The cotton-wool, dipped in hint of stomach acid, thickens in his head. Focusing on anything today except imminent nausea is going to be tricky. Last night’s recorder, luckily, is in his bag. No real idea how that happened. No recollection of actually picking it up as they were ejected at OMG-is-that-the-time o’clock. Or maybe that had happened earlier. Vague visions of an off-the-record session, but no details surface. He should check the recording to see if it had worked ok, but fears even sounds-of-pub would tip him over the edge into an undignified lurch to the loo.

Now standing up, going through the motions. The daily why-do-we-actually-have-to-stand-up standup. Chel, pleasingly, looks as rough as he feels. But, no lightweight she, rattling though the previous day’s doings. On the agenda today? Ah, mixed emotions, for it is a FUMTU situation. No mere SNAFU this. Too many and too serious problems have built up. The Uncles have thrown away all pretense of empowered teams and mandated AHOD. All Hands On Deck. Shore leave is cancelled. A flotilla of approaching icebergs have been spotted, and we really really do not want to hit any of them.

Ah well, nothing distracts so well as a bit of panic.

The list, being posted now, is ordered according to loss, or likely loss, of revenue.

People are unsubscribing, because…

People are not subscribing, because…

People are complaining, because…

Competitors are winning, because…

Eli scans the list. Has anything of his blown up?

Subscription stuff is, apart from being possibly, no, definitely, the most tedious aspect of the whole system, nothing to do with him. Straight down to are complaining. Not a long list, as AHODs go. Trading. Nope. Costumes. Nope. Trees. Well, ok, maybe trees. Not his any more, but AHOD. Trees killing players? There’s a new one. The day looks better already.

The religion thing can wait, for there are wild, rampaging, blood-thirsty trees to lasso.

The stand up stands down. Eli wanders over to Gwen. “Stu off?”.

“Yeah. You offering?”

“Can do. We already have blame assignment sorted, with Stu not here, just need to find the actual bug”.


“Oh, more than carnivorous trees?”

“Yeah. Too many carnivorous trees. Did you not read the whole list? We have got ourselves a contradiction. People are complaining because too many trees in the way, but Competitors are winning because they have more foliage.”

“Oh, sad face. Politics’n’psychology’n’shit. You taking that one then? You’re better at explaining the basics to idiots. I’ll have a crack at the Cujo-trees.”

“Done. But, and this is important, I want you to leave some comments in the code, in the actual code, in the actual code that you wrote and you are now going to have to read again, or possibly for the first time, explaining what each bit does and in what order. I will not accept your bug fix unless all that is done and there is a big apology in the submission, explaining what went wrong and why what went wrong was not covered by the tests you have never written.”

“That’s a bit judgmental. It pre-supposes much”.

“Nope. Safe bet. Checked with Stu the Sick just now, he has not touched the tree code, and neither have I. The tree code we got wholesale, root and branch, from you, not one month ago, with verbal assurances of perfection stated in front of witnesses. The tree code which now appears to be eating people”.

“Actually eating them?”

“No, more like whipping them to death, but the complaints coming in are quite graphic. The players are taking it personally. The shrubbery is, and I quote, not meant to be fatal.”.


  • pub folk: Eli/Chel/Greg/Ian/Beryl
  • it’s the breeze
  • all the trees share the same motion params: one waves, all wave
  • quick fix, turn off the breeze.
  • longer fix, make each tree move independently, and within limits (or snap in a gale)
  • blame assignment complicated: wave-in-breeze code was Eli’s, but there was no breeze yet at handover. Stu has activated breeze for low-level foliage, but had not checked trees, assuming Eli had tested.