21st Century Cosmodemonic

A jandal from the inside

Friday, September 30, 2005

Unexplained absence

I know I've been away a while, and I'd like to let you know the reason. But I'm not so sure of it myself.

Something bad happened, I think: I took the lift on Monday morning, but forgot to press my floor. I was half asleep, I guess. Some bloke in a sorry excuse for a power suit got in, and pressed for 17. That's right. 17. Still oblivious, I followed him out of the lift, quickly realised what I'd done and woke up.

I was on 17. Right on the doorstep of Executive Heaven. Well, of course, I froze. Tried to stay cool, turned around and called the lift. The last thing I remember is standing there, waiting for that damn lift, hoping my heart wasn't as audible outside my body as it sounded thumping in my skull. Then I heard a movement behind me, started to turn, and... blackness.

That's all I've got. That, a renewed sense of the great and mystical evil that lurks in the heart of man, and some worryingly sore body parts. They say a cleaner found me naked and shaking in a stairwell somewhere in the basement levels late last night, but my first memory is with a blanket and a cup of coffee in reception, with Young Eddie, one of the doddery security guys, telling me an ambulance was on its way. I remember wondering what the hell was going on, but I had to put it to one side. I knew I couldn't be here when the ambulance came. Who knew what they would discover as they sought to cure me.

I got unsteadily to my feet, and staggered toward the door. Young Eddie tried to stop me, "Settle down, fella, ye've had a time of it a'right. Ye best wait on the docs to see to ye." But I was scared, and lashed out, tried to run. Young Eddie tried to catch me, but his false teeth were slipping out of his mouth, he had to catch them. I made it to the automatic doors, with Eddie just catching the blanket, and I burst unsteadily as Eddie to freedom, with a triumphant scream, leaving him standing there, clutching the blanket and shaking his head.

I ran, and walked and stumbled and crawled to safety a long long way from here, slept the night in a culvert out near Chinatown. I've been told more than once today that I'm not looking so great. Not feeling either. But I came back, nonetheless. This is the last place they'll look for me, ha ha, the last place. I hope to God I'm right.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A new day

Awake my pretties, my sweet ones. A new day is dawning.

And this new day shall be known forever as International Everybody Missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day Day

Because we all did, didn't we. We all meant to say aaaaarrrrrr all day, but we totally missed it. So I think we can make up for it today. We can make up for it by whining on and on about how it sucks that we missed international talk like a pirate day. Until everyone else is just as sick of us as they would be if we were saying "Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrr!!" at them all day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A subtle sign

Yesterday a woman was taken out of the office on a stretcher. She was wheeled past my desk by paramedics, oxygen mask attached. Apparently it was not a heart attack, and she'll be ok. But it's not her I'm worred about - it's me.

Here's the thing: Paramedics rush in, give her first aid, put her on a stretcher with oxygen and an IV drip, and wheel her out straight past my desk to the elevators. And I don't notice a thing. I only know something happened because one of the health and safety nazis went chasing after them to sign out. Time for a holiday I reckon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Human Cymothoa Exigua

Never pause mid-sentence when dealing with Backchat Barry. He can't resist, he won't resist. He'll finish that sentence for you before you've drawn breath, and fire off three responses while you're still dazed at the rudeness of the whole thing and just how wrong he can be. He has whole conversations by himself, staring at the non-participant, talking for him, then, with a "Glad we could sort this out, thanks," he's gone. He doesn't even know it's wrong.

"Barry, have you seen those ah.."
"Spreadsheets you were looking for? No I think they're still on a cd somewhere. I'll go have a look around - talk to you soon, bye!"
"... bits of parsley in your teeth, I was going to say... bye..."

"Hi Dorothy."
"Barry, what can we..."
"Do about the inaccurate reports? Three options - hide them, use them as is, or fix them. Fixing them's no good, we already ran them wrong once who's to say they wouldn't still be wrong. Hide them's no good, we put in a lot of work, don't want to waste the resources do we? So we'll use them as is and hope noone notices. They never do. Right. I'll go send them out now. Good thinking!"
"...have for our office morning tea? Oh, right... bye. I guess I'll get a couple of cakes."

You should see him trying to deal with the petty cash gnome. It's a subconscious battle of wits, Barry waiting for a hint of a thought to emerge from the gnome's domelike, while the gnome voicelessly searches every possibilty of escape or sleep, methodically crossing off ideas one at a time.

Backchat Barry, you see, is a human cymothoa exigua. He will kill your tongue, then become your tongue. And that's just gross, especially if you've ever seen Barry.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Love of Lost Lauren Love

She'll take the elevator late at night, listening for him, hoping he'll call out to her. She'll ride it to the top, to fateful floor seventeen, then down to the parking basements and back. She'll be in the elevator through her whole lunch break when the melancholy takes hold of her, listening and hushing her fellow elevator riders.

Longgone John Silver had a friend, you see. While he was liked by all, he had a special someone. And that someone is known by all except those who see her timesheets, only as Lost Lauren Love. It's in her eyes you see how lost she is. She does her job in the call centre as well as if not better than ever, but take one look at her eyes and you know she is somehow wrong.

While the spectre of Longgone John is something to terrify little children with, something (we can just feel it) horrible, a phantom of larrikin she'll-be-rightness turned cankrous and rotted to a listless core, that's not what Lost Lauren sees.

Lost Lauren remembers the good times, sees only the good times, still lives, somewhere deep down, the good times with Longgone John. Back when he was just plain John Silver, back when the sun shone brighter, the days seemed warmer and full of life. Last summer.

Last summer Lost Lauren and Longgone John initiated and brief and fiery affair. It started at an office party, they were at the bar late, and mad on the hooch. She was shooting lit black sambucas and he was downing pints of beer with vodka depth charges. It was a classy and sophisticated night until, happily plastered, Longgone John decided to let his animal urges get the better of him, and turned and kissed Lost Lauren passionately on the mouth. Just as she was raising another glass full of burning alcohol to that same mouth.

A quick thinking bartender spritzed both their faces, leaving minimal scarring, evidence and memories the next day. As Lauren came to on the tacky floor of the tacky bar, at the exact same time Longgone John decided exploding glass and napalm was definitely an omen, and it was over between them, she decided that it had been the most romantic moment of her life . A brief and fiery affair.

By the time the office party and the burns ward were hazy memories, Lauren had taken to wandering the corridors, living in a fantasy world where she and John kissed, and doused each other's fires every day. Soon after, John walked into the executive floor, never to be seen again, and Lauren's sighed doubled and redoubled as she took to riding the elevator for hours at a time.

So while the thought of Longgone John Silver brings fear and a sense of dodginess to the hearts of many, for Lauren, it brings only a wistful melancholy, tinged with regretful drink choices and unfortunate snog timing.

Lost Lauren's love lost Lauren Love, but Lost Lauren Love never lost her love.

Successful hangover cures

  • Waiting. For about the length of a weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Executive Heaven and the Tale of Longgone John Silver

It's common knowledge that the executive floor (17) has a hot tub. It is widely and credibly rumoured that 17 has a bar, tennis courts and a flamenco dancer. Reports of pet tigers and yeti are in dispute.

We lackeys and mere mortals are not allowed on 17. It is, after all, the executive floor. Tales have been told of low level employees finding their way in, never to be seen again. Some cosmodemonic employees scare their children with the tale of the most famous of these, Longgone John Silver.

Longgone John Silver was a likeable larrikin, loved by most of the call centre on floor 7 for his easy-going nature and quiet dry wit. There was a sense of essential niceness in him, people said, that oozed out of his pores sweet as bourbon sweat. He was a fine looking young man, with a mop of curly yellow hair and a warm tan and a warmer smile, looked the quintessential country boy minus perhaps the dungarees and straw in the mouth. Half the girls in the call centre had fallen in love with Longgone John, and the other half had terrible taste in men.

But Longgone John had an adventourous spirit, and one day he (fatefully) decided to follow an executive who got out of the lift on 17. He stayed at the back of the lift as it went past 7, and flew on up to 17. The executive, of course, did not look around or sense the presence of another human in the elevator. He was an executive, and there was no memo advising him that he had company, so he did not have company.

There is security camera footage showing Longgone John exiting the elevator, sneaking after the anonymous (they all look the same, you see) executive. We can watch in the corner of the screen as the executive scans his special pass at the security door, and walks straight in. The door nearly closes, a hand stops it with an inch to spare, pushes it open just far enough, and a mop of yellow hair disappears through.

That is the last recorded visual of Longgone John Silver. Some say he was fed piece by piece to the tiger. Others that he was fed into the chipper and used as fertilizer for the cocaine garden. No one really knows for sure.

It is said that late at night, you can sometimes hear his ghost, howling in the elevator shafts. Others say that's just the wind you crazy bastard.

I want to get in to the executive floor. I want to solve this mystery. I also want to cavort in the jacuzzi with the supermodels and the pampering and the non-stop misuse of the company profits. I will find a way. I will not bow in my quest. You lousy executives do not scare me. Much.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Failed solutions to being hungover at work

  • Champagnes at lunch time (well, not so much failed as too temporary)
  • Food fantasies (I don't know how they started either)
  • Costanzas
  • Vitamins
  • Doing work
  • Not doing work
  • Eating
  • Not eating
  • Water
  • Juice
  • Coca cola
  • Staring into the distance
  • Quick walk outside for fresh air
  • Ham and cheese toasted sandwich
  • Cold and flu medication (perked me up till I realised I still felt like crap, just awake crap)
  • Pretending to work while sleeping at my workstation (and I had high hopes for that one...)
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Really sincere pleading prayer with lots of bargaining
  • Loud cries of "Oh Father why hast Thou forsaken me?!?!"
  • Quiet weeping under my desk
  • Louder weeping, with extra sobs, same place
  • Hitting head hard on desk to distract from hangover pain
  • Painkillers (might have worked earlier though)
  • Stealing snackfood from the snack bar
  • Paying for it to assuage hangover paranoia and guilt feelings (too late they're there for the day now)
  • Soft music
  • Loud music
  • Attempts to suck it up and get on with it
  • Regular visits to the pub (it just seems to rub it in somehow, and I'm then tipsy and still hungover.
  • Blogging (Bugger.)

Update: (Heh. My first update. Also my first heh, now that's progress.) Sorry about the really ugly dot points, I'll try to fix them tomorrow if I can breath and do stuff at the same time. Although, maybe they won't repulse me quite so much tomorrow...

Perspective

Man, I thought some of the management here was bad.

I mean, there's the Managing Dutchman floating around somewhere on 14, with a funny accent (though I'm pretty sure it's not actually Dutch) and a head full of ghosts, calling people by the wrong names, and asking about long-completed (or written off) assignments. There's Cluelith Cletith, whose every report to his boss has always been "Bithnith ath Uthual" which is a poor choice of phrase, we think, though probably true, as far as he knows. And there's Rita Rita Underling Eater who just wants results and fires someone most weeks just to make that point.

But I'm pretty sure none of them asks permission to go to the loo, least not since they finished school.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Politics of the Office Morning Tea 2

Well I'm feeling better now, I've got a lot off my chest that really needed to be said, now I can take a deep breath, and move on to other pressing morning tea issues.

So - a quick thought for today:

Why go to the trouble of buying sausage rolls and those brilliant little party pies (oh party pies...) to feed to people for morning tea, if you are only going to microwave them to soggy hell just in time for the meeting? You know the scene, you walk in to another crappy morning tea, someone's birthday no doubt or an update on the reasons for those last people disappearing one day from the office, along with all records of their previous existence (just to quell the rumours you understand, can't have unfounded rumours). Your eyes light up at that unexpected lack of three cake syndrome. You see the sausage rolls just sitting there, looking nice and warm and you think to yourself "Today just might be my day after all." You happily saunter towards the table, idly picking hold of a paper napkin from the top of a pile on the way, until you find yourself face to face with a plateful of sausage rolls. You reach down and pick one up. It is hot, too hot, and soft, too soft, but you do not let yourself think the worst, not yet, no, for you are an optimistic person, you refuse to let the soul be torn from your soul hole oh yes you do. So, you rest the roll on the napkin, and blow, then raise it to your mouth. But you know as soon as you've bitten in that all optimism in this worl is due eventually for a nasty letting down. For the pastry is soggified all to hell, and it peels off the meat and sticks too hot to the roof of your mouth as you look wildly around the room for water, cola, and stare bug eyed for help but there is no help, for there is no help for anything in this office. And as the roof of your mouth slowly blisters and peels off, all you can do is stand, try not to cry, and think to yourself: "Why oh why oh why???"

It is a terrible terrible thing, the microwaved sausage roll. And so easily solvable with a small amount of forward planning and preheating an oven. So, obviously we'll need another slogan if we are to beat the monsters in our break out rooms, let me think, how about:

If the roll is soggy feed it to the doggy

or,

It pains my soul to eat soggy sausage rolls

or,

If it's microwaved, it's too late to save

OK, They need work.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Politics of the Office Morning Tea 1

I imagine several major academic studies have been done of the office morning tea, concentrating on the sociological impacts, the sociopathical tendencies brought on, and the economic drivers of the soggy sausage roll industry, but I couldn't find them when I searched on the interwebs. So, I thought, this is clearly a job for the cosmodemonic lackey to do instead of his real one.

There are a number of issues that arise again and again in discussions about the office morning tea. I shall cover them one at a time. Some readers will be well familiar with most of the points I'll make. I hope you stick with me, though, you might just pick up a little something new, or a different angle. Others may see the office morning tea in a whole new light, especially middle aged, cake loving women. It is to these readers, in particular, that this message is addressed. Please read carefully, and change your ways.

I think I'll make this a new episodic feature, because I might have to go to the pub shortly, and there's just so much to say. So any suggestions for future topics are welcome in comments.

The issues I aim to discuss so far include:

1. Three cake syndrome
2. Ways to make mediocre food edible - esp. supply tomato sauce
3. Great food - esp. Cheese, Crackers
4. Ways to ruin perfectly good food - esp. over-microwaving

Let's start today, for a radical change, with number one, and let's just say it straight out: There is nothing - nothing - so infuriating in this whole wide and wicked world of ours as being invited to an office morning tea, and arriving to see a bunch of chairs surrounding three tables, each table with only a crappy pre-made supermarket cake on it. Oh, it aches. It tears the heart right out of your body, drops it disdainfully on the floor and smears fake whipped cream all over it's still beating ventricles.

In my experience there is only one particular type of person who can willingly, even eagerly, eat any cake - let alone three cake syndrome office morning tea cake - at ten in the morning. This is the middle aged woman who has given up all hope of ever working or living outside the office she currently inhabits. She is at work when you arrive, there when you leave, rarely working, but usually fussing.

Now don't get me wrong, she might be very nice, often the office mother hen, delivering dollops of good homespun advice and never giving up on you no matter how many times you go tot he pub at lunchtime and forget to come back. Then again she might be the office dragon. Either way, she has no hope left in her. It's not her fault. The corporate will has seconded her soul to turn the corporate grindstone, much like Arnie at the start of Conan the Barbarian, but without the smarts. And without hope, due to some interference in the space-time fabric that I can only assume is caused by aliens from the planet Dessertius Prime, she is left only with cake. And she loves cake with all her heart and all her soul-hole.

The only thing stronger than her love for cake is her hate for disorder, and for crime. Everything must be in its place, everything must have order hence, one cake per table.

So: we must band together, fellow normal person, you and I must band together to reject this behaviour. Our only chance is to broadcast this message and broadcast it loud to all office dragons and all office mothers:

Cake is a Crime Before Lunch Time

I came up with the catchy slogan myself. Like it?

More to follow, but I need a beer after that.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Glossary Entry 2: Jandal

The number one term for everything, JANDAL is the word to use if you forget the right word, never knew the right word, or if the right word just isn't funny enough.

Say a building's been burnt down and the people are shocked: it's jandalising behaviour.

Tina Turner is my private jandal, but Billy Jean is not my lover, the jandal's not my size.

I thought I'd better post this on my jandal, in case you didn't understand. Get with the jandal! Also, it's a flipflop, a thong if you will. But you won't because you know it's a jandal baby.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Glossary Entry 1: Costanza

Named after the Seinfeld character George Costanza.

Costanza (noun: a sneaky nap taken in the workplace)

Typical usages:


I tried to take a Costanza today, but they've moved the toilet paper dispenser in the ladies' cubicles, and it's just not comfortable anymore.

Lackey! What the hell are you doing!?! I've told you before: No Costanzas under your desk. Now get the hell out of there and do some bloody work.

It was our xmas party last night. It'll be Costanza City by lunch time.

Goddam filing cabinets have been moved, and now people can see my feet when I take a Costanza there.


Not to be confused with a Frank Costanza (verb: to hit the brakes hard, and hold out your arm to cop a feel of your passenger, while pretending to be concerned for her safety) which was named after George's father.

11

I don't like going to 11.

It's a third world colony, an outpost miles from civilisation. It's a cave, but without any of the advantages of a cave. No sexy cave-people, no buried treasure, and no shelter from the outside elements. In fact, it is nothing but outside elements - a final resting place of those left in a cosmodemonic purgatory.

Those unhealthy souls have been sucked dry of life and left there, on 11, empty husks, tumbleweeds in a desert of corporate indifference. It's impossible to feel sorry for them, however, for they are too far gone. They are the dark side, they are the other, they are the enemy. The enemy of live and love and all that we hold dear. They are the Health and Safety Nazis.

The Health and Safety Hitler and her Goebbels stalk the floor, looking for incorrectness and finding it everywhere. There is a section of the floor marked out behind filing cabinets by traffic cones - I kid you not - for all the chairs, computers, headsets and general office knickknackery that has been declared too dangerous for use by the denizens of 11. The stash is often raided by brave residents of ather floors, don't tell anyone though!

One person complained about the glare on her computer screen, so the blinds have been closed for the past two years. All the blinds. On the entire floor. It's like living in communist Czechoslovakia but without the dry bread and cheese. It's a Health and Safety Issue to eat by your computer, you see. No, I don't know why either.

So: a cold, dark and hungry place. And lonely, for talking is a Health and Safety Issue. People are trying to work you see, and they might develop migraines from distraction stress. Cold. Dark. Hungry. Lonely.

It is a scary floor, 11, and you can feel the chill draught of life-suckage every time your elevator passes it. There are a few refugees stuck down there who have not yet turned, and my god do I feel sorry for them. Get out people, I want to scream as the elevator slides by, get out now, before it's too late! But I don't because those Nazis have me running scared, and I've been off the floor a long time now.

Yes, once even I was trapped down there, with seeming no hope of ever seeing week-day daylight again. I got away. It cost me a part of my soul, but I made it and I do not regret the expense.

But now, I don't like going back to 11.

Old gold from the west

It's the second time he's posted this, but it still makes me love the man.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Chill man, you're a hero in the making

I used to worry how I would cope in the event of a nuclear holocaust. Most people do, I guess, I mean you can jump straight under your desk all you like, and remember not to look at that blast because it'll melt your eyeballs right out, but when the big one hits, are you going to be a hero? Or a quivering mess of jelly like what neville was right before he bungee jumped?

Then I took this test and it turned out I am in fact panic-resistant.

Thanks jeebus for that.

Super fun

I've always been a fan of superheroes.

I like that they use their super powers for good. Let's face it, I probably wouldn't. I would use my powers for pranking, japery and tomfoolery. And not necessarily in that order!

Which is why it's good to see one superhero leading the way in that regard, and showing the rest of us that even the super among us need to let their hair down from time to time.

Thanks, Spiderman.