Saturday, March 31, 2007

Out of context - Chapter 6, page 4.

Over the radio:

Mark: (Not Spongemark)
"Ok... I'm getting ready to shoot."


Famous, out-

Friday, March 30, 2007

They keep coming...

Carlos just brought out a bottle of Mezcal...

Yet another quote out of context:
About The Eurotrash:
"He eats the worm all the time..."

It's really getting ugly...
And it's only 10:30, I think...

TBG, so out (of my mind) it's not funny...

Out of context...again!

"I almost gagged when I saw how big that was...."

Oh. My.

TBG, way out.

Bad... Not Good.

I got a text message earlier today...

MM: Oh BTW, change of plans. Sombrero night tonight. Gumbo and basketball tomorrow at our house.
TBG: Lovely.

So here we are, at Veracruz, the 3rd round of shots has arrived and we still haven't ordered any food.

Gonna be a long night...

TBG out-

A Cautionary Tale

(Danger: Scatalogical content- those with delicate sensibilities are warned to skip to another site and avoid this post. Contains graphic content not suitable for those with weak constitutions.
You have been warned.)

I'm diligently working up in Augusta GA at A Nice Golf Course...

As I'm working on my Daily Report, one of my partners-in-crime starts laughing hysterically...

He is chatting via SKYPE with another Event Staff Dude in at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
(And herein lies the cautionary tale...)

One of the favorite activities is, as someone is working, to do a flatulent fly-by. That is, to walk by and pass gas as close to the victim as possible.
(a/k/a/ - a toot-fairy, or the fart bomb)

Well... a "JB" was making a low-flight pass at Dingo with the target of throwing down a noxious cloud, and since "JB" was suffering from an acute case of Event Food, instead of just the Gas Warfare, JB wound up with a little more "substance" than he bargained for...(i.e. he "sharted" himself) .
He spent the rest of the day in a pair of plastic pants... Serves him right, I say.

Some might say it's a shitty way to treat your friends and coworkers...
In reality, he's just made an ass of himself.

Yo! JB! "Depends" are on sale down at Walgreens this week!

TBG out...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Out of context, I hope.

From one of the GUYS in Augusta...

"Where's Robert? I need someone to eat my taco."


TBG out-

Monday, March 26, 2007

Baggage Claim Times...

You know how poorly-managed airport services drive me up the wall...

As I have been traveling for the last month, I've been tracking baggage claim delivery time at all the airports around the country.
(Mostly so I have some ammunition with which to beat JAX and the JIA/Jaxport over the head.)
And I have to say there is a new winner in the "Longest Delay Between Gate Arrival and Bag Delivery" race...Dallas is the new winner, which I'm sure JIA will be thrilled to hear...

Here are the results:

Baggage Claim times:
Las Vegas....................19 Minutes
Anaheim (Santa Ana Airport)..21 Minutes
Nashville....................18 Minutes
Raleigh-Durham...............14 Minutes
Pittsburgh....................9 Minutes
Vancouver....................29 Minutes
Calgary......................11 Minutes
Detroit......................23 Minutes
Dallas.......................58 Minutes --- A new winner!
San Jose.....................25 Minutes
Montreal.....................23 Minutes
Toronto......................32 Minutes
Newark.......................24 Minutes
Minneapolis-St Paul..........14 Minutes
Jacksonville.................49 Minutes

And the biggest crock of crap that is supposedly a "benefit" of being Elite Status on Continental's One Pass system, the "Priority Handling" tags...

Number of bags passed before I got mine:

Las Vegas................51 Bags
Anaheim (Santa Ana)......33 Bags
Nashville................23 Bags
Pittsburgh................0 Bags-Mine were the only bags.
Vancouver................19 Bags
Dallas...................52 Bags
San Jose.................41 Bags
Montreal.................28 Bags
Newark...................24 Bags
Minneapolis-St Paul......13 Bags
Jacksonville.............42 Bags

Needless to say, Continental and JIA will be getting some correspondence from me.

TBG out-

Random Notes from The Road

It's been Robert W. Service week here on the Install Swing...

First, working up in Canada, it's been cold cold cold...

I was working in Ottawa at the ScotiaBank Center. I had a 6:30am call time because they were loading in the Meatloaf concert starting at 8:00AM. I wanted to get done with as much as possible before the roadies started moving in all the equipment.
I arrived at 6:30, the temp was (according to the temp indicator in my car) -14 degrees Centigrade.

I was working down in the TV Truck patch bay mounting my equipment on the wall when the concert trucks started rolling in...
They opened the big door and the wind came in and started to really make life difficult.
(Keep in mind, I don't have a nice thick warm jacket... It's just me in a polo shirt.)

As I was finishing the install, I kept hearing the lines from Robert Service's "Creamation of Sam Magee"
"Talk of your cold, through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail; If our eye's we close, then our lashes froze and sometimes we couldn't see..."

My hands were chilled to the bone... I could barely hold my screwdriver...
But I survived it.

Then down in Buffalo a block or so from the arena was a funky little saloon, the Malamute.

The Malamute

I wondered, if I went inside would I find a character like Dangerous Dan McGrew or the Lady known as Lou...

"A bunch of the boys were whooping it up
In the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box
Was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game,
Sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o'-love,
The lady that's known as Lou


I've been to quite a few bars and restaurants over the last 6 weeks... Taverns, bars, diners, restaurants, and a few places that a girl in orange shorts would serve up a plate full of wings...Irish Bars, Chinese food, Mexican, Sports Bars, and the occasional fast-food places.

But I came across one in Toronto that I was curious about...
Unfortunately it wasn't open when I was there...

The Shawson Grill

The Rallis Collection

I really wanted to try the Rallis Classic Strip Chicken Wrap...


Comments taken out of context...

Comments taken out of context, snippets of overheard converstations:

It's either a huge fantasy, or a huge nightmare. Not really sure which.

She's good from afar, but far from good.

If you touch me again, I will have you thrown off this plane.

I almost wrecked my car opening my beer.

Yeah, the car was fine, except the spot on the left side where I hit the bridge.

Here's your drink. It's a double. And here's your next one now, because I don't feel like coming back here to talk to you any more.

If it doesn't quit snowing soon I'm going to need another six-pack for the ride home.

TBG out-

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Global Warming my ass.


-20 with wind chill.

Al Gore is full of shit.

TBG (the B is for "brrrr!") out-

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Welcome to the East Canada swing...

Last Sunday (what the hell day was that...the 11th?) found me in beautiful Dallas...
Or rather Irving Texas, since I tend to stay near the local airport, and in this case, Irving fit the bill.

Monday morning bright and early I was in the American Airlines Center to do my install. It was a dark day for the arena, no concerts, no Hockey, no B-Ball, Circus, or Disney-On-Ice. Sweet... I had the place all to myself.

I installed everything possible, noted that I was running really low on supplies so I split and instead of heading to one of my favorite churrascarias, I headed up northeast of town to Fry's Electronics...
I laid in a stock of pieces and parts I needed for my tasks and then hied for Irving, just in time to miss House MD.
(Monday night at 8, 7 Central, Bonehead.)
Oh well...
I had a 5:30 flight Tuesday for San Jose... (Yeah... 5:30 AM. So Uncle Jay's Airport Math had me up and moving at 3:45...Egad!)

San Jose was...well...short & interesting. Since we really didn't have a location to install the new rack and equipment, most of the cables couldn't be run. I did, however, install some of my stuff and did get the new equipment location nailed down.
Heading back out I was on the red-eye to Newark then Montreal... I think I mentioned earlier that it was possibly the worst flight I have been on in a while... It was bad... No leg room, couldn't sleep (and I was counting on sleep because I had to work the next day and drive a good hunk afterwards).. I was miserable.
Made me seriously think about finding a new vocation that didn't involve sitting in airline seats.

So I'm driving for the next few days...

The Road Trip

I made it into Montreal via Newark, just before the big snow storm shut everything down...
(What? Another snowstorm in the northeast in mid-March? I thought we had this whole Global Warming thing going on?)

Right hospitable folk here in the Great White North... I had an offer of booze, women, and guns from my man Luc in Montreal, and Big Benny E in Toronto made threatening noises about drinking heavily and much debauchery in Ontraio.
Fortunately I was able to resist temptation, and really didn't need the firearms that were proffered... but I appreciated the thought.

So Montreal was OK- More unfinished cabling, more changes in the plans...then I hit the road for Ottawa.
I did stop for a power nap for an hour or so along the way, and got to the hotel about 11:00...
The one cool thing about the hotel? It was an old (and I mean old- 50's vintage) Best Western, I had a ground floor room- car right outside the door...dragged my bags 5 steps right in that night and right back out the next AM.
Good thing too, cause I had a 6:30 call at the arena. Meatloaf (This guy again? I thought he was dead?) was playing at Scotiabank Place, and I had a window of opportunity from 6:30am until 2:00pm to do my stuff... And of course, afterward I had to drive to Toronto...
a 4 to 5 hour drive... I got to my hotel here in Toronto just as the snow was starting to fall...
I checked in and collapsed-
The next morning I had a 10am appointment- Had to be out of the arena by 4:00- they were setting up for a lacrosse telecast and didn't need an ogre underfoot...
But first, I had to dig my rental car out from under the snow...

My car-

But when you're from Florida, it looks (and feels) like this:

Off to the arena!

I was checking out the different areas in the arena and as I was up in the Scoring/Stats area, I looked down at the floor- Green Ice for St. Patricks Day?

No... Dude, you need some sleep- It's the flooring they put down for the lacrosse matches.

As I sat making patch cables for my box, I noticed something in the bag of RJ45 plugs...

Oh crap.

Somewhere in one of the remaining plugs, there is a tooth missing.

I test all my cables, so the defective one is either one that I've already re-made because it failed, or it will be in the next batch or so... Thank Ghod I have my trusty Microtest cable tester...

I drilled and soldered and plugged and crimped my fingers to the bone and departed for my humble (temporary) abode at just after 4 pm...

Today (Sunday) is a down day for me... Laundry, catching up on e-mails, writing up some plans for next week, making travel arrangements for the next few days...
I need to do another expense report, too, before American Express starts sending the Brute Squad out looking for me...

OK- Buffalo tomorrow, then the Islanders, then Minnesota...then (dare I say it?) home.

Stay tuned... keep the cards and letters coming...

TBG out-

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Randomness from the road

A few items from the recent trip...

Dallas, for instance.

There is a new restaurant near the American Alrlines Center called Nove...
They have been causing a stir with their topiary... They were required to remove the male ones, but the green females are strutting their stuff.

I wonder what kind of fertilizer they use?



I love this place.

I wonder how they got those cattle up on the second level?


Soap opera?

For the love of Pete, will someone put some soap in my soap?

I've been living in a distressing series of hotels; Extended Stay, Raddison, Amerisuites, LaQuinta (Did you know that La Quinta is Spanish for "Next to Denny's"?), A couple Marriotts, and the odd Country Inn or Hampton Inn.

One thing that is really bugging me is the new trend in designer soaps.

Shampoo has long been a repository of mint, jasmin, citrus, kiwi and all manner of aromatics and herbals, but now the soap manufacturers have been experimenting with additives...

It started with exfoliants like oatmeal and ground apricot seeds; now it's lemon peel, green pea, ginsing, lime, sea salt, and even more off the wall stuff like banana peel and unicorn earwax.
Even at the shithole hotels Where I stay...

(My criteria for hotels: a) Less than $100.00 per night, b) close to the airport. Because I'm a cheap bastard, and I'd rather be able to sleep the extra 20 minutes in the morning before my flight.)

The other trend that is making the rounds is making the bar more textured and shaped like a Swedish massage/marital aid... Some bars are decidedly un-cakelike; they are concave with one face covered with small bumps or other ridges.

They are starting to get a little disturbing...


Ebonics in Canada?



TBG out-

St Patrick's Day...

I'm in lovely Toronto tonite... in an area of town called Markham... there's only one Irish bar within a 8 mile radius...but I did want to indulge in the holiday...

What's your drink?

There are many, many Irish whiskeys...
My particular favorite is Bushmills, (Black, if I can find it) in an Irish coffee... I'm not a stright whiskey or scotch drinker. But if you are, more power to ya.
So... Blended whiskeys:

* Avoca
* Baileys Irish Whiskey
* Ballygeary

* Brennans

* Bushmills White

* Bushmills Black

* Bushmills 1608

* Cassidy's

* Coleraine

* Clontarf

* Crested Ten

* Dunphys

* Erin's Isle

* Feckin Irish Whiskey

* Golden Irish

* Grace

* Hewitts

* Inishowen

* Jameson Irish Whiskey

* Jameson 12 Year Old

* Jameson Distillery Reserve

* Jameson Gold

* Kilbeggan

* Locke's

* Michael Collins Blend

* Midleton Very Rare

* Millars

* Murphy's

* Old Kilkenny

* O'Briens

* O'Neills

* Old Dublin

* Paddy

* Powers Gold Label

* Red Breast Blend

* Strangford Gold

* Tullamore Dew

* Wild Geese

Then we have single malts...
(They are still whiskeys, don't call it scotch... you'll get hit by a shillelagh.)

* Brogan's Legacy Irish Single Malt
* A Drop of the Irish

* Bushmills Ten Year Old

* Bushmills Sixteen Year Old

* Cadenhead's Peated Single Malt

* Clonmel Single Malt

* Connemara

* Erin Go Bragh

* Knappogue Castle

* Locke's Single Malt

* Merrys Single Malt

* Michael Collins Single Malt

* Preston Millenium Malt

* Shanahans

* Shannon Grain Single Malt

* Slaney Malt

* Suir Peated Malt

* Tyrconnell

Now, if you are like me and you really don't want the Irish whiskey, you might go for a Guinness...
Or even better-
A Black & Tan.
A black and tan is equal parts stout (Guinness or otherwise) and lighter colored ale, often a Bass Pale Ale or Harp's lager. Many an Irish barman will tell you that a layered black and tan is simply a Yank affectation and that in the homeland the two beers are simply poured together.

Also, you could indulge in the following...
A Black Velvet combines equal parts of champagne and stout.
a Poor Man's Black Velvet- substitute cider for champagne. Also called a Snakebite in the States. And it'd probably be followed up by a mondo hangover.
Take a pint of Guinness and drop a shot of Chambord into it and you have a Black Fog.
(This is really good!)
And the beerwench suggested a Purple Meany to me tonite...a black and tan with a shot of raspberry liqueur.
Another recipe would be Black Death... Stout and any Trappist Ale... But you know my affinity for Chimay, so I don't think I'd be able pull this one off...
From my travels in 1998 in Salt Lake City, our breakfast beverage- the Red Eye: Add a shot of tomato juice to any ale or lager, also known as Tomato Beer or a Red Rooster. If you add a splash of Tabasco, the drink becomes a Ruddy Mary.
From John Carbono in the Fox & Fiddle tonite- the Bee Sting: Dark beer and orange juice.
The Shandygaff (or a Shandy)- Beer and Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale (or Limeade according to Jenny, Beermaid at Fox & Fiddle.)
A scary combination, the Jamaican Night: Beer and an ounce of Kalua.
Another one in the dessert category...the Dark and Smooth. A stout mixed with port. One to finish the evening with.

In truth, I should have made this post earlier in the week so you could be prepared for tonite's festivities...

So... What's your poison?

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Man, that sucked.

No upgrade, no emergency row, no bulkhead.

Quite possibly the worst flight since that ill-fated flight to Shanghai back in November.

Now I'm in the ERJ on the way to Montreal. At least I'm in the A1 seat so there is a bit of leg room.
Can't believe an ERJ is more comfortable than a 737-500.

I guess everything is relative...

TBG out-

How quaint.

That's different.

Boarding the red-eye out of San Jose tonight we used a set of rolling stairs...
We were walked out on to the tarmac and had to climb the big metal stairs.
I didn't see any wheelchair passengers... I'm curious how they would have to handle that.

Oh well.

Off to Montreal.

TBG out-

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Travel Tips Part 2

Weary travellers?

No, they are smart road warriors...

If you're on the road and need a quick connection and you have a few minutes to search out the President's Club in any big terminal, you can get on-line free...

Most big airports have agreements with Boingo or T-Mobile Hotspot for pay-as-you-go WiFi service, and it's not cheap. But if you sit outside the President's Club, you can hit their APs free. And I am all about free, baby.

It might get a little crowded, and there might be no where to sit down or get AC power, but for a quick e-mail or such, it's a good option...

TBG out-

Me and my big mouth.

From our "Open-Mouth-Insert-Foot" Department:

I was at the gate in Houston waiting on my flight to San Jose this morning... I had my four-leaf clover out, my rabbit's foot, a horseshoe, and my lucky poker chip all working overtime, trying to get an upgrade for the flight... It's 4+ hours from Houston to SJC...

Let me give you a little tip- If you have decent frequent flier status, do you want to improve your chances at getting an upgrade?
Of course you do... You can rely on your good looks and luck, but remember Johnny Carson's line:
You will get further with a kind word and a gun than you will with just a kind word."
In the case of gate attendants, substitute the word "chocolate" instead of "gun"...
A package of M&Ms, a Milky Way Bar, damn near anything made of chocolate will win you big points.
Listen to Uncle Jay, he wouldn't kid you...

As boarding time approached I was working the gris-gris overtime...then the gate attendant finally released the unclaimed seats...
(The same gate attendant who recieved a dark chocolate Milky Way bar 15 minutes earlier. Heh.)
"Mr. Williams and Mr. Young. Please come to the desk."
Oh yeah, baby... Upgrade time!

Gate Attendant:"Mr. Young? Did you get an upgrade earlier?"
Yours Truly, handing her my ticket "No... Not yet."
GA: "Would you like one?" She said, holding out the new flight cupon.
(And this is where I really stepped in it.)
You know my penchant for a good riposte... I always have a cute saying or phrase. In this case, when asked a question where the answer is obvious, Average Joe will come back with the proverbial "Does a bear crap in the woods?" or the truly witty will inquire if the Pope is Catholic.
I like to throw a little alliteration into the mix...
YT:"Does a cripple crab crawl?"

It rolled off my tongue with practiced ease...

Then I noticed the woman next to the ticket podium...

In her wheelchair.

Glaring daggers at me.

Oh shit.

The gate attendant gave me the ticket with a sad shake of her head.

We shall draw a curtain of charity on the rest of the scene...

Clueless, out-

Traveling Notes & Tips

Can I share a couple observations with you?

A tip for the general traveling public...

As you look at the seating chart on the airline website,
and you see there is a middle seat open in a emergency row or a bulkhead row,
it's probably not the smartest thing to do to choose that seat.

In the last few weeks, I have had the doubious pleasure of sitting on a few planes and it never fails, Everyone wants a little extra room for their legs... And typically the emergency row and bulkhead get taken quickly...
At least the window and the aisle...

Smart travelers avoid that middle seat. It's bad enough in a regual row of seats, but in the coveted emergency row and bulkhead, the flanking seats are usually taken by guys like me... Tall and broad shouldered frequent fliers.

John Q. "I don't fly very often" Public shows up and wants a seat that has a little extra legroom...
They hit the check-in on the Kiosk at the airport or on the airline's website and see that empty seat in the emergency row or on the bulkhead and they think- "Wow. How is that still free? I'll take it."

They wind up getting sandwiched between two Big Guys, and now we have 3 uncomfortable people...

I've even heard some sadistic gate attendants assigning the middle seat to a guy who was 6'3" and 250 lbs if he was an ounce... I think they try to put 3 guys who are 6 foot plus in the same row just to get their jollies.

Listen to Uncle Jay- unless you are a tiny person... I'm talking Russian gymnast size... avoid the center seat on the row frequented by the big guys...It will save everyone a lot of hassle.

TBG out-

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Conversion time.

Blogger has been nagging at me to convert to the
new Blogger system... Some of the features look nice
so I'm going to give it a shot.

You might notice some formatting issues over the next few
days as I go back and re-format the new page, but hopefully the
effort will be worth it.

Bear (rarr!) with me...


Sunday, March 11, 2007


Do you love it or hate it?

If you love it, this newest (and limited production) variation is a must try...

If you hate it, well... go take your dolly and go play somewhere else, loser.
(I know, it smells like a skidmark in a jar... Tastes better, though. I promise.)

Marmite, Vegemite and Parwill are definitely an acquired taste. I bacame accustomed to it back in 2001 while in Brisbane and every once in a while I will indulge my tastebuds...

Over at they have some interesting variations on the old standby of Marmite on toast... Check it out.

TBG out-

Friday, March 09, 2007

Calgary, Alberta


I got to Calgary the day of a Rod Stewart concert in the Saddledome Arena.
Really couldn't get too much done... It was crazy with riggers, stagehands, electricians and roadies all rushing to outfit the arena for the concert.
To add insult to injury, there was a Meatloaf concert scheduled for the next night.

The server rack and the other equipment was going to live up on the catwalk directly above the center scoreboard in the middle of the arena.

At least, that was Plan A.
The IT guys, Richard & Paul and Gerry the Telephone Guy were very agreeable to the plan and they moved heaven and earth to get cables in place for the installation. (A great crew to work with...)

Then the building operations manager came in and shot us down.

Looking at the load-in for the concert I see why he was concerned...

As the roadies and riggers were hanging all the aluminum trusses, lift motors, light arrays and speaker clusters, the actual load on the high steel was staggering...

"And... just think, it might be snowing outside..."

This might be a problem.
Aside from looking for all the world like a giant Maxi Pad, you'd think the Saddledome would have a tendancy to collect a seriously heavy snowpack in the crotch of the roof...

So... a couple tons of snow, 18,000 lbs of scoreboard and video wall, controllers, lift motors, and on concert night, 60,000 lbs of motors, chainhoists, truss, speakers and lights...
I wouldn't want to be in that building if I didn't have to be.

We worked it out, though. Our server cabinet is pretty light- and even fully loaded if probably won't top out above 800 lbs. A drop in the proverbial bucket.

Onward to Detroit...
One pic from the trip to the airport.

I need to quit being so analytical...

Beerland is under new management...
Is it because the old management didn't aggressively market to the local student population?

TBG, out-

Or not...

As I sat in the airport in Calgary, I got an SMS message from JR.
JR:You sitting down?
JR: I better call you. You're gonna freak.


Detroit, who has been giving us a handwave every time we talk to them,
"Oh yeah, everything is ready" is not ready.
At all.
Not one cable has been run, nothing has been planned, no space allocated.

Oh shit.

So... I'm headed there, wearing my hob-nailed boots, a two-iron in one hand and a whip made of network cable (CAT5 o'-9-tails?) and I'm gonna head to Joe Lewis Arena and knock some skulls around.

It's a mixed blessing:
With nothing to do, I'll have 2 free days on my schedule... Could it be that I'll get to go home?
Maybe go see the PC's soccer game on Saturday morning?

Stay tuned...

TBG - Famous!


I sat in the Detroit airport (one of my stops along the way to Vancouver) and looked out the window.
Snowflakes. Lots of them.

Big fat sloppy flakes.
With the delays I've had the last few flights I had a bad feeling, but in the end everything went well. I got in Vancouver just after midnight Saturday morning...

It used to be that I stayed where ever the League would put me...
Back in '98, on my first trip to Vancouver I arrived in the middle of the night. My hotel was the Pan Pacific- probably one of the nicest hotels on this continent...
I didn't really appreciate it at the time...

The next morning I did... The room was huge, the bed was so comfortable it defied description.
And the View the next morning- looking out over the inlet to the east- the sun coming up over the mountains.
Really cool.

Nowdays, find me a cheap place near the airport.
Closer is better.
I'll trade the nice view for the ability to get another 30 minutes of sleep, and not to have to fight traffic.
I'm a lazy bastard.

A resident of GM Place.

A few years back (2002 I think?) the Vancouver Grizzlies were sold to Memphis and moved, lock, stock and barrel, to Tennessee.

One refugee, however, was left behind...


She's the only remnant of the Grizzly Days at GM Place. She is a chocolate lab who lives in the Electrical Department on the event level... Very well mannered and joy to be around.
If you would throw her ball for her, she's happy to fetch all day. But she's not pushy about it...
She knows that business is business... and will be content to wait until you have a spare moment for ball-throwing.
(Unlike a certain Golden Lab I know, who will pester you no end. And don't get me stared on The Spotted Manace, who doesn't understand the "Fetch the ball" process...
For Maggie, you throw the ball, she goes to get it, runs by you then disappears with the ball, hiding it. You know she's thinking:
"Bastard. Every time I bring it to him, he just throws it again. We'll just fix that."
Maybe she understands the game better than I do.

From our "Unclear on the Concept" department:

The sign reads "Do Not Park Forklift Close To Wall."

Canadians. Go figure.

Pittsburgh, Schittzburgh...


Amazing thing- I knew it would have to happen eventually.

With everyone having the penchant for carrying everything on, there is still usually a good number of bags on the baggage carousel...

Today, the only bags on the carousel were mine.
That's all.


On the drive in from the airport there is a sign...

It might be a place, or it could be an attraction...
Hell, it might be a warning about a beastie in the road up ahead.

One thing is for sure: I'm not taking that exit.
No way.

Some Pittsburgh memories...

Some high-priced union talent running our cables.

"You want some secondhand smoke with that Cat5?"

JR Boyle being useful...

He even knows which end of the screwdriver to hold.

OK... To defuse the bomb...Cut the blue wire... But first...!

There were several other issues in Pittsburgh, none of which I really want to go into here...
Let's just skip that veil of tears and talk about the trip to Vancouver.

To be continued...

Carolina in my mind.

In my mind I'm going to Carolina.
Can't you see the sunshine, can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm going to Carolina in my mind.

-- James Taylor (1968)

Raleigh, N. Carolina- Home of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either...

I'm really suprised that I didn't get a visit from the FBI or at least Homeland Security...
Follow me for a second...

I was working on my equipment for the installation the following day in the RBC Arena. I have a bunch of cables to build, some connections to solder, hardware to secure inside a waterproof housing...basically an electronics-heavy technical buildup of equipment.
And I was doing it in my hotel room. At a hotel very close to the airport.
Do you see where I'm going with this?

So, imagine you are the guy spraying for bugs at the Extended Stay Hotel and you enter a room where a ogre is hunched over a workspace that looks like this:

Bomb making?

The guy walks in, goes to the kitchen area and starts spraying, then looks at the workspace. He stops, looks at the table (smoking soldering iron, test equipment, etc), looks at me, then says "I think I better come back later...."

Putting myself in his shoes, I'd have had to err on the side of safe-not-sorry and dropped a dime to the Feds, and frankly I'm suprised he didn't. I don't think he knew the difference between Cat-5 and a Kit-Kat bar, so the equipment was probably a complete mystery.
I waited for the knock on the door all evening...
"Mr Young, please come with us, we have a few questions..."
But the call never came.

So it begs the question: If someone *was* doing something clandestine, would it get reported?

I was able to dedicate some time to doing my expense report, which was way overdue...
Stuff from Tampa, the NY/Philly Trip, NHL All Star in Dallas, Atlanta, the NBA All Star trip to Vegas... Now Anaheim, and Carolina...
I was severly out-of-pocket. So, I sat at Hooters and spread out all my reciepts and knocked everything into order, then scrambled to find a FedEx-Kinko's and sent the report off to the office.
Then off to the airport.
Getting out of Raleigh Durham became problematical.
There were weather issues in different areas of the country, and delays in Detroit became missed flights in Newark because the crew coming from Detroit wasn't there.
The backlog of flights in Newark bacame delayed flights in Raleigh because if there isn't a gate for the plane to go to in Newark, the Air Traffic Control center won't let the plane leave it's originating airport.

Screwed up, eh?

Oh well... We boarded the plane at 3 something and pushed back from the gate, then the pilot abruptly shut down the engines and explained the weather-delay-missing-crew-ground-halt nightmare in Newark...
I was only passing through Newark as a connection to Pittsburgh...I started to have bad feelings about the flight...
We waited on the ground for 4 and a half hours- Just when the pilot got fed up with the ATC boolsheet he was getting and took us back to the gate, they lifted the ground halt in Newark... At this point, we needed to be refueled...
And we missed our secondary window.

Needless to say, I missed my connector to Pittsburgh...

At midnight, at the Customer Service Desk in Newark I lost every bit of my charm and Made A Scene.
I think the poor girl behind the desk was seriously fearing for her life...

"... and I could give a fat rat's ass if the Air Traffic hold for Newark is the fault of Continental Airlines or even it it was your fault in particular... I was on the plane, it didn't get here in time. You will get me a hotel room, and you will schedule me on the next flight out to Pittsburgh or we are going to call you boss and wake him or her up and we'll find out exactly who has to get fired and who merely gets demoted to baggage monkey."
I walked away with 3 vouchers... $12 in food, a Hotel Room, and a flight coupon for the 6:30 AM flight to Pisstburgh.

I took the shuttle bus for the oh-so-luxurious Howard Johnson's at EWR and got my room in record time and was snoozing by 1:00 am.

The down side of the delay was that my clothes were still in a holding pattern in the Newark airport... That means I get to wear the same smelly clothes I had on the day before for my flight.
Maybe I can check in early and change clothes once I get to Pittsburgh.

Well... I got back to EWR at just before 5:00AM, checked in for my flight and napped for a moment or three... The flight was a little Embraer 145... The cigar-tube with wings.
It was relatively full, lucky me... No bulkhead seat. :(
But, (you know me, always looking for that silver lining) we got to PIT with no real issues, thankfully.

TBG out-

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Grand Tour

I'm in the midst of a high-speed installations tour, if you didn't already know, hence the lack of posts...
I have a bunch of stuff to put up, once I get to a point where I'm not running to catch a plane or going to an arena to futz with wiring and such.

If you are wondering about the tour itself...

Here you go... Today (March 6) I'm in Calgary...

Keep in mind that very few of the long straight lines are actually non-stops...
I'll work up the map showing all segments one of these days, when I really want to get depressed.

Much more later...

TBG out-