What can I say, really, without sounding trite, about the evil terrorists bombing the three Underground trains
, all on lines which intersect King's Cross/St. Pancras station, and then the 'splodeydope (the Little Green Footballs
term for homicide bombers/suicide bombers), possibly the same one who left the bombs on the train, blowing himself up on the double decker bus near Tavistock Square? All I can say is that I'm happy to see that Londoners have a resolve of steel, defiantly going about their business in spite of the fear the terrorists were hoping to create without turining their justifiable anger into a maudlin grief-fest like they did with Diana's death eight years ago; I'm pleased to see that Al Qaida has been so weakened by Bush and Blair's successful War on Terror that, in western countries, the "best" they seem to be able to do now is a couple of relatively small-time bombings on par with the Palestinians, which are still horrible, do not get me wrong, but not nearly as horrible as what they were able to do on September 11th
; and I hope that Blair has the resolve to make a few more Islamofascist savages as dead as possible as soon as possible. I'll leave it at that.
On Thursday afternoon, in spite of the horrible news coming out of London, I went over to the job fair at the Corel Centre, which was my first time visiting an NHL hockey arena that wasn't in Montreal, though I didn't go in the main part of the arena, just some downstairs conference rooms. We got there at around 2:20 p.m., even though it was supposed to start at 3, and I just stood in line for 45 minutes or so, reading more of the Oh My Goddess
manga volume, "The Fourth Goddess". When the doors opened, a little after 3 p.m., I initially went into the wrong room (the one for full-time, professional positions), but then discovered that it was the other room that had the jobs I wanted to apply for, so I went around a couple of tables, handing in CVs to several people, mostly for concession or merchandise store-type work though I also applied for this Bell Sensplex sporting complex in Stittsville, and doing a not-too-confident "I just moved here and don't have any working experience but please hire me anyway" kind of spiel. I figure that, if you admit that you don't have formal experience, at lease you come across as being honest, which ought to be a plus. I hope it leads to something, but I'm not too confident.
On Monday, after seeing the way my hair looked in this photo I took on Canada Day
, I got another fine haircut from Friendly Cuts in the Merivale Zellers. It's a "no frills" place to get it cut, but I'm a guy, so "no frills" is fine with me. I got my hair cut by the same woman as last time, and this time, I found myself wondering (but didn't ask) if she's related to Canadian actress Sandra Oh
, from Sideways
and Last Night
, since I recently found out that Sandra Oh was born right here in Nepean, which I found rather surprising as I assumed that she was born in British Columbia, but I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, since Nepean has a lot of Korean-Canadians. After the haircut, I walked up Merivale all of the way to Baseline, hoping to find an art store so I could get a few new Prismacolor coloured pencils for my drawing
(specifically white, black, a couple of greys, and, perhaps, a yellowish-grey if such a colour exists). I couldn't find any art stores, period. I was also hoping to go to the Comic Book Shoppe, perhaps to see if the Planetes
anime DVD I had ordered was in, but it closes at 6 p.m. on Monday (how Quebec of them, to close at 6 on Mondays). And I was hot and thirsty, so I went to Dairy Queen, and it must be years and years since I last went to a Dairy Queen, so I'm rather out of it, but I was not aware that Dairy Queen no longer sells ice cream as a single scoop on a cone (even though this particular Dairy Queen has a sign of an ice cream cone with a scoop on it right next to the logo sign), and, if you want ice cream, you have to either order a sundae (way more calories than I was wanting to ingest) or a Blizzard (also calorie-laden, but without the syrup), so I just had an Blue Raspberry Artic Rush slush instead, since it was the cheapest option, and it was actually pretty good, not losing the flavour almost right to the end, unlike Slush Puppies, where I usually suck up the syrup before I'm half-finished,leaving me with a cup of tasteless snow.
Anyway, I gotta go if I want to get to a downtown art supply store while it is still open, and then go to the anime club.
CONGRATULATIONS TO LONDON! (AND NEW DRAWING UPDATE...)
The International Olympic Committee made the best Pick-a-dilly when they chose which city to host the 2012 Summer Games!
London beats Paris to 2012 Games
"The 2012 Olympic Games will be held in London, the International Olympic Committee has announced.
London won a two-way fight with Paris by 54 votes to 50 at the IOC meeting in Singapore, after bids from Moscow, New York and Madrid were eliminated.
Prime Minister Tony Blair called the win "a momentous day" for Britain.
Paris had been favourites throughout the campaign but London's hopes were raised after an impressive presentation by Lord Coe, the bid chairman.
IOC president Jacques Rogge made the dramatic announcement at 1249 BST.
It will be the first time the Olympics has been held in Britain since 1948.
Coe said: "This is just the most fantastic opportunity to do everything we ever dreamed of in British sport."
The Queen, in a message to Coe, said: "I send my warmest congratulations to you and every member of the London 2012 team for winning the bid for the UK.
"It's a really outstanding achievement to beat such a highly competitive field."
News of London's victory delighted flag-waving supporters who had gathered in Trafalgar Square and Stratford in the East End of London, where the new Olympic park will be built."
As you probably know, based on some of my photos
, I'm not exactly impartial when it comes to London, a city I'm rather fond of and would love to return to at some point soon, so I'm very pleased with the IOC's decision (though I would have been almost equally as happy if they chose New York, a city I hold in almost as high regard).
The article also did mention that, because of the win, housing prices in London are going to skyrocket, but, really, is that news? They've been skyrocketing for years. I have relatives in London but only because my grandmother bought a house in the 1940s, when prices were presumably much lower, even mega-adjusted for inflation.
Anyway, most of the articles on television and the Internet show celebrants in Trafalgar Square, and I'm pleased to see that most TV news cameramen and photojournalists seem to agree with me that, when it comes to photographing crowds in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is a much more interesting backdrop than Nelson's Column, as you can see in this Trafalgar Square photograph
, on which I'm basing my latest drawing.
Compare the following scan with the AP news photo I put at the top of the article
. That's a weird coincidence, seeing the very building I'm drawing all over the news. It's a pretty famous building, but not Big Ben famous or Tower Bridge famous.
I did my first "in progress" scan of my Trafalgar Square drawing yesterday
, but then I remembered that my friend Mayukh was wondering how I'd draw the water in the fountain. I didn't think it would be that difficult, I only need to use the white and "Cool Grey" pencils to draw the spray since, from the angle I took the original photo, I didn't actually need to draw any pools of water with the complicated reflections to make it look more real, but his (friendly) questioning of my artistic technique was like him "throwing down the gauntlet", so I didn't want to wait to draw the fountain and I worked on it last night and this morning, and then re-scanned the picture for this article, and I think the fountain came out okay.
Most of the people in this drawing are at a much further distance than the random subjects of my Piccadilly Circus drawing, and, on one hand, that's a plus because I don't have to spend as much time on minor details for each person, but, on the other hand, I have a lot more subjects whom I have to eastablish some sort of "personality" for (meaning that I try and determine what they're doing, looking at, perhaps even thinking), and it's a bit more difficult to do that at a smaller scale.
I'll fix the leaves on the trees so that they look less like "feathers". (Speaking of those trees, on the road in front of the National Gallery that is officially just designated as "Trafalgar Square", but is really just an extension of Pall Mall, I noticed that they are mysteriously absent in the news photo, so I checked a couple of random photos at Fotopic.net, like this one
, and they seem to have been cut down in the five years since I was last there. :( ...pity.)
MY CANADA DAY EXPERIENCE, WATCHING FIREWORKS AND WATCHING PUKING...
(Yeah, I'm a bad procrastinator. Sue me.)
Friday got off to a slow start. I slept in until about noon
like I do most other days
, and then started work, in earnest, on my drawing based on this photo of Trafalgar Square
. I was hoping to leave around 4 p.m., to see the late afternoon showing of War of the Worlds
, starring former Ottawa resident Tom Cruise1
, over at the Rideau Centre, but then a sudden, very loud, thunderstorm happened, and the rain was too drenching to leave the house for 15 to 30 minutes, so I just worked on the picture some more... well, until the power started flickering. That startled the dogs and even the cat, who made the loudest concerned shriek I've heard from her since we moved. Weirdly, when she's scared, she seems to follow the dogs for comfort rather than the people in this house.
Even though the heavy part of the storm was over by about 4:30 p.m., since I wasn't going to make the late-afternoon showing of War of the Worlds
, I decided to stay put until about 6 p.m., and did more measurements for my drawing and browsed the web a little. I then asked my mother if I could bring the new Ricoh Caplio
digital camera which a friend in England sent to us when our "ancient" (1997) Fujifilm digital camera went to shutter heaven. She said I could, but I had to wait for her to download some photos she had taken outside, in the backyard, that afternoon from the camera into her computer. So I didn't actually get to leave until about 6:30 p.m.
According to the OC Transpo online schedule, there was an 86 bus that was scheduled to make it to the stops near my house within a few minutes of when I left, but I guess they weren't sticking to even the holiday schedule because I ended up waiting for at least 15 minutes or so. I got on the bus, and it actually wasn't particularly crowded, so I got a forward-facing seat entirely to myself in the back half of the articulated bus, happily re-reading my most favourite volume of the Oh My Goddess
manga of all, the "Fourth Goddess" story wherein Peorth
was introduced. There were a couple of rowdy and loud Canada Day revellers in the back. Nothing too unusual about that, until I smelt some smoke that smelt a bit more acrid than tobacco. Geez, they sparked up a joint in the bus. I don't have anything against smoking marijuana personally, and I wasn't going to signal the cop car I noticed as the bus passed Carling, but, even though I don't think it should be illegal, I don't particularly care that much for it being smoked near me, at least not when I'm in an enclosed area. I was waiting for someone to alert the driver, but... meh... no one ever did, and, though I do get enjoyment out of seeing people get in trouble, I wasn't in the mood to turn them in myself.
Even though I was sure it was at least 7:10 p.m. as the bus drove down Slater through the central part of downtown Ottawa, I was still intending to get off at the Mackenzie King stop to go to the Rideau Centre and attempt to get into War of the Worlds
, fully knowing that I'd have missed the first few minutes of the film proper and not just the trailers by then, except, while the bus could travel over the Mackenzie King bridge, all other traffic, including pedestrian traffic, was being kept off the bridge to avoid it collapsing under the weight of the crowds, and the bus didn't stop at the Mackenzie King stop in front of the Rideau Centre and I had to walk back to the Rideau Centre from the Laurier stop near the University of Ottawa campus, except the cops wouldn't even let me walk across the portion of the bridge that leads from the Transitway to the Rideau Centre, so I had to take the steps down to Nicholas to get into the side entrance of the Rideau Centre.
I went up to the Famous Players Rideau Centre cinema, but I was way too late to get into the 7 p.m. showing, so I briefly considered skipping the fireworks and going to the 9 p.m. showing except... there were no 9 p.m. showings that evening. I guess even the ushers wanted to see the fireworks.
From the Rideau Centre, I took the walkway across Rideau Street to the Hudson's Bay Corporation department store which was mysteriously open until 9 p.m., even when all of the other stores closed early for the holiday. I was hoping that Chapters might be the other exception, since I wanted to buy volume 9 of Mihona Fujii's Gals!
manga in French, but I was out of luck. But, there were a kajillion people on the street, so I availed myself of the opportunity to take a few street shots in the vague hope that I might take one worth drawing at some point in the future, when I'm finished drawing all of the London scenes I want to draw as pictures.
I crossed the bridge over the Rideau canal to Wellington street, where, obviously, pedestrian traffic grew even denser as I approached Parliament Hill. I got several decent shots of Parliament from Wellington Street, but then I wanted to get a few "closer" shots from Parliament Hill itself. Walking through the side gates, I actually found myself being stopped by a Mountie in a standard non-ceremonial RCMP uniform! But... he was only checking to make sure that I wasn't smuggling in any alcohol. Very, very, fortunately for me, he somehow missed the empty Smirnoff Vodka "mickey"-sized bottle that just happened to be in my bag. (I had emptied it making the occasional "screwdriver" and had forgotten to throw it out.)
There was a concert going on featuring such big CanCon names as Sam Roberts (dunno him), Kathleen Edwards (dunno her), and Kalan Porter (dunno him either) and I realized that this was technically the first concert I had attended since seeing Aerosmith at the Montreal Forum in 1994, back when the Forum was a hockey arena and not the AMC Forum 22 cinema complex. But does it really count as attending a concert if I don't care what's going on? Anyway, I was only planning on staying for a few minutes, and I avoided the bulk of the crowds and walked up the road along the side of Parliament Hill right up to the VIP checkpoint to snap a few (relatively) "close-up" shots of the Peace Tower, which was sporting the recently-returned-to-Canada "original" Canadian flag from 1965
. I think they came out pretty neat, but they probably would have been even nicer if I had known how to use the zoom function, which I didn't figure out until later that evening.
I'm not that fond of crowds, so I decided to leave Parliament Hill through the westernmost entrance, via the entryway for the bus for members of the House of Commons, though the road itself was blocked off, by a Mountie and double police tape, so I had to cross a little parking lot and jump off a small ledge (okay, "slither" off, since I'm a wuss). I then walked down Bank Street to Sparks Street, where I took a few more crowd shots, as well as shots of weird statues I never really took notice of before (even though I passed by them many times over the past six months), including a statue of a bear pawing at a jumping salmon and another one that's supposed to be of nude dancing women, but they resemble dark-skinned versions of the aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
I then walked down Elgin, to the McDonald's, where the funniest thing happened. The Elgin Street McDonald's is a small McDonald's, and it was fairly crowded, being Canada Day in Ottawa and all, so about the only "single person" table (actually meant for two people) available was this one near the washroom. Actually, there were two "single person" tables, but the other one, directly in front of the table where I was seated, was blocked by the line-up to the washroom, the Elgin Street McDonald's being so small, and I mean smaller than even the McDonald's in good old Sainte Anne de Bellevue, that it only has one unisex single-person washroom. So I ate my french fries without incident, and then started on my Big Mac. Then this young guy came and sat down in the chair on the other side of the table. I really, really don't like sharing McDonald's tables with strangers, but I let it slide since he wasn't eating. I figured that he was either waiting in line to go to the loo or that he was waiting for someone in the loo. Then he just turned and started vomiting, blowing chunks all over the floor in at least five distinct heaves. And it was so disgusting that this one girl who came in the McDonald's after the event took one look at the widespread mess all over the floor, talked about how disgusting it was, and changed her mind about eating completely. And, to top it off, the vomit looked almost exactly like "special sauce". Keeping in mind that I was eating a Big Mac at the time, what did I do? I just continued eating my Big Mac non-chalantly, the same way Homer Simpson continues eating his burger as he's being transported aboard Kodos and Kang's ship in "Hungry are the Damned" on the very first Simpsons
"Treehouse of Horror" episode. That's how dedicated a Big Mac fan I am. I didn't even change seats because I figured, if I changed seats, I'd have no right to write about it in my blog. After I finished, I put the garbage in the garbage receptacle on the other side of the room, to avoid walking in puke, and excitedly phoned my mother, who was also eating supper at the time and didn't particularly care to hear about it. I guess the guy was drinking a little bit too much. I'm glad I'm not one for social drinking and do all my drinking at home, in the wee hours of the night, just before going to bed, not that I usually drink more than one beer a night.
After supper, I walked back up Metcalfe to watch the fireworks at Parliament, though I didn't want to be too too close, so I decided to watch them from Metcalfe.
The concert was still going on, so I had to sit through several songs by Sam Roberts, or whomever it was on stage. My legs were pooped, and, since there was nowhere to sit, I just had to kneel in the seat. Then some drunk kid comes up to me and asks me if there's a camera hidden in the bag to look up women's skirts or something... actually, I couldn't quite tell what the fuck he was muttering about other than "camera" and "bag".
Finally, after 10 p.m., the concert ended and the fireworks started. And they were... firework-y. What's there to say, really? They were pretty good as far as fireworks go, but they weren't exponentially all that much better than what I'd have seen at Centennial Park in Beaconsfield some 90 miles to the east. I don't know.
I guess I was just expecting what should be the "king of Canadian fireworks displays" for the year, but it was only a little bit better than what a mid-sized suburb can do for pyrotechnics. They did have some neat fireworks that dispersed the sparks in almost a perfect ring. I don't really have any suggestions as to how Ottawa can make the fireworks show even better, I just like being critical. I snapped a couple of dozen pictures of fireworks, but I was largely disappointed with how the pictures look, because I had the camera set to nighttime exposures and kept on getting jostled left and right by people in the crowd, so the photos ended up blurry or trippy. They're interesting, if you view them as "experimental art" photos, as my mother told me to claim, but I can see the value of having a tripod for nighttime photography (not that I would have been able to take photos in the street).
I didn't stick around for the entire fireworks show. I left about, by my rough estimates, ten or fifteen minutes early and headed as quickly as I could down the packed Metcalfe Street to the bus stop on Albert, where, very fortunately, an 86 bus was waiting, and, even more amazingly, while it had a larger-than-average number of people for just before 11 p.m. at night, it wasn't remotely as crowded as my sister had warned, so I had no difficulty getting a seat on the bench at the back of the bus (if I can't get an entire two-people seat for myself, I'll sit on a bench seat since I'm shy and random strangers have much less of a tendency to talk to me if I'm sitting on a bench instead of a two-people seat. I wish OC Transpo buses had some of the one-people seats like the Montreal buses have.).
And that's more or less "it". Since I don't have anything profound to say about my first Canada Day in Ottawa since 1988, when I was only thirteen years old, and since I'm so terrible at concluding articles, I'll just plug, once again, my album of Canada Day photos at Fotopic.net
, where you can see all of the photos which I felt like sharing.
Happy belated Canada Day-slash-Dominion Day. And happy Independence Day too, while I'm at it.1 Though Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, whose father was a diplomat, only lived here in Ottawa briefly for a year or so in his young teens. I wonder which neighbourhood he lived in?