It's time for our quarterly company day out. It's actually half a day out: we have an hour-long meeting to discuss the progress this quarter and then, if we've made any money, we go out and try and get rid of it as soon as possible. By a fearsome combination of people off on their hols and others in their sickbeds, it falls to me to present the stuff about ZDNet UK edit and sales: I find myself for the first time stuck in front of a PowerPoint presentation talking about finances, which is a bit like asking a voodoo priest to officiate at Landover Baptist --about the only thing worse would be to forced to relive a school sports day.
After the meeting, we pile onto a bus to go off to the festivities. Which is -- oh, joy -- School Sports Day! Just like last time! This time, however, I am prepared. Having identified the mystery member of the all-powerful Ents Committee in charge of selecting teams, I have sent in a note from my mum saying I'm allergic to exercise. I've also gathered around me Team Refusenik -- motto, Non Captivant Sunt, Quiviscumque In Laboratore Cleptant (Whomsoever hides themselves in the chemistry labs is not caught) -- and have thus dug out three of my fellows who for reasons of health, good taste or rancid laziness will also have none of the promised three-legged, egg-and-spoon and sack races.
The sports ground was a good hour away across town by coach, which means we had to make our own entertainment for a while. As an irrepressible member of sales promptly started off a game of Rude Charades, Graeme 'Scoop' Wearden flipped through some emails on his 3G-equipped laptop. An interesting press release about the Hi-Tech Crime Unit nabbing some online Russian mobsters got his attention. "Hey, guys, let's have the show right here!" he cried as he dialed up the press officer.
One interview later -- conducted on one ear with the other being lambasted with pornographic film titles -- and the story was in. During the interview, Andy of our sister site silicon.com had been writing a few paragraphs of background: the laptop got passed to production princess Amanda who turned it into two stories, one for silicon.com and one for us, and dispatched via 3G back to the publishing system.
By the time we got off the bus at Perivale, the story was live. Team Refusenik identified and infiltrated the bar, while our more energetic colleagues got down to some serious mud-knee interfacing: everyone happy. Except, we imagine, the Russians.