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Night on the town

Last night I went to the Roboëxotica, the annual festival for cocktail-robotics organized by Monochrom, to meet the lovely Alice Taylor of Wonderland fame.

We listened to Cory Doctorow read the first chapter of After the Siege (despite a sore throat, poor guy). I asked what was probably the most unexpected question during the Q&A afterwards, then Alice and I went to another part of the Museumsquartier to chat about the games industry, our respective jobs, mutual acquaintances, etc. over some wonderful chai and curry coconut soup and Weisswurst.

Afterwards, Alice, Cory, Johannes, Jake, David, Anika, Daniel, Ben, Roli and me went to the Weihnachtsmarkt in front of the Rathaus, aka 'the kitschiest place in Vienna'.

(Jake takes a lot of pictures and puts them on Flickr almost instantly (hence all the links). Here are the pictures he took of Vienna's Naturhistorisches Museum the day before. I didn't realize how creepy it was - butterflies eating fish? Brrr... And here is a picture he took of me. The wool hat was to keep my head warm, not because I want to look like a garden gnome.)

After some punsch and more Wurst we moved to Objektiv, a nearby student bar, where we had dinner. My Kaiserschmarren had way too much rum in it, but various people graciously helped clean the plate. There was much excellent conversation on a wide range of topics. Sadly, this is a family blog, so I can't repeat any of the witty repartee exchanged between Jake and David, but I can mention the German word Jake inadvertently invented: Geschluchzverkehr. What a lovely word, I don't understand how people have gotten by all this time without it. (Only now am I discovering that Jake went to Iraq in April and David is a widely respected robot builder.) Johannes told us about the most unspeakable image ever, which he intends to post on the Monochrom website. I can't even talk about it here: just thinking about it makes me shudder. And all I know is the title!

It was a really great night. Meeting interesting people, good conversation, food and drink: what more does one want? And all by pretty much pure chance - only 24 hours before I had no idea I would be doing this. Yay mysterious forces of the universe!

Update: And tonight we did it all over again, except David was replaced by Evelyn Fürlinger and Francesca Birks (sorry David, no contest :P). We went to the same Weihnachtsmarkt, where this time we noticed several forms of food that just did not seem made for consumption by ordinary humans. We trudged through the snow to a TV studio where some interview was recorded, then to the Plutzerbräu for food. I sat next to the lovely Francesca, and we quickly discovered we both have professional backgrounds that are all over the map, although neither of us have figured out how to turn this to our advantage yet. The Kaiserschmarren was better this time, although the kitchen's first attempt had chives in it. Luckily the waitress was excellent and gave me another one. Good times were had once again. I even caught two Canadians saying 'eh', which I always thought was just a legend!

Another update: Johannes has posted the unspeakable image here.