Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yes it takes that long. No we can't do it ourselves.

My personal hero Kath quit her job this week.

In an unrelated story, at my own workplace, I was arranging to send some students some important letters. Instead of using modern technology to print the letters and send them, we are now required to send them to another department whose responsibility it is to change the font and re-format the letters before they are sent out so that the letters have a different font and are reformatted. No other changes are made, nor required.

Please refrain at this point from pointing out any inefficiencies in this process.

Three days later, I received the letters back before they were sent to the in-house printers instead of being printed by the printer next to my desk.

When I sent the letters, the first line read

"This is to certify that John Smith of 10 Jones St, Smythtown has done a course ..."

When I received the letters back, the first line read

"This is to certify that John Smith, 10 Jones St, Smythtown has done a course ..."

Did you spot the difference?
I did.
I wrote back:

"Looks like somehow the font-changing process has removed a word, changing the meaning of the letter from a statement confirming that a person residing at an address has done a course into a statement meaning that somehow a person, a street address and a suburb have all somehow done a course.
Obviously a grievous error has occurred.
Please change it back as these letters are only for specific people and not entire streets or suburbs for that matter."

The reply came within the minute:

"I made the decision to remove the “of” as it does not not read correctly. "

See what you're missing, Kath?


  1. Oh Franzy, I'm sitting here cacking myself laughing. Tears are thisclose to the surface but yep, that's the kind of stuff I'm going to write about. I've lived it, suffered it, laughed at it.

    There's a couple of sex scenes though that I'm dreading.....

  2. It'd be hilarious if it wasn't true.
    And repeated every time we needed something done ...

  3. Yes, they've removed the "of", but they've replaced it with a comma, so either way it's still correct. Plus they've left the word "has" alone. It's a singular word indicating that the person named has done the course. If they were indicating that streets or suburbs as well as the person, had done the course, they would have replaced "has" with "have", which is clearly wrong. (Also no-one with an ounce of sense (i.e. me) would be fooled into thinking that streets or suburbs could do courses.How silly.)
    The way they sent it back to you is still perfectly correct.
    But I agree, the extra steps were totally unnecessary, as you point out you could easily have printed off and sent the things yourself in half the time.

  4. I know. I know. You meant whole streets or whole suburbs of people...just poked my tongue in my cheek for a moment there.

  5. RIVER!!!



    I know, I know. But it's more fun to be crazy for the rules than because of them.

    Update: I spent all of yesterday carefully reading the addresses on 200 different certificates, pulling out all the mistakes that were made in re-typing each address because they've never heard of "copy" and "paste". Street numbers changed, abbreviations changed to full words, full words to abbreviations!
    Oh, the fun!


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32