Tuesday, July 31, 2007

10 codes

Besides some of the other fun peculiarities of the lingo of copland, some territories (usually larger cities than mine) also get the added bonus of heavy use of 10 codes over the airwaves.

These codes usually sound like 10-100 or 10-6 (or 10-4, good buddy, if you're one of *those* people), but can also start with other numbers. 1000, 5000, 100, 500, 9, 2, whatever.

You can sometimes find crib sheets to local 10 codes, but of course they're not always accurate (one Nashua sheet lists 9-8 as a disorderly crowd, but I've heard it many times for juveniles). I think the obvious value of 10 codes is that you can use them to quickly make unambiguous statements, which is handy during a riot, for example.

You might hear someone come over the scanner referring to a "9-1, going good," which usually means a domestic dispute that has turned into a donnybrook, or "subject is highly 9-2," which means somebody's whisky glass has been filled and emptied at least one too many times.

So one night, a slow night at work, one of my top 10 favorite people turns to me and says, "You know, maybe some day I can have some 9-8s, and they can get 9-2 and start some 9-1s."

As you can imagine, our jobs were nonstop action.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Suspend the Bonds debate? No way

USA Today's Mike Lopresti thinks we should all give the Barry Bonds steroid debate a break while he breaks Hank Aaron's career Major League home run record. You know the argument, which is nicely summed up by the headline:

Lopresti: Suspend Bonds debate and savor the drama

Bullshit. How about:

Suspend Bonds, resolve the debate and savor the truth

Friday, July 27, 2007

A work blog

My employer has decided to take a step forward with its Web site, and add blogs by staff and, presumably, others. I'm obviously a candidate to write one of these blogs, but I'm not sure what to pitch as a topic.

Being a city editor isn't really a dark art, but I'm not sure what kind of window the average blog reader really wants into the sausage factory of news.

Maybe I should blog about something completely different. Ugh. I have no idea.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New finds, but not necessarily new...


I don't think I've previously mentioned how much I like caprese, but let it be known, O Universe, that I like to eat caprese. I've had it in many different forms, all of which have included tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, oil and balsamic vinegar.

In a few places, it has also come with other ingredients (olives, salt and pepper), and I've had it served in varying ways: At Dan Marino's pub/restaurant, the tomato slices seem like they are an inch thick (but they're really only three-quarters of an inch or so - that, and they're slices of HUGE tomatoes), with a lot of cheese and not so much basil.

At Cafe Med (a New Hampshire favorite), the recipe is a lot like how I make it at home, with thinner tomatoes and chopped basil.

I had yet another version last night at an undisclosed location: three thick tomato slices (not Marino-esque, thankfully), three slices of mozzarella and three basil leaves, arranged in a column on the diagonal of a square plate and dressed with oil and balsamic vinegar. Pretty tasty, for sure, but not a very generous helping. On the very bright side, I was also not super hungry, so this made a perfect-size meal. I think if my fellow diner and I had been sharing this as an appetizer we would have been disappointed, though.

Is there a moral to the story? Uh, no, not really.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Not worth the calories, or the price

That's my judgment on Hershey's new "premium" milk and dark chocolate (with nibs). Neither was worth eating, even though are both a) chocolate; and b) free (a coworker brought in samples he likely got using a coupon that was in Sunday's paper for free chocolate).

Hershey's entry into this market makes sense, I guess: I hear the company's sales are flat. But I don't buy Hershey's chocolate to get a Blue Moon Chocolatier experience, just like I don't buy Miller High Life to mimic the experience of drinking a Guinness.

Anyway, the Cacao Reserve (the coupon came complete with a pronunciation guide, for Christ's sake) dark chocolate was OK but utterly forgettable, even with the nibs - just generic dark chocolate. The milk chocolate was too chewy and slimy for my taste. I don't know about the flavor; I was too distracted by the yucky texture.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I guess they give vacations from heaven

Seen in a wire story today:

"All of a sudden I heard a loud explosion, and the ground beneath my feet shook," Jesus said. "I looked up and I saw a huge ball of fire, and then I smelled the stench of kerosene and sulfur."

Monday, July 16, 2007


Over the weekend, the butterfly lady and I took in some flicks ("Death of a President" - total snoozer; "Notes on a Scandal" - well, OK, I suppose) and a couple of TV shows, including "Traveler," which we usually watch online. (I'd rather watch all the TV shows I like online and just ditch cable.)

We watched "Traveler" on ABC's dipshit media player, which as Mariposa points out forces the viewer to browse through all the shows to find the one she seeks:
"They show you the whole candy store and figure if you came in for a Snickers, you might want to leave with a Baby Ruth too."
She was in good form while surfing through homes for sale in a city we might be interested in. Our price range is, let us say, not the top tier, but maybe we wouldn't want it to be:
"People who have fuckloads of money apparently don't have fuckloads of taste."
Not that I wouldn't want to be a test case, though.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Not that long ago

I was thinking about 9/11 last night. Not sure who made this tribute, but it fits.

In rout

I finally caved the other day to two purchases: Book the last for Harry Potter, and an Airport Extreme base station for my growing home network.

The book had to happen at some point. Twenty-odd bucks seems a bit steep, but as Jason Bourne once said, fuck it.

I said the same thing myself, but possibly more than once, about the base station. We have pretty straightforward networking needs at home: Three users, two of whom are wireless. This should be pretty god-damned simple, but of course it is not.

We bought a Belkin (that's an Old English word for completely the fuck useless) router, which sometimes is really satisfactory, but sometimes requires me to perform all sorts of confusing rituals to get a stable signal.

I have a high tolerance for technological hassles, so when I start cursing about computers, the situation is well on its way to totally out of hand.

The upshot, after much more ado than necessary, is that a new router is en route to my location.

That reminds me: If you spend any time at all listening to police scanners, you are familiar with the re-pronunciation of en route as In Rout. As far as I can tell, this re-pronunciation is universal.

When I hear those words, as I just did here in my office in sunny Walla Walla, they conjure an image of a couple of patrol cars fleeing ahead of an advancing column of Visigoths.

Alas, this never comes to pass.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Argh. I have virtually nothing interesting to say, except that I could go for a couple of hot dogs and beers at a baseball game, preferably somewhere hot and laid-back.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Maybe Harry Potter's in town

En route to work today, I heard a gaggle of crows raising Cain in a tree. No big shock, but then out of the tree tumbled a great-horned owl.

The owl landed about 15 feet from me and hunkered down, blinking and rearranging its feathers for a couple of minutes before silently flying across the creek and out of sight, pursued by several crows.

That's not the first owl I've seen between work and home, but I haven't seen one in quite a while, and never on my somewhat busy street.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Working on holidays

When I lived in New Hampshire, I usually worked holidays, with the notable exception of Christmas.

At the time, my employer allowed people who worked holidays to save the day off to use whenever they wished, although that privilege was reserved for salaried types. I guess the complication of overtime meant hourly people had to either get a different day off during the pay period or take a hefty chunk of cash, which you will be surprised to learn my employer wasn't thrilled about.

The take-it-anytime policy was snuffed out by a policymaker who later came to be known as the "little dictator," but it was a good system while it lasted, especially for me. Between vacation, comp time, floating holidays and the work-a-holiday-get-a-day-off days, I wound up with four weeks of vacation a year, sometimes a little more.

Those times have come and gone, of course.

Of course, getting excited about four whole weeks off seems pretty silly when you think about how much time people get off in less advanced countries, like, you know, Germany.