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It’s Official – All Country Music is the Same

3 Feb

Well, an awful lot of it is anyway, as brilliantly illustrated by today’s recipient of a platinum performance bonus, Sir Mashalot. But before we get to him and his remarkable video, let’s take a trip in a battered pick-up truck down memory lane.

The year is 1990, or it might have been 1991, and the place is the Sandy Ridge Bar & Grill in Hickory, North Carolina. I used to hang out there quite often in those days, although I always seemed to miss the nights folks got shot. There was a jukebox in the corner and the song that me and my friends listened to most is You Never Even Called Me by My Name by David Allen Coe. Towards the end of the song, Mr. Coe takes a break from singing to tell a little story of how the writer of the song, Steve Goodman, told him that he reckoned that he had written the perfect country and western song. Coe wrote back to him that no, it wasn’t the perfect country and western song because it didn’t say anything at all about momma, or trains or trucks or prison or getting drunk. Goodman replied with the last verse to the song, which you can find at minute 3:05 in the video.

In case you can’t be bothered to listen that far, here’s the verse:

Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in my pick-up truck
She got run over by a damned old train

A while later I learned that David Allen Coe was coming to play in Hickory. This was pretty big news, because nobody ever came to play in Hickory. So I snapped up a ticket and turned up at Yesterday’s night club for the evening’s entertainment. It started late and turned out to be more of a brawl than a concert. Coe appeared to be drunk or stoned and had a hard time making it to the end of a song. This being my first time at an event of this type, I thought perhaps this was how country and western concerts were supposed to be. The rest of the audience seemed to share my patience for the most part, perhaps hoping that he might sober up before the end of the evening. However, at last one guy had had enough – or maybe he had an appointment or had just got a call that his wife was about to give birth. Whatever the reason, he rose to leave, leading the incensed balladeer to leap from the stage, displaying surprising agility for one so obese, intoxicated and heavily medallioned, and proceed to administer his own unique brand of response to customer feedback. Or at least he would have, were it not for the intervention of the security guards. This brought the evening’s proceedings to a close.

It is worth noting here that Coe’s other hit was a little number entitled If That Ain’t Country, I’ll Kiss Your Ass, so perhaps the offending spectator had conveyed, whether through body language or maybe an ironically arched eyebrow, that in his opinion, Mr. Coe was not country and the latter was merely attempting to deliver on his promise. If so, I would have to strongly disagree. I have seldom witnessed anything before or since as country as Mr. Coe.

Yesterday’s and the Sandy Ridge Bar are long gone, the latter forced to close by one too many shootings, but the fond memories remain.

But back to Sir Mashalot. Remember him, he’s the one getting the performance bonus for his proof that, unlike in the good old days of David Allen Coe and the Sandy Ridge Bar and Grill, all country songs these days are so formulaicly interchangeable as to actually be the same song, right down to the guitar solos. I’m going to let this amazing Youtube video do the talking.

If that is country, I’ll kiss your ass.



The Broadway Hotel Approach to Bad Reviews

21 Nov

It’s a well deserved performance bonus to the management of the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool for their outside the box thinking on dealing with bad reviews on Trip Advisor.

According to the BBC, the small print in their booking form contains the following innovative wording:
“Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not.
“For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review.”

A glance at the hotel’s page at Trip Advisor affords a glimpse of how the hotel is viewed by travelers. ““Fawlty Towers it’s not – at least that looked clean” is one of the less derogatory comments. The words “filthy,” “disgusting” and “hotel inspector” pop out from the page.

Two of these travelers were Tony and Jan Jenkinson, whose forthright description of the hotel began by calling it a “filthy, dirty rotten stinking hovel run by muppets” and concluded with the observation, “If you are offered this place to stay for a fortnight for 10p, you are being robbed!!” Tony and Jan were rewarded for their diligence in warning fellow travelers with an unexpected charge of £100 on their credit card bill, on top of the £36 that their one night stay cost (I think most stays are one night).

Oh, Tony and Jan – why didn’t you read the small print?

Outside the box thinking

When asked about this unusual policy, a tongue-in-cheek John Greenbank, North Trading Standards Area Manager, said it was a “novel” way to prevent bad reviews. But I think Mr. Greenbank has got it all wrong. At £100 per bad review, why on earth would the Broadway Hotel’s owners wish to prevent them? Under this ingenious business plan, the more bad reviews they get, the more their profits soar. This is exactly the kind of outside the box thinking that British business so often lacks. As I write this there are 146 “Terrible” reviews on Trip Advisor. That’s £14,600. That’s not to mention the 24 “Poor” reviews for which, I think we can agree, management would be entirely justified in charging at least eighty quid each.

What’s good for the Broadway, however, is not so good for others. It is a feature of Trip Advisor that, when you select a particular hotel, a new window opens with the title “Similar hotels.” My heart goes out to the Kings Hotel, the By the Beach Hotel and the intriguingly named Sinatra’s Hotel, all of which popped up in this window of shame. Given their generally positive reviews, they do not deserve such ignominy.

My New Review Policy

All of this gives me an idea. Taking a leaf out of the Broadway Hotel’s check-in register, I intend to implement a similar policy to squash unwelcome and unflattering reviews of my books. The following policy will be displayed prominently on this website and printed in the books.

“Despite the fact that my wife quite liked my book and my mother said she supposed it was alright, if you liked that kind of thing, you and other tasteless bozos like you may not like it. For every bad review left on any website the reviewer will be charged a maximum of £100 or $156 per review.”

It is a source of great regret that I can’t think of a way to apply the policy retrospectively to people like “Emily” who started her Amazon review of The Rise and Fall of T. John Dick with disarming frankness by stating, “I hated this book,” and proceeded to give it one star, despite adding that the author was “a strong writer” and it was in fact the main character that she didn’t like. Those are pretty words, Ms. Henlein, but you still gave it one star. That will be $156 please. No, just a minute – you also posted the review to Goodreads and Library Thing. That will be $468 altogether. A check will be fine, thanks. Contact me for my mailing address.

A year or so ago, I told readers about Haziq, the fourteen year old boy in Malaysia who awarded one star to The Management Secrets of T. John Dick at Goodreads. The experience of reading my book appears to have soured him on the whole reading thing, so that one year on, this is still the only book he has ever read. Time to stump up, Haziq, and yes we accept Malaysian ringgits.

Of course, it won’t be as easy to implement this policy as it was for the Broadway. Except for those who purchase from this website, I don’t actually have access to credit card data. However, I am working on an email to Amazon right now. I’m sure they will be interested in this new revenue stream, from which they will demand a hefty cut.

And you can rest assured that, in order to make the most of this exciting new income opportunity, I will be careful to ensure that any books I write in the future will be even worse than those I have produced to date. Are you ready, Emily?


A note to anyone completely lacking a sense of humor. First, what a nice surprise to see you here! Second, I am not serious, I will not really charge you for a bad review. I feel it is important to make this clear to you as you belong to the group of readers most likely to leave such a review.

Vote for Augustus Gump for the FIFA Executive Committee

26 Sep

A performance bonus to UEFA president Michel Platini, who is refusing to return the $25,000 watch he received from the Brazilian Football Association at this year’s World Cup. To be fair, Mr. Platini was not the only one to receive the lavish gift in a goodie bag left for him in his hotel room. Other recipients included 32 heads of football associations, 28 members of FIFA’s executive committee and 5 other members of South American associations. But what has earned Mr. Platini his performance bonus is this quote.

“We receive many watches, just like journalists – you receive many watches. Just like the associations receive watches. Yes, yes, you receive watches occasionally. Every now and again, you do receive watches.”

Some might claim to detect behind the eloquence of this statement a suggestion of just how detached the bloated plutocrats running football are from the realities of the game and indeed the world, but I would contend that Michel has hit on a universal truth. Every now and again you do receive watches, I myself received one only last year for my birthday, and I am jolly glad that it didn’t come with an envelope containing $24,975, which would have left me open to allegations that my family was trying to buy influence with me.

Before that, I received a watch from my grandmother in or around 1983. I don’t know how much it was worth, but it had great sentimental value until I lost it in 1984. Since then, I have been terrified of wearing anything of value on my wrist. The current $25 beauty, which replaced a $5 model bought at a market in France that actually stopped working while I was still at the stall, is easily the most expensive I have had in thirty years.

Free Pies

Which leads me nicely to the point I am trying to make. In the interests of economy, I think that I should be appointed to the FIFA Executive Committee. Think of the savings on watches. According to the BBC, the budget for watches to give to delegates to the FIFA Congress in Sao Paolo in June was $140,000. If elected, I promise to trim that budget by 90% for the next congress. I have already picked out quite a nice model at Walmart. The savings could be passed on to fans in the form of free Bovril and pies.

If my proposal is rejected, I have an alternative suggestion. Great economies of scale could be achieved by standardizing on an official FIFA watch to be given to all delegates. It would include several FIFA-specific  features, such as an alarm to notify you when it is time to meet a man about a bribe, a built-in fan to keep you cool during the two minute walk from your limousine to your air-conditioned VIP box at the Qatar World Cup and a voice-activated dictionary containing useful phrases such as “in a plain brown envelope would be best, Ivan.”

Vote for Gump

So I am making a plea for your support. I know it’s a long shot. As someone who has actually played football (badly), knows a little about it  and has a deep love of the game, I am hardly FIFA Executive material, but please don’t let that stop you. Use the comment section below to indicate your support. If I can get even a couple of actual football fans behind me, I will already be more popular amongst those who care about the game than Sepp Blatter.

And that watch from my Granny that I lost in 1994 – it went missing at Old Trafford during this Manchester United vs Dundee United match in the European Cup Winners Cup. How many current FIFA Executive Committee members can say they lost one of their hundreds of watches in such honourable circumstances.


Now about that performance bonus for Michel Platini. What can we give him? How about a nice watch?

British Airways Executive Club and the $56,092 Hotel Room

31 Aug

Is this the worst website in the world? No, I don’t mean the one you are reading now – it’s brilliant – but rather the British Airways Executive Club website.

I have been a member of the BA Executive Club for many years, accumulating points through flights and especially through rewards for credit card purchases. I always intended to use these points, which they call “Avios,” to fly back to Scotland from the US for family visits but have never succeeded in doing so, not only because there are rarely seats available, but also because the fees that British Airways charges for reward flights (“fuel surcharge,” anyone?) make them almost as expensive as just buying a ticket on another airline. Finally, I gave up and decided to use the points for hotels instead. The good news is that hotels are available. The bad news is that you need to set aside a hefty chunk of time to book them on the Executive Club website.

Unbeatable Deals on Hotels – We will not be Oversold

Last week, I tried to book a hotel for my wife and daughter for two nights in Charleston, South Carolina. Sounds simple enough. Here’s what happened. You might want to pour yourself a drink and get comfortable.

First, just for interest’s sake, I decided to see what it would cost to book the room through the website, using money, rather than Avios points. Perhaps the prices would be discounted to the extent that I would be better to do this and save my points. I was presented with a choice of three hotels.

Hotel Choices


Initially I thought that this was maybe the price to buy the hotel, but it is in fact the price of a room for two nights.

Not wishing to appear a cheapskate, I decided to check out the Belmond Palace at $56,092. This took me to the next screen where I was offered the chance to pay $74,792 for the same Double Premium room, should I feel that I was taking advantage of the hotel by snapping it up for only $56,092. I was tempted. However, a quick check of recent book sales served to urge restraint, and I decided to use the Avios points instead.

Executive Club Room Choices


I settled on the Holiday Inn for 33,100 Avios and attempted to book it. First I was confronted by a message warning me that once I booked, I wouldn’t be able to change the booking, although I could cancel it for a fairly hefty fee. I decided that I could live with this and proceeded to enter the names of my wife and daughter. Everything seemed to be going well until this message appeared on the screen. The error message at the top is hard to read, but what it says, in rather peculiar English is “The names of the travellers verified must be EXACT matches with the names passed in the household profile.”

Executive Club Error Message


One of the features of the Executive Club is that, as well as an individual account, you have a “household account,” allowing you to pool miles earned by various members of your household. I checked and double checked that the names were entered exactly as they were passed in the household profile, but the website wasn’t to be persuaded. Annoying, but not to worry. I would just give them a call at the number shown on the page and tell them about the problem. But wait, if you look at the bottom right of the screenshot, you’ll see that there is no number, just the words “[phone number].” I eventually found the phone number for the Executive Club by opening another window and navigating to their “Contact Executive Club” page.

Executive Club Contact


Seeing that it was an 800 number, and since my mobile phone was in the other room, I decided to call it using skype on my computer. When I tried to do so, I found that I would apparently be calling a number in Finland…

Executive Club Skype


… so I went and got my mobile phone.

The Executive Club representative had an impeccable English accent for a Finn. I explained the situation and she offered to let me make the reservation by phone. This, unfortunately, would result in an extra charge. I explained that I didn’t want to do this and eventually she was able to identify the problem. I couldn’t reserve a room for my wife and daughter unless I was traveling with them. Apparently this was new and only applied to hotel rooms, not flights, and yes, it would be useful to have some mention of this on the website. I had to go out and log back in as my wife, making the reservation which, since she didn’t have enough miles, would actually still be paid for out of my miles. Simple!

Flights of Fancy

Buoyed by my success in making a hotel reservation in under two hours, I decided to check out flights to the UK around Christmas time. I entered dates of 18th December and 15th January.

Executive Club Flight Selection

As you can see below, the website decided that I really shouldn’t leave until 12th June 2015, although it was OK to return on January 15th 2015, five months earlier than I left. I double-checked that I had not listed Doctor Who in my household account.

Executive Club Flight Result


To add insult to injury, the website had not only changed my selected departure date to five months after my return, it had not even changed it to a date when they had any bloody seats available anyway!

I tried again with the same result. I changed the dates slightly and the website followed suit, changing the return date by a day or two. It would not, however, believe that I wanted to depart until five months after I had already returned.

A History of Weirdness

This is not the first time I have encountered the weirdness of the Executive Club website. On previous occasions, I have arrived at the final screen in the hotel reservation process only to find myself face to face with the spinning wheel of death as the page refuses to load, leaving me uncertain of whether I have reserved a room or not.

This summer, I tried to book a hotel in Rome for six nights. Unfortunately, only the first four nights were available. I booked those nights, thinking I would have to find somewhere else for the other two nights. But no, I was able to book those two nights at the same hotel. Six nights were available, just not if you wanted to book them all at once. I had fun explaining to the hotel why I had two bookings. Luckily they didn’t make me change rooms half way through my stay.

So I’m afraid it’s a written warning to the British Airways Executive Club website. Unless the whole purpose is to make it so difficult to redeem your points that you never do. In which case, I have no choice but to tip my hat to them and hand out a performance bonus.

Black Snake Eating a Copperhead

20 Jun

I am not a big fan of venomous snakes. In my twenty years in North Carolina, I have had numerous run-ins with the local copperheads, and have generally come out on top, except for the occasion when one of them bit our dog Maddie. She survived, but it was not a pleasant experience.

On the other hand, I have generally been happy to see black snakes around the place. Not only do these large but non-poisonous serpents control pests like rats and mice (personally I don’t mind mice or even rats too much), but they also devour their venomous cousins. Or so I was told. I had no definitive proof until last week, when my neighbour, Randy took this photograph in front of our house.

Black snake eats a copperhead

Déjeuner sur l’herbe

No wonder my proudly redneck neighbours have always advised me to leave black snakes alone. I took their advice to heart and, on the many occasions when I have come across a specimen of Elaphe Obsoleta, my practice has been to salute it with respect, wish it well and pass on, except when I have caught one of the rascals attempting to dine on the wren hatchlings in the nest in our garage or on our porch. Even then I don’t kill them. Instead, I attempt, with limited success, to wrestle with them using a broom handle.

My live-and-let-live relationship with black snakes has even extended to sharing my house with a couple of five-footers, whom I would hear slithering about in the attic as I lay in bed. They eventually had to go for their own good when we fixed the hole they were using to enter and leave the premises.

On another occasion I found myself sharing the front seat of my truck with a large black snake which had been minding its own business in the folds of a tarp I had taken from the garage. It suddenly decided to stick its head up and check out what was going on. We were both quite surprised to see each other, of course, and I wouldn’t say we warmed to each other during the quarter-mile drive to a suitable stopping place – snakes are cold blooded and warming is probably beyond them, while I was uncomfortably aware that, venomous or not, black snakes can bite. In the end, it was my strangely ophidiophile wife who caught the blighter and pulled it out by the tail. Had I seen the evidence of its no-nonsense approach to copperheads, I would have given it a lift home.

As it is, I’ll have to content myself with giving this particular black snake a well-earned performance bonus.

A performance bonus also to Randal Tuttle, who took the photograph.

Also a written warning to the same Randal Tuttle, who, having consulted with an expert, has inconveniently pointed out that it is in fact a black racer (coluber constrictor) in the picture rather than a black rat snake (elaphe obsoleta). Actually, the other snake doesn’t look like a copperhead (poisonous bastard), until you realize that you are looking at its belly.

Fun fact about black racers: despite their Latin name, they don’t constrict their prey. They swallow it alive.

Another fun fact about black racers: they are much more aggressive than black rat snakes, not at all the kind of chap you want to give a lift to in your truck.


Eurovision – More Effective than Sanctions

15 May

The sanctions imposed on Russia by the civilized world may have been as harmless as the sedated tiger so famously caressed by the fearless Mr. Putin, but, where the US and EU are failing, an unexpected hero is hitting Ivan where it hurts. I refer, of course, to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Admittedly it doesn’t take much to get the Russians up in arms – looking at them the wrong way is pretty much all that is required to have them pulling up outside your door in an armoured personnel carrier and a filthy mood – but, according to the BBC, by awarding the coveted  crown to a bearded Austrian drag queen called Conchita Wurst, Eurovision has really got under their skin. Now, I’ve been to Russia, and can report that the majority of the female population consists of what appear to be bearded drag queens, though admittedly somewhat brawnier than Ms. Wurst.

So what is it exactly that has Russian politicians choking on their borscht? Well, it seems to be a combination of two things. The first is obvious – they hate gay people, or, in official parlance, they are anxious to protect their children from hordes of rampaging bearded ladies, in pretty much the same way as they have so gallantly leapt in to protect defenceless Russian speakers in Ukraine from hordes of baby-eating fascists from the west.

The second reason is more puzzling. Several members of the Duma have expressed outrage at the conspiracy that deprived their own entry, sung by the adorable, and clean-shaven Tolmachevy Twins, of victory. They seem to have overlooked the fact that the song was shite.

Well, OK, Ms. Wurst’s song was also shite, but so were almost all the entries – that’s the whole point of the Eurovision Song Contest. There have only been about six decent songs in the whole fifty year history of the event – and, if you’re looking for a scandal, I suggest you start with Cliff Richard not winning in the corruption-soaked contest of 1968. I mean to say, Congratulations lost to this! That Spanish lady didn’t even have a beard.

So what is their answer to the not-so-bare-faced aggression of the Eurovision fascist drag queens? Well, Duma member Valery Rashkin doesn’t intend to lie down and let them trample him into the ground of the sacred motherland with their size ten stilettos. He has proposed a unilateral withdrawal from the contest and the creation of a new “Eurasian Voice” competition. Presumably this will mean browbeating the songsters of Belorussia, Kazhakstan, Tajikistan and a few more Stans to take part. The Ukrainians will have to join too, if they still have a country, and they would like Moscow to pass gas in their direction. It shouldn’t be difficult to persuade them. After all, as Mr. Rashkin says:

“I’m convinced that all sensible people, who love children and their motherland, will support this idea. The new contest will promote completely different values. Certainly not the values of transsexuals, lesbians and homosexuals.”

Well, recent events certainly suggest that Russia does indeed have a different set of values, but is all this really necessary? Building on the experience gained in their invasion of Ukraine, they could just have had their TV stations report that the Russian song had, in fact, won. Ninety percent of the population would have believed them.

So, it’s a well-earned bonus to Eurovision and this year’s Wurst performance.

A performance Bonus to The Wu-Tang Clan

21 Apr

A performance bonus and a humanitarian award to the Wu-Tang Clan for the innovative marketing idea behind their new album release. Only one copy of the album will be made, which will be placed in an engraved metal box and buried somewhere in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa, before touring art galleries, where admirers will have the chance to pay $20 to $50 to listen to it. It will then be auctioned. Reportedly there is already a bid of $5 million.

While the benefits of there only being one copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album are obvious, second in their contribution to both art and the well-being of society to there being no copies at all, I can’t help feeling that an opportunity is being missed. With $5 million, surely they could afford a box big enough to bury The Wu-Tang Clan too If this sounds expensive, think of the money that could be saved by not returning to dig it up again.

Perhaps they could rent space to Mumford and Sons.

Hats off to the Clan for a marketing gimmick and example of inside the box thinking that might have come from the fevered brain of T John Dick himself.

A Performance Bonus to Keir Murray of BBC Sport Scotland

10 Mar

It’s been a while since I handed out a performance bonus, but a well-deserved one is on its way to Keir Hardy at the BBC Sport Scotland website for an inspired post during the live commentary of the Scottish Premiership games this Saturday. It would have been so easy simply to state that the referee for the match between Kilmarnock and Hearts was Euan Norris, but so much less picturesque than …

“And the man at Rugby Park in tight shorts, clutching a whistle, able to run backwards and who can make grown men look like errant schoolboys, is grade one official Euan Norris.”

Most weeks I would be able to make the snide remark that this was a lot more entertaining than the huff and puff endeavours on the field of play, but the ensuing match actually tuned into an action-packed six goal thriller in which Killie came out on top 4-2.

This was not an isolated flash of brilliance. Mr. Murray played a stormer for the whole ninety minutes (or however long he was covering the afternoon’s action). When Hibs came back from two goals down to take a 3-2 lead against Motherwell, he painted the following vivid word picture of the Steelmens’ manager …

“Stuart McCall’s cheeks will be redder than his flowing locks after watching his side surrender their commanding lead.”

So much better than actually watching the game.

A Performance Bonus for IKEA

28 Jan

One of the most rewarding aspects of my relocation from Europe to America many years ago was the relative safety from IKEA enjoyed by the inhabitants of this continent. For me and many of my friends in the old world, the Swedish giant, ubiquitous in every European country was synonymous with freezing Saturdays when the football team for which I played had its match canceled.

On those dark days, instead of running past a packed defence before unleashing a pile-driver of a shot into the top corner of the net and accepting the plaudits of my teammates as I trotted back to the halfway line*, I would find myself trudging past flat-packed furniture before unleashing an anguished curse at the sight of the queues at check-out and exchanging rueful glances with team-mates as we trudged back to our cars. It was, we were frequently reminded, the least we could do in exchange for all the crap footie matches that our wives and girlfriends had dutifully endured from the touchline.

America’s claim to be the home of freedom may be a bit of a stretch these days, but until about five years ago, across large swathes of the country, you could at least breathe the freedom from IKEA stores. There was a cheerful innocence about the place, as people went about their business unaware of the looming danger, and when IKEA opened a mere 50 miles away from us, it was too late.

Today IKEA’s boss, Peter Agnefjall, reported record profits worldwide, helped by growth in China, Russia and the US. Well, Pete, I don’t know about China and Russia, but as far as the the US is concerned, I for one am not surprised, after what I witnessed in your Charlotte, North Carolina store at the weekend. As I plodded towards the checkout behind my wife and daughters, I noticed a small boy staring intently at a box of batteries he had picked up. They were IKEA store brand AA batteries, about thirty of them packed into a long thin carton. After a few moments, he turned to his father, a stringy country boy with goatee and camouflage tee shirt, the kind of chap who is proud to be labeled a redneck, and asked, “Hey, Dad, are these bullets?”

If IKEA of all places has succeeded in drawing in that most unlikely of demographics, southern rednecks and their eight year old boys who are more familiar with bullets than AA batteries, is it any wonder that their profits are soaring? You deserve your performance bonus, Mr. Agnefjall.

* This is my blog. I will remember the level of my performances on the football field in any way I choose to.

A Performance Bonus for the Happy Hour Virus

25 Nov

A performance bonus, a hearty slap on the back and the key to the executive restroom for the creators of the Happy Hour Virus. Anxious to promote a healthy balance between work and time with family and friends, these out-of-the-box thinkers have come up with a fake virus, which will display the blue screen of death together with ominous looking text indicating that your computer has irretrievably crashed. It goes without saying that our old friend T. John Dick would not approve.

“Sorry, TJ – looks like I’ll have to wait for the IT folks to fix my computer before I can get back to work on that project you’re waiting for. Not much point in hanging around here until it’s fixed.” So it’s off to the pub for a couple of drinks with your friends, thus re-establishing that work-life equilibrium. Cheers!

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