Sunday, July 26, 2015

Railway Ghost Stories

I have been looking for railway stories (non fiction) from 1880 to the Beeching era as like most people I find the lost age of railways very interesting.

Whilst searching I have come across various ghost stories from around the uk.

Some links for others that might be interested:

Rail forum thread - Are our railways haunted? - Excellent thread on a railway forum with lots of short stories.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tim Vine Style jokes

These jokes are my own creation in the style of / paying homage to Tim Vine. Usual disclaimer applies these were funny in my head, they may not be in reality.

Number 1

DFS delivered my new suite the other day, Sofa so good.

Number 2

I went to the Doctors the other week, he asked for a urine sample. I gave him the sample and he said "I was only pulling your leg" and I replied "No, you are taking the piss".

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Interview Number 1

I have started a new project, yes another one. This one is about writing fictional comedy around interviews of some sort. This is basically all about the conversation between two people which can be quite random and hopefully slightly funny.

Standard disclaimer applies in that these were funny in my own head, you may not find them funny at all.

Interview Number 1

Person A: So why do you want this job?

Person B: I don't

Person A: Pardon?

Person B: I don't want this specific job.

Person A: Then why come to the interview then...

Person B:Well, lets say no one comes to an interview for this job.

Person A: They do, you're here.

Person B:You are not following me at all
You are interviewing for an administration assistant right?

Person A:Well...Yes.

Person B:There are billions of admin jobs right?

Person A: I suppose...

Person B: So what I want is an admin asst job, it does not have to be this job.

Person A: So you don't want this job then.

Person B: Well I wouldn't say no.

Person A: Well thats interesting because I wouldn't say yes.

Person B: Can I suggest next question?

Person A: Do you think that would help?

Person B: At this point in the interview who can say?

Person A: Quite

Person A: Let's move on to what you know about our organisation?

Person B: The business or your personal organisation

Person A: The business of course

Person B: I know very little... I'm afraid

Person A: You are afraid?

Person B: No, I am not scared

Person A: Good, because I have had feedback I am an aggressive interviewer.

Person B: That's ok I have had feedback I am agressive when interviewed.

Person A: I always feel like I am being judged at interviews.

Person B: You are

Person A: Well yes

Person B: It is just so personal though isn't it.

Person A: Yes but that is an interview, impersonal and personal at the same time.
It is an imperfect tool in an imperfect world.

Person B: Like a 102 piece screwdriver set.

Person A: Ah but that's a perfect tool,  you have the perfect bit for any screw.

Person B: I think we should agree top disagree.

Person A: Anyway, to move the interview forward slightly

Person B:Certainly a better direction than backwards,
or sideways.

Person A:Quite

Person B: I would see myself as the 102 piece perfect tool for the reasons you just described

Person A: Which are?

Person B: I fit any job

Person A: Ah but your philosophy of screw driver bits would suggest you don't fit this specific job.

Person B: That would be one possible interpretation but I could not possibly comment

Person A: It's an interview I think you are required and compelled to comment

Person B: No comment

Person A: This is not a police interview

Person B: Good because I had a disagreement with my lawyer last night

Person A: Do you need a lawyer?

Person B: You tell me, you are the one asking the questions

Person A: Yes, I am and parking this to one side the original question was what do you know about the organisation?

Person B: I know the organisation needs and administrative assistant...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Perl snippets - Date manipulation

I am an amateur web perl programmer. All my slightly complicated web sites are built using perl. When I get stuck on some small bit of code the answer can sometimes be found on the internet somewhere.

From time to time I am going to post up some of the solutions I have found on my travels in the hope that it may help someone else out.

So the problem:

On one of my website I am automating the creation of a spreadsheet for upload to the google merchant's feed. I needed to create the entry for the Sale price effective date.

This is not something I store in the main database so needed to create the entry on the fly. Basically I needed to create the following entry:


So I started with today's date and then added a month to it, then put in the google specific bits like the '/' and the Z.

Here is the code:

use Time::Piece;

my $t = localtime;
my $t2 = $t->add_months(1);
my $t3 = $t->datetime.'Z/'.$t2->datetime.'Z';

Basically call the module Time::Piece then set variable $t to localtime. Create second variable $t2 which is $t + 1 month and then merge it all together in variable $t3 with $t being put into the correct format "2013-05-19T17:44:51" append a 'Z/' and then amend the other date in a month's time.

Simple really. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Colourscape 2 - Steps

I have completed a second colourscape.

This one is called steps and takes a random colour as the base colour. Then in each of the red, blue and green components it steps back and forward by a set amount to see what happens if you change the value of one component but keep the others the see.

Basically it will show you what happens to the colour if you change the blue component only, the red component only or the green component only.

Or if you like it is something fun to play with...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Worton Organic Garden Cafe - an unfriendly welcome

It is not often I write about poor customer service that I receive because in the majority of cases I am fairly easy going. However, at the weekend I took a trip out with my partner in the local area and was so appalling treated that I feel obliged to put pen to paper as it were.

We live in a fairly rural area and being rather green minded I was looking for a local farm shop. I found Worton Organic garden on the internet which had even been recommended by a national newspaper. Why not, I thought, it even had a cafe where we could find a spot of lunch.

So off we went, Worton does have a lovely organic garden and a nice farm shop mainly focusing on what is grown in the garden with a few other oxfordshire bits and pieces. So far so good, we started looking forward to some lunch. Even better it was seafood special weekend with a lovely set menu and we both fancied the lemon sole.

Luckily we managed to find a table and after a while when nobody came we went into the cafe and someone said they would be out shortly. Five minutes later a worker from the garden wandered by and apologised for the delay but someone would be out shortly, she couldn't take our order because she didn't work in the cafe and didn't want to mess up carefully laid plans.

Fair enough, nobody minds a bit of waiting for some good food. After all it was a nice day and we were enjoying the sunshine.

Finally a lady comes over to take our order, her first question is "did we book?", I apologised and said we didn't know we had to, any chance you could fit us in. She asked us whether we had spoken to anyone in the cafe. I answered "No". Off she trots to the kitchen and is back two minutes later. "Sorry, we cant serve you any food, we are really busy". She then went on to say that they served restaurant quality food without the restaurant prices. Plus she explained we are recommended by word of mouth and mainly locals come here and being a special weekend they were fully booked.

Fair enough didn't book , will know for next time. I had checked the website which did not say anything about booking or it being a special weekend. Plus it really does not look the sort of place you need to book.

At this point I was expecting to have a drink and cake order taken. Sadly, no that was it, having said she wouldn't serve us food, it was apparently time to leave.

I was left wondering whether we were just not her type, perhaps not local enough for her. Either way I have not been treated so badly in a long time. Given that you can only get to this place by car and we were not even offered a drink to say I was annoyed is an understatement. I am still fuming 4 days later as I write this.

Of course the food may be very good and it is a lovely place but based on the welcome we had on our first visit we will not be going back. Shame as I would have liked to buy some of the home grown vegetables, I really liked the look of the garlic.

So congratulations Worton Organic Garden Cafe, your poor customer service has lost you some business and I will happily never recommend you to my friends.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Even the well educated lie sometimes

'Lying Doctor' (BBC news)

I am starting a new research project. Basically it is about people that lie during the recruitment process.

This has all started because after years of interviewing I have finalised realised that the elephant in the room is that people lie and can trick the interviewers.

As evidence I shall offer the following. Recently I have interviewed some people who always tell the honest truth (basically cannot lie), I have asked a simple question where the answer is obvious to any reasonable individual, it asks you what you would do in the situation. There is a text book / right interview answer but in real life there is probably some considerations and thoughts before you do the right thing. The people I interview give me the answer as it runs through their brain not the definitive / decisive answer they should be giving in a formal interview situation.

They are being brutally honest in a way. To quote another well used scenario if given the choice of taking an action that kills one person or 100 people you should say you would kill the one and save the many. Now the people I have been interviewing cant actually lie (or are totally honest depending on your point of view), so they talk about the difficulties they would have in making the decision etc.

However, if you really wanted the job (knowing that the situation probably wouldn't come up that often), you have done the research for the role, you know the answer to the question and regardless of your personal thoughts you would say "I would kill the one person and save the many". So at a very primitive level you have lied to get the job because faced with the decision in real life you have not stated what you would do.

Now pull that back into the mundane and what these candidates have shown me is that in all probability interviews reward good definitive liars. So if we could somehow spot or challenge potential liars then getting the right person into the right job would be easier.

More thoughts on this will follow. For now I am going to start clipping articles off the net and collecting them here on my blog.

First up, a Doctor that lied on his CV. Even those with brains who clearly understand the consequences will still take a big risk in being caught out.