gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for May 2008


May 27, 2008 @ 17:30 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Greece 2008, Travelling

After passing some time at the airport in Frankfurt, our flight to Athens took off.  I felt a bit sorry for the chap in the aisle seat next to me.  He was about 6′ 5" and was hawkishly watching a seat in the bulkhead row that was empty until just before takeoff.  Unfortunately for him, the person sitting in that seat showed up, so he had to spend the flight folded up like a pretzel.  We were flying on Lufthansa and they served a nice breakfast of some buns, bacon, ham and cheese, which I gather is a fairly typical German breakfast snack.  After breakfast, I was watched the ground for a while and then woke up to discover that we were offshore of Athens.

There was an airport near the coast that I thought we’d land at, but it quickly became apparent that we weren’t landing there because 1) we were way too high turning from the downwind leg to base, and 2) we didn’t turn final.  Instead we continued inland and shortly thereafter landed.


Smoking in small glass boxes

May 26, 2008 @ 03:26 By: gordon Category: Greece 2008, Travelling

IMG_0115 While passing through the Frankfurt airport I noticed that no one was smoking and thought this was a Good Thing.  That is, until I walked past a pair of small glass boxes, each about the size of a bus shelter, packed with people who were smoking.    If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll see that the guy with the bright blue jacket is actually propping the door open but the cigarette smoke wasn’t pouring out.  They must have been negatively pressurized because you really couldn’t smell the cigarette smoke, except from someone’s clothes when they walked by you as they exited.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like in there, but I’m certain that you probably didn’t need to be sucking on a lit cigarette to get your daily nicotine fix.

Dawn over the mid-Atlantic

May 21, 2008 @ 18:32 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Greece 2008, Travelling

I wrote this Sunday morning starting at about 5am airplane time (GMT+1).

IMG_0091 Flight 872 from Toronto to Frankfurt is waking up. The cabin lighting has been switched from the deep blue night mode to a happy pinkish hue. I’ve been watching the dawn approach for about half an hour when there was just a light bluish tinge to the horizon. It’s now been joined by a dark orange band below it.

People are starting to move about the cabin and a cart full of “breakfast bits” just passed heading towards the front of the plane.

I was able to doze for a while, but I’ve been fidgeting in my seat trying to stretch out my legs. The seats on Air Canada’s 777W are quite comfortable as far as airplane seats go, but after several hours of sitting in I want to get up and wander about. But I didn’t want to wake my two seatmates, so I’ve had to make do.

<insert breakfast here>

Once breakfast was served, I got up and wandered about for a while. It felt good to stand up after sitting for so long.

The rest of the flight was fairly uneventful and we arrived in Frankfurt on-time. Clearance through customs was painless and the only thing about clearing security was that I forgot about a bottle of water that showed up on the x-ray. But, that really wasn’t a problem because when the security guy mentioned it I went “d’oh!” and retrieved it for him to throw out.

To pass the time before the next flight, I headed off to gate A42 with my parents to do a virtual geocache. Basically, you had to have your picture taken near the sign.

I’ll write more about the flight from Frankfurt to Athens and the time spent in Athens a bit later.

(Almost) live from Gate 177 at YYZ

May 18, 2008 @ 16:30 By: gordon Category: Greece 2008, Travelling

IMG_0036_thumb3The first of four fights today on the way to Athens, Greece, went off in the best way possible: uneventful.  We left on-time and landed at Toronto where it was raining on-schedule.  Most of the flight was above the clouds, so there wasn’t a lot to see.  I did take some pictures of some military aircraft at the apron at the Esso Avitat in Ottawa, which I’ll post then I have a better Internet connection.  (I’m using a public terminal near the gate with a horrible albeit functional keyboard.)

IMG_0038_thumb3Our next flight is to Frankfurt on a Boeing 777W, one of the new aircraft in Air Canada’s fleet that has pods up in business/first class.  Sadly, I’m not travelling in podclass, though a friend who went to the Middle East in one says it’s the way to travel.  From Frankfurt we catch a flight to Athens after a couple of hours in the airport.  There’s a virtual geocache called RWY 42 (GCA33A), which I’m hoping to do.  Basically, you have to have your picture taken with the sign for gate A42, which is at the end of the wing that I think we’re going to be in.

I’ll try to post some pictures from Frankfurt if I can find a decent wifi connection.

1 pound of CO2

May 17, 2008 @ 15:20 By: gordon Category: Environment, Meta

I see by the Green Website widget that there have been enough visits to my blog since I installed the widget a few months ago to offset 1 pound of carbon dioxide incurred by the operation of my blog.  Cool!

Two very effective career limiting moves

May 16, 2008 @ 00:06 By: gordon Category: General

It seems like Thursday was Career Limiting Moves Day based on the news stories coming out of the US.


Monkeys and Stingrays: What is going on in Canadian zoos?

May 15, 2008 @ 13:25 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

First, it was April, a tiny black Goeldi’s monkey who was stolen from the Cherry Brook Zoo in New Brunswick around April 23rd. Fortunately, whoever stole her called in an anonymous tip to the police telling them where she could be found.

Next, it was Mia, a spider monkey at the Vancouver Zoo who was stolen during a break-in on May 7th which saw her mate, Jocko, killed. Unlike April, Mia hasn’t been returned.

This week it’s cownose stingrays in the Calgary Zoo. These little fish, about a foot or so across, started dying suddenly May 11th. As of Wednesday afternoon, 39 40 out of 43 had died. Though they haven’t been able to confirm it yet, it looks like they were poisoned. Hopefully, the remaining four three will survive, but the odds aren’t in their favour.

I suppose I can understand someone stealing the monkeys because they probably have a black market value, so I guess they think they can make some money. But why the stingrays? There’s no profit to be made in killing them and it’s not like they were hurting anyone, nor is it likely they were suffering (before someone poisoned them anyway).

Is there a bunch of animal rights activists out there who are targeting Canadian zoos for reasons that escape explanation? If there is, how exactly is this furthering their cause?

Or is there a bunch of sadistic bastards who get their jollies by doing things like this? Or more likely several bunches of unimaginative sadistic bastards who get their jollies by imitating sadistic bastards who get their jollies by doing things like this?

Of course, it could equally be something inadvertantly introduced into their tank on someone’s hands because they were in some sort of interactive display where people could touch them, but I fear that’s unlikely though it’s what I’m hoping for.

I shudder to think what next week will bring for Canadian zoos.