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Den Haag: Report

Subject: [F] The Hague 2.0 - "Cold as Ice" - Meet Report
From: Uwe Milde <>

[Getting in my version first, Martin having cancelled his first
 unfinished posting. Mwuahaha. Sorry.]

On 15th of April a meet happened in the Dutch city of The Hague/Den
Haag. It happened to be the 30th AFPmeet in The Netherlands.

The 'excuse' for this meet was a show of ice-sculptures in Den Haag's
Madurodam. Not every day you get the chance to see a heart of ice...

Arwen, Rolf and I met in Leiderdorp with Patrick around 12:30 and half
an hour later enjoyed the peri^H^H^H^Hentertainment of the Dutch public
transport system. 13:45 we arrived in Den Haag Central to find Boris and
Martin already waiting. Michel arrived 15 minutes late, courtesy of
Dutch railways.
We started to the tram to Madurodam at 14:15 and were surprised by
Tijmen catching up with us, having arrived even more delayed.
Madurodam is a collection of miniature models of real-world buildings,
ships, cars, etc. in the scale of 1:25. Basically The Netherlands
compressed suitably for a one or two hour trip. We went around the
miniature-city and then into the ice-sculpture exhibition. It can be
said without doubt, that the exhibition was really cool...[1] A lot of
buildings again, famous sculptures, an igloo, an ice-slide,... Some
pretty good sculptures in there, though the cuts where blocks of ice had
been stuck together to form larger sculptures were a tad too obvious for
my taste - I guess it should be possible to do it better.
Just before freezing to death, and without anyone's tongue being frozen
to a pillar, it was out again for the sun and the rest of the miniatures
Due to occasional squirts from the sky [2], it was voted not to wait too
much longer and head for the pub earlyish.

First thing in the pub were people seeing a large super soaker and
asking to lend it. The small woman got the large CPS1500 and loaded it
with water, the bloke got a smaller one (XP85, IIRC) and didn't realise
he would have to fill it. The death match ended - what surprise - with a
happy woman and a soaked bloke who complained "next time fill it up
before". The bar staff showed very good humour and mopped up the

Somewhat later Kimberley and Jos arrived, by some mysterious mechanism
already equipped with drinks. Even later Olaf and Sindy joined us.

So what happened: Martin set out a prize for the worst punner of the
evening, the prize being "Mammoth" by Stephen Baxter, the so-called "The
best writer of SF in Britain" (SFX). Martin even quoted some excerpts -
it soon became clear why he wanted to get rid of the book... For some
reason, however, the prize influenced the amount of punning quite a bit.
In the end Jos was awarded the book, although he wasn't really punning
most often or worst in comparison, but managed to bring in one of the
last ones (or maybe it was only, as someone put it, "to encourage him
for the next time"). The book was signed and redefined as wandering
trophy (if that's the proper expression) for NL-meets.

Patrick had brought deformable juggling balls, a rubber coating around
some white powder - as Martin found out when he covered the ground with
cocai^H^H^H^H^Hflour. Filker automatisms in the audience (okay, so it
was me) kicked in and singing started "When you're going to San
Francisco, be sure to wear flour in your hair...".
The waiter assured it would be no problem, there would be "other things
to drop onto the floor this evening" - the man has a second career as
oracle as option... (Interesting face the female member of staff made
(averting eyes, hiding the face in hands, but saying nothing), when she
came to see what Martin wanted to clean up)

Olaf brought some toys, one of them being a soft ball with something on
it that appeared to be Symantec's idea of what Earth should look like -
Great Britain + Ireland were missing, so was most of Italy, while the
subcontinent of India seemed to have grown a bit...

We left the pub in a desolate condition (of the pub, that is) and made
for the train station through dark The Hague, lost Olaf, Sindy, Tijmen,
Kimberley and Jos on the way and caught the train - which was
surprisingly on time - and went to Patrick's place for an IRCing session
(with enough computers for everyone) and finally sleep.

The next morning started early (8:50), as Michel had to leave early.
Coffee was made, drunk and life spirits returned. Patrick put us through
a torture of recovered 80's music (e.G. Tiffany's "I think we're alone
now" and worse), and somewhen we went outside to embarrass each other
with attempts at juggling.

We took a stroll through the park, taking some smallish[4] water pistols
with us, exciting kids, defending bridges against ducks, and wetting not
ourselves but others by 'accident'.[3]
More punning happened, and it was just as well, that no one even tried
to collect fines...

Some bad puns:
"Behave, or as /pun/ishment you will be thrown into the duck-/pun/d."
"Mind the /Pun/" (in a Waterloo station voice)
"All these bad jokes leave a /pun/gent aftertaste..."
"I feel like Alice in /pun/derland"
[and many lots of that style]

Photos are or will be available at the usual place.


[1] "Bloody cold" is another phrase that springs to mind.
[2] Some call it rain.
[3] When I say "we" I don't mean myself, I was armed with a camera not a
    super soaker.
[4] Well, in comparison

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