Christian Heilmann

Musings about San Francisco and my trip there

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006 at 1:18 am

I arrived back in London yesterday morning and spent the day sorting presents and unpacking. After 35 hours without sleep I fell into bed with the assumption that I could get back into the London rhythm right away. I was wrong, insofar I am tired now at 7pm and I am thoroughly annoyed with public transport in this oh so cheap capital after a single day.

Do you hear me London Underground? I am not getting the feeling that I get enough service for my £85 a month, but instead that you want people to sweat, feel uncomfortable and possibly become victims of pickpockets. This is also why you announce every three seconds that people should look after their belongings. Just like the met police who proved amazingly effective in not giving a sh*t about my stolen laptop you could end these announcements with “because you don’t have a choice and we don’t really want to offer any help”.

Anyways, San Francisco was a blast and I was very sad to leave after only five days as I was lucky enough to bump into some very helpful people who showed me where the good stuff happens. The great weather and the fact that people buy you drinks if you have an even remotely English sounding accent and the good food also played a part.

I flew with Virgin Atlantic, and there is simply no better airline to take to the US. Granted, I was booked on premium economy, but even in normal economy the entertainment system allows you to choose and start and stop your movies! I didn’t get any sleep, as the service was too good (“another sandwich, or drink?”).

On my first day back from the office I met Michael McElligott who dragged me to see a comedy show at Cobb’s by a troupe called Kasper Hauser who staged a mock stakeholder meeting of their Sky Maul company (a parody of the SkyMail catalogues). It was very entertaining and at times ad-hoc. I was a bit unlucky as I forgot my passport and got a stamp stating that I am under 21, which meant no drinks for me or anyone giving me a drink being expelled from the venue. Sadly enough this also didn’t make me forbidden fruit for the rich ladies in there, which would have been my backup plan. All in all it was a good show though, but as the following interview could have been longer or more engaging I only give it 4 out of 5.

I then attended the Accessibility Dinner and talked shop there with the likes of John Foliot, colleagues from Yahoo and some people from the Mozilla foundation, Google, Adobe and others. Quite a nice dinner and we had a good yarn about accessibility as a whole.

The next days were a bit slower, as I had work to do (after all this is what I was sent over for there). I just spent some time using the free wireless in Border’s on Union Square and drinking a few pints at the Union Square Sports bar after rummaging through a lot of DVDs and CDs at Rasputin Records.

Saturday Night, before I left I got invited to the Laughing Squid 11 party. Not knowing anything about it I didn’t know what to expect and was totally blown away by it. It is a mixture of gigs, kinky cabaret and geek meeting with activity booths outside where you were able to paint with fire, put legos on a car, drive a steam powered car, a Segway or bollock around in a photobooth. The people present that I knew already before I got there were Ben Metcalfe, Tantek and Jeffrey Veen. The people I got to know are too many to mention as Tantek dragged me around after he saw the T-Shirt I was wearing.
I only got to see the performances by freakotronic which was a very bizarre disco/electro mix with lots of gogo-dancing and the burlesque Twilight Vixen Review with Anita Cocktail as the singer. The twilight vixens were gorgeous and Anita very outspoken with quite a good voice. Catch them when you can!

It was a total blast, I loved every minute of the party and got dropped off at the hotel by the lovely Virginia Wang. I’ll try to come to SF soon again to meet all the people I didn’t mention here but pestered on friendster and flickr.

Thanks to everyone who made me so welcome and content with life :-)

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