Friday, 19 February 2010

A new internet antagonist

New blog out there, check it out...

Can't type...



Sunday, 14 February 2010

Disturbingly intriguing

So Windsor is finally (?) on Google Street View. I have mixed feelings about this. It's really disturbing to see my house in all it's detail on the internet. We're in the mix now, with millions of other homes online. A sort of visual phonebook. Now, with online reverse look up cabability, it's easy to identify who lives in whatever house catches your fancy. Too easy, and too scary. Google has made efforts to obscure faces and license plates and other identifying marks on it's photos, but it isn't quite enough. On the other voyeuristic side of the coin, it's really quite entertaining! I found myself spending a lot of time just cruising Windsor's streets looking around. A kind of virtual walk - of course being winter, that's the only way I want to get around this town right now - from home. Believe me, there's lots to see.

When the images first went up, we immediately raised waves because of something unfortunately and untimely caught - a murder scene. Just two hours before Google's car went down Wyandotte near Wellington, a man was knifed in the Leopard's parking lot. On the first night, the scene was online, complete with crime scene tape, cruisers and a large blood stain. What a great way for Windsor to make it's international voyeurism debut. Luckily, Google saw the error of it's ways and removed the images. Well, almost all of them. there is still one shot where you can plainly see the tape and one cruiser. I of course, captured it.

There is also this shot...
My niece on a swing in the local park, staring straight at the camera. It's obvious it's her, she lives on that swing in the summer. Really? children on the neighbourhood swing is not out of the ordinary, but it's still a little wrong in my books.

Google also caught some images that are just plain interesting, things completely normal, but now captured permanently. Like the guy getting a speeding ticket on Ouellette Avenue, or the two guys with the wheelbarrow moving screening gravel off a residential street. They were looking right at the camera, they knew what it was, as did the guy waving to the car.

Windsor endured a very painful and long employee strike last year. Guess when Google arrived. Yup, as the pics of the long grass, garbage piles, arbitration signs, and strikers in front of city hall can attest, the world now sees Windsor at it's finest. A dirty, stinky, angry mess. It doesn't take much to find these images, pretty much any park will do. I avoided taking caps of the lineup at the city dump - too many bad memories there.

But along with capturing us at our worst, they also captured our best. There are many areas of Windsor that have long been notable for their beauty, historical significance, and serene nature. Places people go to enjoy long lazy summer days, or private places extraordinarily well kept. There is one place I love to ride by every now and then - the Lowe
Martin house - childhood home of Paul Martin Jr., former Prime Minister of Canada. After years of neglect, this gorgeous rumrunner house has finally been purchased and is undergoing an extensive restoration, and the owner is sparing no expense to maintain it's historical look and feel. I like to buzz by on warm days to see how he's doing. The new owner has been known to invite people into the home to see the progress. He understands the significance of the place, and he wants it to be a part of Windsor's history - not history itself. He even had school classes tour the home. It's too bad there aren't more of these guys - well to do enough to make a difference and well to heart enough to care.

There's blight, burned out homes, empty lots, vacant buildings, graffiti, and a number of other things you may expect from a large city, but you'll get that everywhere. What bothered me most was the image of the former Grace Hospital, where my mother trained as a nurse, worked here entire life, had her memorial service after her passing; where all three of her children and five of her grandchildren were born. It's in ruin. It's being rebuilt as a long term care facility, but still, seeing it like it is now, captured, is just wrong. I have too many good memories of the place to see it like that.

Google has made these places easier to find. But with all the crap this city has endured lately, let's look at the positive. Windsor is a very green, very vibrant place. Lots of trees, lots of people, lots of activity. With every shot there were bicycles, joggers, families, or just people just going on about their days, mostly with total disregard for what just captured them.

I'm only glad I didn't see myself anywhere. I have adding some more here, most don't need any sort of commentary, they're just random shots. However, I'm particularly fond of the pic of the port-a-john right smack in the middle of the Ambassador Bridge - right on the border between the US and Canada. Draw you're own conclusions.