Missing: Blue 2002 Acura RSX Type-S

If anyone notices my Blue 2002 Acura RSX Type-S license plate GSK-950 around the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, please contact me or call the police. It was stolen between 11pm Saturday, Sep 27 and 10am Sunday, Sep 28.

I slept late Sunday morning. Around 10am I went out in the garage to prep the lawnmower for the weekly mowing of our yard. I opened up the garage door and pushed the mower outside. Usually I push the mower down the driveway, between our two cars, and start mowing down by the front sidewalk. Today, however, I didn’t. There was something missing in the driveway. It took me a moment to put my finger on it. There was Susan’s red Acura but beside it, where my blue Acura RSX is usually parked, there was just empty driveway. This was such an unexpected, out of the ordinary thing, I walked back in the house and asked Susan if we had left my car somewhere. Surely we’d dropped it off at the dealer for service or something like that and I’d just forgotten. As I thought about it though, I knew that wasn’t the case. It was gone. Stolen; right out of our driveway while we slept.

We did all the things you’re supposed to do. I called the police. They took a report over the phone and gave me a report number. As with most crimes these days, that’s about all the police do. They’re really just heavily-armed data entry clerks as far as I can tell. They don’t really come out and investigate crime scenes like you see on TV, they don’t put out an APB like in old movies (“calling all cars, be on the look out for a stolen blue Acura”), they don’t look for clues and solve crimes like Sherlock Holmes. They just enter a description of the crime into a database and generate a report for insurance purposes. And they aren’t really open on Sunday anyway for minor things like auto theft.

They said they’d pass the report along to a “detective” on Monday but it didn’t sound like any actual detecting was likely to happen. However, they said if someone happened to pull over a blue Acura RSX for a traffic violation, they’d probably run the plates, might even notice it was stolen and perhaps would detain it. And they also noted that many stolen cars are found within a month or two, just not in one piece. They said mostly like it would turn up in a few weeks as a burned out hulk on back road somewhere. Nice.

Next I called State Farm insurance. Like the police, they don’t do much on a Sunday other than take reports on the phone. Apparently Saturday night/Sunday morning is a great time to steal cars since it gives you a 24 lead over the police and insurance companies. State Farm said someone would get in touch with me anywhere from a day to a week later. The weekend report-taking crew wasn’t able to give me much information about what happens next.

Last, I called our neighborhood association and let them know about the theft. They provide weekly news to the neighborhood residents about things like that, so maybe we can at least prevent another theft from occurring.

Since nobody else showed any interest in the crime scene, I decided to investigate it myself. The first thing I noticed was a half-inch long piece of wire. It was stranded copper wire with a black plastic sheath. It had clearly been cut with diagonal cutters on both ends. Nearby was what looked like a small plastic pop-rivet. My guess is they cut the wire to the car’s alarm system, opened the door, popped one of the plastic panels off the steering column, and hot-wired the ignition. I saved the “evidence” in a plastic bag in the unlikely event that anyone official got interested. Next, I examined Susan’s car. The crooks had unlocked it and there were marks in the dust on the passenger side window. Nothing was missing inside. I guess they didn’t want her car or could only take one at a time.

On Monday I called State Farm again. They told me there was a 14 day waiting period before they could process the claim. It seems most stolen cars are either discovered within this time period or never. Fortunately, they’ll cover a rental car in the interim and they offered to help me set up the paperwork at a nearby Enterprise car rental office.

I also called the police again and spoke to the “detective” assigned to my case. As best I can tell, the procedure used by the modern, high-tech police detective to solve auto theft consists of – doing nothing at all for 30 days. If doing nothing hasn’t solved the case in that time period, they figure it’s probably impossible to solve and file it away. But, if you’re lucky, the car thief will be stopped for a traffic violation or use the car in a crime and maybe end up in one of those high speed chases that ends with the suspect wrapping the car around a tree. In that case, the detective will examine the remains of the car for clues that might solve the crime. Yippee.

Software Freedom Day 2008

It’s that time of year again. Software Freedom Day is coming up this
Saturday, September 20th. There are more than 500 events planned in over
90 countries this year and that includes Dallas, TX of course. The Dallas Ubuntu Team is organizing the Dallas SFD event again this year (why don’t we have a Dallas Fedora team?) The best place to get in touch with them if you need more info is the Ubuntu-Dallas IRC channel.

If you’re a free software user or developer, join us for the
celebration. If you think free software is a communist plot, you’re
welcome to join us too. We can have a friendly debate over beer and you
‘ll
go home with a GNU/Linux CD to try out. Sadly, we don’t expect to have any SFD cheerleaders at the Dallas event.

Location: Dave and Busters, Stonebriar Centre, 2601 Preston Road, Suite
1200, Frisco, TX

Time: Sat, Sep 30, from 3pm until we feel like leaving

If there any other Advogato or robots.net users in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, I hope to see you there!

Jaap van Zweden at the DSO

On Saturday, Susan and I attended our first Dallas Symphony performance since Jaap van Zweden took over as Music Director. His conducting style is very different from Andrew Litton. Litton always seemed to be conducting a few notes ahead of the orchestra – he waved the baton and a second later you’d hear the orchestra hit the note. Jaap van Zweden, on the other hand, gives the appearance of conducting in real time. The orchestra hits notes at exactly the same time that his baton makes the move. I’m sure there’s a technical name for that difference but I have no ideas what it is.

Jaap van Zweden did seem to be squeezing a little something extra out of the musicians during their performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony. The conductor wore a black Dr. Evil outfit and tends to be very animated as he conducts. More than anything, he seemed to be using his baton as a magic wand and looked like an evil wizard madly casting spells.

Pianist Emanuel Ax performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25. We last saw Ax perform John Adams’ Century Rolls. While I prefer Adams to Mozart, it was still an enjoyable performance.