Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 4: Argos vs Ottawa

Here’s another in the irregular connection of Off the Field Reports. You can read the details of the football action anywhere, but what if you want to know what’s happening in the stands instead? What if you want another report on whether the QR Code pizza slice contest worked? Where can you go? Where?

Well, here as it turns out. And if you just can’t get enough of this, you can catch up if necessary on Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3.

Game Summary

Argos: 44

Ottawa: 31

Weather: Beautiful

Crowd: Boisterous

what were the other people on the GO Train coming down to see?

Something called KidzBop was playing at the Budweiser Stage, and I must extend my congratulations to all the moms and dads who were accompanying the throngs of excited young people. I hope there was something fun for you older folks too, perhaps some Glenn Miller covers.

wait wasn’t Kidz Bop at 4 and the football at 7?

Yeah, we came down earlier than normal. We took a friend from California to his first ever CFL game, and did a couple of tourist things ahead of time. Including visiting Little Canada, an amazing HO Scale recreation of great Canadian scenes, found at Yonge/Dundas Square. Highly recommended! Even if it features 1:87 working models of the Skydome and Air Canada Centre – or whatever they’re called now – but not BMO Field.

Here’s a panorama of Toronto at Little Canada. You really should check it out.

Little Canadapano

And we headed from there to the game.

So anyway our friend James really enjoyed the game and is now the Argos Good Luck Charm, as they have never lost when James has been on hand. (My Apple friends, you know James from his band And the Breakpoints of course.)

could we possibly talk about the football game

I’m getting there.
Before the game, I decided I needed to buy an Argos jersey. I quite like the new 2023 design and decided to go for the Cambridge Blue home version. You know, Cambridge Blue. The lighter of the two Blues associated with the Double Blue, the other being Oxford, unless I have that backwards.

I bought the jersey before the game and then hustled back to my seat, and much to my surprise, the custom name/number lettering was done ALSO BEFORE THE GAME with a speed that surprised me. I guess it pays to be one of the first in line.

what name/number did you get

Well I thought about this a lot. In the Argonotes days I was “DICTATOR / 94”. Maybe. Or I could have got “ARGONOTES / 23”. Maybe that too. Or a lot of people get one of their favourite player, and for me that would have been “BALL / 6” (and here’s why Marcus Ball is my all time favourite.)

Ultimately I went with DICTATOR / 94 for sentimental reasons, but I then spent the rest of the game wondering if the iron-on numbers they’d applied were actually in the same font as the real player numbers. Still not quite sure. Will be investigating this further at the next game.

apart from yours what was your favourite jersey

BOATMAN

BOATMAN. That was pretty good. The Argos are known as the Boatmen, of course, and the team actually had a player named Shannon Boatman who played five games in 2010. It’s almost the perfect jersey!

Except I talked to this guy and said “Hey, that’s great that you have a Shannon Boatman jersey” and he told me that he chose BOATMAN as just the team nickname, not a salute to Shannon Boatman who he wasn’t even aware of, but that it worked out nicely.

i wonder who actually has a legit Shannon Boatman game worn jersey?

BOATMAN

wonder no more.

has the game started yet or are you just going to write about things that happened before the game

Soon. I promise. First though

National Anthem

It came in at 1:31. As usual. Lovely voice. Please go faster.

kickoff!

An odd siren sound was played at the start of the 1st and 2nd halves. I get that they’re trying something new here but they need a better recording, or a better live performance. It was oddly anemic sounding.

how did your american friend James like the game?

He liked that at one point the ball was on the 54 Yard Line, something he’s never seen before.

promotions recap

A good set of promotions this week, including some sort of Match Game thing where you were given a prompt (“Fill in the blank: WATER ______”) and you had to match what the prerecoded player was going to do. I liked that.
Contestant guesses

Player Reveals

This contestant got 2 out of 5 right but the game day hostess said “You’re still going to win.” (cough) isn’t it odd how people just about always win? it’s as if they’re going to give the prize away whatever happens, which is good.

Did they do the spin-the-wheel thing? YES

Did the contestant give yet another extremely weak spin, rotating the wheel only about 60º presumably so it wouldn’t spin forever? YES

Do you understand how this promotion works now? I think so. You get one spin. But you play Rock/Paper/Scissors twice with Jason the mascot, to win additional spins. Something like that.

What about the Possibly Dangerous Tumbling Cross The End Zone Inflatable Thing? NO (unless I missed it.)

Were people throwing footballs into the crowd? YES and the throwers were, I think, actual amateur football players and they were really heaving the things up into the 200 level. That was nice to see.

the cannon

Fired once after every Argo touchdown, and (oops) once after the Argos were stopped by Ottawa on the 1 yard line (oops). A little premature exhilaration there. Whoops. Argos still won. Cannon was fired on the subsequent kickoff rouge to even things up. All is forgiven.

Cannon

the fight song

Played after 4 out of 5 touchdowns. The Section 123 choir is in fine form and I am happy that people are gradually picking up on the Official Gestures, seen here:

I noticed the words on the scoreboard too. Thanks, Argos! (Now if we could just stop cutting it off before the 2nd chorus ends.)

members of the game

Props to the Argos for honouring long time season ticket holders too (or as MLSE calls them, ‘Members’). Here are (I think) Les and Elizabeth, with former Argo Chad Folk. This is a nice initiative.

Members

how about letting members fire the cannon?

Just a thought. The smoke rings are cool.

Cannon Smoke Ring

Halftime

Dogs! Dogs catching frisbees! I love that. Although they spent quite a while erecting some mysterious structure at center field that was used maybe for one jump only.

The dog did manage to jump over the thing, and also Jason. Good doggie.

Dog Jump

the referee

It was everyone’s favourite official, Andre Proulx. The crowd seemed to disagree with many of his decisions. It’s amazing how many experts there are on the CFL rulebook, particular the subsections around Pass Interference or Roughing the Passer, and how clearly the fans can see exactly what happened better than the officials who are standing right there.

You know what, I wonder if he gets hassled more than other CFL referees mostly because he understandably speaks with an obvious accent, so you KNOW it’s him.

I like the guy. Hey, we won. Quit complaining.

signs of the game

I didn’t see any particularly great fan signs this week, but I will point out that our Hide the Defensive Coordinator Signs are WAY better than Ottawa’s. One tiny little logo on the side? Come ON, you can do better than that.

Our Signs
Their Sign

before or after 1914?

This was a fun quiz too. Asking players if certain things had happened Before or After the Argos won their first Grey Cup in 1914.

1914 Quiz

Hey, we all learned something. Vacuum cleaners predate the first Argo Grey Cup

Drum Battle

I liked it when mascot Jason and a fan were taking turns wailing away on a drum. More like this please.

Drum Battle

the QR Code

Did they figure out the Pizza Pizza QR Code technical glitch that has often plagued this giveaway? Well, here’s the code…

QR Code

This QR code happens to translate to this URL: `https://uqr.to/1jlea`

and once again I think they’ve botched the Javascript on that web page, as it is trying to redirect to this nonsensical URL

            window.location='https\u003A\/\/pizzapizza.lnk.click\/toronto\u002Dargonauts\u002Dscore\u002Da\u002Dslice\u002Dckw482\u002Daugust\u002D13';

I can see what they’re trying to do, they want to redirect you to this link

https://pizzapizza.lnk.click/toronto-argonauts-score-a-slice-ckw482-august-13

which would work, if only they hadn’t messed up the Javascript code on the original page.

This promotion STILL needs some work. if you were at the game and this QR code worked for you, let me know what I’m doing wrong, because it sure seems broken.

conclusion: did you have fun

yes. And you should come too! Here’s yet another reason why: No annoying digital ads on the field unlike when you watch the game on TV!

Thanks Argos for another great night of football, and thanks to the Section 123 Choir for fight songs that just keep improving.

footnote on GO Transit and Metrolinx

Generally taking the train to the game works great, from either East or West. We come in from Oakville. Super easy. Train drops us at Exhibition Station 100 yards from the stadium. But all week long, Metrolinx had been announcing that the Lakeshore East line would not be running on the weekend. This caused a great deal of confusion. Lakeshore East? Like, travelling eastbound? Don’t we travel eastbound from Oakville?

Wait, NO. What they meant was that the eastern half of the lakeshore line, from Union Station out to Oshawa, would not be running. The Lakeshore WEST line, which we take, was still operating from Oakville to Exhibition Station and on to Union, and then back later.

I wonder if they ought to rename the line. Trains run Eastbound on Lakeshore West, and vice versa. People were confused. I don’t mean to slam Metrolinx, I know the work has to get done some time, and there was at least one time when Argo fans persuaded them to postpone a construction stoppage until after the game had concluded so people could get home, so they are trying to do the right thing.

next time you do this: Include a diagram!

Go

Handling a QR Code on your iPhone

Pro Tip: Your iPhone can decode a QR code if you point the camera at it, that’s easy – but what if instead you are looking at a QR Code on the screen (in a web page, or your photo library, or one someone emailed to you) ? Here’s a quick way to deal with a QR code like that.

In this example I have used Safari to visit Wikipedia’s QR code page.

So how do we figure out what that QR Code is?

0) Try doing a long-press on the QR code image and see if the popup menu shows you what the QR code is. . Sometimes that will work, but not always – how a long press is handled is up to the app displaying the code. (Looks like Safari will try to decode it for you, in which case you can skip all the steps below – but lots of other apps don’t.) (h/t to Tom for the reminder.)

1) Take a screen shot in usual way (press side button and volume-up on a FaceID phone, for instance), then tap the thumbnail image that appears to bring up the photo editor.

2) Tap the text-selection icon in the lower right (shown below in red.) If you don’t see that button, first tap the markup button in the top toolbar (shown in green.)

Editing a QR Code image

3) Once you’ve tapped that text-selection button, all the text in the image becomes copyable – AND – you can tap on the image of the QR Code to see what it is, or to open it in Safari, or to copy the URL if you like.

Tap QR Code

Easy peasy.

Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 3: Touchdown Atlantic

We’ve previously analyzed the Off the Field action for Home Game 1 and Home Game 2 – both, oddly enough, played in Toronto.

But, once again, the fans of the Good Ship Argonaut have, er, graciously donated one of our Home Games to the fine people of Atlantic Canada. So off we go to Husky Stadium at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for Touchdown Atlantic 2023.

Bottom line, we had a great time, even if it didn’t feel like an Argos home game, and I really, truly, deeply, want Halifax to get its own CFL team.

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Argos 31, Saskatchewan 13

Scoreboard

Let’s get the score out of the way. A resounding victory for the Double Blue.

you might want to skip the next part

And, what’s this? A palindrome? 31-13? How often does that happen? Let’s fire up the Unnecessary Analysis Machine! When was the last CFL palindromic game? It musta been a long time ago … let’s see …

CFL Palindromic Analysis

Well, uh, the last time it happened was last season. Winnipeg 31, Saskatchewan 13. And it turns out 31-13 is the Most Common CFL Palindromic Score. Since 1958 the CFL has had 56 games with palindromic scores, but 17 of those were ties, and we are hereby deciding that ties are Uninteresting. Sorry, Saskatchewan-Calgary 4-4 in 1963.

And neither is a score like “10-1” a palindrome even though that’s happened twice. Amazingly, Montreal lost to both Edmonton and Calgary in 1963 by identical 10-1 scores, the only time that score’s ever happened.

31-13 has happened a dozen times.

More CFL Palindromic Analysis

I cannot let this go. After 5,974 CFL games since 1958, there have been 39 True Palindromic Games, starting with Toronto over Ottawa 42-24, and a score of 31-13 is by far the most common, having occurred 12 times (including this year in Halifax.)

The highest scoring palindromic game was the very satisfying Toronto 52, Hamilton 25 in 1991.

now that you’ve actually set up this database, what else should we know?

  • after 5,974 #CFL games since 1958, the most common score is 27-24 (35 times), and there have been 1,252 different scores.

  • there are 333 scores that have only occurred once, including

  • 1-0 (Montreal 1, Ottawa 0, in 1966)

  • 56-0 (CFL’s Biggest shutout – Winnipeg over Saskatchewan in 1986)

more oddities –

  • Hamilton and BC have beat each other 3-0
  • 2-0 has never yet happened, but 3-0 and 4-0 has
  • the average CFL score is 30-17
  • the most common score (35 times) is 27-24

  • every number from 1 to 70 has been a Winning Score, except 2 and 69

  • every number from 0 to 52 has been a Losing Score.

could we get back to the game in Halifax if it’s not too much trouble

Er, I’ve got more. The (late) Baltimore Stallions are the only team with a Perfect Palindromic Record, having won twice, each time by the same 41-14 score, over both Toronto and Hamilton on consecutive weeks in 1995. That’s crazy! (Either that or there could be a bug in my database.)

Mike Hogan of the Argos helpfully pointed out that 82ºF is 28ºC (another palindrome) and mentioned this off-topic and yet still entertaining Weird Al video “Bob” in which every line is a palindrome –

Anyway, back to Touchdown Atlantic in Halifax

Cathy and I flew down for this and enjoyed the weekend very much. This was supoposedly a TORONTO ARGONAUTS HOME GAME but as you’ll see, it didn’t exactly feel like one.

the overall atmosphere

Halifax was crawling with Saskatchewan fans wearing green. Probably outnumbering Argo jerseys 10-1 or more. How many had actually come from Saskatchewan for the game? Who knows, but somehow that entire province’s identity seems to be wrapped up in the Roughriders and even people who moved away decades ago somehow still have a Roughrider jersey they can dig out.

I like to joke that the reason you see so many Roughrider fans at road games is that people just cannot WAIT to get out of Saskatchewan.

Halifax’s waterfront is great but

disappointment

there were no signs or banners or flags or anything to let you know that Touchdown Atlantic was actually happening. The game was sold out, so maybe someone thought it didn’t matter, but it would have been nice to see a little hype for the locals. Vendors were asking me what was happening, was there a game on? Even the hotel we were in – where the CFL league staff were also staying, and where we were the only people to notice the Grey Cup entering the lobby – showed no evidence that anything special was happening.

The long term goal here is for Halifax to get its own team, not just for it to host some out of town fans once in a while. I wish the event hadn’t been so invisible.

pockets of pregame fun

The team sponsored a night at Durty Nelly’s bar and we’re grateful for the free beer! Pinball was on hand, exuding 110% charm as always. I’m ready to run through a wall! Just say where!

Of course you only heard about this event if you bumped into another fan; there didn’t seem to be much of an official plan to let the Argo faithful know about it.

game day

The game was Saturday afternoon. We made our way over to the campus of St. Mary’s University in the middle of Halifax and the temporary stadium therein. Turns out this is the second time I’ve seen the Argos play here – my son and I came in 2005 for an exhibition 16-16 tie vs. the Ticats. This time I was with Cathy. And weirdly it almost seemed like we were in the exact same seats. Here’s 2005 and 2023 – hey, I got a new hat somewhere along the way.

Me and Alex, 2005

Me and Cathy, 2023

Cathy had been bugging me all week to be more like a Maritimer, to ask the people at drive-thru windows how they’re doing or to chat about the weather with the guy at the toll booth, and the guy sitting beside me overheard and said “Well it must be working, you actually talked to me when you sat down, unlike typical Torontonians.”

sidebar: Former Chief Centurions of the Warriors Band

How many CCWB’s were on hand? Three! At least! That we know about! It was a treat to invite Halifax’s own Dr. David Greenberg, CCWB I, founder of the Most Illustrious UW Warriors Band back in 1966. Cathy joined the band when I was CCWB IX, and later became CCWB XI herself. And 30 years later we got married. (Me and Cathy, that is.) Thank you Dave! And thanks Mrs Dave (Cheryl) for taking this picture!

CCWBs

signs of the game

Here are a couple of my favourites. Grey Cup in Halifax? Sign us up!

GreyCupInHalifax

Also be sure to bring a marker in case you need to adjust your sign for the conclusion of the game.

SixAndO

whose game is it anyway?

Update: I’ve been told that despite what we all assumed, the CFL decided this was to be a neutral game, not an Argo home game, and directed the game day staff and announcer accordingly, which would explain a few things. I’m not sure I agree with that decision, but I guess it’s their show.

This [edit: see above] was an Argo “home” game but it sure didn’t feel like one. Forget that Argo fans were outnumbered by weird green-clad Saskatchewanians. It was still OUR home game. Small but enthusiastic groups with Argo jerseys, and the native Haligonians sitting near us were pulling for Toronto. (And there was at least one guy in a Doug Flutie San Diego Chargers jersey. I’ll count that as double blue apparel.)

So tell me why –

  • the (local Halifax) announcer – enthusiastically welcomed Saskatchewan mascot Gainer the Gopher to the field, but never mentioned the presence of Argo mascot Jason (i have since been advised by another attendee that Jason was introduced, so apologies if I missed that);

  • the local announcer guy eagerly told us to stand for the fourth quarter traditional playing of “The Last Saskatchewan Pirate”, which I will concede is a good song, by (ahem) a band from Ontario, but this is a SASKATCHEWAN HOME GAME TRADITION, so why are we doing it at an Argo home game?

  • “Green Is the Colour”, Saskatchewan’s fight song, was played after the Riders’ lone touchdown. Played louder and repeated more often than Go Argos Go.

  • The prime VIP seats in the center of the opposite grandstand seemed to be 80% full of people wearing green. How’d that happen? Why didn’t Argo fans hear about those seats?

VIPseats

The hype sure seemed to be for Saskatchewan.

Look, if we Argo fans are going to donate one of our precious home games to Halifax, let’s not turn it into a Rider home game like this.

what else was happening off the field?

None of the regular Argo promotions happened. Hardly any giveaways. But they did have a guy attempt to kick field goals – I think he won a $200 OK Tire gift card. OK Tire also donated $50K to Nova Scotia youth football. Well done! More than OK.

I fondly remember the old Wendy’s “Kick for a Million” promotion and was lucky to be at Skydome when that guy won the $1,000,000, even if it really was just $20K/year for 50 years.

There was another promotion where two fans competed to see who could put on a totally frozen solid T-shirt. That looked cool. (see what I did there?)

what about the anthem

O Canada clocked in at 1:18, sung very nicely by a local singer. Fastest anthem of our “home” season so far.

remember those signs I was wondering about last time?

Well we got a good look at what was on the other side – nothing.

signs

what about QR codes?

There was a temporary jumbotron in the corner and as far as I could tell, the QRCodes it displayed were indeed encoded properly (unlike the Pizza Pizza QR code promotion at home game 2.) This one, for instance, is https://qr.link/qbRUfS which redirects properly to Purolator’s Tackle Hunger promotion.

QRCode

Another QR code looked for feedback on Touchdown Atlantic for a chance to win a prize package. Hey, fill this out, you never know. (It’s a survey looking at the economic impact of the game – and asking you if you would support the idea of a team in Halifax. Why yes, I would. I’ve been to every CFL game in Halifax so far! (total: 2))

Let’s hope our QR Codes at BMO are fixed for the next game. (Trust me, if they are, I’ll let you know.)

souvenirs

They were handing out little yellow footballs. I gave mine to a kid who didn’t get one. Reminder, this is what you do with free things at sporting events. Give them to kids.

There were Touchdown Atlantic shirts and hats for sale. I wish there’d been a nice souvenir pin. I would have added that to my collection.

Also “Touchdown” beer.

TouchdownBeer

what’s with these orange lines?

I don’t get what these orange lines on the field are.
orangelines

halftime show

At first I thought, wow, the divot replacement squad here is armed with swords but no, those are Scottish dancers. Nice work, ladies.

HalftimeShow

did you sing Go Argos Go?

yes! Thank you, game day folks, for playing this (however I think the recording needs a little audio attention or level setting or something. It’s hard to tell at first if it’s actually playing, and then people stumble into the song on about the 4th line.)

Of course I conducted the faithful – thanks Will for the picture!

GoArgosGo

Two different people said to me “Hey, didn’t you used to be the bandleader?” Made my day.

creature comforts lacking a bit

You can only do so much with temporary seating. Frankly I found it all to be a little cramped, and if you were sitting in the middle of a row, there was almost no way to get to your seat without everybody else getting up and out of the way.

Trash cans were overflowing. OK I get it this is a temporary setup, but still, not a good look.

Worst of all, the food and drinks were sold out of food trucks located quite a ways from the seats themselves, and the lineup for the restrooms was horrendous. Cathy missed most of the 1st quarter in line for food, and almost all of the 3rd quarter in line for the temporary porta-potties (she reported “at least 30 people in line for each of the 20 toilets.”) Even more aggravating, not far from us in the end zone was another row of portapotties, that were off limits unless you had a special wristband for that area.

The stadium was surrounded by campus buildings. Aren’t there restrooms in there we could use?

Which leads me to –

Can the CFL work in Halifax with a setup like this?

I think so. I hope so. The buzz in the packed stadium – uncomfortably packed, but thankfully packed – was great. Everybody wants it to work!! BUT – A flimsy temporary stadium isn’t going to be good enough, at least without substantial improvements to the food and restroom situation. People might tolerate that for a single exhibition game but the casual fan would be unlikely to return. Fix that situation.

The CFL staff were all staying in our hotel and I had a few conversations with some, including one with a senior exec where I said “look, we all want this to work, we just need to find someone with $200,000,000 for a stadium, so you should find someone with $200,000,000.”

I was informed it’s a little more complicated than that. But I’m hoping. I want to go to a Grey Cup in Halifax too.

the Barra MacNeils, Stan Rogers, and exit row airplane seats

Cathy and I really enjoyed the show by the Barra MacNeils last night at the Alqonquin Theatre in Huntsville. We’ve seen them perform a dozen or more times, usually during their annual cross-Canada Christmas series, so it was of course a concert full of great Cape Breton Celtic music with not a single Christmas carol.

Barra MacNeils take a bow

If their music doesn’t make you tap your feet, please speak to your doctor.

The Barras sang the Stan Rogers classic, Barrett’s Privateers, and mentioned that it was 40 years ago that this legendary Canadian singer passed away.

Can it be forty years – really? He left us with so many great songs.

Northwest Passage.

The Mary Ellen Carter.

At Last I’m Ready for Christmas

The Barra MacNeils always play this great Stan Rogers tune at Christmas time, about someone panicking as at last they’re ready for Christmas, with only two hours to go.

and of course last night we all sang this one with great gusto….

Barrett’s Privateers

Most Canadians have a visceral reaction when we hear the first line

Oh, the year was 1778

and we all respond

How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!

The Barra MacNeils let the audience sing at least one chorus on our own and can I say the front row did a great job belting it out although I’m not quite sure the rest of the theatre held up their end. Anyway.

sitting in the exit row

I think often of Stan Rogers when I’m sitting in the exit row on any flight.

You know how you get a speech from the flight attendants about how to open the emergency exit? You probably think they have always said that. Well, they haven’t.

forty years ago

Stan Rogers was only 33 when he died in the firey emergency landing of Air Canada 797 in Cincinnati in 1983.

He was coming back from a show in Dallas.
Fire broke out in the rear washroom, the attendants herded everyone to the front of the plane, and the pilots made a heroic emergency landing of the broken plane in Cincinnati.

Smoke filled the cabin. They didn’t open the doors quickly enough. And – unfortunately – not everybody made it out. The five crew and 18 of the 41 passengers got out, but sadly, 23 passengers died in the fire – including Stan Rogers.

Smoke apparently overcame people during the attempt to exit and not everyone could find their way to the door. Some passengers even perished towards the rear of the plane, as if they were heading the wrong way in the confusion.

It’s just infuriatingly stupid. God damn them all. The plane landed, but why couldn’t they get everybody out in time?

the aftermath

Of course after every accident like this, there’s a serious investigation and steps are taken to improve flights for everyone in the future. Here are some of the changes all around us today that are a direct result of the investigation into this accident.

  • smoke detectors in lavatories;
  • strip lighting marking the path to the exit door;
  • aircraft makers must prove they can get everybody off of a full flight in 90 seconds;
  • and passengers seated in overwing exits must be instructed how to help in an emergency.

I like sitting in the emergency exit row.
I like to think I’d be helpful in an emergency.
I listen attentively to the flight attendant’s instructions.

And I think about Stan Rogers.

Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 2

Argos 45, BC Lions 24 in a thrilling battle for first place between the league’s only unbeaten teams. But you can read about the action on the field anywhere. What was happening off the field? And why doesn’t the Free Slice of Pizza QR Code work?

Banner

Weather

Beautiful. Absolutely a great night for football, although if you were sitting on the east side staring into the sun, you probably enjoyed the 2nd half better after the sun set. I wish TV could show the west grandstand though. it was pretty full, but the east was, as usual, kind of sparse. BECAUSE YOU’RE STARING INTO THE SUN

Anthem

Anthem clocked in at 1:31, and we will concede once again that she is a lovely singer and we only wish she could pick up the pace a little bit.

Apart from the Argos, What Were Other People on the GO Train Coming to See?

Garbage was playing at the Budweiser Stage nearby, along with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and I am not nearly hip enough to make any kind of a comment about either group.

Was There Live Music At the Game Itself?

Yes! For the first time in a while, the half time show – a dance number by the Argos A-Team and a few Caribbean dancers – was accompanied by a live steel pan band, Pan Fantasy, who performed on the northwest terrace. Well done. And if I can figure out the name of the dancers, I’ll be sure to update this post.

Steel Pan
Dancers

What Was This Musical Instrument?

I’m not sure about that either.

MysteryInstrument

What About the Traditional BMO Field Half Time Show

Not to worry, we were entertained by the Divot Replacement Squad, the standard BMO Field half time show for the past several years, who you can see working alongside the dancers in the photo above.

Do Kickers Care About Half Time Shows?

No, they’re going to warm up anyway.

kicker

Signs

Sadly, there were no signs to equal the majesty of the “Days Since Last Grey Cup: Ticats 8,603” we saw last time. However I did notice that the “All Time Argos” list has been relocated from its previous position amongst the multitude of Grey Cup banners over the south stands, to a new spot in the middle of the west grandstand.

The new row of 18 Grey Cup Banners looks pretty good, though.Banners

Other Signs

I still don’t quite get what this is for. And one of the two guys was holding his upside down for most of the game.

IMG 7094

Update! Actual Information!
From a comment on Facebook by Argos Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Usama Mujtaba (thank you!)

It’s for two reasons:
1) So that the playcallers are more visible.
2) So that when opposing teams get the film on the tablets (the sideline view will be from behind the bench), they can’t see the signals and as a result won’t know which signal related to which call. This unfortunately won’t work when you are in a stadium where the benches are on opposite sides of the field (why we didn’t use them in Edmonton).
Hope that helps!

Speaking of All Time Argos

It was great to see both Damon Allen and Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell added to the All Time Argos list during a break in play! We were lucky to get a good view. BUT … Their announcements were rushed, and an official actually had to shoo Mookie and his entourage off the field so the game could restart. That would have all been better to do at halftime.

Two All Time Argos

Speaking of Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell, What Song did Argonotes Play when He Retired in 2007?

M is for Mookie. That’s good enough for me.

M is for Mookie. That’s good enough for me.

M is for Mookie. That’s good enough for me.

Oh, Mookie Mookie Mookie starts with “M”.

did anybody apart from the band think that was as hilarious as the band did

No need to ask.

Speaking of Alumni

They introduced Matt Black, hero of the 2017 Grey Cup, to a resounding cheer. And once again I could see it all on the scoreboard, but had no idea where to look in the stadium. (Tip: It’s usually in the alumni suite in the southwest corner.) I wish the scoreboard could tell us where to look!

Matt Black on scoreboard
Matt Black in alumni suite

Infinitely Spinning Prize Wheel Update

You’ll recall that at the last game, the Prize Wheel spun and spun and spun and seemingly wouldn’t stop until the mascot and/or the game day host actually put their hand on the wheel to slow it down.

Well, last night, they must have said something to the contestant because he gave it a tremendously weak spin and I don’t think it even went all the way around once. Also there is some rock-paper-scissors thing that happens before the wheel is spun and honestly nobody understands this particular game.

PrizeSpin

Let me know if you understand how this one is supposed to work.

What about the Dangerous Inflatable Race

Went much better this time, the winning team clearly figured out how to make these things work. I’m still amazed nobody gets hurt bouncing around inside.

Roller

Did the QR Code for a Free Slice of Pizza Actually Work This Time?

IMG 7148

No.

a forensic analysis of why the Pizza Pizza QR code does not work

I happen to know a little about how QR codes and other barcodes work. (Ask me about the PDF417 format some time – that’s the code on the back of your drivers license. It’s encoded as a base 929 number!)

QR Codes – and other formats – are usually just strings of text encoded in a way that your phone’s camera can decode and turn back into text.

Here’s how this promotion is SUPPOSED to work.

1) They show a QR code on the scoreboard, like this

QRCode

Notice that it says “Scan this code and turn on push notifications to redeem your free slice tomorrow.”

2) You take a picture of the QR code. Your phone will – usually – automatically decode this image for you. In this case, the QR Code contains this string:

https://uqr.to/1jle9

3) Your phone recognizes that that string is a URL, and opens that URL in your web browser

4) Your phone’s browser goes to

https://uqr.to/1jle9

So far so good.

This is where it starts to fall apart. That web page contains some Javascript code, which your browser is supposed to interpret to redirect it to a different web site. Normally you would not be aware this is happening – the browser fetches code from uqr.to, and then quietly redirects to a different site.

Here’s the problem. This is a piece of the Javascript code on that initial uqr.to web site – you would normally not see this but your web browser would read and interpret it as an instruction to go to a different web site

<title>PizzaPizzaSAS_Argos_G2_Jul3</title>
 <script> 
function redirectToContent(){ 
    /* window.location='https://pizzapizza.lnk.click/toronto-argonauts-score-a-slice-xkr325-july-3'; */ 

    window.location='https\u003A\/\/pizzapizza.lnk.click\/toronto\u002Dargonauts\u002Dscore\u002Da\u002Dslice\u002Dxkr325\u002Djuly\u002D3'; 
} <
/script>

But this is coded incorrectly. The real URL they want you to go to is this one

https://pizzapizza.lnk.click/toronto-argonauts-score-a-slice-xkr325-july-3

but somehow that real URL is inside a javascript comment, and the window.location line below it is really redirecting you to this url, which doesn’t make sense, it’s encoded all wrong.

https\u003A\/\/pizzapizza.lnk.click\/toronto\u002Dargonauts\u002Dscore\u002Da\u002Dslice\u002Dxkr325\u002Djuly\u002D3

Your web browser will not know what to do with that URL, and as a result you’ll never wind up on the right site to redeem your free slice. You’re probably staring at a blank screen after snapping the photo of the QR code. I know I was.

Now if you’ve read this far, you could of course just click here but you shouldn’t, if you didn’t go to the game.

I wonder if Pizza Pizza ever notices that nobody redeems their slice and asks themselves how much they’re paying for this ad.

did you catch a T-shirt thrown into the crowd for the first time in 30 years?

Yes!

shirt

what size is it

medium

what size are you

Well in college I was a medium but I’m really now more of an extra-medium.

can we see a photo of you wearing the shirt because that would be quite humourous

no.

Hey There’s a Siren

I think this was new, an attempt to get some grassroots supporter to crank a siren to make a glorious sound. This is a great idea

Siren

is the siren loud enough

not nearly.

ARGOS SOGRA

Game day off field highlight for me is that the runners with the flags that spell “A” “R” “G” “O” “S” have finally realized that they should run back in the OTHER order, so that the word ARGOS is spelled out properly first for the west grandstand and then the east. In other years, the east side only ever saw SOGRA. Congrats to the team for figuring this out at last!

A-R-G-O-S

S-O-G-R-A

Singing of ‘Go Argos Go’

The team played the touchdown song 4 out of 5 times and I am pleased that the crowd started to react to the big clumsy guy in 123 trying to conduct the Section 123 choir.

Conducting

amount of fun that was had

Plenty. You should come. Argo games are a great value. Not ridiculously overpriced, a great stadium, a beautiful night, easy to get to – AND WE BEAT THE LIONS. come on down.

Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 1

Argos 32, Ticats 14 in the home opener. But more importantly, what was going on OTHER than the football game? Here’s a report.

Anthem

The usual. Could have been faster. Nothing deflates an excited crowd faster than a slow performance of the anthem. She is a nice singer, though.

Game Day Plus

  • Overall the pregame Grey Cup Banner Raising was pretty good, the banner attached to the balloon was a nice idea – I wondered how they were going to “raise” it. I’m happy they let some long time season ticket holders have the honours.

Pregame Banner

  • Jason – the mascot – has been equipped with a proper T-shirt gun to reach the higher seats. (I don’t know who actually wants these free shirts, though, and I bet they’re all “Extra Medium.” A reminder, if you catch something like this thrown into the audience, give it to a kid.)

  • Despite all the Ticat fans in attendance, I don’t think I heard a single “Oskee-wee-wee”. But I bet they were happy with the promotional giveaway – it’s the closest a Ticat fan will get to a Grey Cup ring.

Game Day Minus

A lot of the stunts and promotions didn’t click, or were rushed to completion before the game resumed.

  • Spin a wheel to win a prize – and the wheel wouldn’t stop spinning, until the host put her hand on it to slow it down. That really looks bad.

  • the Rolling across the end zone in an inflatable tube thing race probably sounded like fun in a meeting but honestly looked a little dangerous (and didn’t come close to finishing in time.)

  • Father-and-son match answers on a whiteboard, well, come on, we can’t see what the wrote on the whiteboard and it looked like they spent most of their time furiously erasing the previous answer.

I hear there’s a new game day coordinator this year so it may take a game or two to work out the details.

  • A north end zone full of brand new empty seats looks bad. I hear the stadium capacity needed to be expanded as part of the World Cup bid but they should find a way to put people there.

North End

  • The usual issues of inequitable distribution of “free to the first 10,000 people” handouts. We entered through Gate 1, and it was a bit of a madhouse as they were being distributed, but many who came in other gates missed out. Surely there is a better way.

I got my ring, but I gave it to a kid sitting behind me. Gotta pay it forward.

Rings

I have already seen some of these for sale on eBay. Reminder, you can just buy a new one. you don’t need to pay some ridiculous markup.

  • It’s 9:30 AM the next morning and there is nothing on argonauts.ca about last night’s game.

game day travel

We took the GO Train, which was evenly split between people who wanted to see the Ticats, the Argos, and Ed Sheeran.

The Opposition

I hadn’t seen one of these before, a pop-up tent of sorts that shielded players from view of the fans. Here’s Hamilton quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell entering the Tent of Concealment.

SidelineTent

Performances of “Go Argos Go”

I led our section in singing Go Argos Go three times – after each touchdown – and people are beginning to get the hang of it, even if the audio they play cuts off before the 2nd verse. Next time I’m bringing a baton.

Total Argonotes Alumni in Attendance

At least 6.

did anybody ask about Argonotes

One guy said to me “I loved you guys, I heard you at the Skydome 45 years ago.” Um, I’ll have to check the math on that one

was there an actual band?

No. Lots of empty seats in the North End Zone where the Burlington Teen Tour Band, a.k.a. the At One Point Argos Band, used to sit.

Signs:

Major props to whoever brought the sign that said “DAYS SINCE LAST GREY CUP WIN – ARGOS 210, TICATS 8603”. That was awesome.

Days Since Last Grey Cup sign

Early Augmented Reality

There’s lots of chatter about Augmented Reality these days.

Here’s a Sports Illustrated article from 10 years ago, talking about an AR innovation from 25 years ago – the birth of the yellow first-down line in football broadcasts, first seen in 1998.

That was probably the first Augmented Reality thing most people saw and enjoyed, and it took a 48-foot truck full of equipment to make it work.

Fox had introduced FoxTrax, the glowing hockey puck, in their NHL broadcasts two years earlier in 1996, but everybody hated that and it didn’t last. The idea of sensors in the puck is still around though.

The first-down-line on a football broadcast seems so normal now, it’s almost jarring to go to a live football game and NOT see it. Or to wonder on a broadcast “How come the guy didn’t run a bit further? Why did he step out of bounds there? Didn’t he see the line?”

Interestingly, the same guy, Stan Honey, appears in both of those stories.

Imagine where we’ll be 25 years from now.

First Down Yellow Line

Fox's Glowing Puck

May 23 2023 – 30 Years At Apple

My Apple badge says that my start date at Apple was May 20, 1993, so yesterday was officially my 30th anniversary here.

Awards

Apple sends you a beautiful block of something every 10 years, and you can see my 10th, 20th (with reflection of me) and 30th awards in the photo above. They get increasingly shiny and increasingly hard to photograph.

When they announced the 10/20/30 year awards, I think I was on year 24, and they retroactively sent the 20th one. I made a mental note to stick around long enough to see what the 30 year award looked like – and now I know. And I also know there is a 40 year award, but I’m pretty sure I won’t make it to that one. One colleague has been here 42 years and told me she’s hanging around for the mythical 50 year brick.

It’s been an amazing journey. The team I work on has pretty much turned over several times, but I keep getting to work with new, talented, funny and creative people, and I hope I can do it for a while longer. I kind of stumbled into this job but it’s unfolded brilliantly – I’ve been able to travel; I’ve given talks at over 300 universities and in over 14 countries and, I hope, inspired a few people to try writing their own iPhone apps. Apps for a device that didn’t even exist when I started here.

So what was I actually doing on May 24, 1993, my supposed start date at Apple?

I honestly don’t remember. I worked for NeXT, which Apple famously acquired, but NeXT laid me off for a year and then re-hired me later. Apple includes your time at an acquired company when computing these start dates, but somehow they decided May 20, 1993 was my actual start date even though at the time I was self employed, fumbling along as “Steve Hayman and Associates” (note: there were no associates) in between my shifts at NeXT. I started at NeXT in September of 1991. That feels more like my actual anniversary.

Speaking of the 30 year mark, I have a child rapidly approaching that milestone. Now THAT makes me feel old.

the World Championship of (gridiron) Football

Every year after the US football season concludes, I make some variant on the same joke on social media

Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs!
Good luck next week in the World Championship vs. the well-rested Toronto Argonauts.

the Argos are, of course, the Grey Cup champions (which they won 17 weeks ago, hence “well-rested”), and the Chiefs won the Super Bowl (yesterday) and in my imagination I like to picture a battle for supremacy, even though the rules of each league are different. You’d have to compromise

  • a 105 yard field
  • Three and a half downs
  • Eleven and a half players
  • No ‘fair catch’, because it would be great fun to see the US players signalling for one and then getting pummelled immediately by Canadian defenders

The 11.5 players would be a little tricky. Perhaps you’d have to average 11.5, so you could run 11 on this play, 12 on the next, or 19 and then 4, or (as my brother or my son or someone once suggested) two players should have their adjacent legs tied together as in a three-legged race.

This is obviously never going to happen. When I posted this idea on a Facebook Toronto Argos fan group, some people laughed as expected but others got all indignant about how Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs would thrive on the wider Canadian field and the CFL players are second-tier and would get obliterated ad how stupid are you for even suggesting this, blah blah blah. (If you think that way, why are you hanging out in an Argos fan group then?)

Hear me out, though.

a challenge

What if the Toronto Argonauts issued a challenge to the Kansas City Chiefs? We dare you to play us next week for the World Championship.

I suspect the Chiefs, having everything to lose in this scenario, would just ignore the challenge, but you might get some fun publicity out of it. Social media taunting back-and-forth. Or if the Chiefs just ignore the challenge, then the Argos can declare themselves World Champions.

Wouldn’t that be kind of fun? I think so. Couldn’t you get some neat publicity out of that? Couldn’t you get people talking?

And also the Grey Cup is obviously a MUCH better looking trophy than the Super Bowl’s Vince Lombardi trophy, so the CFL champ has a built in advantage.

Grey Cup
Vince Lombardi Trophy

The Grey Cup is magnificent, historic, and something you could actually drink out of or baptize a baby in; the Lombardi trophy is just a football on a stick and looks like it was dreamed up in three minutes by an intern.

but what if they actually played

What if you COULD figure the rules out and had a top Canadian Football team play a top US Football team?

It happens. Almost every year, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds play the (NCAA, but in Canada, for some weird reason) Simon Fraser Red Leafs (formerly the Clan, good name change there) in some hybrid format.

And it’s happened before.

waterloo vs wilmington

I recall a 1986 road trip with the University of Waterloo Warriors Band to Wilmington, Ohio to see our Warriors play the Wilmington College Fighting Canaries (my memory a little vague on what they were actually called … wait … here it is, they were the Quakers.) I don’t remember the score other than that Waterloo got clobbered, due to some misunderstanding of the rules and every play the Warriors ran resulted immediately in a penalty.

OK, the score, if you must: Wilmington 46, Waterloo 6. Waterloo did not try that again. The Wilmingtonians did enjoy having the band there, though. Check out this high precision ensemble. Ohio State, if you need ideas, let me know.

Warriors Band in Wilmington, Ohio, 1986

canadian troops vs american troops

During the Second World War, a game called the “Tea Bowl” featured Canadian vs US armed forces members playing at Wembley Stadium in London, in front of tens of thousands. One half by Canadian rules, one half by US rules. A US marching band played at halftime followed by an even larger Canadian pipe band – and although the US took the lead under their rules, the Canadian team stormed back to win.

(why, why WHY, has this not been made into a movie yet?)

I may have some of the minor details wrong, but this DID happen. A couple of times.

CFL vs NFL

And not only that in the 50s and 60s, the CFL and the NFL occasionally played interlocking exhibition games. In 1959 the Argos played the Chicago Cardinals at Exhibition Stadium (and lost 55-26). There were a few more games like this over the years, including the Alouettes vs. the Chicago Bears (Chicago 34, Montreal 16). The American team always won.

But – in 1961, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats hosted the Buffalo Bills. (Buffalo was in the AFL at the time, which eventually merged into the NFL.) An obvious matchup. Nearby cities.

Final Score: Hamilton 38, Buffalo 21. The CFL triumphs!

Needless to say, the moment the CFL won one of these games, that was the end of THIS idea, the NFL wanted no more of THAT.

so why not?

It seems to me that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats should seize this result, and claim their position as World Football Champions at least until some time as another game happens.

And that’s why the Argos should issue the challenge. We can’t let Hamilton claim this title forever!

wrong answer

Somehow we were discussing life insurance.

Spouse says “Well, if you died, I’d sell the house and move into a smaller place. What would you do if I died?”

me: “Well I could finally get the model train layout going.”