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That unpleasant woman again

You may recall that I talked about a woman at work who told me that she's the anti-discrimination officer by taking a lot of time telling me how much I suck for being a male.

This woman is also a member of the worker's committee (which carries some weight), and back around the beginning of the year, during one of the meetings she made a rather unpleasant allegation about how I'm not doing my job correctly. As these meetings are held with some degree of confidentiality, I don't know what was said. I'm only going by what others have said to me, primarily in the context of "do you really do X?".
Now, I don't know about you, but I think it's beyond the pale that a malicious person is able to use the secrecy of such a meeting to tell blatant lies to my boss' boss. But, then, I suppose not having the accused tell her she is full of crap suits her.
Normally this sort of thing wouldn't bother me, but it does make me wonder that if a person is able to lie to my boss's boss, what exactly is my incentive to bother trying to do a good job with the time and resources available?

Today, I made numerous visits to the stock area (where she works). I'm not going to go into details, suffice to say that I was waiting on delivery of something that would have taken precedence over everything else. And, to be honest, I didn't trust the message that it had arrived to get to me (sadly, plenty of history of non-communication).
On one time I went, I saw that she was using the floor scrubber. And I knew that she was using the scrubbing brush of the production area (a 'clean' area) on the floor of where stuff is delivered in stock (very much not a 'clean' area). That's clean in the bacterial sense, not as in cobwebs hanging from the roof.
I knew that, because I knew that the brush that is used in the non-clean areas was in my little cubby hole with the provisions and such. I knew that because I popped it up on its side to drain off the excess water (it soaks in a disinfectant solution) because I was planning on using it today, but did something else instead.

So I picked it up, took it to her. Maybe she hadn't realised?

Oh, she knew damn well. She freaked out, told me she didn't have time (it's, like, thirty seconds walk away) and waved her arm in a way that implied "go away".

Okay, whatever. I put the scrubber brush back and carried on with my work.

About fifteen minutes later I was emptying the bin. She was finishing up cleaning the floor scrubber. She saw me and... well...

She started with asking if I had done all of my work? Why did I come to stock over and over again? (uh, that delivery? forgotten about it already?), and asked how I would like it if she watched everything that I did. This segued into her suggesting that maybe she ought to watch my work carefully as she reckoned she would find plenty to complain about.
Perhaps unwisely, I suggested that this entire problem would not have happened if she had simply used the correct brush.
To which she replied that she can guarantee to me, since she's going to go into the washing up area and hit it with the water spray, that the brush will end up perfectly clean.
To which I said that there's a brush for use in this part for a reason.
At which point, having likely run out of coherent argument, she yelled at me to stop poking my nose into other people's business.

I am writing this here because I rather imagine that, good to her word, she will start looking into my work and picking fault. This dangling carrot will be far too tempting.
And unlike me, she won't tell me personally and discreetly. No, she'll likely raise it at the next committee meeting and tell the management.

So, I'm going to just leave this here on my blog and should my boss, her boss, or any bloody boss at all start asking questions I'll just point them at this (the little flag at the top right of the screen will turn it into French) and say the malicious woman is protesting because I noticed that she wasn't doing her job correctly. And this wasn't a little omission, this was a bloody-minded "can't be bothered to do it properly". Well, attitudes like that are what risk getting the company in the papers for all the wrong reasons. And since noticing "malveillance" is, in fact, a part of my job (I did a half hour course and signed a paper, even!), then, yes, noticing somebody using a clean area thingy in a non clean area is something I'm supposed to be doing.

So... I wonder how long it'll be until there's some blowback from this? After all, it's a massive dangling carrot, isn't it? ☺


Car repair

Talking of blowback, since Tuesday it's been really hard to start my car in the morning. I need to crank and crank and crank and crank and crank and crank and crank and crank and crank and maybe twenty five or thirty seconds later it might sort of attempt to run, at which point I have to prod the accelerator in order to get it going.

There's a pretty impressive cloud of white smoke around the back, too.

Once it's going, it seems okay. I haven't noticed any particular loss of power or other such problems.

But, for obvious reasons, this isn't something I'm prepared to put up with until scheduled service time.

I'm not sure whether it's the rocker arms (Felicity had the same issue, and on-line it seems as if they need to be checked and calibrated every 15K-25K km) or the glow plugs dying. I know it was hard to start on cold winter mornings, needing me to switch the ignition on and off a couple of times to get the temperature up. But if it's hard to start when it's 12C, imagine when it's zero!

I had, on Tuesday, called the place that sold me the car. The mechanic there really doesn't understand a word I say. Except this time he told me that (again), said he'd call me, then hung up. Of course, he never called.
So today after work I drove to a nearby town. A woman at work with a little car like mine recommended this person.
I explained the problems, and he said it's probably the glow plugs, but might be the fuel filter (that's going to be changed). The ABS problem will be one of the sensors, and if it doesn't always happen right away, it probably just needs cleaned. So far it pretty much ties in with what I thought.

He said doing the big service will take all day. But, bring the car around.
Not tomorrow, busy. Not Monday, closed. So, whenever.

My little autistic brain keeled over. "Whenever" is not an appointment, dammit!
So, assuming he actually paid any attention at all, I have an appointment (in a very Spanish sense of the word) for 9am on Tuesday.

The town centre is about a kilometre and a half away (this is in the industrial end). There's a library in town, but it's closed on Tuesdays. Oh well. There's a park, I might go there with a book. Hope it isn't raining!
Can't eat or drink anything all day. At least, not until I'm aware of the locations of accessible toilets.
Reminds me of my two trips to Rennes!


Okay then. Here's what you probably came to read...


Eurovision 2022 Semi Final 2

Here we go again...

Ba ba-ba-ba ba baaa ba baaa! That familiar music welcoming us to the Song Contest's second semi final, with one extra country tonight compared to the first semi final.

I have tonight chicken and penne rigata, and to keep the Italian theme, a San Pellegrino Limonata to wash it down with.

Watching Eurovision
Watching the Eurovision Song Contest.

A strange sort of behind the scenes thing opens the show, with some mockery in there. If the fireworks aren't enough, push a button and kittens will appear. ☺

A naff dance routine to open the show. Okay, I guess we have to get through this and some formalities before we can have the songs.

Today, I'm streaming using NewPipe on the rablet. Bigger screen.

Uh, alright, how did he pull off that spinning?

Mika is dressed in bright yellow, Laowra is dressed in a dark magenta dress missing half of it's top...and a weird makeup job that makes her look like Fairuza Balk in The Craft.

Okay, finally, the first song.


Our little friend the robot drone is back getting in the way of some pretty scenery.

1. Finland "Jezebel" (The Rasmus)

A guy with freaky hair dressed in yellow, with a yellow balloon. A gentle opening for a soft rock song. Odd staging with giant black and yellow balloons. The crowd is really getting into this one... Oh, I can see why, the singer has taken his top off.
I think this song was possibly let down by the backing vocals repeating "Jezebellllle!" endlessly, but with nowhere near the vocal power of the lead singer.
But, you know, it was a pretty solid way to open.


2. Israel "I.M." (Michael Ben David)

Put George Michael and Freddy Mercury into a blender, this would be the result. It's a polished song and it's well performed. But... I really don't like it. Still, I'd be surprised if this didn't qualify, it's very Eurovision.


3. Serbia "In corpore sano" (Konstrakta)

What peculiar staging. Katy Perry is washing herself while singing in... Serbian and Latin? Latin? When's the last time Latin has featured in the contest? Behind her, five monks with towels, for an oddity that sounds like the darker side of Kraftwerk.
That was, uh, memorable, I guess.


4. Azerbaijan "Fade to Black" (Nadir Rustamli)

Azerbaijan usually offer good entries, so let's see how this year goes. Gentle piano and soft vocals that warble and fade out, like the emotion is too much. A strong part, followed by a quiet part.
The staging is a set of rising benches, like bleachers, is that what they are called? He is sitting/lying half-way up and sombody else at the bottom.
Now they're splitting apart as he's bringing out the vocals. Damn, this one hits you right in the feels.


5. Georgia "Lock Me In" (Circus Mircus)

There's nothing I can say other than "what the hell?".

It is interesting noting the countries that send in gag entries (surely they don't think this repetitive nonsense will win?) versus the countries that are taking the thing completely seriously.

This might actually be catchy if it wasn't so... awful. Thank god it's over.


6. Malta "I Am What I Am" (Emma Muscat)

A woman in shiny silver sequins sitting at a piano, and moments later standing on it for the chorus of a fairly generic pop song about "take it or leave it, I am what I am".
Oh wow, her singing sounds flat, she can't hold a long note, and her four backing dancers are desperately in search of a routine. Other than that...


A big of time wasting for advertising

Laura begins with singing the theme of the San Remo music festival, and showing Malta how to properly sing a note. ☺

From this, an explanation of the San Remo music festival, Italy's giant celebration of music. As far as I'm aware (they didn't say this), Italy's entrants to the Eurovision contest are whoever won San Remo. Which is probably a better bet than the UK picking some has-been celebrity or a TikTok star.

7. San Marino "Stripper" (Achille Lauro)

What's this, Boy George singing in Italian? And, note, it's yet another thumping rock song. I wonder if Mâneskin are watching this and thinking "god, another pretender".
Oh, he's now saying "All you need is love", and kneeling on the stage... no... he's not going to ride a bucking broncho while the guitarist lies on the ground... oh for god's sake, how many cliches can they fit into this song?


A few extra moments for Australia to get ready, Mika talks about random Eurovision facts to buy time... I guess something went wrong behind the scenes? Maybe it took time to get rid of San Marino's staging?
The fun of live TV!


8. Australia "Not the Same" (Sheldon Riley)

A male Lady Gaga, with a big dress and elaborate headpiece to sing about how this person is not the same. There's a real Conchita Wurst vibe to this. Dramatic removal of the head covering.


A "Coming up" segment, I guess it's an elaborate stage piece to undo as well as do.

The announcer just said the best thing about hosting Eurovision is that nobody is listening to him as the local commentators will be talking at this point, he just needs to not swear because people can read his lips.


9. Cyprus "Ela" (Andromache)

A woman standing in a big thing that looks like a conch shell with wings, for a song that tries to be Fuego and misses. But, a bit in Greek to get the votes from Greece, not as if they don't anyway.
Sounds to me like the vocals are a bit ropey here.

Looking at these pianos, staircases, conch shells... where the heck do they store all this stuff? Must be interesting to manage that, having everything ready to be pushed out as the postcard plays.


10. Ireland "That's Rich" (Brooke)

Ireland is a long way from what won for them, a lot, in the '90s. This is more like a local college cheerleader team performing an uptempo song about a love gone horribly wrong. At least, that's what I think it's about. Far too much energy in these girls.
Credit to her corpsing afterwards and only saying "Oh my goodness!".


11. North Macedonia "Circles" (Andrea)

Okay, North Macedonia is the former Yugoslav country to enter the downbeat song this year. She is trying to go for the emotions, and it's a good effort, but she has the misfortune to be on the same night as Azerbaijan who absolutely nailed the raw emotion aspect.


12. Estonia "Hope" (Stefan)

Was this one written by Ennio Morricone? Of course, there's always a good gag in having a blatant nod to spaghetti westerns in a contest in Italy. They even broadcast the beginning in sepia with damaged-film effects. Low pitched verses and walking around with a guitar, is he trying to channel Johnny Cash here?


Some more time wasting

Mika talking about "The Sound Of Beauty" (the theme of the contest), and how one person's beauty might be another's nightmare. Followed by a load of examples of potentially beautiful sounds.
Ending with a woman clicking a light off, then a baby crying, and the light clicking back on. Whoever is putting this together has a good line in sarcasm.


"You can command what you like using Aztecs", is what the automatic subtitles made of "You can comment what you like using hashtags"...


13. Romania "Llámame" (WRS)

Sung in English with a chorus in Spanish? It's carefully choreographed nonsense that has been seen on a Eurovision stage so many times before. It's okay, but nothing special.


14. Poland "River" (Ochman)

On-screen rain effects. Well, this one is different. He hops between normal vocals and falsetto with dancing water spirits and suitably epic music, for him apparently wanting to jump into the river and let the water carry him away.
Well, it wasn't Springsteen's The River, but it was good.


15. Montenegro "Breathe" (Vladana)

Her dress has LEDs to light up, and she appears to have a paper umbrella stuck to her back, that also has LEDs. It could have been an interesting piece of simple staging, but it doesn't really work.
Her song, on the other hand, goes from calm to majestic. This is a power ballad taken up to eleven.

Actually, I'd like to hear her as the vocalist to a symphonic metal band.


16. Belgium "Miss You" (Jérémie Makiese)

Who does he remind me of? Visually, that is. This is bugging me, as I can't remember the name.
As for the singing, it is strange. Some parts are strong and well done, and other parts are as if he is mumbling to cover over forgetting the words. I don't think it's that as he'll have had a bazillion rehearsals, but... it's a bit offputting.


17. Sweden "Hold Me Closer" (Cornelia Jakobs)

Sweden is always a strong player, so a woman sitting on the floor isn't the typical opening.
This reminds me of Duffy, but half her song passed before she stood up, to stand in front of a glowing green circle.
Whoa, she's using a wired microphone, and transitioning into Bonnie Tyler. I can see this doing well.


18. Czech Republic "Lights Off" (We Are Domi)

The final song of the night, appropriately titled. Last one out, turn off the lights.

Keyboards, analogue synths, patch wires, lots of blinking lights and some flickering CRTs (well, those old analogue TVs won't have anything to pick up these days).

Not sure the background video of smashing Roman statues is exactly going to go down well, and what does it have to do with asking "Where are you now?" a dozen times?


That's it. All eighteen songs have been heard.


Europe, start voting!

As a recap plays, here's my selection.
  1. Azerbaijan - the feels
  1. Finland - we all live in a big yellow balloon
  1. Australia - not the same
  1. Sweden - hold her tighter
  1. Poland - washed away by the river
  1. Ireland - for the love of god, don't give these girls coffee
  1. Montenegro - needs brighter LEDs
  1. Serbia - memorably weird
  1. North Macedonia - running in circles
  1. Israel - surely this is bound to qualify


Interval act

Laura Pausini and Mika are doing a duet, oddly downbeat - on and on the rain the rain will fall, like tears from a star.
As good as Laura is, Mika runs rings around her.

They are better with the upbeat nunber, it plays more to her vocals. This time they're singing about "The people have the power... to dream, to rule, or to wrestle the world from fools".

The messages here are pretty obvious, but you know Russia isn't watching, right?


Another recap. I dunno, I am finding Serbia's oddity growing on me. Bitties drava? No idea what she's singing, but that's what it sounds like.

If I had been paying attention, I might have picked up something from the audience response. Big cheers for the Irish girls. Hey, wouldn't it be funny if they won?
A woman from the Czech Republic has a big T-shirt saying "NO WAR".


Voting is over!

Another interval act while the vote is counted and checked. Male opera singers, Il Volo. With a song about as far from what you might expect giving how this sort of music usually sounds. But you ought to remember this, as their song Grande Amore was in the contest in 2015, it just... wasn't quite this over the top.
Aren't they supposed to be a trio? Is one isolating?


Eurovision confidential

More bad puns with some of the more memorable performances in recent years.


One thousand five hundred people are making this happen, so a miniscule sneak peek behind the scenes. Well done to everybody who is still wearing a mask.


Meeting Spain

What is Laura wearing now? She's really wanting to audition for The Craft 2!

A quick talk to the Spanish performer. Not going to win for Spain, even if her upper half is dressed like a bullfighter, and the lower half is barely covered.


Meeting United Kingdom

I'm not sure about this. The vocals are a bit odd, but it's actually better than a lot of the recent UK entries. I predict that it will absolutely be in the top twenty five. ☺


Meeting Germany

The clip started like Eminem and ended like John Legend.


Finally the results

They have a valid result. So, the ten finalists in random order are...

  • Belgium - really?
  • Czech Republic - sorry, this just didn't do it for me
  • Azerbaijan - could totally see this happening
  • Poland - in the river
  • Finland - not a surprise really
  • Estonia - the western
  • Australia - good for him
  • Sweden - yeah, I had a feeling about this
  • Romania - hmmm...
  • Serbia - weirdness for the win!

The voting in this second semi final is about as eccentric as the first time around. It's a shame about Ireland, and a bit of a surprise that Israel didn't qualify.

Whatever, it's late and I'm tired. Goodnight!



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David Pilling, 13th May 2022, 03:33
Ukraine for the win. 
BBC play UK entry and assure me "it will not be null points this time", oh no, quality entry this time. Argument UK singer is popular (in Japan?), therefore he will get votes. Strictly principle - not so hot, but if you're in a popular soap, you'll get past week 1.
Rick, 13th May 2022, 08:42
I'm at work twenty minutes early. I left time for problems starting Caoimhe, but after turning the key on and off three times (~45 secs of preheat), she started after a couple of seconds. 
So I can enjoy my tea and listen to The Birthday Massacre. 🤘
Zerosquare, 14th May 2022, 05:55
> I'll just point them at this (the little flag at the top right of the screen will turn it into French) and say the malicious woman is protesting because I noticed that she wasn't doing her job correctly.  
Don't. It is a bad move for two reasons: 
- they'll claim there is no proof that you didn't write it after the complaint (and if you were thinking of using or something like that to prove otherwise, you're overestimating the rationality of the typical manager) 
- as amusing as it may sound to imagine a lawyer wasting hours reading your blog, and your company getting invoiced a fortune for that, you don't want it to actually happen. Because they will find anything that portrays your employer in a less-than-positive light and twist it to use it against you. 
The best option is to strike first. Write down what happened, send it to HR, and keep a proof of delivery. 
If you don't trust HR (can't blame you), there is a cheap way to get a legally recognized proof of anteriority: sations_non_conventionnelles_de_l'enveloppe_Soleau
Rob, 14th May 2022, 14:31
Just to second zerosquare. As its part of your job to spot such misuse, just write a memo upwards saying you did, you approached the individual concerned, and were rebuffed. Get that in quick, as it's much more credible than waiting for them to give to you and having it seen as a bitter reply.
Rob, 14th May 2022, 14:32
... to come to you..
Rick, 14th May 2022, 18:42
I'm not really a first strike kind of person, and certainly don't plan on kicking a hornet's nest. However you both make valid points, so I guess I'm going to have to write all of this in comprehensible French, then send it lettre recommandée (tracked) to the site director so he is aware that there is "an issue". 
Most of all, I'd really like it if she paid attention to her own words and butted out of my life. It get it, lady, you detest me. Whatever. Just...go away, please. 
But, yes, a warning of a potential storm in a teacup is better than trying to manage the aftermath. <sigh>
Rick, 14th May 2022, 18:50
I certainly didn't imagine lawyers wasting time reading the rubbish I wrote. That sort of thing isn't amusing. I certainly don't have any ill will towards the company itself. That's part of the reason why I never name it and only vaguely describe what sort of things they do. It's more a backdrop to my so-called life. 
However, once in a while there's an individual that makes things unpleasant. I've encountered her type a few times over the years. I guess my introvert personality is a big flashing neon sign to those who like pushing others around. 
Very very interesting, the Soleau. I won't be using it in this instance, as I don't want to raise this to the level of an actual complaint (given her position in the worker's committee, she's unfortunately fairly influential with others). I'm hoping more for something along the lines of if she makes good with her promise to nitpick everything, she gets told to concentrate on her job, not mine. 
Hopefully Soleau won't be necessary, but should it be the case that proof of something being written at a certain time is needed, then it's good to know that it exists. 

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