Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Haggis of Karma: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Updated with added crunchiness and accuracy

New from the makers of long rambling stories about how weird their day has been comes a new rambling story about how weird their day has been. And here it is. It is long. It rambles. Hopefully it makes you laugh. Living it certainly made me laugh.

We had snow here in Leicester finally. It's been a little chilly since Sunday and yesterday my car boot froze locked. Rather unhandily I unlocked it manually and managed to freeze it unlocked. Fortunately I was marking at home and was able to fix it eventually.

Anyroads - snow! Or more precisely slush and ice. See for yerself:-

Not exactly Siberia yet, but it was pretty chilly.

Today I had a UCAS day and decided to dress smart for my talk. I had recently purchased a very new and comfy set of trousers. Now gentle reader, you may be wondering the reason for this rather unnecessary detail in the tale. You may think that I have finally flipped my marbles but I assure you that this minor detail of the trousers will prove relevant in a minute.

Somehow today was going to be special I decided to go outside and check my mailbox before going to work. For the first time in a while there was a parcel sitting in my box. As I peered round the corner I wandered was this those CDs I had ordered nearly a month ago from the States? Nope - it was amusingly a tin of haggis mailed to me from my good pal and fellow intellectual Dr. Steve reminding me tomorrow it is Burn's Night. He proudly told me he had spent a great whopping 49p on the haggis and handily provided me the relevant verses of prose (along with humorous translation from broad Scot's into English) to recite whilst consuming said tinned haggis. For that I salute him and will need to mail him up a little surprise of my own... In the meantime the following photo should justify the P&P:-

I made my way, now one haggis richer, to work in the difficult weather. At the corner of the road I spied an old lady struggling through the worst of the ice at Stoneygate Road. I ended up helping her all the way to Avenue Road and got told that I would get my reward in heaven. However as I already had been given a random haggis I thought, to quote Haley Joe Osmond, Steve'd already "paid it forward".

Anyroads, a few paces on I discovered I'd not quite removed all the labels off my new trousers. As I did, I just thought it was amusing what the label said given the situation...

It seemed funny enough at the time. Perhaps I had mild hypothermia.

Going into work I finished off the last of my exam marking only to be given more marking to do. At the Uni you know you are working well when more people are giving you work to do. This is clearly a philosophy B. takes to heart given his attempts to do as little work as possible.

As to B. - he'd been behaving like a human being for nearly a week now. I was shocked - other than being inexplicably upset that my Christmas present of a jacket might be more expensive than his Christmas gifts he'd been relatively normal. We'd even for the first time managed to choose office hours without him screaming and flatly refusing to do any office hours as he is too busy verbally handing out marks to the students or driving back from Durham for his midday lunch break on a Monday (actually he did remind us not to put him down for Monday mornings because of his 2 hour commute on a Monday).

Anyroads, the conversation started innocently enough:-

B: "Hrmph. I'm doing 4 office hours and 2 hours of labs that last until 6:30pm on Thursday. Can I swap office hours with someone?"
A: "Sure... why don't we swap some of my hours on a Friday."
B: "Yes. No. No. No. I don't want to do any on Friday."
A: "Why?"
B: "That's when all my handins are - the students will pester me at the last minute. This way if they have any last minute handin questions they'll need to see me on Thursday evening. If they haven't done it by then they're stupid."
A: "Er... isn't that a little unprofessional? Shouldn't you help your students if they come to you?"
B: "@£&£ *&£^" and so on as we tried once again to point out his job is to help the students...

We've had this conversation endlessly - you can listen to an example of it here.

The upshot is B. thinks A. and I are there to answer all his module queries when he can't be arsed, but that he does not have to do the same for our module queries. Usually this involves him mentioning that he can't do it and backtracking to simply saying he won't do it.

This time revealed some interesting new tidbits. A while back B. had been on at the boss to raise our office support from 8 hours a week to 10 hours a week despite the fact he is the one who most vehemently objects to doing it. Today he proudly explained to us this was a cunning ploy to get us to request exactly the opposite as apparently we only want the opposite of what he wants.

Admittedly I had tried to get down to 6 hours/week due to the large volumes of lectures I had taken on, but his seriousness at admitting to wasting my time, A's time and both our bosses time with all the pointless discussion left me literally falling off my seat in laughter and saying, "So next time you express an opinion we should assume you mean the opposite? Or are you clever enough that it's a double negative, or a triple negative? Maybe we should flip a coin to decide what your opinion is in future." Or better yet - replace him with a magic 8-ball!

B. doesn't seem to like it when people laugh at him during his tantrums apparently, as this made him a little confused but I had to leave.

I was somewhat surprised when B. came back in from lunch and hung around outside the window listening to us to see if we were talking about him. Eventually it was time for me to go set up my talk (I left an hour early admittedly) and I opened the door, causing B. to nearly fall into the office. As I stepped into the corridor he walked in, sat down at the helpdesk and started loudly complaining about how pointless it was. He then proceeded, for no other apparent reason than it was his office hour, to call A. a word that implies he may not know who his father is, followed by numerous loud explitives.

Now, not-so-longtime readers of my blog will remember the Door Story. The door to our office is not so soundproof as it once was and by this point I was well down the corridor. Andy had also mentioned to B. this was a UCAS day and he should therefore try to be behave but nonetheless his childish swearing and namescalling was clearly audible throughout the corridor. I turned back, put my face against the door and pointed out to B. I could hear everything he was saying and that any passing students could too. For my sins I joined the "dubious family tree" aka Bastard club and received two fingers I'm fairly certain was meant to be impertinence and not information.

Suffice it to say there is no a notice outside our door saying if you are a student and are here to see B. you are out of luck on a Friday, or a Shrove Tuesday...

After that he managed to disturb me again with my marking by yelling at one of our lecturers that the mistakes in his course were not his fault and hanging up. I really feel sorry for the poor chaps on the other end of the phone some days...

Shaking my head at poor A. I walked off thinking about how B. puts me in mind of Ash, (thanks Jamalen) the psychotic android, from Alien - he's always saying he's busy collating, actually works against the team and is a pretty unpleasant and unhelpful individual with violent mood swings. He hasn't tried to choke me with a copy of our office porn yet - but I'm sure it's a matter of turn. Also I recall they dealt with Dallas with the business end of a flamethrower - there might be something in that.

Anyroads, trudging home in the cold to race around Leicester looking for a birthday present for my dad I reflected on my day, and how weird it had been.


Jamalen of Zetland said...

You mean ASH the android from Alien yes?


Stuart Kerrigan said...

Geek 404 Error... the android you referred to was not found.

Dallas was the Captain. Argh!

steve said...

For the good of your health, I wouldn't advise you to actually eat the 49p tinned haggis. Use the tin as a sort of Scottish paperweight or office projectile in case colleagues start irking you.