All work herein is copyright (c) Stewart Wilson 2001.

Enemy Territory

Being an occasional rambling article from the mind of Stewart Wilson


I?m not quite sure where it says it?s my time for some negative karma, but I certainly hope that there is a bug in the system. Either that, or I?m atoning for some heinous sin that I carry on committing. Like breathing.

Last week was well and truly the Week From Hell. Starting off with a reorganisation of the entire department that left me moving things for the head of Tables and Chairs (Buildings and Maintenance), the day dragged on for two hours of moving desks, chairs, filing cabinets, the entire SysAdmin applications and backups library (fortunately not the two-ton backup safe), and more computers than I care to name. I was about the only person in the department not to move, and yet I was the one to be yelled at the most for not getting things done. Despite the fact that I had other work to do, despite the fact that whatever that mineral life form that was ordering me around might think, I had other things to do. Of course, such feeble excuses count for naught when the person protested at has more hands than brain cells. Tuesday saw much the same kind of crap, but instead I had to empty half of our server room. Half of a bloody long room full of humming, throbbing computer equipment with enough combined power to fight a medium sized border war taking up a room the size of a swimming pool. Where was I to put it? In the words of our favourite Desks and Chairs guy: ?Use your initiative?. Bastard.

Of course, to stop any thoughts I might have been having of the week getting any easier were dashed come Wednesday. Returning to see what my office actually looked like, I noted not only was I now sharing an office with Roy (a good thing), and also with one of the new students that started on Monday (that I hadn?t seen on account of being a human forklift for the first two days of the week). This of course, turns out to be a total distraction. I happen to enjoy doing my work from phone, e-mail and the comfort of a smoke-filled office with rock and indie blaring out of my computer. How I am supposed to play a decent game of networked X-Blaster when people are streaming through my door looking for the other inhabitant of the office, looking at what I am doing and asking me to turn the music down? Damn them. And above all of that, I had all of these new users whining at me that they wanted accounts. Fucking users. My job would be so much easier without them. I bombarded them with paperwork until they retreated. I need a gun at work.

Come Thursday, I?m about ready to go nuclear on anyone or anything I want (normally that doesn?t happen until the second coffee of the morning). It doesn?t help me that these new students are stupid enough to have filled out the forms (as opposed to the tried and true method of slipping me forty marks and a beer), and thus I find myself confronted by a sea of paperwork. No sooner have I looked over it to see what needs to be signed, what doesn?t need to be signed, and what I can?t do anything about (and thus file in the bin). Of course, I don?t have time to do any of this as irate lusers wanting to know when their accounts will be done keep hammering on my door. Like some bizarre management simulator, they reject the answer of ?When they?re done, if they?re done? and ask for some real numbers. Freaks. The rest of the day passes in a blur of users and paper work and I do a grand total of negative four hours of anything either me or my boss would consider proper work. Hence, on Friday, I call off my early morning, sleep in a bit, miss the nine o?clock buss and thus have to go to McMoron for breakfast, and show up at work at half ten. The storm of users doesn?t abate, and I find myself trapped in a mazelike telephone system that would have done Doctor Kevorkian proud, trying to find someone that speaks a semblance of a language I understand. After five and a half hours of this, I?m sick of it, and head off home, pausing only to tell a coming user to go fuck himself.

So endeth the Week from Hell

* * *

Saturday, I needed a change of pace so I went shopping with Wookie. Of course, our definition of shopping is rather different from anyone else?s. Finding ourseves in front of a shop selling everything from air rifles to Atari 2600?s to mobile phones to Bowie knives, we went for a bit of a wander inside. I picked myself up a Leatherman multi-tool so I don?t get accused of stealing tools from the test bench and because it has a really wickedy-keen knife blade. This and the weapons shop we found kept us entertained for part of the afternoon.

To waste even more time, we headed to Conrad, where Wookie found that they let you test the guitars. After running through all of the Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Metallica and Sex Pistols that he knew (with me doing the vocals), we stepped outside at the polite urging of the management. Not because we were being insulting or because they found the lyrics offensive, but because that particular shop was closing. Going to have to go back there soon, I think. Especially if we can get a bass player. On the way out, we happened to pass somewhere calling itself some kind of specialist shop. Heading inside, the walls were covered with herbs, incense, elements of the bizarre and strange, and bongs. Lots and lots of bongs. Hell, they even had cannabis soap. Unfortunately, they were lacking the two components that the dedicated toker needs: Actual stuff to smoke, and king sized Rizlas to roll them in. Then again, we?re going back to make sure. After last week, altered states of conscious (read: getting high then going out and getting so supremely rat arsed that you can?t even walk) are certainly sounding appealing.

Of course, that?s needed. When I returned, it so happened that we have not only my flatmate?s sister sleeping here, but also her bit on the side, her friend, and her bit on the side. I had to turn up my music past loud on Saturday to avoid the sounds of them having wild athletic monkey sex for nine hours. They could at least have had the decency to neuter themselves at the door. Hell, I wouldn?t care if they were paying rent, but using a place that I am paying rent for as free crash space and a shagging pad is just a bit much. Especially as I have had celibacy forced upon my by some uncaring force, and yet I am forced to listen to these sub-humans fucking each other?s brains out for nine consecutive hours. Roll on a year?s time when I can be the one having the fun. Until then, fuck off. If I can?t have fun, no bugger can

But that?s for another day. Tomorrow brings more users, and my new, shiny multi-tool.

* * *

Signing off,

Stewart Wilson, The Digital Raven
Munich, 10th September 2001