Monday, 30 April 2007

Slight resurgence in motivation

I've probably lost my entire audience now, but circumstances forced me to ease up on the blogging for most of this month. As you may have read in some earlier posts, I was getting pinged for 'non-work related' internet usage at work, so I needed to hide what I'd been up to for a while. I had a serious case of cabin fever in that job after working at around 20% capacity for most of my 15 months there, and the devil makes work for idle hands. In the end though, I did get caught out for some alleged 'inappropriate use of work facilities', although I never considered it to be so myself. I would have been happier if they'd charged me with some of my real crimes, like spending an afternoon at the movies every second week, or reading all my university texts and writing all my university assignments at work, but they didn't seem too interested in that sort of behaviour. Instead they insisted on launching a mind-sodomisingly petty bureaucratic process against me to 'protect' themselves against the consequences of viewing two websites that they considered to be highly objectionable. Dull-witted apparaticks are definitely not the sole preserve of the Brezhnevite Soviet Union. Believe it or not, even though I ceased working for them on Friday, they still insist on pursuing their case against me via the post. They're mistaking me for someone who gives a shit, especially as I had earlier answered their accusations with the commentary below (how surprising that it never made the slightest bit of difference to the outcome):

"Dear L.....

Internet Usage

Further to my letter of 19 April 2007, I would like to make a formal response to your own preceding letter of 17 April 2007. The points I would like to make are:
  1. You say that you have accepted my comments on the notes recorded from our meeting of 12 April. However, you then state that I said most of my internet usage at work is not work related, yet this contradicts and is inconsistent with the clarification that I entered into those notes that such a comment was clearly made ironically. Please explain.
  2. You state that the two websites in question were accessed from my computer on a total of 14 occasions. Although I admit to having knowledge of those two sites, upon further reflection the number of times they have been accessed from my computer frankly seems somewhat excessive. Given that the computers at C....... S....... are not locked as a matter of course, why are you convinced that it was me who accessed those sites each time?
  3. You state that you and the General Manager Information Systems viewed those sites on 12 April and found material of "a sexual nature". That is not beyond the realms of possibility and I shall take your word for it, but the only reason that I may have viewed those sites was not in search of sexual material. I explained this in the meeting of 12 April. Did you not also find material of a non-sexual nature? To gain entry into the website proper, for example, requires so much input of personal data before any type of material can be viewed that one would give up after a very short while. That was indeed the case with me, despite the altruistic nature of my access (as the extremely low level of my traffic indicates). If you have solid evidence that I was viewing sexual material at the times recorded from my computer, and not just at the time you viewed the sites with the General Manager Information Systems, then please present it to me. The cover page of the second website in question contains no sexual images whatsoever, and is even more innocent than the first. If you undertake a more than cursory search of the site you will find material of a non-sexual nature also. Again, please provide me with evidence that I was viewing sexual material there at the times recorded. The onus is on you to prove my guilt, i.e. inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour, rather than for me to prove my innocence.
  4. If your case against me rests solely on the charge that I have viewed sexual material, then it is incumbent upon me to point out to you that any number of seemingly innocent websites contain material of a sexual nature. Even newspaper websites contain such material from time to time. I put it to you that sexual images contained on the front page of adultfriendfinder or even inside the website (of which I have no knowledge) are no worse than news or magazine articles containing pictures of American celebrities Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears of a sexual nature. I know for a fact that other staff at C....... S....... view such material from their work computers. If you charge me with inappropriate and unprofessional conduct on such grounds, then in the interests of fairness (your phrase) you must charge other staff with similar misconduct.
  5. In the matter of what other C...... S....... staff access on their work computers, I know for a fact that some colleagues have been detected by the IS monitoring system for viewing seemingly inappropriate material also. In fact, a number of them are responsible for a larger volume of traffic on allegedly questionable sites than I am. Again, in the interests of fairness you should be pursuing investigations against them as well and any other staff member ‘guilty’ of viewing inappropriate material on the Internet. Or if the real issue is one of viewing any type of non-work related website, then each member of C...... S........, including the Senior Management Team, should be investigated. Of course, I am not really suggesting such a course of action at all; I am simply pointing out how this process makes a complete mockery of your assertion of "fairness". Is it or is it not true that the IS monitoring system at C....... S....... is actually very unsophisticated and incapable of detecting Internet access that is truly offensive and inappropriate? Why then have I been singled out for special attention through this HR process?
  6. The monitoring record of the alleged usage from my computer shows virtually nil traffic. Normally usage of websites with content of "a sexual nature" requires a large amount of traffic in order to actually gain access to the material, not to mention the input of credit card details. This is clearly not the case with the alleged use from my computer. I therefore do not consider the usage to be a breach of "appropriate and professional standards".
  7. During the meeting of 12 April I asked what action you sought to take following my explanation of how the two websites in question had been accessed from my computer. You replied that you wished to reflect upon the information gathered from the meeting before making a decision. Your decision appears to be to continue the process against me and let the Corporate Services General Manager make the final decision, but based only upon the prima facie case against me. I explained during that meeting of 12 April what the mitigating factors were regarding any access to said sites that I may be responsible for. For the purposes of clarification, let me reiterate why I very briefly accessed those sites:

a. To search for potential partners for my brother-in-law because he is both pathologically shy and computer illiterate. This was done with the full knowledge and support of my wife, who I make mention of here to emphasise that viewing of such sites was not undertaken with the intent you that imagine.

b. In the case of camcontacts, simply to maintain correspondence with friends from Europe. If you look closely at the site you will find that there is a section for chatting with ‘friends’. Once again, I repeat that this site began life as a chatting facility similar to Skype, but has only recently turned into something voyeuristic and less wholesome, and that was without my noticing. While this activity is non-work related, it is certainly no more inappropriate than reading international newspapers or contributing to environmental blogs during lunch hours (an example of which was sent to members of SMT sometime back without hint of a rebuke).

Your continuation of this process as described in your letter of 17 April does not appear to take any of these mitigating factors into consideration at all. Please explain.

8. As I noted above, there are many websites that are truly offensive and which would be inappropriate and unprofessional to view during work hours and using work facilities. Leaving aside the fact that one could view such material very easily at C....... S....... and not be detected (e.g. sexually explicit sites without thumbnails and written in a foreign language) at least up until the recent installation of new software following the staging of this process, I did actually consider whether there was any risk involved in viewing the two sites in question. However, I dismissed the risk factor immediately as I knew that it was not offensive and any sensible person querying such access would quickly understand once it was explained to them.

In conclusion, I see no justification for taking this disproportionate action against me. What I am alleged to have done was not in my opinion inappropriate and unprofessional and these charges do not stand up to close scrutiny. At the most it constitutes a very, very mild error of judgement which could have been dealt with at a far lower level and which a number of staff members could be guilty of. The determination to immediately escalate the matter to this level displays a singular lack of good management and good HR advice.

I have always provided a very high degree of professional policy and planning support to C...... S......., evidence of which I have in your own hand. Never at any time was the organisation’s credibility at stake, which should be the sole criterion for taking this type of action. All that you have managed to extract from this process is in fact a real potential risk to C...... S...... credibility and reputation by provoking the resignation of a key staff member responsible for relationship management with extremely important stakeholders and writing some of your most important documents. Furthermore, as I am not embarrassed in the least about viewing these two websites I have been discussing this process with a number of my colleagues within National Office. They have, without exception, expressed bewilderment, disappointment and even disgust at the manner with which this issue has dealt. As one of them noted: "Just because someone has an advertisement for Beehive matches on their desk doesn’t mean you call the fire brigade."

Finally, can you please forward me a signed copy of the amended meeting notes of 12 April, a receipt indicating that you have received and read this letter, and, unless you have already done so, my performance appraisal as at 6 March 2007. I have sought legal advice on this matter and as a result I will require all documentation to be formally receipted. I also expect that the next step in this process will be taken only after due consideration has been made of the points outlined above and any further decision is well reasoned and argued.

Yours sincerely


Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Watch out for those random polls

Allowing all those new European Union members into the UK has obviously had serious repercussions for the mental health of some of them, as this story in the Guardian attests to.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Sodomise my mind

Sorry to bore you two with work-related matters, but the drama is continuing and it has the ability to make good copy. I thought that little mind-sodomisingly petty bureaucratic process I was involved in last week would have died a natural death by now, but it's still being pursued with the clueless mindlessness of Shane Warne pursuing an emotional engagement via texting. Despite handing in my resignation and departing in a couple weeks' time, the matter has reached the stage where I'm now having to think seriously about involving lawyers and causing maximum embarrassment for the Chief Executive of the outfit. My hope is that he's trying to remain above the fray and doesn't want to be dragged through the dirt and will therefore rein in the lower management and the unbridled animus they're exhibiting toward me. Sure I've been a dick, but the manner in which it's been escalated is totally over the top. I got a classic letter today from the Acting Manager stressing the seriousness of the matter, which I'll try and scan and put up on the blog tomorrow. The bureaucratic language is a real treat, and I'm going to have to reciprocate in kind.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Krtek opet slavi narozeniny

Here's my birthday cake from the postponed party on Saturday night. The Krtek theme comes curtesy of the missus, who, whenever I'm in the garden turning the sod in her vegetable patch says: "Krtek reje zahradku". My brothers up from the Dunedin wondered how a krtek can have such big eyes though. The cake was made by Michal and Jana from the local Czech community, but they must have radiated the stuff they made the grass from; it got trampled into the living room carpet and has consequently turned it a slightly different colour.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

The final flourish...until the inevitable next time

Mhyeeeeeee! Good advice there Rotten from the last post. It did indeed get to me in time, but as much as I wanted to print it off, frame it in gold lame, present it to Frau Torquemada and rest my case, I ended up only using snippets of it in today's highly amusing tete-a-tete (sorry about the lack of accents here PAM). Actually it wasn't an intimate head-to-head at all, as Our Big Fat Greek Pudding was there as well taking notes; I just hope she took down the right notes, i.e. the bits where I paraphrased Rotten. I managed to squeeze in a reference to buttering the toilet paper, but I think it sailed past them and wasn't entered into the minutes (I'll post a copy once I get hold of it - I told them I wanted a copy to share among all my mates). I was taken to task for not giving due respect to what was a 'very serious' matter, to which I replied that their little bureaucratic process was about as serious as George Bush winning a two-thirds Senate majority to amend the constitution to allow him a third term in office. I think that one sailed past as well. And I asked whether the two alleged sites I'd been viewing (one a Skype-style online chat site that has recently morphed into a peep site for pervs and the other a dating site where I was looking for pick-ups for the brother-in-law) were anything like viewing something like - another Rotten line -

To cut a half-hour story short, I eventually delivered the coup-de-grace and final flourish by presenting her with my resignation letter and signing it in front of her. Went down like a cup of cold sick, just as I anticipated. Life would be a little dull without some drama from time to time.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Don't hire this man

Sorry about the bar on the blog, but circumstances dictate that I temporarily put some folks off the trail. My fears about getting pinged at work for excess Internet use became reality on Tuesday. Apparently the IT Nazis have discovered some 'questionable' sites that I've been visiting and when I was informed on that fact I immediately thought of this blog and how it occasionally flies in the face of the State Servants' Code of Conduct. Nothing so serious though. Allegedly I've been slavering over some dodgey 'adult' content websites, but looking back over my history I can only detect innocuous sites and the odd pesky porno popup that one can't avoid from time to time. Rotten will be highly amused to know that the way the Nazis track 'adult' content sites is through MailMarshall's cousin, WebMarshall, whose suspicions are instantly raised each time the word 'thumb' appears on a site, as in 'thumbnail', which is a clear and present indication of something pink and fleshy. It must admittedly be a bit disconcerting for my colleagues when I obviously have my pants around my ankles and am chugging away at my pudding with a box of kleenex close at hand while viewing this material.

Then again, they might be on to something with the site that I registered with in order to trick some libidinous female into writing to my brother-in-law in order to save him $80 each time he takes his love to town. Doh! Nevertheless, the Acting Manager wishes to make an example of me and has launched disciplinary proceedings. It's all a bit hard to take seriously, especially with the over-the-top corporate manner she's adopted. Here's an example of our email traffic from yesterday:


"Hi ......
I’ve just colluded and confirmed with myself what websites you could be referring to and they are so easily explained that some formal HR ‘process’ would be totally out of proportion to the perceived crime. Wouldn’t it simply be easier for me to explain that to you rather than be distracted from more important work issues?"


"Kia ora ........,

"Thanks for your email. I think in the interests of fairness, transparency and to protect all parties involved it is important that a sound process is applied to get a full and informed picture of what has occurred. For these reasons, and as discussed with you earlier this morning, I (still) intend to schedule a meeting with you, myself and HR (most likely ....... .........) to discuss what appears to be access by you to inappropriate, non-work related internet sites from your work computer.

"HR involvement in the meeting is required so that notes can be taken that accurately capture what has been said by all parties and so that we can be assured that the process for all parties involved is accurate, fair and transparent.

"I suggested to you this morning that you think about bringing along support at this meeting and while you initially declined that offer, if you change your mind, the offer to have support stands.

I am looking at scheduling a meeting at 1.00 pm, Thursday, 12 April subject to your, mine and ........'s availability.

If you have any further questions about this please raise them with myself and/or .......

If I have not accurately reflected our discussion this morning, please let me know.

Naku noa"

Nice. Anybody want to be my support person? Could have very high entertainment value. God, I'm a cunt. Who would ever want to hire me or be my manager, huh? I can feel a Wood&Company-type departure coming on, although I'm not actually as immune to risk adversity as I used to be; I already have a contract sitting on my desk for my next job.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Happy 'kulatý' Birthday to me

Just about managed to align the number of posts with my birthday number today, but didn't quite make it. PAM got me close, but we fell just a couple agonisingly short. The bouquets, 'Debbie Does Dallas' DVDs, jars of haemorrhoid cream, odor eaters, Turd Family porcelain pieces, Densa Club membership forms and toupees have all been rolling in through the post today to mark yet another momentous occasion in this year's calendar. The New Zealand cricket team celebrated in appropriate fashion by crafting a win against Bangladesh in the World Cup to almost guarantee themselves a berth in the semi-finals, while the All Whites defiantly refused to allow an eighth goal past them in their match against Venezuela.

What was I doing this time eleven years ago? Getting totally rubbered at U Potočku just up the road from Budova 'A'. I think I lost a pair of glasses but gained about three bottles of Scotch as a result of that wee celebration. It was the 29th I recall and was probably the best birthday of all. The 30th was combined with somebody else in the Adria poolhall with the lovely young Georgian barmaid and her delightful brother, the aspiring mafia don with a Smith & Wesson tucked into his sock. Road Warrior was in a munificent mood and had handed out Svijany t-shirts to all-comers, or was it Budvar t-shirts? That must have been during one his regular midnight runs to Liberec to liaise with his then squeeze, which required displays of dexterity on the backseat of the Skodovka never seen before or since. Back at Adria I think I used Rotten's newly acquired apparel to mop up my spilt beer.

And in case you forgot how I looked at the time, PAM has kindly donated another snappy picture from his collection. C'est magnifique, n'est pas?

The shitting bird, witness of the decadence

This is a bit of a cryptic one up above. I'm not sure I understand it either, but I'm sure PAM will enlighten us further. The lower one here, though blurry, is still very clear. PAM only had these in draft form, so I'm going to nudge him into making some comments by publishing now. Administrator's perogative ;) Besides, we've gone a few days without anyone writing a single word...

La théorie du couloir des toilettes

(Please take a French accent to read these lines and forgive me for my poor Frenglish...)

Kivak has already mentioned some words about the theory of the "corridor of the toilets". This "balení" concept has probably not just disapeared after the destruction of the Vacha's camp. We should rather admit that the new technologies has not only allowed us to digitilize our life but also has made the hunting manoeuvres easier. Remember, for instance, how it was hard to reach the good timing to avoid to stay ten minutes, as an idiot, in this stinking passage, waiting for passing the demoiselle! Consider now how it could be so easy now to stand with a mobile phone, instead of reading again the inscriptions on the wall!