Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Bridge, the City, and Me.

Len’s challenge: write about stupidity you’ve encountered in government or business
This is based on actual events. I was indeed pursued in error three times by Auckland City over an incident on Grafton Bridge. My response described here however, is leavened by a good deal of artistic license
.

~~

 

Traffic Infringement Bureau,
Private Bag 1022, Symonds Street,
Auckland 1011

 Mr Gregory Berendson,
64 Roanoake Street,
Te Atatu North,
Auckland 0644

Dear Mr Berendson,

Traffic Infringement Number 10440902.

A 1995 Nissan Skyline registration VX1097, registered to you, was photographed driving on Grafton bridge at 3.43pm on Friday 6 February 2009. This is an offence under the Auckland Transport Act 2006, as Grafton Bridge is designated as a pedestrian and busway only.

This offence carries a fine of $150. You have 28 days to make payment.

If were not the driver, or if you wish to contest this notice or request a copy of the photographic evidence, you may contact the Traffic Infringement Bureau on 09 367 1010, or visit auckland.govt.nz/infringements and complete the web form.

Otherwise, payment may be made at any branch of the Westpac bank.

Sincerely,
John Smith
Infringements Officer.

~~

From: Pat Moore (patfm@swing.net.nz)
To: trafficenforcement@auckland.govt.nz
Subject: TIN10440902

Dear Mr Smith,

Please be advised that Mr Berendson has not lived at 64 Roanoake Street for over two years. His forwarding address is 27 Tutanekai Ave, New Lynn, Auckland 4141.

Could you please update your records.

With kind regards,
Pat Moore.

~~

Traffic Infringement Bureau,
Private Bag 1022, Symonds Street,
Auckland 1011

 Mr Pat Moore,
64 Roanoake Street,
Te Atatu North,
Auckland 0644

Dear Mr Moore,

Traffic Infringement Number 10440902.

A 1995 Nissan Skyline registration VX1097, registered to you, was photographed driving on Grafton bridge at 3.43pm on Friday 6 February 2009. This is an offence under the Auckland Transport Act 2006, as Grafton Bridge is designated as a pedestrian and busway only.

This is the second notice of the offence. It carries a fine of $150. You now have 20 days to make payment. If you wish to request a copy of the photographic evidence, you may contact the Traffic Infringement Bureau on 09 367 1010.

Sincerely,
Albert Jones
Senior Infringements Officer.

~~

From: Pat Moore (patfm@swing.net.nz)
To: trafficenforcement@auckland.govt.nz
Subject: FW: TIN10440902

Dear Mr Jones.

With regards to the above, there seems to be some confusion. If you check your records, you will see that the owner of the Nissan in question is Mr Gregory Berendson. I contacted you to advise his correct address, and all you have done is change his name to mine.

Please update your records correctly this time, and stop bothering me.

With regards,
Pat Moore.

~~

From: trafficenforcement@auckland.govt.nz
To: Pat Moore
Subject: FW: RE: TIN10440902

Dear Mr Moore,

Could you please advise the registration details for your car, so we may keep our records correct and bring this matter to a close.

Thanks and regards,
Albert Jones.

~~

From: Pat Moore (patfm@swing.net.nz)
To: trafficenforcement@auckland.govt.nz
Subject: RE: FW: RE: TIN10440902

I fail to see how my car registration is relevant to this conversation, however I drive a 1992 Toyota Corolla, registration RS3461.

Regards,
Pat Moore.

~~

Traffic Infringement Bureau,
Private Bag 1022, Symonds Street,
Auckland 1011

 Mr Pat Moore,

64 Roanoake Street,
Te Atatu North,
Auckland 0644

Dear Mr Moore,

Traffic Infringement Number 10440902.

A 1992 Toyota Corolla registration RS3461, registered to you, was photographed driving on Grafton bridge at 3.43pm on Friday 6 February 2009. This is an offence under the Auckland Transport Act 2006, as Grafton Bridge is designated as a pedestrian and busway only.

This is the third notice of the offence. It carries a fine of $150. You now have 12 days to make payment. If you wish to request a copy of the photographic evidence, you may contact the Traffic Infringement Bureau on 09 367 1010.

Sincerely,

Gordon Grant

Chief Infringements Officer.

~~

From: Pat Moore (patfm@swing.net.nz)
To: trafficenforcement@auckland.govt.nz
Subject: TIN10440902

Dear Mr Grant,

Are you kidding me? Just send me a copy of the goddamned photo.

With no regards at all,

Pat Moore.

~~

Traffic Infringement Bureau,
Private Bag 1022, Symonds Street,
Auckland 1011

 Mr Pat Moore,
64 Roanoake Street,
Te Atatu North,
Auckland 0644

Dear Mr Moore,

Traffic Infringement Number 10440902.

Please find enclosed a copy of the photo, as requested. As you will see, our records are quite clear that you were driving on Grafton Bridge at 3.43pm on Friday 6 February 2009.

This is the fourth and final notice of this offence. It carries a fine of $150. You now have eight days to make payment.

Sincerely,
Gordon Grant
Chief Infringements Officer.

~~

Mr Pat Moore,
64 Roanoake Street,
Te Atatu North,
Auckland 0644

Mr Gordon Grant,
Traffic Infringement Bureau,
Private Bag 1022, Symonds Street,
Auckland 1011.

Dear Mr Grant,

Traffic Infringement Number 10440902.

Please refer to the many communications between us thus far. You will find them attached. Go on, take a moment and look. I’ll wait.

Have you finished? Good. Because I don’t care what your records show, Mr Grant. I was nowhere near Grafton Bridge at 3.43pm on Friday 6 February 2009. Do you want to know why? Because I was actually at your house, in bed with your wife.

I didn’t want to be in bed with your wife, but I had no choice. You see, her records stated that I was supposed to be in bed with her at that time, and she had the correct form, in triplicate, notarised and signed. You know how it is, Mr Grant. You can’t argue with the paperwork, so there I was.

Apropos of that please excuse the handcuff marks on your bed frame, and you really should look at fixing that chipped paint on the bedroom ceiling.

I have been advised by your wife that her records show we are due for a follow-up appointment next Thursday. If you require a copy of the photographic evidence, please contact me on my email address and I will be happy to oblige.

Alternatively, perhaps you could take five minutes to review the events that have led us to this point, finally and correctly adjust your records, and get the hell out of my life. Your Traffic Infringement team are a bunch of soulless bureaucrats who make a conference of Chartered Accountants look like a flat-full of Scarfies during capping week. **

~~

Traffic Infringement Bureau,
Private Bag 1022, Symonds Street,
Auckland 1011

 Mr Pat Moore,
64 Roanoake Street,
Te Atatu North,
Auckland 0644

Dear Mr Moore,

Traffic Infringement Number 10440902.

With regards to your previous communications, we are pleased to advise you that this matter has been reviewed, and we will no longer be pursuing you for this payment.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Sincerely,
Gordon Grant
Chief Infringements Officer.

P.S. On a personal note, my wife says you were a lousy lay.

 

** for non Enzed readers, instead of  the scarfies reference please read ” a frat house on spring break.”
Cheers

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Death By Tech

I started this as an entry into Greg’s MWE prompt about the clash between man and machine. Now, nearly two months later, I am completing it for his prompt about workplace stories. I may be slow, but at least I’m adaptable.

I have worked with computers and users for over two decades now, and am fully familiar with the terms PEBKAC and ID10T. This is easy to understand: users are physically and rationally imprecise, they are emotional and they have brains that run the fuzziest of fuzzy logic. Computers on the other hand are smaller, harder-edged and far more consistent. They are also just machines. So when a user appears at my desk to complain about how their little bit of plastic and metal is bent on sabotaging their day, I remind them that in that particular battle of wills, their antagonist has no more sentience than a Rubik’s cube.

Users. To us technical helpdesk staffers that word is both a noun and an epithet.

But one day changed all that. That day I found myself engaged in just such a battle, and thinking just like a user, in what I call The Case of the Suicidal Computer.

The computer in question belonged to Bob in Accounts. Bob in Accounts was one of my worst users. If dealing with users can be compared to Dante’s Inferno — and I believe it can — then Bob is right down there in the seventh circle with the violent and the blasphemers. He is the sort who can break a computer just by looking at it. As a result Bob had been issued with one of the oldest computers we have and he was only a couple of sins away from getting it replaced with a pen and paper.

One day I got a call from Bob. “My damn computer’s broke.”

“What is wrong with it?”

“I dunno. It’s broke.” And that was all the information I was going to get.

I made my way to his desk. Sure enough the screen was frozen solid and nothing short of a reboot was going to get it moving again. I could see the smeared imprints of Bob’s attempts at repair on the monitor and case.

“Damn thing’s done that to me three times already this morning!” Bob spat, jabbing at the keyboard.
There was no fixing it there, so I brought him a spare and took his one back to my desk.

I rebooted. I reset. I reconfigured. I uninstalled and reinstalled. I measured everything that could be measured and replaced everything that could be replaced. I also cleaned everything that could be cleaned and a few things that shouldn’t. I consulted user manuals. I consulted colleagues. I consulted FAQs. In short, I tried everything I knew.

I also swore. Copiously. Longer and louder and harder with every failed attempt. By mid-afternoon I had a lexicon that would make a sailor blush.

For its part it responded by wheezing, whining, bluescreening and stuttering. It froze up faster than my wife when I tell her I’m working over the weekend. For every problem fixed, a new one appeared. Then, just before it jammed for the fifteenth time, and as I stared at the hyperlink icon — you know the one, that little hand with the pointing finger — the monitor flickered, and I swear it flipped me the bird.

I ground the power button into the panel with my thumb, and as I did so it gave a tiny mechanical chuckle as it wound down into silence.

And that little sound made me take a step back and think. It was time perhaps, to listen to Bob’s computer rather than fight it.

Even Bob was not capable of screwing things up this badly. Too many things were broken too completely. So it dawned on me: this computer, this little box of plastic and metal, knew that repair meant being returned to Bob. It had endured months under his gentle care and was adamant never to return. So it was fighting me to the bitter end. It had contemplated life with Bob or suicide by tech, and had decided that death was the better option.

So I decided to grant it this last request. I owed it that much. The spare computer would meet all of Bob’s needs without rewarding his incompetence, so I filled in the requisite forms to retire his old one from service, solemnly took it out to the car park, and smashed it with a sledgehammer.

Been a while

Gidday.

It’s been a while.

I am, yet again, guilty of neglecting this page. Life has been getting in the way again.

Jobwise, I picked up a short-term gig which has just finished and, thankful as I am for the money, it was pretty full-on, with little time for family and fun. Not that I am making any excuses. I’m not here to moan, and you’re not hear to read about it.

Anyway, I still don’t have any fresh material, and combine that with the fact that Gather is now properly dead — I don’t know what that Gather golem of Kitara Media is about — I figured I would re-post a couple of older items from there, here. So, to follow will be Death By Tech, and The Bridge, the City, and Me.

Yeah, a cheat. I know. Whatever. At least it feels like progress. And I’m happy with that for now.

Cheers.