I sat next to Tom Bast!!!

(I am writing this in the Mineapolis airport, but not posting it until I can find a free Wi-Fi connection.  I REFUSE to pay $7.95 for 24 hours of internet access.  $5, I may have paid that.  But not $7.95.  No Thank you Boingo WiFi connectivity.)

That may be the dumbest title yet.  Because do you know who Tom Bast is?  Unless you grew up in Red Deer and played sports; there’s a good chance you don’t.

But I sat next to him.  Kind of.  There was a seat between us on the flight from Calgary to Minneapolis.  And I know it was him.  Here’s why:

1. He looked familar – One of those faces you know you know but you can’t figure out how you know but you just know you know.  Ya, that’s a lot of knows.  But I figured out that I saw him on the commercials for his store many years ago.  And from when he would always come in to Earl’s Red Deer.  And that hockey school I went to of his that kinda sucked.

2. The guy he was flying with. – Huh?  That makes no sense.  You’re right.  I am insane and you should just stop reading right now.

But you haven’t stopped!  I’ve got you hooked.  🙂

It’s not really that amazing, he was just a guy.  But he was showing Tom… (yes, we’re on a first name basis.  Except that I call him Tom and he calls me that guy in 17A who watched Flight of the Conchords Season 2, episodes 1 through 4 for the whole flight on my Archos 605 player.)… his house plans.  And when Tom(!) asked him who designed it, I thought to myself “It’s gotta be Darcy.”

Darcy was a guy in Red Deer that I worked with at Earl’s that became an architect.  So of course when two guys I assume are from Red Deer are talking about an architect it HAS to be the only one I know in the world.

“Well, his name was Darcy, and I can’t remember his last name”  I almost screamed his last name out.  Which would have gotten an interesting reaction I’m sure.  “But his company is called DP Designs”.

Jackpot!  It was totally him.  (you see what happens to me when I travel alone?  Sure, I can write totally random stuff and make myself look like an idiot.  Which is cool.  But that’s why I have Michelle.  To keep me from saying, writing, doing idiotic stuff.  I miss Michelle.  Who is in Red Deer this weekend.  She should visit Tom’s store.  No wait, it probably is still WAY overpriced.)

“The security threat level is currently orange.”  Well that’s good.  Thank you random airport announcement.  What do I do when it is orange?

Speaking of stupid stuff.  This is the story of my trip to the airport this morning. (queue excited squeals from all of you)

My flight left Calgary at 8:00AM.  So of course, being a responsible international traveller I planned to be at the airport 3 hours early.  That’s what they tell you to do.

So I get to the check-in counter at 5:00AM.  Good job Ryan.  You’ll beat the rush.  In fact, you’re the first guy in line!  I rock!

Wait, there is no one at the Northwest/ Delta airlines check-in desk.  Seems odd.  Oh well, they’ll arrive soon.  And I already checked in last night and I just have to give them my bag that I paid them $15 to carry.  They call it excess baggage.  Except that I only had one checked bag.  So somehow one is considered “excess”.  Right, because most people don’t bring bags when they fly out of the country.  Good call Northwest/ Delta airlines.  If this flight wasn’t free I’d be annoyed.

So I wait.  Finally a few other people show up to check-in.  No counter agent yet.  Then one of those super friendly volunteers in the red jackets and white hats comes by and we ask when the airline people will show up.

“Oh, they’ll be here at 5:30.  But you can’t go into USA Customs until 2 hours before your flight.”

So ya, you’re told to arrive THREE hours early.  But you can’t checkin until TWO AND A HALF hours before your flight.  And then you cannot go through customs until TWO hours before your flight.  Am I the only one that sees this as odd?  (I wasn’t, judging by the number of astonished faces.  I love the airline/ border protection industry.  And we won’t even discuss the whole “hand cream and water in small amounts are more dangerous than the super sharp fork from Earl’s that I am somehow allowed to bring.  BUT NO WATER!!)

At customs (only two hours before my flight) the nice lady asked me “where are you staying?”.  “I don’t know” I replied.  “Well sir, we don’t like that answer.  We could stop you from entering the country.”  Oh, so much for the random, hippie, vagrant traveling to unknown locations thing.  So she asks me what hotel I usually stay and then writes that in and waves me through.

I like you USA customs lady.

At security, a nice lady waved me away from the almost empty metal detectors in front of me.  “There are empty lines down there sir”, she said while pointing down a long, barren hallway.  “Right by the table.”

What table?  But you don’t mess with airport security.  I walked down the long hallway and yes!  There is a table there.  And there were no people lining up.  I went through with no issues.  Got my shoes back on and headed out the open door towards the gates.  I looked at my boarding pass to see what gate: 17A.

“The security threat level is (still) orange.”  Thanks again, Minneapolis airport announcement.

So gate 17A.  I look at the gate directional signs.  Gates 1-19: go to the left through those securly locked doors.  Gates 20 – 35: go to the right through the wide open walkway where all the people are.

Um, this ain’t right.

So I go back to security and ask another nice lady where gate 17A is.

“17A?  You must be mistaken sir.  See, that’s your seat number (right by Tom!), your gate is right here where it is circled, highlighted and bolded.  Gate 24.”

Oh.  I walked off to the right mumbling about how early it was.

The Search for Power

This could have also been the title for this extremely long winded and random post.  (oh, and it’ll get worse).  But I wanted something cool before that.  Like “Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock.”  I couldn’t think of it though.  Houston Trek sounds kind of stupid.

Now that I am in the terminal at gate 24, I start looking for a power outlet.  Michelle so very nicely let me take our old laptop which doesn’t have a battery.  So we always have to plug in.  Which is fine at home, but not at the Calgary Airport.

Did you know the Calgary airport has FREE WiFi?  Yes, free.  The catch is that you have to find a power outlet for your laptop.  Unless YOUR laptop has a source of power that doesn’t need a power outlet.  Or you have a RIM Blackberry, Apple IPhone or a similar smart phone device thingy.

No power outlets to be found.  I guess I’ll read my book.

[short summary of next 3 hours.  Got on the airplane, Tom!, Flight of the Conchords with the Archos which HAS a battery, landed in Minneapolis.]

Oh ya, seat 17A?  NO LEG ROOM.  I walked down the aisle to my seat seeing the normal leg room on all rows.  Got to row 17 and noticed that something was missing.  The leg room.  Crap.  But it wasn’t that bad.  I just jammed my one leg beside the seat in front of me and made the guy in that seat awkward because he kept touching my leg, and stuck the other leg into the leg room of the empty seat between me and Tom.  Hopefully I don’t sit in that seat again.  Except that I have that seat on the flight back to Calgary.  Ya, better change that on checkin.  16A looked a lot better.

Now, I am sitting in the Minneapolis airport.  WHERE THEY HAVE POWER, but charge for WiFi.  But at least I can charge the battery on my video player.  I met up with Kelly’s mom and picked up all their Christmas presents.  I sold Dan’s presents and ate his birthday present as well.  I doubt he’ll mind. 🙂

Soon, I plan to go eat at Cajun Charlie’s.  I have a few good memories of this aiport because the last time we came through here was on the way down to Mississippi when Katria was born.  And one of those memories is of Cajun Charlie’s.  Amazing food.  I walked through security and saw it.  And DEFINITELY didn’t giggle with delight.  My flight to Houston leaves at 5:00PM and by 8:30ish the LEGENDARY Houston Convergence of ’09 will have begun.  (Ooooooh, that’s a decent title.)

(Hey cool, there’s a police car on the runway out there.  Do they pull over speeding airplanes in Minneapolis?)

Better be done now.  That was only a half day.  Again, me + travelling alone – wife and kids = WAY too much time to contemplate what to write in my blog.  See the “Insanity: Road Trip to” blog posts from last year for further evidence.

(hey, did you notice how many different company and product names I dropped in this post?  I’m hoping that one of them will read the blog, decide NOT to sue me for slander and then sponsor the rest of the LEGENDARY Houston Convergence of ’09.)

Oh man, this is gonna be cool.


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