Cool blue

I just have to say a quick “thank you” to the beautiful Leah for the dinky birthday present she sent me last week. Blue, starry fairy lights. USB-powered blue, starry fairy lights. Seasonal and geeky!

I wish I had a camera. Not just to show you what they’re like dangling around my monitor, but to show you the office window from outside in the dark. While I’m sat here I don’t notice how bright they are. I only spotted last night that once the office lights are off, the whole rooms glows blue. From the street it looks like an alien abduction is taking place!

So thank you, Leah. You’ve helped brighten our office up! Nicely complimented by the pink snowflake screensaver on my Ubuntu laptop as well.

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Whisky-cam

Johnnie Walker

I have a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label on my desk. I more or less live in this office so it makes more sense than keeping it in the apartment I share. I was thinking of having a picture per day of the level in the bottle so you could judge my mood… but I don’t have a camera with me.

So you’ll just have to take my word for it. It went down quite a bit this evening.

Thankfully for celebratory reasons.

Geek warning: I don’t know PHP. I don’t “code”. It’s the one thing I don’t do. I hack away at other people’s script, and adapt and change it but I don’t code from scratch. We have an ap I set up last year using some script from the amazingly wonderful resource at Maian Script World. I hacked and cobbled and messed with it (with some help from the original author who was incredibly helpful) and we got something that kinda did what we wanted.

Then this season I found they wanted more.

So I hacked and cobbled and messed and now i have a very happy catering manager. I fear I may be H-C-M’ing a bit more to put the final touch on it before I depart in December.

The downside? We have a web-ap supplied by another company. Apparently they quoted £10k for this functionality online. I’ve given it to the company as part if my incredibly low monthly pay-packet.

Arse.

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Unwanted work colleagues

Two year old cross heifer
A fat heifer. Yesterday.

This is an offshoot of today’s Scaryduck Vote-Winning Story-A-Thon. Scary’s tale of a useless, loud-mouthed office heifer reminded me of someone who left our employ about 6 months ago.

Let’s call her… Lisa. Not to be confused with the other two Lisas here, one of whom departed of her own free will (and is gorgeous) and the other who still works here (who is also gorgeous). No, this Lisa was a minger of the highest order. And the world’s greatest bullshitter. Sadly also the world’s worst trainer which is a shame, as that was her job.

I was first introduced to her when I joined the company 4 1/2 years ago. I had to sit through 2-3 weeks of her training courses to gain some knowledge of the software I was working with. I’ll tell you, the things she had done in the past… Very impressive for a rather unattractive woman with the figure of a huge beachball full of half-set jelly.

Far be it from me to insult people based on their size. As anyone who knows me will vouch, I prefer a lady with the fuller figure. In fact, I have dated women larger than this person. But it’s the individual who makes a difference and Lisa was a fat, ugly, annoying bint. As opposed to a cuddly, pretty, fun-loving person – which she would have been with someone else’s brain in there.

Anyway, over the course of the years she fed us so much bull crap I began to think she was trying to grow roses in the office. A handful of examples:

  • Her dad had trained the SAS in sniping
  • Her dad had been a fireman
  • In fact, her dad had done so much that I doubt he held a job down for more than 3 days at a time
  • She was once an Olympic-standard swimmer until she broke her back in a freak gym accident when a qualified trainer forced her to bend over too far
  • She was developing a brain tumour
  • Her ex-fiance’s dad was the owner of KLM and bought her a £50,000 engagement ring which she returned when they broke up
  • He also bought her a Ducatti seven billion cc motorbike as a birthday present when they were on holiday in Italy. She test-drove it on the Ducatti test track
  • She got caught speeding on said bike, but the policeman who pulled her over said he’d let her off if he could have a go. He turned up on her doorstep a couple of days later
  • Her gran lived in a crappy house in a crappy area, but kept over a hundred grand under the mattress
  • She got Bon Jovi to sing Happy Birthday to a friend of hers at a gig once

There was more. I’ll spare you.

What amazed me was the vast amount of negative feedback we got from her training courses. “Spends more time over lunch than she does on lessons” was one. “Far too much time talking about herself and not enough on inventory management” another. My old boss tried to get rid of her, I believe. For some reason she never shifted.

I spoke to customers on site who wanted training but wouldn’t come back if they were getting her. A waste of money, in their opinion. The only person who remotely equalled her in terms of customer revulsion was the MD at the time.

Like someone else on Scary’s blog comments, she also always believed she was in on the joke when usually she was the butt of it. I was unfortunate enough to sit opposite her for about a year, putting up with her endless butting into conversations and humming bloody pop songs.

One day she leaned over my partition and said, “Iain? Can I ask your opinion?”

Quick as a flash, my mouth responded before my brain had time to come up to speed.

“Yep. You’re fat, you’re ugly and you smell.”

Deafening silence. Broken briefly by Stuart’s jaw hitting his desk and Jason spurting coffee up the wall.

I have gone down in legend for that. Even the PA’s mum knows me as “the guy who told Lisa she was fat, ugly and smelled” and I’ve never even met the woman.

Sadly (ha!) she was kicked out on what has since become known as Black Friday, when they culled about 10 of our staff. Unsurprisingly, we had a sudden upsurge in training very shortly after she departed. Enough, in fact, that over 2 weeks as a direct result of customers knowing they’d not be getting her we made enough profit to cover her termination settlement. Think how much we’d have made if we’d binned her 2-3 years earlier.

It seems like every office has one. I can honestly say I’m glad we no longer do.

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