FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE BEEN WONDERING...
I haven't yet announced the birth of my nephew or niece because, so far, there's been nothing to announce, even if my sister's almost a week past her due date. There are a few details I know of that I won't discuss, but the bottom line is that there is no deep reason for concern, the baby will be born healthy at some point this coming week. It's just that, occasionally, unborn babies want to stay all snug and cozy in the uterus as long as they can and choose to come out "later" rather than "sooner".
Hell, I'm almost 32 and I still live in the figurative womb of my parents' house, so it's not like I can exactly chastize the baby for following, symbolically, a similar life path to my own.
The thing that's kind of a small bother is that both of my brothers have travelled to Ottawa to see the baby that can't be seen yet, though the one that travelled from Vancouver also came east to attend an unofficial 10th
anniversary Macdonald High School reunion over in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, so it's not like spending all that money on a plane ticket here was a total waste. (I was hoping that I could tag along with him for the ride so that I could see downtown Montreal for the first time in almost two years, but I think he's stayind there overnight and he's travelling with somebody and I can't afford my own hotel room, so it wasn't feasible.)
Also, this week, I've been playing Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
, the third (main) installment in the RPG series that I personally prefer to Final Fantasy
. Since it mixes space opera sci-fi and medieval fantasy elements, it's actually closer in spirit to Sega's Phantasy Star
than Final Fantasy
anyway. You don't have the same amount of control over the characters' personal interactions between each other that you did in Star Ocean: The Second Story
(where you could actually have Claude fall in love with characters besides Rena if you rigged things right... though you can't have him go gay/yaoi
with Ashton), but the great melee battle system is still there, where every character and every enemy fights at the same time. That's more like real life than most Japanese fantasy RPGs, which use a Dungeons & Dragons
-inspired turn-based battle system, where the monsters and demons politely wait their turn before they attack you. This means that, unlike Final Fantasy
, the real-time battles require a modicum of reflexes, but it's nothing too difficult. (You can have the computer control most, or even all, of the characters on your side, so it's not like you have to control a whole group of characters simultaneously.)
I wasn't able to find this game anywhere in Nepean earlier in the year, but I got lucky this time and bought a used copy of it at the EB Games on Merivale for just $22 Canadian.
Just for fun, another shot of a 1:43 scale Mattel Hot Wheels model Ferrari in front of a photographic backdrop.A Ferrari 360 Modena Spider in front of the Esso station at the corner of Atwater and St. Jacques in Montreal, near Lionel-Groulx Metro.
I elevated the model with a box of Prismacolor art sticks so as to (mostly) block out the MUCTC/STCUM van in the foreground.
I'm also proud of how in focus the car is for a 1:43 scale model, though at the expense of blurring the background a bit (for kind of a Bokeh
CANADA DAY IN OTTAWA 2: WATCHING FIREWORKS, BUT I DIDN'T SEE ANY PUKING THIS TIME...
Remember how I spent Canada Day last year?
Here I was on Canada Day in 2005, eating a french fry at the Elgin Street McDonald's.
Pretty pathetic way to spend a Canada Day, eh?
This year, I had a Canada Day experience that was twice as intense and twice as exciting, living life on the wild side!
That's right, I took a picture of myself eating TWO McDonald's french fries at once!
Actually, it was more like ten pictures, but I whittled it down to the one that was closest to last year's photos, and where both fries were clearly visible, which is a lot harder to arrange properly than you'd think. And, although I took special care to wear the same clothes, including the Sailor Moon
t-shirt that three whole groups of people sarcastically complimented me on wearing, and sit at the same table at about the same time of evening, it's not quite the same because I didn't realize that they had pushed the table a little closer to the window compared to last year.
And my hairdo (and acne) is different.
Getting the same table was a little embarassing too. For whatever reason, the Elgin St. McDonald's was a fair bit busier compared to Canada Day 2005, so I had to sit at the pair of tables in front of the long table I was sitting at last year, and the girl at the table seemed to notice. See, after she was finished eating, she painstakingly wiped up every last food particle from her Big Mac off the table, and then apologized to me for being such a neat freak. I apologized to her just in case she thought that I was paying attention to them, which I wasn't, and I explained that I just wanted to sit at that exact table. She wondered what for, and I told her I wanted to replicate a photo I took the previous year... I should have added that it was for this blog, but I didn't. I'm sure that she thought I was a weirdo for saying that, not that that's an unfair assessment.
Anyway, on to the other pictures...
Ottawa has British cabs now! (Though they're a small minority compared to all the Chevy Impalas and Ford Crown Victoria taxis.)
There was a heavy police presence, quite obviously, so I was able to get some more great shots of Ottawa Police Ford Crown Victoria "Police Interceptors".
Here's a guy asking for directions or something on Elgin St.
As you may recall, I've been looking to take more pictures of real Ferraris lately.
I've figured out that one very likely venue to see Ferraris in Centretown, if there are any to be seen, is within a couple of blocks of Tosca Italian Restaurant
on Metcalfe (a restaurant I'd love to visit... maybe I can convince my brother, John, when he's over here this weekend to see my sister's baby, which is overdue, by the way).
I didn't see any Ferraris on Saturday, but I felt like taking a picture of something, so here's a nice-looking neo-retro Ford Mustang GT that I spotted on the parking lot at Metcalfe and Nepean Road, just across the street from Place Bell Canada.
Here's another Ottawa Police Ford Crown Victoria "Police Interceptor" at the corner of O'Connor and Albert, across from the Ottawa Sheraton hotel. The police officer was diverting all civilian traffic away from the Parliament Hill area.
I also finally completed photographing the trifecta of downtown Ottawa McDonald's with this picture of the Bank Street McDonald's
This is a McDonald's mainly for office and government workers, and I don't usually go downtown anywhere near lunch hour, so this McDonald's is usually either very empty or closed when I walk by it, and is certainly never as busy as the Rideau Street McDonald's
or even the Elgin Street McDonald's
, but it is just steps away from Parliament Hill, so it's packed on Canada Day evening.
They even had an item on CJOH News about all of the garbage piled up on Bank Street in front of the McDonald's restaurant the day after Canada Day, because they simply had no where else to put it.
Parliament, as seen from Wellington Street.
This is what I call the "Angkor Wat shot" of Parliament, because the two gate "towers" at the side together with the Peace Tower makes it look like there are three spires of a similar height, like the pictures I always see of the main temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, but it's really just a camera trick using forced perspective.
I decided to wait on Metcalfe for the fireworks, just like I did the previous year, but I got there a little earlier than I did last year, so I could actually sit on the fricking curb and not in the middle of the street.
A picture of crowd motion on Metcalfe. The blue light streaks in the middle of this picture are from this lighted child's toy that looked kind of like a mace with red, green, and blue lights, that a father borrowed from his little boy and then started waving high in the air.
They were doing the light show thing with the Peace Tower again during the concert.
Here's the Peace Tower in red.
And here's the Peace Tower in white. I'm proud of how sharp this is for a night shot... I tried to steady the camera using a light pole this time.
Onto the fireworks... these are the sharper ones of the dozens I took. Any one of these five is sharper than any I took last year, but I didn't find that the explosions were quite as spectacular.
Those look like those... whatchamacalit... Koosh (?) "balls" that Rosie O'Donnell used to throw into the audience.
This arrangement reminds me of Strong Sad's ghost face, for some reason.
Anyway, I left the fireworks before they were over, thinking I'd beat the crowd and would be able to catch a relatively-empty number 86 OC Transpo bus home, like I did the previous year.
But, I don't know if it's because there was a really light drizzle coming down during the fireworks, meaning a lot of people wanted to leave downtown before the rain intensified, but the stop on Albert and Metcalfe (which is actually called the "O'Connor" stop, even though O'Connor is one block to the west) was freaking packed with literally hundreds of people, and, worse, although there were plenty of buses on the roads to take the crowds home, OC Transpo was throttling them in order to maximize the number of people on each bus.
There were three whole lanes of buses lined up on Albert half a block away from the stop, with easily a dozen more buses at a time lined up on the Mackenzie King Bridge beyond Elgin, but OC Transpo would only let about three buses load with passengers at a time, and they were waiting until the buses were jammed like Tokyo subway trains before sending them on their way.
I don't like riding the bus in those kind of conditions, because I get very claustrophobic when people are crammed in a tight area with me, and because I just don't have the sense of balance I had when I was a teenager
because I'm fat
for some odd reason I can't quite discern and I need to sit down. So I decided to walk and try and get the bus at the Campus stop east of the Rideau Canal.
Here are "ghosts" on Albert street, though they're really just blurs of people who didn't stay in one place during the long exposure.
I turned north, up Elgin, to cross the Rideau Canal using the bridge between Rideau Street and Wellington.
This way actually took me right by the Canadian War Memorial cenotaph and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
, though I didn't see any of the now infamous urinators
, since I wasn't exactly looking to see if I could see guys taking a leak, and because I was walking on the other side of the street and I remember seeing at least two STO buses and an ambulance blocking my view of the Cenotaph.
Incidentally, and I'm in no way defending boorish drunken behaviour or using the War Memorial as a urinal, but there's a real paucity of public washrooms in downtown Ottawa. They have washrooms in malls and fast food places, but most of those places are closed late in the evening on Canada Day, and, at the Rideau Street McDonald's in the evening, at least, you have to ask at the counter for the key. There should really be at least one large public washroom somewhere near Wellington street outside of commercial establishments, or, at the very least, those "Johnny on the Spots" outdoor urinals that you see outside in European cities. I know public washrooms aren't too popular in North America because they're seen as meccas for public gay sex and also hotels for the homeless, but, if you put them in a high traffic area, I think there would be too many people coming and going for that to be much of a problem.
I walked around the Rideau Centre, and through a parking lot to Nicholas, where I observed a police officer in the process of either warning or arresting a group of youth, seemingly for public drinking. I made my way to the temporary bus stop at the corner of Waller and the Transitway only to find that a lot of other people had the same idea, to beat the crowds. There were hundreds of people there, spilling out into the street a bit. So I had to walk south to the Univerity of Ottawa Campus Transitway stop.
Here's a shot of another Ottawa Police Ford Crown Victoria "Police Interceptor", at the corner of the Transitway and Laurier.
At this point, the rain really started to intensify, and I got a bit wet walking the few hundred metres from Laurier to the Campus stop.
There weren't many people waiting at Campus, which is a good thing, because I don't have the foggiest idea how to walk to the following Transitway stop.
I waited for about twenty minutes for the 86 "Lincolnfields via Meadowlands" OC Transpo bus, which wasn't too crowded, all things considered. At least not when I got on.
Once the bus got to the O'Connor stop, it got packe, and stayed that way until the bus reached at least Baseline and Fisher. By the time the bus got to my stop on Meadowlands, it was still very crowded, but not so much that I would have to ask people to move just so I could get off, the way people were before I got off.
When I got off the bus, the rain was torrential, coming down in buckets and curtains. And there was traffic on Meadowlands, so I had to wait at least a minute just to cross the street. Even though the walk home from the bus stop is a little less than 100 metres, it felt the longest it had ever felt, even in the dead of winter, because it really was like walking through a long corridor filled with shower nozzels blasting you at full intensity. Everything I was wearing or carrying got drenched, including the Oh My Goddess
manga book I was carrying abd the camera itself.
Here's how soaked I got.
I think the On/Off switch shorted in the camera. I noticed a little bit later, while Saturday Night Live
was still on, that, when I turned the camera "off", once every thirty seconds, it made the starting up noise, and the green light indicating that the camera is on wouldn't stay off. The only way to turn the camera off would be to remove the batteries, and then do something with the "View" button to get the lens where it is supposed to be in the Off position. We let the camera sit a couple of days so it could completely dry out, but the problem with the switch is still there, so I may have to pay for the repair.