Looking for The Iron Heel

Searching, in vain, for Jack London in Ottawa.

I spent a good three hours walking around tonight looking for a copy of The Iron Heel by Jack London. It is the first of five novels on the reading list for my english class. Every other student must have been proactive about getting books for this class, because all these stores (all nine of them!) were out of stock.

Octopus Books – Bank Street and Third Avenue
Patrick McGahern Books – Bank Street and Third Avenue
Dragon Tail Bookshop – Bank Street and Fourth Avenue
Book Bazaar – Bank Street and Frank Street
The Book Company – Bank Street and Slater Street
Chapters – Rideau Street and Sussex Drive
Sunnyside Bookshop – Dalhousie Street and Murray Street
Argosy Books –  Dalhousie Street and Guigues Avenue
The Book Market – Dalhousie Street and Rideau Street

Can’t believe I walked this far in the cold only to come home empty handed. On the bright side, the War Memorial looked so pretty tonight:

Update 01/26/10:
I took out the map pictures. Nine photos of Google map screenshots is excessive. I did end up getting The Iron Heel from Octopus Books. My review: don’t even bother reading this one. It is socialist propaganda parading around as a novel. It’s less than 300 pages and it took forever to get through. I didn’t enjoy it at all! Our next book, Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov is even more tough to read. I thought I was good at this kind of thing: reading, thinking, reflecting. Guess not.  



The Bike Cycle

Safety and the Great Glebe Pastime

I almost had a panic attack while riding my bike to school last week. I was on a busy street without a helmet.

I was trying to be aware of my surroundings, heightening my senses almost to the point that I think I evolved into a higher species.

It’s the stigma of the helmet that just wont go away. I thought they looked lame in elementary school, and I guess not much has changed. And don’t get me started on helmet hair.

But the issue of bicycle safety is literally one of life and death.

I don’t point and laugh when I see somebody riding a bike wearing a helmet. I doubt the general public would point and laugh at me.

Peter Conway of McCrank’s Cycles said, “It’s the people who don’t wear the helmets that you notice.”

But really, what’s the point of wearing a helmet? If you were rammed by a Mack Truck, will a piece of foam help you walk away?

Perhaps full body armour is the next bicycle frontier.

A Penny for Your Thoughts

When Things are Wrong, We Write

Last Wednesday, I saw a man sitting outside of the Loeb Glebe. It’s a popular spot for people to sit. Sometimes they ask for spare change; often they just have a little sign and don’t say a word.

This man was particularly interesting, because as I passed him on the sidewalk, he opened up his coat and took a swig from a can that looked suspiciously like beer.

Today I saw a younger man sitting in the same spot. He had a sign that said he was trying to get to Halifax. I don’t know if he was heading home, or running away. Either way, I hope he gets where he’s going.

Graffiti in the Glebe

The Bank Street Blemish

It’s not charming, quaint or cozy. Graffiti just doesn’t fit in the Glebe.

 Ethik tag on a Bank Street alley.

Is graffiti meant to shock you with a message, or is the act of tagging buildings shocking enough in itself?.  

Graffiti above the Body Shop and Magpie Jewellery.

If you manage to spot the graffiti on Bank Street, you will notice they are bold enough to stop you in your tracks. It will make you pause for a second and think. The kind of thinking where you turn your head to the side and say, “Now wait just one minute.”

Small tag at Bank and 5th Avenue.

Somehow, the graffiti artists have managed to make them blend seamlessly into the background of the busy street.

Rainbow tags on a dumpster.

Taking a second look at the graffiti on Bank Street is enough to make you stop and turn your head to the side, thinking “How charming.”