03 March 2009

Speaking through the chair

I knew the world had finally gone mad when we took delivery of some new office chairs at work. The chairs came with a 24-page instruction manual, a tutorial CD-ROM, and a helpline number.

Chairs used to be straightforward things for sitting on. Or at least for parking coats and sweaters in student bedsits while everyone squatted on the floor instead. Or for throwing at each other at family weddings.

Anyway, the chair in our study packed in today. It had run out of gas. It couldn't be repaired, so we had to take it to the dump (right). It made BP's bike look enticingly like it was equipped with helicopter rotors.

Then it was off to Argos to get two new chairs. The store, that is, not the Greek city. We have actually cycled to Argos, Greece; it was quite a detour from our intended route to Athens, but how could we resist?

(I couldn't see why the chain store was named after it. The city didn't supply all its goods and services from an underground warehouse, it wasn't full of angry people taking their flatscreen TV back because they didn't like the programmes it was showing, and it didn't have a drunk in budget leisurewear at the entrance swigging from a can of Tennents and arguing with himself.)

Anyway, we then had to get the new chairs from Argos back home (right). It's amazing what you can transport with a rack and bungees. It would have been tricky to do it on a bus, horribly awkward on foot, and stressful by car, given the parking difficulties.

I'm not sure what passers-by of made of it, but they probably thought we had a pair of extremely large takeaway pizzas.

And we got them home easily and comfortably. Now all we have to do is wade through the manual, watch the tutorial DVD, and check out the chair's website, Flickr gallery, Facebook page and Twitter account...


  1. I similarly transported a framed casting of our baby's hands and feet, but not before I stopped at two bike shops to buy a bungee (the first one just sold bikes, not useful accessories) as the wool the shop had given me wasn't up to the task.

    I too felt like a pizza delivery boy.

  2. Wool?? Blimey. I've never tried knitting my luggage to the rack. Hope you got the casting back in one piece - otherwise you'd have to wait until he/she becomes a famous enough film star to earn pavements handprints...

  3. Knit one, cast one....

  4. Purl (you're thinking of Itzhak Perlman again)

  5. Er, it's a joke: Perl 2 was the second incarnation of the programming language, released in 1988, which had an improved regular expression engine compared to version 1. Perl 6 is due for release shortly.

    To anyone who earned a living in an office full of PCs, with the inevitable shelves of manuals on the occult arts of HTML and programming, Perl is familiar as the subject of books which had a camel on the cover.

    These jokes are intricately crafted, you know.

  6. Thankfully the wool did the job for the half mile or so to the bike shop, and the casting did indeed get back in one piece :)

    Ah - Perl. A useful language...

  7. New Scientist recently ran the story of a bloke being interviewed from a programming job, which illustrates the off-kilter mindset of many techies.

    The company had several branches, and the interview thought the candidate may be more suited for a post in a different branch.

    "How would feel about programming in Croydon?", asks the interviewer.

    "Well...", squirms the candidate, "I'm afraid I'm not really familiar with that language, but I'm sure I could pick it up..."

  8. That's a funny, but not unsurprising, tale :)

  9. Whoosh.... (over my head). But I was joking too about Perlman.