies located the vehicle and the juvenile driver and called a tow truck.

[Doing donuts and getting a flat. There is a "Priceless" joke there waiting to be made.]

At 11:59 p.m., deputies responded to a call of a suicidal man at a motel on the 13000 block of Highway 49. The man had taken 14 Xanax pills. The man was taken to the hospital and cleared by county Mental Health. He was given a ride back to the motel, and deputies took seven firearms for safekeeping.

[Good call on the safekeeping regardless of what the county Mental Health people said!]

At 8:47 p.m., a caller from the 200 block of Gold Flat Court reported a possible prowler. Police checked the area. They found fresh mountain lion tracks and several deer and a coyote.

[And Phil said he saw a bat, but I don't believe him! A nice little wildlife outing for the police.]

Source: The Union (


Our operations department sets up servers with our software before they get sent out to a customer. With the latest release of one of our modules, operations completely messed up the install and a developer ended having to go on site to fix the issue.

One of the root causes of the problem was the word "prerequisites." The module comes on two CDs, one with the module name, and one with the prerequisites for the module. The operations team did not know what to do with the prerequisites CD, so put it aside and attempted to install and configure the module independent of the software required to support the module.

And, of course, we ended up in the situation with the developer at the customer site installing everything from scratch.

At a postmortem meeting about this fiasco, the director of operations tried to explain how "prerequisites" is not the correct nomenclature for our SAP process. However, since his team runs that part of the SAP process and actually entered the name of the CD and never once objected, his explanation did not get the response he was hoping for.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tehran International Trade and Convention Center, a humor site worth noting, has, in the wake of the conference questioning the Jewish holocaust, obtained the "official" list of other conferences to be held in Iran next year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Would You Pay $1.46 For A Dead Parrot? recently put up some individual tracks from one of the Monty Python's Flying Circus albums. Tracks available include:

Dead Parrot Sketch
The North Minehead By-Election
Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson
Buying a Bed
Nudge Nudge
A Man with Three Buttocks
Flying Sheep
Crunchy Frog

This link goes to the Dead Parrot Sketch. While the price is $1.46, has a special offer link on the page that says, "Find out how to get this for $7.49," in case the first price is too low for you.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Daily WTF - Pop-up Potpourri

One of the feeds I watch is The Daily WTF. Some of the articles go over my heard, but they have a regular feature, Pop-up Potpourri, that everybody can enjoy.

Take a look.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Grass Valley Police Blotter vol. XXXII

At 6:19 p.m, a caller from the 100 block of East Berryhill Drive reported a man in dark clothes and a cowboy hat talking to bushes and cars and behaving as though he was under the influence. Officers contacted the person, whose neighbor took him inside.

[Nice to see a neighbor helping out.]

At 9:36 p.m., a woman called from the 17000 block of Lower Colfax Road and reported she had received a $2,000 check with a letter telling her she has won a sweepstake. The check was supposed to cover the taxes. But the letter had an address from Canada, while the check had an address in Hawaii.

[And the check was signed by some guy from Nigeria.]

At 3:56 p.m., a caller reported a disoriented elderly man went missing. The caller was concerned the man would walk into traffic. A second person called to report the man was at a restaurant. The 80-year-old man was reunited with family members.

[Did he get to eat first?]

At 4:59 p.m., a caller from the 400 block of Searls Avenue reported two to four juveniles were shooting airsoft guns. Police were unable to locate the juveniles.

[No Xbox for these guys yet?]

At 8:16 p.m., police arrested a man at on Ridge Road for vehicle theft, possession of a BB gun and committing a felony while out on bail.

[Possession of a BB gun? Under what set of circumstances is that a crime?]

At 9:54 a.m., a caller from a parking lot on South Auburn Street reported a man with shaggy blond hair wearing a baggy T-shirt accused the post office of not getting his mail and saying he was going to shoot someone. The man was not carrying a weapon. Police checked the area extensively and were unable to locate the man.

[A few years back threatening to shoot somebody at the post office would have been met by a hail of fire... at least in the stand-up comic view of the world.]

At 11:53 a.m., a caller from the 100 block of Neal Street reported a man with a shaved head and tattoos was carrying clothes, staggering into traffic and talking to himself. Police advised the man to move on.

[I wonder at the random enforcement of the public drunkenness statute.]

At 10:09 a.m., a woman called from the 11000 block of Marjon Drive to report her son sold her vehicle for methamphetamine.

[That must have been tough to explain to mom.]

At 9:32 p.m., a caller from the 11000 block of Ridge Road reported five juveniles brought a truck full of snow to the high school to make a "snow run." A deputy made contact and the juveniles cleaned up the snow.

[It is snow. It will clean itself up give a bit of time.]

At 10:17 a.m., a caller from Scotts Flat Lake reported he was shot with an airsoft gun yesterday. The caller believed the shooter was joking and did not shoot out of anger. A deputy took a report for assault.

[It was an assault, but it was a happy, well meaning assault.]

At 9:39 p.m., police made contact with a man with a gas-powered scooter on the 200 block of Commercial Street. Police arrested the 42-year-old man for possession of Toluene - a chemical solvent - for the purpose of intoxication.

[Nice of the police blotter to explain Toluene to us.]

At 2:58 p.m., a caller from the 100 block of Neal Street reported a man was staggering into traffic and yelling at random people. Police made contact with the man and advised him to stay out of the street.

[If you talk to yourself, you had better move on, but if you yell at random people, you only have to stay out of the street?]

At 4:10 p.m., a caller from a coffee shop on the 700 block of Freeman Lane reported a man hit his son for purchasing coffee. The man and his son were gone when officers arrived.

[Was it a Starbuck's? Was the battery politically motivated?]

At 5:05 p.m., a caller from an apartment complex on the 300 block of Sutton Way reported marijuana smoke coming from an apartment. Police arrived and the tenant refused to allow them to enter.

[Um, they said "no" sir. Curses! Foiled again!]

At 12:16 a.m., a woman called to report a suspicious-looking tent in her neighbor's backyard

[What attributes make a tent suspicious?]

At 8:13 p.m., a caller from Plaza Drive near Sutton Way reported seeing flashlights shining from a wooded lot behind the apartments, along with the sound of someone being beaten. Police arrested a 42-year-old man for possession of toxic chemicals with the intention of inhaling and violation of probation.

[Was it toluene? And what were the sounds of somebody being beaten?]

At 10:42 p.m., a woman called from Colfax Avenue at South Auburn Street to report she was at a stoplight for 30 minutes and the light did not turn green. A check of the light showed a slow cycle, but it was still working.

[If it was thirty minutes, this was an amazing, almost Teutonic, display of obedience and patience.]

At 8:27 a.m., a man called from the 600 block of Minnie Street to say he was punched in the mouth by a guest of his. He did not want to make a report.

[He just called to keep everybody up to date I guess.]

At 2:30 p.m., a man from the 20000 block of Red Dog Road requested the Sheriff's Office remove a helicopter from his neighborhood before he shoots it down. The helicopter was a rental from a Sacramento company, and dispatchers did not know what its business was. A message was left for the caller.

[Personally, I think it would have been easier for the Sheriff's Office to remove the helicopter AFTER it had been shot down. I am interested in how the caller planned to go about his anti-aircraft business.]

Source: The Union (

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ironic Announcement of the Moment

Due to the snow, the Winter Wonderland will be closed.

It will reopen on Saturday December 2nd.

(from a home owners association, edited to correct the worst gramatical errors)