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Back Buzz - December 21, 2008

pumping heartLunch Station, 327 Glossop Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

I don't have many occasions these days to try sandwich shop espressos. This past week, however, I had just enough time between a job interview on Sheffield's Ring Road and my job in Collegiate Crescent to stop somewhere along the way for a quick sandwich and espresso. Entering Glossop Road near the University of Sheffield Information Commons I was very tempted by the lovely aroma wafting from a little cafe that used to be the popular Scott's Pantry; and when I noticed they sold not only sandwiches but proper falafels, I started salivating nostalgically, remembering the exquisite pleasures of Me & Me in Los Angeles, Adeeb's Deli in Long Beach, and Kosher Delight in Seattle.

But alas, there was no room to sit inside on this cold December day, so I settled for the sandwich shop next door, the Lunch Station, as they had a few empty stools at the window counter.

I parked myself on a stool and ordered a sandwich and an espresso. My sundried tomato, basil, and mozzarella panini was tastier than most sundried tomato, basil, and mozzarella paninis I've had simply because there was an abundance of sundried tomatoes, which I think helps to flavour the slightly bland-tasting mozzarella. And the fact that a very smiley sandwich man proudly brought it out to me instilled a feeling of confidence as to the quality.

My double cappuccino, on the other hand, was stunningly wrong in all respects. I suppose it might fit the bill as a latte macchiato, which is hot milk marked with espresso. But it was certainly not an espresso macchiato, where the espresso is marked with milk foam. As I picked up the large cup filled to the brim with steamed milk there was no way I could hide my complete and utter shock and disgust -- after all, I'm a happily neurotic American, not a stiff-upper-lip Brit. It was a good thing I'd already had my minimum daily caffeine requirement in preparation for my job interview.

The sad thing is that the Lunch Station advertises their coffee, La Vazza, with a countertop display showing how the most common 4 espresso drinks are made. And one of the 4 is espresso macchiato, described as "a shot of espresso marked with a little frothed milk". I think there's definitely a lesson to be learned here...

Right where the Lunch Station is located, Glossop Road is met by the jauntily diagonal Clarkson Street. (Is that Jeremy Clarkson himself I see speeding directly towards me in his Lamborghini Gallardo?) And directly across the street is the West End Pub. As I gave up on my large glass of hot milk, wondering where that slight sweetness was coming from, I thought perhaps I should have gone for a pre-work pint instead.

Speaking of lattes dressed in macchiato clothing reminds me of a recent increasingly Businessspeak e-mail exchange with a workmate when I was having trouble getting an organisation-wide link sent to me:

I can't forward the employee opinion survey to you because the link is identified to a single user.

So if you don't get a copy yourself, I suggest you scream in all directions possible. Or just ask for one. Whichever seems the more fun. Right...I've sent out a scurry of e-mails, first to the Vice Chancellor of the University. Then I checked the Staff Intranet and found an e-mail address for CT at the bottom of the VC's letter about the survey, so I e-mailed CT. A minute later I received an e-mail from an AH saying if an employee hadn't received the e-mail to let EO know. So I've also e-mailed EO.

Now everybody knows. I've let the cat out of the bag -- I didn't get an e-mail with a link to the survey. But I will not hang my head in shame... I'm glad you've had plenty of emaily fun this morning. It shows your dedication. Now even the big boss knows how much you value a healthy staff morale. Who knows, tomorrow you might be Pro-Vice Chancellor. Just wanted to touch bases with you and inform you both AH and EO e-mailed me back and said they're on the case. Looks like my plate should be full in the timeframe provided; otherwise I'll have to take the whole ball of wax off the back burner, run it up the flagpole, and see if it has a clickable link.

(Sorry -- just practicing my Managerese in case I get a promotion...) Do you think you could pop all that in a PowerPoint presentation for me? It might help put flesh on the donkey. Then maybe we could ride it all the way up the hill and see if it works as a sledge when turned upside down. That might inflate a few prophylactics come the sub-committee Existential Gathering this Friday. I'd love to be a fly on the wall while they attempt to untwist their underwear on that particular nub of a crisis. But I've a round of golf to put in with the Minister for Business Junketry and Chipolatas.

Hope to touch bases again later in the week. Maybe you should have another go at booking that room online.

Until then,

Shalott Palace
Advisory Enigmatist Overseer to the Development of Cheese Faculty I'll expedite identifying the players first, just as a proactive measure. Then I can import them to my Calendar and set it on vibrate to remind me in the near timeframe. I'll network with you at a later point in time about that proposal, and we can throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. Need to action this communication so we should have our secretaries arrange to do lunch soon.

JC "Dirk" Mitchell
Vice Chancellor

...and because this is my End Of The Year column, I'll include another exchange. This time it's a text message exchange dressed as an e-mail exchange between me and Drewline, who always lets me know in an anagrammatic way if he's picked up the day's Guardian:

Got Giruanda. What are we supposed to feed our giruanda? Is it housebroken? Can you pick up a vivarium and 18 kilos of wet arugula on your way home? No problem and I'll get some oxolythinium tablets for the vivarium in case we need them. No way, I'm gonna throw him out because he does'nt even know whwere to put his apostrophes. Does that mean the house is littered with dangling participles? Oh well, needed a hoovering anyway. Sorry, got to run before he split's an infinitive!? Im' sure he's still messing with stuff. Okay, just don't let him conjugate on the sofa.