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Wrongfootedness - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Wrongfootedness
I got out of the wrong side of bed this morning. That is, I got out of the inside of bed, the nice-warm-under-duvet bit, and emerged into the outside. Bad move.

My journey into work is no longer a 15-minute blood-pressure-raising cycle-ride through the centre of town; instead, it's a surprisingly tiring 10-minute cycle-ride up a road which appears to not only have a head wind in both directions but actually be uphill in both directions as well. (Local council refuses to answer allegations of the inappropriate involvement of M. C. Escher in the transport strategy.) It also involves poor road-surfaces in pitch darkness on which people seem to think it's a good idea to go jogging, at night, in black tracksuits, FOR FUCK'S SAKE... but hey, I needed a bit more excitement in my life. Having said that, it's generally an easier ride, and involves less interactions with stupid people. So having got out of the habit of the daily Stupidity Slalom, I was irritated to see a large people-carrier parked (facing the wrong way) in the cycle lane outside the doctor's surgery, and stopped to try to tell the woman in the car that she was parked in a cycle lane and that this was antisocial, possibly illegal, and really dumb. Guess what: "It's naaaan of your fackin business and I can park anywhere I laaaaaak!" Well, fair enough, it's probably none of my business, and she can, manifestly, park anywhere she likes. Whether she may or not is another issue, but one that I couldn't be arsed to argue when I was already late for work. Besides, by this point she'd smugly slid her front window back up and gone back to filing her nails.

Arrived in work feeling irritated and exhausted, intending to grab a huge mug of coffee and dive back into the Reporter, on which I'd given up in disgust at 6:15pm yesterday after reformatting 25 pages of layout tables which only need implementing at all because we have to make the web version of the Reporter look as much as possible like the 150-year-old paper publication. (Never mind web-first publishing, in this instance I'd settle for web-actually-given-a-toss-about-at-all.) Of course, what I'd forgotten was that our tea-lady Chief Secretary has taken it into her head to stop buying Gold Blend, which is vile but just about bearable if you add three spoonfuls of sugar -- tablespoons, yes, is that unusual? -- to Nescafé Original, which smells like gravy granules and tastes like Satan's santorum. For unlimited use of this cack this we are asked to pay 3 pounds a month. NOT ANY MORE. Never mind the issues of boycotting baby-murderers; at that time in the morning, my main problem is that the coffee TASTES LIKE POO.

Got the Reporter sewn up just in time for the Editor to have gone to lunch, so she couldn't sign it off until after 2pm anyway. At least she didn't say it was "URGENT", though, before disappearing into the void -- unlike two of our content providers, who seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that the more times they put the word "URGENT" in the subject-line of their emails, the more man-hours it magically creates in which the web team are free to work for them. One of them compounds the problem by insisting that she is too busy to negotiate complicated linguistic conventions like using a mixture of upper and lower case letters, leaving all the vowels in words, or using nouns. My favourite snippet of email from her this week, which some of you will already have heard, reads:
pls can u alter the last bit where the header of the downloading bit needs altering
I'm taking her out of context, of course; to be fair, she does go on to explain that yes, she really does want us to alter the wording of one item in a list to make it less clear, and this is actually more urgent than anything else in our collective in-trays.

And while we're on the subject of in-trays: my Inbox is nearly over its size limit, again, though they seem to have fixed my profile space. When we moved offices, the Helldesk folk made a big song-and-dance about the mystical shenanigans that were required to preserve the configuration of our machines, most of which involved kicking us off our machines for 15 minutes at a time without any warning or any chance to negotiate for a more convenient time; when we got to the new office, we found that our profile had completely vanished. That's bookmarks, browser settings, editor preferences, and in my case the registration of my copy of TextPad seems to have lapsed. One of my bosses raised the bookmarks issue. The fresh-faced lad from Helldesk replied, wide-eyed, "Oh, did you want them?" Someone eventually worked out that we could log out, log back on to CENTRAL network rather than INTERNAL, copy our config files on to a shared network drive, log out again, log in again, and re-import all the configs. Easy! Of course, it doesn't fix the TextPad registration; I guess I'll have to re-register, with the information the Helpdesk sent me, which I have probably deleted because I didn't think I'd need it again and didn't have room to keep any unnecessary mail...

Meanwhile, I keep tripping over other minor annoyances, like the fact that the Cambridge Corn Exchange website reliably crashes NS7.1. I've been caught out by forgetting this twice now, though I just this instant managed to catch my tea-addled brain before it made my tired fingers open the bloody site in another tab to check the link in order to make this post. They provide a text-only version, but of course you can't use it for booking tickets. And talking of tickets... Erotica bollocksed up the tickets they sent me, managing to give me trade (ha!) tickets rather than public tickets. Phoned them on Friday and a helpful-sounding chap told me that somebody who could actually help would ring me back in about an hour. They didn't. Intending to look their phone number up on Monday at work I realised that I couldn't access the site from work because it triggers our don't-do-that-you-pervert warning, and I've been caught out by that with the Erotica site once before; however, I couldn't just use lynx on chiark because the site is such a heaving mass of Javascript that not only could I not access the page, I couldn't even extract any information from the source. Finally got through to them yesterday, and the tickets were supposedly being put in the post the same day. We'll see if they turn up tomorrow.

So anyway, I start writing this post, taking a well-earned and somewhat late lunchbreak, and Nicola's phone rings. Nicola isn't here. Everybody else looks at me. I take my headphones off, and grudgingly go and answer the phone.

- "I sent an email through to Nicola to ask blah blah urgent website urgent blah blah pensions blah."
- "I'm afraid she's not in the office this morning."
- "Yes, I realise you operate as a helpdesk, so I had hoped somebody else would pick it up, but that was this morning, so I just thought I'd phone through to ... [tails off into mumbling]"
- "Did you send the email to webmaster?"
- "Oh ... er, no, direct to Nicola."
- "Well, if you send it to webmaster at admin dot cam dot ay see dot yew kay then we'll all see it, including Nicola when she gets back, and hopefully somebody else will be able to do it."
- "Okay, I'll do that then."
- "Okay, thanks. Bye." [I start to hang up]
- [pause] [scrabbling sound] "Except, oh, I think I might have deleted it."

In a last-ditch attempt to preserve my sanity, I pretend I didn't hear this bit and just hang up before I actually mutilate somebody.

Returning to my desk, I mutter disgruntledly for a few seconds before realising that Nick is still looking at me. "Sorry," I say, "I'm in a bad mood. It's the lack-of-coffee situation that's getting me down. I'm just going to put my headphones back on and pretend I'm not here, otherwise I'll just shout at somebody." "Oh!" says Nick, "I made some real coffee earlier, and said it was out there in the kitchen if you wanted any... but you didn't hear me, because you had your headphones on."
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Comments
barrysarll From: barrysarll Date: November 17th, 2004 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Which hill would this be? The one with Castle Mound at its base is definitely curved in some non-Euclidean ways.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 17th, 2004 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)
It's Huntingdon Road, which is only a tiny pissy little hill anyway, but somehow it knackers my knees above and beyond the call of whatsits.

Perhaps I need to consult Saint Sheldon about the position of my saddle etc.
barrysarll From: barrysarll Date: November 17th, 2004 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's the blighter! It's not really a hill, just an anomaly.
simonb From: simonb Date: November 17th, 2004 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Huntingdon road is a little bit of a bugger at times; combine that with the junction with Storey's Way where people assume that all cyclists must be turning down as all cyclists are only students or people heading to the University stuff down there right ? Not that I'm extra paranoid when going past that turning; kinda lucky really given that someone tried to knock me off this morning there thanks to their stupidity.
addedentry From: addedentry Date: November 17th, 2004 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Turn your front wheel sideways and trick Cambridge into delivering crosswinds.

2. I knew about santorum, but it's only since starting evening classes that I've wanted to decline it.

3. Everyone in the world pissing you off is merely the price of superiority. Enjoy it.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: November 17th, 2004 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I would have thought anyone in their right mind would turn it down myself.

(And yes, I know what you mean.)
From: besskeloid Date: November 17th, 2004 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's a right mind?
strange_powers From: strange_powers Date: November 17th, 2004 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Guess what: "It's naaaan of your fackin business and I can park anywhere I laaaaaak!" Well, fair enough, it's probably none of my business, and she can, manifestly, park anywhere she likes. Whether she may or not is another issue, but one that I couldn't be arsed to argue when I was already late for work. Besides, by this point she'd smugly slid her front window back up and gone back to filing her nails.

These are the people who drive me to kill and kill until the voices fade. I am a calm and rational person but this kind of disregard for the rest of the world sets my blood boiling.

My response, sad to say, would have been this: "Of course you can park where you want, only you are important and society and the rest of humanity are subject to your whims. Well, I've decided that I can kick where I want! Whoops, there goes your brake light! Oh dear, I seem to have smashed off your wing mirror!" etc.
From: besskeloid Date: November 17th, 2004 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)
My response, sad to say, would have been this: "Of course you can park where you want, only you are important and society and the rest of humanity are subject to your whims. Well, I've decided that I can kick where I want! Whoops, there goes your brake light! Oh dear, I seem to have smashed off your wing mirror!" etc.

Sad to say? C'mon, that is pure punk rock!
satanicsocks From: satanicsocks Date: November 17th, 2004 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I am glad to see someone else at least seems to agree with me over the uphill-in-both-directions thing. I cycle from Carlton Way to the West Cambridge site and by gods is it tiring sometimes. One compsci even tried to tell me it was a totally flat route... Coming back isn't too bad, admittedly, except for the nasty uphill bit by Astronomy, and not being able to see where I'm going because the lights are too bright.

Ah well. Beats going across town to the station every day, at least.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: November 17th, 2004 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Many roads in Cambridge have this property.
acronym From: acronym Date: November 17th, 2004 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I managed to pull my left calf whilst *still in bed* this morning. Goodness alone knows how.

I'm just annoyed that I don't even have a good excuse - I was very much on my lonesome. :)
From: rmc28 Date: November 17th, 2004 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I pulled my left calf while on a sleeper train to Aberdeen 2 years ago. Rosie was in the neighbouring compartment and we'd got the connecting door unlocked. She described my reaction as "rather babyish" ...
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: November 17th, 2004 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Satan's santorum

I like the reference to the dog-man, and I dare say my friend drquuxum over in Pittsburgh will like that even more. Take a look about half way down my list of LJ interests.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: November 17th, 2004 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're at Erotica too? I'm not - pinstripe's more my kind of thing - but people seem to be meeting at or outside Kensington Wagamama for lunch.
julietk From: julietk Date: November 18th, 2004 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Coffee: Pete has a clever single-person filter thing that sits on top of a mug, takes real ground coffee, & delivers a mugfull of liquid coffee. I presume he got this from somewhere like Whittards, though I've never actually seen anyone else in possession of one. Anyway, you could try bringing in one of those and your own Proper Coffee?
meirion From: meirion Date: November 18th, 2004 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
my father acquired a couple in a free offer from lakeland, and gave me one of them. whether lakeland still do this is, of course, another matter.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 18th, 2004 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)

mug cafetiere

I have one. Yours for the postage.
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