It Happened to Me

You Can Leave Any Time You Like, But You Might Not Check Out

Back in April, I travelled to Moncton on business and stayed at a hotel where I found this pamphlet on the desk in my room:

Photo: Pamphlet - "Hotel fires!! Tips on How to Survive"

As you can see, they didn’t go for more delicate phrasing like “What to do in the event of a hotel fire”. The title’s much closer to “How to not die while staying at our establishment.”

Photo: Pamphlet - "Les incendies d'Hotels!! Que Faire Pour Rester en Vie?"

The French don’t have it any easier. The title they see translates to “Hotel Fires!! What to do to stay alive?”

Photo: Pamphlet - "Fire!! In Your Room / Fire!! in Another Part of the Building"

Many of the numbered points in the pamphlet don’t simply use the word “fire”, but accent it with two exclamation marks: “Fire!! in your room” and “Fire!! in another part of the building” are two examples. Perhaps the writer took some inspiration from the band Panic! at the Disco.

Photo: Pamphlet - "Few people are burned to death in fires."

“Few people are burned to death in fires.” This is true – in a fire, smoke inhalation is far more likely to (ahem) smoke you than the actual fire itself. I wasn’t disturbed by reading this fact, but I can see some hotel guests being a bit disturbed by being told which method of death was the more likely one.

For some reason, point number seven in the pamphlet reminds me of what just about every electrician trying to make small talk while doing repairs has said to a customer at one time or another, often with a country-fried drawl: “It ain’t the volts that kills ya, it’s the amps!”

It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Teppanyaki Onion Volcano

The scene: one of the tables at the teppanyaki restaurant Kobe in downtown Vancouver. We’d just wrapped up running the TechDays Vancouver conference and were having a celebratory dinner.

Here’s a classic bit of teppanyaki stagecraft, the onion volcano, getting put together:


Here’s chef Eric filling it with cooking oil as my co-worker Rick Claus looks on:


We have ignition…


…and banzai! I love Rick’s expression in the background. That’s an IT pro’s reaction to illumination from natural sources: “The light! It burns!”