Careful with that...

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Ben Harris » 10/18/01 09:18 PM

Hi everyone,

(This is partly tongue in cheek, partly serious!)

Who would have thought, prior to Sept 11, that one would have to be so careful with "fanning powder."

I remember when I used to work 5 nites a week at a restaurant. Sometimes, through handling, my cards would get a little sweaty and sticky. I was going through 3 decks a nite, so longetivity was an issue. (This is tropical Queensland, sticky cards ARE a problem!)

On a break I would sometimes duck into the restroom, and using a large plastic bag, powder the cards. Occasionally, a little would be spilled. A thin film of "soapy feeling" powder would be left as a residue - sometimes.

Today, this sort of thing could cause a major panic. It could shut down a chain of Dennys in fear of anthrax. Or a lot worse!

So, be careful with that zinc stearate.

This prompts the question...

What other considerations should we be taking in this new fear-tinged environment?

The trick with the cap gun is out, and you can't fly with your Color Changing Knives.

How else have you been affected? And, what, if any, special considerations are you making so as to ensure "sensitivity" and relevance.

Cheers

Ben Harris
Creator of the famous "Floating Match On Card" illusion.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/18/01 10:24 PM

Ben brings up an interesting point. I certainly would not want to be caught with any fanning powder: it looks exactly like talcum powder (and thus Anthrax). Yikes!!! Fortunately we don't seem to need it here for close-up magic in Washington DC.
And, you can carry your Color-Changing Knives when you travel, but you MUST pack them in your baggage to be checked.
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Postby Guest » 10/19/01 01:59 AM

Slush Powder too.
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Postby Guest » 10/19/01 05:54 AM

Slightly but not wholly off-thread: With New York having seen quite enough in the way of fireballs, I haven't touched a piece of flash paper since early September.

-Ralph
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Postby Brian Marks » 10/23/01 02:06 PM

One magician giving a lecture for the SAM parent assembly got magician's rope confiscated on trip from Florida to NY. Th excuse given was it could be used to tie people up.
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Postby Brian Morton » 10/23/01 02:16 PM

I was planning on street performing out in Santa Monica during an upcoming visit out West, but I close with the Card Sword and even though the El Duco unscrews at the handle, it's still too long to fit into my suitcase. Outside of buying a hard-type cue case to ship it (and then I worry about it because it would be smaller than a regular bag, and therefore easier to lose), I think the performing idea might be shot at this point.

Anybody else have to travel with a card sword? Ideas? Bueller? Bueller?

Drat.
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Postby Guest » 10/23/01 03:02 PM

Perhaps you could work the Santa Monica crowds for just enough scratch to cover Fedexing the sword to the West Coast and back. (How do you work those damn smiley things...oh never mind.)

Meanwhile, note that metal detectors are now cranked up to maximum sensitivity. So I put my Wonder Pen-a-tration (which I always carry with me) in the little tray with my keys and coins, just to avoid unnecessary inquiry.
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Postby Josh Mandel » 10/23/01 06:35 PM

Ralph,

Putting things in the tray seems to be a good way to get a LOT of things through.

I've taken about 8 flights since the 11th. On my keychain is a tick-puller, which I carry because there are a lot of deer around here and my dogs get ticks with some regularity. The tick-puller is about 2 inches long, at least a half-inch wide, made of a sturdy, thin metal, and while it's not REALLY sharp, the end of it is slit and could be used much more effectively than a nail clipper, eyelash curler, or any of the other so-called weapons that are being confiscated these days.

Not once has anyone at any of the airports I've been to (Albany, Chicago/Midway, LAX, Detroit, or Baltimore-Washington) even given it a second glance.

I suspect that it's been a case of "hiding in plain sight."

--Josh

[ October 23, 2001: Message edited by: Josh Mandel ]
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Postby Robert Kane » 11/09/01 09:06 PM

In response to earlier Richards post re traveling with color changing knives. I would hold off on taking your color changing knives or anything similar when you travel by air, even if you plan to place them in luggage that you will check.

This Monday I traveled from Miami to London. At the check-in desk, airline staff were asking passengers to remove all sorts of metal items prior to their accepting luggage for check-in. The airline staff had a list of about 20 items that could not be inside checked luggage and/or carried onboard. Items included were firearms, swords, pocket knives, scissors, tweezers, metal nail files, nail clippers, needles, sewing kits, hand cuffs(?), etc.

I was carrying tweezers, nail clippers and a small travel sewing kit, which they asked me to remove and discard before they would accept my luggage.

Also, at the entrance to the gate area security staff (with rifle toting National Guardsmen looking on) were actively inspecting most handheld luggage and making passengers remove a host of items before proceeding further. As you can imagine, there were a number of unhappy campers at that scene.

I imagine that the security staff and the National Guardsmen would not be too thrilled to see any passenger traveling with knives, color changing or not. It would also be a shame to have to throw away a good set of knives if you were in a hurry to catch your flight.

By the way, the check-in and security staff were not offering to store your items for later pick-up on your return. They offered passengers a garbage can when they had to remove and discard a questionable item.

I strongly suggest you leave the stuff at home to avoid the possible hassle and for the safety of your fellow travelers. Sorry guys, it is just my opinion based on my recent experience.
:(
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Postby Guest » 11/09/01 09:57 PM

What airline were you travelling that would not let you put some of these items into your checked baggage? From my post Sept. 11 experience, scissors and nail clippers are most certainly allowed as long as you have them in checked baggage...

BTW: I went through Chicago O'Hare security this week a day or two after the Argenbright security folks there made nat'l headlines for letting through a dude with 9 knives, a stun gun and some tear gas.

Needless to say it was predictably slow going through the Xray machines: I think they stopped and asked for supervisory help every time anything metal showed up. Maybe their strategy is to put to sleep any potential terrorist waiting so long in line.

I wish I could have made them disappear (the lines not the security folks!).

rgds,

Tim
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/10/01 01:52 AM

I'm in Los Angeles at the History Conference right now, having flown here from Washington DC earlier in the week.
Here is my airport experience. We were advised by the local travel writer in the Washington Post to arrive at Dulles airport THREE hours before our domestic flight. We had heard two hours before, so I decided to split the difference and arrived about two and a half hours early. The line at the United Ticket counter was half to a third SMALLER than it has been for the past year. Wait time of less than ten minutes (usually it's 30 minutes.
BUT ... the line to go through security was HUGE!!! Snaked all the way through the terminal and took 30 to 40 minutes to get through. And that was all. We got to the gate and sat and read. So, not so bad. We were lucky--since our flight was over 3 hours, we actually got a meal (and a pretty good one, too, hard to believe).
I hope our flight back on Monday is as smooth!
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Postby Guest » 11/10/01 05:12 AM

I've been traveling a bit lately and find that the security line wait is highly variable and dependent on passenger volume. One day I had a wait like Richard's at San Francisco airport at 6:00 am. But then last week in San Antonio, I was running late, arriving at the airport just an hour before the flight; I check my bags with a skycap, was through security in five minutes, and checked in at the gate. Almost like old times.

Robert Kane's experience is disturbing but I hope anomalous. My colleagues traveling to Barcelona two weeks ago had no such restrictions on checked baggage. I've taken my favorite scissors (and magician's rope) in my checked luggage and experienced no such trouble in domestic travel. (Interestingly, although I packed the rope, in response to an earlier post here, my computer extension cord raised no eyebrows when transported in carry-on.)

Has anyone else here experienced restrictions on checked bags similar to Robert's? I'm flying to LA tomorrow and don't want to trash my Fiskars.

--Ralph
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Postby Jim Morton » 11/12/01 11:04 AM

What you can expect at the airport seems to be a crap shoot. I flew out of Oakland on October 29, and the line was out the door, down to the end of the terminal and into the parking lot, at 5:30 in the morning! It took an hour to get through security. A friend of mine flew from the same airport the next day and said there was no line at 11:00 in the morning. Go figure.
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Postby Guest » 11/12/01 11:47 AM

Traveling to California last night, there were no restrictions on packing sharp things in checked luggage, contrary to Robert Kane's experience in Miami.
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Postby Brian Marks » 11/12/01 12:03 PM

I imagine that if the crashed flight in NY turns out to be terroism or some sort of sabatoge, the line will get longer. I suggest just shipping anything questionable that you might need if possible. Packing light is probably the quickest way to go but thats obvious.
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Postby Guest » 11/21/01 08:40 AM

I have flown almost weekly since September 11th and the only thing that is consistent about security around the country is its lack of consistency.

Check -In and Security lines will always vary depending upon the time of travel. It was hit and miss until most airlines started to consolidate flights. Now all of my flights out of BWI or back accross the country from the West coast have been full.

At this point I have not encountered any restrictions on any checked bagage including weapons. After all you do not have access (in any normal situation) to your checked baggage once it is on board.

However all airlines are randomly selecting passengers for exmination of checked baggage. From my understanding they are looking for explosive or other dangerous (including chemical, flamable) items.

It really assures me that with the technology available to hide and or make an explosive device out of what appears to be normal items (thats what the news and Tom Clancy books tell us - not first hand knowledge) that the airlines are having a customer service agent who can hardly run the computers at the ticket desk - checking our luggage for explosive devices. But it must be ok - after all they are waring latex gloves.

No one including first class pasengers are exempt from this random screening.

With regards to security screening some airlines including America West/Continental will allow nail clippers on flights. However since they do not control the security check points it is pretty much a mute point for know.

I assumed (and you know what they say about that) that an item in a carry on bag with wires, a circut board, switches and batteries would instantly set off alarms. But my light board (close up version) has not even garnered a second look in the 30 or so times I have passed through security. At first I took the batteries out thinking they would ceartainly draw attention. Now I have been leaving the batteries in and still have not been asked.

Security check points are all different.
Some require you to show your ID and your Ticket, others Just your ticket.

Of course most of the time the security personnel are so busy talking to each other about how much more money and benefits they are going to receive now that they are going to be FEDERAL employees that they hardly notice. (by the way how in the hell is someone more qualified and expected to do a better job just by making them a federal employee. Is not the real issue here qualification and not who the employer is. Paying these same unqualified people more money even with additional training is not going to change how they do their job or make traveling any safer - enough politics.)

At BWI (International/America West) you must remove wallet, Keys, money clip and your jacket (At the other BWI gates I have been able to leave my jacket on).

Lap tops must be removed from your bag and scanned seperately. Make sure you tell them a lap top is coming through so it does not go sliding down the conveyor belt and bang into the bottom like I have seen several times.

And be prepared to be wanded (is that a word). The machines are so sensitive in many of the airports that your watch will set it off and you will have (I am sure for some) the pleasure of having that annoying wand run around your body.

Once you are through security you are not necessarily through. Some airlines are doing secondary screening of your bags before you board at the gate.

So what does it all mean. You can never know what to expect. Arrive a reasonable time (no more than two hours and I would not want to get there with less than an hour) before your flight. Minimize items that may cause a problem in your carry on luggage. Put any questionable items in your checked baggage. Bring a book or bettter yet the latest issue of Genii to keep yourself occupied and be grateful you do not have to travel in Europe on a regular basis where there is real security.

But then again know that our airport security personnel will be Federal employees so everything will be better :( .

I hope all of Genii readers and staff have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving holiday even if you do not fly.
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Postby Guest » 11/21/01 08:41 AM

I have flown almost weekly since September 11th and the only thing that is consistent about security around the country is its lack of consistency.

Check -In and Security lines will always vary depending upon the time of travel. It was hit and miss until most airlines started to consolidate flights. Now all of my flights out of BWI or back accross the country from the West coast have been full.

At this point I have not encountered any restrictions on any checked bagage including weapons. After all you do not have access (in any normal situation) to your checked baggage once it is on board.

However all airlines are randomly selecting passengers for exmination of checked baggage. From my understanding they are looking for explosive or other dangerous (including chemical, flamable) items.

It really assures me that with the technology available to hide and or make an explosive device out of what appears to be normal items (thats what the news and Tom Clancy books tell us - not first hand knowledge) that the airlines are having a customer service agent who can hardly run the computers at the ticket desk - checking our luggage for explosive devices. But it must be ok - after all they are waring latex gloves.

No one including first class pasengers are exempt from this random screening.

With regards to security screening some airlines including America West/Continental will allow nail clippers on flights. However since they do not control the security check points it is pretty much a mute point for know.

I assumed (and you know what they say about that) that an item in a carry on bag with wires, a circut board, switches and batteries would instantly set off alarms. But my light board (close up version) has not even garnered a second look in the 30 or so times I have passed through security. At first I took the batteries out thinking they would ceartainly draw attention. Now I have been leaving the batteries in and still have not been asked.

Security check points are all different.
Some require you to show your ID and your Ticket, others Just your ticket.

Of course most of the time the security personnel are so busy talking to each other about how much more money and benefits they are going to receive now that they are going to be FEDERAL employees that they hardly notice. (by the way how in the hell is someone more qualified and expected to do a better job just by making them a federal employee. Is not the real issue here qualification and not who the employer is. Paying these same unqualified people more money even with additional training is not going to change how they do their job or make traveling any safer - enough politics.)

At BWI (International/America West) you must remove wallet, Keys, money clip and your jacket (At the other BWI gates I have been able to leave my jacket on).

Lap tops must be removed from your bag and scanned seperately. Make sure you tell them a lap top is coming through so it does not go sliding down the conveyor belt and bang into the bottom like I have seen several times.

And be prepared to be wanded (is that a word). The machines are so sensitive in many of the airports that your watch will set it off and you will have (I am sure for some) the pleasure of having that annoying wand run around your body.

Once you are through security you are not necessarily through. Some airlines are doing secondary screening of your bags before you board at the gate.

So what does it all mean. You can never know what to expect. Arrive a reasonable time (no more than two hours and I would not want to get there with less than an hour) before your flight. Minimize items that may cause a problem in your carry on luggage. Put any questionable items in your checked baggage. Bring a book or bettter yet the latest issue of Genii to keep yourself occupied and be grateful you do not have to travel in Europe on a regular basis where there is real security.

But then again know that our airport security personnel will be Federal employees so everything will be better :( .

I hope all of Genii readers and staff have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving holiday even if you do not fly.
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Postby Josh Mandel » 11/21/01 08:52 AM

A note about laptops...

If you have one and they're going to check it, HANG ONTO IT. Hold it yourself, put it down on the table/counter yourself, and minimize, to whatever degree you can, the amount of handling it receives from the security personnel.

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine had her laptop accidentally dropped on the floor by the security person who was going to wand it. It was out of warranty, and so far, every avenue she's taken to be reimbursed for the repairs has led to a dead end. Nobody -- not the airport, not the airline, not the company doing the security screenings, nobody -- considers themself liable. Looks like she'll have to go to court if she wants to be reimbursed.

--Josh
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Postby Steve Hook » 11/21/01 10:19 AM

Originally posted by William Gillis III:
Paying these same unqualified people more money even with additional training is not going to change how they do their job or make traveling any safer - enough politics.


What I heard on NPR was that the new bill regarding federalization of airport security would provide FIVE HOURS OF TRAINING for our new "your lives are in our hands" non-security force. :confused:

I almost choked on my coffee ala Danny Thomas. :eek:

Thanks very much for your knowledgeable update, William.

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