Karl's

Tube Ticket Etiquette...Or The Lack Of It.

barriers.jpg

As an honorary resident of Old London Town it is sometimes customary, if not expected, that one should travel towards the centre of the city to engage in some such social activity or other. Usually, for me at least, this involves the consumption of large quantities of intoxicating liquid that effects my ability to make reasonable and articulate decisions. Fortunately there appears to be some small section of my often abused brain that is able to extricate itself from the inebriation and managed to steer the rest of me homeward despite the obstacles that London Transport insist upon erecting in my way. 

However, this guardian of my safety often become a little irate when it is faced by the stupidity and general 'wallyness' of weekend commuters just popping into town for a bit of shopping. 

I have never been in the Boy Scouts, or the Cubs and if I had wanted to join the Girl Guides I dare say a few eyebrows might have been raised, but although I have never felt the temptation to join any of these institutions I have always admired there level of preparedness that they seem to install into their members. No matter what the situation these young boys and girls have the seemly innate ability to cope with and overcome the challenge.

I myself often try to aspire to such a lofty goal. On the many occasions I have found a challenging situation I have often struggled with the best way to overcome the obstacle and hopefully identify a better method for dealing with it should it arise again in the future.

With that in mind I have developed, over many years, the most simplest and quickest way of dealing with my London Underground travel. This is something that I feel most regular London commuters have developed over time, mainly due to the fact that one wishes to spend the least amount of time possible hundreds of feet below this sprawling metropolis. 

My own personal routine is to have my Oyster Card (that's our Travel Card here in London) at the ready as soon as I get off the train. It's there, in my hand, gripped and ready for use. As I weave my way up the platform it's there. As I ride the escalator from the earths bowels it's there. As I cross the concourse to the barriers it's there….Oh wait. Someone in front of me as decided, with just a few hundred people behind them, that 'now' is the perfect time to open their bag, search around inside, comment that they can't find their ticket, locate their ticket, work out what way it's meant to go in, what way it's meant to go up, push their ticket into the barrier, walk through the barrier, forget to collect their ticket, come back for their barrier, collect their ticket, walk through the barrier again, not clear the barrier but stop to put their ticket back into their bag and then finally move on. 

So, as you can see, my years of training and honing my ticket skill have been totally worth it.

What do we do with the Drunken Lady?

Shiver me timbers me hearties and let's have a swig of Lambrini.

Although these might not be the usual things you hear on a night out with friends it might be what you hear if you go for a drunken night out with the slightly worse for drink lady who decided to steal a 100-seater ferry and try to scarper with it.

Apparently after a weekend fuelled by Lambrini and various hallucinogenic plants (I know, we've all been there) she thought it might be a bit of a giggle to climb on board and set sail for open waters. Unfortunately it would appear she had no idea how to steer the craft which I would think would be a major pre-requisite although the aforementioned cocktail of booze and hallucinogens may have slightly impaired her cognitive abilities in determining such requirements.

Instead she simply allowed the boat to drift along bouncing off numerous boats and craft along the way, including a £70,000 catamaran. (Ouch).

She appeared to be enjoying herself though as she gleefully cried out 'I'm Jack Sparrow, I'm a Pirate'. Fortunately the authorities soon put pay to this newly discovered life of piracy and the hapless wannabe was soon captured and sentenced to 122 days in jail. 

However, as you can see from the attached photo, the similarities between Captain Jack Sparrow and the drunken lady are uncanny. and she may be up for a future role to play his mother.

Photo: SWNS

Photo: SWNS

AT-AT Boy.

Transient

On this weeks shows (Here 'N' There 002 - Burnt in Brighton, but I called the Jeep Indiana) my news story was the huge Great Dane called Zeus whom had just been named the world's tallest dog by the good folks at the Guinness book of Records.

Standing an an impressive 44 inches tall this doggie appears to be able to see eye to eye with it's owner….literally. At least the owners had the good sense to give it an appropriate name. Imagine if they had called it tiny, trixie or Imperial AT-AT Walker.

Seriously when I first saw this canine that was the first thing that popped into my head. I could just imagine Snow-speeders darting around it's long legs trying to launch a harpoon to entangle them and bring it down. 

My second thought was of any hapless burglars that might have decided to invade Zeus's home. I can only imagine what that might be like but I am sure they would appreciate and deserve their new role as a chew toy.

iPhone 5 Launch and Beer.

The new iPhone

The new iPhone

Wednesday saw me heading into London to meet up with the LMUG (London Mac User Group) crew to sit in a pub and witness the unveiling of the new iPhone. I kept thinking of all those poor reporters stuck in the audience there in San Francisco while I sipped a nice cool beer. I say I kept thinking of them to be honest I thought once and then quickly moved my consciousness to other more interesting subjects.

Finally the show got underway and Tim Cook took to the stage. I'm never quite sure how to handle these events. I always feel a little geeky sitting in a pub while someone thousands of miles always reveals updates of a phone. A phone! Let me write that again...a phone! 

It must be that special brand of madness, or gullibility, that Apple users have. We want to be wowed and amazed by the latest device that finds its way out of the Cupertino Headquarters, so there we was sat, drinking (hooray), watching the live blogs while discussing the merits as each new or updated feature was read out.

As usual the verdict of the new phone is split. Those of the negative camp point out how little has changed and there is little or no innovation. Meanwhile the positive camp highlight the virtue of the evolution and the myriad of updates.

Myself I often find it hard to finally decide on these matters until I hold one of the little blighters in my hand. However, and this is where I may get into some trouble or come across as stupid, I still plan to order one this coming Friday. This is mainly due to the fact I have already sold my iPhone 4S. Fortunately the price I’m getting for the old phone makes the new phone cost a less gut churning expense. However, I have yet to take into account the expense of all my various docks and mounts that will no longer fit the new model though. I could struggle with this dilemma or just say sod it.....guess what I chose to do?

So hopefully next Friday I’ll be awaiting my new toy, unless I fail to get my order in early enough in which case I’ll be lamenting my new toy. Either way it won’t change the fact that next Friday is both beer and curry night which is something I ALWAYS look forward too.

A Working Trip To Brighton

Waking early on a weekend is not my usual idea of a good thing. I am normally more content to wallow in the comfortable cocoon of soft covers that caress me as I dream my often weird and wonderful dreams. However this weekend saw my desire to attend my first makers faire in the fair town of Brighton. So with the shrill chirp of my alarm I stirred from slumber and staggered to the shower only occasionally grumbling about the early hour. Daily ablutions complete and now only slightly more awake I headed for the station for my trip into the city.

As is my want now days I always buy my train tickets online then always struggle collecting the darn things from the touch screen machines employed for the sole purpose, I believe, of keeping paying customers from their tickets of destination. As I tried and tried multiple times to stab the 'L' button to get it to register my interest in selecting the elusive character I had one of those random thoughts that often springs into my weird little mind, just how many others folks before me had interacted with this screen and more importantly what were their hygiene habits? 

It was one of those thoughts that you can never really shake once it has inserted itself in your minds centre and refuses to budge. As a result a mental note was made to wash my hands as soon as possible but without immediately screaming and running off to a nearby public convenience as I have not yet reached that level of sanity......I say yet.

As I had thirty minutes to kill until my train departed I decided to take the opportunity to frequent a store who could extract coffee tasting liquid from that cheeky bean. After being rebuked by my good friend Missy just the night before I decided to forego my usual Mocha choice and opted for her Americano with milk. I ordered the large version, as I still can't bring myself to say venti. So, there I sat with something the size of a cereal bowl before me filled with hot steaming coffee and I let the world pass me by. Well, not the entire world of course as I only had twenty minutes but a fair slice of it.

Eventually, as is usually the way in this cause and effect world, my bowl was empty and my bladder was full so a sneaky visit to the little boys room was in order. Now, if you take nothing from this post but one thing let it be this simple fact. Never, ever, never use the toilets in the upstairs food hall of Victoria station. Firstly they cost 30p to gain entry and they consist of...bare in mind this is one of the busiest stations in the capital....they consist of two urinals and two stall, one of which was broken on this occasion.

So there I stood with a small collection of other gents all waiting to use the facilities in a space no bigger than a small flats bathroom. To use the urinal someone had to move, to use the stall some one had to move, to use the sink someone had to move and finally to use the hand dryer, well you can guess. Finally and thankfully this rather strange dance of the convenience was over and I was out looking for my train to board.

Locating platform 15, it had sneakily been tucked down the side of the station in a rather absent minded fashion, I boarded and was lucky enough to find a seat with a table. This gave me the opportunity to do something I had never done before. Work on my Mac in public. Oh we've all seen the type, sitting there usually in coffee shops brow furrowed in deep concentration as they work on that book, or business report or even that last annoying level of Angry Birds that no one can ever get three stars on. Since I just recorded the first show of 'Here N There' with Missy the previous night I took the opportunity to open the MacBook and get to work on GarageBand. Oh what a professional looking chap I must look I kidded myself as I sat there skilfully tapping at the keys and sliding my finger across the touchpad. However, I expect to anyone watching me I looked like a complete twit. 

The trip was about 50 minutes long and so I had ample time to get the show edited and completed. So although I may look like a complete brat it was time well spent. Hopefully by now you would have had the opportunity to listen to the results of that work and I hope you judge it more kindly then the folks that had to suffer my pomposity in the seat across from me. Naturally I shall spill all the goings on at Brighton on the next show and I might not even require a train ride to edit the show....I said might.

Denied a Ticket to Ride

Photo by Betsy Weber

Photo by Betsy Weber

As a rather tall chappy I am often confronted with a world that is not made for me. I simply have to look around at the various manufactures of doors, cars, clothes, shoes, beds, aircrafts and many other items that the average sized citizen takes for granted to see that they had no real conception that a man of 6'7" would ever wish to live in the same world that regular sized folks inhabit. To be tall is to be an outcast, until some bugger wants something off the top shelf or maybe a light bulb replaced.

Well as i discovered this weekend now another avenue of restriction can be added to the list. Amusement park rides. Following a walk along Brighton pier I happened upon a sign that said you must be between 1.4 meters and 1.95 meters to partake of this ride.

What?

Just because they wish to consider my safety in these matters they will restrict me from having fun? The little blighters! I think I may have to write to my MP to complain….as long as his door frame is of a suitable height for me to pass under of course.

A Master Minor Mind Criminal.

Transient

The idea of being a super crook as portrayed by the likes George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Oceans 11 has always been an appealing thought for your average bloke (or it might just be more to do with getting the same ladies as George or Brad, but never mind that right now). The idea of carefully and stealthily planning out your heist with painstaking timing and paying attention to each and every detail so that when you finally spring your heist everything goes like clock work and you can slip away scott free. 

Well it would appear there is a much simpler way of pulling off that expensive jewellery heist and that is to simply swallow the darn thing. 

As 32 year old man (why is ages important in these stories?) in Sri-Lanka thought it would be a breeze to swallow a 1.5 carat diamond valued at the princely sum of £9,000. In a daring, exciting and, let's face it, stupid plan. His fellow partner in crime was to distract the gems owner while he popped the jewel down his throat and I can only imagine proceeded to look completely innocent and wave his arms about in innocence as to not knowing the location of the stone.

When the gems owner realised what had happened he, understandably, tackled the miscreant and to prevent him from carrying out his masterminded activity of legging it.

X-rays revealed the gem was 'probably' inside the man and so a course of laxatives were prescribed to try and loosen the stone but the gem refused to budge. I feel sorry for the official who had to sift through the results of the laxative as I'd have to imagine it must be amongst the crappiest job on earth.