Friday, 4 July 2008

Gis a Job

One of the unique and immensely annoying joys of working in IT is the number of plainly ignorant people I meet who really believe they can do my job better than me. I actually worked with an accountant who asked me an obscure question about a spreadsheet just so that he could then show me the answer. This guy had been asking me strange questions for weeks, it was obvious he was trying to catch me out and he'd put a lot of research into this latest question, which of course I didn't know the answer to.

I don't know every function of every bit of software on every computer, why should I? Would you ask a BMW Garage to fix your Lexus? Idiot. I have since discovered that accountants and Financial Controllers (ie. Fat Controllers or jumped up bean counters) are all of the opinion that they know IT because they know how to use a calculator. Accountants are scum, any moron can add up columns of numbers. 99.999% of accountants could (and should) be replaced by a calculator but the calculator would have to have a personality reduction. Yes, even as a King Geek I am aware that accountants are profoundly dull people. (note: Accountant = Account + ant, ie overdraft and lots of small things which we want to drown in boiling water)

But getting back to the point. Most IT people are professionally qualified, they continue to train and sit exams throughout their working lives, unlike most professions, but are still treated like dogs. Obviously not English dogs who are treated very well, but more like Indian dogs who are kicked and shunned or Korean dogs who have their giblets made into pies. Apparently, well I assume they have pies and pasties in Korea, why wouldn't they? They've got nuclear technology so they ought to be able to make a Cornish Pasty, but I'm not sure it would be a "Cornish" if it has canine entrails in it. They could call it a Pyongyang Tang Pastry Parcel or use some clever marketing shuffle like "Cornish Style Pasty". Anyway, enough guff.

Imaging you having this conversation with your doctor:

you: Hi, I've noticed a pain in my elbow which is really bad when I play tennis
doc: Sounds like Tennis Elbow to me, I'll refer you to a physiotherapist and here's a note for some painkillers
you: hmmm... that's an interesting idea but actually I need a Chinese massage because a friend of mine hurt his ankle in a kick boxing accident and he said the Chinese massage fixed it.
doc: was is Thai kick boxing or Korean?
you: I didn't know there was a Korean kick boxing, does it matter? what about the Chinese massage?
doc: by all means have a Chinese massage, it may well help but I wouldn't recommend it as the only treatment
you: thanks but I think I'll just go with the Chinese massage, they're really clever these Chinese you know
doc: well fuck off then and give me the prescription back you stupid bastard, next time you come here with your fucking cheap shit laptop I'm going to piss on it and throw it out of the window! And you along with it!

You wouldn't do that, you don't question the doctors advice. Maybe occasionally express an opinion but not every bleeding time. Nor would you tell your solicitor he's quoting the wrong case law. You wouldn't go to a restaurant and tell the chef to add cinnamon to his tartar sauce, you wouldn't tell the travel agent to book you on Quantas "they have the best safety record", "but they don't fly to fucking Ipswich", "no I insist, safety is the most important thing and you should know that", would you tell a policeman to get a bigger gun because it's more likely to hit the target? All of these things are plain stupid, but most office people seem to think it's ok to tell the IT support things like "I heard that the rockets that went to the moon had the computing equivalent of a calculator but you can't get this printer to work".

That's why your laptop doesn't work dickhead, every time the helpdesk guy comes round he installs another virus on your machine because you won't treat him like a human being. You deserve it, actually you deserve worse.

I haven't done helpdesk for a long time but I still get annoyed when I see people treating the helpdesk like that. I read an article about Indian call centre workers (mostly school leavers) crying, depressed because of the racist abuse they get from British and American callers. They are the same people who are rude to check-in staff, look down at waiters, treat hotel workers like their personal slaves etc. The thing to note about these people is they are always stressed because they think they are surrounded by incompetence and it's their mission to set everyone right. That's what gets them in the end, stress, ulcers, nervous breakdown, early grave, hooray!

I saw a bum asleep on a pavement in Paris in the middle of rush hour, he'd dropped his bottle of wine, it was a rosé. I thought "There but for the grace of god go I". What unnerved me a bit was that he seemed to be smiling in his sleep. That's what set me off thinking about all this, I was returning from a training course to get another one of those qualifications I mentioned. And because it's Independence Day (only in America), for the rest of us it's just another Dependence Day.

Happy Day,


Thursday, 3 July 2008

Travel XXI, Parisien Walkways

There is a small delay in this travel post-it because of the kickbladder nonsense, a bit like the train from...

This was the mother of all upgrades. (That meme credit goes to the late Saddam Hussain, RIP)

Here's the full breakdown; Saturday morning, I'm going on a trip to Paris which I would have started on Sunday night or Monday morning but because it's Paris I thought it would be smart to go early and take Girlfriend with me. In an unusual move, inspired by Girlfriend's travelling habits, I decided to call the hotel to confirm the reservation. No reservation, hello shitfight.

During the taxi ride to train station and while boarding the train I'm on the phone to the travel agent trying to explain why he is an idiot and I hate everything in the world ever because all I wanted was a f***ing fried egg on b****rd toast but instead I've been talking to f***head all morning and I haven't even started yet so don't start. JJ gets grumpy when he's hungry.

Once the room was booked, for two night only, I slept (listening to Slayer) through the rest of the train ride. Not really nice for Girlfriend but I'm best isolated when I'm in that mood.

So, we had a good time in Paris, met with friends, had lunch, cycled through the city, went for drinks, went for dinner and it was the music festival night so we saw plenty of bands on the streets, it was great, hot and sunny, everything perfect.

Monday morning, I took my luggage with me to the training centre and called the travel agent again. That very night I was checked in to the George Washington Suite. Normally this suite costs 1,900 euro per night, I got a free upgrade because someone screwed up my booking. Imagine a great big hotel room with a massive bathroom and then there's another room with a sofa, coffee table, two armchairs and a dinner/meeting table with six seats. There's a huge tv and minibar in the bedroom and another huge tv and minibar in the other room. The funny thing was the whole training session could have easily fitted into my suite. The less funny thing was that I didn't mention it in case some idiot took me seriously, there are a lot of idiots around, I know.

I was in my suite revelling in my luck when the lights went out. I checked with reception and they gave me a gallic shrug over the 'phone, the light's were out on the whole street, "nothing we can do". It was late anyway so I just went to bed. About 2.35am the lights came on again; "what the fuck? who's there? oh shit the power cut". I stumbled around and put all the lamps out, eventually I headed back to bed still half asleep and fell over a foot stool and scraped my arm against the arm chair. I lost quite a lot of arm-skin that night. I wonder what housekeeping thought of the blood on the sheets? I was too sleepy to get first aid, I just ran it under the tap and went back to bed, carefully.

Next couple of days were fairly event free, Germans won at football, the sun came up in the morning, blah blah. On the way home the railway track caught fire and the train was delayed a collosal one hour and thirty five minutes. The usual argy bargy with the French, first some bugger in my seat complaining that someone else was in his seat who in turn was complaining that someone else was in his seat. This is the Gallic way I suppose, instead of sorting the first problem out, just nick someone else's seat and force him somewhere else and so on until half the carriage is irate. Anyway, I wasn't having it. I put my bags down and said "That's my seat and I'm going to get it", I didn't even shout but the guards got busy and everyone got moved. It never ceases to amaze me how easily these things are sorted out.

Now there's free internet on this Thalys thing I've written all this before the train even moved, but I'm not publishing it until that damned kickbladder is finished and I can go home and have a decent cup of tea.


So now it's time, obviously the Germans lost the next game but the records will show that I made forty quid even after the pony I conceded to gothic.

Monday, 30 June 2008

KickBladder 7: Ballacks

It's been a good summer so far, I managed to get out of Brussels twice and get some sun. I need it, I suffer from SAD. I've had Seasonal Affected Disorder since before it was even recognised as a thing. You might think that moving to Brussels would be a bad move for me with this condition but it's ok, the key is in the word "seasonal". If it's shit weather all year round, it doesn't bother me. On the contrary, because that's off my mind I can focus on other stuff.

Well, as soon as I think of something I'm going to do it. Unlike the German team. I would have been one hundred and five Euro to the good this morning, instead I'm looking at forty (again). At least I didn't lose, unlike the German team. Yes there was a bias to the whole series of kickbladder reports, this "writer" was sold and bought before a single bladder was kicked. There you have the truth, it's up to you to handle it, welcome to the real coffee.

But "what's next?" I hear you opine, you got over that pretty quickly, well I'll tell you. The Olympiad, yes The Games, The Torch, The Spirit, everything, that's where I'm headed. Metaphorically anyway. In reality I'll be sitting in front of the tv with a Chinese takeaway waiting for the Men's 100m sprint, I don't know what the rest of it is about. I did triple jump at school and was quite good at it but I couldn't help wondering at the arbritaryness of it. Why "hop, skip, jump?" what does that prove? why not "wave your arms in the air, pretend to laugh, and cross the street to avoid your girlfriends best friend", there's a skill I could use.

On the other hand old Bob Mugabe won his election, shame I didn't have money on that. That's were the Germans went wrong, they weren't armed and they didn't kill or maim the opposition in the run up to the game. There are many parallels with sport and politics, for example Gordon Brown and Michael Ballack, Gordon looks older but you could easily be excused for thinking they are related. Try to imagine either of them smiling, it's difficult isn't it? Am I right in thinking it was also Bob Mugabe who coined the phrase "making a storm out of a teacup" in reference to the South African threats to cut off electricity to Zimbabwe for late payment of bills? It was on the BBC website as I recall.

What I don't understand is, with all these teenagers knifing each other why don't we have a decent fencing team in Great Britain? and why is it called "fencing"? Why not "The Sword Fight", it would be much more popular. Kids don't understand "fencing". If you asked fifty kids to be in school at seven am for the sword fight, they'd be there. Ask Bruce Dickinson, he set up his own fencing school.

Have you noticed how I don't put nice links to Wikipedia to explain things like "teenagers" and "Great Britain", I've noticed a lot of people do that and frankly I find it patronising. Don't click on that, you know it's going to be silly. The other reason is that I can't be bothered, you're not paying for this so what do I care if you don't know that Bruce is the lead singer of Iron Maiden and was a national fencing champion. I don't know if he was actually champion, look it up.

The good thing about the intermediate summer is there aren't so many flies, they don't like the cold. I don't know how they even know what temperature it is, they can't read. Flying is hard work and flying things generally have to eat a lot of food just to keep going. The problem for flies is they eat shit so they'll have to eat ten times as much to get the same nutrients. And there's another parallel with politicians, because they talk shit they have to say ten times as many things to give the impression that they might be saying something useful. Unless it's sunny, when it's sunny nobody give's a rats backside about politics, including politicians.

I should be in politics, but before that I should be in bed. And that's another parallel with politicians but I'm sure you can work that one out yourself (I'm sleeping alone).