Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts tagged with ‘Big Dave’


In which we find out what Big Dave was up to

Well, I’ve found out what he’s been up to recently.

Big Dave has resigned. After Christmas, until they find somebody else, I’m going to be working on my own.

He’s moving to London, too. This morning he handed in his resignation; this afternoon he went out to buy an A-Z.


In which we pretend to break something

I’ve noticed I’ve been a bit lax updating recently – if you look on the sidebar, you’ll notice these past few months have had far fewer posts than before. Back in January I said to myself that I was going to try to update every day. As you can see, I haven’t been managing it.

“Why do you have to update if you don’t have anything to say?” someone asked recently. I feel I should, though. Previous attempts at creating diaries have always faded away due to laziness; when I started this site, the intention was to try to stick to one post per day. No more, no less, and the rhythm would stop it fading away. I don’t think there’s any risk of that happening quite yet, but I am going to try to put more effort in.

Big Dave is still up to something – he’s been up to something all week, I’m sure, but he’s not saying what it is yet. Lots of phone calls that he won’t take in front of people.

We were both up to something the other day, to be honest – we found a rather good screensaver* that simulates, very closely, a computer that has crashed so horribly that it won’t start up. Dave, of course, couldn’t resist installing it on the PC of someone who recently played a joke on him. He waited until we knew the chap was away from his desk, installed it remotely, then sat back and waited for the phone call.

The funny thing, though, is that he also installed it on his own PC, so he could see what it does. So now, every time he comes back to his desk,*** he has a millisecond of “Shit! Aargh!” before remembering that it’s his screensaver. Our fear of blue screens is that ingrained, he can’t help it.

* It’s from Sysinternals, a very good site if you have to be a Windows geek, with all sorts of useful semi-official system tools. It used to be independent, but was absorbed** by Microsoft this summer.

** or maybe “adsorbed” is a better word.

*** after answering one of those mysterious phone calls he keeps getting.


Or, taking some time off

Recovering from a bit of sickness. Fortunately, only a brief illness; I’m pretty much back to myself again.* I was sick enough to take time off work, though, for the first time in a few years. Normally, however bad I am, I pull myself together enough to make it into the office. I’m not going to go into details about what was wrong, for the benefit of emetophobic readers. There’s at least one that I know of.

Talking of the office, Big Dave seems to be up to something. Lots of hushed calls on his own phone. I’m suspicious. He managed to pull a visiting consultant,** but I don’t think this is related.

* “Only sick in the head”, as Big Dave helpfully said.

** Well, got her phone number on her last day with us.


In which we reflect on the past

After I whinged to her about life for a while, my friend (and regular reader) K set me a challenge. Think of six happy memories, and the places they happened. It took me a long time, but here they are:

  • The first night I spent with another person (in a flat on South Clerk St, Edinburgh).
  • The Shimura Curves gig I went to with regular reader Miranda (at the Notting Hill Arts Club).
  • The first time I escorted someone on a kissogram job (in a bar in Castleford)
  • Climbing a hill in Dumfriesshire with friends
  • Going to an event in London a couple of months back with my friend Wendy (in the catacombs beneath London Bridge station).
  • Snuggling up to my then-boyfriend Gareth, in his kitchen, which was painted bright blue and yellow (on Mayfield Road, Edinburgh).

There are probably more happy memories, somewhere, that aren’t too tainted by bad things. These were the first six that came to mind, though.

I was supposed to be off up to Scotland again this weekend, incidentally, with K. She was planning a trip up there to visit various places with another friend, who had to drop out, so she invited me along to take up the spare bedroom. Annoyingly, though, I can’t get the time off work. “Oh, no, you can’t have that day off,” said Big Dave, “I booked it months ago.” Grrrr.

Pigeon Street

In which we prepare to go away

It’s Friday afternoon, and the office is in a cheerful mood. I keep hearing little babbles of laughter when I pass office doors. Noone has been phoning me up with stupid problems, and Big Dave isn’t here at all, having gone off to Italy for a week. No doubt he will come back with tales of bizarre events he stupidly got himself into, going by previous holidays – sneaking out of the country incognito after an accidental run-in with the local Mafia boss, or something along those lines.

I’m in a cheerful mood too. I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, but it hasn’t been because of gloom and doom. I’m going away for the weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m taking the camera, and I’m going to come back with a full memory card.

Anyway, I’m going away to clear up lots of those little jobs that are nice and easy to get cleared; and then, come five o’clock, I’m zooming off down the motorway. See you soon!

Back at the office

In which it’s back to work

You know that feeling you get when you’ve been away for a few days? By the end of the holiday it feels as if you’ve been away from the office forever; but when you get back, hardly a thing has changed.

My desk still has piles of useless paperwork on it, and Big Dave is still stressing about the amount of work he has to do. It doesn’t help that he still keeps getting “help!” calls from random people when he’s in the middle of urgent work, of course. From his mother-in-law, for example, who this morning put Dave’s stepson’s new £250 mobile phone through the washing machine, and wanted to know how to fix it. A full cycle, apparently, although I’m not sure if it was a boil-wash. Big Dave’s advice: “put it in the airing cupboard for a bit, and whatever you do don’t tell him about it until you’re sure it’s knackered.”

In the meantime, I have a big pile of mundane and tedious things to do, which haven’t been done since before I went away. Updating all those files that need updating every few days but don’t work automatically. Generating nice reports for the management. Doing the inter-departmental billing run. All those jobs that really don’t need any brain, but which for one reason or another can’t be automated very well, because of all the exceptions and special cases that go against the rules. Why they fall on my shoulders to do, I’ve never been entirely sure – possibly in an attempt to persuade me to work out how they can be automated, in order to avoid boring myself into a coma. If only they were so boring that I could daydream at the same time; but they’re not, that’s why they need a human to do them.*

This isn’t the sort of task, to be honest, that makes me sit and think “my god, I need another job.” At least this sort of task doesn’t involve inter-divisional politics, or any of the related nastiness. This is just the sort of task that keeps me bumbling away in “Room 3B, IT office” (as the new sign on the door almost says)** wishing I could turn off my computer and go and do something more interesting instead.

* We’re talking about jobs like: reconciling our internal phone system’s billing reports with BT’s billing reports. Which is a hard job for a computer to do because their clocks aren’t synchronised, and they disagree on how long each call lasts. I could write a program that would match on the phone number first then look for fuzzy matches in the other fields, but for a job I only have to do once a quarter it’s not worth the effort.

** that’s one thing that’s changed whilst I was away, a new sign on the office door. I have thought about editing the IT building plans so it is actually called Room 3B, but haven’t got round to it yet. We already have our own room numbering system for some parts of the building, because when it was last rebuilt the Facilities Management office didn’t get around to telling us what the official room numbers were until long after we needed to number the rooms ourselves.

End of the week

In which we take some time off

Not just end of the week, but start of the holidays – I’ve got an entire week, and more, off work. Hurrah! I’ve been winding Big Dave up about it all day.

It seems, though, that half the office has all decided to take the same week off work. So Dave won’t have to worry too much about me being off; he should only have half as many stupid questions to answer anyway.*

I don’t have any particular plans for the week. Tidy up a few things here and there. Go on the odd outing. But, most importantly, it’s a chance to rest a little. The universe has been far too nice to me in the past 7 days; something bad is bound to come along and hit me soon, and I will need a rest before I have to cope with it.

* Yes, I know there’s a flaw here – not everyone asks quite as many stupid questions. Some people are far, far worse than others.

Brring brring

In which I'm on my own

Big Dave’s on holiday all this week, and most of next week too. I’ve been getting on with my work, have coped on my own, and haven’t had to call him up for anything.

This might not sound unusual to you – how many of you call your co-workers for help when they’re on holiday? Indeed, it’s not unusual to me either. The other way round, though, it’s routine. When I’m on holiday, I end up with Dave on the phone at least once a week, usually more.

The last holiday I took, in fact, he managed to pull a blinder. It was my first morning on holiday. I woke up, went to a greasy spoon for a fry-up, and wandered back to my room for a shower. I strip off, get in the bathroom, turn on the shower, get in…

“Your phone’s ringing!”

I turn the shower off again: and, indeed, brrring brrring. It’s Dave, of course, having trouble with something that has to be done every day. I have to talk him through some basic computer commands that he really, really should know how to use.

What’s galling is that he’s above me, officially. He gets paid more than me, too. He still needs to phone me for help, though. I wonder when he’ll next be getting in the shower…

Friday again

In which Big Dave breaks the law

I’ve been thinking about having a new feature on the site: Readers’ Letters. I get you to write in with questions that aren’t suitable for a normal comment-box entry, and I answer them. I was thinking of doing it today, in fact, but I couldn’t be bothered to make all the questions up as well as the answers. So, if you have anything you want to ask, email my usual address: feedback at symbolicforest.com

I also should get around to rearranging the post categories. As time goes by I find myself referring back to previous posts more and more often; and spending more and more time searching for previous posts that I know are in the archive somewhere. Better categorisation should mean less searching, hopefully. After all, all categorisation systems change over time – look at how libraries work.

Big Dave has a new car. Not new new, but new to him – he bought it off his dad at a bargain price. “You know what,” he said, “it does 140mph, and it still had some power left in it. And that was just up the London Road – I haven’t tried it on a motorway yet.” I’m going to be staying indoors more from now on. I’m happy to trundle along at the speed limit myself. If I want to drive something that can do that speed, I’ll try and get a job as a train driver.

Listening to people chatting about What Was On The Telly Last Night, I suddenly realised – I haven’t watched a thing all week. Instead I’ve been listening to music, largely because I’ve been playing with Last.fm, the website that shows everyone else what you’re listening to. In my case, it largely shows the world what a twee indiekid I am, but that’s because my record collection is heavily biased. There’s an awful lot of music that I like but don’t own, because I don’t know enough to know what to get.

Anyway, that’s enough nonsense for this week – there is a cup of tea cooling in the kitchen, and I need waking up.

In his defence

In which Big Dave gets fit

Big Dave’s latest plan for self-improvement has been under way for a few weeks now. He’s decided to study the martial* arts, and has been going to ju-jitsu classes on a Monday night. Which means that every Tuesday, when we come in to open up, he’s groaning at every aching muscle.

To be fair, he’s getting better. After the first night, he was groaning with every tiny movement he had to make. Now, after a few weeks, he’s mostly quiet but for the odd pained expression on his face.

From all the stories he tells, Big Dave can already look after himself. Most of the tales he tells of nights out end up with him coming out on top whenever a fight breaks out. Of course, maybe he’s being selective about which tales he tells us, and maybe they end up embroidered in the telling. Clearly, though, he’s not that confident; or at least he feels like he needs an extra edge when it comes to fights in the street on a Saturday night. Or maybe he’s just concerned about the size of his waistline; the classes are billed as “ju-jitsu and self-defence”, but that doesn’t have to be the only reason for going. Maybe he’s planning on a definitive wrestle with the management when he finally leaves.

* Yes, I did double-check that I’d spelled that correctly.