2005-10-20: Multiple choice

Q1. It is Lance's first day of work. He

  1. Sleeps in and goes shopping with his wife in the morning.
  2. Gets lost on the way to the office.
  3. Has no money to buy a ticket to get to work.
  4. Decides that he really wants to be forever unemployed.

The answer is A: I was called the night before and told not to get in contact with work till midday Monday morning because they were moving into the office still. But then in the morning another of my workmates calls me and asks where I am, and stating he'd like to see me in the office some time today because he is off on holidays from the following day. So I caught the train in later and got picked up from the station. (Mind you C was pretty close, getting to work cost me £43 that day). The answer D is out of the question, unemployment gets to expensive and too boring after a fortnight.

Q2. Lance goes to work the second day. He

  1. Gets caught in a light dusting of snow.
  2. Misses the train that he needs.
  3. Arrives an hour before anyone else and has no keys to get in.
  4. Sits at a desk with no computer.

The answer is C: I got my nice and early train (the 7am) and then walked in to work (25 minutes, much cheaper than £5 for a taxi ride), getting in at 8:20am. Then no-one arrives till about 9:30am, by which time I'd been sitting on the doorstep for an hour. I was given a set of keys. Since the second day I have always been the first in to work. Even now when I'm trying to get in later. The answer D was almost correct, but I did have a computer. It was the only computer in the office.

Q3. Lance wants to have a travel card to reduce train costs. He:

  1. Needs to submit to finger print and iris scanning.
  2. Needs passport photos he doesn't have and can't get.
  3. Needs to swear an oath to the queen.
  4. Needs to pay over £300 for the privilege of saving money on train trips.

The answer is B: I was told I needed a passport photo to get a season travel card. But I have no photo and there is no photo booth around, nor are any open when I'm around (too early and too late). So I have to burn an image on to a disc and send Edyta off to get one printed. That is a drama in itself, it seems hard to find a photo printing place in Swindon (round-a-bouts are easy, photo's aren't). Then I finally get my card and expected to be able to recover the £120 I'd already spent that week only to find out that when I was told the ticket would be refunded that they meant only the days ticket, not any previous days ticket. Since then my train trips have costs 92 pounds a week, better than the £43 a day.

Q4. During his first week of work Lance is responsible for:

  1. Answering the phone.
  2. Writing code that is likely to not be used.
  3. Dealing with the old ladies downstairs.
  4. Performing unauthorised searches on people passing the office.

The answer is B. I'd been given one task in my brief summary of how everything works. The I spent the week rehashing that to death. The other guy I worked with was flat out trying to get a demo working in Malaysia and I didn't want to disturb him. That left me sitting around doing sweet FA most of the week. It has continued this was too, so far for 3 weeks I haven't added anything to the system. As for the old ladies I haven't had to deal with them. They are from some out-sourced union division. That means they are territorial. So territorial in fact that with the first three days of us arriving the cups, glasses, cutlery, microwave, toilet paper and even the fridge all disappeared out of the shared kitchen/toilets into their office downstairs. And we had no phone (the phone only arrived today).

Q5. The weekend finally arrives. Lance and Edyta decide to travel to Cheltenham Spa (home of the horse race track and a place where King George II came to drink some water from a well). At the city they find:

  1. A Games Workshop store.
  2. An old roman colesium that still sees active blood sport.
  3. A store they hadn't seen before.
  4. A statue of a minotaur with a huge donger and a companion rabbit with the place to insert it.

The answer, oddly enough, is D. This was some art that they had funded in the town (Cheltenham likes to be both cultural and gambling oriented - the writers festival was on while we were there). The statue lies in the middle of one of the towns' malls. The rest of the place was mostly just shops. There was no Games Workshop but there was a toy store that stocked goods. I looked at the GW stuff while Edyta pressed the button on every noise making childs toy in the store. We visited the Spa that made the town famous and drank some of the water. I should have remembered the taste of the water at Bath Spa. I don't know what encouraged the olden day people to drink this water, it is foul over-salted stuff. It was 6 months since we had been married that night so we treated ourselves to dinner out that night. We still went to a two for one place though to save money.

The minotaur with the big donga

A Games Workshop stockists, Cheltenham

The acutal spa of Cheltenham Spa

Q6. The second week of work begins. Lance has now perfected the mode of transport to work by:

  1. Walking, no matter what the weather, and hoping to catch a lift back at the end of the day.
  2. Hitching a ride either way.
  3. Riding a scooter that he carries with him on the train.
  4. Buying a really crappy car that wasn't worth the money; and finding he still has to walk to work.

The answer is A. Walk, walk, walk. That is all I do. Thankfully there is a sidewalk most of the way. There is only a little bit of road that I share with the traffic (about 500 metres or so). I've walked in the rain, and in fog so thick I can't see 10 metres in front of me and weather that feels more like a summer day (at least after I've been walking for twenty minutes all very rugged up and sweaty). I have seriously thought about the scooter and was even looking for one over the last weekend. I would love a car but couldn't afford that. I think soon I'll get a bike and just leave it at Twyford train station.

Q7. Lance needs Internet access at work. He

  1. Gives up on the ludicrous idea of having internet at an IT workplace.
  2. Goes to the office downstairs and uses their internet connection.
  3. Relies on using a telephone and calling people, the old fashion way.
  4. Finally has a somewhat stable connection on a working network by late Friday.

The answer is D. Someone else in the office had to use B during the week, but as I still didn't really have any new tasks to do I didn't need to look up anything on the net. It is amusing that my first two weeks of work were mostly about seeing if I'd have a working office by the end of each day. Even now we still don't have a fully stable system, but it is better than nothing. And today we finally got a phone handset. One of the bosses wants to get a VoIP system running of an open-source software called Asterix that only runs on Linux. So we haven't got a phone on our desks yet because that will need to be set up.

Q8. The next weekend of work arrives. Lance and Edyta decide to go to

  1. The big roundabout in Swindon (the one with five little roundabouts about a big central roundabout).
  2. To Australia.
  3. Camping on the shores of Loch Ness hoping to catch some Nessy so we don't have to buy any meat for the week.
  4. Chippenham.

The answer is D. It was the closest and cheapest (the roundabout was actually both, but that gets boring quickly). Not much there, just an old church (an ABC has Simo told me on the phone, or 'Another Bloody Church'). There was a shopping centre of limited shopping potential. There was a market for childrens toys but by the time Edyta and I got there they were closing. I almost had to drag Edyta out as she refused to go until she had fondled all the toys and found a good bargain. At the end of the day I went running down from the train station to a burger bar and back again with something for Edyta to eat. We had just missed our first train and had to sit an hour for the next train. Twenty minutes to go I went to get the burger only to find they cook it the old - and slow - way, so I had to run back to deliver the food and catch the train. B has moved up a little sooner too.

Q9. For the weekend coming up Lance and Edyta's plan is to:

  1. Mug passerbys to get some spare change to afford my trips to work.
  2. Invent a teleporter to avoid travel time and costs.
  3. Move to Reading in a new flat.
  4. Plan on squatting in an empty house in Twyford.

The answer is C. We are breaking our Swindon lease two months in and moving to a more expensive place in reading. By doing so we hope to cut down on the £400 a month travel fee. However we are stuck with a £550 a month rent for another 4 months or until the land lord finds another tenant (even is she trying for us, of which we have no evidence yet). I'm hoping this may cut down on the travel time, but as I will now have to take a bus and a train instead of a train and a train, and I'll be walking from the Twyford end anyway I don't see any time improvements in the short term.