Previous month:
September 2007
Next month:
November 2007

Star Wars street art

A friend was in New York recently and saw this blend of advertising and urban art. It was interesting to see the big corporate US Postal Service being creative.2007_fall_007_medium I did some digging on Flickr for other pics of these droids, and found hundreds of pics from across the US, some even with fans in costume posing next to the box. According to this one on there taken by cityflickr they are apparently part of a USPS promotion for its StarWars stamps. The paint jobs also act as an effective deterrent for illegal graffiti, of the dozen or so I looked at on Flickr only one was tagged. Plus, the tag was hard to see against all the graphics.

I’m sure many of you have seen the Canada Post boxes that were covered with a special "wrap", done on boxes in selected areas to cover the blank sides and discourage tagging. A similar approach to that of USPS, just not as creative, but it has been somewhat effective at reducing tags on those boxes.

Toronto worked with Bell Canada and styleinprogress last year on a pilot project for mural art on phone boxes, and city staff there are also looking at commissioning talented youth artists to do murals on some traffic signal boxes. Here's more info on the Bell project.

The challenge is for the utilities to give up a bit of their corporate branding and standard look for the benefit of less tagging. The challenge for the city is to ensure that these variations can be done with relative ease - as in don't put a lot of red tape and fees in the way.

I hope this type of art will be considered for Ottawa’s "list" as one of the approved ways to manage the problem of illegal graffiti here. At the Ottawa council meeting for graffiti management in the spring, staff were directed to work on implementing the new bylaw, with its focus on fines and eradication. They were directed to also investigate a program similar to the Graffiti Transformation Program in Toronto, where unemployed youth and community groups work in problem areas to create a mural. In addition, they were to look into partnerships with paint suppliers, and an education program on vandalism. Not sure on what progress has been made since then, as a lot of city programs have been stalled while staff waits for the Mayor to announce his financial plan November 7th. Hopefully they have at least done some planning and research work, we'll find out at the next committee meeting, in the next month or so.

Not summer

Quite a turn in the weather Saturday night - was only a few degrees c, winds 50-60 k, and me with my window air conditioner still in. Sort of in, with several gaps, and all the drafts of summer replaced with an icy wind down my neck. First chore of the day was to pull it out and close the window - will be a warmer sleep. A/C can stay in the corner for now, with a small tablecloth over it and a vase of flowers in the centre - a cozy looking spot.

2007_10_28_1The day was a mix of sun, wind, scattered clouds - and flurries. Good to see the first bit of snow, winter is a nice contrast I enjoy. Might as well enjoy it I figure, as we tend to see it every year. It was still nice enough out to go for a long walk with my grandson. And son and daughter in law. Grandson is just over a month old, so he stayed in his stroller for now - no pressure Noah. Dozing a bit, dreaming of whatever - maybe toys, maybe the new sights and sounds, maybe his next meal. They have a couple of nice parks near their house, one with a couple of play structures for grandpa to guide Noah through and over and under. Slowly of course - I'm not as spry as when I was a dad and I do remember these little rug-rats can move pretty 2007_10_28_2afast. But that sort of outing will have to wait a while, for now was just nice for all to get out in the fresh air with him and the proud parents - they did let grandpa push the stroller too . And of course the whole family was beaming proudly at everyone we met along the walk, as they paused to admire baby in a bucket.

My dinner later on was fancy for a change, even if just for one. I made a mashed potato delightfrom Foodtv the other day, even at half recipe it was enough for a few meals.  Garlic, white cheddar, sour cream, bacon, green onions - yumm. And it improves with age, so is great to make the day before a party. I did a chicken delight too, from The Urban Peasant,  by James Barber. Browned some pieces then threw in a casserole with apple juice, thyme, and apple pieces.

Good comfort food, and a nice accompaniment to watching Deadwood.  I love the series so bought the DVD's on Ebay, all three seasons. Great story, fantastic camera work, realistic sets, colourful language, it is typical of an HBO production. I'm working through it bit by bit - more now that cooler weather will mean less temptation to bask in the sun downtown. Another good series is re-starting Monday night, Saving Grace. It's bout a wild cop, who is into drugs and Jack Daniels and sex, there's a laid back, middle aged, tobacco chewing angel named Earl that is trying to save her. She's played by Holly Hunter, who is a great actress and very hot looking for 49. Did I mention there's a lot of nudity in it? Anyways, series has been on for a number of weeks, and I guess they want to stretch it out. So rather than show the last four episodes, it's restarting Oct 29 - 10pm on Showcase. The last four will be on starting December 31. Something for a quiet New Year's Eve.



Sorry - couldn't wait for TGIF. And anyways, being mostly retired, every day is the same. The only reason to mark the weekends is because the malls will be full of the drones, so any shopping will have to be postponed.

I see there's a recall in the US of A for cough and cold medications for children under 2, since there have been rare instances of problems - as in death from over medication. These meds were approved years ago without specific testing, on the assumption that kids are just small adults, so just scale back the dose. First off, the medication isn't that effective in reducing the symptoms, not much different that a placebo. Just let them cough and sniffle, it's usually not that serious, we don't have to be perfect parents and fix everything.

Second off, the overdoses do work, in a bad way. Parents misread teaspoons for tablespoons, or reuse the little plastic cup from the previous meds assuming it's still one dose, or mix meds that have cumulative effects. So turns out what they should be recalling is not the medication, but the parents. OK, maybe we just need to remember to dumb down life to the lowest common denominator.

Was watching The Agenda tonight, on TVO. They had a number of panelists on, discussing the election in Ontario yesterday - as in what happened to John Tory and the Conservatives? There were some interesting comments. Historian Michael Bliss said he wrote to John Tory (or maybe to a general email) to caution against the faith-based issue and heard nothing back at all. Reminded me of the last Federal election when several on our team send suggestions and/or questions to our NDP and didn't even get an acknowledgment (not that we're bitter). They also discussed that now Tory has a choice, but it's only whether to leave next week or the week after. As in the trick choice of parenting - do you want to wear your green mittens or the red ones?  They acknowledged that the Green plus NDP was 22%, a significant vote for "none of the above". Plus, did the 53% turnout mean apathy or contentment?

Finally, what’s with this new KY gel I see advertised on TV, that they say is now with “tingling”? Of course to be politically correct they have to show some goofy guy using it to give his girlfriend a shoulder rub. A European ad campaign would have been much more creative, yet still tasteful.

Votes are in - 2007

The results are in, as predicted by many it was a Liberal victory. What was surprising was the strength of it, after hearing all the talk of "liberals lied to you" and "liberals break promises" it was thought that McGuinty would suffer in the polls. Apparently not, all he had to do was run a quiet and uninspiring campaign, when the voters were confronted with the scary Conservative Stephen Harper John Tory they settled for the status quo and the devil they knew. Tory retreated from a firm but unpopular policy on faith based schools to a vaguer and thus more unsettling one, promising commissions and studies and pilot projects if elected. But the Liberal status quo approach won't work for another term, Ontario's economy is weakening and needs strong and decisive leadership.

Results were 52.6% voter turnout, vs 56.9% in 2003.

  • Liberals got 42% for 71 seats, vs 47% for 72 in 2003
  • PC's got 32% for 26 seats, vs 35% for 24 in 2003
  • NDP got 17% for 10 seats, vs 15% for 7 in 2003
  • Green party got 8%, vs 2.8% in 2003. No seats still, but a significant gain. Some of the addtional votes based on the "anti main choices" vote, but I think some based on improving appeal to voters.

Not much difference - maybe that's what happens when an election is triggered not by pressing issues but just by the calendar.

Oh yes - the referendum on proportional representation?  According to an article in today's Ottawa Citizen, this exercise cost over $13 million - six to develop a proposal, six to explain it (poorly), and over one million to run the vote on it? Rejected - with less than 37% support. More than 60% was needed.