Preventing Change

I've often thought about this particular subject. Sometimes I think about it a lot within a very concentrated period of time. Then, I may forget all about it and first think about it again months later... I am a rather spontanious person on several levels and yet on others not at all. But when it comes to making life-changing decisions (of which there are luckily few) I tend to drag them out.

What does this have to do with preventing change?

Well - as I see it, conscious decisions are sort of a front for the actual change that happens in ones life. Conscious decisions are made based upon a long history of past changes in ones life. You have to look past actual decisions to see the changes I'm talking about preventing. Mostly because it's easy to prevent a conscious decision. It's much, much harder to prevent unconscious changes that occur in ones life. Let's look at an example about the type of changes I'm referring to:

When I was around the age of 14, me and my brother (who is five years older) often enjoyed watching The Simpsons on television. We (or maybe just I) enjoyed it so much that we'd take time out from whatever we were doing and watch it around eight o'clock in the evening. Slowly however, my brothers interest in the show waned. He became disenchanted with its previous flair and would now only watch it if it was a new episode, or he happened to be around the TV when it aired.

I almost refused to accept this, trying to do whatever I could to prevent this change from happening. Explicitly telling him that the show was on, or if it was a new episode or whatever. I remember hoping that I never lost interest in the The Simpsons without really knowing why. I just remember not wanting to stop watching the show. Not because the show was that amazing, I mean it is great but come on, it's still just a tv show. But because I associated the simpsons with a fun side of my life. Something I liked watching because I had a personality that enjoyed it. In a way I suppose I felt something was to be gained from watching it - I thought it was a great show, and personally I still think it is (although the latest seasons can be debated).

Anyway, about five to six years later, my own interest waned. Of course, it didn't just up and vanish from one day to the other but eventually I cared as little about it as my brother did. This is probably due to a lot of things, but nothing that I couldn't have actively prevented. In other words - if I really still wanted to watch the show whenever it aired a new episode, I could. But I don't... And I'm not...

Why the sudden change? I'd love to analyze this side of the topic deeper and I may still do this some day, but right now it's beside the point. The point is I don't regret this change, and even more importantly there is almost an identical situation going on right now.

Being heavy computer users or nerds if you will, both I and my brother have had aspirations of making games. Something along the lines of "I love to play them, why not make them?" even though it's mostly just sweat and blood like a lot of other working environments. Now - we both still play games, but my brothers interest in making games has waned - and I'm afraid mine will too. And as it still hasn't I hope it won't. Arguably, "wanting to watch The Simpsons" and "wanting to make games" are two very different things - but both are a part of ones personality.

It's hard for my brain to grasp the concept of having lost a trait which I now do not regret losing and being afraid of losing another trait which I most likely will not regret losing if lost.

My conclusion so far has been to accept the fact that traits come and go as well as personalities eventually change, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about preventing change. Of course, this issue spans much further than just my own personality. Or rather, because it is focused on my personality - it also has to do with everything forging my personality. Friends, family, people, places and things.

I have a lot of friends I hope I never lose or grow apart from, yet I've tried it before and rarely regret it which probably stops me from doing anything actively to prevent it...

I'm so confused...

I hate mirrors. Really I do. Not the small ones, which are useful for such things as noticing that your collar is turned in before you go to work, or out on that special date.

No, the mirrors I hate are the really big ones, the kind that give you a full body view. They sound really neat when you're twenty-two and have visions of boffing Angelina Jolie dance like sugarplums in your head. Back when I was twenty-two I had a metabolism. My body burned calories like a Hummer burns fossil fuels. I biked ten miles a day, I was a lean, mean virginal machine, and the thought of seeing a woman, any women in my bed was enough to inspire a room full of mirrors.

The trouble is that I'm 48 now. Ms. Jolie hasn't returned a single one of my phone calls. For that matter neither has Angela Lansbury, who seems a far more realistic goal except for being dead.

Worse, my metabolism has decided that it's time to walk. My Hummer has turned into a Toyota Echo. But the old gas tank hasn't shrunk a bit. In fact, from all visible evidence it has grown. My taste buds have not lost their taste for Thurman Burgers, Moretti's pasta primavera, various cheesecakes or any other Sneffish delicasies. No, my love of foods has grown, and the availability of ethnic foods is better than ever.

So last week I decided to drop by Mom's for a quick visit on my way home from flagging the Champ Car race in Cleveland. It was a long weekend, with 12 hour days on track with only a porta-potty for shade. We moved our chairs around it like clockwork to hug what shade we could in the 95 degree heat. And so when I got to Mom's, I was sweaty and uncomfortable.

Mom offered her shower. It was the most wonderful shower I have ever taken by myself.

At least until I got out and looked in the mirror.

I have become Jackie Gleason. The sight of my outer whale had me screaming like Fay Wray.

So from now on it's only dirt, roots and twigs for me. I figure that if squirrels can eat them, so can I. A little habanero juice hides the taste of anything.

So now I sit her wondering how to spice acorns. All because of one big, rotten mirror. Next time I decorate I'm using only small or funhouse mirrors, the kind that make you look tall and thin.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Holy shit. Londons public transport system has just been crippled.

Multiple explosions aong a the metropolitan line apparantly, coupled with some explosions on buses. London transport is claiming its a power surge, but since when did we have electric buses?

Aldgate East. I was there last night, fuck fuck fuck.

Thoughts: This is the day after we get the olympics, and this happens?

20 fatalities so far, but that doesent seem much, if this is terrorism it seems more an attempt to cause panic than death.

For all the talk we hear about organised terrorist cells, terrorism doesent seem to be that hard. All you need are some explosives, and some people to take them somewhere. Or in the case of september the 11th, some pocket knives and some piloting skills. A lot of organisation, sure. But really its surprising this doesent happen more often.

So I guess we will be getting ID cards after all then.

I've just said how I was at aldgate east last night, but everyone I've spoken to has said something similar:"Fuck, thats how I get to work","Man,I go through there every day". As Londoners our transport system is our lifeblood. Its like the bomb went off on everyone's doorstep at once. "The best Londoners can do is not to travel" For how long?

I'm worried about my mum. She called me from a station in central as soon as she heard about the explosions so I know shes not on a train. But I'm worried that she will be hurt if there is a panic. Or worse, that the tube explosions were calculated to get people onto the buses. Nothing I can do right now but shit myself. Probably fine, the number of definite fatalities has dropped from 20 in initial reports to 2. (but speculation at this point is pretty pointless) Everyone else I thought to be around central has called me to say they are ok. Update I worry too much. Shes fine.

Tiefling says I'm glad you think 20 fatalities isn't much. shall I pass your remarks to the bereaved?

I did not mean "20 fatalities, but they're not important." of course they are important! I meant "20 fatalities, but that's not as high a number as I expected." They got us somewhere where we were horribly vulnerable and could have done as much damage as they desired. Consider if one of the bombs on the underground had been a chemical or biological weapon?

I was woken up this morning at about 8am by the door buzzer.

"Who is it?" I asked through the intercom.

"Electricity," came the reply.

"Can you be more specific?" I said.

"Electricity," he said.

"Yes, but what is it you actually want, are you here to read the meter or what?"

"Electricity."

I considered going back to bed, but the buzzer went again, and, throwing caution to the wind, I went and let him in.

"Electricity," he said. "Come to read the meter."

I let him read the meter without bothering to ask why he couldn't tell me that over the intercom, grabbed some food, and set off for work at about 8:45.

I live in Finsbury Park, in London. My normal route is to catch the overground train to Moorgate and catch the tube around through Liverpool Street and Aldgate to Tower Hill. The train was a few minutes late. When it eventually arrived, I got on, but it didn't go anywhere. Eventually there was an announcement that the power had failed at Moorgate and that the train would be diverted to King's Cross.

"Well, might as well catch the tube via King's Cross then, it'll be faster," I thought to myself. I headed downstairs to catch a Piccadilly line train, but as I was about to get on to the crowded train there was an announcement that the Piccadilly line was shutting down, and that customers were advised to use the Victoria line.

"Fine," I thought, "Victoria line then," Along with all the Piccadilly line passengers, I piled onto the next, blessedly empty Victoria line train. Just as it was about to set off, there was an announcement. "Please be advised that due to a power failure this train will not be stopping at King's Cross."

"That's fine!" I thought, the experienced tube traveller. "I will simply change to the Central line at Oxford Circus".

As the train passed through Euston, I heard a station announcement. "All customers please leave the station. We are evacuating due to a warning." It was about this point where I started to think there might be something seriously wrong.

At the next stop, one before I was planning to change, the announcer came online. "Please be advised that this train is going to, er, stay in the station here. We don't... we don't know what's happening up ahead. We'll be stopping here until we... until we know."

"Sod THIS," I thought. "A smart commuter knows when to give up and go HOME." I left the tube station, leaving a tube full of sheep-like commuters who were apparently content to sit there, zombie-like, indefinitely.

My familiarity with London's bus network is almost non-existent, but there was, marvellously, a bus stop right out side with buses going all the way back to Finsbury Park. A bus arrived after only two minutes, and I got on board.

The bus didn't seem crowded, and there didn't seem to be too many people with the same "head back out of London" plan as me. I wondered if I was fussing about nothing, but then I did seem to be able to hear a lot of police sirens, and emergency vehicles were passing all the time, so I remained nervous.

Still, as the bus proceeded back out of the city centre, everything seemed to be pretty normal. I suddenly remembered my new phone has web capabilities, and had a look at the BBC's WAP site. It loaded, slowly, and then the top story was still London's winning the Olympic bid. "Must just be a power failure then," I thought.

Five minutes later, though, a few seats back, I heard someone on his mobile phone. "An explosion? Where?" That sent me back to the BBC site on my phone, but the site was now not responding.

As I got off the bus, I phoned my Mum at home. She told me she'd heard there was some kind of incident, but it wasn't clear what.

At about 10am, I got home. I checked into the catbox to see if anyone knew what was going on. I turned the radio on and BBC Radio One were still playing music, which I thought must mean that things weren't too bad.

I checked my work e-mail account and had a message from the office manager listing "missing" employees, including me, so I had to reply indicating I was fine.

It's about noon now. Over the last few hours, the initial reports of a "power surge" causing the tube problems have evolved into reports of a co-ordinated terrorist attack on both tubes and buses. I can't phone anyone on my landline, or on my mobile. I seem to be able to send texts, though. My sister hasn't replied yet. It's probably just that the network is overloaded, but she works in central London and I would really, really like to hear from her at this point.

Update 12:54 - My sister's checked in with my parents. I knew, rationally, that there was only the tiniest chance of her being hurt but I am still so relieved.


wertperch's writeup for July 6, 2005 currently holds a checklist of britnoders that have reported in that they're OK.

The chatterbox archive shows the day unfolding from the E2 perspective - http://ascorbic.net/catbox/archive/0/1535875/

Just for the record, the problems with my landline turned out to be entirely unrelated to the attacks.

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

FOR LUNCH, I will be going over to the Draught Horse, a bar here on campus for a liquid lunch.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

I don't know about Luther, but I know about history. Joyce said it best--"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Ten years ago, the neoconservative Francis Fukuyama proclaimed The End of History: liberal democracy and capitalism had finally won the Cold War, and it'd be pretty much smooth sailing into Utopia from here on out.

And God said "Ha!"

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Utopia? The end of history? Not quite. Like World War I, the future century was again found in Sarajevo. This blood in my veins, in your veins, is the blood of murderers. Of hunters. Of soldiers. Of those who survived at least long enough to pass on genes. But we aren't all nature--there's nurture, too, and the two principles work together in a sickening cauldron, feeding each other, growing in synergy.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

I don't know what to say. I really don't. I didn't on September 11th, I didn't when Madrid was bombed (except to laugh that they tried to pin it on the ETA in a CYA that backfired). Imperialism breeds terrorism, but so does poverty, so does religious fundamentalism, so does middle class malaise or hyper-intelligence. Think I'm wrong? Look at Ted Kaczynski or the Weathermen.

I'm not sure what I'm saying. But that's nothing new.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

"We must love one another or die." There are a lot of lines from poetry that ride around in my brain, but this is one of the most prominent. I'm an angry person: angry at myself, at my family, at the world. But the anger is born out of frustrated love; Whitman on a bad night.

Terrorism is a frustrated love, and that is one of the most frightening things about it. There's a great line from C.S. Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet, where it's said the more dangerous man is the one who is possessed with a passion, a belief that what he's doing is right, than the one who merely wants to get rich. (I wish I had the book at hand.) It's stuck with me, and comes to the surface right now.

I've been trying to write a play about The Waste Land. Not exactly about Eliot, but about the concept of the Waste Land, of spiritual impotence, about September 11th, about Tarot cards. So I've been reading The Waste Land, murmuring its lines to myself:

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.

That last line--it's Dante, you know: si lunga tratta
di gente, ch'io non avrei mai creduto
che morte tanta n'avesse disfatta.

And there, behind it, marched so long a file
Of people, I would never have believed
That death could have undone so many souls.

One day, we're all undone. And in the meantime? Do what Auden said:

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

I have no answers, only grief. And hope.

Presence of mind, or absence of body?

I'm in New York City, and I'm safe. Thank you to those of you who asked after me, fearing I was in London. Yes, one of the attacks (King's Cross/Russell Square) was close to my usual route to work, at the time I'm normally there. That bombing seems to have been the most lethal. I remember the King's Cross Fire. Fate is not kind to that part of London, it seems.

For whom does the bell toll?

While SharQ's writeup remains unedited, I'd like to say that there have 'only' been four bombings, not seven. The death toll is slowly climbing, though. Each death is an individual and eternal tragedy. We cannot say that fewer deaths matter less.

Unreal City

New York is more like London than any other city outside Europe that I have visited. The Empire State Building looks nothing like I imagined it - I think it had somehow become conflated in my mind with the Chrysler Building. But I seem to remember that the mock Empire State at the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas did match (and therefore reinforce) my mental image. The streets here are endless straight lines, with confusingly similar names. As in California, everything has appeared in some movie or other. Truly unreal.

Wars and rumours of wars

I went down to the International Building at Columbia University, where I'm staying, to watch the TV news. CNN was running nothing but coverage of the bombings in London. Although the reporting was generally good, a number of things struck me:

  • The Prime Minister, in his statement, said: 'I welcome the statement put out by the Muslim Council who know that those people acted in the name of Islam but who also know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims, here and abroad, are decent and law-abiding people who abhor this act of terrorism every bit as much as we do.' CNN summarised this in an on-screen quote box as 'Blair: Bombers acted in the name of Islam'. Even in breaking news, more thought should be taken before doing this sort of thing.
  • A reporter described the attacks as the worst on London since the Second World War. Now it may just be my imaginatgion, but I seem to remember a bunch of attacks (including a double-decker bus with its top ripped off by a bomb right in front of my college) by the IRA in central London. Some (such as the Docklands bombing) were extremely destructive. But as they were carried out by Irish Republicans (partly funded by Americans), they don't count, right?
  • I've been struck several times in my travels through the US by the habit of dropping words like 'Street' from street names. This led to a highly misleading report in the CNN coverage, where we learned about a terror attack on Edgware tube station. There is an Edgware tube station, and it has not been attacked. Edgware Road has been attacked. There's a difference, and people whose loved ones may have been in one location or the other will need the information. 'Liverpool' for 'Liverpool Street' is less misleading, but still confuses and causes us to pause and double-check. Especially when unconfirmed reports have mentioned attacks 'around the UK'.

I have a few things to say. The talk of "who did it and why?" is ticking me off.

Al Queda? G8?

Who fucking cares when it all comes down to it?

In the end all you have are angry people who believe that their cause is worth killing and dying for. People that believe blood is the only way to progress forward.

So they kill some of us. And we're angry, we're frustrated. We attack.

And maybe we kill some of them. But we always hurt and kill other people as well.

And those people become the angry men...

With angry people, one is enough. Enough to wage war, to kill and to fight.

And thus the fucking circle of death continues and we're right back where we started, where you're sitting on a bus and it explodes from underneath you... all because some motherfucker thinks that death is the only way forward and you just happen to be too close...

This morning I routinely opened my laptop after doing the daily daybreak routine. I'm on holiday, so daybreak is much later than usual. I reload the couple of online newspapers I always keep open in my browser and the hairs on the back of my neck stands up in .. terror?

The tube! The bloody TUBE! It's the first thing I do whenever I arrive in London, Liverpool Street station. I get hold of some coins with the Queen on, head over to the ticket machines and get myself a ticket to the London underground. Everybody does that. Every tourist cathing the next train to Bristol and every random traveller heading for Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, British Museum, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square or friendly flats in Twickenham. To me, London is the tube. Too warm, too crowded, too busy, to humid and too London. Ask anyone about any place there. Everything is relative to an underground station. Near Maiden Lane, near Holborn, near Euston, near King's Cross.

Without the tube, London screeches to a halt. A transportational, economical and social standstill. It's one of the biggest cities in the entire world, and now people can't travel through it or around in it. Not easily, anyway.

I've been to all the involved stations at one time or another.

I shoot off an SMS to a Londoner and get a couple of thumbs up. Nobody knows what is going on. It's just after 10 in the morning here, an hour later than what's on the clocks in the neighbour capital. The news outlets are all hearsay and grainy MMS pictures. Confusion. I have StrawberryFrog's mobile phone number somewhere. Where's he? Where's mort? I cannot find his number. Tiefling is in the US, and so is wertperch. SharQ is all over the place, hopefully in Liverpool. What about the others, mostly smiling faces in parks and pubs. I don't even know most of their proper names, much less their phone numbers.

I decide there's nothing I can do but wait it out. The Londoners need the phone lines for more important things now. Don't they?

The news at nine says 37 people have died, apparently nobody I know.

My thoughts are with the dead and their families, and I sincerely hope all the known London britnoders check in okay. I also wish the Edinburgh suit clan gathering aren't evolving into yet another chest thumping exercise. I think we've had enough already.

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." (Samuel Johnson to James Boswell)

Today's events have got me thinking about London: the place where I work; and birthplace of my parents and grandparents, and its place in the world. London is the greatest city in the world, and might just be the greatest city in history. So it's no wonder that in the last two days London was chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2012 games, and by al-Qaeda as the target of their latest outrage.

No other place has had more influence over the world than London. It is at the centre of the modern world, a world that it helped to create. Modern experimental science was born in the laboratories of the Royal Society. Modern democratic politics developed in the Palace of Westminster, the "mother of parliaments". Modern literature and criticism owe their origins to the coffee houses and clubs of the City and west-end.

London is the most multi-cultural city in the world, and always has been. When el Cid drove the Moors from Spain, he also drove out the Jews, who were accepted with open arms by the City, and are still a strong presence now. I see young men with yarmulkes every day on my way to work. A mile east is is Brick Lane, home to thousands of Muslims from Bangladesh and Pakistan: the two communities live side-by-side, largely without trouble. 300 different languages are spoken in London schools.
"London is a roost for every bird." (Benjamin Disraeli, the first Jewish Prime Minister)

London was the founding place of modern commerce - The Bank of England, in the heart of the City, was the first modern national bank. The Royal Mint (under the stewardship of Isaac Newton) produced the first internationally-trusted currency.

“I had been in London innumerable times, and yet till that day I had never noticed one of the worst things about London--the fact that it costs money even to sit down.” (George Orwell)

The people of London are indomitable - whether it's fire, Blitzkreig, IRA bombs or Tube strikes, they unite, survive, and prosper.

"The people of the East End of London - the true cockneys - are a race apart. Most of the men were dockers, all the women cosy. Taken as a whole, they were warm, affectionate, gay, rather reckless, and almost incredibly brave. Sometimes the language was pretty rough, but it was so natural and innocent that it never jarred. One day I came across a small boy crying. I asked him what the matter was, and he said: "They burnt my mother yesterday." Thinking it was in an air-raid, I said: 'Was she badly burned?' He looked up at me and said, through his tears: 'Oh yes. They don't muck about in crematoriums.' I loved them, and I am glad to have been close to them in their hour of supreme trial." (Robert Boothby)]

So, it's no surprise that the IOC and al-Qaeda would choose London. London embodies everything that is great (and admittedly, some of what is terrible) about the Modern world. London has everything that right-thinking people love, and everything that those irrational medievalists hate. How could they not choose London?

"In the days that follow look to our airports, look to our sea ports and look to our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain and around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners, and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential."

"They choose to come to London, as so many have come before, because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail." (Ken Livingstone, Mayour of London)

(Cross-posted from my blog)

London. London. I was born there; lived just below the Northern Line for the first five years of my life. I've always loved the city, despite it being noisy, dirty and crowded; to see it being ground to a halt, so mercilessly paralysed hits home far more than the 9/11 attacks did. There's no gallows humour at the moment, just sheer disbelief.

London's been the victim of terrorist attacks before. The IRA are notorious for their bombing campaigns, but I had never seen one hitting the capital. London was the target of the Luftwaffe's air raids throughout the Second World War, wreaking far greater destruction. But this feels so much more personal.

Oddly enough, if it weren't for Slashdot, I wouldn't have even known about it. Leaving for my driving lesson this morning, everything was fine; the first explosion wouldn't occur for another three quarters of an hour. Checking the BBC's website before I left, all attention was focused on London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. When I got home, an hour later, I didn't think to check again. Instead I went to Slashdot, reading some story or other before stumbling across an Anonymous Coward's posting: "An explosion has occured on the London Underground".

It's not unknown for anonymous users to troll by posting false news, be it by reporting a celebrity's death or by falsifying some other event which would cause a stir. Normally, I'd brush this off, but I still felt I ought to check. And there, sitting on the BBC's website, was that news.

It feels utterly unreal. I've been glued to the TV almost all day, something I never do. Just seeing the blasts and hearing of the casualties makes me want to just curl up and hide - of course you can't escape from this, but you really wish you could. Tomorrow the newspapers will speculate, and already a flock of organisations are claiming responsibility. I just wish they weren't.

I apologise if this feels stream-of-consciousness. I really just had to get this out. My heartfelt condolences go to anyone who was caught up in today's events, and gratitude to all the emergency services.

This is from a writeup I did on my site about the day of bombings. I figure this will be saved longer than my site will.
Unless you're reading this from a cave in Afghanistan, you probably heard a bunch of fucking rookies planned a terrorist attack and executed it this morning.

Being technically adept, I got caught up in this during the ONE FUCKING DAY I didn't have my laptop in its permanent pouch strapped to my back.

News of the attack here, or go to CNN or whatever.

For those that give a good goddamn:
I left for work at 7.50 where nothern line was already a mess due to flooding from the rain. I got to work and was getting shit together to go to the company's webhosting facility. I left my deck at the office.

oops.

As I was leaving Skeeter Spice told me that the whole of the Underground was shut down and cabs were the only way to go. Great. I managed to catch a cab and as we drove through the city you could see something was just not fucking right and shit was goinig down. But nobody knew what the hell was happening.

The guy managed to get me pretty close, but didn't want to get cordoned off by police, so I had to carry the servers about a half a klik to the facility, where I immediately had a smoke while waiting for yummy Spice to show up.

If you've never been in a modern hosting facility, theyre built much like NORAD. These places are supposed to keep your data safe in the event of catastrophy.

The thing is, after the bust, they're sort of sad places to be, but thats not the point.

We were in there about two hours or ss, becuse something ALWAYS goes wrong, and as we were weaving our way out of the place we were talking abuot how one of these places would be the perfect place to sit out a zombie attack, like in the movies.

They're really quite secure.

Anyway, as we get to the lobby, we see these signs:

For their own safety, the staff of the facility will not be allowed out of the building.

Yummy Spice and I just told them to give us our IDs so we could get the hell out of there. the guy at the front desk was niice enough to send an email to my mother telling her I was okay after hearing me say, "Oh, jesus, she's goinig to be flipping the fuck out."

We still didn't know what the deal was or that it was big until we walked by the pub full of speechless people staring at the television. Two pints of Guiness Extra Cold later, while popping SMS messages back to the states, and I was up to speed.

So then the death march began.. well, not death march, but the weather suddenly decided to change from cold and rainy to muggy and warm. This happened as everyone and their mothers decided o start walking home thorugh the city

As soon as we got home, it went back to being cold.

Typical

Thankfully, Skeeter Spice brought my laptop to me from the office, and now I'm online.


Other points: The Mayor of London, who got roused by the press and his handlers from his hotel room in Singapore - probably interrupting his Olympic party involving much booze and snorting drugs off the nubile young bodies of various exotic hookers - gave a better speech off the cuff that Ol' Hhrpaling George.

Best story from today so far:

A friend told us he saw this on television today as news was breaking:

A reporter was all hyped up for getting the "If it Bleeds, it Leads" story, and was interviewing a Brit ho was a car behind the bomb on one of the trains

Reporter: So, you were there, what was it like what happened?!?!?!?

Man: Well, there was a loud noise, and then a lot of smoke.

Reporter: Yes, but, well, what was it like??

Man: Oh, there was certainly a lot of dust.

(trying to work up a frenzy of emotion.) Reporter: Yes, but what hapened to you?!?!

Man: I was knocked down.

Reporter: And what did you do?!?!

(totally nonplussed.) Man: I got up and walked out.

R. basically referred to it as "Going back to the Blitz mentality." I dig my adopted people, even if they aren't impressed by me being just Another Goddamn American.
Being a small part of a historic event like this? Not so much fun, actually.
Still Flyin back to vegas in 3 days with a new outlook on life and not so much hatred of the place.

Of course, the FAA will probably make all of us fly naked as an extra safety measure...

"You! YOU! WITH THE CIGARETTES! Can't bring that foil on the plane. You could folt it up reall tight and poke a stweardess in the neck with it. Nope, gotta dump them. And your clothes! Cant have someone weaving hte threads into a rope and lassoing the crew! GET NAKED SPARKY! What? Are those PUBIC HAIRS... no, we gotta remove them, too... "

Man, now I gotta walk 3 klicks home in the rain.

Fuck.

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