Sunday, June 28

Cosmic Karma and other thoughts regarding London

So there I was, Heathrow Airport. Passed Customs. Tax free zone. A book store. Three sections: Sci-Fi, Fatnasy and Historical novels. Twenty Brittish Pound Sterling to burn and a two for the price of one deal on all three sections...
And I couldn't find two books that sparked my interst! I either had everything, or they were the kind of books commissioned to appeal to 15 year olds as imagined by by 50 year old executives, or the trilogy/series would be missing its first installments.

That's what happens when you start printing "It's all Lani's fault!" t-shirts. Cosmic balance takes it out on me.
I feel you ought to be aware of that.

Other thoughts and comments after a short city-trip to London:

The London Underground:
Public transportation PA systems around the world are all the same. There's only one volume setting which is just too low for while the train's moving and a lot too loud when it isn't. The same volume is used on platforms meaning you need the background noise of a train rushning by to understand what is being announced. Finnaly, public announcers around the globe all seem to want to try to eat their microphone while making an announcement.

It took me less than 4 hours to 'go native' in the Underground and not bother getting my Oyster Card out but just slap my wallet agains the yellow Oyster pads. Also every Londoner must have an instant instinctive grasp of relativity. If not it can be explained to them as follows; "You know how the humid, sweat-ridden and stale air of the Underground stations actually seems like an improvement when getting out of one of the trains? That's Relativity". It still beats taking the Tram from Scheveningen to The Hague Central during rush hour on a "Beach Day" with all those wallrusses housewives who think leaving the beach at 17:30 will mean they can have the 18:00 train and be home before hubby gets through traffic. Then again, few things don't beat that.

The usual suspects:
Phè is lot taller than I always imagined but as nice a person in person as you'd come to expect from meeting her online. And my suspicions regarding her avatar control have been confirmed. Evil Geek is uncannily like I imagined he would be after having seen his picture, to the point of giving me de-ja-vu. Tribina and Trinneke also are pretty much the same way they are online; Down to Earth, decent people who know how to enjoy Life.
God knows what they all think of me now. Especially Trinneke who managed to throw me off considerably by making me shift from "English mode" to "Dutch with a heavy Belgian accent" with results that were kinda like *blink* *blink* "Eh, what?". But apparently I look a lot like Maya, so I can just go "It's all Maya's fault!". Since I believe he isn't quite the bookophile I am, cosmic repercussions should be manageable.

Camden Stables:
After all the furore about Camden Town Market at Geek's birthday bash I naturally had to go see for myself. My overall impression: "Didn't I just spend two days visiting this place in virtual form?". I.e. Today's Second Life, especially the sections where you can get much needed freebie clothing for your avatar, is pretty much Camden Market with some houses and land for sale. You can buy pretty much the same clothes in both places, maybe a bit more male clothing in Camden and something other than t-shirts in Second Life. The female clothing is pretty much cut off the same cloth. The main difference being in SL you can adjust your shape to fill out the clothes as needed. I got a 'Something, somewhere went horribly wrong' and an 'Unknown Pleasures' t-shirt.

St Paul's Cathedral:
Dear Visitor, this is a house of worship so kindly respect this by keeping your voice down and by not using your mobile phone or excessive photographs byond this point (Yes, I'm looking at you Asians now) while inside the cathedral. In short, keep your gob shut and hand over 11 quid since we all converted from Anglicism & Catholism to Capitalism in here.

London Tower:
Ok, so we all know Brittish people have this queueing fetish and can stay at it for hours.
The rest of us, the other 98% of the world however tend to get belligerent when having to wait over 45 minutes in a queue with the only entertainment a bunch of overweight Americans trying to get money from an ATM because they can't pay for tickets through Credit Card. This really pales as a form of entertainment after about 15 minutes. Also it's worthy of note Brits seem to be less happy about queueing when it's said Americans causing it.

London London:
Ever notice how eveyrthing in London tends to have the word 'London' as a pre-fix? A barber isn't just a barber, it's a London Barber. The same for nearly every ohter service or shop. London itself is London England though. As if it's the London version of the whole of England or some such. Or maybe London London sounded to much like the way the rest of us tend to pronounce things like LLoyd or LLondon?

Brittish news:
You know, I think something may of happened to Michael Jackson? He's on the telly a lot today.
Ok, that probably wasn't just in the UK. It was a slow newsday everywhere and it is kinda a big item I suppose. But would it really have hurt BBC News to mention Farrah Fawcett's demise once every other hour or so? You know for variety and giving people the sense you actually have more than one item of news?

In closing:
If Phè ever offers you a "less walky" itinerary for the day, don't even bother hiding. RUN! ;-p


  1. Oh! I probably should have mentioned for Geek's roommate's benefit that I failed in the quest to pee on the Big Ben, which she bestowed upon me.
    My shy by nature bladder becomes downright reclusive when Japanese tourists with their camera's are involved. The assault rifle bearing police didn't really help either. Wheat happened to the Brittish "Bobbies" who don't carry firearms?

  2. *grin* It is not all my fault the tubes decided to go all in maintenance mode. I guess you have to come back again sometime soon to properly relax with a cup of tea overlooking the Thames in Richmond.

    But overall I had a wonderful time. It started off with a great evening at Hoxton Square. It was the first for me to meet any virtual person. Although I had seen Geeky's picture my brain was still expecting to see some sort of Guildwars EG look-a-like. Trib and Trin on the hand were much closer to what I expected. And besides being somehow bigger than I expected, Lani is still very Lani. I hope to meet all of you again. It was a really great evening.

    Having Lani over the floor for two more days was swell as well. There is actually not much difference between a virtual friend and a real friend. Just as we have great fun running around virtual worlds together, the same applies to doing that in London.

  3. "Just as we have great fun running around virtual worlds together, the same applies to doing that in London."

    So true, though I do appreciate not encountering a certain Raki's tendency to lead me into insta-death areas, although there was that wrong exit at the Underground near the Science Museaum. That 4-dot traffic looked distinctly purple on my con.