March 30th, 2007

aibo, sleepy, cute

Post written from Heathrow airport some number of hours ago.

Failed to get on the 12:15 flight. It was so full that they offered two passengers $500 to get off it! So the ~8 or so of us on standby had no chance. Now waiting for the 14:30 and sincerely hoping I get on it, because otherwise I can see myself getting stuck in Chicago overnight.

Flying standby from Heathrow Terminal 3 is, btw, a complete fiasco. Collapse )

When I finally get to Minneapolis, I will so need to get a nice meal and a shower. My skin and mucous membranes feel dirty and dehydrated from the horrible dry air.
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cn tower

standing by

After moaning about flying standby, I should point out the rather nice sense of camcaderie that prevails among some of the standby passengers. I'm sure there are people who resent everyone else in case they "do" them out of a seat, but after a few hours of hanging round the terminal you do recognise each other. And a lot of the standby passengers have interesting reasons for their flexible or disorganised travel arrangements.

I got chatting to one guy who's a member of flight crew for American Airlines, and his 75 year old mother. They were returning from taking his father's ashes back to the UK for burial. Another guy was returning home after 7 months working for the US Government in Afghanistan. He had been travelling for almost 24 hours already, and needed to get another connection at Chicago. But he was very much looking forward to getting back to his wife and 2 year old daughter and 9 day old son. We talked about how wonderful the internet is - apparently every day before work he talks to his family via webcam.

He thought I had a lovely accent. But after a mere - er, I'm so confused by all the time zone changes that I have no idea how long I've been - ok, after lesss than a day talking to Americans, I can feel my vowel sounds slipping. I'm going to be completely mid-Atlantic by Saturday, I know!

entry I wrote on the tram this afternoon

Last night, I was successful in achieving finding my roommate, a long hot shower, and food. The food was a 10" pizza from Pizza Luce, the place I was looking forward to because of the sheer number of vegan options on their menu. I was not disappointed. Had pizza with vegan soy cheese, roasted red peppers and what was billed as veggie sausage but was actually more like thick-cut soy mince. It was so good. I also got an amazing chocolate-covered peanut butter bar. Both of the above foodstuffs were so incredibly rich that I could only manage half of them. Photos have been taken but can't be uploaded until I'm back with a real computer.

I have now had sleep and feel like a human being again. Alarmingly, my body decided it should wake up at 7.40am - this following approximately 24 hours awake, which itself followed 2 hours of sleep. Hmm. The "going to North America and becoming a morning person" never ceases to amaze me. It's because my natural body clock is on East Coast time. In New York, I go to bed at 11.30pm and wake up around 8am. This is so weird!

This morning, Cally & I met kightp and John, who had just arrived on the train. I congratulated Pat on her l33t HTML skills (as the official alt.polycon website looked identical on my Windows mobile as it did on the PC). Then Cally & I went shopping: to the post office to drop off parcels for US-based friends, to Target, and finally to a bread shop for a baguette and orange juice (me) and hot soup (Cally).

I am horrified to discover from Target just how badly ripped-off we Brits are. I picked up Pokemon Ranger for $24! Not only is it delayed and now not even out at home for another two weeks, it'll come out at £29.99 or £34.99. In the same way, the exact same HP ink cartridges that cost me £24.99 in a normal shop and £19.99 in the most discounted shops were on special offer for $16.47! I mean, WTF? I was expecting to pay the same number in US $ that I normally pay in UK £, but I was not expecting to be paying only 2/3 of that number!

Now I'm on a tram to the Mall of America, where I will continue to shop for a few more hours. Alt.polycon isn't starting tonight until 5pm, so I have a while...
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cn tower

The Mall of America broke my brain!

Collapse )

The Mall of America is a scary, scary place. I'm not sure I can sum up succinctly why. The fact it contains a wedding chapel where you can get legally married (providing you are an opposite-sex couple and neither of you is already married) may have something to do with it. Also the food courts were absolutely terrifying. The only things I saw that did not contain more fat in just one meal than I usually eat in an entire day were the fruit juices and water. The level of artificial colourants was also fearsome. In the UK we have recognised that these things are bad for you and taken steps to limit their use: not so here where cookies contain alarming levels of bright red, blue and green.

I hit the Hot Topic, both Gamestops, and a shop selling Minnesota souvenirs. Then I headed back to the hotel for the alt.polycon introductions panel.
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    okay okay
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