NEW TEMPLATE, NEW LOOK.
Bye-bye "Sanddollar", hello "Snapshot Sable".
"Sanddollar" looked great when I started using it in the summer of 2003, replacing whatever default template it was that was this blog's original template, but that was almost four years ago and now it was getting to look, if not outright decrepit and dated, certainly a little long in the tooth.
The blog has evolved over the past year into something a lot more visually-oriented, with half my posts being essentially picture diaries cum travelogues, and "Sanddollar" just seems better suited for dense text than it does photos. Lately, I've just been feeling as though I've been doing the digital equivalent of sticking snapshots into a paperback novel.
What really frosted me is that fewer and fewer of the pictures I've been posting have been showing up in Google Image Search, and Google Image Search's latest update, which has gone online this week, has forgotten most of the remaining pictures that I had left in the index. I'm convinced that something in one of the many alterations that I had done to the "Sanddollar" template on my blog has been repelling Google Image Search spiders, so I've decided to start afresh with a blank slate template.
One of the changes I'm making is that I am retiring the old link list, and it'll be a while before I'll post a new one, excluding links to other places I am on the Internet. It had become really bloated, and, while I still look at plenty of the listed sites, some of the sites were relevant to me three or four years ago but aren't so much anymore, especially now that I'm in a different city. Not that that is in many way meant to be a disparagement of anyone's site. Plus, I think at least a dozen of those sites are either gone or have changed URL's.
For now, I'll just have a link to the old links, which I will put at the bottom of this post.
Another change I'm making is that I'm retiring the PicoSearch search box. It served me well for a few years, but it was cumbersome for me to have to update the index manually, and, over the past few months, it has become redundant as the "Search" function at the top of the screen has gone from using Google, which is unreliable in terms of what it does and doesn't find, to being an internal Blogger search, which has a complete index of everything I've written here since 2003 and which displays the whole post. For my purposes now, Blogger's internal search engine is better in every way that PicoSearch.
And, with PicoSearch gone, you may be pleased to know that, for the first time in four years, I have enabled "Comments" in this blog. PicoSearch is what was keeping me from doing this before, for a complicated reason. See, when you have "Comments" enabled in Blogger, you get a separate page for each entry. The problem with PicoSearch for those of us free-loaders is that free memberships are limited to indexing 2000 pages, which I'd pass relatively quickly if I'd enable comments, while, if I don't enable comments, I can go for about 20 more years. But, if I stop using Picosearch, the 2000 page limit is no longer a problem.
I'll probably put a title graphic at the top of the page, but that requires actual work, so it will be a while.
CANADIAN BLOGSColby Cosh
All AgitProp, All the Time Paul JanÃ©
DAIMNATION! Damian Penny
Segacs's World I Know Sari SteinAdam Yoshida
AMERICAN BLOGSCOINTELPRO Tool- Manufacturing Consent Since 2002
G-Files (Jonah Goldberg fans)
Insta Pundit Glenn Reynolds
Little Green Footballs Blog
Miserable Failure (no, it's about Hillary Clinton...)
BORDER-HOPPER BLOGSBeing American in T.O. Debbye Stratigacos
David Frum's Diary @ National Review Online
RADIO/TV HOSTS & OTHERSAnn Coulter
Al Franken (real site)
Al Franken #2, LyingLiar.com
Al Franken #3, Frankenlies.com
David Frum (official site)
Michael Moore (real site)
Michael Moore #2 Moorewatch.com
Michael Moore #3 Bowling for Truth
POLITICALThe Center for Consumer Freedom (Anti-Nanny State, anti-anti-Smoking Gestapo, & anti-Nutrition Gestapo)
Justice for Daniel Faulkner, the truth about cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal
National Review Online
Standing Tall, Justin Berzon's restored Twin Towers proposal
Team Twin Towers, for those of us in favour of restoring the majesty of the Twin Towers to the Manhattan Skyline.
CARTOONS (& COMICS)
CANADIAN, & OTHERWISEAnime Jump (Mike Toole & others)
AnimeNation's "Ask John" column by John Oppliger
AnimeNation Forum (where I'm Kiyone)
Anime News Network
Anime News Network Forum where I'm Tenchi
Anime News Network My "My Anime" list
Anime On DVD
Anime News Service
The Big Cartoon Database
Doctor Snuggles (official site)
Furinkan.com, about the works of Ms. Rumiko Takahashi (Urusei Yatsura, Ranma Â½, Maison Ikkoku, & Inu Yasha)
Jingoro.org, about Izumi Matsumoto's Kimagure Orange Road manga
Kevin Spencer (official site)
King of the Hill (official FOX site)
King of the Hill Information Site
Kiyone, the teal-haired goddess (from Tenchi Muyo)
the Miyazaki Mailing List @ Nausicaa.net
Mouse Planet (about Disney)
Natsume Maya (Anime News straight from Japan)
Nausicaa.net about the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
South Park Scriptorium, scripts, episode guides, and much more!
South Park Studios, the official South Park site.
Tomobiki-cho, the Urusei Yatsura Web Site @ Furinkan.com
Untalkative Bunny Club @ Yahoo (semi-official)
Untalkative Bunny fanlisting (offical)
The World of Urusei Yatsura's Lum
Alex Weitzman's "The Animated World" @ bcdb.com
Zannen, Canada, Jesse Betteridge's page bemoaning the lack of anime on Canadian TV.
OTHER CARTOON LOVERS
(Yes, Anime = Cartoons)"We love cartoons, we love all the action.
We love cartoons, how they dance and sing.
We love cartoons, they're the main attraction.
Cartoon heroes can do anything." (Muppet Babies)
Amanda Wells ("Incisivis")
& STUFFCHUD - Cinematic Happenings Under Development
The Internet Movie Database
Rotten Tomatoes Forum where I'm Kiyone
My Rotten Tomatoes Journal
OTHER STUFFStuff? Were the midterms hard?
Fandom Wank, Mainly LiveJournal-oriented, but there's plenty of Anime Fandom mockery
F*ckin' Otaku- anti-fanboy
Homestar Runner- Cartoons, games, and stuff.
Jagged*Team Games, Anime & stuff
Maddox: The Best Page in the Universe (besides X-Entertainment, duh)
Something Awful, home of the "Weekend Web" column, as well as spoofs, Photoshop gags, and sarcastic reviews about all sorts of things, including Hentai games.
Strong Bad's E-mails
X-Entertainment Matt Caracappa (nostalgia page mainly for those of us who went through grade school in the 1980s)
Anime News Network
where I'm Tenchi
in the forum
. Also check out my anime list
.Linked on Blog
area bloggers), BlogStreetTechnorati Profile
...by General Motors!
Yes, last Friday, I had an appointment with a job-finding counselor at a centre for helping those of us with certain "issues" get work in the Bayview area of west-central Ottawa (which reminded me a fair bit of the Montreal suburb of Sainte Anne de Bellevue, with narrow streets and very similar architecture with boxy, two-storey residences).
Afterwards, I wanted to take a trip to the St. Laurent Centre in east-central Ottawa, but, after taking a few bus photos
at the Bayview OC Transpo Transitway stop, but, once I got on the 95 Orleans bus, I realized that I had never taken the bus past St. Laurent, and I got the urge to take it all of the way to the end and check out Place d'Orleans shopping centre, the only major mall in Ottawa that I had yet to visit.Place d'Orleans
is like the slightly poorer cousin of the St. Laurent Centre, a few kilometres to the east. It has most of the boutiques that all "destination" malls have, the Gap, HMV, EB Games, La Senza, but it only has one fancy department store as an anchor, The Bay, and a Zellers, which used to be a Wal-Mart, while St. Laurent also has Sears and Toys R' Us instead of a Zellers. (Though, to be fair, that puts it on par with Bayshore Shopping Centre, which has the same HBC fancy/discount department store combo.) So, Place D'Orleans seems to be heavy on the mall events to bring more people a few extra miles out of central Ottawa to shop. Right now, they have a "car show" that's really just dealerships for the east end of Ottawa showing off a sampling of their current models in the mall itself. It's not exactly the Detroit North American International Auto Show
or even the Ottawa-Gatineau Autoshow
, but you can still get some nice shots of not-so-exotic cars in an unusual environment.
I took this photo of a Chevrolet Colorado pick-up truck reflecting the skylight at Place d'Orleans
. (It's on display courtesy of Mews Chevrolet
, "Ottawa's One Price Dealer".)
(See this photo's page at Flickr
for a link to the full-size pic
As with most photos of Chevy cars, and other General Motor cars, that I post at Flickr, I tagged it "gmfyi", in hopes that the person that searches Flickr for good GM photos would see it and put it in the official General Motors FYI blog
And... uhh... for the first time ever, that's exactly what happened. My Chevy Colorado photo is featured as the "Photo of the day" on the GM blog
. Bask in my reflected glory. You can touch me for a quarter.
Other, not so acclaimed, Orleans photos.
OC Transpo buses waiting in-between routes at the Place d'Orleans Transitway terminal.
The main entrance of Place d'Orleans shopping centre.
A lame escalator mirror self-pic at the Bay department store. Yeah, I still need to lose a few pounds, but I've been heavier than that.
Buses at the OC Transpo Place d'Orleans Transitway stop at sunset.
The Place d'Orleans HMV music shop, which seems a little bigger than most mall HMV's in the Ottawa area.
I like taking photos of HMV's so much that I now have a whole HMV set at Flickr
. I've photographed all of the HMV stores on the Ottawa side of the river but still need to visit the one in Gatineau before I have a complete set.
The Anime DVD racks at the Place d'Orléans HMV store.
Not too bad a selection... much better than the Merivale HMV or even the Bayshore HMV, though the Anime Stop store in Nepean obviously has a much better selection of anime than any HMV store in the Ottawa area.
Shoujo fans might notice a title called Lady Oscar
... that's the anime, otherwise known as Rose of Versailles
, about a female who dresses up as a male to become a soldier in revolutionary era France. It's never been licensed for the English-speaking North American market, but, if you can read French subtitles, that DVD is Region 1 and contains the original Japanese dialogue.
A fabulous mustard-coloured Ford Mustang on display courtesy of Jim Keay Ford Lincoln Sales
This shot of the Ford Mustang GT is almost as good as the shot of the Chevy Colorado, if I do say so myself. I wish Ford reps would search Flickr the way GM reps do, so I could be featured in the official Ford blog.
The food court at Place d'Orleans has a KFC... that puts at least their food court a notch above the St. Laurent Centre's food court.
Here's the weird thing about the Place d'Orleans shopping centre, it also houses the eastern Ottawa headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I believe the RCMP occupies much of the space vacated when Eaton's went bankrupt almost eight years ago (damn, it's been that long?).
And, while some Mounties still ride horses in some rural areas of Canada, I don't think the east Ottawa detachment has any stables in the parking garage.
I like the look of the deep blue twilight sky falling through the skylights at Place d'Orleans shopping centre.
Here's a famous fountain, if you're a Tom Green fan. This is one of the mall fountains featured in the classic "Scuba Hood" bit (where he takes money from the poor, in the form of the coins in the fountain, and gives to the rich, at the bank), which is about the funniest sketch on the original Tom Green Show
after the "Tiger Zebra" one (where he hung his painting in the National Gallery of Canada... without permission).
The Ottawa suburb of Orleans at dusk. Yes, I went out of my way to take this shot with Wendy's and Tim Hortons in the frame.
The Bay department store as seen from the upper deck of the parking garage.
And here's the Orleans Blockbuster Video outlet, being passed by a motion-blurred OC Transpo New Flyer Invero bus. I love how blue, orange, and yellow dominate this shot, making the Blockbuster seem like a warm Hollywood oasis on a cold Canadian evening.
Labels: Orleans, Ottawa, photos
POLICE ACTION AT THE ELGIN STREET McDONALD'S!
Elgin St. McDonald's, Ottawa. (Stock photo)
Usually, I go to McDonald's just for reliable sustenance, but, on Saturday evening at the Elgin Street McDonald's, I got a tasty meal and a free show! Starring police officers!
I got to the McDonald's on Elgin at around 10:10 p.m. after debating in my head as to whether I'd go to that one or the McDonald's on Rideau Street. I was thinking, after attending Saturday's screenings of the University of Ottawa anime club, I might head up to Rideau Street as I've been thinking about renting the PlayStation 2 RPG Tales of the Abyss
and I saw they had it on the shelf when I was there the other day whilst someone lost Merivale Blockbuster's only copy months ago. But I decided against it as my brother had just got me that Shin Megami Tensei DEVIL SUMMONER yadayadayada
game, so I thought it would be a little silly to rent yet another RPG while I'm still starting on that game and I've not quite finished Phantasy Star Universe
(not to mention Star Ocean: 'Till the End of Time
, but I need to start that game over as I encountered a game ending glitch). Not that any of this is particularly important to the story, I just wanted to emphasize that I was lucky that I decided to go to the Elgin St. McDonald's as I was able to witness the sort of events inspiration-challenged bloggers like me consider to be blogging "gold".
I ordered my usual Big Mac combo. Since the restaurant wasn't too busy, they made the Big Mac and fries "fresh", so it was piping hot for my cold, cold hands. I like it that way. I put the food on the table and got my napkin, straws, and ketchup, and squirted my own Coke into the cup
(since it's a self-serve drink McDonald's).
When I was about half-finished eating my fries, I heard a knock coming from the back of the restaurant. A McDonald's employee was trying to get someone to leave the washroom. I heard her saying "They always seem to come here," "they", in this case, presumably meaning "random junkies/drunks off the street". There was no response from inside the washroom whatsoever.
For the next ten minutes or so, the employee just kept on knocking, enjoining the person inside to come out, with no signs of life coming from the other side of the door. Then there was fumbling around with various keys, with no luck. They also tried unlocking the door electronically using some kind of push-button remote unlocking system, but the door wasn't going to open. They mentioned calling the police in passing while they were still in the knocking phase, but, eventually, they gave the person inside a five-minute ultimatum, after which they were seriously going to call police.
I was starting on my Big Mac when the talk of calling the police got a little more serious, so I decided to eat it a lot slower than I otherwise would because, damnit, I didn't want to leave and miss the best part. After I was finished eating my Big Mac, I sipped the remainder of the Coca-Cola about a millilitre at a time, with long periods of time between the sucks. I decided to read volume 6 of Bisco Hatori's Ouran High School Host Club
manga to maximize my loitering time. (By the way, Jesse, yes, Renge Hoshakuji does show up again in volume 6, so she's a recurring character in the manga and not just the anime.)
It took at least 10 minutes, by which time I was scraping the remaining food particles off of my Big Mac carton and sucking invisible Coca-Cola just to have a pathetic excuse to not leave, but, eventually, at around 10:35 p.m., the cops arrived on the scene, with two Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors parking on the northbound lane of Elgin St. (the other side of the road from the Elgin St. McDonald's), and one more Crown Vic cruiser was heading southbound, though I'm not certain if he was part of this police action or just a cop on normal patrol.
I tried to take a picture through the window of the police officers approaching the McDonald's, but it's hard to see them through the reflections.
Three police officers went to the front counter and asked the McDonald's employee, whom I assume was an assistant manager, where the problem was, and she led them towards the locked washroom.
They knocked on the door a few times, telling the occupant inside that they were the police and he/she should open the door. Still nothing, so one of the officers squatted down on the ground, peeking under the door, and he said that he could see a woman inside lying face down on the ground.
Since the door was deadlocked, I was kind of hoping that they'd just blast through the lock with their service pistols, but, then again, I remember a recent episode of Discovery Channel's Mythbusters
where they did just that, and that method doesn't work as well in real life as it does in the movies.
But policemen don't need guns to open doors. They have their boots. One of the policemen started kicking the door, and, on the fourth or fifth kick, the lock gave. Not that you can tell from this photo that there is any kicking going on. I couldn't see much of the cop that was actually doing the kicking from my seat, just his kicking leg, and I got his foot when it was raised but it's mostly hidden behind one of the other cop's hands.
They opened the door, and I could see someone's legs and socks, and that was about it.
For a while, it looked like they were dealing with a corpse. She wasn't moving at all. I saw one of the cops try to peel her pants up and her socks down to check out her ankles (maybe it's a possible injection location?) and the leg was offering no resistance whatsoever.
The paramedics arrived, as did at least one firetruck.
This is another good photo for the Chevy Impala Flickr pool
Three firemen entered the restaurant, one of them carrying an orange utility box. The guy sitting near me was wondering what use firemen could possibly be in this situation. I couldn't give an answer at the time, but it occurred to me later that they were probably there to smash open the door with an axe if the police had been unsuccessful in getting the door opened themselves. Once they saw that the door had already been opened, they were able to declare that their services were not required, to which the guy sitting near me said "No shit", or something to that effect.
The police lifted the body and turned her so that she was lying face up. While all of the movement of the body seemed, at first, to be initiated by the police officers, I eventually saw the leg move in what appeared to be voluntary motions.
Ambulances arrived at the scene. After I had left, I counted three of them when only one was needed... were they thinking that there might be a shootout or something?
Pretty much as soon as they arrived, I saw one of the policemen walking away from the washroom with his hand on the shoulder a woman, who looked dazed but who was able to walk away on her own. Surprisingly, she didn't look like a random street junkie. It was an Asian girl who looked to be a few years younger than me, probably in her mid-twenties, with short curly spiked hair, a shaggy brown mohair-ish sweater, and a pink scarf. Maybe she had overdosed, maybe she was piss drunk, or maybe she just had a seizure or something. There was nothing about her appearance that screamed "addict", but I know appearances can sometimes be deceiving. All I can say is that I don't know what happened before the door was locked, so I can't really judge.
I could have snapped a picture of the cops leading her away, presumably to the ambulance, but I didn't think it was appropriate. If she's a girl who just happened to make a few stupid mistakes with her life, I wouldn't want to embarrass her any further than she'd already be embarrassed. If what happened to her on Saturday evening wasn't due to pre-existing medical issues, then I hope finding herself face down on a McDonald's washroom floor represents her "rock bottom" point and I hope that she can get the help she needs to lift herself out of the pit and accomplish something worthwhile.
I left the restaurant just before 11 p.m., meaning that I'd have to wait for the OC Transpo 86 bus after the one I usually get on Saturday evenings, which gets to the stop on Albert St. at Metcalfe at about 10:55 p.m.overdose OD drugs girl woman addiction drug addict heroin drunk drinking alcohol