June 16th, 2010

me: wrong side of the mirror

Internet Meets Meatspace. With elephants.

Elephant Parade: Dedicated to the Wonderful Chelsea PensionersMy Monday was internet-friend-tastic. I lunched with cheekytubemouse at the Hereford Arms on Gloucester Road. It was her last day in London and our first time meeting in meatspace, so I took the liberty of having a longer break than usual to sit and chat about jobs and relationships and sightseeing. Also, to have bitter shandy and fish and chips. Nom. I walked her to the Natural History Museum entrance before shooting back to the office. She must have brought me good luck, because in the afternoon we managed to convince JPL to reboot a router and all the server troubles we've been having for the past four days melted away. Next time something goes wrong with our ops computers, I'll be looking to you to help us out with your magical unfuxoring powers, cheekytubemouse.

In the evening, I meandered off to the pub to meet [personal profile] kake, [personal profile] bob, and a whole host of others whose online identities I didn't discover. We sat in the Imperial and attempted to talk over the angry droning bees (vuvuzelas) coming from the Italy-Paraguay match. We mostly succeeded, though it was a relief to move the restaurant for our Hunan meal, coordinated by [personal profile] kake. We ordered 13 dishes - meats and vegetables, pickled and hot, smoked and dry-fried. Finely chopped chillies and garlic garnished most of our selections. I ate green beans, daikon radish, asparagus, smoked pork, chicken, spicy beef, mashed aubergine ("Hunan guacamole"), cabbage, tree fungus, pigs blood and other delicious and unidentifiable things. The croning dish was a delicate flaky white fish in garlic and chilli sauce (of course). We polished it off with great enthusiasm and washed it down with chrysanthemum tea. We considered having dessert, but decided the consequences might prove catastrophic ("Tragedy on the Tube: Woman Explodes On Train, Garlic Everywhere"). I toddled to Kings Cross for the train home and was pleased to have a pair of seats to myself, as I'm sure my breath could have slain an ox at twenty paces. (You wanted to know. You did.)

In other news, I have now seen over 200 of the 258 elephants in London's Elephant Parade. I expect to reach 220+, but I don't think I'll have time to hunt down some of the more far-flung candidates in their native habitats before 24 June, when they all move to the Royal Chelsea Hospital to prepare for auction, since I'll be in Paris for most of next week. Still, a good deal of time and shoe leather went into this project and I'm quite pleased at the number I managed to find. I've updated my Flickr set with around 170 different elephants. Click on the RCH elephant - with genuine pensioner! He volunteered to be in the photo. ♥ - to get to it.