Late nights and iPod vending machines…

29 01 2008

OK, well getting out of the airport took a bit longer than I thought.  I don’t think we left until about 3am and I did not get to my frozen car until after 6am.  When I finally got it going, paid up and left the car park I was just in time to hit the morning rush hour.  Joy.

I had Internet issues at the airport after the last posting and my battery died shortly after so the Internet entertainment did not last long.  I had plenty of time to get some healthy Burger King meat related products and have a wander through the Vegas airport departure area.  That took all of 10 minutes.  Vegas airport did, however, have one feature I’ve never seen before.  They had an iPod vending machine.  See picture below:

iPod vending machine.

Kind of a neat idea to sell iPods and related products at the airport.  I can imagine the disappointment, however, when some poor sod buys one to pass away the time at the airport and forgets that it won’t be charged.  I tried to find a live plug to connect my laptop to but the only ones to be found were in a crowded area of the airport that was on the opposite end from our gate.  All the other ones we could find were DEAD.  That’s useful.

There was one additional element of excitement.  After we had first got the airport and got through the security check (bags XRayed, etc) a blue light and alert went off.  A bunch of us had just got through and us (amongst others) were kept from going anywhere else in the airport whilst they sorted out this security issue.  It only took about 20 minutes.  A sniffer dog came and went and various important and serious looking people in rent-a-cop outfits came and went.  From what I could gather it looked like that an older couple had made their way through the security check and forgot one of their bags.  I guess the security guys realised they had an extra bag that nobody seemed to want and wanted to get it cleared (hence the dog).  I saw a sheepish looking older guy and his wife brought back and he collected his bag.

When we did finally get on the plane the flight was further delayed as the front landing gear needed some immediate maintenance so we had to wait 40 minutes on the plane before it even took off.  When we got to Edmonton and it’s -35 wind chilled temperature we had a further delay as the ramp that connects up with the plane wasn’t working in the extreme cold.  Cue another 10 minute wait before we could get off.  Then there was the huge queue in customs but, to be fair, that went as quick as they could make it.  Bags were there and straight outside into the cold to wait for the Park & Fly shuttle to take me to my car. 

My car, reluctantly, started on the 1st try.  There was this 5 seconds of a burning smell then it seemed to be ok (probably a belt of some sort not being able to turn something in the engine for a short bit due to the cold).  Lots of snow drifts in the car park but fortunately luck was on my side and my car needed minimal snow clearing and I had a clear path to the booth to pay.

Got into the Park & Fly booth to pay my fees.  Lots of people there.  Waited my turn and played the people watching game.  This poor woman came in looking for a boost as her car would not start.  Amazingly the car park folks were not able to help her.  First it was a case of having to wait for the shuttle bus to be free to help then she was told that they did not have any functioning vehicle at all with jumper cables (or, more likely, no jumper cables).  I really felt for that poor woman and I have to admit I was a bit annoyed at the Park & Ride.  They are managing a car park service near the airport.  Think about it:

  1. People will be leaving their cars for days at a time.
  2. We live in CANADA.
  3. CANADA can get COLD from time to time.
  4. Peoples cars probably won’t start from time to time.
  5. Having to give an occasional boost is part of the job.

Looks like another clue for sale is needed.  I did not have any jumper cables in my car or I would have helped her. 

I should probably look into getting some.

On that note… it’s supposed to be -38 tomorrow (no wind chill included).  Food for thought.

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Waiting in the airport…

27 01 2008

Thank god for free internet wireless access.  That’s currently the entertainment of choice sitting here in the aiport in Las Vegas.  Our flight has been delayed by about half an hour so it’s not a big deal but it sounds like there is quite the storm in Edmonton so the driving conditions will more than likely suck and starting my ice cube car will be a lottery when I get there. 

You can tell I work for a technology company.  I’ve got about 9 co-workers with me in the aiport and half of us are typing away on our laptops and a few others are messing about with their blackberrys.  Blackberry addiction is a real problem I can tell you.  I don’t have one but the folks around me who do seem to have them permanently glued to their hand throughout the day doing god knows what on them.  Another co-worker is playing with her swearing parrot and now it looks like they’re huddling up to play cards now…  We’re pretty much the only people in the depatures lounge now.  It was full when I started typing this but has emptied out nicely.

Visited the the discount designer fashion mall in Vegas today looking for bargains.  I did not really find any but it killed a couple of hours.  Picked up a couple of belts for myself and my girlfriend (as I’ve lost weight and need a smaller belt now!  Woo hoo!).

There was a (unintentionally) humerous road billboard that was from a legal firm that specializes in suing lawyers.  I guess it’s come around full circle now.  You can’t make this stuff up.  I really wish I was able to take a picture of that but I was in a cab at the time.

We hung out in Ceasar’s Palace for awhile but head back to our hotel to take a taxi to the aiport.  We even got to watch a guest throw up all over the entryway to the hotel whist we were waiting.  Entertainment is ever-present in Vegas.  It’s a very bizzare place indeed.  At least the company is good and we’ve had some fun.

I think I should probably go in search of food now….





Ads, what were they thinking?

10 01 2008

Take a close look at the ad below.  I snapped this pic on my camera phone at a train station during my daily commute to work.  The topic itself is a serious one but whoever took the photo on the add clearly wasn’t thinking.  If you check out the angle fo the car with respect to the roads in the intersection it looks like the driver WENT for the pedestrian (the car is pointing towards a corner of the intersection).  I don’t know what kind of attention this driver was paying when he was trying to get up on the sidewalk!  Kind of funny in a messed up way.

Intersection Safety Ad





Sporting Events

1 10 2007

Last year a couple of friends of mine from the UK came over for a visit.  I took them to two sporting events so they could get a taste for north american sports.  A CFL game (Edmonton V Calgary) and a NHL game (Edmonton v Phoenix).

What really struck me about both sporting events is the advertising that was involved.  The CFL game was the worst offender of the two.  Every break in play seemed to have a “sponsored” message and the adverts and buy/buy/buy messages were non stop throughout the game.  You spend around $50 on a ticket to watch a game and get bombarded with non-stop advertising for your trouble.  My guests commented on this and I have to admit they had a point. 

The NHL game was not as bad (although they did the usual wait for the TV ads breaks).  Hockey has more flow to it than a CFL game as there can be 5-10 minutes of play before a break in play.  There were still plenty of plugs but it wasn’t as bad as the CFL game (again, probably more to do with the nature of the sport).   The hockey game would have been more enjoyable had Mr. Alcohol and his co horts not been sat directly behind us giving us loads of hassle.  I really should have talked to a steward to get then chucked out.  I guess it’s that “Canadian” tolerance thing. 

The games were enjoyable and we had a good time but I don’t think I’ll be in a rush to go back to a CFL game; the advertising did spoil it for me somewhat at that event.

On a related note I was in Calgary visiting my family the weekend befgore last for my Brothers birthday and noticed that a Pre-Season hockey ticket from a game they had been to had a price of $140… each (they were tickets he got from work).  This is a Pre-Season game…. it’s meaningless and more than likely alot of the star players won’t be playing anyway as some of the young talent will get a run out; apparantly a glass of beer went up to about $7.50 or so too.  I think pro sport is in danger of pricing itself out of the market but that’s a story for another day.

Any opinions on this?  Are you happy to spend $50+ to attend a game where ads are bombarded at you non-stop?  Is that just the way it is now?