Sunday, 20 November 2005

Manuel in London

You just know that Manuel from Fawlty Towers has moved to London and opened his own hotel when you see above note on the window in your room.

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

London Death Star

The Sith appears to have begun construction of a Death Star just across The Thames from Tower of London.

The photo is not very well composed, but I love the depth that the smog gives.

Vauxhall Subway Auto Transporter

Vauxhall Subway Station is located just across The Thames not far from where we live.
Somehow I can't shake the impression of looking at a Winnebago stuck on the lower level of an auto transporter.

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Night Time At The Camping Ground

Tent is our choice of accomodation when camping and the noise of zippers is one of thing I forever will associate with camping.

You dream and to find yourself somewhere in southern Europe in a town square by a fountain. One of those fountains with figures of baby boys with angel wings blowing a horn or playing a harp while peeing in a great big arc into a pond. From the pond a small stream is running out through the town into the woods. You follow the stream. The stream expands into a river. You are on a raft being carried by the current down the river. The current becomes turbulent and the shores can no longer be reached or seen. The raft are now accelerating towards a void. You are thrown over the edge, forever falling and you wake up with a start in your tent. Something doesn't feel quite right. You are still half asleep and it takes a long time to realise that it is your bladder that has woken you up. For the longest time you try to convince yourself that it can wait until the morning. This of course is not possible it's a pressing matter and can't be ignored, however comfortable you are. You don't really want to leave your warm bed to walk across to the toilet block. Consideration for the better half complicates things. You have to dress for the occasion without kicking the wife in the head. I just know the one night I decide to walk to the toilet block in my undies, or less, somebody will direct a huge bright spotlight in my direction and shout: “Who goes there?”. I can never figure out what is least annoying with a tent zipper; quick and loud or slow and quiet. Just getting out is three zippers, mozzie screen, inner tent and outer tent.

On the way back to the tent the reward is the view of the night sky (too busy to look when going the other way). Out the in bush, with no light pollution from nearby cities, the Milky Way is visible in all its glory. If not for the cold and the mozzies I could spend hours just marveling at all the stars and watching for satellites passing overhead and streaks of meteorites burning in the upper atmosphere.

Three zippers again and back to a warm bed.

From underneath the covers sounds a tired voice: “I told you not to drink that beer before you went to sleep”.

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

HA HA HA, that wacky school board in Kansas

The Kansas Board of Education has just by voted that evolution is wrong and that we all are created by a higher being.
They seem to be really set to erode the basis of their own civilisation, namely science.

See the article here: CNN

Hong Kong Express

Traveling in Asia is always a joy. Most of the time you can afford a better class of hotel than you would in Europe. All hotels seem to have the same layout, its just the state and age of the furniture and the TV that separates them (I am disregarding Royal and Presidential suites here).
The very first thing I inspect when I enter a new hotel room is the bathroom. For some reason the toilets you find in hotels are different from what you would find in a home. They seem to have a fondness for what I call the "Scary 2000 Model". When you flush it the water comes into the bowl kinda swirling around while the water level, and content, rises with an alarming speed toward the edge. All instincts say "lets get outta here", I storm out of the bathroom and slam the door and lean against it until I am sure that things didn't go as horrible wrong as I thought they would. Of course my other half will wonder what I am doing and...

Wife: "What's happening?"
Me: "eh... nothing... nothing..."
Wife: "you were playing with toilet again, weren't you"
Me: "no no, I was just... you know.. I'll just go wash my hands"
Wife: "You better get used to it, we are for five days"

Of course I never can get used to it, even though the water level always miraculously stops about 2 millimeters from the edge and get sucked out with a big 'SLURRRRP' sound.

The TV is important, they might show a Simpson's episode I've only seen three time before. The bed cover as usual is tucked by the Super-maid. When untucking it all the sheets come lose and during the night they all crumble up down at your feet. I stay clear of the fridge, a Coke from there will require you to use the equity in your house. Then I throw aside the curtains to reveal...

Saturday, 5 November 2005

London as seen on your HP Sauce bottle

This morning I spent some time going through my some of all my photos on my hard drive. After I've gone digital my collection of photos has gone up sharply and need heavy weeding as to not fill my hard drive completely.
I came across the photo above and it somehow seemed familiar, apart from that it is obviously of the parliament building.
Later that day, after we had been shopping and was putting our groceries away, I came across a bottle of HP Sauce and the mystery was solved. A typical example of art imitating condiments.

Thursday, 3 November 2005

London Post Office

Went to a Post office to snail a package. The people behind the counter was completely encased in in bulletproof glass, it was like walking into the cellblock where they kept Hannibal Lecter. In order to hand over large items that doesn't fit through the breathing holes, they have a drawerlike arrangement, very much like the one Hannibal had.

"A census came to my door, I ate his stomach with some chips and a nice vinegar... ftp... ftp...ftp..."

Yuck! the food habits here.....

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

London Photos

The other day I found a program called Autostitch on the net. It's meant to be used to stitch a bunch of photos into a panorama view automatically. I only had a few suitable photos to test it with, but boy! did my jaw drop? Anyone who have tried to use the built-in stitcher in photo editor packages knows that it is hard and frustrating work to create a good seamless panorama. Autostitch will just ask for your pictures with a standard windows file requester and in less than half a minute you got your perfectly stitched panorama. It might need a little cropping to get rid of some rough edges, no big drama.

So today I took my camera for a walk around London to get some more raw material and here is a few of the results. The photos don't have to be aligned horizontally like above, a shotgun scattering of photos doesn't tilt the program at all. The photo below here of the London Eye is made up of 10 different pictures, some low, some high from left to right.

Tuesday, 1 November 2005

The Twelve Apostles

While driving across Australia, from Perth to Queensland, we made an effort to see as many sights as we could. One sight high on our list was The Twelve Apostles.
The Twelve Apostles is a row of limestone stacks found off the coast of Victoria in Australia. They where created by the sea eroding the coastline leaving the stacks standing free in the sea only a few meters off the beach.

When we got there we could only count eight stacks and not twelve, as you would expect from the name. A sign at the visitors center proclaimed that there had only ever been nine stacks (well... ever since people started to care about these things).
While we where doing the tourist thing, taking our photos, a man and his family was doing the same. The man was explaining, with a pronounced Italian accent, to his wife and three daughters that the last time he was here, some years back, the pile of rubble just beneath the viewing platform had been a stack as well. His family did not believe him and there was a lot of rolling eyes, as he got more and more insistent that his story was true. Poor guy, alone against four women....

Latter that day in a motel as we watched the news on TV we learned that one of the stacks had collapsed the very morning we where there. It had happened only one hour before we got there and had only been witnessed by one family. Only one member of the family had seen it happen.
So this day, July 3rd 2005, we where one hour late to see one of those things you only hear about in the news.
Still we came pretty close when you think of the thousands (dare I say millions?) of years these stacks of limestone have been standing.