Sunday, June 17, 2007

Kevin Dean Video

A buddy of mine, Randy Cole just started pulling together a bunch of short vids; he bought a bunch of vintage horns and got local jazzer Kevin Dean to play them and talk a bit about music, styles, all sorts of stuff. The first one is posted on youtube and is worth a look!

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Challenges of International Travel Pt. IV

When I checked into Park 'n Fly car park in Montreal so as to fly to London, on my way to Dublin, they kinda sorta forgot to send a shuttle, even after I asked them to in a loud voice through an intercom in their deserted parking location somewhere near the airport. They forgot for a full half hour. Yes, I timed it.

I made it to the airport with :50 until my flight. The self-check-in kiosk refused my booking number and the Check-in Lady (after the kiosk check-in barfed back my attempts by telling me to see the Check-in lady) told me I had effectively missed my flight. She checked with her supervisor who confirmed it was too late. Check-in lady then graciously gave me a ticket anyway (ignoring her supervisor) when she heard my tale of woe and Park 'n Fly. Her co-worker ran my luggage by hand to the flight (when they said they were delivering it by hand I was sure that was the last I was ever going to see of my bag, forever).

But it gets better. I trundled through security, got in the line-up to board the plane - and thinking 'much respect and big-up props to Check-In Lady for getting me on the flight', but I almost plotzed when I glanced down at my ticket I saw I had been assigned the last seat on the plane. In Business Class. Check-in Lady whoever you are, I love you.

The Challenges of International Travel Pt. III

My new laptop draws 10 watts more power than my converter (which allows for 50 w vs. 60 w needed), and although the laptop has a built-in converter, I need an adapter from North American to UK pluggery which the external converter has, but the laptop doesn't, to be able to actually plug in a wall socket. The wall socket sitting in front of me in a hotel in Dublin Ireland.

All the adapters owned by the hotel are being used by other quests, and the converter keeps timing out as it overheats ... So ... it looks like I'll probably be off-line until the stores open and I'm able to go buy myself the proper kit. Oh, but here's the thing. It is a bank holiday here today (i.e. a statutory holiday) so I don't know if the requisite stores are going to be open.

Until then, as they say in Irish Slán agaibh

Turns out a few stores were open, but none of them had what I needed. Fortunately the Dublin Tourist Center was open, and I got my fix. I tell you this, dear reader, because I know you are breathless with anticipation as to the next twist and turn this tale will take.

The Challenges of International Travel Pt II

I work for a very cool company, Return Path. They are so cool that when I was invited to speak at the APRICOT conference in Bali, Indonesia as Mr. CAUCE, they agreed to pick up the tab for the hotel, while my accrued Aeromiles went to pay for business class airfare.

But here's the thing. I was supposed to fly Montreal-Los Angeles-Bangkok-Bali.

All except the L.A. Flight was delayed by two hours after I checked in, so they decided to re-route me Montreal-London-bangkok-Bali.

All except that they couldn't do the same for my luggage.

All except that I had called my credit card company and told them my itinerary and when they saw charges in London Heathrow, they figured my card had been compromised, and canceled it.

So when I landed in bangkok, I had no money and no clothes, nor reservations for a hotel. It was like one of those stupid reality shows with no prize nor t.v. crew following me 'round.

It all worked out, I bought a SIM with cash, called my bank with skype off've my laptop, they called back to my Montreal number which was by that point re-routed to my Skype in number in Colorado which is then pointed at my Skype account which was pointed at my new Thai SIM in my mobile, and voila! problem solved. Except I was sick as a dog, and the suits turned out pretty crappy. When I had left home I had a cold by the time I made it to Bangkok it had become full-blown pneumonia.

Bali, of course, was stunningly beautiful,even if the conference was a bust, the guy who organized it changed the day of the panel at the last minute; it was mis-named in the program, and he likes to pontificate quite a bit, so he took up half the :15 I had been allocated (for which I flew 30 hours), yacking on so everyone could hear what he had to say on the subject I had been invited to address. It is like he adds names to panels he runs so that he can draw people in who wouldn't otherwise attend if they knew he was just going to be standing up at the front of the room jacking off for :45, which is what it was, in reality.

Nevertheless, if tropical paradise is what you want, Bali is where you find it.

FOLLOW-UP - of course, the waylaid luggage never showed up in Bali, despite repeated attempts and promises. When i arrived home they thought it might never have left, and I spend an hour or so hanging around the Customs/Lost Luggage place to no avail. Air Canada also lost some luggage for me on the way home, but that showed up two days later.

Time passed, I made other trips and bought new luggage (Swiss Army - it rules!). Last week, a full three months after my return from Bali, the outbound luggage showed up. A cheap digital camera, my external iPod speakers (by Microsoft, bought on the Seattle trip) and my Skype headset were all missing but everything else of no value (underwear shorts and toiletries) was intact. Now I am faced with trying to reclaim the losses. I can't wait!

The Challenges of International Travel Pt. I

Travel is always interesting.

Last October, I was going from Montreal to Toronto to Vancouver to Seattle. Except there was a tragic school shooting in Montreal at the exact time that I boarded the plane. Because there was a period of time when they thought it was a terrorist attack with a bunch of cops dead they shut down the airport just as we were taxiing to takeoff.

So we sat on the tarmac for 150 minutes until the cops shot the idiot who was shooting up Dawson College. Which would have been OK, except they had no food nor beverages the passengers on-board. After about an hour they started playing a movie, which was very, very crappy, but into which we all became engrossed. Then they stopped playing it just before the conclusion of the film, just when we landed into Toronto.

In Toronto, I was told to run to the other terminal where I was assured the other flight was being held (they had told us the delay in Montreal was due to inclimate weather in Toronto (when we landed it ws about as perfect a day as one could imagine), which meant they were not responsible for refunds). I ran like a madman, and whn I arrived at the gate the woman looked at me like I was nuts when I asked where the flight was - it had left :10 previously.

I made it to late at night Vancouver and the airport hotels were full (I was told again by Air Canada that they were not); I ended up staying in a hotel at a casino. I don't gamble.

Of course, Air Canada lost my luggage in the process and there's no better way to show up to a business meeting than in jeans and a t0-shirt that one has been sweating in for hours. Thanks to Nordstrum, my favourite store in the world, that wasn't an issue when I arrived in Seattle a day late.

Speaking of lost luggage, see part two!