Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas in Ottawa

Pink door

So, I went home to Ottawa for Christmas. It was pretty quiet. The biggest news was that the Giant Tiger nearly burned down. I may have mentioned Giant Tiger before: it's a chain of discount stores in Eastern Ontario. The branch near my mom's place has been there since I was in high school, and my mom does all, I mean ALL, of her shopping there. I was planning to stop in and stock up on socks and toiletries before heading back to Toronto, but then on Christmas Eve, my mom's partner Rene opened the Ottawa Citizen, and there, all over the top front half of the Local section, was a huge photo of the Giant Tiger with the windows all busted in and firefighters walking around inside. Biggest local news in Ottawa: FIRE AT THE HINTONBURG GIANT TIGER! OMG!!

Fortunately the fire, the result of some electrical problem, was contained to the basement. No-one was hurt, but there was smoke damage to much of the merchandise. A re-opening is planned for February, and my mom and her friends are already anticipating the fire sale.

Alas, the Giant Tiger!

On Christmas Day we went for a walk around the old neighbourhood, Hintonburg/Mechanicsville, which was very quiet. Have a look at my photos here.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Solstice, etc.

Dog watching crowd, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

Kensington Market's Festival of Lights was really on this year: a big but not overwhelming crowd, mild weather (but lots of snow on the ground), and tons of performers, tableaux, etc. It was Hilary's first year at the parade, and I was glad her introduction to my favourite holiday tradition was such a good one. It reminded her a lot of the Hillside Festival, where she used to work. There's a similar dreadlocked-hippies-banging-on-drums-and-playing-with-fire sensibility to both events.

Most of my photos didn't turn out, but I like the one above, of a man holding his dog & watching the crowd.

This entry is a little late because I went to Ottawa early the next morning. Photos to come!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Googly eyes

Googly eyes, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

Someone added eyes to the crosswalk button at College and Beverley. Now you have to poke it in the mouth if you want to cross the street.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Winter drives us underground

Shawn ponders the eternal flame

The last psychogeography walk, a couple of weeks ago, started at 401 Richmond, then meandered through the heart of downtown. Above, Shawn regards the Eternal Flame outside Metro Hall with some skepticism. We put snowballs on top of its cage to see if they would melt, but they didn't.

We went into BCE Place and then down into the PATH system, which is fun to walk on winter evenings -- it's warm down there, and eerily deserted after office hours. We wound up in Union Station, somewhere in the bowels of which we found the Amuse-O-Matic, an old-skool, scuffed-up games arcade. In addition to the pinball games and vintage Ms. Pac-Man, there was this very Japanese dance game:

Competitive dancing

Alison took a photo of it & later noted that "the Toronto version of Dance Dance Revolution should require only nodding." (If you've ever been to see a band play in Toronto, you know what she means.) I suggested that the Toronto version of Dance Dance Revolution should be called Nod Nod Incremental Social Change.

After blowing a few rounds of loonies and quarters, we wandered on along Front a bit, until the cold got the better of us and we took refuge in a Jack Astor's. I'd never been in one before, and it was exactly what you'd think it would be like. Todd did a quick tour of the crowded bar area and came back to announce, "There is WAY too much testosterone in there." There were two separate fights on the verge of breaking out: from the door, we could see a guy at the bar antagonizing the bartender (bartender, loudly: "Well now you're just disrespecting me personally!"), and farther back Todd had seen two suits being physically held apart by a third suit, who kept saying, "It's all love, man! It's all love!" There was some kind of sporting event on -- it was the Grey Cup, right? -- which may have been intensifying the atmosphere, and was probably the reason one man was walking around with half a watermelon on his head. We sat in the dining room instead, and drew on the paper tablecloth with the crayons provided.

Todd plays pinball

More photos, mostly of pinball machines, here.

Jamie's detailed blogpost here.