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Cut & Paste

Here's another post about office madness at work. If you guys are wondering at wich company I work ... well, I cannot tell. But it's not a small rat shop, it's a global corporate union, with sites everywhere. Goods produced by "my" company are almost in every kitchen, basement, workshop, or car (depending on the business unit) in Germany, and most likely in your countries as well. I work for the head of the central IT department at headquarters. That's just to give you an idea of the environment.

Ok, here are the funny things that happened recently:

A coworker filed a suggestion for improvement to the appropriate central unit (not IT). The response she got was a funy form. Someone literally used "cut & paste" on it. That means, the text was (probably) written in word, then cut out with scissors and pasted on the form with real glue. We assume that an intern in that department got the order to cut and paste the data into the form and just accepted it at face value.
My coworker then had another idea for improvement, about "cut and paste" done with a computer, but we decided to not file it as it might be considered sarcastic--which in fact it would have been.

Then again, the girl who already asked if there's a video projector and network ports in a virtual room in a colaboration tool still didn't understand the concept of virtual rooms. She made another request this week and asked if there's coffee and soda in this room, and if not, where she can order some. We're not yet sure if she's just being cheeky or utterly stupid.

Since last week there's a sign at the entrance of this weird guy's cubicle that bilingualy says "Enter at own's risk - Zutritt auf eigene Gefahr". If this guy wrote it himself, he's a big freak. If someone else wrote it, it's hilarious. I smile each and every time I walk past this sign.

Spelling BBQ Bee

The last weeks were like programming at home from 7am to 9am for a customer of mine, programming at work from 9.15am to 7pm, programming at home again from 7.15pm to 2am. I finally finished one of the projects I was working on. So there won't be any before-work and after-work shifts in the next weeks. However, our magazine needs quite much attention right now, editorial deadline is next week, and I'm the guy who's responsible for selling all the ads, but that's supposed to be a hobby, it is fun. I need to repeat that sentence some more times in my head, maybe I will finally believe it.

So, today was the first day where I didn't write code until my eyes are closing inevitably. Actually it was a very nice evening. I was invited for a BBQ at Julia and Rick's house. It was a very pleasant evening, and I had a lot of fun. (They're both reading my blog regularly, so I have to write that. Just kidding! I really enjoyed the evening very much.) We played some fun games and laughed a lot. I probably had a little bit too much booze at the beginning, but I had too much ice cream for dessert, so that should make up for the booze.

The way home was quite funny as well. They live in a small suburbian village near Stuttgart. There are only very few busses at night, like three in an hour, but I managed to take a wrong one. So I've boldly gone where no man had ever gone before, at least it seemed like that. But I arrived home safely, the natives didn't tie me up on a stake and set it on fire. Our football team won the national championship today, which came in quite handy for me, so people were celebrating on the streets everywere, the entire city was blocked, and more trains were running at night.

Ok, so you're probably asking what this has to do with the title of the post. Well, we played Cranium, and it was quite funny, because, you know, the language questions are supposed to be difficult for native speakers, they're almost impossible for Germans. So, in my team there was a Puerto Rican, another German and me, the other team were three Americans. Of course we got all the language questions, and they had to build dicks out of clay, or draw a clown. We got things like "Spell floccipaucinihilipilification backwards without writing it down", or "fill in the blanks: F __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ S __ __ __ __ __ __ __ A". It was fun anyway, and I actually managed some of the spelling questions. I'm so proud, I'm gonna wear a tie to sleep tonight.

There is a God!

This morning there was this silence in the office. If you read my last post you know what I mean. It was just silent and everybody was doing his/her work. You know the innocent silence of an office, right?

Suddenly there was a loud BANG that disturbed the silence. Everybody froze, we watched at each other with a what-the-fuck??? look. It soon turned out that a co-worker threw a chair at a filing cabinet. Guess who did that. Yes, right! The guy from the last post. He's back! They've re-moved him back to our office. Yeah! He's just 3 desks next to his old location. I wonder if someone at the other office complained about him?

To make up for the three days we were missing him, he provided some real goodies today. For example the performance of his masterpiece "The Flying Chair".

Or, what our secretary told us during lunch, he came to her with a huge list of office items he needed. A list like that: 5 pads, 17 pens, 2 stapler, 3 puncher, and so on, you get the idea. The secretary asked him what he needed them for. He responded, "I didn't get a pay raise this year, so this is a payment in kind."

Of course she didn't hand over the requested objects, but we laughed so hard in our lunch break that I actually got sore muscles in my tummy.

Well, the girl who called the secretary and asked her where she can make reservations for a (virtual) team room in a collaboration tool, and if there's a video projector and a network port in this room, did the rest.

We're still working on a plan to get her call him. That should be fun.

They took my Entertainment Unit

There was this guy in my office. I neither know his name, nor which team he belongs to. But he's been on the phone almost all the time, I guess he was some 2nd level support, he had a deep and loud noise voice. He's somehow choleric, and I was going did-he-relly-just-say-this quite often. Although his place was many cubicals away, I heard him all day long. He's regularly been the reason of many smiles among my co-workers. It just never got boring with him at the other end of the open-plan office.

Thursday and Friday last week were the best days ever. It was his derniére. They've been moving him and his team to another place. When the movers came, he gave all he could, and there were some loud fights. I'm still pitying the girl that coordinated the moving. Well, she did a good job and showed balls. But I guess it wasn't her easiest week at work. But we had the best show.

Friday afternoon was very weird. It was quiet in the office. Nobody was yelling, nobody was insulting callers on the phone. He was gone. Work will never be the same again ...

Friendship

A friend never saw you crying.
A real friend has wet shoulders from your tears.

A friend doesn't know the names of your parents.
A real friend has their phone numbers in his address book.

A friend will bring a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend will come early to help you with the preparations, and he will stay to the end to help you cleaning up.

A friend hates it when you call him after he went to bed.
A real friend asks for the reason why you hestitated that long.

A friend tries to talk to you about your problems.
A real friend helps you with your problems.

A friend is interested in your past.
A real friend knows every dirty detail, he could blackmail you about it.

A friend behaves like a guest in your house.
A real friend opens your fridge and helps himself.

A friend thinks that after an arguement your friendship is over.
A real friend knows that there won't be a real friendship as long as there was no fight.

A friend expects you to be there for him.
A real friend is there for you always.

If you're ever feeling lonely ...

Last Tuesday (May 1st) there was a holiday in Germany, namely Labor Day. Yes guys, in Germany we have Labor Day on 1st of May. By the way, isn't it strange that "Labor Day" is free, while Friday (in German "Freitag", which literally means "free day") is a regular working day?

Anyway, I went on a hike with some friends. Hiking is the traditional activity on German Labor Day, unless you're a member of a labor union, then it's probably your duty to attend a demonstration or whatever.

We had a blast on our hike, and we had some stops for coffee and ice cream and BBQ and all that usual stuff. A lesbian couple also brought their cute dog "Trude". I have no idea what kind of breed Trude is, but I would say it's close to a chocolate colored Labrador Retriever. The dog has something with her eyes that will get worse in sunlight, so the vet made her wear sunglasses outside. You have no idea how cute a dog with sunglasses looks. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures that day.

Of course I wasn't the only one who thinks a dog with sunglasses looks very cute, so everybody we've seen that day said something about the dog. You might think, "there must be at least one person that didn't say something." No, you're wrong. Literally e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y felt an urge to say something. Hence here's my advice, if you ever feel lonely, buy sunglasses for your dog and go for a walk. There won't be another chance to meet more people than by doing this.

Vital Signs

Hey, I'm still here ...
I just wanted to let you know that I'm not gone, just fucking busy.

Today Thomas and I were on air because a colleague at the radio station just quit his job. We hadn't had prepared anything for the show because we didn't have much time for preparation. So this was another impromptu evening show today. We managed to play many new tracks that aren't even officially released yet, and also had a short interview with a director who's making a movie in Stuttgart. He's been a guest in our show (in the studio) three times during the last three years, so we were able to ring him up without prior notice, "Hi, we're currently playing a song, could you give us an interview about your current project right after the song?"

After the show Thomas and I were hungry, we decided to eat some chicken in the food court at the main station. There's nothing better than fried chicken in the late night at a train station ...
It reminded me so much of the days when I was younger and my friend and I ate at the main station a lot when we were at our favorite club and got hungry in the night. That was such a great time, and today I enjoyed eating there again, it felt just good; I was 21 again for a few minutes ;-)

Arriving in the 21st century

While I was an early early-adaptor of internet access, and I'm using it regularly since 1994 (nobody knew the internet existed back then, not even our computer teacher had an idea of what the internet was), my mom didn't have access at home. When I was visiting her I either had to drive to her office in the neighboring village, or use (a quite expensive dial-up connction on) my cell phone and my PDA to check my emails.

But last Friday she has finally been assimilated, and now she has a very fast connection that came with a wireless router, a movie on demand flat fee subscription, free national landline and cell phone calls and what-have-you. Now being here doesn't neccessarily mean being cut off from the rest of the world technically.

On Friday my mom didn't even use her new internet, and I was wondering if she will use it at all. But yesterday she was catching up. I mean, I browse a lot, and I can spend much time online, but my Mom... I thought we need a knife to seperate her from her notebook in the night.

Anyway, I'm glad my Mom enjoys it, and I hope she won't be taken in. We all know that the internet has a dark side and that you can meet very weird people. An avid user might realize when something is wrong, but a newbie probably not...

Import Mails from Thunderbird to Mail.app (Part II)

Some of you know, I was trying to import e-mails from Thunderbird to Apple's own Mail.app for a friend. It's supposed to work, but it just didn't. Mail showed only one huge e-mail in each folder, and the mail itself contained all other mails.

I wrote a litte perl script to fix the files so that Mail will import them properly. And I made my solution available on this blog in case somebody else is having the same problem. See the datails about the solution in my post from February, 6th.

This week I got an E-Mail from Lars Kobbe who used my script to fix his files. He also made a Droplet out of my perl skript, which makes using it easier for those of you that don't like the command line.

Just save the Droplet on your Desktop, drag your mbox-files on it, and it will fix the files for you without any need to use a command line.

Get Lars' Droplet here ...

My Tribute to Lionel Richie

To be honest, I didn't know much about Lionel Richie. Shame on me, I know. Then I was watching the very populer German show Wetten, Dass??? where he was guest. I realized that he is a very nice and friendly guy. He was a very congenial and pleasant guest.

Sometimes celebrity think they have to be snobbish, but Lionel Richie, who's a big star indeed, was very natural and just sweet. I was totally impressed.

He lost his bet on the show, and had to sing the song "Hello" with helium inhaled. It's so funny...

Way-back Singing--or: Yet another post about weird costumes

Did I ever write about the time when I was singing medieval songs with some friends? We started rehearsing for an annual celebration at the iron ore mine where I was working in my free time, and we just wanted to sing two or three ancient miner songs. And yes, we were wearing our traditional miner's garb like everybody from the mine does on celebrations. The first picture is taken from the local newspaper. It shows us in the ancient St. Georg's Chapel. I'm the one who's wearing the long trousers. I was still in highschool back then.

The audience liked it, so we started to rehearse regularly and sing other medieval songs as well. We were singing on many celebrations in our club after that, and we became quite popular. We were invited to official celebrations like 800-year anniversary celebrations of ancient cities (as top-act. Ok, you're not believing me, but it's true), and we were even singing in France and Italy. The next picture was in 1995 were we sang in front of some thousand people in Heilbronn (me is the one on the left).


If you were wondering how the traditional garbs look in color, here's another picture. This is an old shot of the entire miners club in front of the entrance to the ancient Frischglück iron ore mine.

And here's another picture of the ancient St. Georg's Chapel in my hometown. The chapel is near the castle and was build before 1290. It has precious frescos from about 1320 to 1340.

Cat-sitting

Hey, I'm in the great wilderness to take care of my Mom's cat. My Mom's on vacation for a week, so I'm here feeding and petting the cat.

My plan was to drive to Stuttgart every day for work, but it just didn't work. Usually it takes like 30 Minutes by car on the Autobahn (right, the thing with no speed limit), but yesterday I needed almost two and a half hour, so I decided to stay here for a litte vacation in the country.

The only thing I don't really like is no real internet access ... but I'll be back soon.

By the way, Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and my walking-season has started again. Yippie!

YES!!! Or: I just love Perl

During the last weeks my job has been utterly exhausting. I've just started to work for that company, and I had to port a quite complicated and sophisticated Java program to C#. I've done projects in both languages before, I can handle the languages, but I had absolutely no knowledge of the existing code. I mean, it was a completely new project for me, and I had to analyze it entirely to get the idea how it works. But the target device has many restrictions, so only about 20% of the C# language commands were available. A "simple" port wasn't possible. After spending 7 long and exhausting days (my first 7 days at that company), we decided to try a new approach.

We tried to run the Java program on the target device directly. It actually worked, but was ridiculously slow and just useless. No, that's not true. It was beyond useless. Imagine it like that: you hit the break in your car, but your car stops 4 minutes later, and during those 4 minutes you can neither use the steering wheel nor turn off the engine. So they decided to port it to C++.

I payed my bills with programming C++ before I started university, but I can hardly use it anymore. Shame on me! All I wanted to say is that the last days were very exhausting.

But at the start of this week, my boss assigned me a small project in Perl. Did I ever mention that I just love Perl? My friends even say it's my mother tongue, or some call me "the friendly perldoc".

I know that there are many people who hate perl, some say it's too cryptic or too complicated. Some say it's a write-only language (i.e. "you can't read what a program does by looking at its source code"). But, what the hell, it's a great language and I love it, really! If only life was as easy as Perl...

I finished the task in one afternoon, and that day was quite pleasant, and the first feeling of success at that company. After that day I was supposed to go back to C++. But my boss assigned me another tiny Perl task, so another pleasant day...

Yesterday my boss called me and it looks like I can drop the C++ project for now and start in a bigger Perl project. It sounds like heaven to me. My prayers have been heard!

Shitty Jobs

Have you ever been wondering how the vending machines work? Finally, here's the answer:

The sign says: "Life's too short for a shoddy job."

It's a campaign of a German placement service.

I like those pictures. Aren't they hilarious?!

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