Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

Curated knowledge, trenchant insights & witty bon mots

The last 60 hours

If there's two screaming kids on a three-hour-plus flight from Edmonton to Toronto, what's the odds both of them would be one row behind me?

Apparently, pretty good, to which I say: Happy flying, Charlie Brown! :)

Some other minutiae as it comes out of my head:

I gotta co-ordinate rental car drop-off and flight departure times a bit more closely in the future. I had to fill a nearly five-hour gap at the captivating Edmonton International Airport.

Do NOT have a hamburger at the Jasper pub near the WestJet check-in counters; a mighty underwhelming culinary experience, I say. But since Harvey's doesn't serve beer, my decision was made for me.

Any hope of doing some blogging while at the airport was scuttled by the shitty Internet cafe offered up by the Indigo Book Store. Everything happens in some sort of proprietary desktop frame, which makes things just about impossible. And there is no other Internet service available.

On the way to Edmonton on Dec. 16, I saw a very cool little H-P tablet displayed at the Calgary airport, but I don't know if the Edmonton Airport (as one example) has any wireless hotspots. However, you can always plug and play, I guess.

One troubling thing about trinket shops in both the Edmonton and Calgary airports is the fact there's no local snow bubble for either of Alberta's major cities. You can get a Banff snow bubble. You can get a Jasper snow bubble. You can even get a Waterton snow bubble. But no bucking Calgary bronco or Edmonton oil derrick in a swirling sea of plastic snow flakes under a clear plastic dome? Can you really be considered a place without your own snow bubble?

A good thing about really early check-ins was scoring a decent seat. I managed to get one of the coveted escape row seats — the aisle one, no less! I'm almost 6' 4″, so legroom counts.

My seatmates had at least two pounds of some type of nut and fruit mix with them. I gently reminded them that it was a three-hour flight, not a three-day one. They laughed and said it was foisted on them by friends — and that they had given about half the mix back to those friends.

This triggered a recollection by me about an epic 41-hour bus ride from Toronto to Houston, Texas (as part of a two-month journey that would take me throughout Mexico) that started on Jan. 2, 1983. My grandmother, old Ukrainian peasant woman that she is (and I mean that in the best possible sense), loaded me up with enough chow — eggs, cheese, sausage, unmentionables — to basically carry me right down to the southern end of the Lone Star state. And it was a damned good thing, too. I mean, what's the chance of finding a place to eat between T.O. and Houston? :)

One of my Christmas presents from my lefty mom was a book by former Edmonton Journal columnist Mark Lisac entitled Alberta Politics Uncovered: Taking Back Our Province (he also wrote The Klein Revolution).

If you're a political junkie interested in Alberta, it's well worth a read. Lisac is basically a centrist, and he takes very clear aim at some of Alberta's myths and shreds them. I'll post a review in the coming days. I managed to burn through the book over the course of the plane flight.

When your flight gets in 20 minutes late and it's well after 1 a.m. on a stormy night, one's transportation options from Pearson to the city become limited. The security staff were pushing us to take cabs without the Greater Toronto Airport Authority's seal of approval.

The cabbie took me home via the 401 and Allen Road. When I've been out of T.O. for a while, I usually like to take the 427/Gardiner and drive up to my neighborhood from the south, primarily because I always thrill at the sight of Taranna's skyline at night.

However, last night was not an ordinary night.It was teflon-on-teflon slippery. On the 401, which normally resembles the freeway scene in The Matrix Reloaded, nobody was in a hurry. And those who had been could be spotted parked on the shoulder, their front ends betraying a losing confrontation with a concrete pylon.

The defining colours of the drive were red and blue: Red for brake lights and blue for the flashing rooftop lights on sanding and plow trucks.

“Once you start sliding it is very hard to regain control,” my cabbie, a South Asian fellow with an accent to match, sagely told me.

However, whatever the challenges posed by the elements, he got me back home safely. The fare was $40.25; I paid $45. He thought this was a decent tip. My response was “thanks for getting me home safely.”

I had to work an evening shift Thursday. Before heading into work, I had a physiotherapy appointment (my left elbow is being stubborn about straightening properly).

On College Street, one of the local panhandlers summed up the feelings of many when he bellowed: “Where's the fuckin' street cars?!?!” as he hopped around, fighting a losing battle to stay warm.

It turns out the street cars were all stacked up west of Ossington at that time. The ice build-up was screwing them up. All the streetcar routes were affected to some degree on Thursday.

One phase of getting up to CTV is taking the Scarborough Rapid Transit line to Scarborough Town Centre mall (inappropriately named, given that Scarborough has no centre). In one field, I saw what appeared to be icicles jammed into a field, giving it a bejeweled appearance in the late afternoon sun.

My first shift back after a week in Edmonchuk went by fairly uneventfully. But when it came time to go home, I was feeling pretty underdressed (my new MEC down parka was at home – d'oh!!).

And as in winters past, the subway cars weren't generating enough heat to keep them warm, so the exposed part of the ride between Kennedy and Main Street stations was a chilly one.

Oh well. Only 12 more weeks of this nonsense. :^)




Fri, December 24 2004 » Main Page