Saturday, July 30, 2005

Is nothing sacred?

To continue with a theme...another of our terrified operations manager's measures in the war on terror (confused? See previous post.) was to put a sign up above the urinals in the men's toilet which read "Please wash your hands,", which I can accept - men don't wash their hands enough after urinating, in my experience. I would estimate only around 30% even rinse, let alone soap. But it was what it said under that which caused concern - apparently, washing your hands after doing a wee-wee is:

"The first step against bio-terrorism.".

Now, the day I risk falling victim to terrorist attack as a result of touching my penis is the day I give in and surrender to terror.

I shall write to Osama Bin Laden c/o Al Qaeda, and speaking for around 50% of the western world, I shall say:
"Fine! We give in! You can have whatever it is you want, pull out of Iraq, we'll get rid of Israel, replace all our governments with Taliban-style reigimes (because everybody loves those), just please please, for gods sake, let us touch our penises again."

Attacking our transport infrastructure is one thing, but attacking our manhoods? That really is a new level of sick extremism.

I am pleased to report that now, I am reliably informed, over three months after having left the company, the last line on the sign above the urinals still reads, in my own messy biro scrawl:

"Are YOU peeing next to a bio-terrorist?"

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Danger Danger, Middle Management!

The staunched defiance of Londoners after the recent terrorist attacks was undenyably heart-warming; no mass panic, no faffing about crying "revenge!"... I'm pleased to say that by and large the British public remain indifferent to the culture of fear that is so popular elsewhere in the world. However, there are, as always, exceptions.

Up until not too long ago, I was working in the call centre of a rather large Norfolk-based insurance company, convincing pensioners that for the few extra non-benefits on offer it was worth going without gas for a month.

The operations manager there was, to say the least, completely and utterley terrified that Osama Bin Laden was going to jump him at any moment. And unfortunately, at around the same time, this idiot had found himself in a position of some power.

In order to laud his abject terror over the rest of us, he imposed a number of 'measures' to protect us from imminent destruction.

The first of his measures, was to make some 'home-made' modifications to the current 'bomb threat evacuation procedure' (which had been drawn up many years previously with the help of the emergency services - they tend to know about these things.). One of these modifications was to change the key sentence
"Exit the building in a calm and ordered manner" to "Exit the building as quickly as possible".

Now, that might sound somewhat disturbing, perhaps conjuring images of hundreds of screaming, headset-clad maniacs, waving their arms about, fleeing and trampling each other, but it is an improvement on his first draft, which read
"First one blown up is a rotten egg!!".

I however, don't see mass panic as much of an issue in the event of a bomb scare, because as anyone who has worked in a call centre will testify, after miserable old git number 105 has ranted down the line at you for half an hour because his renewal premium's gone up by 25p even though he's "not one of these boy racer types", getting blown up does seem like a very attractive proposition.
Really, the best way to evacuate the building would be to tell everyone that all the callers have been in the queue for 35 minutes due to "technical difficulties" and then sit back and watch as everyone simultaneously dials the sickline and makes a dash for the fire exit.

The operations manager's modifications to the bomb threat evacuation procedure might well seem like the work of Al-Qaeda themselves, but his justification for it after the ensuing outcry was that "we might not just be dealing with a bomb - they could be standing outside with a surface to air (and presumably to surface again) missile and fire it through the roof - you don't know".

I think we do know. Can you imagine them planning the attack on the place?

"Well my brothers, we have spent 600, 000 dollars on this surface to air missile, spent a year and a half smuggling it piece by piece across Europe and into Britain, many of our brothers have sacrificed their freedom to keep the security services from finding out and many more have been silenced. Now, have you selected a target?"

"Yes, we have. It is the call centre of a large Norfolk-based insurance company."

"Excellent, and what will be the effect of the attack? Will it damage mass communications? Bring the country's delicate transport infrastructure to a halt? Paralyse the infidels with fear?"

"Not exactly, but they will have a slightly reduced capacity to give car insurance quotes."


"Yes, it will take the infidels longer to get through and loads more calls will be routed through to India, it will be really annoying, especially if the infidels' car tax is due at the end of the month."

"Ah, excellent work my brothers, truly, it will be a strike against the hearts and minds of Britain."

I don't buy it somehow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ready Steady Fascism

Myself and Mrs. Andrew took in yet another hypnotic episode of Ready Steady Cook this afternoon.

I don't seem to derive any pleasure out of it and I never intend to watch it, I'd turned the tv on to have a look at news 24 , but that never happened. There's something about it... the cooking against the clock, the bright colours, the music...something that flicks a switch in my brain and from that point on any intentions, direction or plan of action I once had is lost and I am locked in to a world of inimitable flambés made of a melon, an aubergine and three portions of coley.

"So tell me Enid, why did you choose to buy the bunch of grapes as one of your ingredients today?"

"Well, I just thought, I like them and I've never seen them used in cooking before."

"Yeah, there's a reason for that you dozy bitch! Couldn't you have brought in a courgette like she did? They're gonna win now!"

- didn't actually happen. But the point is, whatever the food turns out like is irrelevant, because the winner is decided not by Ainsley, but by the audience.

That's good isn't it? Since in Ainsley's banana republic the voters don't ever taste the food, so the basis for all ballots can only be the superficial whims of each member of the audience, and it shows; I'm sure today's winner got the coveted prize not for her flapping about with the pasta, but because her opponent was younger and had a clearly visible tattoo on her arm which didn't sit well with the key pensioner vote in the studio.

No, to walk away with a £100 voucher from Ainsley, you've got to campaign, not cook. You need to spend your 20 minutes impressing the voting masses with talk of the matters close to their heart, such as 'how expensive gas bills are getting', 'how noisey students are', 'aren't there are a lot of lesbians about these days' and 'isn't it a shame Richard Whiteley's dead?'.

Only then can you claim Britain's most sought-after cooking prize.


I was thinking that my posts might be too long. Well here's a short one, that oughta balance it out.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Your Queen needs you. What do you say, Squire?

This is an appeal for and on behalf of her majesty's metropolitan police, gawd bless her cotton socks.

The following four men are would be Britain's most wanted, were we so uncouth to have such a list. You've no doubt heard about them on you radio set or perhaps while talking to a friend or colleague at the office or Jobcentre. But in all this time have you asked yourself
"Hey, didn't he used to BE the friend or colleague I talked to at the office or Jobcentre?", if you have, you probably want to give her majesty the heads up, because, although he seemed normal enough; chatty, friendly, drives a 1997 Ford Escort 75, drinks local ales, collects Adam Sandler movies, listens to Simply Red, and so on... he is, in fact, a complete fucking nutbar.

He secretly thought you were a dirty infidel or sommat.

If the answer is no however, perhaps it would help to note that these aren't any normal terrorists, no.

They are in fact crap terrorists. They are not determined, they are disorganized, they don't appear to have any sort of support network behind them and they've probably only been planning this for a week or so.

It might be an idea to think back over the years to see if you can recognise them from your past, these are the defining characteristics to consider:

  • All four of them failed to come up with the idea of connecting the detonator to the explosive, so you may have wired a plug for one of them at some stage.
  • Perhaps you were at a fireworks display hosted by one of these men; you will probably remember it as being quite disappointing, most of the rockets wouldn't have gone off and would've had to be put upturned in a bucket of water, and those that did go off probably flew into next door's greenhouse.

  • You may remember them from school, they would have been picked last at football, they would always inexplicably get ink on their face and may be remembered as 'that kid who fell down a lot'.
If you do see them, feel free to approach them, they're not dangerous, and if they were armed, they would probably think it was some sort of novelty cigarette lighter.

They're so simple, they failed to realise it's not enough to just get on a train wearing a backpack - anyone can do that, it happens so much that it's not even a statement anymore - the exploding part really is key.

Most importantly, the thing to remember is that if you do recognise any of them, don't tell me, it would be useless telling me, it could be weeks before I get round to passing on the message and when I do it would probably get mixed up with a letter to the local paper complaining about the dog mess.
No, please please please, what you must do is tell the queen. You can get in touch with her here. She's got email and everything. She's not on MSN though.

<-- this genius even forgot his wear his backpack. You can probably expect to see him back down the Jobcentre on Wednesday. Still, at least he's got an excuse for not showing up for his Work-Focused interviews.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

How many roads must a man walk down?

Today, we decorated.That is myself and Mrs. Andrew. We painted the kitchen a warm yellow to be more precise. Far warmer than the 'pale stains with grease' shade that the previous occupants of our flat had gone for, and if the depth of the skank behind the boiler was anything to go by, the 20 occupants since agreed with them.
The unidentified yellow stickiness was SO thick and SO sticky that in the really narrow bits when I was forced to choose between resting my arm against it and the searing hot boiler, I received third degree burns.

It is, in fact, my first major decorating job outside of my parent's house so the whole experience felt much like a coming of age.

However, I've already been privy to a far more significant coming-of-age moment, not so long ago... I shall regail you...

It was a warm summer Sunday nigh on two years ago now... but I remember it like it was yesterday. Waiting nervously amongst the hustle and the bustle of the waiting masses, shifting in my seat as I wrestled with my anxiety, noting the knowing glances of the elders that stood all around me, it seemed to take forever (as is so often the case with these things)...and then - the surge of adrenaline as my number was called...

I walked nervously, slip of paper in my shaking right hand, up to collection point D...

"One Argos superprice Skill Drill 100 at £14.99?", I closed my eyes, for a moment I thought I couldn't do it, a voice screamed at me "no Andrew! It's too soon! You're not ready!", I wanted to turn and run like so many had before me, but no. Not this time. I drew a deep breath, holding my head up high and my right hand outstretched,
"Yes madam, that drill belongs to me!", a nervous silence as the keeper of collection point D took my till receipt and perused it with her searching eyes, checking that all seems to be in order. She paused for one terrifying moment, her brain calculating, the now gathered crowds looked on with baited breath, many couldn't bare to watch, then she raised her arm up high and stamped down hard on the slip of paper with her mark of approval. At which point, the crowd roared and carried me away, drill in hand, atop their shoulders.

Yes, to anyone else, the stamp upon that Argos receipt would say 'Received', but to me it says, and will always say, 'Yes Andrew, you are a man.'.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Take your hand out of your pants and stay awhile...

I've got my page, I've got my first post, and now the final ingredient in my delicious homemade blog pie are the diners.

My first idea to get the traffic flowing my way was to have '' as my url... an extra tap on the keyboard and they're all mine!
Annoyingly however, this idea had already been thought of. Many times. Even 'wwwwww' is taken.
But then I thought, maybe that's not such a bad thing, do I really want my reader base to consist of people who either can't count or type wearing boxing gloves? Probably not. For a start, imagine what a confusing mess the comments box would be.

Yes, yes, before you prep your whining fingers and head for the comments box, I know there's more to this blogging lark than getting lots of readers to massage my ego. I know that it doesn't matter if I never got any readers, the most important thing is that I had fun and perhaps, just perhaps, learned something about myself (yeah, that I was boring twat.).
But more important than that, if Ed's Secret Diary of Interactions (the sister blog) gets more visitors than this one, that would really piss me off.

There are, of course, other ways to get my figures climbing higher than Ed's... perhaps if I were to mention that I happen to know that PARIS HILTON 's SEX is female? Well, I don't know for sure, but it certainly looks that way.
I should also make you aware that it has come to my attention that JORDAN'S TITS escaped from their enclosure at the I'm a celebrity star's home just last week.
- Yes, a keen twitcher, Jordan, or 'Katie Price' as she is affectionately known, has built a large aviary on her estate so that she can observe birds of a variety of types, tits included, when her busy lifestyle doesn't afford her a trip to the local RSPB Reserve.
Yes, there's more to that Dean-Gaffney-alike than meets the eye. You'd hope so anyway.

Alright, alright...they're dirty tricks I know, but it's all about the numbers.
However, I suspect that my 'delicious homemade blog pie' won't be the type of pie my new visitors will be coming here looking for.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It had to happen sooner or later...

Not wanting to get left behind, I've finally given in and started a blog. I have been planning to start one for a while, but it was just one of those things you say you'll do, like learning Spanish or sorting out that drawer where you put things you can't be bothered to find a place for.

What finally tipped the balance was when a friend of mine started a weblog of his own and apparently needed me to start one as some sort of moral support, I'm not sure how that works, perhaps I should just be 'bigging up' his in each post. I would like to do that, I've never 'bigged' anything up before.
Is it 'bigged'? Possibly 'bug'. I'll post a link to his blog just as soon as I work out how, would that be a 'big up'?

I am mighty pleased to be finally be sitting in front of my much-anticipated (though only by me) website. I did have the feeling of being left behind by the modern-electronic-diary-writin'-world, and short of making home-made porn videos with a shakey handicam, I can't think of a better way of embracing the internet as a lifestyle.

I'm feeling blog-positive as you can see, so for the time being you can expect to see me getting involved in all kinds of bloggery. How long it's going to last, I can't say, if the cub-scout's diary I started when I was eight is anything to go by, less than a week. I abandoned it after four days of writing "Went to school, it was rubbish. Came home, played on the computer, went to bed." for each entry, 14 years later I expect my entries will be largely the same, only with more profanity.

Perhaps this time I'll be more patient.