Monday, March 31, 2008

Safety First

I bought a CO detector for my house the other day. I thought, isn't it wonderful nowadays, the things we can buy in our local Argos. Imagine they even have a device specially for management grade civil servants to protect their homes against unwanted incursions by clerical staff.

I decided to test it out at work. Given that the place is infested with COs it was a good place to do a trial run. And who knows, the noises might be mistaken for a fire drill and we could all go outside for a few minutes.

Well, bugger me sideways. Not even a peep out of the thing. And I had the batteries in properly and everything.

Furious, I brought the device back to the shop and marched up to the customer service desk demanding a refund.

Two days later I almost died from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning when a gas main in my neighbourhood sprung a leak.

Has anyone invented a detector for that yet?

The Unwritten Law of Probability

I am left alone by my bosses at work all day long. I spend the day preparing reports, checking forms, signing leave application forms, going for tea and all the other exciting things that fill my working hours.

THEN, when I decide to look up a news site for some light relief, and only then, does a boss walk up behind me to ask me something. I don't think even a seasoned Alt and Tab practitioner such as myself could hide the fact that I was looking at a story about white dog shit (Ok, not strictly true, but funnier than what I really was looking at).

Is there an equation that can describe the above occurrence?

I dunno. I couldn't add to save my life. Any statisticians/ mathematicians/ nerds please contact me. Bring pi.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Identity Crisis

I was musing recently on why some civil service departments (including mine) issue staff with ID badges. For many employers this is part of their security and HR policies, enabling staff to open doors, clock in and out etc. I can understand the doors and the clock bit. I don't understand the security bit though. For one, some people have 10 year old pictures on theirs, and a quick glance reveals how haggard they have become, and how little they now resemble their picture.

But I think I have discovered the REAL reason. Recently I was in a retail park after work and saw a colleague (not from my section but recognisable by the Department ID dangling from a lanyard around his neck) staring blankly at an Argos catalogue while picking their nose. Shortly afterwards, I visited a Lidl store and saw a similar sight in the cheap booze section. Even at the staff Christmas do, a colleague wore theirs throughout the meal and the multitudinous drinks that followed.

Yes, I know why. If you find a civil servant wandering aimlessly in public or passed out in a pool of their own sick outside a pub, it serves as a "If found, please return to ... " label. See, our employers do care about us!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Still waiting...

Spotted Twenty Major's book on sale in Lahinch, Co. Clare at the weekend. It took pride of place in the shop window. Oh how I itched to own the published work of a distinguished fellow blogger... but sadly the fecking shop had just closed. Damn, damn and blast.

If I'd stayed for a few more pints and found a brick I might just... "own" (hehehehe) it now.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's loike, yew know, a blawg...

Jesus, been off the radar for a few days longer than I had intended. Nothing's been happening, I've been off work for a few days using up some leave, and then there are all those bank holidays and the Civil Service Privilege Day to use up in the coming week.

Things I've discovered in the past few days:

I have a posh voice. That is to say, not a strong regional accent like some of my neighbours both here and in my home town. I use words like "actually" and "horrendous" a lot. Bloody hell. I have to throw loads of swears into my conversations to make myself appear normal. But it's not a Dublin 4 accent, that I can be grateful for.

There is a bloke who I have to steer clear of in one of my local pubs. He has poo porn videos on his mobile phone and likes making people watch them. Bleugh.

And my final thought for today:

Spongebob Squarepants is king.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Department of Microbiology

There is a disturbing statistic out there that states that the average office desk harbours 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and that workers can contract anything from the flu virus to Hepatitis A.

I must have a cast-iron immune system then. I am never sick apart from the occasional sniffle or migraine. I imagine I have become gradually immunised over time to a wide range of diseases because the nearest desk to mine is that of Untidy Guy. I have been exposed to everything. I fear nothing. Not smallpox, not Hepatitis A, not Ebola, not Anthrax. Medical researchers sit up and take note, my antibodies are the key to fighting future diseases!

I would like to see for myself the empirical evidence of the statistic above. If I knew where to get some agar and a Petri dish I would bring them into work, taking swabs from (a) my own desk - the 'control' surface, as it is wiped down regularly with antibacterial wipes, because I'm a bit anal about that sort of stuff, (b) a toilet seat at the end of the working day, before the cleaners come in and blitz the skidmarks, and (c) Untidy guy's desk. Once I have used a long ruler to remove tissues, old forms, envelopes, mugs and old chocolate bar wrappers I should have a desk surface area large enough to take a decent sample from.

Then I would wait and see which of the three cultures grew largest and quickest. I could upload photos here on a daily basis. I could run a book on which dish would have the largest culture within a week. We could have our own Cheltenham festival in the office. Bacteria racing! The new craze, and weather won't mess it up.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Some HEO in another section emailed me today. Not unusual you say. No, it wasn't. Except it was in FUCKING TEXT SPEAK!

If I knew where their section was, I would have gone down there and shoved a mobile phone up their arse.

I am mourning the impending death of the English language. I think I'll read Melvyn Bragg's The Adventure of English again for solace. Followed by the Canterbury Tales. And some Stephen King for dessert.

And I will reply tomorrow:

My esteemed colleague,

Thank you for your electronic epistle. Unfortunately I was unable to ascertain exactly what it was you were trying to say. I think you may have a keyboard malfunction which is omitting vowels and reducing your message to a foul "vernacular" - if we may call it that - beloved of spotty types in Burberry baseball hats.

Please find yourself another keyboard immediately and write it all out again. Fucker.

With warmest regards,


The Mad Hatter's Bleurgh

I'm a regular reader of Hot Press, and one of the features I enjoy the most while reading on the toilet is the Mad Hatter's Box bit. When reading it, I often imagine the responses I would make to the many questions. So, without further ado, here is Govstooge responding (hey, I'll never make it to the real one).

(Civil Servant / Bitch)

Who would be the last person you would invite to your birthday party?
Me - I fucking hate parties.

Who would be the first person you would invite to your birthday party?
Did you not hear what I just said? Deaf twat.

Favourite Saying?
Fuck this fucking shit!

Favourite Record?
At the moment, I would say Handel's Water Music/ An End has a Start by Editors. But I am a fickle lass, and this may change in the next hour.

Favourite Book?
This is a tough one, as someone with a degree in English I find it hard to narrow it down to just one but I'll list some...
- All dystopian science fiction: i.e. Orwell's 1984, Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, H.G. Wells etc.
- Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

Favourite Film?
I love all the zombie films and the spoof ones too. Monty Python's ones are bloody brilliant too.

Favourite Author
John Irving.

Favourite Actor / Actress
Johnny Depp - can't think of any actress I prefer above all others.

Favourite Musician?
Sharon Shannon.

Most embarrassing moment of your life?
Walking up the corridor at school slagging off a teacher's height and surname. The same teacher was walking right behind me and heard every word. 13 years later I am still cringing. The irony is, I am only about two inches taller than this teacher.

Favourite Food/ Drink / Stimulant
Vegetable Vindaloo/ Beamish / Coffee

TV Programme
Father Ted will always be my favourite. These days I love ER, Desperate Housewives, That Mitchell and Webb Look. Teachers from a few years back was excellent too.

Favourite TV Personality?
Ryan Tubridy... (ha!) err... George Lee's pretty good, I liked his documentary series on China recently.

Favourite Item of Clothing
University sweatshirts / ladies' shirts long enough to cover my wobbly bits.

Most Desirable Date
July the 19th.

Favourite method of relaxation?
Spending two hours making a curry from scratch. Then having a bath as I smell of onions.

If you weren't pursuing your present career what might you have chosen?
Publishing / histopathology/ anarchist

Biggest thrill?
Things exploding.

Biggest disappointment?
Becoming a civil servant because no-one else would have me.

Your concept of heaven?
A pub with a bottomless keg of free Beamish, with a curry house next door.

Your concept of hell?
Being forced to go to a country and western night in a local community hall. NO! It hasn't happened yet!

What would be your dying words?
Jaysus, you're a lot smaller than that fella on the cross.

Greatest Ambition?
To boldly split every infinitive known to man. And to achieve world domination using weapons of mass destruction derived from said split infinitives.

Period of history you'd most like to have lived in and why?
Renaissance Italy, without the plagues thank you very much. So much going on in all artistic fields. To tell Machiavelli his name would become a much misused adjective.

If you weren't a human being what animal would you have chosen to be?
A civil serpent?

If you were told the world was ending tomorrow morning how would you react/ what would you do?
Round up the people I hate, and torture them. It would be my last chance!

Your nominee for the world's best dressed person?
The Emperor from the Emperor's New Clothes.

Favourite term of abuse?
Knobjockey / scutterhole

Biggest Fear
Christmas shopping/ Chavs

Humanity's most useful invention?
Remote controlled fart machine.

Humanity's most useless invention?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Work will be great tomorrow...

... because I'm going in at 10.00 and hope to fuck off by 12.30. And that includes a 45 minute tea break.

Getting out the door at 12.30 without the HEO pouncing with extra shit to do might be difficult though.

A parachute and an open window might do the trick...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Today's News

Two stories in today's news that shocked me.

Story 1:

This is about the discovery last August of a woman's body in the Department of Agriculture in Kildare Street. She had died in an unoccupied room on Friday 31st August, and her body was found on the following Sunday following a search by GardaĆ­. She wasn't much older than me. My sympathies to her family and colleagues. The sad thing is, I could see it happening in my Department. There are several people working there who don't interact with colleagues at all and many don't give them a second glance, and probably wouldn't even notice if they stopped moving at their desks. I could make any number of tasteless jokes, but I'll save them for the second story instead.

Story 2:

Our friends in the HSE have done it again. Since when do humans grow replacement legs? Have some people's genes been spliced with those of starfish? Did anyone care to notify the manufacturers of prosthetic limbs?

It gives new resonance to my favourite way of expressing distaste for a particular activity: "I'd rather eat my own arm." Now I can eat my arm, and it'll grow back. All I have to do is fill out a few forms. I can have my arm and eat it!

And all because the EO hates...

What do you do when someone you hate unexpectedly gives you chocolates?

- Ring up the nearest Garda station or hospital and ask for their poisons expert?
- Allow a few weeks to pass and then return them to the giver saying it's for good work or something?

Jaysus, I'm fucking scared.


It's an affliction of getting older. You sit in the canteen at work and look around the table at your colleagues and realise that you are the only person there (bar one, who is a man) who is either not married and/or is without children. It's like being in the civil service edition of Bridget Jones' Diary.

And some of them are so fucking smug about it, rabbiting on about birthday parties (usually held in one of those kiddie play warehouse things that are the very embodiment of my idea of Dante's Inferno) , Term Time leave, Parental Leave, not to mention the amount of money they spent on getting the latest Nintendo Weee and fifteen games to go with it for their precious. And they smile knowingly at the singletons while they go into more detail.

I have to say I really love kids, but I wouldn't eat a whole one.

Plus, when I get paid tomorrow, the entire amount at the bottom of the payslip is for me, and me alone (once I've attended to some bills and the mortgage, that is). I can buy a Nintendo Poo (or whatever it's called), add a few games, books, DVDs, CDs, pints and a dinner or two without having to answer to any nappy-wearing tyrant or worrying about lunch money for junior. Or I could just convert it into cash and roll around naked in it. I can listen to Fatboy Slim, Tom Waits, the Rolling Stones or Editors as loud as I choose without having to make way on the stereo for the latest shit by some orange tinted lipsyncing slapper. And my entertainment doesn't have to be multiple viewings of mawkish Disney tripe; instead I can enjoy chainsaws, serial killers and zombies eating brains all night long if I so choose.

In addition, the only vomit I have to clean up is my own, and that's my fault for drinking Stella.

The world is my oyster, and there's an R in the month. Which means I won't get the squits.

Who's smug now?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Has it been ten years?

I realised yesterday that it's been ten years since the death of Dermot Morgan. Ten years! I am still watching Ted and listening to my Scrap Saturday CDs and chuckling to the point of involuntary urination.

I was hoping to make it to TedFest this year, above all years, and have been in the general vicinity, but just didn't get round to it. It's a pity because I had my nun outfit all pressed and ready. I love Father Ted. It's the best comedy of all time. I know most of the scripts almost by heart. I email my colleagues with a picture of Mrs Doyle when it's time for tea break. I have gone to the Craggy Island Parochial House and have a cheesy picture of myself outside it. My friends and I have had many TedFests of our own.

And Scrap Saturday? Ok, not topical any more, but still a work of genius for those of us who remember the events of the early 90s. What would he make of Bertie's accounts, gangland crime, Iraq and the proliferation of drugs in our towns and cities?

RIP Dermot. Your unique brand of satire is sorely missed in an Ireland badly in need of laughing at itself.


God, can't believe it's been a week since I posted anything. Things have gone haywire in the past week. I have dealt with things this past week that only prison officers and psychiatric nurses should see. I get paid a lot, a LOT less than they do. And rightly so, because I don't have the qualifications to deal with these problems. I fuckin' love my job at the best of times, despite my ranting, but this week I felt way out of my depth. I did a year of Psychology in UCG way back, but nothing I remember in the DSM - IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association - 4th ed. - woo! I remember!) could categorise this.

And it's not over yet. I think the worst is yet to come. Jesus, why can't it be all about forms? I mean, even more than usual?

Not at the Irish Blog awards tonight, I spent the day in Galway instead... feckin' lovely weather, Ted! But best of luck to all those shortlisted. There is some seriously good writing out there. Well done all.