Is this how things are going to be for the next few months?
Boy, I can't wait for the big overhaul/review of TSA/DHS process and procedures commanded by Nobel Peace Prize winning apology-monger B. Hussein Obummer.
We pulled out of the gate on time this morning to the strains of the mid-cabin flight attendant yammering at the I-only-fly-once-every-two-years yokels back in steerage as the pre-flight briefing played.
Something was amiss back near the over-wing emergency exit.
The plane stopped out near the taxiway and waited while all three FAs wrestled with the Serious Problem.
I could hear several voices in the fray, seems like someone a few rows back didn't shut off some device in their carry-on and said device was beeping.
(Beeping! On an airplane! Heaven forbid!)
15 minutes of accusations and threats later, the captain informed us of the situation over the loudspeaker.
"Uhhh...From the flight deck, this is uhhhhh the captain. Uhhhh... There seems to be some kinda device in someone's bag in the overhead, and uhhhh.... In an abundance of caution, uhhhhhh we're gonna wait until the flight attendants find uhhhhh the device and turn it off so there won't be any uhhhh danger to the aircraft's operation. Uhhh thanks and we'll be on our way shortly."
Another 5 minutes goes by and the accusations are flying hard and fast.
"Whose bag is that? Do you have a cell phone?"
"Is there some kind of game in this bag? Please open it so we can see the contents!"
One of the FAs finally went up and called the flight deck. After a moment he got on the overhead.
"Well, we can't find it so were going back to the gate." he announced to a chorus of groans.
We hear another FA call up to him: "Wait a second..."
She comes up and they get on the phone with the flight deck.
After a short chat she looks back to mid cabin and gets a thumbs up.
She whispers into the phone again...
Another thumbs up.
They hang up.
"From uhhhhh the flight deck..we uhhhh got our issues resolved. We're good to go. Uhhh...thanks for your cooperation."
The solution slowly creeps forward by word of mouth.
One of the passengers by the window noted that the beeping was coming from the cabin speaker and was in synch with a flash he could see outside. Seems that there is a noisy relay on either the dorsal or belly strobe on the plane and when they shut off the light, the beeping stopped.
Lovely. Shrimply lovely.
We've just landed, 25 mins late.
I have 10 minutes to get to my next gate.
Next time I'm driving.
XRay-Girl and TSA Guy look at the pic of my bag after it passes through the XRay machine.
TSA: "You gotta lotta electronics in your bag..."
TBG: (No answer...There wasn't a question proffered.)
TSA: "We're gonna re-scan yer bag."
TBG: (No answer... Again, no question.)
TSA: Rescan bag.
TSA: "We're gonna swab yer bag fer explosives and stuff..."
(TSA Guy looks at me for a measured second or two, then looks around for a higher level bag-poker I guess, and gives the old raised eyebrow.)
TBG, TSA1 and TSA2 adjourn to the mass spectrometer/gas chromatograph.
TSA1 and TSA2 hold a short confab and begin rifling through my backpack-carry-on bag.
Everything is in smaller bags inside... All my headphones, adapters, power cords, USB cables, etc are in a pouch. A handful of flash drives and memory cards are in another small pouch.
There is a bag with my backup external hard disk too. Another has asprin, Ambien, wetnaps, contact lenses, and various OTC meds. Yet another has pens, Sharpies, a laser pointer and a couple Atwood tools.
They take out my EEE and swab it, feeding the swatch into the Magic Machine, the swab the inside of the all the bags, putting each swab into the mass-spec in turn.
TSA2: "You got quite a bit of stuff in there."
TSA2: "Y'know, this might go a little faster if you'd cooperate."
Really? Look, I've got time. I know exactly what's in my bag, and I came prepared for delays... I just want to see how much additional foolishness is going to foisted upon us Poor Traveling Bastards.
I know this is going to light a fuse, but I'll do it anyway...
TBG: "Y'know, this might go a little faster if you actually asked a question."
TSA2 gives TSA1 a WTF look.
TSA2: "Acting odd?"
TSA1: Shrugs shoulders.
TSA2, looks at TSA1 as one would examine a bad cheese, then slides my half-unpacked bag over to me.
TSA2: "Have a good day sir..."
TBG: "You too sir."
To All of my Liberal Friends: Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. (Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country, nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.)
To All of my Conservative Friends: Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year! May God Bless You and Your Families and May God Bless America.
(Thanks to ZC at TWW for this one. I think I'm going to use it for next year's Christmas card... )
(Photo- The globe in the lobby of the Vancouver Convention Center, home of the Vancouver Olympics IBC a/k/a Hell with a Data Feed.)
I woke up and saw my shadow...
That means we're in for another 13 weeks of winter.
(Although with my luck it probably means another 52 weeks of rain, snow, sleet, and glowbull warmening.)
TBG - ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
...On a fact-finding mission mission now here in VanCoover.
Looking for various service providers and equipment sources, so when we arrive for the event we'll know where to find stuff.
I found the electronics market, a commercial hardware store, Costco, and the closest liquor store...
I was tracking down a dry-fold laundry that would pick-up and deliver to our hotel or the IBC...
Right across the street from the laundry was a big sign hanging in front of a non-descript strip-center restaurant.
"Dim Sum 2.75"
Nothing like a good Sunday morning indulgence into small plates of Heart's Delight...
The Xiao Long Bao were a little disappointing- The taste and texture was very good, but the soup had leaked out of the skins. Very sad.
The shrimp and mushroom shumai were very good...
The salt-and-pepper tofu was great, as was the shrimp in rice noodle wrappers.
Golden Star Restaurant was a great find.
You can find it too, at 2163 E Hastings in Vancouver..
Ok- great meal- Back to work...
And it never fails...
When I come out, it's snowing.
Just when I have to drive up to Cypress...
Now, before Luc or some of you Yankees give me some shit like
"That's not snow, that just a flurry! It ain't snow until you can't see your car at the curb and the snowplows aren't able to get out of the garage and start workin'. That's snow!"
Remember- I'm from Down South- I go by some specific definitions and some personal interpretations...
If the water falling from the sky is liquid, it's rain.
If it's not liquid, it's snow.
If it's not liquid and I have to drive in it, it's $#@&*% snow.
I get on the road and head to North Vancouver where other people are having issues with the frozen water falling from the sky, and have somehow caused traffic to come to a standstill. Excellent. I need some petrol anyway. I get off the Highway.
After filling the tank I see a sign advertising a local park- Lynn Canyon Park.
I decide to take a peek while traffic clears.
It's a nice little park just over the bridge in N.Vancouver...
The visitors center and coffee shop. Very cool.
And the park is known for it picturesque suspension bridge...
It's not the Capilano Bridge, but it'll do.
No pic from ON the bridge...
I did the math...
Big ogre + new snow + ice on unstable platform=stay the Hell on Terra Firma.
I stopped by the Cleveland Dam since it was close by. Took a peek at the outflow.
There has to be a way to integrate this location into the Olympic events...
Perhaps the Snowcross events.
Hey- even more better! -
Maybe stock the pool with sharks or something!
Alas, the sharks would have to conform with the WorkplaceBC codes, so we'd wind up with this:
Hmmm. It really loses something in the implementation.
Traffic cleared and I got moving again...
The scenery is pretty nice up here.
This is a shot I got on the road about 3/4 the way up to Cypress.
Another place I have made a note to check out on my return for the actual events is this little place over on Broadway.
Death By Chocolate...
Great name for the joint. Hope it lives up to it's handle.
On the way back to my digs I got a good pic down the new Granville walking street...
Speaking of digs...
Since I'm extending my stay on my own dime, and being the cheap bastard that I am,
I'm currently ensconced at a mostly-horrific place called Seymour Cambie Hostel.
Pic stolen borrowed off Flikr since I'm afraid to show my camera on the street outside.
It's really not too bad... The bar that's attached to the hostel is called Malones, good pub grub, $5.25 for a Captain and Coke, and (even Mo Bettah) free WiFi.
I got a kick out of the display at the front desk of the Hostel...
They have all the essentials.
Deodorant, Ramen noodles, condoms and tampax... Hell, throw in one of those disposable razors and a candybar and it's a friggin' party at the Seymour.
The music coming from downstairs on Saturday night was pretty bad, but I put in my earplugs (already had some... IDS Veterans always have earplugs. You might wind up rooming with Jingles some time, and they can save your sanity) so I was out like a light.
Last night (Sunday) was quiet, and I was tired from a long day so I hit the hay early and slept like the dead...
Still hanging out at the valet desk at the Delta Suites in Vancouver (waiting for my laundry to get back).
Two older women discussing the merits of SUVs as they wait for a taxi.
"My daughter's husband has a big one. She hates it."
I almost blew a gasket trying to keep from laughing...
As I walked into the hotel this morning a rather stodgy woman was talking to Daniel the Bellman...
"...I remember that I had a short one once." she said.
TBG:(sotto voce) "That's what she said."
Daniel looked at me and grinned.
She look back at me - "Pardon?" she said, clearly expecting an answer.
TBG: "I was telling Daniel that I found the Sea Shed."
Stodgy Woman: "Oh. Seafood. I don't like that."
TBG: (thinking) "I'll bet you don't."
(Tips based on Vancouver events, but are applicable in almost any city.)
Here's the scenario:
Cold and Irritated Ogre is navigating crowded sidewalk.
Dumb snowboard punk gets knocked on his ass.
DSP: "Hey man, watdafukswrongwitchoo?"
Ogre ignores comment.
Punk regains his feet.
DSP:"I'm talkin' to YOU, motherfucker!!"
Ogre turns, approaches.
DSP: "Hey man. You knocked me down. How about an apology?"
(What the fuck? Is this asshat mistaking me of Obama? An apology? Cracker, please!)
Ogre continues to close on Punk, Punk gets wise, starts backing up. Does not watch his feet.
Bystander are stopping to watch...
Punk trips on uneven sidewalk slab, goes down again.
Ogre looks at punk on ground...
CIO: "I'm sorry you weren't paying attention and ran into me."
DSP: "But...but...you knocked me down!"
Ogre offers Punk a hand up, yanks Punk to his feet.
CIO: "You're lucky I only knocked you down. I should have knocked your ass out. Pay attention to where you're walking, Asshat."
DSP gapes like a carp on dry land.
Ogre turns and lumbers away, does not look back.
Herein lies the lesson:
(Take notes, there will be a test later.)
1. If you and your friends ( homies/shredder pals/skater boys/vatos/whathaveyou) are walking down a relatively narrow sidewalk, it is generally considered good manners NOT to walk four abreast.
2. If, as you walk, you are devoting more attention to you cell phone, iPod, iPhone, crackberry or dingleberry than to your passage and oncoming pedestrians, you are Asking For Trouble.
3. If you aren't paying attention to stuff going on in front of you (I.e. oncoming cold and irritable Ogre with a 40lb Maxpedition bag and poor impulse control) do not be surprised when you get hip-checked and wind up on your ass in front of your homeboyz/girlfriend/restaurant full of giggling Japanese schoolgirls.
(Yours Truly will step aside for elderly couples, little old ladies, nuns, harried moms with kids and anyone who makes appropriate eye-contact and an effort to Share the Slab. Overly-entitled assholes, distracted asshats, self-important bizdweebs, and any princess-with-attitude get no pass from me and I will adjust my stride so you feel like you are running into a brick wall. But I am digressing from the lesson at hand...)
4. If you should run afoul of the dreaded sidewalk Ogre and end up on your ass, mark it up as a learning opportunity. Take an F for your grade, get up, dust yourself off and try to pay more attention next time.
5. If, however, part of the earlier evening's activities involved copious amounts of alcohol, recreational drugs, tobacco alternatives, or agricultural pharmacology, it would behoove you to remember that in your chemically altered state, although such substances will imbue you with enhanced courage, they will NOT grant enhanced defensive or offensive abilities.
Scrabbling back to your feet and removing your earbuds and confronting the Ogre is what we call in the vernacular A Bad Idea.
(See point 4 for appropriate actions.)
6. If you attempt to bandy words with the Ogre and he ignores you, take the hint.
After a hearty "Hey man, watdafukswrongwitchoo?" doesn't get a reply, you have done your part to regain your honor and social standing with your boys/girls/snickering bystanders. Let It Drop. Do Not Escalate The Encounter.
(Really. Socialized medicine might be good, but it ain't fast. A trip to the ER will ruin your evening)
7. When "Hey man, watdafukswrongwitchoo?" gets no reaction, the follow-up of "I'm talkin' to YOU, motherfucker!!" at a higher volume and tone will have two results:
Part A- The Ogre will turn and confront you.
(Really, is this what you want? Be sure, because you just lit the fuse, and it's burning fast. You are delaying me from getting to my destination- which involves getting out of the cold and into a large glass of rum. Any delay in reaching my objective is going to mean either physical punishment or utter humiliation. Dealers choice.)
And Part B-
That pitter patter of feet receding down the sidewalk is the sound of your Peeps hanging your ass out to dry.
If you listen reeeeeal close you can hear them laughing... Your posse, who you thought had your back, are hauling ass and will rein up a block away and watch from afar because collateral damage is not selective, and most skate punks won't take a punch to avenge a fallen comrade.
When the Ogre returns to the scene of the crime and towers over you, a quick apology and a mea culpa will probably defuse the situation.
What you don't do is listen to the alcohol/chemical/testosterone in your system...
Don't do something stupid like ask for an apology...
Weeping Jeebus, this asshat wants an apology.
What the Fuck is this world coming to?
On Alberni St. in downtown Vancouver, right next to BC Liquors (Uh oh...) there is a building with two restaurants...
On the ground floor is a Churrascaria called Samba...
On the 2nd floor is an Asian restaurant serving ShangHai cuisine.
This is what we'd call "Too much of a good thing".
I'm screwed now.
TBG - ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
At the Asian place- (Shanghai Chinese Bistro)
The Xiao Long Bao were great,
(I burned the inside of my mouth like a dumbass...)
the spicy eggplant was awesome...
And the dry-fried spareribs with garlic were outstanding...
Looking into the feasibility of IBC deliveries from this place...
Finally got a little down time and figured I'd post a few pics from around the Vancouver venues...
(Click pics to see bigger versions)
Vancouver from the overlook on the way to Cypress Mountain (Really- click on this one-the view is awesome...)
Hey! We got our own office again!
Now I'm just looking for a couch to stick in the hallway.
Stass at the ROO- Richmond Oval - Home of Speed Skating...
The ROO, even cooler on the inside...
Wait a second...
The place is made up of glued-together Popsicle sticks!
The Gear- (A/K/A PPE) Steel-toes boots, reflective hi-viz vests, hard hats, mandatory safety briefings - a 2-hour one at VANOC and a 20 minute "Site Hazards" briefing at each venue... More Nanny-State crap from Big Brother.
Watch that first step, it's a doozy...
For a place that's all "Work Safe", y'think they'd spring for a set of stairs for the OVR at Cypress?
Maybe a couple cinder blocks?
Yes, all the stylish developers are wearing the fluorescent orange and yellow safety vests...Get yours today!
CFR- Cypress, FreeStyle...Home of SpongeMark Squarehands.
Wait.... There's no bumps?! Where are the moguls?
And of course, Brunch is still around...
She's keeping an eye on the IDF right now.
I had to dissuade her from helping us with running our fiber connections.
Do you have a firearm that you have purchased for home protection, but are not comfortable with your ability to safely maintain, load and fire it?
Uncle Jay would be glad to help.
If you've never shot a firearm or would like an introduction into shooting sports, just let me know.
I can arrange range time and can give you practical assistance in learning about guns, or help you with your personal protection firearm.
Always remember the 4 rules:
1. Always treat a firearms as if it is loaded.
2. Never point a firearm at anyone or anything that you do not intend to kill or destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
4. Know your target and what is beyond the target.
You can violate one of the rules and you might survive; If you break two of the rules, someone could be hurt or killed.
Always remember: You are personally responsible for anything that happens while a gun is in your hands.
People who should have better judgement than to be following a subversive bastard like Yours Truly