Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Franz Kafka International Airport

I think this is my all-time favourite video:

I was showing it to some colleagues at work the other day and you know what, no matter how many times I’ve watched it, it’s still hilarious to me.

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In the Sydney Airport

So now I’m in the Sydney airport, waiting for a flight to Hong Kong1. My gate is disappointingly devoid of Pokéstops, so I’m actually going to try to get some work done. But the TL;DR version of Sydney was: it’s a lovely city, we got to see numerous lighthouses2, caught many Pokémon3, walked all the kilometres4, and I’ll blog about it all in more detail when I get home.

  1. We decided that rather than do another 20 hours of flying in one day, we’d break the flight home up by stopping into Hong Kong on the way home. Neither of us have been there before, aside from our brief layover on the way to Perth. []
  2. As I’m apparently on an unintentional worldwide lighthouse tour this year – having been to lighthouses in St. John’s and Salt Spring Island prior to this trip, then ones in Western Australia and New South Wales on this trip. []
  3. Including several new ones that I didn’t have before. []
  4. My hip is considerably better than it was at the start of this trip, though I’ll still need to do some work on it when I get home. []

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Trip

Wrote this on a plane on Thursday night. Plane arrived at 1 am. Then I spent the next two days having fun with my family and completely forgot to post this. So now I’m posting it from the Toronto airport as I await my next flight. Better late than never, right?

So here I find myself on a plane heading to Toronto and I realize that I haven’t even mentioned a thing about my trip here on ye old blog! But now I’ve got 4+ hours on a plane and, sure, I have work I could be doing1, but my brain is pretty fried from all the work I’ve been doing of late, so I figure I’ll write this blog posting now and leave the work for later, as there will be plenty more flights and sitting around in airports in the next week!

So yes, about the trip. I found out about a month ago that I was getting the opportunity to go to a conference for work. The conference itself looks fantastic – so many interesting sessions to go see and lots of great networking opportunities. The conference is being held in Kansas City, Missouri2 and while Kansas City was not on the top of my list of places that I wanted to travel to – hell, it wasn’t even on my list at all – I’m not one to turn down free trips to interesting conferences and I have been assured there will be excellent BBQ to be had.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, there are no direct flights from Vancouver to KC, so I started looking at flight options and, weirdly, I saw a flight through Toronto. I say “weirdly” because Toronto is not on the way to KC and that flight had another stopover in addition to Toronto, but at any rate, it got me thinking about tagging on a leg of the trip to go see my family3. The conference starts on Sunday night, so I first thought I’d fly out after work on Friday and get to spend Sat with the fam. But then I looked at the calendar and realized that Friday is Halloween and no way was I going to be spending Halloween on a plane! So I took tomorrow off and booked my flight for this evening so I get to spend Halloween at my sister’s place. Which means I get to go trick or treating with my niece and nephew for the first time ever! I moved out to Vancouver before either of them were born and have not had the opportunity to be in Toronto on Oct 31st since then4, so I am super duper stoked to go out with them!

Also, my sister bought a pumpkin for us to carve and, because she’s the best sister in the whole world, she bought a big, big pumpkin, because she knows I love big pumpkins (and I cannot lie.). When we were kids, my parents would take us to the pumpkin patch and my sister would always choose the most perfectly shaped, round little pumpkin she could find and I would picked the biggest one (obviously compensating for my own short stature by choosing a pumpkin that is bigger than me. Go big or go home, I always say). So it’s super sweet that she got us a giant pumpkin, because her own pumpkin preference is little and perfect!

After Halloween, I get to spend Saturday hanging with the family some more and then I’m jumping on a plane on Sunday morning to make my way to Kansas City. I have a 1 hr stopover in Chicago – Chicago *is* on my list of places I want to travel to and so I’m a bit choked that all I will get to do is run through O’Hare airport to catch my connection. That won’t stop me from crossing “Visit Chicago” off my list of 101 things to do, but getting to actually go to Chicago and see the city is still going to be on my list of places to travel!

I’ll be in Kansas City for three days of learning all the things, and then Wednesday night it’s back to Vancouver with a 1 hr stopover in Denver. And then back to work on Thursday! No rest for the wicked!

As per usual, let me remind any would-be thieves that I do have a house sitter who will totally kick your ass if you try anything, along with 2 attack cats and 4 vicious (not viscous) attack frogs. You have been warned.

  1. In addition to work work, I also have to make some edits to my online stats course, which I will be teaching again at the Justice League and I have a talk to write for a workshop to give to some med students that I was just invited to do today and I have a journal article that I’ve been meaning to start for ages! []
  2. Not to be mistaken for Kansas City, Kansas. Why the hell Missouri decided it was a good idea to name their biggest city “Kansas City” when there is already a Kansas City right there in the state of Kansas, I’ll never know. It would be like New Brunswick saying “You know what would be a good name for a city? Quebec City, New Brunswick. Yeah, I like that way that sounds!” []
  3. Once you are flying, it’s way cheaper to tag on a side trip than to book a flight on its own. I have to pay the difference between what my flight would have cost if I’d only gone from Vancouver to KC and what it cost to add on the Toronto leg, which was only $150. A flight to Toronto from Vancouver is usually in the range of $800, so I’m totally fine with paying $150 to get to see the fam! []
  4. The closest I’ve been was a couple of years ago when I was in Toronto for the Hoot and Howl fundraiser at my niece’s school and we had Thankoween dinner. []

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Zurich

Wrote this yesterday and then in my excitement at arriving in Nice, forgot to post it!

Sitting in the Zurich airport – arrived from Dublin and am now waiting for my flight to Nice. I can’t avail myself of the 1 hour of free wifi as to register you have to give them your cell phone number and they will text you a password – but turning on my phone here to receive a text message would probably cost me as much in roaming charges as a month of Internet. So instead I’m writing this posting on my iPad to post when I arrive in Nice – assuming that I have free wifi in my hotel there.

My observations of the Zurich airport so far are thus:

  • It’s big. They actually have a sign with a table telling you how long you have to walk to get from one set of gates to another. For example, to get from Gates A/B to D is 15-20 mins, from Gates E to gates A/B is 25-30 mins. Oddly, there are no Gates C.
  • They have kiosks for cigarettes alongside the ones for alcohol, chocolates, and perfumes. There are also smoking lounges – so far I’ve found one sponsored by Camel and one sponsored by Winston.
  • Prices here are in Swiss francs1 and I’ve found a restaurant that gives the conversion from Euros to Swiss francs and from Canadian dollars to Swiss francs, but doing two times as much math as I’ve gotten used to doing (first to convert pounds to Canadian dollars while in London and then to convert Euros to Canadian dollars while in Ireland) doesn’t sound like that much fun to me. I was able to tell, however, without having to do the math that the 345 Swiss franc shoes that I’ve fallen in love with in one of the stores here is a lot of money for a pair of shoes.
  • Everyone in this airport is at least 75% more beautiful than people in any airport I’ve previously been to.
    1. I hadn’t given it any thought prior to arriving for my stopover – I’d assumed that they were part of the EU and used the Euro in Switzerland! Apparently I was mistaken on both counts! []