Friday, 24 April 2009

Bah Bah Bay Bah Really?

The Boss : "Do we do... do we offer Beirut by rail?"

Here's me : "By rail? Nah I doubt it. But there's a direct service by vessel into the port I'm pretty sure."

The Boss : "No, by vessel?"

Here's me : "Um, yeah? That's what I said."

The Boss : "No, Bahrain. Do we offer Bahrain?"

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A Brief Round-Up

With the return of She Who Cannot Be Named, there is a veritable overload of wanton stupidity in progress here today, too much tragedy and pain for me to go into detail so I shall instead provide you with a brief summary of the highlights so far. All hot off the press -

She's Taking On Water

The Boss : "Have you shipped anything out with Elaine?"

Here's me : "Um, Elaine? The lady in reception?"

The Boss : "With Wallenius?"

(this refers to Wallenius Wilhelmsen, a true and existing shipping line, with whom we ship goods - not to be confused with any lady called Elaine, whom it is hard to imagine under any circumstances to be a suitable vessel for the movement of deep sea cargoes)

Take That To The Bank

The Boss : "I spent so much money and I don't know where it went. I only brought back twelve hundred euros"

Here's me : "Twelve hundred fucking euros!?? How much money did you take with you?!?"

The Boss : "Two hundred."

Here's me who can't be arsed with this shite today : "Aye whatever"

Installation Corrupt

The Boss, starting a conversation with me while staring fixedly at the screen and dialling out on the phone at the same time : "What's un-install install?"

Here's me : "What?"

(presumably the call has just been answered)

The Boss, into the phone : "Google Chrome?"

(presumably the person on the other end of the line has just said "Wha?")

The Boss : "Wrong number" (hangs up phone)

(now looking at me) : "Is Ryan there?"

It Takes A Big Person To Admit, etc.

Here's me : "You have two files open for James Wightman. He called earlier in the week because he's received the same customs entry for both files. I looked in the files and I see you have filed a copy of the same customs entry with each one. Where is the correct one for the second file?"

The Boss : "No, they're in the right files."

Here's me : "They're not. I looked at them both, both the same reference, both 52-V."

The Boss, motioning me over : "Look, they're both in the right files"

Here's me : "You've just taken them out and moved them round."

The Boss : "I didn't, they were always in the right files."

Here's me, amused : "I just watched you do it. Look, it's got holes in the top corner where you tore it off from the staples, look."

The Boss : "No I didn't."

Here's me : "Aye whatever."

If He's Having One, I Want One Too

The Boss : "Your driver in Tilbury's just off the phone. They won't give him a tablet."

Here's me : "Er... a tablet?"

The Boss : "For waiting."

Here's me : "Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?"

The Boss : "They won't give him a ticket for the weighbridge."

Quit Bugging Me

The Boss, while on the phone : "Would you ring reception and ask if them if they're trying to cut in on my phone?"

Here's me : "Eh, wha?"

The Boss : "It sounds like someone's tapping my phone, would you ask reception if it's them?"

Here's me : "Are you entirely serious?"

The Boss : "Yes, do it."

(I actually did it too, just for the laugh like)

Classic Rock-aproprism

The Boss : "Have you lifted anything out of Iron Maiden?"

(This one caused me to erupt into laughter and in fairness The Boss did too once she realised what she'd said, she had intended to say 'Iron Planet' which is a U.S. based customer of ours. Classic though)

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

The Boss : "If Jonathan Parker rings up we haven't taken out Mark Stewart."

(I suspect there are two wholly seperate notions in here that would demand two wholly seperate sentences, but if you think I'm diving in to find out what it all means then you can frankly go and fuck)

It's On The Tip Of My Tongue

(In the midst of a discussion about why a particular customer is no longer using us in favour of a more expensive carrier)

Here's me : "Well, it's fairly obvious isn't it - he's taking backhanders."

The Boss : "You can't ignition that."

Here's me : "Wha?"

The Boss : "That's just instigation."

Here's me : "Wha?"

The Boss : "It's an"

Here's me : "Wha the hell do you mean?"

The Boss : "I mean you can't know that, you're just guessing"

Oh the irony.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Return to Form

Sigh. Like I don't have enough to do trying to tie up a hundred fucking stupid loose ends buried in a disorganized pile of shite, while one-manning the telephone etc. whine whinge woe is me and so on - without Champion The Wonder Boss phoning me every twenty fucking minutes with some other bright idea.

The stress in my voice must be audible, it must be; please get off the fucking phone you maniac, the other line is ringing and I have a billion things to do. But no.

So it goes like this.

The Boss : "Are you busy?"

Here's me : "Yes I'm up to my fucking eyes, what's up?"

The Boss : "I bet you're skiving"

Here's me : "I am busy trawling through the half-finished shite you didn't bother your arse telling me about, thanks. Anyway what are you doing, shouldn't you be at the show?"

The Boss : "Well I left a few minutes early, it's nearly over for the day."

Here's me : "But it's only half three?"

The Boss : "Yeah but it's half four over here."

Here's me : "No, it's half three over there. It's half two over here."

The Boss : "It's n..."

Here's me : "IT FUCKING IS. Look at the clock."

The Boss : "Oh... I... I thought it was two hours ahead."

Oh my dear sweet fucking Kris Kristofferson, I mean she's been there for two and a half days already.

Here's me : "Look, I'm up to my nuts here, what's up?"

The Boss : "Can you get me an urgent price?"

Here's me : "Yesyesyesyesyes spill the beans already."

The Boss : "From Roamer."

Here's me : "Just... spell... it... out."

The Boss : "A...R...O...M...A"

Seriously like.

Here's me : "Aroma. Fucking AROMA. Aroma. Right. AROMA. Like a SMELL. Do you mean 'Roma', as in 'Rome'?"

The Boss : "No, it's A...U...M...R...M...A"

Here's me : "Wha? A-oom-r'ma? Umrumma? WHAT?? What country is this in?"

The Boss : "Finland"

Here's me because truly I am getting that good at anagrams : "Rauma. It's Rauuu-ma. Right. Ok. To where?"

The Boss : "Trainer"

By now you must imagine that I am barking out short clipped syllables while I try to simultaneously reply to emails, decipher the bosses verbal arsepiss, and half-heartedly attempt suicide through sheer force of will alone.

Here's me : "Spell. It."

The Boss : "T. A. R..."

Here's me : "STOP. Again."

The Boss : "T...R...A...I...N...E...R"

It all gets a bit repetitive round about here but turns out there actually is a town called Trainer, Pennsylvania. Ok, anyway. That episode over, the reception puts through a call from some poor bastard from a market research company who has been holding for me for ten minutes, and who is sadly very much Mr Wrong Place At The Wrong Time.

Poor Market Research Bastard : "Can I speak to The Boss?"
Here's me : "She's out of the office till Thursday"

Poor Bastard : "But I was just speaking to her."

Here's me : "You were not. She is not here."

Poor Bastard : "But I was."

Here's me : "I ASSURE YOU you were not speaking to her as SHE IS IN PARIS"

Poor Bastard : "And when is she back?"


Very much conveying the impression that to answer "yes" to this would be tantamount to Koala-assisted self-evisceration.

I'm rootin' for the French here. Come on my Gallic friends, get yo' fuckin riot on.

I am Not a Complete Git (honestly)

I finally caved in on the James Wightman episode. There is no way in hell I was finding his info alone, what with the completely empty filing cabinets and unsuccessfully attempts to delve into this nightmare :

So anyway I made the call. And I was intending to ask where the hell our files were, and why boss deletes all the Sent Items from her e-mail, and other pertinent questions regarding various persons previously unknown to me phoning me and demanding information, but : The Boss sounded so forlorn, almost in tears, and utterly despondent, that I must confess I hadn't the heart. She has now been in gay Paris since Sunday night and I suspect that she may be faring badly; two days of getting dirty looks from Parisienne waiters after first blurting out "BAWN-Jew-OOR" and then complaining that the menu consists of things she'd never eat and was there any chance of prapper food like chicken 'n chips...

... I truly do have the greatest of sympathy for all involved.

Skeletons in the Closet?

Strange but true.

Off from the main office here is a little back room which we use for storage. In it are four of those standard office-type filing cabinets, in which our files are, um, filed. The files for the last year or so go in there, and then after a year are boxed up and moved to permanent storage - the theory being that while we legally have to keep files for ten years, after a year we're not likely to need to actively consult them.

Anyway, I had a call from one James Wightman this morning - it seems he does exist after all, sort of - and in the absence of The Boss I knew not what he was yammering on about (since I've never heard of him outside of her insane gibberings) and so I told him I'd dig out his file and get back to him.

This should be straightforward enough since the filing cabinets have four drawers each, labelled "January", "February" and so on. Except the one I was looking for, the "March" drawer, was empty. Checking the other drawers I discover they are empty too. In fact all of the filing cabinets are completely and utterly empty.

I have not been appraised of anything involving our files leaving the building. Furthermore I have not seen The Boss's rotund porsonage leaving the building with a couple of hundred kilos of files, I surely would have passed comment and perhaps raised one eyebrow in no uncertain manner.

As René Descartes once maybe said, "Ouat Le Phuque??".

Answers on a postcard.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Come On Now

Third phone call of the day from Paris, so far, with dramatic news :

"I've just ran out of business cards."

Wow. Keep me informed of any further developments, for sure.

What's In a Name?

So, as explained, The Boss is in Paris. The event in Paris is a construction machinery exhibition, where various makers of construction machinery (the shipping of which is our bread and butter, so to speak) demonstrate new models, etc.

So The Boss phoned, again, just now :

"Have you heard of a German company called Bo.."

Here's me : "Bo...?"

The Boss On Crackly Line Through Useless Handsfree Kit In Noisy Environement : "Bo-matic.."

Here's me : "Um, no."

The Boss : "They seem like a massive company, they have lots of stands here."

Here's me : "Hang on.. is it 'Baumaschinen'"?

The Boss : "Yeah, do you know them then?"

Here's me : "Ahhh....."

('Baumaschinen' is German for 'Construction Machinery')

Très Bien!

Today this office is a dynamic hub of (silent) efficiency and your dear Koala is deeply tranquil.

For until Thursday, The Boss is in Paris.

She phoned earlier, probably mostly to check that I'd actually turned up today (fair enough really), and reported that while Paris is beautiful and the weather is fantastic, the "food is bogging".


Friday, 17 April 2009

The (Failed) Pursuit of Excellence

The Boss : "Can you add up a spreadsheet for me?"

I am kind of impressed and pleased, to be honest - this beats the shit out of being handed a chicken-scrawl on the back of an envelope, the usual method of accounting round here.

Here's me : "Yeah, sure. What needs doing?"

The Boss : "Just the totals for each column, then the grand total, and an average across each month."

Here's me : "No bother at all. Where is it?"

The Boss : "On your desk."

Here's me : "Um... you mean on the desktop?"

The Boss : "No, I left it on your desk."

True enough, there it is. Twelve columns and thirty-six rows of tiny wee numbers squeezed onto one A4 hardcopy. I have a bad feeling about this.

Here's me : "Where's the original?"

The Boss : "Don't worry about that, just do it from that."

Here's me, creaking under tension : "Um... if you will just tell me where you saved the file, this will take me about ten seconds, and will contain no errors. If you want me to add this up manually, it will take me an hour, and it will contain several errors."

The Boss : "I don't want you do it that way."

Here's me, staring into the abyss : "You... want me... to add this up.. manually?"

The Boss : "Yes."

Here's me : "......"

Here's me : "WHY?!??"

The Boss : "To make sure there's no mistakes"

Here's me : "That's fucking insane"

The Boss : "If you don't want to help me that's fine"

Here's me : "I have no problem helping you. None. But are you seriously asking me to add this up manually when you've already typed all the figures into Excel? Fortheluvvafuckinggod, WHY??"



The Boss : "I've deleted the file anyway."

Here's me on the fucking knife-edge : "You are mad. This is mad. Let's just do it the sensible, normal, usual, sane way that a sane person would do it. I can recover the file, look."

The Boss : "It doesn't matter."

Here's me : "Eh.. what?"

The Boss : "It doesn't matter. Don't bother."

Here's me : "Are you... having some kind of... strop, or something, over this LUNACY?"

The Boss : "No. If you're going to take the huff over it, don't bother."

Here's me :

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Fool Monty

The Boss : "How much should I add on for Vladdy-Stock?"

Here's me : "Where?"

The Boss : "Vladdy-Stock"

I'm gonna hold fire from being a smartarse on this, because while I'm 99% sure we're talking about Vladivostok, I'm not at all sure that there isn't also a Vladistok somewhere in Russia.

Here's me : "Spell that one out for me".

OK, so it's Vladivostok. I've always had a bit of an issue with people unable to look at an Anglicized word and deliver it phonetically, partly because I think it's often mental laziness I suppose. Maybe I'm just a cunt though.

Here's me : "OK, what are we shipping?"

The Boss : "A crane... a Monty Crane"

Here's me : "A Mantis Crane?"

The Boss : "No, a Monty.. Mon..."

Here's me : "A Manitou Crane?"

The Boss : "A Kato."

Here's me : "A Kato? What's 'Monty' all about?"

The Boss : "From Monty Fid.."

Here's me : "Montevideo?"

The Boss : "Monty Fid Dido"

Here's me : "Mont-eh-vid-AY-o"

The Boss : "Mont-EE-fid-DIE-doh"

blah blah blah

See it's just annoying me. It's just annoying the shite out of me. How much mental effort is it, really, to just look at the word on the page and read it? I mean fair enough, there's a bunch of subtleties and so on, easy mistakes to make, but stop taking out and inserting whole bloody syllables. By extension, how much mental effort is it, REALLY, to break an outburst into two or three sentences without swapping every fucking noun for a randomly chosen word, I mean, just so that it makes a tiny bit of sense? It seems like a small thing to be wound up over perhaps, but you try being on the receiving end of this non-conversation for 45 hours a week, I swear to fuck it's like the linguistic equivalent of Chinese Water Torture.

Rant over. I know I'm being petty. I didn't sleep well.

Your Shipment Of Fail



I fully understand the stress and pain caused by the failure of things to be where they should be and when they should be, I really do. Despite my wizard-like skills of moving your shit across my global playing-board, I do still suffer like any other person when my USB-plasma-ball from the US arrives broken. But a few pointers, which if you take them onboard, shall assist you.

1. It’s almost certainly not the drivers fault that your shit is late/damaged/just plain wrong.

This is key. Your goods may have travelled from a nearby city, or they may have travelled from the opposite end of the planet, but this much remains constant : The guy bringing these items to your door lifted them from the depot earlier that same day. He knows little and cares less for the fact that your new wooden flooring is two weeks late; he is just a driver. Don’t shout at him. Don’t even bother mentioning it to him. For starters, all you will achieve is wasting some of his time and possibly just maybe making him miss some other delivery later that day. Your complaints will go clean over his head, and even if he does return to the depot and start bawling into the office about how upset you were, the folks in the office will similarly completely ignore him, since anyone who thinks results are gotten by complaining to short-run delivery-drivers is plainly a fool to be ignored. Pissing off the driver leads to more things being late, the driver being annoyed, the driver annoying me, me annoying someone else – just don’t do it.

2. If you need special treatment, specify it up front.

If you have ordered a tonne of marble tiles, it would be wise to consider how the hell you’re going to get them off the delivery van. We are busy people. If you need two people and a ramp and a forklift to get these goods off a van – either call us and tell us (and expect to be charged for it) or have the necessary facilities to deal with it. Do not phone me when it arrives at your house and ask me how you're supposed to get it in your door, I not only don't give a shit but I will charge you extra.

3. If In Doubt

Writing “unchecked” or similar on a delivery note is legally worthless. If it’s something fragile, open it right there in front of the driver, and if it’s damaged, write DAMAGED on the delivery note. Fail to do this, and you have no hope. If you think it’s likely – take the insurance. This may seem obvious but just to be 100% clear – Without The Insurance, You Are Not Insured.

4. Honey Not Vinegar

Working in shipping involves dealing with a lot of angry, stressed out people. Everything relies on stuff being there in time. Your new bathtub being a week late with a hole in the side just isn't that big a deal to us. We have people on hold on line 2 threatening to take us to court because we’ve caused an oil-well in Nairobi to shut down for two weeks at a cost of £400,000 an hour. I know you think your problem is serious but it really isn’t. Your average shipping-monkey responds well to people being nice, reasonable and not shouting. If you nicely ask if I could possibly help, there is a strong chance I’ll act like a human being just for you, since if I’m helping out Someone Nice it keeps me away from being on the line with Mr. Angry Legal Action in Kenya, ok?

5. Get a Name.

Get my name, at the start of the conversation, and write it down. When someone shouts out “Was anybody talking to a really angry man about the turds all over his new sofa?”, how many people do you think put their hands up in the office and go “ME ME ME ME ME!”?

6. Get a Tracking Number.

Where tracking numbers are in use, get it, and get it early, from the people you ordered the stuff from. Do not phone me, or any other shipping-monkey, and ask us to trawl through a database designed in 1982 to try and manually find stuff that sure as shit was probably ordered under your wife's name or something.

7. “The Problem Is Out of My Hands”

The ship sank, the truck exploded, war broke out, an earthquake affected the region – take it, suck it up, and fuck off. If it’s true, it means I have real serious problems right now and don’t give a shit about your issues. If it’s a lie, it means I have other serious problems bad enough to warrant me lying and therefore I still don’t give a shit about your issues. If you’re pleasant to me about the whole thing, the guilt will get to me quite soon and I’ll fix your problem.

8. Taxes Are Not Optional

Import duty, VAT, your local equivalent – they are not optional, they are not decided by us, and there is no legal way around them. If you have a problem with the fact the cheap stuff you bought from Tunisia turns out to be taxed to all hell upon arrival, phone the government and tell them. Such taxes are in place to protect your local economies and stop the third-world being bled dry for a pittance wherever possible. Deal with it.

9. I Want To Talk To A Manager

Well here’s news. Most of us want to talk to one too, but the chances are they’re either busy dealing with something important, or busy playing golf, or just busy being a fuckwad. Managers are not any more capable than the basic ground-level operator of bending the laws of spacetime to get your shit there more quickly and in all likelihood won’t take your call, so all you’ll achieve is getting me to put you sub-basement on my ladder of “shit I might actually sort out”.

10. Don’t Haggle

When I give you the price, that’s the price. Don’t ask me for “my best price”. Don’t tell me you can get it cheaper elsewhere because I frankly don’t give a shit; if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, go and do so. Don’t habitually ask me to reduce any given price by X amount or else I get into the habit of adding X amount onto “my best price” just so I can give you a reduction to bring it back down to what I wanted to charge you anyway. Give it up.

11. Shit Happens

In every city in every country in the whole world there are warehouses staffed by people working for very low wages, and they are all dirty, smelly and full of badly-labelled boxes of all shapes and sizes, some of which may have been there since the 1800's. Your goods are less than a drop in the ocean. The will pass through several or many such places, be handled by hordes of the great unwashed, to then be loaded into a variety of dirty, dusty vehicles of all kinds – shit happens. The whole procedure of things getting from A to B relies entirely on human beings and is a reasonably hit and miss kind of affair. Stuff gets lost, stuff gets broken. Deal with it, stay calm, take insurance, and ask nicely.

You have not been charged for this service.

Hanlon's Razor, Blunted

Oh mercy me but these are trying times.

Allow me to explain.

I arrived into the office yesterday after the 4-day Easter break, to immediate drama. The Boss's computer was not playing ball, not at all; refusing to log on to our little network, it was. By the time I arrived at about 08:55 in the morning, calls had already been made to our head office, our IT company in England, the reception of the building here (whom in turn had called their IT guy in) and in every likelihood the Confidential Telephone and local MP.

My own IT skills are not exactly razor-sharp but I can get by; I'm one of those people who can manage to check a lead is plugged in, or to be talked through something by technical support and be able to obey such instructions as "right click on it" without fuss or confusion. Since the IT folks were in replacing various cables and such over the holidays, it seems to me not unlikely that this is related to our current issue.

So anyway I get down to business and go through the standard run of things that you do before declaring a National Emergency; y'know, checking the cable is in, that sort of thing. All seems to be in order so I then check the PC on a different network point and so on, all the while waiting for the inevitable, and growing increasingly tense as the conversation spirals towards it.
Like so many things this task would not be so bad if I could just get on with it, but we both know that's not gonna happen.

The Boss : "What are you doing now?"

Here's me : "Just gonna see if it works on a different network point."

The Boss : "Will it?"
Here's me : "I don't know, that's why I'm trying it. But then I'll know whether it's the machine or the point."

The Boss : "So why's it happening?"

Here's me : "I don't know. Bear with me."

The Boss Channels The Inevitable : "I think someone's trying to hack into us."

Somewhere inside me a blood vessel explodes.

Here's me : "HHHHHAAAAAAAAAHAAAA NO. First off, who in the fuck would want to? Second, and try to stay with me here, someone trying to 'hack into us' by causing your computer to not connect to the network, d'y'see the logical flaw here, do ye?"

So anyway this went on for most of the day and it turned out to be something called a 'DHCP issue' which sounds a lot to me like 'The IT guy pulled a lead out downstairs' but anyway. By close of business yesterday all was running about as well as it ever does.

Today I arrive into the office and The Boss has that expression on her face again, staring angrily and suspiciously at the screen. I sit down, open up, and wait to be fed.

The Boss : "Someone's definitely trying to hack into me."

Here's me : "I bet you a fucking thousand pound, a full fucking thousand pounds, that no-one is fucking trying to fucking hack into your fucking computer. What the fuck does "hack into" even fucking mean?"

The Boss : "There was someone in the Interlink this morning."

Here's me : "The Interlink?"

(note : 'Interlink' are an Irish courier company. Relevance here unknown)

The Boss : "In the internet. There was a fella working in it this morning."

I'm trying to imagine what this might mean, all I can think of is Lawnmower Man.

Here's me : "What the hell are you talking about?"

The Boss : "There was a fella downstairs this morning."

Here's me : "True bill, there was - it was the IT guy, and he was working in the server room downstairs."

The Boss : "I thought that was the internet."

Where do I even fucking begin?

The Boss : "And I had two Interlinks this morning."

And where will it fucking end?

Here's me : "What do you possibly mean, really?"

The Boss : "When I went in this morning, there were two internets."

Here's me : "Two... internets... what what? Show me."

So I stood over there while The Boss re-started her computer and then double-clicked on the IE icon on the taskbar, which of course opens two browser windows.

The Boss : "See what I mean? Somebody's hacking into us."

Here's me : "My God, you're right you know."

Thursday, 9 April 2009


The Boss : "Did you hear they've hiked.. they've hijacked a cat.. in Alabama..."

Here's me : "Hijacked a cat?! Send in the Navy Seals!"

Jesus I crack myself up.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Walls Have Ears

The Boss has just discovered that she can change the ring tone on her mobile phone. Yeah, I know, and yeah, it is 2009 here too. Anyway, she appears to have settled on some jolly irritating samba number, and :

The Boss : "Can..."

Here's me : "oh god no"

The Boss : "Can people who phone me hear my ring-tone?"

Here's me : "Ahem. Not unless they're in the same room as you..."

The Boss : (with great concern) "You mean they'll be able to tell if I'm in the same room?"


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

May Be About to Snap


Send Help

The Boss : "What's the address you use for Niall?"

Here's me : "N Martin at Martin International Dot Com"

Few seconds later:

The Boss : "Undeliverable rate request your message did not reach some or all of the international no intended recip.. recipients subject rate request the following recip..."

If you can imagine a person reading gibberish in an evenly timed flat monotone, sort of the linguistic equivalent of Bono singing, you'll be on the right page.

Here's me : "Woah, woah, woah. So it bounced. What address did you put in?"

The Boss : "What you told me."

Here's me : "N Martin, yeah? N for Niall? No dot. N Martin at Martin International Dot Com"

The Boss : "Is it at Martin International Dot Com?"

I can't take this. Back to the Dark Side. The Boss has had a rejection from the following not-even-an-email-address - I point this out.

The Boss : "You didn't say 'at'".

Here's me : "I did, and anway, it's surely implicit."

The Boss : "Don't be smart with me. No you didn't."

Here's me problem right here folks :

You have two people in a room.

One says "You did say that."

The other says "I didn't say that."

One says "You did say that."

The other says "I didn't say that."

One of these people is convinced that they're always right and will never ever but never entertain the idea of 'well maybe I am mistaken'.

The same one is also completely and totally brainwrong.

And is also in charge.



Gas Panic

Our story opens about two weeks ago, with a seemingly innocent enough beginning.

The Boss : "I can smell gas."

Here's me : "Er... I can't?"

The Boss : "I definitely can smell gas."

Here's me : "I really can't."

I'm trying to make "I really can't" come out sounding like "You've got a serious fucking problem with your brain".

Cut to about one week ago.

The Boss: "I can smell gas again."

Here's me : (I take my lighter out of pocket and flick it alight and wave it around for a second - from my point of view both possible outcomes are fine in this scenario) "No you can't."

Cut to just now.

The Boss : "I can definitely smell gas."

Here's me : "RIGHT." (walks over to bosses desk) "What the fuck is it that you're smelling, there's no gas in... hang on a sec I can smell something too, what the fuck is that?"

The Boss : "It's coming from the boiler."

Here's me : "It's not coming from the boiler. It's coming from your desk."

The Boss : "It's GAS."

Here's me : "It's NOT."

So using my amazingly well developed sense of smell (for a fella who smokes about fifty a day), I try to pin down this mysterious odour.

A short time later the mysterious gas emanation that has been troubling us for weeks has been tracked down to a mouldy orange in the bosses' desk drawer.

One More Thing...

The Boss : "Where's Colombia?"

Here's me : "...South America."

The Boss : "Where's the port?"

Here's me : "Cartagena, usually."

The Boss : "Is that Sri Lanka?"

Here's me : "Whut? No, hang on. Are you looking for Colombo, as opposed to Colombia?"

The Boss : "Yeah."

Here's me : "Ah right. Yeah, Colombo is the port."

The Boss : "In Colombia?"

Here's me : "gguuuuuuuuuuhhhh are you asking me about Colombia, which is in South America, or Sri Lanka, which has a port called Colombo, but which is in south-east-Asia?"

The Boss : "Colombia."

Here's me : "Carta..."

The Boss : "Or Sri Lanka."

The Road to Hell Runs Over The Bridge To Nowhere (I Assure You)

The Boss : "How much would a trailer weigh?"

Here's me : (sigh) "What size of trailer?"

The Boss : "One big enough to load a dump truck on."

Here's me : (sigh) "What size of dump truck?"

The Boss : "Volvo, twenty-four tonne dump truck."

Here's me : "Would need to be a forty foot low-loader, probably weighs about eight tonnes, give or take."

The Boss : "Not two tonnes?"

Here's me : "No way. Six tonnes, absolute minimum. But more like eight. Maybe as much as ten."

The Boss : "I think it's only two."

Here's me : "No way. It's not possible."

The Boss : "Nothing's impossible."

This is where it gets interesting.

Here's me : "Assuredly, some things are. And this is. You couldn't make a trailer strong enough to hold twenty-four tonnes that weighed only two tonnes itself. The materials to make it from don't exist. It's impossible."

The Boss : "Nothing's impossible. Sure they're building that trans-Atlantic bridge."

You have my full attention.

Here's me : "Are they? Are they now?"

The Boss : "Yeah, it was on the news last week."

Here's me : "Amazing. Tell me more. Omit nothing."

'Rictus' is an appropriate description of my face right now.

The Boss : "They're building a bridge from the UK to the States."

Here's me : "Are they? Are they really?"

I'm sort of chuckling a little, not in a healthy way, not in a way you'd like to hear on a dark night.

The Boss : "It was on the news. From Ireland to New York or something."

OK, I can bear it no longer.

Here's me : "I assure you. 'They' are not."

The Boss : "It was on the news last week."

Here's me : "It was a wind-up or something, I assure you. They are not building a bridge across the Atlantic. Because that. would. be. impossible."

The Boss : "Nothing's impossible. Sure they built the Channel Tunnel."

Here's me : "The Channel Tunnel is about thirty miles long. The Atlantic is about four thousand miles wide. Think about it."

The Boss : "Nothing's impossible these days."

Oh, take it from me, some things surely are, I assure you.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Simple Taxi Service

The Boss : "Can you one-four-one a text?"*

* Explanation for readers outside of the UK - dialling 1471 on a UK telephone gives you the number of the last person to call you, similarly 141 before dialling out causes your number to remain invisible while dialling.

Here's me : "Er... no? I mean, er, why would ye?"

The Boss : "I have to send a text with an address to John."

Here's me : "So...?"

The Boss : "But I don't want him to have my number."

Here's me : "Um, why not?"

The Boss : "I think he's dodgy."

Here's me : "Dodgy how?"

The Boss : "Just dodgy. I don't want him having my number in case he does anything with it."

Here's me : "Er... What do you think he's going to do, with your number? I mean it's a company phone an' all."

The Boss : "He might send me strange taxis."

Friday, 3 April 2009

One Track Mind

The Boss : "Did you get a track this morning?"

Here's me : "Wha?"

The Boss : "A transfer."

Here's me : "A bank transfer? No, no transfers today."

The Boss : "No, a cheque, in the post."

A little lightbulb went on. This one is sort of understandable, in a way.

Here's me : "No, no cheques in today."

The Boss : "Hmmmm.... ok... Would you like a track posted?"

And quickly we return to form...

Here's me : "WHAT?!??"

The Boss : "Would you like a pancake toasted?"

Suspect Device?

The Boss called the police this morning to report that there was a shopping trolley in the car park. Go figure.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


She says "Digikal".
That is all.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Zut Alors!

The requirement has come up for a person from this office to go to Paris for business purposes.

We shall not dwell on the fact that when someone has to go to, say, Grimsby or similar, it's me who does the travelling, but on this occasion I'll be back here manning the orifice. Because to dwell on that would make me sound bitter.

So anyway this is a product and/or service that I can fully endorse, for the simple reason that if she's in Paris she ain't here. So for the last hour or so I've been attempting to book The Boss flights and a hotel in Paris that meet with her stringent, ever changing and utterly insane requirements. With her watching over my shoulder and raping the French language helpfully reading out what I can see for myself on the screen throughout.

This has been every bit as painful as you would imagine. And here I am going to have to ask you to imagine it for yourself, because I can't even bring myself to recount the full horror; if I tell you that the first while was spent cancelling the initial flight booking she made herself as she'd booked the return journey for the incorrect month, and that she'd managed to book herself two rooms in the hotel, will you let me off the hook with further details please?

On the plus side, I get the office to myself for a few days and there's a strong possibility that she might get beaten with sticks by some angry French folk within the first twenty minutes of arriving at "Rosey Charles Doo Ghoul". Party on.

...Reactor Core Temperature Critical

This follows on from the previous post.

The Boss : "I can't get hold of John Whiteman."

Here's me, internally : oh god please make it stop

The Boss : "Are you working ok?"

Here's me : "-"

The Boss: "Can you get in and out?"

I am just staring now, in total silence. The Boss lifts the phone and dials someone, fuck only knows whom.

The Boss (to the telephone): "Is the server down?"
"The server's down. And you told me it was working fine"

Here's me : "No I didn't."

The Boss : "Yes you did."

Here's me : sigh

The Boss : "I asked you if your e-mails were going out and you said yes."

Here's me : "I actually have not spoken a word."

The Boss : "You... you said his name was John Whiteman."

I have no idea who the mysterious John Whiteman is, or if he even exists, but he sure has a lot to answer for today.

The Boss : "OK, how do I get into emission trans... van... trans... land... get into my sentbox email?"

I am going for another cigarette, immediately.

We Have A Slight Reactor Leak

I am very tired and quite hungover today. The following began when I walked back into the office just now, after the all-to-few minutes of sanity to be found in standing outside smoking a cigarette. The following begins just as I take my seat, with, as ever, no explanation or apparent cause.

The Boss : "Breaker of contractor... James Whiteman."

Here's me : "Wha?"

The Boss : "Breaker contractor."

Here's me : "Wha?"

The Boss : "Contract breaker."

Here's me : "Wha?"

The Boss : "James Whiteman. Deepthroat."

Here's me : "Deepthroat?"

The Boss : "Deeprose. James Deeprose."

Here's me : "Wha? Deeprose? Contract? Wha?"

The Boss : "Breaker. No, stone-crusher. Contracts. No, tracks. Two tracks. Tracks. Tracks...
... four tracks. Can't."

Here's me : "-"

The Boss : "I was trying to estimate how many I could fit in a container."

Here's me : "No really, seriously, what the fuck are you talking about?"

The Boss : "There was a thing on Radio One this morning about free maps."

Here's me : "Wha?"

The Boss : "It was a phone-in thing. About half price tracks. Fuel. Half-price fuel. They all went for it. Stupid English."

Here's me : "uh... yeah?"

The Boss : "You've no way of knowing what the serial number on that is, because he could be mixing and matching parts. That... track....
..."April Fuel's Day", and none of them got it"

I have not one single fucking clue about any of this, folks.