back to article Whatever you've been doing during lockdown, you better stop it right now

Smile! We're all going back to the office! Not if you work for Twitter, mind. Or, of course, if you have a real job such as construction, transport, shit-shovelling or – oh, I dunno – server maintenance. In which case… smile! You're already back at the office! Because you never left it! A number of countries have targeted …

  1. Coastal cutie

    Well I suppose the cakes could be a less than subtle way of telling the office **** what you really think of them when they leave. Link definitely NSFW but very funny.

  2. macjules

    3wise would hate Diamonds are Forever

    Blofeld: Right idea, Mr. Bond

    James Bond:...But wrong pussy.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 3wise would hate Diamonds are Forever

      Send them a copy of a Chubby Brown video. But do it anonymously because it could be classed as a DoS attack!

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thanks, Dabbsy

    Exactly what I needed to end this week.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Breakfast Leftovers in Edit Suite 1" and "Room 12F.1 After A Six-Hour Workshop"

    No "Dead rat under the floor tiles"?

    1. Giles C Silver badge

      Having experienced that although fortunately I wasn’t the one who had to go looking for the corpse. I can say that is one smell I do not want to encounter again.

      The cause was a rat had eaten the poison and then crawled under the raised floor to die - the poor saps had to take up all the floor tiles in the area to find the body.

      1. Little Mouse Silver badge

        Mental image of "the poor saps" all stood around the last single unraised floor tile.

        It must be under this one, Shirley?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        It was an occasional occurrence at the biological suppliers where I once worked. It was based in an old Victorian villa & there'd a few escapes of rats which had bred. Hollow walls, hollow floors - plenty of spaces for them.

        There was a mitigating factor. One of the managers, in charge of preparing microscope specimens for schools, stayed behind one night with an air-gun and shot one. Realising that it had a good chance of being infected with trypanosomes which would give him a batch of slides he went off to get a syringe. When he came back the body had been dragged away, presumably to be eaten by the other rats.

      3. Jay 2

        Snap. Some time back there was an unpleasant smell from near my colleague's desk. But nothing obvious could be found. So at some point he pulled out the drawers on wheels under his desk and the smell then got much worse. On closer inspection there was half a mouse sticking out from underneath the unit near the wheels.

        1. CuChulainn Silver badge

          When I was at school, the Biology lab had a black plastic dustbin that was filled with preserving fluid and dead rats. They were used for dissection. The dustbin was in the classroom under a bench.

          It was OK as long as no one lifted the lid. If someone did, the stench was unbelievable. And you can imagine how the class morons liked to do that.

      4. KBeee Silver badge

        Not just the smell, the flies too!

    2. Efer Brick

      or "Lift flatulence " ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't forget -

        "Stinky microwave lunch"

        1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

          "Stinky microwave lunch"

          Definitely this. Mme D has tales she could tell about a certain former boss who frequently nagged her and her colleagues to keep the office kitchen tidy, while he himself would splatter half the kitchen and coat all interior surfaces of the microwave every day with stinky fish curry.

          1. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: "Stinky microwave lunch"

            Mr Dabbs> coat all interior surfaces of the microwave every day with stinky fish curry.

            Is this a French phrase/euphemism I've not heard until now?

          2. Zarno

            Re: "Stinky microwave lunch"

            At a previous employer, someone once cooked off something that smelled like a used baby nappy.

            Not exactly sure what it was, but that microwave had to be removed by the canteen vendor and replaced shortly afterwards.

            I retaliated with a limburger, mustard, and onion sandwich on rye bread.

            Got a table all to myself that day.

            There were also the fridge pirates.

            Coworker saw someone root through the fridge, grab his (opened!) drink, stare at it, take a swig, then put it back.

            Put me right off using the shared break room.

            Icon because you sometimes have to do an orbital strike to get rid of the smell.

            1. Dr_N Silver badge

              Re: "Stinky microwave lunch"

              Zarno> At a previous employer, someone once cooked off something that smelled like a used baby nappy.

              Andouillette. Can't beat the faecal smell of pig colon in your sausage.

              1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

                Re: "Stinky microwave lunch"

                Thats *bad* andouillette. Provenance is all. Even is sold as AAAAA* is no guarantee

                Good ones do not smell of or taste of anything faecal.

                As a connoisseur of over 30 yrs, had two recently (Figeac and Gravelines ) that were very good. Almost as good as our local brasserie (in La Châtre)

                *Association Amicale des Amateurs d'Andouillette Authentique

                1. Dr_N Silver badge

                  Re: "Stinky microwave lunch"

                  "La Châtre" [chortle]

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Stinky microwave lunch"

            Wow! Dabbs has personally replied to my comment!!!

            Not been so proud since Terry Wogan read out my email on BBC Radio 2!

        2. Franco Silver badge

          Stinky microwave breakfast. I've mentioned before on these pages going to a customers site where one of the DBAs used to eat microwaved hot bananas for breakfast, which is a truly ungodly smell (I'll mark up my own score on 3wise for that one)

          1. Daedalus

            Microwaved bananas are overkill. You can achieve complete breakfast air supremacy with those "liquid egg product" globs zapped in a zappable container. All the sulphurousness, and some of the flavour. A former colleague used to do this and eat it with an equal amount of ketchup. I resisted the temptation to echo a school teacher who observed to a friend, "So nice to see you having some food with your ketchup".

        3. Jay 2

          Once upon a time in our last office someone decided to put their slice of pizza in the microwave to warm up. Nothing wrong with that you may think, but it was still in a cardboard box. Still not too bad? The box was just big enough to fit in the microwave, but not rotate. And then they put it on for a too long amount if time and pissed off somewhere. The smell of burning made its way to some nearby desks where the occupants then went to investigate. Somehow it didn't set off the fire alarm!

          In the current office we now have some full-on industrial strength microwaves, which don't have a turntable. The catch with these is that they're quite powerful and some staff ignore the warnings, plonk their food in and then set the amount of time they usually do at home. Well within half of that time what ever is in there starts bubbling over and spreading (see 80s B movie The Stuff).

          1. veti Silver badge

            An office microwave only needs one button, whose function is to run the device for precisely 30 seconds, then stop. If you want longer cooking time, press the button again - but only once it's stopped.

            That means, the culprit will always be nearby.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Dead rat under the floor tiles

      Might explain the reference to 'flies in the face'...

    4. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      At Doctor Syntax, re: fun smells.

      Don't forget the ultra delectible scent of carmelized fish in the microwave, I just <sarcasm>LOVE</sarcasm> the stench of burnt mudkip in the corporate cafeteria...

      *Comical cat barfing noises*

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: At Doctor Syntax, re: fun smells.

        ShadowSystems, there is nothing comical about cat barfing noises.

        One of my cats just finished barfing up his dinner.

        Then one of the other cats was heard licking it up.

        Happy Friday everyone.

        1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

          Re: At Doctor Syntax, re: fun smells.

          Our worksite accommodation provider is currently running a competition to name 2 food dispensing outlets (one previously called "whats in the Wok?", the other is new)

          I am inclined to offer "the Dogfoodery", and "Cats Vomit", possibly translated into the local first nation dialect..

          The competition is being run on facebook - of course, so I would need to find some fb user to actually submit the entry

        2. Alumoi Silver badge

          Re: At Doctor Syntax, re: fun smells.

          Hey, it's already warmed!

    5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Will you be doing

      dead fish duct taped behind the's desk 3 months ago?

      1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

        Re: Will you be doing

        For some reason, traditional Australian Christmas food includes prawns,

        About 3 decades ago I was working at a mineral processing plant, and one of the crew rostered on over Christmas snuck a couple of the work provided Christmas banquet crustaceans into another crewmembers Dolphin torch.

        I dont know how well known they are globally, but they were very rugged large, fully sealed flashlights.

        Nothing occurred immediately, and the torch continued to function when required and get left in the back of the work vehicle when not in use throughout the Australian summer. It was not until halfway through the year that the torch stopped working, and the owner opened it up...

        Apparently the battery had dissolved..

    6. Brad16800

      Not quite as bad as a rat but I accidently left half a pizza (in it's box) in the gap between the top of my drawers and the bottom of my desk a day before I left that job (exactly pizza box height/width space).

      Odd my replacement never noticed.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Eau d'Office

    Something I will cheerfully miss out on.

    The first office I ever worked in was in the City of London next to the Moscow Narodny Bank, the office was two levels down from street level.

    It smelled of stale air, cigarette smoke, waste bins with gently moldering apple cores and sandwich crusts with an overlay of mothball preserved demob suits that had been nurtured into the late sixties.

    The memory is quite strong enough without reproducing it in a bottle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eau d'Office

      My first thought when reading about these Eau d'Office candles was "I wonder how they capture the smell of boredom, frustration and resigned despair..."

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Eau d'Office

      I occasionally get a waft that’s reminiscent of Canadian Mall Loading Bay. I once spent a summer working in an electronics retailer outlet over there and the delivery driver would ring ahead to the next store before setting off. This was the cue to send some schmuck to the back door to wait for the delivery. The bins back there in the summer heat had a potency beyond description and a very distinctive combination of stench akin to a mix of bin lorry, overheating fake leather, hot expanded polystyrene packaging and sundry corpses. Only worse.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Eau d'Office

        I worked in a 'Cisco kid' where the sysadmin brought in a durian fruit fresh from Indonesia and cut it open. The odour was remarkable. I liked it, and it tasted lovely. The rest of the two floor building evacuated.

        You can buy frozen durian fruit from most Chinese stores, it doesn't smell when it is frozen. Don't leave fish to go bad days later, leave frozen durian.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more blasphemy the better, for Christs sake.

    1. Efer Brick

      Blas for me, blas for you.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      I’ve never understood blasphemy.

      “How dare you! Let me, a mere mortal who happened to overhear you, deliver punishment on behalf of an omnipotent and omnipresent deity who is somehow unable to take retribution themselves despite having such abilities as creating an entire universe with a single thought and knowing every thought of every being that ever existed or that will exist.”

      I get the feeling it’s a lot more to do with how other people feel than anything else.

  7. tiggity Silver badge


    A bit lacking in detail, e.g. shaft too much of an airbrushed smooth look, not "veiny" enough. Could do a far better job of making "pubes" too... Still, that would take a lot longer & time is money in making cakes (or anything) commercially, need the attention to detail of an enthusiastic amateur just doing it for fun.

  8. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    consonant substitution

    Having followed the gateau(x) link read the boiler plate and mentally substituted the l with an n

    ...he actually enjoys commuting, as he prefers walking to taking public transport....


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't you want to save the planet?

    it's too late, at least with humans around. There, cheerful thought for the weekend!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > nearly a quarter of all Welsh office workers are dreading having to talk to each other on their return.

    Have you ever been to Wales, Baldrick? You need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the place names. Never ask for directions in Wales. You'll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I see. It isn't racism if they're Welsh.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I was always under the impression the Welsh were a nation, not a race?

  11. BenDwire Silver badge

    Danger, Robinson! Danger!

    IIRC shouldn't that be: "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"?

    I'm sure there's a pun about a missing willy right there, but I'm too sober to figure that one out right now ...

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Danger, Robinson! Danger!

      A willy joke with out the obligatory Dr. Smith reference? Oh, my boy...

    2. TheProf

      Re: Danger, Robinson! Danger!

      Yes it should be 'Danger Will Robinson! Danger!(and possibly another Danger!)' accompanied by the flailing of robotic arms.

      I'm currently re-watching Babylon 5 and to my great shame* I keep thinking 'Danger Will Robinson! Danger!' every time Lennier appears on screen.

      *I'm not ashamed by it at all.

  12. Pen-y-gors


    Yes, it’s odd but that’s all good podcast-listening time.

    Is it just me or does everyone (including the BBC) seem to be launching podcasts lately?

    I confess, I really haven't got into them at all. They seem such an awkward idea - if I see an ad for one while browsing the Grauniad website, I don't have the time and leisure to click on it and take an hour off from work. When do people listen to them? Is there some sort of podcast RSS-like program I can use to queue them up and then forget about? And would it work on my bedside clock-radio?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Podcasts?

      Never heard a podcast that wouldn't be improved by offering a transcription, which would take only half as long to read even if you didn't skim the boring bits.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Podcasts?

      "Is there some sort of podcast RSS-like program I can use to queue them up and then forget about?"

      Yes. Podcasts are one of the original purposes of RSS. Podcast feeds are RSS feeds with audio or video files linked in the articles. You can find programs which do the refreshing and downloading on most platforms. I suggest Antennapod for Android (check FDroid for it) as a nice free start option or the included one for IOS. If you don't end up liking those apps but still like podcasts, there are about two hundred alternatives to be found in the app stores. There are desktop clients too.

      "And would it work on my bedside clock-radio?"

      That depends what your clock radio runs, but if it has an internet connection, quite possibly. Or if it can act as a speaker for something else, you could run it on that.

      You will find a bunch of podcasts exist out there, and a great many are rudimentary or uninteresting, just like everything else on the internet. Still, I've found a lot of them which I enjoy, especially while I'm doing other things where I can't be reading The Register.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Podcasts?

        I've found several that cure my insomnia.

        Is most useful.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Podcasts?

        I use Podcast Addict on Android.

        I listen to them in the car instead of the radio

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Podcasts?

      >And would it work on my bedside clock-radio?

      Depends on the radio. We've got a couple of Squeezebox radios, They look and work a bit like an old fashioned radio but they're Internet radios. They're also quite old which means that they've missed out on the relentless improvements (i.e. integration with remote site all the better to monetize your use of the thing) have passed it by. (The audio quality's pretty good as well.)

      (Then there's always Alexa, everyone's best friend. She turns up in all sorts of things, including something that looks like an old fashioned digital alarm clock. She knows about podcasts.....)

  13. Zarno

    Why am I not surprised?

    Why am I not surprised there's a "NSFWEIYSWFH" link.

    To quote a comic I read...

    "It's... a button.

    Crimson red, round, smooth, shiny, pulsating-with-life button.

    Freakin' HUGEST button I HAVE EVER EVER seen in my whole sad life, and probably will EVER see."

    And the follow-up 5 years later.

    It was a tossup between the nuke icon and the daemon icon, but the nuke icon won, because it's the most likely outcome of a big red button.

    But not in the case of that comic.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Why am I not surprised?

      Big red buttons are, from inception, designed to be pushed/pressed so it would be insulting to the designer and the manufacturers of said buttons not to push/press each button at least once.

  14. grizewald

    The joys of printer denial systems

    Whoever designed those printer denial systems has probably caused a massive decrease in printer sales and saved half a rainforest's worth of trees from being turned into A4. They probably also have some unpleasant personality traits.

    When they introduced such a system where I work, that spelled the end of printing anything at all at the office for me. I couldn't even start printing a 700 page postscript source version of a one page document as the only way to get a job spooled to print was to connect to a print server in some undisclosed cabinet via a machine which had to be a full member of the company's Windows domain to prove my worth and then blip my access card against a reader on the printer to start the print.

    That's kind of tricky when you refuse to subject your computer to the perils of Windows Group Policy Objects. Not to mention that getting a Linux installation joined to a domain is still something which requires a higher degree in the black arts even if you want to risk it! Even from a virtual machine running Windows which was a domain member, getting the printer drivers to cooperate with the spooler was so difficult that I wrote that off as not being worth the effort. They even managed to block any way of connecting directly to the printer and circumventing the denial system, so no matter how much I would like to print something, it will forever be impossible for me.

    I can honestly say that I have not missed the ability to print in the slightest.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: The joys of printer denial systems

      I've had the run around from office printing as well. The funny thing about this is that it used to work fine on large scale corporate networks. I was an 'accidental Intel employee' back in the 2000s and so was integrated into their "Mother of All IT Systems" where everything was managed and monitored by some shadowy distant office. I got some idea of the scope of this system when I had to decamp from California to Haifa for a week. My login credentials on a random computer brought up my US desktop and applications but my request to print something came out on a local printer rather than one thousands of miles away. Everything worked as promised but this was definitely the exception that proved the rule. I've never seen this trick worked anywhere else -- it 'kinda, sorta' does but never quite lives up to the promise -- suggesting that either Intel had some exceptional IT staff or a direct line to Microsoft.

      (I'm still waiting for Microsoft to catch up with 'ix'. Just about everything they do is a copy of what everyone's been doing on 'ix for years, albeit with a proprietary twist that 'almost works'.)

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: The joys of printer denial systems

      It was just so difficult to buy a cheap printer

  15. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    only to find they have printed 700 pages bearing just …

    … the line %%[Error: limitcheck; OffendingCommand: image ]%% printed at the top of each in monospaced Courier.

    Has anyone ever printed anything in proportional Courier?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: only to find they have printed 700 pages bearing just …

      You're mixing up spacing of glyphs with their size. Courier may have its glyphs in similar sizes but printing them readably depends on the spacing being more or less right which a recalcitrant printer might not bother with, especially if it realises that Mr Dabbs is the user victim.

  16. Uncle Slacky
    Thumb Up

    That "family" movie review site...

    Reminded me of NTK's favourite "Christian" movie review site - which to my surprise still exists, in all its Web 1.0 goodness!

    See for example their review of LOTR:TRotK:

    1. Shooter

      Re: That "family" movie review site...

      As a counterpoint, may I refer you to the God Awful Movies podcast?

      You don't have to pay to listen, but Patreon was a convenient (not player-specific) link.

  17. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    "distancing measures"

    eg, addressing people by Surname only.

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: "distancing measures"

      The thing that really passes me off is the assertion we can only work if we sit next to each other but that of course we can work with a team in Bangalore that's not even in the same timezone. These managers can be judged accurately by the fact that all of UK industry has been totally and utterly fucked over while better paid jobs flourish in germany

  18. Dave 15 Silver badge


    The answer is no. Blunt and simple. There is no need and I am not wrecking the environment and my life to bolster the ego of a dickless wonder who thinks he should be a manager. The time for this is over, we have proved we don't need to be in the office to be productive. I don't need to be tethered to one of the most expensive and ugliest areas in order to waste 3 hours a day and 3000 quid a year traipsing in to an airless disease ridden, stinking, air conditioned or overheated shit hole with crap tea and worse coffee and a microwave that any competent health authority would condem

  19. Dave 15 Silver badge

    What have I been doing?

    Well I have saved over 3grand a year in fuel. I have had an extra 3 hours or more to help my kids with their homework and teach them science, help them fix their pushbike etc. I have increased my output and worked with my fellow workers to deliver the promises made, I have done free overtime, I have lost weight and lowered my blood pressure with less stress, better food and exercise.

    In return the company doesn't require to fund my office space (about 3grand a year rent, heating, coffee, security). It gets built in disaster residence - my laptop has the git source code in case the office server gets burnt, even if my house flooded I am quite sure Fred's won't have done, no thief is going to go to every house of the whole team (thousands of miles for a start). Work from home is a win for all but the Chinese dickless wonder who doesn't get his highs from bullying the staff or eyeing up the receptionists clevage

    1. eromana

      Re: What have I been doing?

      I was with you right up to 'Chinese dickless wonder'

  20. pardo_bsso


    I always open Alistair articles because of his wonderful taste on music.

    Wanna marry me in exchange for another citizenship?

  21. Jason Bloomberg

    "Humans go nutso when left on their own"

    Not all of us. Due to not going nutso I have plenty of space left in my garden for more dead bodies.

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