Friday, 28 September 2007

Junior’s movie game

To ease the boredom a little, junior has started to make up games for the section to play. However, rather than being fun, they have become antagonistic mind games between the team. His latest game consists of someone picking a film, then everyone guesses the year it came out and the rating it got on the IMDB movie database ( Junior writes all the guesses down, then gives a point to the closest year and rating.

Eric wasn’t playing today, because he’d got an urgent job to get out, but the was in earshot of the whole proceedings. He wasn’t too happy with the calibre of some of the guesses. He got particularly annoyed at the poor guessing for the “Back to the future 2” movie. At one stage he turned round and had to interject.
He turned round and said “Can I make a suggestion?”

Everyone just laughed. Imagining that he could just tell them to grow up and do something more constructive with their time.

“Why don’t you play with people who have some kind of movie knowledge?”

It came round to Chris for picking a film and his mind went blank. So he asked if he could have a film from yesterday. Junior agreed, and he picked Quadrophenia. Nige had to guess first (who was the only one not in on the game yesterday). He questioned the rule about letting them pick a film from yesterday, but then proceeded to guess 1977. Quick as a flash Chris went for 1979.
“You spent a long time thinking about that one,” said Nige.
Then the rest of them in turn all picked 1979 as well. There was much shouting about cheating, then Nige piped up:
“I’ve found a flaw in the rules of your game. If you let them pick films from yesterday then they’re all going to know the answer.”
“What were the last two words in your first sentence?” asked Junior.
“I’ve found a flaw in the rules of your game?” said Nige.
“What were the last two words?” asked Junior again.
“…your game?” said Nige.

At the end of the game Chris was announced as the winner, to much shouting of “cheat”. He managed to get them all worked up. I’m sure he is only trying to antagonise everyone He’s now started handing out coloured elastic bands to the winners for them to display on the corners of their monitors.

Neil's communication

Neil sent Karen an e-mail earlier this week. He’d gone for an interview at a lab 10 minutes walk from his house (he had a chemistry degree).:
Thank you for the card I received last week. Can you thank the rest of the team for me. I have managed to get an interview for a laboratory technician vacancy in Telford. The lab is only a 10 minute walk from my house. I didn’t know it was there or I could have applied for a job earlier. The best thing about the job is that it is 4 days on, 4 days off. The shifts are 12 hours long, but I would be out of the house less time then I was when I was there as I have not got the 4 hours a day travelling.

Hope everything is going well at Tipton

I imagine there’s more of a chance of him turning up if he’s only 10 minutes away. Also, if he skives a day off, there’s more chance that someone might spot him skiving. Karen got a second e-mail from him telling her that he was starting on Sunday. He also wanted to express his apologies to the boss for the last time he phoned him, trying to tell him where to stick his job. I imagine he’s going to need a reference.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Never get caught out at work again

Last week, while I was away, they moved Clive to a different desk to try and get some work out of him. He’s not the most observant of people, and now he has his back facing the walkway. On Tuesday, after dinnertime, he was on the internet and he had found some “stealth buster device”, on, that you can plug in at the back of your computer, so that if the boss comes round unexpectedly, you can hit a button and it will minimise your internet explorer (I’m fairly sure that you can do that with the tab button on your keyboard anyway).
It had a big advertisement saying “Never get caught out at work again”. Unfortunately the boss had gone walkabout, and was standing behind him at the time, although he didn’t realise this. Acting quite furtively, he minimised his internet window and signalled to attract Junior’s attention. Junior got up and walked round, all with the boss standing quietly behind Clive. As Junior reached Clive’s desk the boss said “Are you going to show him that window now?” causing Clive to jump out of his skin. Junior was wetting himself with laughter.

It's Christmas

As you may already be aware it’s Christmas. Well not really, but the supermarkets have all got their Christmas wares out on the shelves, and everyone wants to know what everyone else is doing about Christmas meals.
The company isn’t doing a “big bash” like it has for the past couple of years, so each department is being given a budget of £25 per head and letting them organize their own thing. There was an e-mail going round asking for suggestions. We had a bit of discussion yesterday. Junior wanted an evening of bowling, which is a bit odd for a Christmas do (I suspect he goes bowling a fair bit, and is probably good at it and wants to show off). I’d suggested going over the Chinese quarter for a nice Chinese. Junior wanted to know why we should go over there for a Chinese, when we could stay local and get an “All you can eat buffet” for £10. I told him that if someone else is buying for a change, you might as well go for a posh one.
He said “You could spend the rest on drinks.”
I said “You have to claim it back on expenses according to the e-mail. I don’t think the company would foot the bill for a big booze-up. Plus you’re going to have to get receipts every time you go to the bar, and you’re not going to keep track of who’s got the receipts if you’re all drunk.”
Everyone feels in a party mood right now, but after a few months of cold weather and everyone has got colds and sore throats the mood changes. Everyone gets on each other’s nerves and people don’t want to socialize anymore.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


I’m not sure if I mentioned that we have been covertly filming Junior at his desk with his cordless headphones on, nodding his head about and doing the odd bit of drumming on his desk. We were going to set it to music, originally some rock tune, but since reviewing it we thought the theme to Sesame Street would be better.
Since we got some good footage of Junior I’ve been dying to capture crazy Helen on film. She is amazing when she gets going. I can only describe her as a kind of female John Cleese. She gets out of her chair and keeps the rest of her body in the same shape as she was sitting down, then manages to just move her legs and waddle like a nervous duck, looking around her as she goes, moving about very jerkily. Then when she comes back to her chair she puts her hands on the arm rests and just hangs there in mid-air for 10 seconds before she decides to lower her bum onto the seat. I’m not sure if she is even conscious that she is doing all this stuff. It would be very difficult to film though, because I never know when she is going to be getting up from her seat. What I really need is a BBC Wildlife camera crew that could stay poised in position all day waiting for the right moment to capture on film.
She is going to have to work when she moves onto the new section. No more spending the whole of the afternoon on the phone while she just pushes her mouse from side to side with her spare hand in some kind of gesture of working. I will also miss all the jokes about Clive and his size. Like the running joke about him having his own gravitational pull. Yesterday he went to McDonalds at dinnertime with Dan and ate two complete burger meals. He didn’t want to go to McDonalds today. So they made a joke of having to let them re-stock before he goes back.

Extraordinary team meeting

Yesterday Karen (team leader) put round an e-mail inviting us all to a meeting. She’d even booked a meeting room on the first floor. I thought it was going to be about the employee opinion survey, or the ideas for a Christmas meal. I couldn’t have been more wrong. One of the managers, who has been off long term sick, has been replaced (until Christmas at least) by a new guy. He’s been taking a look at the organisation and is moving some of our staff about to make a new section (supposedly temporary) for clearing a backlog of work that he wasn’t happy about. Of course, when this all starts happening you worry about what other changes he would make, and if your job is safe. The good part about this was that each section has volunteered staff which they would be happy to let go. So Karen had put forward our two duffers, Clive and crazy Helen, who we would have difficulty getting rid of any other way. This has all been explained to Clive and Helen (that it’s only until Christmas) and they seem happy enough (not that they had much option). Karen suspects that it will be a permanent move though. So the mood of the office has brightened considerably, with each of the sections putting up there two worst staff to move onto a new section.
I’m expecting that we will get them back at some stage, but driving home yesterday I had a silly grin on my face all the way. A happy song came on the radio, the sun came out from behind the clouds, and the traffic on the dual carriageway seemed to part just to let me through.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Sleeping in Barcelona airport

Found an amazing site while killing time waiting for my breakfast to go down. People who have slert in various airports around the world, and how to get the best from the experience.

Having a great time, but it's very hot and I'm exhausted.

Sunday, 16 September 2007


Free internet access at the hotel. How civilized.
Currently on holiday in Barcelona. Been down to the beach today, but it was boiling hot, so we've come back to the air-conditioned hotel to cool off. Given up trying to speak Spanish. Reverted back to talking English very loudly, and pointing.
Will post some photos when I get back to England.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Raqueeb's stress ball

The one section of the office erupts with laughter, and it takes them a while to compose themselves so they can relate the tale to us. Raqueeb comes up and tells us that he was going through Jason’s desk looking for a stapler. He found what he thought was a black ball. Thinking it was one of those stress relief balls he squeezed, only to find that it was in fact a left over plum from fruit day, and the juice went all over his pale blue shirt. Steve was laughing so much that he was crying.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Bass and drum

Mark comes down and asks Nige if he gets any drum and bass on his dodgy DVDs each week, and can he do him a compilation of just the drum and bass albums. Nige has told him before that it’s not worth his while splitting up the weekly DVDs into categories.
Steve: “Why don’t you get Jim to do some human beat-boxing for you while you’re working?”
Mark: “Please don’t.”
Nige: (Shouting down the office)”Jim. Can you do any human beat-boxing?!”
Jim: “No problem. I’ll give that a go.”

Just at that point Jim’s mobile starts to ring, and he walks down the office to exit to the corridor to answer it.

Steve: “I thought he was going to give it a go then, I thought that was his backing track.”

At that point Andy walks in. He was having a dig yesterday because Nige was going for his induction at the gym.

Andy-”How was the gym Nige?” (With a bit of a laugh at the end)
Mark – “You’ve been to the gym?” (He laughs a bit too)
Nige – “Do you want taking outside?”

At this point Jim comes back into the office, putting his mobile back in his pocket. He comes over to finish the conversation.
“Yes mate”, Jim says to Nige. “I’ll have a go at a bit of Bass and drum.”
Dan nearly wets himself on hearing “bass and drum”.


Andy is fasting with Raqueeb, except he wants to drink tea instead of just water.
Raqueeb explains that he can only eat after sunset and before dawn.
“Do you stuuf yourself during the night then?” asks Nige.
“No. If you’re not eating during the day your stomach wouldn’t take a large amount of food over night.” It’s obvious that there is an exact science to keeping to your fast, which I don’t think Andy will be able to keep up.
Dave asks “Is this to please some god or other?”
Raqueeb corrects him “The god, there is only one god.”
Dave: “Well I don’t know do I. I try my best to converse with you ethnics.”

Later on Andy has a go at Marie for constantly eating next to him while he’s trying to fast.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Eric not really juggling bananas by anyone's standard

And here eventually is Eric juggling bananas. unfortunately he cannot juggle, we managed to talk him into having a go. He starts off with two, then (as he requested) I throw the third one in when he gets going.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Steve juggles left over bananas

Steve has a go at juggling with some left over bananas this week. He had a fair number of goes at it. It’s apparently much more difficult then the apples and stuff. The funny bit for us was Nige says “He’s in a rhythm now” just as he drops them.