Flying is such a pain. At most airports, including San Francisco International (SFO), passengers are now require to have a boarding pass before going through security. All my stuff is usually hand carry, so I try to use self check-in terminals whenever possible. To operate them, you enter your frequent flier card or credit card into the machine.
When I tried using the machine this morning, I received an error message indicating that my name couldn't be verified, and that I had to see a ticketing agent (defeating the purpose of self check-in). If this happens to you, here's a tip: try another card. It turned out that I received the error because only my last name could be read off the magnetic strip. The machine required my first name as well. I retried with a debit card and it worked.
During the flight, I read the Skymall magazine. Some of the merchandise they sell is truly bizarre, like "Mombasa, the Garden Giraffe". For the bargain price of $895 plus $79 shipping, you can buy your own 8-feet tall designer resin giraffe for your yard. And somebody would buy that because...? Other stuff was much more interesting and useful. I have their atomic travel clock (I bought it somewhere else) that I use as an alarm clock. It automatically synchronizes with this thingy in Colorado that sends out a signal four times a day across the continental US. Theoretically, your clock is always perfectly on time, and you don't even have to adjust it for time changes.
Here are some items that may be potential purchases for the future:
- Instant poker table top ($99.95) -- gift for D?
- Decorative sink strainer/stopper (2 for $11.95) -- for sis/mom because there are no garbage disposal units in Canada or Hong Kong
- Bike rack ($39.99) -- allows 2 bikes to be parked side-by-side
- Oxygenics showerhead ($29.50) -- for dealing with the pathetic water pressure in my apartment