"I'VE BEEN OUT WALKING, I DON'T DO TOO MUCH TALKING THESE DAYS..."
Well, replace "talking" with "blogging", and that James Browne song lyric, which, if you have good taste in cinema, you'd probably remember Nico
singing as Margot Tenenbaum
steps off the bus, and that describes my week pretty well, since I didn't get to blog all that much because I was at a resume and cover letter-writing workshop during most of the day, and I was my usual procrastinating self in the evening.
Anyhow, on Thursday afternoon, I had about my most favourite experience in this city since moving to Ottawa in December.
I had a productive time at the workshop, at the Central Emplyoment Resources Centre on Catherine Street, just north of the 417. My new CV is much less cluttered and random, and I pave over my general lack of working experience in much more employer-impressing ways. I'm fully prepared for the Giant Tiger job fair next Tuesday! Also, one of the other people who participated at the workshop thought I'd be good at data entry because of my above-average typing speed. Well, I guess that's one advantage about writing reams of fluff on the Internet; I'm halfway decent at typing and haven't needed to "hunt and peck"
for years. I guess no one else in the workshop used the Internet much, if my typing speed actually impressed them. So I can say what I want about them and they'll never
read it... but I won't.
Around 3 p.m., I was done. I showed the resume to the "facilitator", signed up for the interview workshop next week, and I was off.
It was a lovely May afternoon, and I didn't feel like taking the bus back home right away, so I called my mother from a phone booth on Bronson Avenue to tell her I wouldn't be back right away, and then I went to the McDonald's across the street to have a nice, long, leisurely french fry munch session, reading the National Post
. It must have been about 3:40 p.m. when I left.
I pulled the GPS device out of my jacket pocket to check the distance to home and it was about four miles as the crow flies. I thought I'd walk down Bronson for a while, but get the bus part way along the way. I didn't have a map on me, but I had studied one the day before and knew that Bronson passes by Carleton University's main campus, which I was a bit curious about, so I decided to walk down towards there.
I walked down Bronson through "The Glebe", the neighbourhood of central Ottawa below the 417 and noticed some curious wooden painted cutouts of people, like what looked like a female detective holding an umbrella and a blind man with a seeing eye dog, mounted on telephone poles. Researching this on the Internet, I discovered that this is all part of some project from an artist (and "community activist and organizer") who calls himself "Bhat Boy"
to "calm" traffic on Bronson.
Well, I guess it worked a bit because traffic was pretty light on Bronson up to that little bridge across the Rideau Canal next to Dows Lake where Bronson suddenly gets a lot busier, like a highway. After the bridge, I cut across the large empty expanse at the northern tip of the Carleton University campus, and then I crossed the parking lot. It's the break between exam season and the summer semester, so there were relatively few people around campus.
Ultimately, I want to transfer into Carleton University
(though, from my experience in the anime club, University of Ottawa seems nicer, but I think it's out of my reach, academically). Because of various bits of unfinished business in Montreal, it will be almost impossible for me to get in for the fall, but I'm going to aim to get in for the winter semester. Since I'm almost certainly going to be going there eventually, be it next year or whenever, I wanted to have a look around the campus, which I don't remember ever passing by before, and it's a lovely campus, not too far from downtown Ottawa but surrounded by naturalish scenery (I can't really call a canal "natural", but the Rideau Canal
has been around so long, since 1832, that it "feels" like a river and has the same impact on the view.)
So how did I enjoy the beautiful vistas of the Carleton campus? Mostly underground. I saw some doors that looked like they went somewhere important, like it was the main entrance to the university as there was a bank of soft drink machines opposite the glass doors, and found myself in something I had no idea existed until I found it for myself: Carleton University's unique tunnel system
, connecting every major building on campus with some five kilometers of tunnels. And the main tunnel, starting at the "Stormont-Dundas residence, through res commons to the Minto engineering building", is festooned with murals painted over the past decade by groups of students representing specific floors of the various residences over the past decade or so, and most of the murals were popular culture-related. I didn't see any Sailor Moon
ones, but there are many different Lord of the Rings
ones, and I was giddy to see that one mural featured Lilo and Stitch
. There were only a handful of students and faculty wandering the tunnels, as it was such a nice day outside, but but there were a few security and maintenance workers driving around on their little motorized carts
, and, considering that the tunnel corridors were pretty narrow at some points, I had to get myself pretty flat along the wall just to keep out of the way. I know it sounds dangerous, having people and carts together in an enclosed area, but there are "STOP" lines everywhere the cart drivers have to obey, and I think the carts were going faster than usual because of the relative lack of people. All in all, that aspect of the Carleton University experience almost feels like something a pop culture savvy mastermind of terror from a James Bond might concoct. You can see a short film from film student Jamie Bruni called Tunnels
that show the tunnels extensively (yeah, yeah, once you get past the marijuana scene).
I exited the tunnels at the library, which I thought I might browse, but, during the break, the library is only open until 5 p.m. on weekdays and it was already approaching 4:40 p.m., so it just wasn't worth going inside. And I wasn't sure whether or not they card people coming in during academic breaks. I exited at a "quad", and, using my GPS device, and a campus map, headed towards the southwesternmost tip of the campus.
After crossing what I think is the visitor's parking lot, I crossed Colonel By Drive and walked along the bicycle and pedestrian path directly next to the canal, and I do mean "direct", with just a one-foot ridge separating bicyclists and pedestrians from taking a nasty spill into the cold water. I tried walking in the right lane, right next to the canal, for a minute, but I just got nervous and decided to annoy oncoming cyclists by walking along the edge of the left-hand side of the path, along the grass.
Ottawa just isn't as "leafy" a city as Montreal, so I feel a little bit of a disconnect with the seasons, but it felt like spring at last as I saw the fresh leaves on the trees on the other side of the Rideau canal, with the huge apartment towers of the Courtland Park area looming overhead. Geez, some of those towers seem to be at least 30 storeys high... why can't I find them listed at the Emporis database for Ottawa
I decided it was time for some music, so, I sat down on a bench and tok my "Discwasher" CD case out of my bag and put on a CD I hadn't listened to in ages, the Rurouni Kenshin: Best Theme Collection
, since, for whatever reason, I felt like listening to Makoto Kawamoto's "1/2" as well as Judy & Mary's "Sobakasu" ("Freckles"), both very energetic songs, great to give me stamina whilst walking around. The end of Colonel By Drive is on the extremely narrow spit of land next to Hog's Back Lock, which seperates the Rideau Canal from the Rideau River. I looked to my left, towards the east, and saw the Prince of Wales Falls
, with Hog's Back Park behind it. I had no idea that we had such spectacular scenery just a little over a mile from our house. Then, to get back across to my side of the Rideau Canal, instead of crossing over the Hog's Back Road bridge, which turns into Meadowlands on the other side, the road that leads me back towards where I live, I threw caution into the wind and walked across the narrow walkway on top of the lock itself. Okay, it's got handrails so I was in no real danger of falling, but I still felt a bit like Hurley crossing that footbridge on that episode of Lost
when he was trying to bond a bit with Charlie.
And, on the other side of the canal, after the plaque and the control house for the lock, there was... a mini-mall! With another McDonald's! Woo-hoo! Two McDonald's added to my mental map of Ottawa in one day! I'm so proud of my great accomplishment. And not just that, but, across the street from the Hog's Back Plaza, there's another commercial building with... a Blockbuster! So now I have a choice of Blockbuster Video locations if I want to rent something (though this one's a bit further away from me than Merivale Blockbuster)! Maybe this Blockbuster will actually have The Cat Returns
and Steven Spielberg's Duel
, both of which I'm damn eager to rent.
I switched CDs to possibly my single most favourite anime CD of all, Kimagure Orange Road: Loving Heart
, for the rest of the trip home, which was uneventful. I got home at about 5:50 p.m.
Using Google Maps
, I figured out that the route I took, even given the shortcut under Carleton, was approximately 7 miles, which, considering my slow-ish walking speed, actually wasn't that bad time for around two and a half hours on the road. And I was pleased that I made the trip. Sure, Ottawa doesn't have scenery quite as spectacular as the Lake of Two Mountains, or Mount Royal, or the lesser-known Parc des Îles on Île Sainte Hélène, but there are still areas that are very pretty. And I have a much better bearing on how my neighbourhood relates to the rest of Ottawa.
Not that I won't usually be taking the bus, but I feel much better about myself that I've accomplished it once.
Browsing Amazon.com, I have good news and bad news... but only if you're someone with my exact eclectic tastes in entertainment.
Remember Untalkative Bunny: How to Be Heard Without Saying a Word
, the self-help book by Scrubs actor John C. McGinley
which was going to use my favourite Canadian cartoon character, the Untalkative Bunny, as an object example?
It's no longer listed on Amazon. Guess it got shelved. Maybe Big Tent Entertainment got cold feet about tying-in a self-help book by a popular actor with a cartoon character almost nobody in the United States has heard of (yet). Meh, I was hoping that this was Bunny's first venture into mainstream American pop consciousness, perhaps ensuring a much-anticipated DVD release at some point in the near future. Guess I'll be waiting a while.
Oh, wow! I didn't know this until just a few minutes ago, but guess which 80s movie was quietly released on DVD last November with absolutely no fanfare? It was one of my DVD Holy Grails, one of the few movies left which I'd care to see on DVD but which hadn't (at the time) been released on DVD.
Holy crap! Cloak & Dagger
! The kids' spy thriller from 1984 that deserves to be a cult classic just like Goonies
but which doesn't have nearly the level of recognition (probably because Steven Spielberg didn't produce it).
I wrote about the film a little in this entry
in my half-completed "Thirty Days, Thirty Years, Thirty Boring Stories" feature:
[A]nother great cult film set in San Antonio is Cloak & Dagger, a film starring Henry Thomas as Davey Osborne and some girl who is a Drew Barrymore lookalike who accidentally get themselves involved in the dangerous, often fatal, world of international espionage all because of a seemingly innocent-looking Atari cartridge. And you get to see a hell of a lot more of San Antonio than you did in the Alamo scene of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, and it's got Dabney Coleman in a duel role as Davey's father, Hal Osborne, a recently-widowed airline pilot, and as Davey's "imaginary" friend, Captain Jack Flack! And it's a lot more unflinching in its portrayal of the consequences of violence than modern kiddy spy movies like Spy Kids and Agent Cody Banks. This would be an excellent film for X-Entertainment.com's Matt Caracappa to review, but it's sadly still not available on DVD.
No special features as far as I can tell, but the only special feature that counts is that I no longer have to track down worn-out old VHS copies of it in video stores.
Also this week, the first volume
of the French translation of Inu Yasha
creator Rumiko Takahashi's first professional manga, <Urusei Yatsura
, has gone on sale.
This is good news for those of us Lum fans who are still feeling a bit jilted by Viz after putting the series on permanent hiatus in 1998. The downside is that it will take Glénat well over a year to reach the point where Viz left us hanging.
I want to write a little about a minor adventure I had on Thursday, but, since I'm a terrible procrastinator, you'll have to wait until at least tomorrow to read it. :P
THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY FILM... MY VERDICT?
Hey, this week I'm at the résumé-writing workshop, which I'm finding very helpful (hopefully a more relevant CV will result in more interviews), so I haven't had as much time to write.
After class today, I wandered up from the central employment assistance centre, which is on Catherine Street in the extreme southern part of central Ottawa, just above the 417, to the Cineplex Odeon theatre in the World Exchange Plaza centre on Albert Street, which is within walking distance but a fair stroll, something like 2 kilometres. Lovely day for a walk... sunny, but the temperature is mild, around 10 degrees Celsius (something like low 50s for you Fahrenheit people). It's May and I'm still wearing a jacket; can't honestly say I disapprove.
I got to the World Exchange Plaza just as the late-afternoon screening of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
was commencing (though, before I went in the cinema, I bought and consumed a Pepsi from the newsagent's store on the ground floor, as it's like one-third the price of buying it in the cinema). I got to my seat to see the movie, though, from what I understand, I missed a Chicken Little
trailer that was made specifically to be shown in front of Hitchhiker's Guide
Both of my brothers saw the film: John, who works for the film industry in Vancouver, didn't much care for it as he thought too much was removed from the books, while my Toronto brother, Nick, quite enjoyed it. (Intrestingly enough, they were split the opposite way on Sin City
; John adored it, but he's as much interested in visuals as acting, while Nick wasn't impressed. I never bothered seeing it.)
What did I think? Well, I'm not writing a full review tonight, and I'm not promising that I ever will write one, but my initial fears
after reading MJ Simpson
's spoiler-riffic long review showing what he thought was wrong with the film scene by scene
were largely allayed. Not that I think MJ Simpson was wrong; it was his opinion, opinions being completely subjective, and I agree with him about many of the weaknesses of the film, especially Arthur Dent's romance with Trillian. And I didn't think Mos Def was a bad Ford Prefect, but he wasn't given enough to do in the second half of the film. But there was plenty about the film to like too, and I found it a lot more coherent than some critics were making it out to be.
Here's my comment from the RottenTomatoes.com forum
A bit-above-marginal-but-not-overly-enthusiastic [fresh tomato]. It did suffer at the same time from too much taken out and too many suferflous elements added, and many non-essential-but-quotable elements of the dialogue from the other versions weren't completely absent but were truncated to the point where they may as well have been absent, but there was enough "fresh" about the film, especially the binary Earth scenes, for me to have enjoyed it on the whole.
It certainly hasn't supplanted the TV series as my own favourite version of the story, but, on its own merits, it's decent early "summer" movie season entertainment.
Speaking of the RottenTomatoes.com forum, and I started a Fandom Wank-like entry about this yesterday only to realize I wasn't that interested in the actual bitching, RT forum member Boba Sweat
started this thread
director Kevin Smith
's post in the CHUD.com forums
in which he wrote a gushing review of Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith
, in which he states, more or less, that this is the Star Wars
film he has been waiting for since The Empire Strikes Back
25 years ago. Why is this thread interesting? Because, and his identity has been confirmed on his own forum
, Kevin Smith himself shows up in the thread in this post on page three
, and, while some RT members are either very praiseworthy or are just interested in having a discussion about what he said and about the merits of his own films, like Chasing Amy
and Jersey Girl
, other RT forum members use the opportunity to insult him, and, even though he's a practicing Catholic, Kevin's not going to turn the other cheek. Unlike his onscreen alter-ego, Silent Bob, Kevin is more than happy to give the haters back what they dished out.Sample post.
Originally Posted by Cult Icon
Uh, yeah. Here we are. Since you're so great and famous....and respected.
Except by you. And it's your respect that I crave, Cult Icon.
I don't know how she can stand you.
Sometimes, neither can I.
Oh, wait - I do know how she can stand me: because we don't relate to one another like you and I relate to one another. We're in love, so we communicate with warmth.
It's called a joke. I should think you've heard of that since, you write "comedy". I added the "Have fun and post often!" with a huge grin, so you'd know I was playing.
And yet, when I played back, you got weird on me, hon. This is one of those pot-calling-the-kettle-black kinda scenarios. I apologize, good lady: it would seem you're used to kidding and not being kidded back. In the future, we'll keep to a strictly one-sided relationship in which you can hurl vulgar jeremiads at me, and I'll politely respond with a "huge grin" post, then go back to answering questions for the other posters. That way, we'll avoid all these tears.
But I guess your skull is as thick as your waistline.
I think the gal knows whereof she speaks, folks. Something tells me she shops at the female equivalent of the Casual Male Big & Tall stores I frequent.
Ah, nice to see Kevin Smith has a sense of humour about this. He did 66 posts and then made a gracious goodbye
Of course, I didn't realize Kevin Smith was posting until after he left, so I didn't get a chance to ask him what I've always wanted to ask him:
Damn, I didn't realize until it was too late that all the buzz over Kevin Smith on this board the past couple of days was because he was actually (well, maybe actually) posting in this very thread.
I wanted to ask him if he'd ever considered writing, directing, and starring in the next great adaptation of a classic comic book character, a character screaming to be made into a live-action feature:
Kevin Smith IS Jonathan Brandstetter in
JOHNNY TURBO: THE MOVIE!
"This summer, in the battle between good and evil, evil DOESN'T EVEN COMPARE!"
Too bad that the main site telling the full sad tale of the Johnny Turbo advertising campaign
for the TurboDuo seems to have become another victim of "too much bandwidth, too little money", but the text and some of the pictures live on over at the Internet Archive
, and this page
also has scans of the first Johnny Turbo
Finally, I actually did have a "Moment of Zen" yesterday. After class, I walked up to the McDonald's on Bank street to have fries, since McDonald's fries are like crack to me, and they had a sucky soft rock station playing in the background. And Huey Lewis and the News's minor hit "Perfect World" came on, and I realized that I don't honestly think I've heard that song since I was in grade eight, around when the song was briefly vaguely popular, and even then I only heard it because the bus driver would always play the French-languagemusic station CKAC, and that song, and Elton John's "I Don't Want to Go On With You Like That" seemed to be the only two English songs they ever played.