Monthly Archives: August 2005


With few exceptions today was a perfect day. It’s been a good week in all: work was enjoyable; I bought Michele a 512M MMC for her new 6230 – she wanted an MP3 player and it does a stonkingly good job; had a few good evenings with the Goldsmiths die hards (Llynos is leaving next week – we’re shrinking!); got a lot of overdue sleep; after being introduced by a friend I became a devoted follower of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism; that sort of thing.
But today was idyllic. We’d arranged to give my mum a week off from cooking her wonderful Sunday dinners in favour of a family kebab take-away. The weather was so, so beautiful it defies description. It was one of these blue-skies and golden sunshine affairs that is not only nice to look at, but life affirming. So we took Humph over with us and sat in the garden. Humph generally seems to get a lot out of being in that garden as do the rest of us. Especially with a couple of bottles of wine and a bottle of cheap Cava.
My dad and I went up the road to get the food and, following in a long family tradition, he went to the pub to order a couple of pints while I sorted out the kebabs. The understanding kebab shop owners are happy to give the food a load of TLC while we relax in the “Bankers Draft” (or “Brewers Droop” as my dad calls it). By the time I’d caught up with him in the pub he’d pulled! These two paraletic Canadian women who, after realising that they might have had a tad too much, had wisely switched to drinking halves….two at a time. I was happy with my Wetherspoons priced pint of “Waggledance” – named, according to the elder of the two women, after the “Hokey pokey” and she was kind enough to demonstrate how it worked. We reflected on the effect that all-day sunday opening has had on drinking habits and considered what 24hour opening would do…hmm
Anyway, we got back with the grub and ate in the garden as the sun went down while Humph attacked her millet-seeds with avian gusto. It all felt perfect!

My poor sister passed-out en route to a job interview this week and woke up on the platform of Lewisham station covered in blood. She had to have stitches. Her majesty’s constabulary [don’t they do a wonderful job ladies and gentlemen] didn’t bother letting our parents know she was in the hospital, leaving the duty a very kind bloke, apparently a bigwig at HSBC, who took her to the hospital and made sure she was ok. By the time we saw her today the scars were healing but she still looked like she’d had a crappy week 🙁

When we got back home we discovered our carefully baited traps has caught the mouse. The beautiful, furry little mouse. The mouse that I had managed to corner earlier this week and let go because I couldn’t bare to kill him in cold blood. Poor, terrified little thing.
So he’s been keeping us awake at night running around the bedroom and he’s been a keen eater of parrot food. The humane traps we’ve tried are so humane that they act as mouse-feeders, so we bought some mean cartoon-style snappy ones. So far these too have provided his evening meals. We wake up to find them surrounded by the detritus from a great meal..crumbs, seed hulls, a little brandy glass and some almost microscopic cigar butts… So today I set up a trap/bait configuration that couldn’t fail…and it didn’t. Poor, beautiful little thing.
As I was disposing of him and the trap I kept trying to reassure myself that he would have died instantly. Unlike the long drawn out, painful deaths of poison or, worse, glue-traps. Doesn’t really make me feel better though. Poor little sod was just trying to survive…like the rest of us…

The end of the week on Monday

Sunday ends just as Monday begins. Doesn’t that suck ?

Michele has been practicing her henna tattoo skills after getting inspired by one of her clients. She has drawn all kinds of hippy patterns on her hand. She also drew an excellent cartoon parrot on my left forearm which has now, sadly, worn off. So this weekend she gave me a henna tattoo of some fashionable chinese writing on my right wrist. Mine says “Sauteed, stir-fried beef in melon sauce”. A moving sentiment I’m sure you’ll agree. Next time I see Bob from the Walpole (a native Mandarin speaker – you’re right, that isn’t his real name) I’m going to proudly show it to him and tell him it means “love and peace” just to see the look on his face 🙂

Have you heard about those irresponsible parents of the innocent Brazillian man murdered by the Police for no good (publicly announced) reason ? They’ve only gone and sided with a bunch of violent, mad, pacifist, lefties! Why are they so irresponsible ? Surely they should behave like good citizens and shut the fuck up, go back to Brazil and stop questioning authority. Questioning anything is so ungodly you know.

Return of the Mack

The second week without the boss is now over. I’ve managed to do a lot of stuff, under the aupices of an American colleage, but for some reason I’m still looking forward to the return of my UK colleagues. It takes a while to get used to working in a team who are spread over two continents and several states. The fact we only know each other by voice is positive if only because it limits the number of ways we can pre-judge each other. So far, all my American colleagues seem really sound and on the ball. I would say that I’m nervous to meet them all face to face…but I’m not. In fact I’m looking forward to it. There’s one guy in particular who seems to “understand” things.

That all aside, I’ve been hanging out with a lot of “old” workmates this week (still no IP there – BT reckon 5am tomorrow – I think we may well see Christ first). Last night a bunch of us met up for a drink in the Walpole and then some of the old guard continued down to Kaya House for the best meal I’ve had in many months; probably since the last visit there.

When I first heard about the shooting of innocent Brazillian Jean Charles de Menezes, I was more concerned that there were armed officers wandering around London in plain clothes. Let me tell you, if I was followed by a bunch of skinhead coppers in mufty I would run like fuck…just like Charles de Menezes didn’t. In fact he behaved like a proper law-abiding citizen.
The media seems hell bent on starting a public debate on the “new shoot to kill policy”…mainly because the debates take place at 50p a go on premium-rate phone lines and reverse-billed text messages. But everyone is missing the point! The police have always operated a shoot to kill policy! You can’t practically operatate anything else, ask SO19! And I have no problem with it. It means that if firearms are used within the Met, they are used to take out nutters in an almost surgical way. They also shoot to the torso because the torso is big, not because it’s more humane! I hate to tell you this, but all of those war films where they “go for the legs” are simply lies to make you feel better. Let’s not fuck about; guns are designed to kill. if they don’t, then it’s a mistake.
The new “Operation Kratos” was simply a “shoot to the head rather than the torso” policy…which makes sense if you are actually going after genuine suicide bombers! What’s more important is that he wasn’t a terrorist! Which does put a bloody great big question-mark over the concept of arming the police at all.
When tactical firearms start letting off rounds, the people they are shooting at die.
Also, history has shown that SO19 have an astonishingly good record for not killing innicent people – really! Which is why I knew that this shooting could have nothing to do with SO19.

Indeed, the Met claim it was SO13! Now, as much as I admire Jack Regan, this is not the 70s. They no longer dish out Glocks to pissed-up plain clothes officers…do they ? If so, then what the fuck for ? In a nutshell I reckon it comes down to two possibilities:

  1. It was SO19 and they were wreckless, which also reflects very badly on senior officers, means they didn’t follow training and broke the rules.
  2. It was SO13 and they were wreckless, which also reflects very badly on senior officers and probably panicked judging by the number of shots they fired into the poor sod’s head.
  3. It was nothing to do with the force, but was actually the result of MI5’s drunken incompetence, and the police have agreed to take the blame…in return for something…a K perhaps ?
  4. As much as I dislike the whole concept of the police, I think the second option above is, sadly, more likely.
    There’s more, but I can’t be arsed, and I’ll bet you can’t either.

What’s going on ?

My last employer is having technical difficulties. As much as I’d like to say “If I’d been there it would have been sorted out by now” I can’t because, sadly, it’s not true. BT are, as usual, to blame. Now, if I were running my previous place of employment I would have sorted it out by now. But that’s a very unlikely thing. “Clearing” week is probably the most critical week for keeping Internet access going. Especially when web servers are hosted locally. There are lots of ways around this, all expensive and all BT should be paying for.
Regardless, laziness meant that my email was still hosted there. This has now been sorted out but still makes me want to jump up down on the face of BT senior executives.

That aside, my new job has been weirding me out, although not in an unpleasnt way. As the only non-American team-mates have been either working from home or on leave I have been working from home a lot. There’s nothing I can do in the office that I can’t do at home….well…apart from feel quite so depressed. I do that much better in a straight, tedious office environment. Open-plan offices are much like being married to a bunch of strangers..only without the love. I didn’t say “sex” there because I’m sure that’s rife. Frankly I can’t image anyone at my new workplace who could be found exiting by anyone else. Unless they were just plain kinky and really went for tedious, straight twats. I miss my work mates…
Working from home obviously has its advantages: keeping parrots company, not having to travel, not paying for lunch etc. But it also has its disadvantages: missing the company of humans; not having an excuse to go out; the ergonomics of the seating arrangements and, of course, daytime television. Consequently I have occasionally been going into the office just to remind myself of how lonely one can feel in a building full of strangers who are all professional miserable motherfuckers on the side. Now a new workmate has enlightened me to the joy of call1899 my home calls to the U.S. are so cheap that I’m having problems justifying the bus fare to Lewisham. Especially now that the fare machines are all either broken or nobbled by junkies, in such desperate need of pound coins that they will go to the trouble of block the sodding things up with chewing gum.
I’m still waiting for some project work. Until then I’m engaged in some interim jobs. Interesting jobs, but they don’t seem to count as much..what am I talking about.
Nighty night.

Academic Excellence

As the proprietor of Britain’s leading e-university, I am often asked which educational establishment I would recommend for prospective undergraduates. Well, I have recently encountered an advertisement for probably the most prestigious university in the country, and have no reservations in recommending them highly to everyone. Of course, I am referring to the London College of Business and Management (Leytonstone High Street); the breeding ground for the next generation of world leaders.
Not only do they offer “DOCTORATE DEGREE’S” [sic] in Computer Science, they also offer “OTHER COURSES’S” [sic] in English Language! Can’t decide between Oxford or Cambridge ? Well why not take the third way: The London College of Business and Management (Leytonstone High St)!

The thoughts of Bernard Black

Bernard Black (Google it you lazy sods) is my current favourite quotesmith:

“You can find work and sort your life out anytime. The pub closes in five hours.”

“Well, to be honest…after years of smoking and drinking…you do sometimes look at yourself and think. You know just sometimes inbetween the first cigarette with coffee in the morning to that 400th glass of cornershop piss at 3am, you do sometimes look at yourself and think:this is fantastic. I’m in heaven!”


Today I was induced into MegaCorp! A bit like being “made up” in the Mafia I would imagine. Only without being shot in the head.
They run regular induction courses for “new starters” and this was the nearest to my start date, despite being almost 4 weeks after the event. Hey, don’t knock it, it took 6 months for me to get booked on an induction at my…ahem…previous employer.
This induction was held at the Gattaca-style centre in “a recently developed part of the former industrial centre of London’s docklands” – you know. This building is so blatantly corporate and opulent that I always feel slightly uncomfortable milling about inside. The high number of high-visability, highly-strung security people, coupled with the huge number of bewildered visitors really gives the lobby a Gilliamesque surreality that does my fucking head in. The little voice eminating from the back of my cranium starts to remind me that “I DON’T BELONG HERE”…despite owning the necessary MegaCorp ID card required to gain entry. Being the only long-haired jeans-wearing scruff bag in the entire joint simplified my progress, mainly because the security people could instantly deduce that I was here for the induction so I was able to traverse the huge, marble-lined atriums, expensively decorated corridors and tons of superfluous glass, with ease.
What would you imagine the induction to be like for such a vast multinational corporation ? You’re so right. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Powerpoint-failure ballet was shortened as a result of the auditorium having its own PC installed. It still added an extra 10 minutes to the proceedings, but any regular conference-goer will be with me when I describe this as orgasmically short.
  • The expensive video projection system did get bollocksed-up enough for me to nearly embarrass myself. We were treated to the inspirational, introductory music to “The History of MegaCorp” five or six times; sometimes without the visuals, sometimes with some Windows graphics but only finally with the correct footage. Even then, half the voices were silent owing to creative stereo sound editing combined with a broken right channel. The climax of the film consisted of the current CEO, let’s call him “Wayne King”, delivering a terribly inspirational speech only to be halted by a horribly debilitating desease that froze him with some hideous blocky facial deformity. The key conference geezer used this paralysingly long time to faf about and announce that this was the end of the film anyway.
  • We learned about the new glorious 5 year^H^H^H^Hpoint plan that will ensure we achieve our mission statement: to become the most powerful organisation in de whole vorld!!!! Muwahahahahahah etc
  • We learned about the diversity of the company. In fact this was surprisingly well thought out and interesting, despite a considerably embarrassing excercise where we all had to ask ourselves where the listed scenarios were “acceptable” or “unacceptable”. They were things like:

    “A workmate often spends his time on the Internet looking up websites about raping and murdering woman.Occasionally he wears their skins into work and masturbates over the office plants.”.

    On the other hand, considering some of the scum that Megacorp attracts (cough…traders…) this may not be patronising after all…

  • We had coffee and tea…and I didn’t speak to anyone. Instead I simply stared into a previously unobserved piece of open space.
  • Other things

Despite all of this negativity, now that I have stuff to do I’m enjoying the work. The people I deal with are sound (despite some earnest to the point of being called “Ernie”) and my immediate colleages are not only nice and techincal, they hate Windows too! Cool!

Nice things

By the end of my second week at MegaCorp the digital bureaucracy had managed to fast-track me some accounts, allowing me to do a day’s work! Woohoo!
It was good too! Tech stuff, but enjoyable. Just enough mental excercise to make the hours pass away. In fact I’m now digging the new job. It’s about as far removed from the last job as you can get, in terms of social-life anyway, but that’s good. Also the UK members of my “team” are not only nice blokes but skilled tech-dudes too. Something of a contradiction I would have thought until now.

The weekend was disgustingly short. I bought a Belkin ADSL modem/router/firewall/wireless-access-point from PC Wank on saturday. It turned out to be a stonker of a good buy: not only does it contain a rather cool OS called ‘ATMOS/ISOS’ that’s very IOSy it can also run Linux 🙂 I’ll leave that bit of hackmongery until I get very bored.

We had our customary Saturday night curry and watched Wedding Crashers (worth a view – available on a torrent site near you). On Sunday I went over for a meal at my mum and dads. Michele had gone off to the parrot rescue place all day and Frances was at a barbecue [ have I blogged about my sister moving back to London after leaving her boyfriend/job/life in Plymouth ? IMHO she’s very brave and has made such a good decision. Obviously she doesn’t see it in those terms at this point but she will I’m sure.] We managed to have a really good laugh about all kinds of stupid stuff that night too.

Until sitting down at this computer I had intended to write all kinds of insightful stuff about the London bombs etc…but frankly I think it would have ended up being a load of old crap….so I didn’t bother.

Tonight the good folks of G*******s arranged for a night out at the nearest pub. We were threatened with ejection owing to the drunken state of my colleagues (not me obviously). For the benefit of my long-term-memory here are a few key points:

  • Dave’s pet idea
  • Llynos stripping off and getting into the paddling pool
  • Lisa’s “new look”
  • Jif and Llynos smashing up the chair and getting threatening comments from the guvnor

There are more interesting things…but I don’t remember them 🙁