The BOFH Christmas Spirit


  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Episode 26

BOFH 2002: Episode 26

BOFH logo So with Xmas looming large on the scanners, we just HAVE to have a departmental meeting to cover all of the pending issues.


"Right," The Head of IT starts cheerily. "While it's fairly late in the piece, I thought I'd call you together to go over our Xmas plans."

"I'm off to the coast with that lovely young woman from accounts receivable!" I blurt - but mainly just to brag.

"NOT those sort of plans - company plans," the Head counters snappily. "Okay, first item on the agenda, Xmas Social event!"

"Hear Hear!" The PFY cries - having been getting into the 'spirit' of Christmas since around nine this morning when he slipped off to the stationery cupboard with one of the PR temps and four bottles of cheap plonk.

"Yes" The Head continues, much less animated. And after last year's debacle, we.."

"Debacle?!" The PFY blurts. "That was great!"

The Head ignores him, suppressing a shudder at the havoc that was wreaked by a single flagon of tape head cleaning fluid in the non-alcoholic punch.

"AFTER LAST YEAR, WE PUT THE EVENT TYPE TO THE VOTE, and the most votes were cast for the Indian Restaurant in Brick Lane. 143 votes in fact!"

"Popular place," I comment.

"143 votes from a total of 29 staff...." he remarks pointedly.

"VERRRY popular indeed," The PFY slurs happily.

"Be that as it may, you've made your decision, so we'll be heading there tonight, 7pm."

"CURRY!" The PFY burbles happily.

"Now," The Head continues, preferring to ignore The PFY. "Next item on the agenda: cover over the break. We'll be needing people available to be called in, should any critical system fail."

The Boss makes a point of looking my way for some reason, so I feel obliged to chip into the conversation from my logistical sandtrap.

"So just the usual compensation then - Triple time, three hour minimum callout, meal and travel allowance, plus Time-in-Lieu?"

"Double time for work and travel time, no minimum, meal, travel allowance nor TIL," the Head counter-offers.

"Ah well," I respond. "I probably can't make it - Death in the Family."


"Well Christmas, you know, big family reunions and all that. Something's bound to happen once we crack the keg of meths..."

"...yyyyeeeess, Right... And you believe that triple time, etc, would prevent this happening... er ... how?"

"Increased goodwill. I'd be happier, they'd be happier, much less chance of a ... tragedy"

"I see. Well, as it's a contingency plan only, I suppose that we could agree to your requests just this once."

"Excellent," I cry, making a note in my diary to crash the site web server every day over the break and configure the console system to automatically restart it in a manner suggesting human intervention.

"HOWEVER, I think we'd better clearly define what our CRITICAL systems are," he continues, not as stupid as he looks.

"Email," one No-Life from the Helldesk mumbles, looking up from his PDA. "We need to be able to keep in touch on email..."

"Okay, EMAIL - anything else?"

"Financials Server - so people get paid over the break?" I suggest.

"Right!" The Head agrees, scribbling away furiously.

"Web Server so the real world knows we're still in business?"


"Unreal Tournament Server," The PFY slurs.

"Uhnn - what does that do?"

"Uh, It's the machine that uses a simulation of real world to determine network connectivity and lag," I respond.

"Right, any others?"

No-one stirs...

Before we can get onto the really exciting agenda items like the message in the (extremely late) corporate Christmas cards or personal letters from the CEO, both The PFY's and my pagers go off.

"If you'd excuse us," I blurt, getting up from the table. "Looks like we may have a bit of a problem."

... Downstairs, two minutes later...

"Okay!" The PFY bubbles as we ferret through the mail cart (in response to the mail delivery page). "What are we looking for this time?"

"Any parcel shaped like a bottle, any package which is well wrapped and/or addressed to The Boss or the Head of IT. Double word score if it's got a vendor's name and/or ribbon on it. They always leave it to the last minute to send the really good stuff..."

...Four Parcels later...

"Ok, it feels to be like we've got one whiskey and some wine, so I'll clip the parcel open while you get the substitute bottles of watered-down cheap Turkish drain cleaner."

.. Four switcheroos and several hours later, in Brick Lane...

"..and as a token of my appreciation, I've decided to donate these bottles of Turkish.. ..wine to the table," The Boss burbles happily, having sniffed the cap of one of the aforementioned fermented grape disasters...

"A couple of kingfishers for me," I tell the waiter, moments later, "and I think my assistant will have the same. And we'll have that special order now please.."

[The next day]

"So it's just us then?" The PFY murmurs, looking around the department at the vacant offices.

"No, no, The Boss made it in," I respond, "but he just popped off to the toilet about 20 minutes ago. And again two minutes after that. And again two minutes after that. If you listen very carefully you can still hear him weeping. And 26 sick leave notifications. An epidemic!"
"What are we going to do?" The PFY gasps.

"Apart from waiting for the mailbag? And a quick game or ten of UT?"


"Well there's those 27 uncollected Christmas Bonuses...."

"Of course!" ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story


Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.