Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Jehovah's Witnesses and Perl Mongers

This afternoon, I happened to see two Jehovah's Witnesses standing in a train station and so I went up to them and asked when their Memorial would be. I figured it must be around now since it's always in spring, but that date changes. I've been meaning to go to it for several years now to see what it's like, but never got around to it so far. Maybe this year.

The lady said that it would be on the 16th of April this year, next Wednesday. I asked what time and she replied that it was later than usual since we had set the clocks forward (I think the start time is relative to sunset so it makes a difference whether it's Summer Time or not), but that the first groups would start around 8 p.m.

I asked her whether she knew when services started in Harburg and she replied she didn't know but figured around 8 or 8:30—however, she said that they have several languages there and she didn't know whether the first group to meet would be in German. However, she said she'd find out since she has a friend who lives in Heimfeld and would attend in Harburg. So she gave me her phone number and told me to call her. I'll do that this evening if I remember.

In the evening, I went to a meeting of Hamburg Perl Mongers—my first so far. They've only been meeting since January, when Snadra came back from Berlin where she had been leading the group there (it's now Tina Müller, aka tinita).

I found the pub-cum-restaurant where they were meeting fairly quickly, and came in just as Snadra did. I asked her whether she was Snadra and she replied that she was, and that I must be Sven who had sent her email. Sorry, no :)

She wanted to go to the right but a waitress informed her that that section was full; we found a table on the left that had only one book lying open on it. Since it was a computer book, we figured it might belong to another potential That turned out to be the case; it was an OpenOffice book and belonged to another Perl user who had turned up for the first time.

We sat around the table and Sandra took out a copy of Damian's Object Oriented Perl to mark the spot for others. After a while, two more came, making us five in all. Interestingly, it was the first time for all of us except for Sandra. There were two more regulars whom she had expected but who had emailed to cancel.

We were: Felix, Ulf, Sven, Sandra, and I. We talked about this and that, Perl6, YAPCs, whom we knew, and so on. Sandra mentioned she knew davorg and Greg McCarroll from London.

I asked her how she had got the name "Snadra" and she said she used to misspell her name constantly and after a while, the nickname stuck. Then she registered the domain and kind of accepted it as a joke on herself. She says she never gets called "Snadra" in person, though, only in email by some people she knows in London from when she was there who think it's the German spelling of "Sandra" :).

The waitress took forever to notice us and bring us a menu. Finally, one of us tracked one down and brought her attention to us. We ordered food and drink (except for Sandra, who only had a drink, since she had eaten earlier).

When I wanted to leave, I again had a hard time getting one of the waitresses to stop and let me give her money.

As was to be expected, the pub was fairly smokey in the background, but I've had worse. What was a little inconvenient (for me) was that Sandra smoked at our table; the first one was the worst. She was the only one of us who smoked.

I didn't feel completely at home, but that's maybe a function of my not being such a social person. (Stella told me when I got back that she could have told me that beforehand.) Still, I wanted to see what it was like. Maybe I'll go back again sometime, but probably not every month.

I went home at nine, when they were just getting into an animated conversation, but it was getting fairly late for me. Showered and went straight to bed.
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