Stories

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve told you lot things already. Most of the amusing things that happen to me get related in here at one time or another, with or without a little artistic licence. Thankfully I can usually take a spin through the files for a few choice phrases to ensure I don’t repeat myself. And, thankfully, I can usually take a spin through the files for a few choice phrases to ensure I don’t repeat myself.

After relating the following story to a workmate on the train home on Friday night I did wonder if I’d already told this one. I haven’t, at least not according to Mr Grep. So here it is.

I should probably add at this time that though this is an amusing enough anecdote, it is probably in no way worth a three paragraph introduction, building up the kind of expectation normally associated with a side-splitting, thigh-slapping classic story of hilarity.

A few months ago we decided to see "My Left Foot". It’s kind of got the status of a must-see movie, but we hadn’t seen it when it was originally released. So off to our local friendly video shop we trotted.

Our local friendly video shop is just the other side of the station – when we moved here we originally joined the one on this side of the station, but no sooner had we got our precious membership cards than they elected to give up the video rental business. Maybe it was something we said. Or perhaps the way we wrote "Ha ha ha" over the bit in the membership form about paying for any damaged or missing tapes. But I digress. Frequently. Actually it’s funny how often I digress at the most inappropriate moments, only to suddenly come back to the point I was trying to make.

`"My Left Foot"? Yes, we have it. But it’s out.’

Well no worries, we weren’t in a desperate hurry to watch it. It would only be a few days, wouldn’t it?

`Actually we’ve been trying to track that one down for quite a while. We think the people who borrowed it moved. We’ll follow it up.’

Ah. This doesn’t sound so good. But we decided to drop back a few days later and see if it’s back. It wasn’t. Every time we passed we’d pop in and check. Weeks went by. We could have easily gone to another video shop, or even forgotten about watching "My Left Foot" altogether, but customer loyalty and wish to find out what the hell has happened to the tape won over.

The image of a deadly video tape thief who has fled to South America rather than give back his copy of "My Left Foot" came to mind. Perhaps the cops have caught up with him.

"All right Kelly… come out with the video tape above your head!"

"Never!"

After several weeks, the memory of the movie we wanted to watch began to fade. Until about two months later, when walking past the video shop in question, we jokingly decided to ask again if it’s back.

It was back!!! So many moons later, we finally got to watch "My Left Foot". Good movie. Not sure if it was worth waiting two months to watch it, but yes, it was a good movie.

The worst thing is… we never did find out what had happened to the tape.

The Wiggles

My son Isaac likes The Wiggles. Actually, every Australian kid between the ages of six months and ten years like The Wiggles. No matter which way you look at it, The Wiggles are cool.

For small children, The Wiggles act as an instant sedative. Bung on the video and Isaac gazes up at the screen, transfixed. One night last week he just stood there, gazing, swaying, too busy gazing to even sit down. Alas, there are few things short of illicit drugs that would work this well on adults. Though I have seen similar effects from Mr Bean videos.

Toxic Custard turns six

It’s kind of scary when you think about it. Toxic Custard has been going for six years. That’s as long as I spent in the entire of high school. It’s a helluva long time. Where did all those years go? I guess I’ve been having too much fun.

In Australia, ABC viewers have a chance to spot TCWF on the telly. There’s an advert currently airing for submissions into Bob "Fairfax and I separated on amicable terms" Mansfield’s review into what exactly the ABC does with our eight cents a day. (Actually about 8.444802578566 cents a day according to my calculations).

The ad tells you how to get more information about making submissions to the review, by phone, mail, fax or email. Each shows various headless anonymous people using the appropriate bits of technology. For email, the shots they pulled out of the stock film cupboard consist of:

(a) me using our old 286 ex-PC (yes, I still have that shirt)

(b) my hands dancing over the keys of our old 286 ex-PC

(c) the amber screen of our old 286 ex-PC, scrolling through TCWF191

Note that in none of the shots am I actually using email! The footage comes from a "Hot Chips" story done in 1994. It’s a funny kind of feeling, spotting your headless self on the telly. "Wait a minute… I recognise that torso… that arm… that fast four finger typing style! That’s me!!"

Haircut

Had a haircut on today. I’m don’t know how the barber does it. He just knows exactly how to cut it.

I’ve been going to this guy for over a year now, every couple of months. It’s got to the point where I just sit in the chair, he asks "the usual?", I say yes, and he just cuts my hair. No fuss. No questions.

HOW DOES HE DO IT? How does he know? He must cut thousands upon thousands of people’s hair every year. How does he remember mine? How does he know how I like it? I have four theories:

  • He has a photographic memory, and knows exactly how he cut my hair last time
  • He has access to a huge database of people’s faces and preferred haircuts, which he has electronically projected onto his eye so he doesn’t have to consult with any tell-tale computer screens
  • He carefully examines my hair, its consistency and growth, and extrapolates how he cut it last time
  • He only cuts one style of haircut, which happens to be the one I favour, and hence is my "usual".

Work

This week was definitely the most interesting week at work ever. The events surrounding the beta trial of the software we’re developing have been fascinating. Most of my colleagues who are reading this know exactly what I’m talking about. The rest will know exactly what I’m talking about when I mention the number three.

Unfortunately for the rest of you, I’m probably not able to reveal exactly what has been going on. I’m not sure if not disclosing this kind of event is specifically included in my contract, but I’m going to play it safe. Give it a few months to blow over and maybe I’ll reveal all.

I can, however, tell you about a separate incident last week at work. First of all, you need to know that my email alert at work is Monty Python’s Mr Gumby proclaiming "My brain hurts!"

A colleague, Henry, and I, were messing around with trying to get some voice conferencing software going. Microsoft’s NetMeeting to be precise. Ever since the office reorganisation last week, we’re too far away to exchange verbal abuse face to face, so we’ve been looking for a better way. Pick up the phone?? No way, that wouldn’t be high-tech enough. So voice conferencing it had to be.

Actually, we’re only fifteen second’s walk away, and could shout, though it would disturb other people. But part of our work involves computer-based conferencing anyway, so we thought we might as well make use of the technology.

So we fired up the software. A little fiddling and it was half working – that is, Henry could hear me, but I couldn’t hear him. Verbal office abuse isn’t as fun when it’s one way, so we each fiddled with the controls.

I bumped up the volume control on the conferencing software a little. He kept speaking into his microphone. Still no go. I bumped the volume up to full blast. Still nothing. I gave up and went over to his desk, unaware that turning the volume up on the conferencing software had also turned my main volume control up to full.

I arrived at Henry’s desk, and we agreed it wasn’t worth the hassle.

Just then, some email arrived.

With all the decibels a multimedia PC can muster at full volume, a loud voice came booming across the office.

" M M M M M Y Y Y Y YB R R R A A A I NH H H U R T S S S ! "