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A Fishy Fact

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“Tell us your amazing facts,” challenged Downsy, the stand in (and remarkably good) radio presenter on my local radio station‘s breakfast show. I bristled with excitement. A few years ago, during my tender student “placement year” where I worked with Sun Microsystems, the spare time was devoted to emails, particularly jokes and a supreme Fact Focus. Every weekly release of Fact Focus, bristling full of random, useless and downright obscure facts, was a work of art. During the height of its success, 104 people signed up to receive the thing, a fact that puffed my chest in geek pride.
And now was the time to unleash on Surrey and Horth-East Hampshire my very favourite fact – a fact told to me by Chris H, a colleague at Sun. It is a fact that rises above all other, and I was sure that this little gem would get the airtime it deserved. I pulled over at the nearest layby just past Guildford, and texted my prized fact to the number they gave.
Just two minutes later, the DJ cut into a song with a few more facts that had been texted in. “And finally, the prize fact”, he announced. “Did you know,” – a smile prematurely spread across my face – “that St John’s Wood is the only tube station not to contain any of the letters of the word ‘mackerel'”. And with this, he dissolved in fits of giggles.
I was officially a font of useless knowledge. I was *proud*. I was even more proud when I found that the moment had been selected as a highlight of the show, and was repeated several times today.
And I can tell, underneath the sheer embarrassment, that Michelle was equally proud when her office radio announced my fact regularly throughout the day to her colleagues. She’s a lucky girl, I tell you.

Metaphorical Buns.

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There’s a dawning realisation that I’m getting on a bit. Or at the very least my friends are. In the nicest possible way.
The first culture shock came about a year ago, when Simon H announced he’d impregnated his girlfriend Lucy and that a sprog was most definitely in the offing. That sprog, James, is now growing up fast and Simon’s even gone and bought a grey Mondeo Estate – a sure sign that he’s settling down fast.

bun.jpg

This from a guy who two years ago had a drunken urge to put his foot through a skylight in the dead of night – and had to be rushed to hospital in the early hours before he was drained of his remaining blood. Ahhh, those were the days…
But the real kicker came last week, when I pottered up to Bermondsey to see some friends, one of which had birthday drinks planned. I’d met them on my work placement at Sun Microsystems six years ago and had been firm, if sometimes distant, friends ever since. And as I sat down and chinwagged endlessly, I found that things were definitely moving on. Mark and his girlfriend had decided to buy a house together, Kiich and a girlfriend I didn’t even know he had were buying a house together, and Chris and his girlfriend were more than content nesting their abode near Fulham. And so, reeling from everyone’s news of settling down, I asked after another friend David S and his wife. To my amazement, David had shoved a small bun in his wife Ange, with their baby due very soon.
The final straw came yesterday afternoon with an email from Milly, who by coincidence had married Alex, another of the ex-Sun gang, a year ago. She apologised for the delay is getting back to me – and then knocked me for six with her excuse. “Our news is that… we are having a baby, still not really used to the idea but very pleased!”
Congratulations, of course, to Ange and Milly – but Jesus Iceskating Christ, what is happening?!

Sun Microsystems

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I used to work for Sun Microsystems. Within a week of starting the job, with spectacular timing and support, my long-term girlfriend dumped me. I’m not bitter (well, not now at any rate). And so it was that that year at Sun, the fun and frolics and nights out and parties, was a pivotal time for me, a fresh start, and to this day I’m still friends with many of them, even the ones that called me “student” and “tea boy”. Hell, one of them, Alex, is getting married next month to my good friend Milly.
But, sad though I am to say it (and difficult as it is to say with tongue firmly in cheek), my leaving Sun was plainly a pivotal time for them, too. Just look at this graph (from the estimable Yahoo Finance). You see the peak in October 2000? That’s when i left. Since then, shares have tumbled. And if they call and beg me to come back? Well, I charge a mean price nowadays…