The Top Seven Things I Wonder about Empire Theatres

If you want to go to a mainstream first run movie in Charlottetown, and you don’t want to go to the drive-in, you’ve got to go to Empire Theatres.

I saw Insomnia there tonight; it was a good movie that I wouldn’t have gone to see if I knew anything about it, so I won’t say anything about it so as to not jeopardize gentle readers’ possibility of going to see it.

But the experience did leave me with the following questions about Empire Theatres:

  1. There are now 4 or 5 electronic ticket machines available at the entrance. You can’t miss them. It takes about as long to buy your ticket from a machine as it does from a person, yet even when there are 30 or 40 people in line, the ticket machines remain largely unused. Why? (Companion question: similar situation exists at Terminal 2, Pearson Airport in Toronto: you can check in with a terminal in about 15 seconds or wait in line for 1/2 an hour to check in with a real person; the terminals are seldom used).

  2. There is a new ritual of having an usher enter the theatre just before the show and say (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here): “Hello my name is Fabian and I’m an usher here at Empire Theatres. I’m just here to let you guys know about our Stash the Trash Program…” Fabian (or whoever) then goes on to tell us that we can “really help them out” by using garbage pails, and mentions at the tail end that if we have any temperature or volume problems we can come and talk to him. I’m wondering (a) why they put shy adolescents through such public speaking hell, especially when many in the audience are no doubt their classmates, (b) whether this scheme actually convinces people to stash their trash or not, and how much money they save from some number of the audience members doing so and (c) whether other audience members find this annoying rather than helpful. I always thought the opportunity to callously throw litter on the floor was part of going to the movies.

  3. The ushers and their overlords are all wearing headset walkie talkies. What are they talking about? “We’ve got a callous trash non-stasher in aisle 3; all agents respond.”

  4. The ushers that take tickets now refer to the theatres as “stadiums,” or rather “Stadiums” as in “Insomnia… that’s in Stadium 6, second door on your left.” Does this really impress anyone?

  5. Has anyone else noticed that the toy plastic “stadium style seating” they apparently bought from Wal-mart is rather flimsy and has the annoying property of echoing every tick, kick and jossle of anyone in the row behind you directly into your spinal column?

  6. Said Wal-mart style seating also incorporates cup holders, which while they make soda storage much easier, also render useless the arm resting feature of the arm rests. Did the designers not think of this?

  7. Why do you young teens think it’s okay to talk at the movies? I never talked at the movies as a young teen. Talking at the movies is wrong. Such people should not be allowed to attend movies. I consider them one step below the “hey, let’s roll some M&M’s down the aisle for kicks” people.
I would appreciate answers to any of the above from those more knowledgeable than I. And do go and see Insomnia.

More Airline Timetable Fun

Lars Marius Garshol from Oslo asked if I could add actual flight information to the XML airline timetable files I’d created.

So I did.

This file is an zipped version of an XML rendering of the latest Star Alliance timetable. You may wish to consult the original PDF file the information was scraped from for information about what the various bits of a flight’s information actually mean.

Ob Google: search for Star Alliance Timetable on Google; this site is the first search result. I’m not sure what this says about Google and/or Star Alliance.

Please note: the airline schedule information was scraped from the official original Star Alliance Timetable PDF and you should consult that document for “official” information. The XML rendering of the information may be incomplete or inaccurate; don’t show up at the airport expecting to fly based on the XML only. You have been warned.

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?