Prowling my world, camera in hand

20 December 2010

Week 50: pre-Christmas

Filed under: — Administrator @ 08:23

I came back from Tokyo Monday morning after a long flight and an unplanned night at a Madrid hotel–the flight from Munich to Madrid was delayed by snow in Munich, so by the time we landed in Madrid Sunday evening, the last flight to Alicante had left.

After all this excitement, coming back to the routine of the office was undeniably a bit of a downer. There were some events to liven things up a bit, and my PAW this week is mainly about those pre-Christmas events.

My daughter opening a present from Japan. A lady who works at the Japan Patent Office had sent a couple of traditional trays for her:


Alternate 1
On Tuesday night, we had the traditional Christmas Quiz in a nearby bar called The Place. The quiz is organised every year by an English and a Scottish guy from the office. There are usually around 10 teams of eight people each, typically organised roughly by nationality. Here, the quiz has just begun, Mark is asking the very first question. Traditionally, the first question is always one to which the correct answer is “Christmas Island”, and so it was this time:

Alternate 2
Part of the Polish team, PoLocos. The guy in this picture is actually Greek but since he is the boyfriend of one of the Polish girls, he was tolerated:

Alternate 3
Each table was tastefully decorated, partly with Christmassy things and partly with national symbols; so no surprise at the Polish table here:

Alternate 4
The team in action. After each round of 12 questions, the answer sheets are exchanged among teams, so you “grade” someone else’s answers. There are four rounds, and after each round the results are displayed on the screen. The PoLocos did not cover themselves with glory, coming in next-to-last:

Alternate 5
One of the requirements of the quiz is that everyone must wear some kind of headgear while the questions are being asked. Here is a member of the Swedish team:

Alternate 6
A waitress looks on with some bemusement. It is a good night for The Place, with takings on this Tuesday evening that rival those they get when the bar is showing a Real Madrid-Barcelona match on the big screen:

Alternate 7
Now back to the office. We have recently started a photography club at the office, called LightBox, and one of its initiatives this holiday season is the Smile-A-Thon. When people entered the building for work during the past two weeks, they were ambushed and their portrait was taken. Afterwards, they were invited to make a donation to charity, and the picture was put up on a wall in the lobby. Here is part of the resulting picture wall, with yours truly in the middle of the rightmost column:

Alternate 8
Another thing the office does during the weeks leading up to the holidays is to allow charities to set up a table in the lobby and sell stuff to raise funds. We had Oxfam in November selling various fair trade goods, and this week we had Asoka, an animal welfare organisation that runs shelters and arranges adoptions. They brought along this 3-month old puppy and the story has a happy ending–he was adopted by someone at the office:

On Friday night we had the official Christmas party. This year, many more people than usual attended, mainly because we have a new president since 1 October, and so people wanted to hear his speech and in general see whether the ambience would be different from previous years.

Alternate 9
Wilma from the Finance department:

Alternate 10
António Campinos, our new Portuguese president, in conversation with our French HR director:

Alternate 11
Two IT guys, one French and one Dutch, in conversation:

Alternate 12
The Finance department in our office is home to several attractive woman. Here is Pascale:

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