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Weekending in Britain - The Cover Story
October 2013
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 08:56 am
Weekending in Britain

Well, well. Friday was interesting. The day started off as many of the others had, breakfast with Tom and Steve, then off to the client site to prepare for the onrushing work day. Today Tom was demonstrating CranBerry, the tool we use at BackOffice. I've seen the presentation a dozen times now, but it never seems to get old. Tom has this enthusiasm that's simply contagious, and even the umpteenth time, you find yourself getting as excited as he is. That took all morning, and went well.

Around 1345 local, Tom got a call from our office. It seems there had been an accident. A fire had broken out at our headquarters building (I was suddenly very glad I hadn't spent an inordinate amount of money to ensure the training server got there the previous day. With only 15 minutes to go before we began the workshop on web development for our student, which Tom was leading, our CEO was in a foul mood. We pushed the class back half an hour, and he was able to talk enough to the people back in Brewster to realize the situation, although dire, was completely under control. He made a few adjustments to the organizational structure to make sure the other tenants in the building were taken care of, and he calmed himself enough to take the class through a rather successful series of exercises.

After that, we went to the pub.

Shortly after noon on Saturday I finished the first Myst novel, the Book of Atrus. It was actually surprisingly well-written for a novel based on a videogame universe, and even had strategically placed illustrations to aid in the complex environments it described. The writing style was a little heavy on the detail, but then, that's my opinion, so most people will probably find it at perfectly acceptable levels. The book did, however, leave me with the explicable urge to play Myst, so I thought to take care of that by walking up to High Street in Slough to buy a copy.

Its about a half-hour's walk from my hotel to the shopping district of Slough. The first thing I noticed as I started down the street were the cameras. There were cameras everywhere. On every single lamppost, there was a video camera. I presume they were real and not mockups, but suffice it to say that had I been mugged as I walked into a large shopping mall, it would've been one of the best recorded crimes in history.

Moving on to the interior of the Queensmere Shopping Center, I sacked the local videogame store, appropriately called "Game", and when they only had Myst V, I went on out the other side of the mall and continued down High Street. It was here I came across Gamestation, the EB-equivalent in Britain. These chaps when back one game further -- they had Myst IV. I sighed, and bought it for only 9 pounds.

Up until this point in my stay in Britain I hadn't called back to the United States. The hotel's rate for direct-dial from my desk phone to the United States was 5 pounds per minute. Totally unacceptable. So I walked into a Car Phone Warehouse, one of what seemed like a dozen mobile phone stores about. Seriously, the Queensmere Shopping Center had mobile phone stores and kiosks in density that I more often associate with designer clothing stores in malls. On the plus side, Britain apparently understands how mobile phones should work. I walked in, bought a phone, plunked down 10 pounds for prepaid calling time, got a SIM card for the UK, made up an address, and off I went, with a new phone number and a phone a few hours' charge time from ready-to-rock.

That afternoon I played Myst IV (the installer for which seems to be kerbroken), and read some more. Around 1930 I called for room service to bring dinner up, and thirty minutes later, there was a knock on my door. I opened the door to be looking at verrucaria's room-serving clone. I half expected her to ask me if I couldn't get my own food these days.

Sunday proved unimpressive. I played Myst IV and read more. I intended to go to Royal Navy Submarine Museum, but the heat was a bit oppressive and I decided against doing anything that would be me in direct sunlight on the water for some time. The rest of the day passed uneventfully.

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Current Location: Maidenhead, England, UK


E. Go
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 08:59 am (UTC)

*cough* IV, V, VI.

The Myst books were a satisfying read.

Robert Bronzite
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC)

No, no. This was Myst VI, with Edgar and Terra and Kefka. It only Myst IV in the United States.


ReplyThread Parent
E. Z.
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 09:24 am (UTC)

Glad I still put the fear of proverbial deities in you.

Robert Bronzite
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)

I wouldn't say the feat of proverbial dieties.

The fear of human cloning, perhaps.

In 198X.

ReplyThread Parent
E. Z.
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)

Well, there's always monozygotic twins. But, no, I don't think I have a long-lost twin. My sisters would've noticed. :)

ReplyThread Parent
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)

I love ya to death, Ev, but if I were in London and someone I thought was you came to my hotel room to clean it? I'd be scared too.

ReplyThread Parent
That gorgeous vixen
Mon, Jun. 12th, 2006 10:45 am (UTC)

I have heard that Britain has the highest concentration of surveillance cameras in the world. I don't really know who owns them or what they do with them, but the British public seems not to mind being watched from 3+ angles at all times.