It Happened to Me

Going Golfing

Dorf on Golf.

I think the last time I played golf was in the early 1990s with George. I have no idea what possessed us to go golfing — we were spending the summer in our university town, Kingston — but a group of us decided to hit the greens. One particular moment I remember was when George was hidden behind a clump of trees. I heard a scream of frustration from his direction, followed by a couple of flying golf clubs.

Come to think of it, it’s been ages since I’ve even played video golf. The last time must’ve been around 1999, when Adam and I were partners in an indie software development company and working out of his living room. We played Hot Shots Golf on his PlayStation 1 when taking a break from developing these applications.

All this changes today at 2:30 p.m.. That’s the tee-off time for the Tucows Sales and Marketing company-bonding golf-a-rama at Remington Parkview Golf and Country Club. As Technical Evangelist, I’m part of the Marketing team and therefore have been invited to this event; while I’m not a golfing type of guy, I’m not going to pass up a company-sanctioned afternoon in the great outdoors and a free dinner, especially on a cloudless and cool day like today.

If I can keep my score below 500, I’ll be happy.

(Yes, I’ll take photos.)

It Happened to Me

If You Sent Me Email Yesterday…

…then please forgive my slow response. I seem to be receiving yesterday’s email in one big lump (I was wondering why it was so quiet), and I’m responding as quickly as I can. Thanks for your understanding!

In the News It Happened to Me

Travel Advisory for People Flying to the British Isles

In case you’re flying to the British Isles, please note that the security level at their airports is still at “Severe” (the second-highest level, one just below “Critical”). By now, you’re probably aware of the current restriction that prohibits you from bringing liquids, gels and aerosols onto a plane, but you might not be aware of a couple of other security measures, some of which aren’t published anywhere. I encountered these on my return trip from Belfast.

One Small Carry-Item Only

This restriction is published in an announcement on Belfast International Airport’s site. I also wrote about it in this post: you’re allowed only one carry-on item when boarding a plane at a British airport, and it may not exceed these dimensions:

  • 45 cm (about 17 3/4″) long
  • 35 cm (about 13 3/4″) wide
  • 16 cm (about 6 1/4″) deep

They are incredibly strict about this size restriction. At Belfast, the security people had wooden sizing boxes into which you were asked to place your carry-on item. Their internal dimensions were the same as the maxima listed above; if your carry-on item didn’t fit, they would ask you to remove some items from it (if it was a pliable bag) or check it (if it was something rigid, such as a box).

There were no restrictions on electronics; they had no problem with my having a laptop, spare battery, digital camera and iPod.

Everyone Gets Searched at the Gate

Here’s one thing they don’t tell you: boarding will take much longer than usual because in addition to showing your ID and boarding pass, you have to consent to a search. Remember, this is after you’ve passed through the metal detector and X-ray and gone to the departure lounge.

As rows were called to board the plane, everybody had to go to one of three security stations set in front of the jetway. A security person would ask you to empty your pockets and place the items on a table. If you had a carry-on bag, it would be very thoroughly searched by hand.

Next comes the personal search. I haven’t been frisked so throughly since my check-up at the doctor’s last month. The security guy did a full police-style pat-down search, including checking under the collar and the waistband of my jeans. You’ll also be asked to take off your shoes for inspection.

Continental’s international 757-200s (unfortunately, they use narrow-body jets for second-tier international flight) seat 156 in cattle class and 16 in Hermes tie class. With this many people being searched three at a time, the boarding call started a little over an hour before the scheduled departure. I strongly recommend that you make an allowance for the delay involved with this search.

Pens Will Be Confiscated

Another thing they don’t tell you — in fact, they don’t tell you until the search at the gate: they won’t let you bring a pen onto the plane. I only lost a ball-point pen which I’m pretty sure came from Tucows’ office supply closet. Others were less fortunate; in the bin where confiscated pens were being collected, I saw a at least a dozen “executive” pens, including Crosses and Mont Blancs. If you’re accustomed to carrying an expensive pen, do not take it with you!

Without pens, we had nothing with which to fill out the immigrations and customs forms required for international flights arriving at their first port of entry to the United States. We ended up — all 172 of us — sharing the chief flight attendant’s pen, passing it from row to row.


I’m Entitled to a "Snakes on a Plane" Joke

I haven’t gone overboard with the Snakes on a Plane jokes, so I think I’ll post this one…

Poster: 'The Snakes in Spain Stay Mainly on the Plane!'

Geek Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

I’ll be at the php|works / db|works Conference, September 13th – 15th

php|works / db|works conference logos.

The php | works / db | works conference takes place in Toronto from Wednesday, September 13th through Friday, September 15th. I’ll be attending, taking my traditional copious notes and taking accordion requests.

Click here for a complete schedule and synopses of the sessions.

In the News

A Little Something to Restore Your Faith in Humanity

Over at The Toronto Star, they’re running a collection of reader-submitted stories about little kind acts that local have done for their fellow human beings.


Build Your Own Sesame Street "Yup Yup" Aliens

Even now, the Sesame Street skit shown below (click to view the skit) is one of my all-time favourites:

'Yup yup aliens' sketch from 'Sesame Street'.
The “Yup Yup” aliens meet a phone. Click to see the video.

“Mr. Neutron” has posted a photo-how-to showing you how to make your own “Yup Yup” aliens for your own backyard puppet shows. Keep it handy for the next time you’re itching to do a little arts and crafts work:

Mr. Neutron's guide to making your own 'Sesame Street' 'Yup Yup' aliens.