Airline Timetable Fun

While I’ve made great use of the Air Canada website in recent years, it does suffer from one thing common to most airline sites: it’s great if you know where you want to fly and when, but not very useful if you just want to explore the possibilites of flying, well, wherever.

To this end, I present these XML files for Air Canada and Star Alliance, which I derived from their latest timetables. They contain information about all of the cities that Air Canada and Star Alliance fly between, along with the distance between the cities.

I’d welcome the inventive and talented among the readership to take this file and make something fun, artistic, creative and/or useful from it.

These little applications, for Air Canada and Star Alliance are my contribution. Let the games begin.

Four Minutes Longer

As you can see from the following snippet from Air Canada’s current timetable, the daily flight from Charlottetown to Toronto mysteriously starts taking 4 minutes longer as of July 2, 2002:

Air Canada Timetable Snippet

I wonder if this has to do with practical matters like a gate being available in Toronto, or with matters beyond their control like a subtle shift in the prevailing winds. Any pilots in the audience?


Kameradschaft. Kameraadschap. Cameratismo. Kamratskap. Or my favourite: compañerismo. The American Heritage Dictionary says:

Goodwill and lighthearted rapport between or among friends.
The word has its roots in comrade, which is from the Latin camarada, “roommates, especially barrack mates.”

I had an interesting email conversation tonight with an old friend of mine from my Ontario days. He’s in Texas now, and I’m here on the Island. The heart of our conversation was the camaraderie that so infused our earlier lives which, to one extent or another, we’re missing in our current situations.

It’s not that we’re socially bereft now: we both have a good collection of close friends. It’s just that somehow the camaraderie of our twenties — the “goodwill and lighthearted rapport” between roommates and friends and fellow travellers had a quality all its own.

Part of what we were talking about the closing scenes of the movie Notting Hill where a group of friends — perhaps the ideal groups of friends — are careening around London together, crammed into a car that’s too small to hold them all; my Texan friend summed it up like this:

It’s funny, it just occurred to me that the Peterborough gang you are describing is sort of like the people in [that] car. That’s what it was like - we were all in this car, sometimes literally like when I had my Dodge Ram van that could seat eleven people… and we would go swimming or to the market - but it’s almost like the gang was like that in other ways - a casual kitchen conversation could turn into a play or a film festival or a political rally or an outing or who knows what… but always that problem of categorizing, always something in the back of your mind going “I’m in a car with a bunch of crazy people and I don’t even know where we are going” so what? Enjoy the ride.

Felicity Ends

I was never a big fan of the WB series Felicity. I will admit that I watched it several times — maybe more — during the first season, mostly because it spoke to some latent post-high school angst stuff buried deep inside me. But after that season things started getting weird and I could no longer muster the energy required to sort out Noel and Ben and who was the flavour of the week and so on.

Tonight, though, I stayed up ‘til 2 a.m. and watched the series finale of Felicity in KTLA Los Angeles (hence the late hour). And it wasn’t bad. They did use the familiar Wizard of Oz crutch of a feverish dream leading to some lucid time travel fantasy.

But they also did a much better job at “review of the 5 years of the series through flashbacks” than most any other series that has attempted the same. And this, in turn, provided me with a useful catch-up: I skipped four seasons of the show and caught up on all the various threads in one handy 2 hour package.

The Seinfeld Channel

I have spent an exhausting six months watching Seinfeld. Exhausting because it’s on most prominently at 12:05 a.m. (i.e. the 12:05 that comes just after midnight). Watching because somehow I largely missed Seinfeld in its original run (there was a dark period of 3 or 4 years in the somewhere where I had a small black and white TV that only picked up CHEX, a sort of toy CBC station in Peterborough). As a result of this, Seinfeld has always seemed like some deep dark secret pool of cultural references that I didn’t quite get.

I’m happy to say that after this tiring marathon (in recent weeks it’s been 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Fox Rochester, and 12:05 a.m. on ASN), I believe I’ve now seen every episode. And so while I’m not yet at the stage where I’ll turn away from an episode of Seinfeld if it throws itself at me, I no longer feel the need to pursue the affair. Thank goodness.

That said, I have cause to wonder why in the panoply of digital channels there isn’t The Seinfeld Channel. There’s a channel that plays only westerns, one that plays only action movies, one that plays only Dave Chalks Computer Talk and other annoying tech weirdnesses. There even appears to be a channel based almost entirely around reruns of Three’s Company and Hogan’s Heros.

So why not The Seinfeld Channel? I suspect that it’s the kind of channel that people actually would pay $2.95 a month to subscribe to… just think: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you turn to, say, channel 345 and you can watch an episode of Seinfeld. No more waiting until after Spin City or ATV Nightside. All Seinfeld, all the time.

If there are any impressarios reading, I’m ready and waiting to sign up.