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Miscellaneous news:

1. I will shortly have a date with the Whovian I've been communicating with through email and phone calls. This is the fellow who actually wrote me a thank-you note after our first conversation. He has at times made me laugh so hard I've become light-headed. And he likes cats.

He's the head of the math department of a school not far beyond the airport, which makes him about 45 minutes away from me. I think that's a tolerable distance. There's an elegant shopping/entertainment complex on the levee about half way between us, which is also convenient. It has a branch of what we both consider to be the region's finest pizza restaurant, which is really convenient.

2. Did I mention that He of the Ethnic Jokes apparently dropped me? I suspect he concluded he was being friend-zoned. He wasn't, but I'm not particularly grieved to have been dropped. If I like the Whovian as much I suspect I might, I would have had to drop He of the Jokes anyway.

3. I went to Canada last weekend, and had a great time with two of my favorite people. We went to a science fiction bookstore (the biggest such I've ever been to), to a branch of Lush (I'd never been), to Your Feel Good Soap Company (I recommend), to a wonderful farmer's market (such cheeses!), to a spa (I could do a whole post), and to a number of very good restaurants. We also saw the movie "American Hustle", which was really good.

Just the fact that Toronto has chains of fast-food Thai places and three different Chinatowns really impressed me. As I said in a tweet, the closest to that we have here is "that stretch of Route 4 where all the Mexican groceries are."

Canadian prices are high, but when you factor in the exchange rate, they can seem quite reasonable. The spa visit was under US $60. On the other hand, I picked out a small bag of chocolate- and caramel-drizzled popcorn at an airport shop and put it back when I saw it was CAN $17. I mean, I know it was the airport, but come on now. In my home neighborhood it would have gone for US $4.99.

The only travel mishap I encountered was that a jar of mustard I'd bought as a present for S. at the farmer's market (it was raw, hot, and fermented, all qualities he likes) was confiscated by the TSA. You can only carry 100 ml of liquids or gels in carry-on luggage, and my jar was bigger than 100 ml. Evidently mustard counts as a liquid.

I had the option of stepping out of line and walking all the way back to the Delta terminal and getting the clerks at the counter to accept it as checked baggage, but Delta charges $25 for each checked bag, and I would have had to make my way through Customs, Immigration, and the TSA checkpoint a second time. I didn't think I could do all that and still be on time for my flight. So the mustard was relinquished, and I continued to the boarding gate.

(As it happened, though the weather in Toronto was fine, the actual airplane we were to fly on was delayed in Minneapolis due to bad weather, so we left about 55 minutes late. But of course I didn't know that was going to happen.)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2014 07:38 pm (UTC)
You and your illicit mustard. I think it's safe to say that the terrorists really did win because now the TSA terrorizes travelers of their own accord.

I'm so glad you had an awesome trip.

Also, I can't wait to hear about the Whovian!

And I can't say that I'll miss cringing hearing about He of the Ethnic Jokes.
Feb. 22nd, 2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
Actually, the TSA person who searched my bag (after the X-ray revealed something large in my luggage) was ... I really would have to say, giving great customer service.

Not a concept you associate with the TSA. But he was courteous, concerned, attentive, sympathetic, and laughed every time I said something remotely funny. In no way did he suggest that I was causing a problem or in any kind of trouble. Had the context been otherwise I would have thought he was either trying to prevent me from filing suit, or about to ask me out.

He was on the US side of Immigration so I suppose he was a US citizen, so you can't give the Canadians credit for that kind of excellent manners. I wound up thanking him for his time and trouble.

(Then, once I was through and trying to get my heavy boots back on, my luggage started rolling and took off down a ramp. I had to gallop after it, to the friendly amusement of a shoe-shiner and a passing flight attendant. The flight attendant said that was the funniest thing she'd seen all day. But I was in such a good mood from my excellent treatment that I didn't mind.)

Feb. 22nd, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you got an actual person who treated you decently. Honestly, I don't enjoy flying any more, which is sad because at one point I loved it so much I wanted to get my private pilot's license. I've even flown a Cessna (a gift from an ex right before he dumped me, truth be told)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )