LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
It's Monday and the first email you read is from your Boss saying, "Read and weep my friends!!"
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Bangers and Mash, and Spotted Dick
This Crapolla comes to you from Merry Old England where I am lending a hand to WTHAIS's London office, and chugging a liter and a half of Diet Coke a day.
My flight was 10 hours on a British Airways 747-400 cattle car. Having a window seat, standing periodically was right out. I got the Flight Attendant Babes to unfold me after we arrived.
After checking into my hotel I decided to reconnoiter the area and find the office. The interactive map of London on the internet sent me to Picadilly Circus. The Twinkee had said the office was three doors past the Hard Rock Cafe. Hmmm... Three doors down was a KFC. Perhaps there's a hidden door. I went to the counter and told the pimply-faced youth that "The Colonel" sent me. I was told to push off.
I also noticed that the minute hand on the watch Mrs. Fek'Lar gave me has fallen off. This means both the second, and minute hands were just jiggling around inside the crystal. I could kind of guess what time it was by the position of the hour hand. It was sort of like having a mobile sun dial. But since I couldn't find the office, it really didn't matter what time it was.
The next day I trod off in a completely different direction and found a second Hard Rock. Three doors down, sure enough was WTHAIS (UK) Limited. I made my way down to the dungeon used by Support, Ops, and IT. There really wasn't any challenge to getting in. I announced that security sucked. The IT manager said he would have thrown me out if he had really thought I was a threat. Ok, the Brits can play the game.
Lunch time came around and I whipped out my shades before heading off to forage. I was told there is no sun in England and the shades weren't necessary. It didn't matter, we vampires always wear our shades.
It's mid-night, do you
know where your Queen is?
After work, I walked for about three hours. I saw the Palace, Parliament, the London Eye, the Theatre District, Trafalgar Square, and several other districts. You can walk around here very late at night and be perfectly safe. I got insanely lost and had quite an adventure.
I had stayed awake on the plane which means I was up for about 36 hours before sleeping. This put me into the right time zone, but I kept waking up at 4 AM. It seemed like I over compensated for jet lag. But I knew a crash was on the way. You can't go to sleep at 11 PM and wake up at 4 AM very long before the Sand Man Bitch Slaps you. He finally caught up with me. I dragged my butt back to the hotel after work and fell onto the bed. I slept for three hours. Then I had dinner, a shower, and off for more sleep. The next morning, I woke up at 4 AM, thought, "not again!" rolled over and went back to sleep until 7. The Sand Man had his way with me, but I was hip to his game.
On the way to work I noticed something strange. The office is in a part of town where there are many Embassies. I don't want to say the Japanese Embassy was pushing a false stereotype of Asian drivers. But check out the sign on their door.
Lunch was mostly sandwiches from little shops. The majority of food is not served by chain restaurants. I started eating lamb curry rolled into a pita bread. This was a great fast food. After all, you can't eat lunch at the pub every day. People start to stare and point.
Speaking of signs on doors and little shops; the sandwich shop had a great one. The shop is maybe 10 by 10 feet.
Apparently, there has never been a drought in England. I could tell this by the design of the toilets which appear to flush about 10 gallons of water. Also the showers have no restricters. This alone is almost a reason to come vacation here.
Regarding my one-handed watch, this is a really great idea. The one hand tells you the time in a general sense, but you don't get overly drawn into the details. I mean how many people REALLY need to know the second? And since most people can't seem to ever do things at exact times anyway, do they really need to know the minute? I need to speak to Swatch about this.
The weekend was an adventure in pain. The blister on the bottom on my right foot burst and caused me to hobble around. This cascaded into me changing my gate, which over uses normally not used muscles, which added to the pain. But I work in high tech, I'm used to throbbing pain which is inflicted for no apparent reason.
Saturday I shopped. Harrod's is what every department store wants to be; large, all-encompassing, helpful, and expensive. You can spend the day here. I had a fresh made pasta for lunch, and then trolled the five floors. Harrod's is actually divided into what appears to be smaller shops. This probably helps the psyche of the patrons as most stores in London are very small.
After Harrod's I was really wobbly. Old ladies were trying to help me over the zebra crossings. I went back to the hotel and spent the afternoon in a hot bath.
Sunday was the running of the London Marathon. I was disappointed to not be well enough this year to compete. Instead I took the tube to London Bridge, walked over Tower Bridge, and visited the Tower of London. It rained a lot this day. My only real day of splattering wetness.
Boxers or Briefs?
The Tower of London is normally very crowded on a Sunday. But with all the health Nazis running around in the rain, it was pleasantly deserted. The Tower is more than where the Crown Jewels are stored. It is an ancient fortress where Roman made walls can still be seen. It also houses many examples of armour worn by Kings, including the armour of Charles I and Henry VIII. Henry was fond of faltering himself with a very large armour codpiece. I guess he liked the freedom.
There is also bloody history at the Tower. Kings, Queens and nobles were executed here. Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned here for years. I'm sure you can see why with such fun like this going on, I spend four hours at the Tower.
My real mission on Sunday was for my younger niece who wanted a picture between platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross Station. I guess the locals have gotten sick and tired of kids asking for platform nine and three quarters. They erected a sign on a concrete wall announcing it. One just needs to stand around a bit before observing a child running straight into it and bouncing off. Silly Muggle.
I had been planning to go to Paris for the weekend before heading back home. I've decided to give that a miss. Between my painful leg, and a few rainy days, I still had quite a lot to left to see in London. I still had St. Paul's, Hampstead Heath, and the Globe Theater to go to. I also needed to do some pick up shots of Tower Bridge. My white balance was off on the rainy day. I also still hadn't found the TARDIS.
I had brought plenty of things to do in case I hated the UK, I had two books, ten movies, and a ton of software I needed to write. I did watch a couple of films but that was either late at night, or while soaking my blisters. I'm pretty happy that almost nothing got done.
Sunday night I crammed everything back into my bags and started to formulate my strategy to get past all the security at the airport. Unfortunately, London Heathrow sucks beyond belief. Some of my old managers must run the place. The flight to San Francisco takes off from terminal 1, but the signs say terminal 4 so that's where the taxi takes you. Getting to the right terminal would be easy if you weren't lugging 80 pounds of stuff.
Next, you have to find the right ticket counter. Best ask for directions, or you'll be SOL. After getting my boarding pass, I'm informed that I was "randomly selected" for a search. I was taken to a little room where a kid ran his fingers through my dirty laundry (everyone needs a hobby). After the search I was directed to the metal detectors. But wait, no one has told me which gate to go to. I'm told that will be announced within a hour of the take off time. Huh? Don't they know where they left the plane five hours ago when it landed?
I get through the metal detectors and slouch about the duty free shops. An hour before take off, there is an announcement to go to gate 51. Right after I hand the ticket taker my boarding card, I'm informed that I have been "randomly selected" for a search. You know, because I might have bought a tactical nuke in the duty free. (I hate paying taxes on WMDs.) I'm finally on the plane and headed home.
London has been very fun. If there's ever an opportunity to get your boss to send you with an expense account, take it.
Posh and Dave's Marriage on the Rocks!
American's Have No Idea What We're Talking About.
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"Have fun; buy souvenirs; our economy needs you!"
"He's a very confused individual. I'm not sure he should be using UNIX."
"That's in chapter two of my new book, 'Genocide for Beginners.'"
"I'm going to the toilets to slit my wrists. I might be some time."
"The phrase 'Thick-As-Shit' was invented for this customer."
"It's not an error message. It's a trivia question."
"Remember, their competence is our enemy."
"I smell greasy food. Is Fek back?"
"I stole one of your French Fries."
"In Idaho we call that 'rustling'"
Time to fill out the expense report.
(The Last Honest Geek)
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