Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stolen Bicycle Recovered

My stolen bike was not recovered. But take a look at this Vancouver Police Department Media Release:
July 28th, 9:45 a.m.: A bike stolen in Ontario has been recovered in Vancouver after police stopped a man riding his bike on the sidewalk without a helmet. When the serial number was queried in the police database, it turned up as stolen. “This is a perfect example of why it is always a good idea to keep a record of your property’s serial numbers and to advise police when something is stolen,” says Constable Tim Fanning. “Alternatively, you can inscribe your driver’s licence number onto your property, which may make it easier for police to contact you, especially if you aren’t aware yet that something has been taken.”
I wonder if the bike would have been recovered sooner if it had had an RFID tag embedded in it? I think it's pretty amazing that a bike stolen in Ontario is kicking around in Vancouver. I think I might be getting closer to accepting that I'll never see my Devinci again. I wonder where it is right now? Saskatoon?

Quite often these press releases contain phrases like N pounds of cocaine/marijuana were recovered from the vehicle, after it was pulled over for speeding and running stop signs. Note to self: if I am in possession of stolen or otherwise prohibited goods, I will not ride on the sidewalk without a helmet, or otherwise do anything that will draw the attention of the authorities toward me. It's just common sense.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Free device to combat bicycle theft

2007.July.27 article in the Surry (UK) Advertiser.

I don't like bike theft, but still, I don't really want an RFID tag embedded in my bicycle. How exactly is this different from a serial number on the bicycle? The serial number can be scratched off or otherwise obscured, you say? Well passive RFID tags can be fried. So yeah, it's basically equivalent to a serial number etched into the frame of the bicycle.

The code, bicycle and owner details are registered on a 24-hour database.
Cool! My databases are 16-hour, tops, and that's on a good day.

“[RFID tags and patrolling] enables them to stop cyclist (sic) and ask them to verify ownership of the bicycle. If the cycle is not fitted with a tag, they are still asked questions to confirm that it does belong to them.” ... Anyone who is stopped with a stolen bicycle could be arrested and the bicycle confiscated.
Sounds good. So if your bicycle is not fitted with an RFID tag and you are stopped by one of these patrols, how exactly do you confirm to the police that the bicycle belongs to you? Should I ride around with my sales receipt at all times? What if I forget it, or it's in my other pants?!

I hear that automobile theft is also a problem in some cities. I think that the obvious benefits of such a system should not be confined to the cyclists. Lord knows society already bends over backwards enough for them as it is. I think that this service should be graciously extended to car owners as well. That is, I want a special patrol to stop drivers and ask them questions to confirm that the car belongs to them.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Commute VIII

Riding on 45th, going up the hill toward Nanaimo. I'm riding just barely to the left of what will become the door-zone as there is a line of parked cars ahead. Lots of automobiles are passing me on my left because we all just went through a traffic light (I was first in line).

I heard some kind of exclamation come out of one of the cars as it passed me. I'm still not sure what the driver said. She may have said "get off the road!" but it was mostly unintelligible. There was a big dog in the back seat. I waved to the driver while trying to catch her eye in the rear-view mirror. The funny thing is that I caught up to her about 5 up-hill blocks later, at a four-way stop. I didn't get a chance to talk to her, though.

Two days later I encountered her again. Going through the same traffic light, with cars gingerly passing me on my left where there are speed humps. I noticed that one of the cars was in a big old hurry. Went over the speed hump a little too fast in fact, and scraped/bounced the bottom of the car. Well what do you know, it's my friend who yelled something at me the other day.

So I madly chased her up the hill waving my hand the whole time, desperately trying to catch her eye in her car's rear-view mirror. But apparently she doesn't ever look at her mirror. She was pretty ticked off that she had to slow down because a mini-van ahead of her was turning right. This is why I was able to so easily pace her for 2.5 blocks or so, going uphill. When the minivan had finished turning, she FLOORED it and I couldn't catch up with her. Heh.


Friday, July 20, 2007

A little over the top

Media release from VPD.ca:
Road Rage Incident

July 11th, 6:30 p.m. - A Vancouver man is facing charges after a road rage incident in the area of Boundary Rd. and Kingsway. Officers in the area were flagged down by concerned motorists. It started when the driver of a black Audi cut off a pick-up truck. When they were side-by-side at a stoplight, the driver of the pick-up truck yelled at the other driver, who then got out of his car and began punching the driver of the pick-up truck. When the light changed, he got back in his car, but at the next stoplight, he got out and assaulted the other driver again.

Police arrived and arrested Ya Qi Wen, 28, who is now charged with mischief and assault. The driver of the pick-up truck, a 63 year old Vancouver man, suffered minor injuries.

So this 28 year old idiot goes through the whole effort of getting out of his fancy Audi, twice, to beat on a 63 year old man (who understandably expressed his righteous indignation at being cut off by a soon-to-be-confirmed idiot in an Audi), and he only manages to inflict minor injuries. My intuition about the people who drive these fancy cars in Vancouver is confirmed. Pathetic weaklings, every last one of them.

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A little off the top

The barber shop I go to was robbed recently. Cash was stolen of course, but a quantity of scissors was also taken. My barber told me this as she was cutting my hair. She also explained to me that she was left-handed and was having trouble using the short term replacement scissors, which were righties. Best haircut I've ever had!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

VPD Media Releases

I would post direct/deep links directly to these two particular Vancouver Police Department Media Releases but the ability to do that was removed from the site when it was re-done, to make the site more useful. This was the reasoning I was given months ago when I asked pretty-please if they could let me link directly to a specific media release. It's no accident of implementation, either: they actually check the HTTP Referer [sic] header of all requests.

Anyway, here are two recent VPD Media Releases that caught my eye:

Police Files #07-128997 & #07-129107 - 7-11 Robbery 2007-07-05
July 4th, 11:15 p.m. – A 7-11 clerk working at 2092 E.Hastings was robbed not once, but twice in the same shift. The man paced in front of the store before entering and asking for cigarettes. He returned a few moments later and brandished a knife, demanding money from the clerk.

July 5th, 3:00 a.m. – The same man returned to the store, this time wearing a black t-shirt and a jean jacket. The clerk also noticed a tattoo on his neck. He pulled out the knife and demanded money again.

The clerk told investigators the man was Native or East Indian, in his early 20s, 5’10” tall, with a slim build and short dark hair that was shaved. He has a dark goatee and was wearing a white t-shirt and baggy blue jeans in the first robbery.

Police File #07-130693 - 7-11 Robbery 2007-07-06
July 6th, 4:20 a.m. – The same clerk has been robbed by the same man for the third time in just over 24 hours at the 7-11, 2092 E.Hastings St. The suspect produced a knife again, demanding money and then fled on foot.

The clerk told police the man was East Indian, 25 years of age, 6’ tall , with a thin build. He has a tattoo on the back of his neck and a small goatee and was wearing a long-sleeved jean shirt, jeans and a dark blue ball cap with a white logo on it.

To view these on the VPD web site, you must follow these steps:
  1. To to http://vpd.ca
  2. Click on media in the horizontal black navigation bar area.
  3. Click on Daily Media Briefing Summaries in the vertical navy blue navigation blob on the left-hand side of the page. I can supply no link because it is magical un-linkable Javascript [spit].
  4. Choose the appropriate day from the giant block of dates that is not organized by month, or at all really. Those hyper-links are also un-linkable Javascript.
  5. Now click on [Click here to find out more] under the media release that interests you. Do not try to open the media release in a new window or tab, because those links are actually phony Javascript links.
The new and improved VPD Media website is most definitely a failed redesign.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Eight Random Facts

I've been honoured with a LiveJournal style tag from Mr. Stephen Rees.

The rules are:

  • Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
  • Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
  • Players should tag eight other people and notify them that they have been tagged.
I shall post 8 (eight) random facts about myself.
  1. I'm from Ontario and first set foot in British Columbia when I was twenty-one years old.
  2. I studied the French language all the way to Grade Thirteen but even at my peak I could not really speak or understand the language fluently.
  3. I am mostly Scottish and Irish. I have pale and pasty skin. I am pasty-white for 75 percent of the year, and in the summer I have a disturbingly two-tone cyclist's tan.
  4. I love love love Island Farms 2% chocolate milk. To the point that I refuse to even look at 1% chocolate milk anymore. It's better than a full-on milkshake. I just wish I could buy it in bags like milk in Ontario.
  5. I was baptized by my uncle in my parents' living room in front of the enormous Zenith television set. I am not religious.
  6. As a young teen-ager I read many non-fiction Science books written for the lay-man. Books about dark matter, quantum physics, chaos theory and such. Consequently I was the most popular boy in high school.
  7. I can do some origami.
  8. The text in the About Me section on the right says I've had to wear glasses since I was a small child, but what it doesn't tell you is that I have always had to wear bifocals. Yes, I've been wearing bifocals since I was two years old.
I do not have very many blogFriends so I reserve my out-going tags for a later post.


Oh those clever writers

Washington Post: Blind Faith: Americans believe in religion -- but know little about it.

Quote: More than 10 percent think that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.

Now, in the horrid looking movie Evan Almighty Steve Carell's character Evan Baxter is told by God to build an ark, or something. Digression: inexplicably, this forces him grow a beard. Is this because in the Bible story Noah has a beard? Newsflash: If Noah had a beard I'm guessing he wasn't alone. EVERYBODY HAD A BEARD. Must Evan Baxter also wipe his a** with leaves? Or refrain from using a 4-pronged fork while eating? I refuse to ever watch this movie. I feel this way about 99% of movies.

Anyway, Evan Baxter's wife is named Joan. I'm sure the committee that supervised the writing of this movie named the character Joan intentionally. But did they stop there, and leave it as something subtle that the audience may or may not notice, a little easter egg? My guess is No. I'd bet that they ham it up big time and thoroughly bludgeon you over the head with her name at least a few times.