Pucking neighbours

My foreign student neighbours like to watch TV and play computer games VERY LOUDLY late at night. Often it's so late that it's more like early morning.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

-- Hunter S Thompson

I’ve had this super-mutating-come-back-and-get-you-over-and-over-again flu that’s been doing the rounds. I’ve lost a chunk of working days over the last three weeks and now I feel very stressed. Thank goodness for pseudoephedrine – it’s helping me to think and work very fast although it does make me a bit jumpy and weird. Never mind. On with the show …

My foreign student neighbours like to watch TV and play computer games VERY LOUDLY late at night. Often it’s so late that it’s more like early morning. We have rules in our neigbourhood about doing this kind of thing after 11pm and before 7am, but by the time I wake up and realise what’s happening and work out that it isn’t going to stop and then phone the manager to complain and then he drags himself out of bed and tells them to shut up, it’s well and truly buggered up my night’s sleep. They seem to be incapable of learning that between 11pm and 7am is quiet time. Their parents send them here to learn. I think they’re wasting their money.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against foreign students, TV or computer games, but it’s amazing what sleep deprivation (and over-the-counter flu medication) can do to a normally mild-mannered IT professional. In my current weird and crazed state I have concocted what seems like the perfect revenge. Oops, did I say revenge? I meant solution …

I’ve been having a lot of Michael Douglas/Falling Down type dreams lately. Fortunately, this isn’t America and I don’t have a bunch of guns at my disposal. Maybe if I did the little buggers would have a bit more consideration.

What my neighbours don’t know, however, is that I have an extensive supply of hockey equipment in my garage. A hockey puck is a hard rubber disk that is exactly one inch thick, three inches across and weighs six ounces. Expert players can, using a technique known as the “slap-shot”, propel pucks at the target of their choice at speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour. You can see where this is leading, can’t you?

This Saturday morning at 7am I’m going to open up my garage, line up a bunch of pucks across the opening and work on perfecting my slap-shot using my neighbours’ garage door as my target. I think that with, say, a couple of hours’ practice a day I’d get really good in a month or two.

I spent a substantial chunk of the other day chasing a contractor around by phone. We needed this guy to do a 15-minute job at a remote site (like, in another city). The onsite users had already spent a day and a half leaving messages on this guy’s cellphone. I got involved when their stress levels went off the scale. After a day of me jumping up and down and even calling the software maker for whom this character is a reseller, he finally rolls into the office at 4:30 in the afternoon. No apology. No excuse. Bad Form. He STILL hasn’t called me to explain exactly why it is we should continue to use him. Very Bad Form. Fool. I’m going to find out where he lives. You can never spend too much time practising your shot …

Swanson is IT manager at W Stevenson & Sons in South Auckland. Send letters for publication to Computerworld Letters.

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