Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I've taken part in quite a few protests in my time. And for these events I usually bring a drum along, and with other musicians get a beat going so people can dance and move and blow off some of the anxiety and stress that can be associated with public demonstrations. If there is a police barricade being approached I've never condoned the provocative or confrontational methods used by some like the Black Bloc, as I feel non-violent action is the only sane solution.

But one can get a bit frustrated when one watches what the police can get up to. Over the years I'd heard reports of them using "agent provocateur" tactics, and at the recent SPP protests in Montebello it looks like they did just that. Watch this video, and see a union president call them out on it. Brilliant stuff... (and thanks to HPVOoOer jlam for the link.)

UPDATE: And not too long after I posted this the CBC reported it on their Ottawa webpage.

UPDATE #2: As of midnight the updated CBC story shows a photo where one can see that the footwear of these bogus protesters matches those of the cops dealing with them.

UPDATE to the updated update! The CBC now reports that "Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest". And my, but what an absolutely bullsh*t spin the police put on it...

Saturday, August 18, 2007


My previous neighourhood here in Ottawa was Chinatown, which is on the west side of Bronson Ave. (I'm now a few blocks east of there). That area unfortunately has seen more than its fair share of fires over the years, and this past week saw three of them. Fortunately, no loss of human life reported in any of these, though I don't know the status of any pets.

The first one was last Sunday. As the weekly HPVOoO dinner was ending and we were all coming out onto the street we noticed fire coming from a dumpster behind the pizza shop at Somerset and Bronson. Fire trucks were already on their way, and things were quickly dealt with.

Then on Monday night, a derelict house caught fire a block from there. From the Ottawa Citizen: "A fire that tore through a two story duplex at 164 Cambridge at 9 p.m. Monday night is still under investigation. The fire started in an abandoned structure that was home to vagrants, said district chief Monty Malloy. The fire was under control just before 10 p.m. No one was hurt during the blaze, but the structure was totally destroyed, with damage estimated at $100,000.".

And then in the wee hours of Thursday morning the buildings at the NW corner of Somerset and Booth were ablaze in what seems to so far be the worst fire of the year, and arson is suspected. "A total of 30 apartments in the century-old buildings and five street-level businesses, including a pizzeria, pool hall and Asian and Caribbean grocery stores, were destroyed."

You can read CBC articles on this fire here and here.

I went and had a look yesterday afternoon and took some photos, as demolition was taking place and firefighters continued to hose down the remains. It was a sad sight...

From the southeast corner of Somerset and Booth.

On Somerset looking northeast, halfway between Booth and Rochester.

Booth St. just north of Somerset looking west.

Booth St. just north of Somerset, looking west behind the row of buildings

UPDATE: Lots more photos at the Ottawa Firefighters website.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wood bikes

I've always loved the idea of a bike made from wood. There are structural challenges involved using wood as a frame material, due to factors like the strength of the wood and the alignment of the grain. But such bikes have indeed been made, with some created from laminated wood, and others from bamboo.

Perhaps the best-known bamboo bike is a commercial one made by Calfee Design:

Then there's this one from Brano Meres Engineering and Design:

From the website of the American Bamboo Society:

The Bamboo Bike Project:

And of course one could always use a Bamboo bicycle trailer:

Next up, a page about wooden recumbents:

And a page just full of wood bike porn like this one (drool...):

And perhaps one of the coolest wood bikes, this tandem:

Do I hear project ideas gearing up at Mike's Blue Camembert woodworking shop? ;)

Monday, August 13, 2007

to tell the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but...

In an hour I have an appointment to get a tooth pulled. It chipped lightly a while back, then cracked badly, but fortunately has not hurt at all after the initial incident. I'm getting it pulled instead of fixed because a) I don't have a dental plan to cover any repair costs, and b) it's the last molar at the end of the row, so I'm not really going to miss it.

But it's still never fun getting dental work done, so with apologies to Al Gore it's been

(wait for it...)

An Inconvenient Tooth.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gig alert

Fans of the Jivewires have a chance this weekend to catch the band, and the show is free! On Saturday night we'll be performing on the Sparks St. Mall from 7:00pm till 10:00pm. When we did this gig last year we had some folks swing-dancing on the Mall!

Oh, and the band finally got a promo video together. You can download it (in .wmv format) from the band's website, but I've also uploaded it to YouTube (of course!) and embedded that below.