- Christmas Holidays
- [Wednesday 24th - Friday 26th December 2008]
Ok I will skip the usual story that I do not like Christmas all that much. Probably because I despise the false "let's all be nice to each other" feeling, probably because most of the memories of my Christmas do not follow the standard cliché that it's given us for these festivities.
Anyways, this time the parties and eating marathon have been quite nice, as one would expect.
On the 24th we didn't do much, I had to run around Florence to get the last presents, especially the one for Chiara.
Incidentally it turned out that I made a very similar present to her as her parents did which meant that mine had to be changed later (with a HUGE AMOUNT of time wasted in the jewellery trying out a gazillion of earrings, rings, necklaces and so on), but apart from that incident there was nothing major to report.
I have got a very nice black trench-coat, and some money that was hastily employed in buying a very expensive duvet. Apart from that no other presents are worth mentioning...
Of course the whole thing involved a lot of food and drinks, but that is quite mandatory, especially on the 25th, where I took place at my relatives Christmas lunch, Chiara's birthday party mid afternoon cake and finally Chiara's Aunt Pre-dinner present opening (and eating) occasion.
We were back home around 10ish.
As I said on the 26th we were still trying to digest the immense amount of food that we had the day before, but we found some time to make some bread, clean the house and generally chilled out at home watching the Aristocats in the evening (one of my favourite Disney movies).
All in all a good Christmas I have to say!
- Last Working Day of 2008
- [Tuesday 23rd December 2008]
I blatantly copy John's idea and write up a post with a similar title! :D
The working year has been quite eventful, under the working point of view. I have changed job in September after a quite terrible experience in the previous company. Generally speaking I love what I am doing now, I like the place and colleagues, so I can only hope that the company can survive the crisis storm that we are about to face in 2009.
The prospect of loosing my job because the company actually closes is something that would have killed me in previous years, I can see me not sleeping at night worrying about everything, but I have to say that since I left that other company, I have changed a little and I have learnt not to worry about things that I cannot control.
If it has to happen it will happen, I will be left on the street completely distraught and unemployed, but there is no point in thinking about it now.
I am tired, the last 3 months have been very eventful, not to mention stressful.
So in a way I am really looking forward to some rest during the holidays, a good recharge for the upcoming year.
Let's hope that 2009 will not be as bad as everyone is saying. It seems that the media are pushing the crisis story a lot, but on the other side in Italy at least, we are getting department stores reporting record sales. Oh well.
- Tales from a lost PDA - We need to be a Team
- [Tuesday 16th December 2009]
Interesting stories are sometimes short experiences.
Mr.X, in the following piece, talks about a little talk that a colleague had, but it seems that he also has had similar issues in the past.
We need to be a Team
Team building, man management seem to be a prominent feature of my superiors. I think that I need to be glad that I have such inspired bosses!
Yesterday, talking to a colleague (Mr.Pill) of mine he told me of a very interesting conversation had with the Head of the Commercial Department, Mr.Wine.
I have had so many encounters like these, but today it's Mr.Pill turn to tell his story...
Mr.Wine office - 10,33 AM - Rainy day, pretty slow morning.
W - ".. Because I finally managed to speak to the President and I made him understand that the only way forward is to go back to what we were!" (need to mention the extremely pungent breath, a mix of wine, liquers and beer)
P - " Yes, but you told me that this is what the President told you more or less 2 weeks ago."
W - "mmmmmm. YES!", 10 seconds pause ". but. WE NEED TO BE A TEAM!"
Follows 20 seconds of total silence, Mr.Pill evidently puzzled.
W - "In any case sice it's in my power to manage great resources at this company, I have decided to use part of it to give you a raise"
P - "Ah, that's good news!"
W - "Yes, because we appreciate your work. Do you remember that I promised you a sum at the end of this year as well?"
P - "Yes" in a tentative voice as to say "and.?"
W - "Well, the company is facing difficult times, so that sum is going to be put inside the raise too, but since at the moment I have no more money in my budget I have decided to add it to next year bonus so that at the end of next year you can have both!"
P - "ah." now completely gutted
W - "You see how much the company trust your skills, I mean such a huge bonus must be a great incentive for you to do your work!"
P - "Yeahhhh, but I was promised the bonus at the end of this year, and I mean doing like this is hardly a raise."
W - "You look too much at the small details, WE NEED TO BE A TEAM, we need to overcome this difficult period and fight together! I am sure that you understand. Now I have a couple of calls to make, I'll speak to you later."
- Credit Card
- [Saturday 13th December 2008]
Well there isn't much to say apart from the fact that this evening some fucker cloned my Credit Card and started spending money somewhere in the US (a place called Natick in Massachusetts).
The whole experience has been quite bad, fortunately my bank sends me an SMS for every transaction that I make, so I could spot that something was not going well immediately.
I managed to block the card in time, but unfortunately I have lost more than 800 euros in the middle.
Funnily (if there is something funny in this story), these 800 euros were spent in an APPLE STORE!! Oh well...
After having reported this to the authorities and to the bank the reply was that they will start all the usual checks but the sum will come out of my account even if it's clear (I have sent them the photocopy of my full passport) that I have not been in the states in the last year (there are no visas on the passport)... Then after 60 days they will credit that amount back.
It's a real pain in the arse because I have no credit card for Christmas shopping, I have to pay to obtain a new card and I do not know when I will get the money back!
Oh well, I guess it could be worse, but between 2 burglaries in England, 1 in Italy when I was a kid, 1 stolen car and now 1 cloned credit card, I think that I paid my "debt" with crime and frankly speaking I'd love for it to stop! It's such a bad feeling when something like this happens, you really feel "violated".
Now I can only hope all the worse for the people who did it, not just for them but also for their future 5 generations, hoping that they will never get to breed in any case.. THERE!
- Tales from a Lost PDA - Good Times
- [Wednesday 10th December 2008]
I have received several comments (not on the actual blog I am afraid) from the people that I know and that read the blog occasionally. A lot of enquiries have been about the actual PDA, what model it is, how did I take it apart and so on.
Frankly speaking I think that these are quite boring questions, I am finding these files much more interesting that the actual "box" that held them, but I will not indulge further and give some information about the PDA itself.
The culprit is a Palm Pilot M500 model, from what I could see from the net it's a quite old piece of hardware. The external casing was quite scratched and looked pretty worn out, but it has a sort of fake leather "purse" so that's why I think that it was lost rather than thrown away.
Password locked, there was little that I could do, I have tried to reset the Cmos battery (required opening it), but to no avail. I have tried other systems that I have found on the net to no avail. Fortunately the user saved his data on the SD card (512 MB = pretty old too), so at least the documents were saved. SDs are still pretty usable and it didn't take long before I had the contents of the memory stick on my hard drive.
All the stories have names of companies and people, but those are better not to be disclosed in public I guess.
The sure thing is that all the tales that I am going to be posting are "real life" episodes. It's so evident looking at how Mr.X (you remember, the unknown writer) is writing.
I remember when I started working for Bigfashioncompany, it was all bells and whistles, all spanky and fashionable (well, what do you expect)? Life smelt like a million dollar, and certainly the company was doing extremely well.
I remember that the first day I arrived ONE and HALF hours ahead of time to the office, I was so scared to get lost or to be delayed for some reason. The result was pretty disappointing, because the lady at the reception made me wait standing there for almost all the time, since she never saw me before and of course my principal was not in the office yet.
I remember the moment he walked through the door and said ". Ooooo Mr.X finally you are here, I hope you didn't wait for a long time!", to which I replied, half happy for his arrival and half captured in total bliss by the new experience and the new world before me, "Oh no problem Mr.Slaver, I really just arrived (please walk all over me, did you cleaned your shoes with my tie?).".
I remember that he didn't have a clue to what I had to do the first day. Of course my entrance was not very well planned.
I remember that I didn't even have a computer to work on!
I remember the first phone call with my agents, it was all so new!!
I remember that Mr.Slaver was always right, he always had the right ideas!
I remember that eating at the canteen was difficult at the start because I wasn't part of any group of people.
I remember the day I entered one of those groups and food was so much better!
Well. food was crap, but the company made it nice!
I remember the design meetings where I didn't understand a word of what was said.
I remember my colleague explaining the collection to me. ME, I didn't even know what COTTON was!!
I remember that time was going so fast that 8 hours never seemed enough.
I remember my first trip, with a huge suitcase and absolutely no knowledge of what I was selling.
I remember that clients would add up that "little bit more" that helped production without having to fight too much.
I remember numbers in the "black" and bonuses.
Those were good times! Well, ok, I am getting old, and soon things changed for the worse.
- Bread Experiments
- [Monday 8th December 2008]
After the endeavours toward the PDA that I have found, thanks to a bank holiday, I managed to focus my attention to making some bread.
I know that to the inhabitants of the mighty 2, Radstock Road in Reading the previous phrase might sound scary as hell... I remember that during my university days I tried to bake some bread but the recipe was completely wrong and instead of some fluffy loaf I produced a very good BRICK.
After more than 10 years my bread baking skills have improved a little and today I am trying to make a nuts and pine nuts loaf, made with two different types of flour.
The latest experiments have been quite promising, but I need to fine tune the recipe a little because it's not perfect yet!
I love making bread, it feels like if I am saving a lot of money (not true) but more than everything I like to make things by myself, especially a basic aliment like bread, that usually we are forced to buy in the supermarket (hence industrial made...).
Apart from that nothing special to report, next week it's going to be a tough one at work, we are gearing up to the end of the year usually a very hectic period for Italian companies.
I'll post more PDA stories in the future, they are quite interesting! :D
- Tales from a lost PDA - The lesser damage
- [Thursday 4th December 2008]
Today I have found a PDA lying on the ground near my place. Being extremely curious and moreover wanting to return it to the proprietor.
After several hours, trials with wrong passwords and several exploits I decided that it was time to get brutal and I took the thing apart.
Finally after an afternoon spent on this thing I managed to access its memory but unfortunately there aren't any details about the person that was supposed to own the PDA.
What I found instead, was a huge amount of word files, apparently full with stories that this person must have written about his work related life.
Some of the stories are quite sad, some are simply a great laugh, so I have decided to publish them on my blog!
I will call the writer Mr.X, and remove any names or anything that might be deemed as an infringement of privacy or company secrets. Better be on the safe side.
The Lesser Damage
..[Word file all garbled at the beginning, might have been an image or something..]...So it happens that I manage to get in touch with some employees of the previous evil company where I used to work.
It seems that things are going completely pear shaped, with decreasing turnover and increasing unrest among the workers. The unrest is mostly caused by the incapability of Mr.EnolaGay (EN) to have a decent management style.
He's too instinctive, too gross, too uneducated to run a company.
He keeps on breaking any work-related law that he possibly can, treating people like beasts, in truth showing that he's an animal.
I remember when I was there, mobbing was the normality in that company, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife, and of the same knife you had to be extremely wary, because it was rather easy to find it protruding from your back thanks to some colleague that had to unload some shit on you...
I remember very well the day I made a big project that I supervised personally, and that bought at the creation of around 10000 shopping windows signs for the POP and POS that we used to have.
Apparently they were not capable of producing them for years, albeit the Commercial Directors (yes 2 directors) were asking for them.
Well I remember having to rush delivery of these board that were absolutely essential to the life of the company, I remember that someone had to make a decision on the picture that we had to use.
Of course as a mere mid-manager figure I could not make that call and I asked one of the two directors (Mr.Degree (DG)) how he wanted this board to be made and he approved design and picture. Technically Mr.Spud (SP), the "Art Director", had to take care of this aspect, but he was nowhere to be seen for days so we proceeded as it was approved.
Three weeks afterwards, Mrs.Snitch (SN)calls:
X: Yes, X speaking
SN: X, can you come a sec here to the meeting room?
Ok I did not notice that EG, DG, SP and SN were in the room looking like if someone had died.
SN: Sit down a second.
EG: Listen, who told you to put this picture here on these boards?
X: (feeling more relaxed because I had it approved from the director)Oh, well it was Mr.Degree that approved it. I poroposed some opti..
DG: No, I never approved it.
DG: Yes I told you that I needed a board for the shops but then it's up to you marketing guy to make it.
SP: (in a chirpy, but sad voice) Yes I never saw this board before, it's shit. Who ever approved this cut, it's crap. And all the lettering it's wrong!
EG: So X you did it!! You made the mistake. Why didn't you asked SP about it!?
X: Well, he was nowhere to be seen, he didn't come in WEEKS...
EG: You should have called him, he's always available on his mobile!
X: Sorry? How can I get a picture approved on the mobile?
EG: (getting red, I think that he understood that an Art Director that doesn't come to the company clashes with the "director" bit of the title, but...)Well, you could have sent the picture on the computer!
SP: Yes, I always check my mail every day! (false as a two Euro banknote)
X: Well, I could have done that, but we did not have a lot of time, DG, who approved the project and was informed of every step, told me that the stuff had to be in in a week!
EG: Stop blaming the other people for your mistakes, you must learn to relate to the superiors in a different way. Consider this a warning!
SP: Yes it's a "youth-mistake" I am not angry with him, but this thing is shite...
Follows a complete re-design of the board, with a different picture, a different size and of course double the cost for something that was already there but did not express the "true image of the company".
Incidentally this board was too big for the boxes that we had in the shipping department, so when we sent the material it was normally added to the shipment outside the box, and arrived to the customers and shops completely broken.
But they had a go at me for that and therefore nobody noticed...
The lesser damage, yes I moved to a different situation, in a very shaky context, but the damage to myself of having to endure those type of treatments would have been much higher. Lesson learnt?
Get people to sign things that they approve. Never rely on words. Unless you trust them a lot.
- Lox, Lorenzo... ME!!
- A little introduction about the author and the blog itself. Plus contacts and CVs... You never know!
- A Selection of the best pictures that I have taken all over the world during the years, all nicely indexed by year and geographical area. Jolly good!
- History of this Blog
- A collection of all the articles that I have wrote so far, divided by month/year.
I have had the bad idea of writing my e-mail address on the board before, so this time I'll try to prevent some spam to get to me by putting this little image.. Let's hope it does the trick!
A reminder to Myself
Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
That is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn, weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round