Posts Tagged ‘stupid people’

Live as The Burg. Die as The Burg

April 2, 2011

I’ve always been one to mind my own business. I tend to keep my head down when I walk…perhaps occasionally staring at a beautiful woman, but never ever have I been one to go up to someone and start a conversation.

However, for some reason (I have my theories), I’m ALWAYS the person someone else comes up to and engages in a debate.

If I go alone to a movie, concert, sporting event or other function, I’m the one who people turn and look at. Even in shopping centers people turn at stare. My mom always asks me why they do that, and I always just say they must think I’m famous.

Sometimes its understandable, to a point, because I’m wearing a sports team’s shirt which is the universal ice breaker. Or perhaps its a unique tshirt that attracts someone’s attention. If that happens, I suck it up and without being rude, engage in a brief conversation with whomever makes the approach.

Today however, I had to deal with an incident that happens far too often in my life.

You see, for a lack of a better term, I tend to have a unique appearance. I always have. Even in high school there was always something that brought attention to me…such as my slicked back hair…which earned me a nickname from the geniuses in the year ahead of me of “Slick”.

Till this day, each and everyday I always have a different hairstyle. I used to have a different colour every few months too.

I always wear something unique. Whether it be a bandanna, a hat, a trenchcoat, my legendary pant, a see through shirt, a white suit, a fake snake skin shirt. Whatever suits my mood.

One of the things I hate about this country, and I truly do, is that there is very much a close mindedness about individuality.

You can really dress us and walk down the high street, or go to the mall, or just dress good for dressing good sake.

There is always someone who will judge you or make a comment, or compare you to someone trending.

Years ago when I had corn rows in my hair, I was constantly called Beckham. Cos you know, that one time he came to South Africa, he had it done.

I went through a phase where I wore eyeliner and a smart shirt and tie. I was called one of The Parlotones.

Now, because I have a loooong beard I am constantly called Amla. This, for my international readers, is a reference to a national cricket player named Hashim Amla, who happens to have a long beard too, because he is Muslim.

In the last 2 weeks, I think I have been called this at least 8 times.

Today was by 2 drunken Afrikaans guys in a shopping center. Who started insulting me further because I gave them an unimpressed stare. (To be fair, my p*ssed off look is legendary, and has been featured in many films).

It just saddens me that people always feel compelled to mock and ridicule someone just because they themselves are not an individual.

I do believe if I lived in New York or London, I wouldn’t stand out as much, which makes me want to be there even more, just so I can be left alone.

I’ve dealt with it all my life, because I’ve never thought twice about trying something different. Sometimes its a popular choice, other times not, but I’ve always felt I’ve that a good head on ones shoulders and a pair of balls will go a long way.

If this means putting up with drunken concert goers throwing beer on me because I won’t humour them, mean kids who try and impress their friend by insulting me when they walk past, parents who judge me, and colleagues who feel the need to insult me to appear witty, then so be it.

Live as The Burg. Die as The Burg.

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What’s in a name? Well it depends how it’s spelt…

March 9, 2011

It’s safe to say I’m getting progressively crankier in my old age…I don’t deny this. There are a lot of day to day things that irritate me…some more than others, but there is one thing that never fails to get me seething just at the mere sight of it.

My name is Shaun Myburg. (Burg to my friends.)

I’ve always had a big problem with my name being spelt wrong. The most common mistake is Shaun being spelt wrong…or an extra “h” being thrown onto the end of my surname…when people assume I’m Afrikaans.

Sure it happens. It’s no big deal right?

Well, when your entire career (and future career) depends on the cachet of you name…it’s darn important.

Ever since I was a kid, I was lucky enough win competitions on a regular basis, which by proxy, meant my name appeared in magazines or newspapers for the whole country to see. I loved that feeling of seeing my name “in lights”…it always just felt right.

It was a naturally stepping stone for my name being on a byline or in film and TV credits. I was a star in the making…ok…ego aside, who doesn’t get a rush from seeing their name in print? After all, that’s why we all Google ourselves these days.

That being said…every time there was a misprint of my name in the paper, it was equally there for the world to see…

A double edged sword if any.

All through school, when certificates were handed out I loved seeing my name spelt in that almost-old-English-font for achievement in this or that. I cleaned house in primary school with certificates, but as High School came around and my personal life took a tumble, the certificates stopped coming.

In fact, through my 5 years of High School, there was only one certificate I ever got…however it was a big one.

You see, I had the pretty remarkable record of never missing a single day of school. EVER. Despite everything I went through, I always went to school.

So come the end on my 12 year schooling career, I was to be acknowledged for a PERFECT attendance record. Some may be impressed, and others may think it’s the nerdiest thing ever…well newsflash, there were only two of us who got that certificate, and neither of us were anywhere close to nerds.

At the awards evening, when my name was called, it was all slow motion as I walked up on stage to receive this mark of achievement. In my head there was a standing ovation, there were people chanting my name and there was a beautiful girl awaiting to hand me my award. Of course, none of those existed in reality, but there was that piece of paper that made it all worth it.

I collected it, flashed my million dollar smile to the paparazzi and made my way back to my seat.

Then it all came crashing down as I noticed not just my first name, but also my last name were spelt wrong on the certificate.

So my 12 years of schooling is perfectly captured in that incorrectly spelt certificate.

The years that followed had their moments of frustration.

Like this one time when I was working at a computer expo for my late cousin, and the name tag they had printed out for me read

Shawn Mabuna

Every person who came to my stand asked my about my strange surname (especially for a white guy living in South Africa…). Of course I spend the whole time explaining it was a major typo instead of actually getting any business for our company.

As I entered the corporate world, things became even more tense.

From computer login names to my email address, EVERY first day was met with an incorrect spelling of something or the other.

On the first day I starting working at one call centre, they had a digital display board that not just had the stats of how many calls were answered, holding and dropped, but also a welcome message for the new staff…which would have been cool if it didn’t read: “Welcome to new staff members Sahun Myburg”….I was called Sahun for the rest of that day.

When my film, TV and print career eventually took flight, I became even more pedantic about having my name spelt right. This was easier to manage as it’s an expected concern within these fields. And thank you lordy lord, my name is correctly spelt on IMDB!

In my current job, I’ve been here for 5 years, so there’s really no excuse for spelling my name wrong in emails.

It still happens though.
I hate it, and speak up about it, which probably makes people think “geez, relax guy its just a typo”…but after working with someone with 5 years, there’s really no excuse to spelling their name wrong in an email or document…right?

I’m very protective over my name…because one day I do believe it will be a brand. It may just be a pipe dream…but it’s really my most valued asset.

How To Leave A Job – The Burg Way (Part 2)

February 17, 2011

When we last left our hero, he was wallowing in unemployment for around 8 months in 2004. The odd job here and there, (working as extras on well known TV shows and adverts) but nothing permanent and certainly nothing that brought in nearly enough money to survive. Remember the stale ice cream cones for dinner period? Well, the journey was certainly epic, but a change of career was on the horizon.

After getting booted out of a career in IT, I took this time to really go for what I wanted, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be in media and most certainly I wanted The Burg to truly become a brand.

I lost a lot of friends during this period as my resistance to starting from the bottom working in a call centre ever again was met with criticism and anger.

I begged, borrowed and sold to survive, repercussion of which I still feel today.

During mid 2004 I worked on a reality show and met some important people who helped me show my worth. It was a contract job that allowed me to be a writer for a website. (In my interview, when asked how much I was looking for, I replied “I would even work for a bucket of chicken”…this got me the job). For 3 months I lived the dream, I was writing, I got “The Burg” attention, I developed a character – who was pretty much an extension of myself, I got massive exposure, I was on TV and eventually when the 3 months was up I had succeeded in making a name for myself.

I was offered a role as a weekly TV show presenter for text to TV chat show, which I embraced, and despite what may come out later in this blog – will always truly be thankful and appreciative for the gentleman who gave me this opportunity and effective stated the ball rolling on “The Burg” that you all know and love today. (or love to hate).

Come the close of 2004 I was desperate for more permanent work. Things at home were at there worst, I had debtors knocking on my door, even cars parked outside my house waiting to serve me with summons for accounts. I had to do something.

I made the heartbreaking decision to give up the dream and go back to IT.

Another Call centre…I forget the name anyways -> Beat Magazine (Circa 2005)

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An old friend of mind (who put up with a lot of miserable crappola from me), organized an interview for me with the company that was essentially the evolution of my first job at Micon. I got the job. Duh. Even being way over qualified, I started at the bottom and committed myself to the job, even though my heart was never, and would never, be in it.

A few weeks later I got the break I had been looking for, a position with Beat magazine, SA’s newest entertainment gossip magazine had opened up. I organized an interview for late in the day so I could shoot through after my call centre job and interview for it. The interview went OK, and for once my nerves and desperation probably got the better of me.

A few days later I got the call from Beat magazine. I didn’t get the position I applied for. I was crushed. For a few seconds at least, because during the conversation I was offered another role – that of a TV writer for the magazine. DREAM JOB ALERT! I accepted without hesitation, and the only problem was they wanted me to start the next day. Uh oh…tricky.

The next day I explained what had happened to my old friend and boss, and thanked him for what he did for me and explained this was what I had been working for my whole life. I knew he understood, but was disappointed that I had let him down after he went to bat for me. The company insisted that I work my 30 days notice first…and being a 24 hour call centre I cleverly organized to work grave yard shift. So basically I worked grave yard shift, raced home at about 7am, freshened up and went to my new job at Beat Magazine. Put in a full day of learning, when home, freshened up, and then went to my evening job at the call centre.

On top of this, I was still hosting a TV show twice a week, which thankfully both jobs allowed me to do. (of course neither job knew I was working for the other)

This lasted for a few weeks before they eventually allowed (read: asked) me to leave. Of course at this point I was a zombie, but living the dream.

Beat -> Always Look Up/ N-Net (Circa 2006)
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Officially starting in February of 2005 I spent a wonderful year at Beat magazine, and it was by far the best year of my life. Despite increasing personal issues and playing catch up financially, I gave EVERYTHING to the job. I was happy career wise. I met so many people, made so many contacts and met the people who would shape my life.

After that year however, the reality that I needed more money played on my mind heavily.

Eventually my bosses from the TV show made me an offer to come on board permanently, and while the financial offer they made me was never great, it was enough not want to turn down (plus it was more than that bucket of chicken I never got). Plus I always felt I owed them for giving me my start. I had clashed with one of the bosses fairly often during my time on the reality show and the TV show, and I always worried that this would be magnified if I worked permanently with him.

I explained this to my boss at Beat magazine and said I didn’t want to leave, but I just couldn’t say no to the money. To their credit Beat magazine tried to put together a counter offer, which simply wasn’t enough. With tears flowing I turned it down and handed in my resignation…

It broke my heart to leave Beat, and its one the biggest regrets I have in my life, but it was a necessary action to get me where I am today.

My farewell email is considered EPIC, and is completely honest and heartfelt.. I’d like to share it with you, if I may. (excuse the horrendous spelling and grammar…i was young)

Always Look Up/ N-net-> Pony Music Circa (2006…also)
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I joined the company on a full time basis in March of 2006.

The first few days were great! I was treated with respect; I had a nice reputation with my coworkers because of “The Burg” and all he had accomplished. But soon enough things changed.

What followed was the worst 6 months of my life.

Essentially I had three bosses.

One who truly believed in me and the potential of The Burg as a character, and I would work for/with him again in a heartbeat.

One who had all my respect and while firm with me, allowed me many opportunities.

The third, became the man I clashed with on a near daily basis. Perhaps some justified, and some just purely ridiculous.

Once I wore track pants to work. I got pulled aside and told I was being disrespectful and hadn’t earned the right to wear track suit pants to work and to never do it again.

Another time I got up to got to the vending machine…my boss ran after me and told me that can’t I see everyone else is plugging away working hard and I should do the same.

A third time, after a miscommunication in an email I was dragged out into the courtyard and humiliated, sworn at and lambasted. I later got an apology. But by then I was seen as the rebel. The one guy who stood up to the powers that be. I never did this deliberately, it just sorta came with “being me”

I was eventually suspended from my TV show due to a few mistakes of letting certain messages deemed “inappropriate” on air. Of course this was likely just a way of working me off air. It was ok though, while I loved what I did I at peace that I had done all I could with the show, and was happy for someone else to get the chance.

When I was given creative freedom, I shined, but ultimately I was held on a leash and used as example for anyone who tried to be an individual – which I was and always will be.

After handing in my resignation (for a second time in six months), I was told that I would never make it out there without them.

On a side note, during my time with Beat magazine, I had made friends with a famous local idols judge who worked for a music company. At the end of one of the Idols competitions, I wrote him a letter saying “I will work for you one day”. During my time at Never Look Up, he contacted me and said there was something opening up he thought I would be perfect for, nothing however had been finalized until two weeks into my resignation period, so I took a massive chance by quitting my job after only 6 months.

My resignation was kept quiet for a while, and eventually I was told they needed the space and I was welcome to work my last month from home.

The funniest/saddest story out of all this, and I’m sure this may upset a lot of people for revealing this, but on my last Friday there, me and a few of my close allies wondered if there would be farewell drinks for me. Well, thanks to some ingenious trickery and computer hacking, we were able to find out more than we should of. There were indeed drinks for me, except I wasn’t invited. The email was sent to a few key people who would be meeting up after work, I just happened to have been excluded on that list. A final slap in the face after 6 months of regret.

So after being told that I would never make it out there without them, the very next day after being told I could work from home…I started at Pony Music.

The Here and Now (Circa 2011)
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I have now been here for 5 years, and will NEVER leave for another local company.
My time here has saved my life, its allowed me to fix my personal problems, recover from my financial woes, and even given me the freedom to film a few movies on the side. I found a home within Pony Music.

The day I leave here will be for overseas. Which you all know is what I’m pushing for big time now, and I do very much see this as my final here.

But this decade plus long journey has had its ups and downs, its bad decisions and good.
I have made and lost many friends.

In the end however…this is all the journey to where i am meant to be…

How To Leave a Job – The Burg way…(Part 1)

February 16, 2011

I’ve had many…many…MANY jobs in my years…about 11 or so, and I’ve been “lucky” enough to experience most every sort of leaving situation you can get in the work place.

I’ve quit.
I’ve been retrenched
I’ve been fired
(I’ve been suspended)
And I’ve been poached by other companies.

Leaving a job, is a real moment of truth.
Everything you’ve done over the years for the company is forgotten as it comes down to those last few days you spend there, and ultimately, how you leave.

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT!

Suffice to say…I’ve left some jobs just as dramatically as I entered them.

If I may, I’d like to share a few stories with you. So gather around with your hot chocolate (yes, in this heat), and pull the kids closer…close enough to hug when they get scared, and of course remember, I’m the hero…so nothing bad will happen to me…in the end.

Of course, in the interest of avoiding law suits and angry stripper-grams, I’ve change the names of my former employers to protect the innocent.

Micon -> Mintekom/Melkom Internet (circa 2000)
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Working at Micon Internet was my first job in the real world, and what an experience it was. From faking my way through the job interview (which was to become not just a trend, but a bona fide skill), I worked my way up the ranks of the call centre fairly quickly, even picking up two employee of the month titles during my near 2 year stay here. Everything was going swimmingly until it was announced that out division had been acquired by another company and we were going to be moving to their new offices later on where there was a different protocol there. In other words, I was not going to be allowed to wear my man-jewelry and off beat clothing. Almost instantly alarms bells went off in my head. After making sure this wasn’t a tumor, I realized that it was indeed time to seek my riches elsewhere. After all, I was the kind of guy who would step out at lunch time and come back with a brand new eyebrow ring…and blood streaming down the side of my face. My manager was kind enough to clean me up. I had a little crush on her.

A colleague, who had left shortly before me and recommended that I join him at his current employer where you could “smoke at your desk!”, being a non smoker this meant nothing to me. But I set up an interview anyways. Of course I got the job. Duh. Shortly afterwards I handed in my resignation at Micon.

The day I did that though, I was seen at the traitor, the black sheep…I sold out dammit…I was giving up a long term future to go where I could inhale secondary smoke 8 hours a day! I was excluded from many things during the preparation for the buyout, and was eventually allowed to leave before my notice period was up. I supposed this ensured them that I didn’t steal any company secrets for the competition.

So I left with neither a whimper nor a bang…but I did take a colleague with me. Remember that Maul? (yes his name was changed too)

Mintekom/Melkom Internet-> Nicrosoft Support Desk (Circa 2002)
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We started at Mintekom/Melkom internet in the Summer of 2002, and it was the summer we would always remember….gosh, sorry, wrong story.

My friend Maul and I started at this new helpdesk eager to please and prove our worth. However within our first few days, we had the feeling of “we’ve made a huge mistake”, in fact, during our first few weeks we accidentally sent out a email to conversation the entire company about how much we hated it there. BIG mistake…although I still think it was sabotage!

A warning later and we knuckled down and made a pretty decent career for ourselves there.

Maul moved into the system admin side of things and I after being screwed over for a team leader position, got a nifty little position of “trainer” created for me. It was an AWESOME position; and I got to train staff – which if you’ve ever been in a training session with me…is fun and educational. I loved the job, I really did. Of course this meant something was going to go wrong.

Once again our division was bought out. Retrenchments were looming and I was one of the first one the chopping block. There was no avoiding it. The management not wanting to lose me, hired me back as a normal call centre agent. This sucked beyond compare, and soon the feet were itching….

I had been chatting to a friend on ICQ during my time at Mintekom, and in-between flirting with her –and 50 other contacts, I had mentioned my job situation. (ICQ is an old chat program in case the kids have stopped you to ask what this is)

She contacted me a few weeks later and said the Nicrosoft helpdesk was looking to hire a new agent. I thought wow…Nicrosoft…that’s the big leagues! A fluffed up CV, and a “sick day” later, I was in the interview room, where I once again chaaaaaarmed my interviewer. I got the job. Duh!


Nicrosoft Support Desk -> Umemployment (Circa 2004)

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I handed in my notice at Mintekom and waited out my time. I turned my last day into a game of Survivor, and forced everyone to vote me out the office. Of course everyone was seemingly busy, and didn’t have time to play my silly games. But at least I would see that at my after work farewell drinks. Come one come all!!….come anyone? I think the turnout was about 3 people, one of which was a new guy I didn’t even know. My boss who was one of my better friends in life at the time didn’t turn up. A few weeks later though he did get hold of me and apologize for the way he acted and invited me to lunch. I think I had the beef.

My first day at Nicrosft was memorable. Ask anyone what I wore and they would probably tell you. I had my long black coat, piercings and a killer smile. Soon thereafter I was asked to stop wearing my earings. F#*!.

This was to be a sign of times ahead. Right off the bat, let me say the first person I sat with on my first day is someone who I to this day consider my best friend, so it wasn’t all bad.

As time went on, the usual changes came and went, we moved buildings (more times than I can remember), our holding company changed (more times than I can remember), and my manager changed – just the once was enough to shape the rest of my destiny.

I faked knowing what I was doing for over 2 years, a record for me, and even managing to pick up the “best team” award for our service and stats….i still have trophy hah!

As some of you have come to realize I speak my mind. I speak up against oppression and I tell the truth. Some managers, read manager, didn’t like this. A few months of back and forth arguing and complaints between the two of us eventually led to showdown!

Of course, this was on his turf, and I got screwed over like no man in the history of screwing has ever been screwed before.

In a disciplinary hearing I was fired, told to leave immediately, by the time I got back to my desk, I was locked out my pc and couldn’t even send out a goodbye email. Which for the record I am king of. I write goodbye emails like no man in the history of goodbye emails will ever be able to do.

This however backfired on them. Because the worst was yet to come. I took some time, collected my thoughts, and proceeded to write the biggest expose on the people I despised and who had stabbed me in the back, and proceeded to “send to all” the next day. Of course they tried to open a case against me, but I had changed all names and places so there was nothing the could do, but cringe from embarrassment.

Let it be know, I don’t just burn bridges. I burn the bridges, the entire village, the neighboring town, and uncle’s joe’s farm in the next state.

The article was called was “and i don’t agree with that in the workplace”, and it was legendary. Ask around.

That led to my extended period of unemployment…
Much more to come…including the greatest farewell email of all time written by me)

There’s this guy who works at my BlockBusters…

February 6, 2011

There’s this guy who works at my Blockbuster video store.
I loathe him.

I think we all have someone like him in our lives, and this saddens me.

Let me tell you a bit about him.

I don’t know his name, and even if he has told it to me, I’d never remember it as I’m so busy trying to focus on anything other than jumping over the counter and drowning him in the slush puppy machine….grape flavour.

This guy represents all that is irritating in this world.

Firstly, he’s one of those people who have to start a conversation with every single person who he can make eye contact with, and even if you are not looking at him, he stares at you until you make the mistake of giving him a glance.

I don’t mind the odd conversation with people, opposite to contrary belief; I’m not a total hermit…yet.

The problem with him is, he always, and I mean ALWAYS tries to be “hip” to what’s going on.

I happen to go to the Blockbuster often to buy cheap 2nd hand dvds, because I love movies. I also however happen to go to the Takeaways either side of the store because I’m fat. This is where a big part of the problem comes in, as he likes to take his smoke break outside the store and happens to catch me sitting on the benches waiting for my food.

Even if I’m staring at the cashier waiting for my food, my Spidey senses immediately start tingling when he steps outside….But by then it’s already too late.

I understand if I enter his domain (Blockbusters), but when I’m at a completely different store there should be boundaries, but its almost like he is always out hunting new prey.

He always finds a reason to try strike up a conversation with me…no matter how far apart we are. What’s worse is, he tries so hard to be relevant that all his conversations are ultimately the same. If I’m wearing the shirt of my favourite football team, it’s a sure bet the first thing I will hear in the distance is “Liverpool…that’s an awesome team hey”…Of course I will then proceed to rip him apart for not actually knowing what’s going on with the team.

Other days he will start with the line “Dude, you look like such a rockstar hey”…..simply because I happen to have cool tattoos on my arms and a mountain man beard. This will then lead into a (one sided) conversation about how he can never look like this or he’ll get fired, and how his colleagues have to tie up their hair. I even have to resort to saying “yes, you’ve told me that before.”

The third topic of conversation is normally about the movie I am buying. He, working at a Blockbuster is of course…a movie buff., which is just cannon fodder for me when he tries to tell me something about the history or making of a certain movie. As those close to me know…I am the human IMDB.

What frustrates me most is at the end of all this, he is just someone who can’t take the hint. No matter how much I ignore him or am mean to him, he ALWAYS tries to strike up conversation.

I loathe him so much…and sometimes I have nightmares that when the apocalypse comes, it will just be the two of us (and new girl – for long time readers) left, and we have to repopulate the Earth.

Is it so hard for two people in this world not to just pass each other by in silence?
That’s the world I want to live in…

Five Rules To Surviving An Office Kitchen

November 9, 2010

Like most people, I’m a fan of good hygiene, but I also happen to believe in etiquette and respect. Two values missing in this day and age. ESPECIALLY in the work place.
After my rant about my mug, people have come to understand my feelings towards upsetting the balance of the office….and yet, there are still those who don’t adhere to the non spoken rules of the “shared” areas of the office.

Namely – the kitchen.

It’s a communal kitchen, so sure there are bound to be conflict in styles, methods and habits. But there is no excuse for lack of your basic, run of the mill logic.

Add to this, that I am rapidly approaching some sort of meltdown point, and it segways nicely into a little blog I like to call…

Five Rules To Surviving An Office Kitchen.

    1. The Birthday Cake/Catering Leftovers

While it may come across as a Survivor reward challenge, the time honoured tradition of the “office birthday” can be handled in a more respectful manner, if only the savages and greedy guts would respect the occasion. The object is not to stack your plate as high as possible as they allow at a Buffet. There would easily be enough for everyone if we had a 2 samoosas 1 slice of cake rule. If you’re in a corner office on the wrong floor – it’s already too late.

When the occasional conference or big wig meeting takes place, there is bound to be leftovers from the meeting. I’m all for this, because these platters normally appear at the exact time an inconvenient hunger pain strikes. However, to the PA, or secretary who brings the trays out and put them in the kitchen. Please don’t taunt us with mini sandwiches which have been picked on, disassembled and/or most often incorrectly reassembled. Chicken legs with tin foil on the end of the bone are only considered edible IF there is still chicken on the bone. And lastly, Garnish is NOT considered food – so mini tomatoes and celery should not appear on a tray by themselves.

    2. The Fridge

If it bleeds…we can kill it. This quote from Predator is what always springs to mind when opening the fridge to get milk out. There are some eerie oudors that make their way out the office Fridge. Normally from “meals” that have been left there for anything between a week, and last December. If you don’t intend finishing your meal, or taking it home, please, I beg of you, give your leftovers to the hobos at the nearest traffic light. I’m sure they’d rather be sniffing glue, but hey, I rather not be sniffing whatever your meal has morphed into.

I mentioned milk. Now, I have to add this little irritation. Work supplies up with an endless supply of long life milk. EVERYONE knows this is the only milk the work supplies. I happen to hate long life milk. So myself, and my coffee partner bring in FRESH milk. There seems to be a misconception that we bring it in for everyone to use. Let’s clear that up right now…If I catch you using my fresh milk. I will bring you down. Bring you down to Chinatown baby.

    3. The Cutlery

For some unknown reason, office cutlery is like gold. I’m not sure what exponential value it has compared to cutlery at home, but boy, the street value of an office fork, knife and spoon must be larger than pure cocaine. Either that, or we have a someone lurking in our office whole a kleptomaniac. There is NEVER a spoon around when you need one! I thankfully bring in my own plastic knife and fork every day to eat, and ever that it takes about 20 minutes longer to eat my meal because of that damned spork, its worth it. However it’s the spoons that I require more usage from. Making tea and coffee on a regular basis is what keeps me sane.

If you are lucky enough to find a spoon, there’s a good chance it’s a spoon that’s transition from the sugar bowl, to the hot chocolate bowl and then placed into the spoon rack. After what feels like hours of washing down with boiling hot water, you can finally use the spoon. When you go back again, there’s a good chance that same spoon can be found on the tongue of a big boned lady who is get that last bit of yoghurt out her giant tub of “fat free” vanilla yoghurt.

    4. The Office Kettle/Urn

Much like the button on an elevator, EVERYONE feels the need to reboil or try flick the on switch of the kettle or urn the second they walk into the kitchen. Even if you are clearly standing there waiting with your empty much filled only with a tea bag and sugar. They then react like they’ve solved the Da Vinci Code. If only I knew to BOIL the water! Mystery solved.

Recently I caught show on the Discovery Channel about how and kettle does not refil itself when it’s empty. It’s a shame nobody else saw that episode.

Common courtesy would be to switch the urn off at the end of day. But one would argue we are not common people. Nothing like late night precipitation from the ceiling to let you know the water is ready.

    5. The Microwave Oven

Most of us have microwaves at home right? Why then do people seem to use them differently to the way they use them at home? Perhaps I’m just way to naïve in thinking there’s a difference. Come lunch time, there is generally something of a queue waiting to use the Microwave, which I can totally respect, However, there should be certain sub-rules involved here.
– Unless you are the VERY last person to use the MWO, never bring in a lunch that requires 7 minutes of defrosting, then a further 5 minutes of cooking. Rather take your lunch earlier so that the rest of us don’t have to waste a 1/3 of our lunch time waiting
– NEVER EVER warm up anything that contains fish product. Or worse yet, some unidentifiable fish byproduct that stinks up not just the MWO, not just the kitchen, not just the reception area, but the ENTIRE building.
– Close the damn MWO door when you’re done. If I turn around and smack my elbow one more time on a gaping door. I will hunt you down.
– And finally, Microwave popcorn is NOT a meal. If I wanted to smell burnt popcorn or fake butter during my working hours, I would sneak out to a movie during working hours.
—————–
Wow, I feel much better now.
I’m sure there may be some additional rules here, but these are the main reason i should have my own kitchen in my office.
It’s safer for everyone.
Now…about those office toilets…

10 Reasons I Hate Going to The Movie Theatre-Slash-Cinema

October 28, 2010

Ah man
The smell of the popcorn!
The giant slush!
The forthcoming attractions!
The opening scene of a movie!

Who doesn’t love going to the cinema!

…well…Me.

I used to. I used to go a couple of times a week, even a couple of shows a day! My old friend Danielle could back me up on that. We were the king and queen of movies. (me being King…obviously)

Then, somewhere along the line I became this cranky old man who found the whole cinema going experience one of the most frustrating things a human being can do.
Maybe it’s because I’m constantly going alone that I observe more of what’s going on around me.

These days however, I only go to the LATE show, because 9/10 times, I’m the only one there.

Let me explain, in a little piece I like to call – 10 Reasons I hate going to the Movie Theatre-slash-Cinema.

1 – Is there anything more irritating than a group of people who stand around looking at posters of upcoming movies? There’s always one person who thinks he knows more about the movie than anyone else on the planet – who then proceeds to spew out facts that he read online as if he were the one who documented the making of the movie.

2 – The casual movie fans. Now yes, I understand that not everyone can be a human IMDB like me. But why engage in a conversation about movies with fellow casual fans when neither of you know anything. Their conversations normally proceed as follows “Um, you know that guy who starred in the movie with the guy in the robot suit…darnit…what’s his name again”…”oh you mean that black guy who won the Oscar for that one movie?”…”yes, him…no wait sorry…I’m thinking of that other guy, with the dark hair. He married that one from the TV show…what’s her name…”

3 – That damn Salt & Vinegar flavoring salt. There is no way any mortal man can resist piling heaps and heaps on that stuff onto their box of popcorn. Only to almost choke to death on the very first piece of popcorn thereafter.

4 – People who laugh during bad unfunny commercials JUST because they are with a group of friends. If you don’t laugh at the on the TV at home, don’t laugh at them at the cinema.

5 – Later comers who fail to adjust their speech audio levels after they pass the “giant doors”. For example – “…AND DUDE SHE WAS LIKE 15!…” …then off course, the rest of the friends proceed to laugh.

6 – “Rebellious” teenagers who don’t really want to watch a movie, but just want to be out unsupervised. They make rude noises, throw popcorn and try embarrassing their own friends jackass style.

7 – People who constantly reply to text messages, check the time on their phone display, or even TAKE a phone call during the movie, only to say “I can’t talk I’m in a movie”. IF they wanted your phone in the movie…they’d have put it there. Those damn cell phone lights are distracting as //%&.

8 – 40 plus cinema goers (mostly parents) who have been making the same jokes for the last two decades. Example: Wife –“Gosh it’s full tonight; I hope we don’t have to sit right in front!” Lame Husband – “Ag babes, then we get to see the movie first” Lamer wife – “hahahaha”.

9 – The guy/girl who can’t hold their bladder and refused to pee before the movie. Inevitably when they return, they ask “what I miss?” I always like to throw in a ludicrous answer.

10 – The uneducated response while walking out after the movie – Example: After walking out the FIRST Lord of The Rings movie “Dude, what a k@k ending”. Example 2: After walking out Disaster Movie/ Epic Movie/ Dance Flick or any other recent spoof flick “Dude, how funny was that! Classic!”

Gosh I actually have way more than 10. but have I missed anything out? Are these irritations specific to South African cinemas or do you all experience this in some form or another? I wanna know.

Me & My Mug – A Love Story

September 13, 2010

You know…all things considered, I’m a pretty tolerant guy. One might even say, I’m TOO understanding at times.

But there is one thing that royally ticks me off every single time, regardless of who does it.

If you’ve ever worked in an office and had your own mug…you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about.

The #1 law of office ettiquite:

The non-approved use of someone else’s personal mug!

I’ve had my office mug for the better part of 5 years now.

It was given to me as a gift by someone I still consider a friend even though we don’t much talk anymore, but the spirit in which it was given and the thought that went into it is something I still cherish. It has followed me through 3 different careers, and has survived many a scares with butterfingered dish washers.

The mug defines my personality pretty accurately, but it’s perhaps this same beacon of light that acts as the proverbial moth to the flame to that inconsiderate clandestine group who insist on pushing the boundaries of personal space.

I’m all for a good joke, and I can even find humor in the photo’s that arrive in my inbox, or to my cell phone on my days off, of my cup in compromising positions or exotic locations akin to the infamous travelling gnome, but there are lines that just should not be crossed.

Recently there have been two incidents which have threatened to tip over the balance of serenity in the workspace.

A few weeks ago, a fellow employee, who will STILL be referred to as the new girl until such time as she earns the right to have a name, made the irreparable mistake of bringing a guest into the kitchen and allowing her to select a mug from the cupboard containing personal mugs. (Which happens to be to the right of the guest mugs/cups).

I appeared in the kitchen for my first of 2 cups of coffee (10am and 2.30pm call times), to the awkward question of “um…where is your cup?”

What ensued was a manhunt the likes not seen since Tommy Lee Jones every outhouse treehouse doghouse search from The Fugitive.

Upon my discovery of the culprit…came my Hulk like transformation. I was sent down to my office to calm down, where I waited for New Girl to see her guest out. I confronted her in the reception and shortly afterwards received the below email.

It reasons like this why she will always be the new girl.

Incident two took place last week…and saw the return of an old foe.

A man of rather big boned stature is a regularly visitor to the MD of the company. Which makes him think he has diplomatic immunity when it comes to my mug.

As he is often there for 2pm meetings…there is a good and often chance our paths will cross on a regular occasion.

See…he’s a clever one…he’s in and out that kitchen like the wind. I’m pretty sure he takes the coffee granules and sugar with him in his pocket and makes his hot beverage in the cold war room known as the MD’s office.

When I arrive a half an hour later to morbid silence often reserved for new of the death of a love one…I know exactly where my mug is. In the hands on the Mr. Two Plus Three.

This is a battle I don’t yet have the weaponry to fight. But I’m getting there…and next time I catch him using it…You may just see the outcome in the next morning’s news headlines.

So to anyone out there who still has intentions of driving me to breaking point. I leave you with this old Latin saying.

Do not effeth with thy mug.

A Normal Day in South Africa..

July 19, 2010

I’ve told the story a dozen times. I replayed it in my head 100 times more…but until I actually get the events of Wednesday the 14th July 2010 on to “paper”, I won’t be able to let it go.

You know, I get criticized a helluva lot for my “negative” attitude toward South Africa and it’s problems.

One of my last blogs was about how much I hate SA…and I didn’t even go into the crime aspect of it. I got so much hate mail from that, I decided to stop writing for a while, because people, for the most part, didn’t allow me to have an opinion.

Heck, we just held a very successful World Cup, we showed the world what we can do, and how crime and safety in SA is over hyped by the media….right?

Well…

After what has been a pretty crappy month (I screwed myself out of World Cup final tickets because some people don’t keep their word, I screwed myself out of any ascendancy at work because people don’t keep their word), I truly believed the month could not get any worse.

Anyways, on Wednesday I went to work as normal, had a normal day of irritations, and had the normal end of the day headache. I decided to leave work early at 4pm, because the headache was just too much to bare.

The drive home was normal. The heavy traffic was normal. The idiots causing a dangerous situation because they were texting while driving was normal. My rising anger was normal.

I arrived home at 5.15pm. Opened my driveway gates, pulled the car in. Switched off the car, began closing the gates. All normal things.

Then perhaps the most normal of all things about living in South Africa happened.

From the pavement a man (I call him man for lack of a better word), came charging at me with a gun pointed towards my head.

He immediately forced open the gates I was closing and pressed the gun against my head. I took a few steps backwards and stepped into the flower bed and fell over, ending up halfway between the driveway and the garden. In plain view of anyone driving or walking past my house.

The gun man started going through my pockets, taking the car keys, mobile phone, all my bank cards, driver’s licence etc. He kept asking where the food was. Assumedly he thought that I was coming home to open up the house for the evening and was looking for house keys so he could further plunder my treasures.

I stared straight at this guy with the anger beginning to rage, at that a second gun man ran into the drive way, opened the one gate I had closed and took the car keys.

My mom who was home at the time came out to see what was going on, and with her my dog came charging at the guy with the gun on me. As he turned the gun on the dog, I attempted to get up to “do something stupid”, but at that, my mom came into view and saw me with the gun to my head and started screaming telling me to give him everything, and he turned the gun on her saying “come on mummy, come on mummy”, at that point I backed down not willing to rush him into taking a shot, my mom turned around and ran back into the house, tripping and crawling, fearing the second gun man would come after her. She made it inside, locked the door and called for help.

The two gun men in the meantime got in my car and sped out the driveway and drove off into the sunset. Complete with my laptop, external hardrive and personal belongings. Basically the sum collection of everything I had worked on for the last 12 years.

A normal day in South Africa.

I get the people who now tell me to “focus on the positive”, “it could have been worse”, “you got lucky”.

How do I even respond to that? It makes me so angry. Yes, things could have been much worse, murder, rape, tragedy. But this should not have even happened. I should not have been attacked in my own home.

It was 3 days after the world cup. It was my 4th incident in 8 months.
It was the LAST straw.

My number one priority now, is getting out this country. I want to live and work somewhere where the value of human life is understood, and that is NOT in South Africa.
I’ve begun the process of looking elsewhere, and I know its going to take a while, I just hope my number isn’t up before that happens…because let’s be honest…I’m fighting the odds here.

But I suppose I should stop complaining and take the time to explore the beauty South Africa has to offer…right?

I guess i officially earned my right to complain now…

I haven’t slept for 5 days since it happened. Not because i need therapy, or counselling, but because im desperate. How do i get out of here..New York, London, the whole of Canada…thats where i belong.

20 Things New Girl Has (Forcibly) Taught Me About Life…

September 2, 2009

1. If something is not funny, laughing louding and longer will make it funny.

2. It is possible to know more about something even if you have less experience, less training, and less knowledge.

3. If you are new to a company, it only takes a day to feel part of group.

4. If you have been at a company for years, it only takes a day to realize new girl will never be part of the group.

5. When life seems hard. Just think WWNGD. (What Would New Girl Do)

6. Working for Apple gives you life experience you need for any situation, job or problem in life. Ever.

7. Appointments are never needed if you are the new girl. People should always be expecting you.

8. There is no such thing as personal space. It all belongs to New Girl.

9. If you don’t understand something, NEVER EVER let ppl know. a)Just stare back at them blankly b) Act sick and go home

10. If you are unhappy with procedures or policies, the easiest way to express this is by saying “Thats not how it is in the UK”

11. Using pet names will endear you everyone.

12. It is possible to lead from the front – if you shove everyone out the way.

13. Learning which artists your company represents only slows down business deals.

14. There is no need to research what a potential client does, they will probably tell you in your pitch meeting anyways.

15. Being touchy feeling in the work place is never inappropriate. Even on your first day.

16. Adding the word “Yeah” after every sentence will further enhance your point.

17. Making pointless irrelevant statements in meetings is seen as contributing.

18. Bring your child to work day, should be a public holiday for the rest of the people you work with.

19. Private conversations don’t exist unless they include you. (also, when other people go quiet when you walk in on them halving a private conversation, they are actually waiting for you to add your 2 cents.)

20. If you stuff things up on your first day, you will forever be known as New Girl.