back to article Drug cops stopped techie's upgrade to question him for hours. About everything

Welcome once more to On-Call, The Register’s Friday foolishness in which readers recount tales of tech support jobs that went pear-shaped. This week, meet “Harry” who wrote to tell us of a job he was asked to do in the early 1980s. Harry was just 19 years of age at the time and tells us he was “pony-tailed and headband- …

  1. RGE_Master

    Made it here first!

    Is it just me, or are you interested in getting your hands on the suitcase?

    Jenko: [raiding the evidence locker for drugs to take to their party] Got a pound of coke.

    Schmidt: We are trying to show them a good time, not ruin their f*cking lives.

    Jenko: Pound of marijuana?

    Schmidt: Best party ever!

    1. drand

      Re: Made it here first!

      Drugs are bad. Mmmmkay?

      1. RGE_Master

        Re: Made it here first!

        There are actually benefits to vaporizing mary jane.

        Also and you can check this, people who use weed have more sex than someone who doesn't, up to 10 times more over the course of a week.

        Although, that being said, without a girlfriend it's a bit harder to manage, so no amount of weed will ever help :-)

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Made it here first!

          "There are actually benefits to vaporizing mary jane"

          Who told you of our plans to vapourize the humans?

          1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Made it here first!

            It's not hot enough to vaporize a pint of Mary Jane just yet. Though the weekends here so you never know...

            (Mary Jane being the star beer of Illkley brewery (of moor fame b't'hat))

            1. Bob Ajob
              Pint

              Re: Mary Jane (the brew)

              I'm fortunate enough to live close to the brewery and can thoroughly recommend this particular brew. Tonight :)

            2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Made it here first!

              "Mary Jane being the star beer of Illkley brewery (of moor fame b't'hat)"

              Hast tha been and gone wi' Mary Jane on Ilkley Moor? Because then tha may catch thy death of pox. (In the uncensored version).

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Made it here first!

          There are actually benefits to vaporizing mary jane.

          Although none were accepted in mitigation during the trial of Peter Parker, 18 of New York City last week.

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Made it here first!

            Whatever did happen to Mary Jane?

            1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Made it here first!

              "Whatever did happen to Mary Jane?"

              Brilliant!! Would like to raise a glass of Mary Jane to that, but the pubs here don't have it. I'll make do with a Westmalle Tripel (or two, it's been that kind of week)

            2. David Roberts Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: Made it here first!

              Whatever's the matter with May Jane.........

              .......and it's lovely rice pudding for dinner again.

        3. Wzrd1

          Re: Made it here first!

          "There are actually benefits to vaporizing mary jane."

          Not for us, we both have *severe* allergy to the substance. As in being utterly incapable of breathing allergy.

          Which, considering the ubiquity of the substance, is extremely annoying!

        4. Weiss_von_Nichts
          Angel

          Re: Made it here first!

          Hmmm. Have been married for a couple of years haven't been smoking grass for even longer. I am sure I'd hardly enjoy getting divorced. Leaves one parameter to change...

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Made it here first!

        "Drugs are bad. Mmmmkay?"

        Are you including alcohol in that sweeping statement?

        1. drand

          Re: Made it here first!

          I'm quoting the school councillor in Southpark, whose character is there to take the piss out of the 'Just Say No' approach to drugs (include alcohol if you wish) education. It's what came into my head when I pictured the article's drug enforcement officers, happily enforcing without understanding.

          1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

            Re: Made it here first!

            > happily enforcing without understanding.

            Great phrase, so true.

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Made it here first!

          Are you including alcohol in that sweeping statement?

          ...and caffeine, aspirin, insulin, etc. etc.?

          1. Mycho Silver badge

            Re: Made it here first!

            Oxytocin?

          2. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Made it here first!

            "...and caffeine, aspirin, insulin, etc. etc.?"

            I wouldn't be calling insulin a drug, it is made by the human body, and generally only injected by diabetics that are lacking enough insulin. That's like calling blood a drug, coz some people have blood injected into them. Next you'll be calling blood donors drug dealers.

            1. Sequin

              Re: Made it here first!

              In the UK If you are an insulin using diabetic (like me) and you have a hypoglycemic attack while driving, you can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs and lose your licence. You are supposed to check your blood sugar level before you start a journey, and at least every two hours during a journey.

              1. Manolo
                FAIL

                Re: Made it here first!

                We had something like that here. A gentleman who during the month of ramadan left his insulin pump running, despite not eating. Ran down some tourists(*) in front of Amsterdam Central Station.

                Was deemed to be due to hypoglycaemia, but no prosecution.

                * The tourists were Israeli's, which led to a lot of speculation whether this was an accident or an attack.

                Lack of communication by police and the strange fact that the dozens of CCTV cameras in front of the station were all switched off or pointing elsewhere only fuelled the conspiracy theories.

                Fail icon for Dutch justice.

              2. Wzrd1

                Re: Made it here first!

                "You are supposed to check your blood sugar level before you start a journey, and at least every two hours during a journey."

                Jesus fucking christ, yet another reason to avoid old blighty!

                While my family line is type 2 diabetic, I'm one of the outliers in remaining non-diabetic. Keeping the weight down is what I suspect to be the cause of my success.

                However, my wife is insulin dependent.

                So, if assigned a mission critical posting in the UK, I say, I retire and let the bloody island sink.

                1. Sequin

                  Re: Made it here first!

                  So you'd be quite happy for people like this to be on the road?

                  https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/switch-island-horror-crash-cop-11686489

                  Hypos while driving are equivalent to drunk driving, but hey, lets all get pissed and take a road trip!

            2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Made it here first!

              Nicotine, valium, vicodine, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol..

              C-c-c-c-cocaine !!!

              Feel good hit of the summer....

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Re: Made it here first!

                Well... sing the whole thing: "Ridin' that train, high on cocaine..."

              2. Agamemnon

                Re: Made it here first!

                ... "Chips, dips, chains, whips ... your basic High School orgy."

            3. Mage Silver badge

              Re: Next you'll be calling blood donors drug dealers.

              Vampires?

              https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/31/blood-transfusions-from-teenagers-start-up-charging-8000-apiece.html

              Some Silicon Valley Execs pay for blood.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Made it here first!

              > Next you'll be calling blood donors drug dealers.

              True Blood?

            5. Wzrd1

              Re: Made it here first!

              "I wouldn't be calling insulin a drug, it is made by the human body..."

              Nope, human insulin is made by the human body and one specific, genetically engineered e. coli species.

              Insulin in general is made by many species and it is indeed, when prepared as such, a drug.

              Once it is purified and prepared for usage as a medicine, it is indeed a drug and regulated as such. Which is a good thing, as it's then guaranteed to be pure, sterile and of guaranteed potency.

              Which is good news for my insulin dependent wife.

              1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: Made it here first!

                "Drug" is a very weird word in English.

                In my native tongue a "drug" is something that influences your perception of reality somehow, or simply puts you to sleep (temporarily, or forever).

                Insuline and such are medication (or medicine), not "drugs". A "drugstore" would be a quite shady place indeed!

        3. Byron "Jito463"

          Re: Made it here first!

          "Are you including alcohol in that sweeping statement?"

          I would. There's no sane reason I can think of to ever drink alcohol.

          *waits for the 1,000 downvotes*

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Byron

            "There's no sane reason I can think of to ever drink alcohol"

            You sound fun at parties.

            Here, have a beer. You might like it >>>>

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Made it here first!

            One sane reason is that many fermented beverages are quite tasty. Another sane reason is that a certain quantity of alcohol in your diet is good for you, having some longevity benefits.

            Out of curiosity, do you eat yeast breads? How about vanilla?

        4. The First Dave

          Re: Made it here first!

          Are you including, lets say, Paracetomol ?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Made it here first!

        "Drugs are bad. Mmmmkay?"

        But so much fun...

        *Please dope yourself responsibly, yada yada yada

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Made it here first!

      Were you expecting a prize?

    3. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

      Re: Made it here first!

      "Made it here first! "

      this is el Reg not youtube, you don't a read hart icon from the OP for rushing to the comments before viewing content....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Made it here first!

      > Jenko: Pound of marijuana?

      >

      > Schmidt: Best party ever!

      Unless you're one of the people who has a really bad reaction to it.

  2. diver_dave

    Similar.

    Again in the 80's...

    Was installing Christmas lights in Watford town center. Big heavy buggers (no LED back then) so catinery wires required.

    Working on the roof I had to hop over a dwarf wall to get where I needed to anchor the cable.

    5 minutes later I was pinned to the gravel floor by three of her Majesties finest being shouted at.

    Probably should have told Lloyds first!

    DaveA

    1. TRT Silver badge

      You should see the state of the town centre now!

      1. diver_dave

        Haven't been back in years.

        Gravel/concrete roofs hurt!

        1. TRT Silver badge

          If it was the Lloyds in the middle of the High Street with the Georgian facade, that facade is all that is left. They've totally removed everything behind it, including the building itself, Charter Place (brutalist two storey concrete 60s open mall), all the way back to the YMCA tower, and all up the High Street to the back of the Palace Theatre. All gone and replaced with a steel and glass canopy and an extension to the shopping centre.

          The bank, the roof and everything in it is now probably no more than a pile of hardcore waiting in some depot somewhere to become part of a new roadbed.

          1. diver_dave

            That's the one.

            Accessed via Charter Place next to Allsports. Up onto the roof and walk round. I suppose carrying a drill with a bloody great bit in it didn't help much..

            Just to show my age. I do remember Cordelles before Charter Place existed, and throwing washing up liquid in the fountain outside C&A.

            Last time I was there I got lost driving from Rickmansworth to North Watford. What the ***! have they done to Rickey Rd.....

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Christ on a bike. Cordells? That's a long way back. The council never learned about putting public water features in Watford. You just don't do it. Between 1996 and 2006, they had a circular trough filled with large stone Scrabble letters just near the flyover. Regularly got a box of Sudso thrown into it, and they had to fill the gaps in-between the Scrabble letters with concrete after some kid got their foot stuck in it; so for years it just resembled the aftermath of a fire at a Mattel warehouse. Then there was a drinking fountain outside the nightclubs, which got used as a post for drunks to wee against. And an inverted glass canopy, which filled up with leaves and rain until the grass cracked under the weight. The history of Watford High Street is a sad catalogue of how not to do things, and has so far cost the council around £30-50m in major public work programmes over the last 25 years. As for the cycle lane in the bottom half of the High Street next to Boots... Within a minute of the works van driving away, the lane was full of cars parked up. Now they have divided it off from the road using bollards; it's full of pedestrians instead so cycles still can't use it safely.

              Ricky Road is pretty much as it always was, apart from the Bus Green Route sections which were designed by a friend of mine but not properly implemented (they never put in the sensors and emitters to flip the lights on demand by an approaching bus instead of simply on a timing circuit). Yet another half-completed intelligent infrastructure project that failed. The ones that work never get noticed because they work. The ones that don't work get in the news and give the public and councils a bad idea about Smart City technology.

              1. juice Bronze badge

                Sheffield had a water-fountain/sculpture thing...

                If you stood far back enough and craned your neck up, it appeared to be two whale-tails sticking up into the sky.

                Anyhow, being at the "budget shop" end of town, the water-fountain was generally covered by foot or so of bubbles, with an empty bottle of cheap shampoo floating somewhere underneath all the froth.

                These days, it's been filled in and planted with various plants and bushes, which isn't quite as fun...

                1. TRT Silver badge

                  Re: Sheffield had a water-fountain/sculpture thing...

                  I remember the fish tanks and aviaries of the old Arndale shopping complexes in Bolton and Manchester.

                  1. juice Bronze badge

                    Re: Sheffield had a water-fountain/sculpture thing...

                    As an increasingly decrepit ex-Boltonian, I can vaguely remember the two water features in the town hall square - basically giant octagonal concrete paddling pools with a couple of water jets in the middle, and I can remember splashing around in them as a wee nipper.

                    (in fact... http://www.bolton.org.uk/fountains.html)

                    Saldy (?), they've long since been demolished, though the stepped-pyramid fountains either side of the town hall are still present. And in searching for photos of the old water features, the second link in the search results indicates that people are still very much behaving as they ever did...

                    http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/15238897.Pranksters_fill_town_centre_fountain_with_bubbles/

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Sheffield had a water-fountain/sculpture thing...

                  Boscome near Bournemouth in Dorset used to have a water sculpture as well, which suffered the same fate.

                  Now they have a proper police box/TARDIS

                3. PAKennedy

                  Re: Sheffield had a water-fountain/sculpture thing...

                  Sunderland had one of those on the sea front. The most foam I ever saw was when someone got hold of a fire brigade 5 gallon container of foaming solution and dumped it in. You couldn't see where the fountain was. Sadly, that one is also gone.

                  1. ridley

                    Re: Sheffield had a water-fountain/sculpture thing...

                    Mmmm 5 gallon you say. Some might say that being that specific might imply.....

                4. PerspexAvenger
                  Happy

                  Re: Sheffield had a water-fountain/sculpture thing...

                  Birmingham's central one, which I'm sure has an Artistic name but swiftly got termed "The Floozy In The Jacuzzi" had, apparently, an enormous problem with water leaks that they were unable to fix.

                  They subsequently filled the thing full of soil and plants, and left it.

                  ...it took about 15 seconds for it to be rechristened "The Ladygarden". :D

            2. Bluebottle

              It's 50 years since I've been back to Watford as I'm now in Oz. I suppose there have been some changes. Remember going to Cawdells restaurant for a toasted teacake after school.

              Don't think I'd like to see it now - I'll just remember it as it was.

              1. diver_dave

                Bluebottle...

                Oz is ok... NZ would have been better. It's further...

    2. paulf Silver badge
      Joke

      People complain extensively about criminals but I'd say that was very public spirited for a hardened felon to take time out of his busy schedule to install Christmas lights as part of their heist on a bank, from the roof, in broad daylight! Perhaps Her Majesty's finest could take a lesson or two from these so called ne'er do wells.

      Alternatively these cops could have taken a moment to wonder why an alleged criminal was busy installing Christmas lights rather than something a bit more naughty, like cracking the safe with a stethoscope? But, as you say, it was the 1980s!

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        re: cops taking a moment to think

        They did! And what they thought was "here's something easy to do that'll make us shine to the higher ups"

        That's what's considered good policing around these parts.

        And luckily they weren't the shoot-first-ask-later US type of cops

        1. paulf Silver badge

          Re: re: cops taking a moment to think

          @ MiguelC, and I'm not sure much has changed since then other than stopping the police from marking their own homework when prosecutions were moved to the CPS in 1986. It's stories like this that make me relieved firearms are not issued to normal Police in the UK (except pepper spray which is classified as a firearm apparently).

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: re: cops taking a moment to think

            "stopping the police from marking their own homework when prosecutions were moved to the CPS"

            The CPS don't seem to be that good at marking anybody's homework, including their own.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: re: cops taking a moment to think

              The CPS are also known as the Criminal Protection Service for a reason

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: re: cops taking a moment to think

                The CPS are also known as the Criminal Protection Service for a reason

                Also Clown Prosecution Service.

                1. paulf Silver badge
                  Childcatcher

                  Re: re: cops taking a moment to think

                  @Loyal Commenter "Also Clown Prosecution Service."

                  Please state your name: "Giggles the Clown"

                  And how do you plead to the multiple charges of: Not having a big red foam nose, Having sensibly sized shoes that don't squeak, driving a car with properly attached doors, and going not equipped with a bucket of glitter ?

                  "Guilty"

                  You are hear-by sentenced to 10 custard pies in the face. You will then be released on license and will be required to wear trousers that randomly fall down when around children...

                  1. onefang Silver badge

                    Re: re: cops taking a moment to think

                    "required to wear trousers that randomly fall down when around children..."

                    Which will likely attract the unpleasant attentions of any other CPS's you might have in your area.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Alternatively these cops could have taken a moment to wonder why an alleged criminal was busy installing Christmas lights rather than something a bit more naughty, like cracking the safe with a stethoscope?

        Maybe they thought he was casing the place, looking for weak points, alarms, etc.? Or they just needed some entertainment on a boring day.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Entering New Zealand

    I had taken a break to do a bit of travelling. While walking through New Zealand airport pre-border control I was stopped by two police.

    The started quizzing me on my job etc.

    I told them I was an IT Manager and they asked "so whats the drug scene like for IT Managers?", I was a bit miffed and didn't quite understand. Seeing my confusion the the other officer said "Do IT Managers use a lot of drugs?". I sort of stumbled and said "I don't think so".

    I didn't personally know any other IT managers, it wasn't like all the IT managers in the area would get together on a Friday night and party or have IT manager based fun trips. Seemed such a strange way of phrasing a question but I guess they're looking for a certain reaction, just doesn't work for a collective* of IT managers.

    *To win the internet, best collective noun...

    1. AIBailey

      best collective noun...

      ...for a group of clowns would be a circus.

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: best collective noun...

        A thicket of project managers.

        1. Dagg

          Re: best collective noun...

          A delay of project managers

          also

          A confusion of BAs

      2. Lilolefrostback

        Re: best collective noun...

        Here in Canada, we refer to a collection of clowns as "parliament".

    2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      "best collective noun..."

      It could be a despair of managers, or perhaps a misunderstanding of managers, but I think I'll go for a gawp of managers as my entry.

    3. Outski

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      I'll go with a hindrance of managers

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Entering New Zealand

        An obstacle of managers? Or perhaps an obstruction?

        Or as STP would probably allow under license, an embuggerance...

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Entering New Zealand

        An impossibility of marketing managers.

    4. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      > *To win the internet, best collective noun...

      An ISO 9000 of managers?

      <SHUDDER>

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Entering New Zealand

        ISO-whatever's just for show. You never know what things are really happening behind the scenes.

    5. jonathan keith

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      An Interference of Managers?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      a redundancy of managers

      a cluster of managers

      a clusterf**k of managers

    7. NBCanuck

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      A compost of managers.

      1. Geekpride

        Re: Entering New Zealand

        A wunch of bankers.

    8. Chas

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      Don't know about IT managers, but for electricians it's a shower of sparks.

      <gets coat>

    9. Agamemnon

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      Silicon Valley: Mid-to-Late 90s ... IT Managers DID get together Friday nights for drug-fueled rage parties.

      Yes, oh yes we did.

    10. Lilolefrostback

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      For any group of managers (type doesn't matter), I prefer the term "a mangle".

    11. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: Entering New Zealand

      "I had taken a break to do a bit of travelling. While walking through New Zealand airport pre-border control I was stopped by two police."

      I heard the following story from a guy I met at a party in Sarf Lundun some years ago. It was mostly ex-pats and the topic of Customs and Immigration was hot at the time. The teller was a slightly dodgy Canadian "security consultant".

      He arrives at Sydney airport early one morning having just skipped out of somewhere in Central or South America one step ahead of the authorities or death squads or somesuch, slightly hung over, very jet lagged and with a passport that may, or may not, have been completely genuine. At Immigration they take one look at the passport, one at his face and invited him for a private interview. He's expecting the third degree, a couple of days in lock up and summary deportation to Canada. Embarrassing but could be a lot worse, eh.

      Instead he got ten minutes of general questioning, a cup of bad coffee and a half hour wait before being told he was free to go. A nice man from the AFP even walked him down to baggage claim, out to the taxi rank and expressed the wish that he should "enjoy your stay in Australia, Mr Mattheson".

      Half way to his hotel he twigs that Mattheson is not the name on his passport. Its his real name. They had held him just long enough to work out who he was, that he was no risk, then sent him on his way with a subtle tip that his card was well and truly marked.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One secure site consisted of lots of small buildings scattered over a windy hillside - piercingly cold in winter. In those days you had to have an extra local security clearance for each new site you visited - which was not arranged in advance.

    On arrival at reception I had to wait a few minutes before a car arrived to take me to the computer building - where I was met at the door. At no time was I allowed to be on my own in any part of the building except the relevant IT room.

    It took several weeks for the local clearance to come through. From then on there was no more warm chauffeured car to ferry me to and fro.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      again a secure site

      I had also been working on a secure site. The staffing was beefed up and arrived on time (as expected - they were all contractors and given the emplyer, it was more important that they were ticked off rather than do anything useful in order to qualify for their salary). Unfortunately their clearence had not come through at the correct level, so I found myself having to escort a group of 12 everywhere for the firrst week - despite the fact that I was up to my eyes in stuff, and was even given two armed guards as supprt (who didn't have the clearence necessary to escort dangerous technical staff). This nonsene lasted for two weeks, until I forcibly pointed out that my work was on a critical path, and paying me £900 a day (I was a somewhat specialised contractor) to escort 12 random IT bods was not only a waste of cash but was going to disrupt a rather important piece of work.

      It stopped that afternoon.

  5. Symon Silver badge
    Coat

    It's a sound salvation.

    If 'Harry' is American, which I strongly suspect he is from the story, then he would probably not have said "this was a time when radio meant antennae." In that America the plural of aerial is antennas...

    http://grammarist.com/usage/antennae-antennas/

    Sorry ---->

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: It's a sound salvation.

      I'm an American, and I work with said objects. I'm fairly certain I can say with some authority that both terms are used pretty much interchangeably.

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: It's a sound salvation.

        Fair enough, although my experience in San Jose with microwave circuit designers was that the plural was invariably antennas. In the UK, again in my experience, it's also antennas for design engineers, and aerials for everyone else! Maybe I hang out with the wrong people...

        I found an interesting point of view about it, and the last sentence sums it all up. Cheers!

        "it seems that “antennas” is the correct plural inflection of the word meaning an electrical antenna, especially when you’re talking to engineers. So if you work with antennas frequently, or interact with electrical, broadcast, or live audio engineers on a regular basis, you should probably get with the program and use antennas to avoid ridicule and enduring social stigma.

        The New Yorker and the Economist can pluralize antenna however they please.

        I guess my roundabout point here is, in the end, it doesn’t matter—as long as I know what you mean."

        https://www.rfvenue.com/blog/2016/03/02/technical-grammar-police-antennas-or-antennae

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: It's a sound salvation.

          Exzacly.

          BTW, yes I got the reference to Mr. MacManus, no, I'm not angry.

    2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: It's a sound salvation.

      > In that America the plural of aerial is antennas...

      Meanwhile back in the UK, one can't help wondering if those who routinely spell "aerial" "ariel" really mean "daz"

      1. Flatpackhamster

        Re: It's a sound salvation.

        There's also the Disney character Ariel.

        My daughter (like many daughters) likes Disney and fairies and all that jazz and when we were playing Fairies she said she would be Ariel and asked me who I was going to be and I said "Daz". So we played as Ariel and Daz the fairies from then on. I also caused an almighty row when she got old enough to talk to other children about the My Little Ponies and discovered they weren't called Brian, Trevor and Gerald.

        I'm going to hell.

        1. Kevin Johnston

          Re: It's a sound salvation.

          Pah...Amateur

          I casually mentioned to my young daughter (aged 5?6?) that the inventor of the flip-flop was a Frenchman called Phillippe Philloppe. It was only last year she discovered from her University classmates that this was not the case.

          My name is still Mud

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: It's a sound salvation.

            I did have my young daughter going for about 4 years (from the age of 4) on the notion that colour was not invented until the 1960's (explanation c/o explaining soem old b&W family photos). I still get reminded of it 23 years later.

          2. ArrZarr Silver badge

            Re: It's a sound salvation.

            @Kevin Johnston

            I heard a story on confession time (A segment of a drive time show in the UK) where a young girl was informed that a bidet was for washing football boots. 20 years later, as a dentist, she's doing her tooth related manipulations in a patient's mouth and the conversation drifts towards the fact that she's moved into a new house. She mentions offhandedly that they'll be redoing the bathrooms and removing the bidets as "nothing needs to be that clean".

            1. PNGuinn
              Megaphone

              Re: It's a sound salvation.

              That's the problem when you lie to your kids.

              Any fule kno the're for washing your socks in.

          3. W4YBO

            Re: It's a sound salvation.

            I had my five year old godson convinced that the round hay bales out in the fields were unripened marshmallows. They shrank to size as they dried.

          4. fruitoftheloon
            Happy

            @Kevin Johnston: Re: It's a sound salvation.

            Kevin,

            I tip my hat and raise you an 'oops, didn't think of that...'

            If wifey and I found something to be particularly effective, whizzy or generally spiffing, we have been known to refer to it as 'orgasmichael', which was great; right up until the point where we realised our very bright 8yo lad was also using it; I have since heard one of classmates using it too!

            Pandora and her f'ing box and all that...

            Cheers,

            Jay

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: @Kevin Johnston: It's a sound salvation.

              "If wifey and I found something to be particularly effective, whizzy or generally spiffing, we have been known to refer to it as 'orgasmichael', which was great; right up until the point where we realised our very bright 8yo lad was also using it; I have since heard one of classmates using it too!"

              Just wait until the classmate called Michael hears it, then you'll see the true results of Pandora's box opening.

              1. fruitoftheloon

                onefang: Re: @Kevin Johnston: It's a sound salvation.

                Onefang,

                Good point!

                Atm there are no michaels in his class...

    3. ThomR

      Re: It's a sound salvation.

      Nope. The proper plural of antenna has always been with an e, even here. Only the silly among us use the s. Actually, because it was a biology word first (think butterflies and such), it's always had the latin plural ending. Silly English Knnnnnnight! ;-)

  6. steamrunner

    Collective of IT managers?

    Collective of IT managers? Surely it's got to be an 'install', or maybe a 'patch' or 'upgrade' of IT Managers? Or would those work better for IT engineers*?

    Or, if one IT Manager is an 'instance', what are multiples... a 'cluster' ?

    (* avoiding getting into the argument about what 'engineer' really means).

    SB

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Collective of IT managers?

      Pretty sure it's a crash of IT managers. Or possibly a BSOD.

    2. John 110

      Re: Collective of IT managers?

      Where I live, it's a squabble of IT managers... Or sometimes a snigger of IT managers (when we gang up on somebody)

    3. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Collective of IT managers?

      "Or, if one IT Manager is an 'instance', what are multiples... a 'cluster' ?"

      A cluster-fuck of IT managers?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Collective of IT managers?

      My then boss, having a rant about one of the accountants (he was also an accountant) included the phrase "this place has a surplus of accountants". That's been my collective noun for them ever since. Nobody ever seems to have a deficit of them.

      1. Andytug

        Re: Collective of IT managers?

        In that case I'd go for " A bloat of managers".......

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Collective of IT managers?

        Anon for obvious reasons...

        In a previous job 15 years ago we used to refer to our boss after he got kerniggted as Surplus Bob Kerslake.

    5. Fr. Ted Crilly

      Re: Collective of IT managers?

      A meddling of managers

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    BADGES

    They must have had some serious authority if they not only had badges, but also got to deploy capital letters.

  8. Alpc

    Arresting times past

    Many moons past I nearly got myself arrested for taking photos in the Milton Keynes court complex. Nobody told me I couldn't take photos - I was carrying out an inspection as part of my work. Some magistrate, clerk or other had seen me snapping away which led to my being told off. The next time I had to inspect a court, I didn't take a camera. You live, you learn.

    1. dave 81

      Re: Arresting times past

      Photography is not a crime. There is no offence for taking photo or filming in a publicly accessible place. (With exception of Official Secrets Acts but that is always very well signed posted..) The most they can do is ask you to leave. They cannot order you to delete what you have taken, only a judge can. So maybe you nearly got falsely arrested by some bully with a badge, but you were in no way committing a crime.

      1. qwertyuiop

        Re: Arresting times past

        Except that it is an offence to take pictures inside the Old Bailey - I know 'cos I recently did jury service there. You're warned beforehand in the FAQs sent to jurors and again in the jurors' briefing.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: Arresting times past

          Not just the Old Bailey - it applies to any Crown or Magistrates' Court - I got the same info in my jurors' instruction pack for doing jury service in Kingston not long ago.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Arresting times past

            "Not just the Old Bailey - it applies to any Crown or Magistrates' Court"

            I'm not sure if it applies to the entire building but certainly to the trials within them. It doesn't apply to making drawings, however (after all, the artist can come into court, observe and sketch from memory), which is why you see sketches of witnesses or accused in the media.

            1. Simon Harris Silver badge

              Re: Arresting times past

              Technically the crime is Contempt of Court to photograph a person in the court complex, so while it might not actually be unlawful to photograph objects (except evidence, possibly) I wouldn't want to have to explain myself from the other side of the dock. To be on the safe side, I'd probably ask first to do any inspection photography out of hours and with a chit from whoever's in charge of the court complex.

            2. Fr. Ted Crilly

              Re: Arresting times past

              Nope whole building and precinct. same for all Courts in England and Wales.

              Hand drawn stuff is indeed still allowed.

      2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Arresting times past

        "There is no offence for taking photo or filming in a publicly accessible place."

        Not so... that can be changed by local bylaws.

        In theory , you can take a picture of anything you can see from a public space but try standing on a public highway taking pictures of military installations, as an example.

        It's also a fact that a lot of what *looks* like public space is in fact private space and private space can also have a prohibition on taking pictures. The courts in MK are just such an example.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Arresting times past

          With a military installation, the best option is to chat to the guard on the gate (assuming your purpose of taking pics is not nefarious, maybe you like specific fungi).... he or she will not have any authority to OK it, but the fact you asked can help if and when plod turn up

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Arresting times past

      Nobody told me I couldn't take photos - I was carrying out an inspection as part of my work.

      "I'm sorry, but without proper photographs to document my inspection the complex will have to be closed until a fuller inspection can be carried out. It'll take about 3 weeks on a building of this size and I won't be able to schedule that long an inspection until next October at the earliest. Be more than my job's worth to let you continue otherwise."

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Arresting times past

      I was subcontracting to a subcontractor to a large consultancy, well-known but not so well-regarded. I was included in a meeting to be held at their office. When we got there the receptionist demanded to know if our phones had cameras (this being back when it wouldn't be assumed they had); all camera phones had to be left in reception. What she didn't ask was if we had any cameras so my client's manager didn't tell her about the camera in his pocket.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Arresting times past

        There's a reason there's still such a job description as Courtroom Artist, and why all media coverage of trials (and indeed court hearings of any sort) consists of video of the accused being ushered away outside the courtroom with his/her coat over his/her head.

        Until relatively recently (I think it was some time in the 1990s), photographing or recording within the Houses of Parliament was also not permitted. With the relaxing of those rules, and the advent of recording of proceedings in The House, all and sundry can now publicly observer the childish jeering and shouting going in inside without having to pony up the transport costs of a visit to central London.

        The ban on recording in courts still stands, as the reasoning behind it is more solid - amongst the reasons are preventing coercion of jurors, protecting witnesses and defendants (not all are guilty), as well as court staff, judges, magistrates, etc. etc.

    4. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: Arresting times past

      Same thing happened to me (Four Courts, Dublin) while I was doing a 3d laser scan of the building interior. However, I was told off for using my phone to take a couple of shots. Nothing was said about the fifty grand piece of kit that was accurately measuring the entire area at a rate of 2 million points per second (and colouring those points using a built in camera). The trick is to have your camera not look like a camera.

  9. jake Silver badge

    Many moons ago, maybe 1983 ...

    ... bright and early one fine morning I was on the roof of the old Ford Aerospace Building One on Fabian in Palo Alto, trying to re-align a new laser network link to a building across Hwy 101. I got tackled by a couple largish MPs ... Seems that some military big-wigs were about to arrive to inspect one of our satellites, and the two security guys heard someone talk about "jake's up on the roof with the laser, that should sort 'em out". Myself and the two talking about me were detained, taken to a small room & questioned. Seems the security detail wasn't all that versed in the power output of a 5mW HeNe laser, in their tiny little brains we were conspiring to roast the brass.

    We had the last laugh. The laser link was part of the demo that the brass was there to observe. We were "rescued" from the grilling after about an hour, and allowed to get on with it. The security guys got a very public dressing-down from a rather technologically cluefull Colonel (in full dress) for wasting his time ... After we concluded the demo, the Colonel sent the security guys to get pizza for lunch and sat & ate with us, discussing the ins & outs of "modern" wireless (laser) networking.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Many moons ago, maybe 1983 ...

      "Seems the security detail wasn't all that versed in the power output of a 5mW HeNe laser, in their tiny little brains we were conspiring to roast the brass."

      I remember someone's description of the laser in Goldfinger: "Wouldn't even tickle Pussy Galore".

  10. Robin

    Work Experience

    This isn't something that stopped me doing my work as such, but it was my first encounter with that level of security.

    I was lucky enough to get to do my pre-GCSE work experience week in a military facility.

    On the Monday morning my Dad dropped me off just down the road from the main gates on his way to work. The 14-year old version of me was still enthusiastic and ready to experience the world of work, because at that point I hadn't had my soul crushed into an uncaring pulp. I merrily walked up to the gate and was confronted by the guard, with huge machine gun in hand. After changing my underpants I managed to nervously blurt out why I was there and he called the relevant person to come and meet me, and I began my week.

    By the time the end of my week came around, I was greeting the same tooled-up guard with a cheery "morning mate!" and he even shook my hand when I left. Good times!

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Work Experience

      I was lucky enough to get to do my pre-GCSE work experience week in a military facility.

      Me too. I broke in every morning though, to the great chargrin of the base security. They had a massively secure gate system on a secondary entrance with impressive physical locks and electronic alarms if you forced it open, but it was unguarded and you could get your arm through the gate and unlock the gate. As it wasn't supervised, you could then turn around and lock it again, gaining entry with nobody being the wiser.

      They got me to write that up, and also see if I could find any other problems with their external security. The colonel on the base actually read it and was surprisingly decent about it, I ended up getting a case of severe amnesia when talking to the teachers about "had I left the workplace agreed with the school" and in return was allowed to go and watch a military exercise for a day, albeit from a staff car which I wasn't allowed to leave to absolutely ensure that my 14 year old self couldn't possibly blow his fingers off by playing with things possibly lying around.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Work Experience

      A mate of mine lives in Windsor castle (he's a choir singer), in a house inside the walls. When I go visit him, I have to drive up to what's normally the pedestrian exit gate, and then a grumpy looking cop with a big gun walks up and ask's what you're doing there and every time I cross my fingers as and really, really hope that my mate remembered to put me on the entry list.

      They might be foreboding with outside visitors, but as soon as my mate's young daughter comes toddling up they turn into right softies ;)

    3. DuchessofDukeStreet

      Re: Work Experience

      I had the opposite experience having spent a few years in a civilian role in a UK military establishment. For the first year or two, I drove up to the single bar barrier, vaguely waved my car permit through the windscreen at the guard in the gatehouse shed, the barrier went up and in I went.

      Then 9/11 happened.

      The next shift, I drive round the corner and am confronted by a closed blast gate and someone pointing a very large gun at me and insisting I step out of the car. Disconcerting enough, but the last time I'd seen that particular individual had been the previous Saturday night in my other capacity as bar staff at the local nightclub where he'd been so drunk he was holding onto my bar to stay upright.

      1. Jock in a Frock

        Re: Work Experience

        Was posted to a sleepy RAF unit in Bedfordshire in June '88. Guard duty consisted of leaving the vehicle barrier open from 7am to 9pm, and drinking tea and watching telly. Mill Hill bombing on 1st August changed all that. Suddenly we had to close the barrier, start to run out barbed wire barriers around the entire unit (that's right, it was all open before that!), and wander around with pick-axe handles until top brass could ship some proper SLR rifles to us. Also banned us from wearing uniform off camp. I was disgusted that we were made to hide away like that. Felt like the IRA had won a victory and cowed us into submission.

  11. Pete 2 Silver badge

    perks of the job

    > they brought in an old-lady's flowered hard-sided suitcase, slammed it down on the table, and a literal cloud of cocaine dust floated over the area.”

    And all the agents inhaled deeply.

    1. Celeste Reinard

      Re: perks of the job

      They did not inhale.

      (They burried their already ashen faces even deeper into the shame that confronted them.)

  12. happy but not clappy

    I order ed a book about computer veruses

    In the early nineties I ordered the David Ferbrache classic book about computer viruses a little before it was properly published.

    Within an hour I got a phone call from someone in "intelligence" asking me questions about hacking and trojans. That was instructive.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: I order ed a book about computer veruses

      Within an hour I got a phone call from someone in "intelligence" asking me questions about hacking and trojans.

      "Give me a chance - I'll tell you when I've read the book!"

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: I order ed a book about computer veruses

      I just used to look at the ones in the quarantine directory.

      That was very instructive!

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I order ed a book about computer veruses

      "Within an hour I got a phone call from someone in "intelligence" asking me questions about hacking and trojans. That was instructive."

      They were after some tips?

  13. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Pretty sure some other bloke is having a bad day...

    ...Not too long ago I had some cut-n-paste work done on myself at a fine medical institution. Anesthetics and chemicals used in recovery involved copious amounts of opiates.

    As with many in this community I'm subject to random drug tests. As luck would have it I got called for a whizz quiz two days in.

    I handed my prescription paperwork to the pecker checker and he shouted at me 'just stuff it, save your excuses for the appeal! ...BUT I came up clean.

    Three possibilities:

    (1) Nothing is actually tested and testing contractor is a fraud

    (2) They are not looking for opiates,,, I've got a hard time seeing that

    (3) Some poor bastard got my sample and will now get the third degree...

    1. wyatt

      Re: Pretty sure some other bloke is having a bad day...

      Interesting you mention this, the UK armed forces have CDT (Compulsory drugs testing) where they test everyone that's in a location, or at least they say they do. One guy who did get caught was one of a large group who were taking drugs. The drug he got pulled up on was only one of the ones they were taking and the least serious.

      The CDT team also had an issue testing a diluted sample, if you were unable to pee you had to drink lots of water until you were able to. Many a soldier was in front of the CO due to readings not being able to be obtained.

      (it wasn't me on either occasion..)

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Pretty sure some other bloke is having a bad day...

        The way I've seen Mass/Random Wizz Quizzing work is that they select a number of people to participate, and then select a number of samples at random to test. They may test each of them for a random substance, because there is no test for "everything". So OP may have been one of the non-tested samples, and wyatt's "guy" was randomly selected for the substance he got busted for.

      2. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

        Re: Pretty sure some other bloke is having a bad day...

        At least you didn't have to do dick watching when the CDT came to camp :o I can't see any UK Corp dick!ng (pardon the pun) random members of staff to observe the process of filling the cup !

        1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

          Re: Pretty sure some other bloke is having a bad day...

          In US service the man stuck with this duty is called the "meat gazer".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pretty sure some other bloke is having a bad day...

      Apparently eating a roll coated with poppy seeds is enough to trigger the test threshold for opiates.

  14. onefang Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    A certain Air Force Base contains it's own residential suburb, where the families of the Air Force members stationed at that base live. The base, and the residential suburb are naturally surrounded by "security", as is the bases golf course. The main gate has a small jet on display, and maybe half a dozen guards, who may or may not have access to firearms. At regular intervals around the not particularly high barbed wire fences are signs warning that guard dogs patrol the area.

    Right across the busy road from one of the many unguarded and never locked rear gates is a large public primary school. Every morning on school days, a large stream of very young children accompanied by various parents / guardians / older siblings / friendly neighbours streamed through that small gate, to go to school. And every afternoon, they come back. In the many years I lived on that Air Force base, I don't recall seeing any vicious guard dogs snacking on any conveniently placed small school children, or any actual guard dogs at all. My younger brother, who attended that school, was never worried about hungry dogs.

    Dad got posted elsewhere, but I stayed in the city coz I had a civilian job when the rest of the family followed him, you could say I never left home, home left me. Same years later I had a short door to door sales job in between proper work. I was young, and had yet to learn that I'm terrible at sales. At one point I ventured onto the Air Force base to try my luck at selling door to door there. I was two or three blocks into the base before anyone bothered to call the MPs. The friendly MPs picked me up and drove me to the main entrance, telling me that Bert, my father (that's his nickname they used), will hear about this, and please don't do that again.

    Though it has been decades since I have had a legitimate reason to visit any Air Force base, I still have an Air Force civilian ID, which is falling to pieces, but apparently is "VALID TO: RECALL", at least I think that's what it said, that part has faded completely. It has yet to be recalled, all my hair is now in different places, but I bet I can still get in using that pass.

    Helicopter icon, coz while they are not black, they do have some.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ahhh, base security

      I've primarily encountered two flavors of security forces: actual Marines and the federal protective services (FPS) civilian personnel. Bottom line with Marines - don't screw around, they are not decorations.

      But FPS? Well...

      One day before being sent somewhere hot and sandy the powers that be decided to have me re-do my small arms qualification. No problemo, senor. Head to the range and its just me and an FPS officer two lanes away. FPS promptly engages MY target with two rounds ... misses ... and then seems to shoot one at nothing in particular. When the NCO running the range asked WTF?!?! FPS dropped his weapon on the floor. NCO grabbed him before he could get the weapon back and ejected him from the range...

      "But, but, I didn't qual! Please let..."

      "Really, REALLY? I didnt f$cking notice! Get the f...." and then the obscenities became truly poetic.

      I feel very secure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahhh, base security

        I am going to guess that was a Warrant Officer?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ahhh, base security

          No, not so high as a CWO. Years have gone by and memory dims but I want to say it was a PO1 (Petty Officer 1st class) or maybe a Chief Petty Officer. I think these map directly to their Royal Navy counterparts' grades. Men/women like this as what makes western militaries work...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahhh, base security

        I see your 'Base Security' and raise you. Once, may years ago, I was in Beautiful Central Atlantic Florida on business. One day there was going to be a Shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center, and we got tickets to get in. So I got into the rental car and drove off. And got lost. And somehow managed to end up on State Road A1A, along the barrier islands on the Atlantic coast. Over to the landward side was what I now know to be Patrick Air Force Base. At the time, it looked like a quick way to get to the front gate of KSC, so I turned through an open, unguarded gate and headed off, only to find myself driving down the road next to the flight line, next to fully armed A-7 attack aircraft with lots and lots of bombs and missiles hanging off their pylons. The sonic boom you may have heard was me putting the rental around and getting back off the the base. I really didn't want to have to explain what I was doing next to fully armed attack aircraft. A little further north I found the real gate to KSC and got to see the Shuttle launch from a location other than the detention center at PAFB.

        I could have 'borrowed' an A-7 and paid Fidel a little visit, if I had dared to get out of the car, as there were no, none, zero, guards in sight. Ever since when I hear about Air Force security mishaps, such as the time that someone left live nukes on a B-52, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/air-force-red-faced-b-52-flies-live-nuclear-missiles-article-1.242636 I just sigh.

        1. Agamemnon

          Re: Ahhh, base security

          My problem with that *points* is that a crew that doesn't know what ordinance they are carrying (manifest/visual inspection) should never be allowed to fly again.

  15. onefang Silver badge

    I'm happy that I caught every time my fingers typed "Air Farce" in that rather lengthy post of mine.

  16. Sequin

    I was once working at a college, creating management reports, when I felt a sudden urge to use the toilet. I ran down the corridor, hurried in to the cubicle, sat down and relieved myself.

    As I was leaving the toilet, a police officer came in with a drug sniffing dog. I can guarantee that the dog would never have worked again after that!

  17. nick turner

    An incompetence of managers

    An obstruction of change managers

    A slopey shoulder of risk managers

    An exasperation of process managers

    A purposeless vanity of senior managers

    A miss of directors

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been pulled by the Fuzz! Oooer!!

    Me and a mate used to work nights, replacing kit on desks which meant traveling out to other buildings in the area with a big trolley full of Compaq PCs ( the huge chunky metal 486s ) monitors, keyboards, back around 1994.

    One night we have about 7 or 8 machines with monitors on a trolley, it's 2am and we're larking about dragging this trolley down a dark London street. We notice a car with 4 blokes in it. We start bricking it, stop larking about and just starting pushing the trolley more quickly. We pass the car and hear the doors open, we start legging it with the trolley 'cos we think we're going to get robbed and beaten up, thy blokes suddenly run after us and shout "Police! Stop!". Turns out it's a bunch of undercover Fuzz watching for people breaking into offices and nicking PCs! We get 2 mins of the third degree and escorted back to our HQ where we have to rely on a rather dozy and dopey security guard to confirm we are we say we are, praying the coppers don't smell the security guards preferred flavour of "Jamaican Woodbine" and bang goes any credibility we have!

  19. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    One night

    on call-out, I was woken with the request to go fix an 11/730 with a broken power supply. "Where?" "New-$Placename". Now, $Placename was in my region, so my initial reaction was "OK, but are there any sites there?" "Oh yes, it's the regional ATC for light airplanes." "Hmm, is that really in $Placename?" (I would surely have heard about it). "No, NEW-$Placename. It's near $City".($City was in my region too, so New-$Placename probably was, as well. Never been to that site, though, but that was something that happened occasionally). "Present your passport and your badge at the gate, they know to expect a DEC FS guy"."Oh?" "Yes, it's part of the military base there". "Ah, OK, right. I'll be off now."

    So, in my car, past $City, to the site. Gate guards let me in, no problem. "Drive on for some 200 meters, there's a building on the right, the sysadmin will be at the door". "OK, thanks". It's 02:00 or so, pitch dark.

    I find the building, park, get shown in, down a lot of stairs, and past several blast doors. Deep in some hardened room there's the 730. The replacement PSU arrives, I extract the broken one, fit the new one, test and that was that. The sysadmin takes me back up all those stairs and out the door, to my car. It's now 05:30, and in the first morning light I see the building has a couple of manned machine gun nests around it. Which was, eh, rather stunning as a couple of hours back I had walked past one quite closely without noticing.

    And to top it off that site was actually the responsibility of another region office, but oh well.

  20. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    etc.

    A fellow I used to run with (literally) was a "systems programmer" in the IBM sense of the word. Competent ones were, I gather, rare enough that he was a contractor at the Department of State without having to get a security clearance, a haircut, or a shave. The lack of security clearance meant that he was accompanied by a government minder everywhere he went on the premises.

    As for me, I was once walked to and from restrooms, but that was at a Motorola building.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: etc.

      I had a similar experience visiting the Eisenhower Building at the White House a handful of years ago; as a foreigner, a genuine American member of staff was assigned and required to stay with me at all times, including escorting me to the bathroom.

      There was no such requirement for Americans. Nationality of passport was the only concern. So if there's anything secret going on in there, I guess they include a small note about it with the citizenship certificate, and then you're one of the ones already in the know?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " [...] I was once walked to and from restrooms, [...]"

    Even with general security clearance - every new secure IT site I supported wanted to do their own check before giving me the appropriate privileges. Being escorted to and from the toilet by a member of the IT team was their usual procedure during that interim period.

    It makes you slightly paranoid too. I developed the habit of checking under my rather distinctive car after stopping at relatively deserted motorway services in the middle of the night. Induced by the under car mirror checks during IRA high alerts when visiting some of my armed service customers.

  22. Celeste Reinard

    Onboard Boxcutters / Trespassing Borders

    Two weeks after I had passed a few airports and at least 4 scanners to check for stuff that can be of use in the act of sloppy plane parking, I felt like soiling myself, finding just that in my lugage (No, it's not mine, I have no idea how that got there, honestly): boxcutters - That's one example of non-intervention...

    Example number two of gross negligence involves passing a border (let's say, Germany and France) with the inside of the car slightly foggier than the outside, and there are people with suits, at the border, selecting our car ... >gulp< they were (fortunately) only hazmat-suits, so after disinfection with some spray (or mindcontrol, I can't tell, I was a bit off at the moment, and it was dark...), we could continue our drive...

  23. Al Pha

    Went on a perfectly legitimate business trip taking in Istanbul and Kiev. Coming back through B'ham Airport got stopped by Border Security - for the umpteenth time. They took me to a secluded area and proceeded to ask me string of questions: Why did I go? Who did I work for? Why do I travel so frequently? Etc, etc, etc.

    Questioning went on for about 20 minutes. I was tired and just wanted to get home. Finally, one guy asked me, in a conversational tone, "Have you been to China?" Unfortunately, at that point I lost it. "Why, have you got some holiday snaps?" I retorted. There was a long silence and no hint of a smile. 'Oh sh*t', I thought here come the cavity searches. Finally one of them said "Now, now sir" and that was that. I was allowed to go. I took care to maintain my equilibrium for subsequent trips/stoppings.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had same problem

    I was working for a UK military radar vendor at the Farnborough airshow in the 80s and we were invited for a special behind the scenes tour. Part way around it was realised that I was a Kiwi. Oops so I was escorted the rest of the way. Problem the person who took me out didn't know why I was being escorted so they took some short cuts and I saw things I don't think I was meant to see...

  25. Sequin

    I was working for the Home Office in the UK and had to pay a visit to Whitemoor Prison (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_Prison_Whitemoor) to fix a computer system. Whitemoor is the high security prison that is usually the home of terrorists - both Irish and International.

    To get into the office block I had to go through a security screening room - x-ray machines, hand held body scanners, pat-down, the lot. I had a very small penknife in my pocket (about a 2 inch blade) and this was confiscated and returned later.

    When I got into the office I realized that my briefcase, which had gone through the x-ray, contained a zip up case with office essentials - pens, pencils, stapler etc. It also contained a Stanley knife (box-cutter), a pair of scissors and a pencil sharpener with two blades. How good was that security check?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019