Sunday, 25 January 2009

a) mostly b) impaired

There are two fun games to play in the canteen at the Big Gay Department Store.

The first is Hi-Lo Breakfast Pricing Gamble-o-rama. Select the same breakfast items each morning, and try to guess whether it will cost more or less than the previous week. Bonus points if you get the margin of difference correct (to the nearest five pence).

Game number two is Cake Or Death. There is always a wealth of splendid cakes on offer at tea time; and whilst it would be easy to take a slice of something that is known to be delicious - carrot cake, for example - there is a far more exciting emotional roller coaster to ride. Choose... THE MYS
TERY CAKE. The one with suspicious looking beige icing on it. It might turn out to be some kind of caramel-ish thing (Cake), and you will experience the heady thrill of having gambled all and come through victorious. On the other hand, it might be coffee flavoured (Death), and you will know the crushing pain of bitter disappointment.

Here is yesterday's specimen.

It turned out to be some kind of flapjacky thing, with innocuous brown bits in it; I determined it to be mostly Cake - Hoorah! Though I never managed to work out what the brown bits were. Possibly fig, or something.

So, in summary; it's been a slow week, and I have a hangover.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

We do not condone the mistreatment of cats. But we do think it's funny

Last week was mostly spent fighting a losing battle against self-inflicted narcolepsy.

Stupid drinking-on-a-school-night.

This has previously only been a feature of my Mondays at grown-up work, a result of misguided attempts to increase brain power through the consumption of alcohol so that we can destroy Bolshivism/win the IotG pub quiz every Sunday night.. It hasn't worked so far, but I'm going to keep trying anyway. The combination of Late Night + Early Morning + Long Boring Drive To Work means that I spend most of the day Monday staring at AutoCAD, trying to remember how to draw lines whilst I slowly drift out of consciousness. I wake up with a start when I realise that I've been clicking the mouse button randomly, and a bazillion windows have opened on my screen; I hurriedly close them all down, remember that I was trying to draw a line, and try to remember how to draw lines whilst I slowly drift out of consciousness...

And thus the cycle of incompetence is complete.

Usually this is only a problem on Mondays; but last week Ruth and I bimbled into the city centre in search of cocktails. We had a jolly nice time drinking in The Old Firehouse, marvelling at the stuffed crows perched atop the beams on the very very top floor. We got back home quite late, and then stayed up even later drinking tea and chatting about the search for God, what it's like to be an empty shell of a person, and the idea of starting a concept band called Hairy Entrails.

It all made some sort of sense at the time; less so when we each woke up for work the next day after only three hours sleep.

And it wasn't like I could get away with finding some secluded part of the plant to have a little nap in either; because grown-up work just got busy. More bosses from America are due to visit very soon, and various departments are jumping up and down about getting projects finished early. Most recent conversations have gone along these sorts of lines:

ME: We can get this done by the 3rd of February.

THEM: We need it done sooner than that.

ME: We can get this done by the 3rd of February.

THEM: Can we get it done by the end of January?

ME: We can get this done by the 3rd of February.

THEM: What can we do to get it done by the end of January?

ME: Start a breeding program for electricians. If we pump them full of accelerated growth hormones, stop the sun from setting, and adopt the use of a different kind of calender that puts an extra three or four days in January, it might just be possible.

THEM: ...just see what you can do.

Meanwhile, at my Bristol residence, we have a new toy; a Cat-in-the-boxTM.

She loves her box. Presently, the most fun thing to do with the Cat-in-the-boxTM is to close the lid and poke things through gaps between the lid and the box, resulting in frenzied thrashing and mad flailing of cat limbs from within.

Simple things, simple minds etc.

I am thinking that we should change the name of the cat from Rasputin to Captain Chesley B Sullenberger III; partly to honour the man who so bravely crashed an expensive plane belonging to someone else into a river without killing anyone, but mainly because I think it's the coolest name I've ever heard; and I like the idea of giving the cat a title.

If she's a captain, we can demand that people salute her.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Set phasers to suck

Customer: I got this for Christmas, and I don't really want it. Is it possible to get a refund?
Me: Certainly madam, no problem; there's is just a bit of paperwork to fill out. Because it wouldn't be fun without paperwork, would it?
Customer: Er... I suppose not...
Me: So, if you could just write your name at the top of this receipt, and sign at the bottom...
Customer: My name? What do you mean?
Me: Your name. That's who you are, madam. Write it just there, next to where it says "Customer Name"...

This is pretty much what life at the Big Gay Department Store has been like for the past few weeks. Also giving me the rage have been:
  • The woman who tried to get a refund for an empty box, having forgotten to put the contents back into it before she left the house.
  • The woman who tried to get a refund on items that she bought in an entirely different store.
  • The couple who changed their minds four times when trying to decide where they wanted their new £1000 TV to be delivered to, each time requiring the whole transaction to processed again.
  • The people who just stand in the middle of the escalators (our lives are short, and my lunch break even shorter; and I resent losing precious moments of each having t stare at a fat arse getting slowly fatter it's owner is TO LAZY TO CLIMB SOME FUCKING STAIRS).
  • The jerk in the office that keeps putting me down on the rota for childrenswear.
  • Newly married couples who want to refund EVERYTHING that was bought for them from their wedding list (I feel like saying to them that since they don't even seem able to agree on what kitchenware they want, their marriage is clearly going to fail very soon; and that when they each remarry, perhaps they should JUST ASK FOR FUCKING VOUCHERS).
  • Me, every time I catch myself saying "PIN number" instead of just "PIN". Aargh!
Rant over. For now, at least.

Meanwhile, grown-up work has been slightly less farcical than usual (although we did have to endure an hour of mandatory health and safety training in which the floor was identified as a Fall Prevention System). I even got suckered into doing some vaguely important stuff at a two-day "Kaizen" meeting earlier this week. At first I was only there as the CAD bitch, to make layout changes on demand; but the guy that was supposed to represent Plant Engineering was off sick. The second choice person wasn't available, and nor were the third, fourth or fifth choices; even the Polish guy who changes the handtowels in the toilets was busy. So that meant it came down to me to point out such technical details as "you'll probably need some lights in that room, or something".

In other news, Fatty Mouse is unwell. Behold.

Those who find the above image too harrowing may prefer the artist's impression provided below, courtesy of The Boy.

It seems that something is causing irritation to little Blob-ra's wee snout, and so she has scratched it raw. Or maybe she is attempting to emulate Rudolph the Reindeer, so as to get into the festive spirit. Perhaps I shall make her some tiny antlers.

And finally, my former housemate Ruth became an ex-former housemate when she moved back into the Exeter Mafia Headquarters just before Christmas. Turns out that her boyfriend Sam that she had moved in with was perfect in every way, apart from being a clinically depressed Jehova's Witness forced to choose between his girl and his family. He chose... unwisely.

"Oh dear Ruth, that's a bit rubbish. How are you feeling about all that?"
"I'm a husk."
"High five!"