Wednesday, July 29, 2009

office folklore

An old friend has just emailed me my favourite piece of office humour... or is it office folklore? I think people really do half-believe this one.
Notice spotted near more than one printer or photocopier in the past (or at least, it should have been...!)


This machine is liable to break down when you need it most.

A special sensor has been fitted to this machine enabling it to detect when it is being used for critical operations of supreme importance to the operator. It then waits for a random period of time and breaks down for no apparent reason.

Nobody knows how this is done. It just knows.

Under no circumstances:
  • whistle carelessly as you approach the machine: this is a dead give-away
  • threaten the machine with violence: this merely aggravates the situation and can lead to personal injury to you when the breakdown finally happens
  • try to use another machine: they can communicate with one another, so this could lead to mass breakdowns throughout the building
  • let anything electronic know you are in a hurry.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

original sin

I'm all for originality in sinning, but for the most part no-one seems to have invented a new sin for centuries.

Then of course there's the rare ones like accidie (sloth, laziness, boredom, spiritual weariness), particularly experienced by monks.

So, I charge you to invent some unusual sins, with appropriate names - use of word verification terms is permitted.

Mine is hesive - this is a much-disputed sin, which sometimes meant removing your hair-shirt before the term of the penance was up; also the premeditation before committing a sin; also, in rare cases, sex with bees.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Scottish visit

Just received this from a friend - awesome.

Gordon Brown is visiting an Edinburgh hospital. He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one. The patient replies:

"Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin race,
Aboon them a ye take yer place,
Painch, tripe or thairm,
As langs my airm."

Brown is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The patient responds:

"Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat an we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit."

Even more confused, and his grin now rictus-like, the PM moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:

"Wee sleekit, cowerin, timrous beasty,
O the panic in thy breasty,
Thou needna start awa sae hastie,
Wi bickering brattle."

Now seriously troubled, Brown turns to the accompanying doctor and asks "Is this a psychiatric ward?"

"No," replies the doctor, "this is the serious Burns unit."

Monday, April 27, 2009

weird juxtaposition

Last week we went to see three productions, all about as different as could be, because friends were in them.

On Wednesday, we went to see Oliver! at the Bath Theatre Royal, because Balador was in it. It was quite weird watching a musical where you were trying to catch sight of a member of the chorus all the time. I'm not normally a fan of musicals (and have managed to avoid most of them) but I quite enjoyed watching it because we did the first scene for a school concert, and I was a scrubber in the workhouse (in the original meaning of the word scrubber). Also Balador was excellent (especially his impression of a drunk - you'd think he had been practising...)

On Thursday, we went to see a concert of Tallis, Byrd, Dowland, Elgar and Vaughan Williams in Bath Abbey. The acoustic was a bit strange because we were sitting in the choir stalls, the rest of the audience were in the nave, and the choir were in the transept facing the nave. But the music was wonderful - particularly Tallis' Spem in Alium, which is glorious, nay, celestial (though I am still wondering why he is placing his hope in garlic).

On Saturday, we went to see a community theatre production called Brave at the Bristol Old Vic, which described itself as an evocation of childhood, and turned out to be a series of cameos interspersed with minimalist music and lots of people rushing about on the stage. Some quite amusing bits, but I wouldn't have bothered if my friend hadn't been in it. Still, it was better in some ways than some professional experimental theatre that I have seen.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Always take your hippy with you

I recently watched a SF/F film, The Last Mimsy, which was rather sweet and very enjoyable, and managed to bring together Alice in Wonderland, mandalas, genes and nanotechnology. At the crucial moment in the film, the hippy character (who has been to Nepal and knows about Tibetan Buddhism and mandalas) knows exactly what to do and how to react, whereas the rather square and non-hippy parents have no idea how to react.

This suggests to me a new principle in life:

"Everywhere you go
Always take your hippy with you."

This insight was borne out by an article on my employer's website announcing that growing hemp is carbon neutral, and you can build houses with it.
Hemp could be key to zero-carbon houses
08 April 2009
Researchers from the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering are investigating using hemp to build carbon-neutral homes. Using this renewable building material would not only help combat climate change but could also boost the rural economy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

inappropriate greetings

A colleague kindly attempted to wish me a "happy Easter Solstice" on Thursday. It was very sweet of him to try to be inclusive, but Spring Equinox happened on 21 March. Just because the Christian festival of Easter Sunday occurs on the Sunday after the first full Moon after the Spring Equinox, so is vaguely linked to the Pagan celebration of Spring Equinox, doesn't mean Easter is significant to Pagans. Anyway, it's a distinct improvement on another colleague, who used to say "I suppose I can't wish you a happy Christmas". To which my response is, either just wish me a happy Christian festival, or learn what the Pagan festivals are called. The information is widely available on teh intertubes, so it's not like it's hard to find out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

An Adventure

I took the car to the garage today and went to get the bus (there's only one bus an hour freom our rural fastness) which I managed to miss. So I decided (with some trepidation) to hitch into Bath, where I work.

Dozens of cars streamed past, and I was just about despairing of anyone picking me up, when a lady stopped. She very kindly dropped me at work, which was out of her way. She is a ceramicist and property developer, and very pleasant, so we decided to keep in touch (she has only recently moved to Bristol). If this does turn into a friendship it will have been the most bizarre and random way to start one!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A lamente for the schnoz

Whan thatte the Sonne hadde hys course yronne
Acrosse þe Fens to Trumpingtoun
He passed þe windowe of þe Bo
And mayde hys schnoz to glowe.
Full sore the schnoz did pele and pine
For cooler daies of yore, whan eke the windes did whine
And chauntë solemne canticles about þe college
Impartyng esoterick knowledge
Unto yonge studients, that sluggardlie to classen goe
Under þe tutelage of Bo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

weird words

A selection of amusing words that have come up in the new Blogger word verification:

  • Pologami - playing in multiple polo teams without the others knowlege 
  • gemastry - the ancient oriental martial art of combat using only precious stones
  • paphtess - descriptive of a small Greek village which has lost its only seller of Ouzo.

The Silver Eel
  • hasmshno - to refuse a third doobie.
  • genesco - a little-known painter of the Italian Renaissance?
  • thethlys - a flower that grows by the River Lethe, whose fumes induce forgetfulness
  • rerbach - a small boy who gathers up lost things at eisteddfods (from rerum, things, + bach, little). [Brithenig]
  • ty lazos - a house of lepers. [Brithenig]
  • Synyanit - small eastern European god of shopping ennui.
  • aftible - an ansible that sends messages back through time 
  • raptism - an initiation into rapper culture
  • wealorme - Anglo-Saxon for a serpent that brings blessing.
  • foddr - a photo-sharing website for cannon-fodder?
  • alpowar - a very large battleship (by extension from man o'war).
  • misher - Yiddish for someone who habitually causes confusion wherever they go.
  • hoaktax - a tax upon hokum, hocus-pocus and hoaxes (otherwise known as "There's one born every minute").
  • appirthy - pithy and apposite
  • anthst - fear of not finishing anthologies.
  • stompew - to misbehave in church.
  • tantred:
    1. an aunt who dresses eccentrically (as in When I am old I shall wear purple/ With a red hat that doesn't go...)
    2. a particularly florid tantrum
    3. past participle of the verb, to tantra.
  • imphros - a small lantern carried by an even smaller hobgoblin to guide faery ships safely into port (the opposite of a will o' the wisp).
  • pronapa - in favour of Californian wine

Friday, January 09, 2009

Quit moaning and do something about it

Are you:
  • Fed up with the (allegedly) poor standard of education among Pagans?
  • Fed up with the inaccuracies on Wikipedia?
Well, don't just sit there moaning about it. In the first case, help to educate your fellow Pagans (as Chas Clifton, Ronald Hutton, Margot Adler, Brendan Myers, Cherry Hill Seminary and many other fine people have done). In the second case - go and edit the thing - that is the whole point.