Tuesday 23 February 2016

Using Irony To Mock

The lottery syndicate that I run is quite old-school. Payments are made in cash. The money is kept in a cigar box in a locked draw and there are signed paper records. The spreadsheet is just to help me keep up to date.  Some of the lazier and less social members would rather pay by bank transfer. I think they'd like to make transfers into my personal bank account and then expect me to pore over my online statements every week to figure out who's paid what.

(no I'm not going to build an encoder and decoder so that I can programmatically feed my pin into the keypad circuitry of the pin machine and read the login-key out of the seven segment display - and then write software to scrape payment details from my online banking pages. Neither am I going to build a machine to physically type the pin number in and OCR the login-key but that does sound like more fun.)

I was brought up in a household almost completely without sarcasm. I've almost learned to use it in later life, but not always with great success. Last week I tried to use sarcasm to explain that the syndicate would never accept bank transfers, but the target out-sarcasm'd me by a wide and artful margin. In fact I initially wondered whether his reply was serious.

*****email from organiser to member*****
Indeed, so when you transfer money in to this new account the back end systems recognise your account number or your payment reference and credit the Xxxx Xxxxxxx client account within the lottery account? Good idea!

You find a bank that will host that type of account for free, and get authorisation from the FSA for me to keep other people’s money in trust, and I’ll link it up to my accounting system.
Awesome Rich, that would be amazing, and effectively more secure potentially than dashing across the office with a fistful of notes potentially risking a mugging.

Once setup if you could let me know the valid numbers for such an account I shall set you up with my trusted banking organisation.
***** *****

Richard "There’s no shame in being beaten by the best" B

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Mellon Farming Barstewards

I'm not religious but I often try to give up something for Lent. This year I'm trying to give up swearing. At 50p a swear there is already £3.50 in my swear jar. It might not sound like I've done very well, but I'm doing nowhere near as badly as my friend who tried to give up biscuits one year. On Ash Wednesday he had to go to an early meeting and the meeting room had coffee and biscuits. He was half way through his third Custard Cream when he realised that he'd been awake for about an hour on the first day of Lent and had already failed spectacularly.

Richard "contains strong language" B

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Wake Up

I seldom remember my dreams but last week I found myself locked into a cavernous dark office with a Dutchman. I knew that there was nobody anywhere near us  (except a herd of deer outside) and that we were supposed to be doing some very urgent computer work. There was foreboding organ music including (I think) a gothic arrangement of the Teddybear's Picknick and we ate liquorice flavoured with ammonium chloride.

No hold on, that was real life, my dreams a much more mundane.

I came in to work one night to help one of the network engineers (originally from the Netherlands) do some out-of-hours software upgrades. The office is huge and used to be a warehouse. It's on an industrial estate that's deserted at night. The digital radio wasn't available and Radio2 had a half hour special about the pipe organ.

Richard "Is that the alarm clock?" B

Tuesday 2 February 2016


File under: impotent whining

I have heard that the English are the best queuers in the world. It might be true, we have all learned from a young age how to form a completely virtual queue while sitting in random seats at the barber's and we know how to form an orderly queue of one when we are the first person at the bus stop. It all goes to hell though at the petrol station. Is this one queue for the whole forecourt? Are these separate queues for each aisle of pumps? Each side of each aisle? Where does it diverge?

At the weekend I found myself doing an Austin Powers style 97 point turn to get out of one queue and use one of several empty pumps. Horror of horrors – it almost looked like I was jumping the queue! I think perhaps the problem was the number of people who refuse to do a reach-around at the petrol station and sit and wait until they can put their starboard side to a pump.

"I bet you're the kind of guy who would fill a person's car and not even have the goddam common courtesy to give it a reach-around. I'll be watching you."

Richard "Full Metal Jacket" B