Friday, December 29, 2006

Who? Me? Aw Shucks, You Shouldn't Have!

I just had to weigh in on the whole "Time Person of the Year" thing. I admit, it's quite lame, and I realized immediately it was a marketing gimmick, but this article points out that we do ourselves no favours with all the flattery, pretending we now own the media (yeah, right!) and he's right. All the high-fiving and backslapping doesn't change that most of the media is controlled by the same few companies run by the same tiny sub-percentage of the world's extremely wealthy telling most of the world's citizens what to think, what to eat, who to wear, how to vote, and how to spend their money and time, all designed to keep the world continue to fill their over-flowing bank accounts (a bit pessimistic perhaps, but please, don't tell me you don't actually believe this is the case).
That said, I think digital media is a great TOOL for the equalization of more varied and diverse voices; let's just use it properly, shall we? Until this proliferation of real information results in something beneficial and ground-breaking (peace? end of famine? end of poverty? or at least a decrease?) we're still all-talk, we just talk in digital instead of analog. Let's take it further.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ugh... Take Note of Grossness

Read this article today about how the USFDA (Food and Drug Administration) has decided that cloned meat and cloned meat products don't need special labelling. Apparently, it's safe and there's no difference between cloned meat and regularly produced meat. And you know this based on the years and years it's been around to collect that empirical, scientific evidence, right?

And this is their choice to decide even though most consumers want to know??? Never mind whether or not you think cloning is unnatural, unhealthy, or just wrong. Never mind any of that and let's just talk about that all-important concept in American / Western culture, you know, that little thing called Freedom of Information, and that other one called Freedom of Choice - aka, my right to know what I'm eating. If I don't know it's cloned, how do I choose not to eat the cloned stuff? Since when do you get to make my choice for me that I have to eat cloned meat? And if the US does it, I won't be in the least surprised if Canada follows suit.

I wonder if the people at the FDA read this article about the perils of cloning in Time Magazine a few months ago before making their decision.

I'm not a vegetarian; in fact, I love a good, juicy steak, but right now, vegetarianism is looking pretty good.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


It started some time last night, and this morning,when I got up, there were about 5 centimetres on the ground. I shoveled when we got home from shopping this morning; I haven't shoveled in years, literally; it feels weird, and I forgot what good exercise it was. Tomorrow is back to work for the remaining three-day week, and then it's off for a three-day week-end. Here's hoping the snow lasts. It doesn't feel like December in Ottawa without it...

across the street from my house

a neighbour shoveling

From early December, when the snow first fell (It all melted that time though)

Open Heart Surgery and the Lift-off Revolution

I love tricking my wonderful readers with catchy titles. This post is actually less about open heart surgery and more about open intestinal tract surgery, or rather "cleaning out the plumbing" as performed on our vacuum cleaner for the hundredth time yesterday night. Our vacuum served us well for several years, but maybe sometime last year, it developed a very bad behavioural disorder: unhappy with its lot in life, it would take all the garbage you fed it (literally), and take, and take, and take, until it was fed up; and then it would spit it all back out at you. Now, we're patient people, so we would give it new bags, take it apart, clean it up, pull out all the garbage it was so deviously storing in its hose, and put it back together like new, and then pray it would work again.
And then the cycle would begin anew, with our hopes rising as it pretended to work, and then falling when it collapsed and spewed the garbage back out at us. Recently, the cycle time was also shrinking. It used to be we would have to perform vacuum surgery once of every 5 or 6 uses, but lately it had come down to EVERY use. Our patience was thinning, but it officially ran out yesterday, with one last open heart vacuum surgery (the second this week), and we decided, "no more, tomorrow is boxing day, tomorrow is the beginning of a new vacuum era in this household!"

And so, this morning, my mother and I made the vacuum buying rounds (I NEVER shop on boxing day; I have a shopping phobia- although I've recently improved - and Boxing Day - aka the day of crowded lines, unavailable sales associates, and busy aisles - has always been a day I've avoided, until this morning). We did a quick on-line search last night, narrowed our choices down to 4 or 5 (the world of vacuum sales is full of many confusing products) and went to the nearest Sears, where we asked the salesman many questions. We came away with a fairly expensive, but thoroughly fascinating vacuum cleaner: Introducing the Bissel Lift-off Revolution.

I know, I know, it sounds more like a space ship, but trust me, I used it when we got back from our little shopping spree this morning, and I've never felt such thorough cleaning satisfaction in my life! I used to laugh at my sister when she got excited about her little hand-held vacuum cleaner, but now, I understand; now, I've been converted. This thing has it all: multiple settings, a little light that goes off when the filter isn't clean, and the ability to lift the motor section out of the body of the upright vacuum to reach those out of the way places. You can use it on bare floor or carpets; it has a long cord; it's pure cleaning magic! (I swear, Bissel is not paying me to advertise, I'm just happy)....

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Looking Like It's Gonna be a Green One

I feel for the people to whom this matters... I've got friends at work who are telling me their kids out in BC have gotten 3 feet of snow on the ground, and here's Ottawa, late on December 23rd, still with nothing...

Two words for you: Global Warming. I'm enjoying the fact that the weather is still not completely intolerable (although, honestly, sometimes, the wind and the freezing rain and the dreariness and the gross driving conditions is worse than just having incredibly cold weather with the gorgeousness of snow. With snow, at least when there's no sun, the light still reflects off the whiteness of the ground.

Right now, Ottawa (and Montreal, based on my observations two weekends ago) is just gray... blech!) Here's some of that "warmth":

Unpaved parking lot 18 stories up from M's new place. (looks like a glacier from this far away, which is why I love it)

(View from Fallowfield Bus station at 4:40 p.m.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Good Stuff All Around

First off, my little angel is back!!! Yes, that's right, my sister, brother-in-law and niece returned from a 3 1/2 week trip on Sunday night, and the reason I haven't posted in three days is because I'm too busy making up for lost time (squeezing hugs and laughs out of the precious little thing, trying to teach her how to say a variation, ANY variation, of my name) with my angel.

Thankfully, she recognized me at the airport (I was having nightmares about this, no joke) and we're now trying to get a baby-gate installed on the stairs so she can't have free reign over the house, and we don't have to follow her around to make sure there are no accidents...

In other fantastic news, Aisha's wedding was fabulous on Saturday night. She was beautiful, and happy, and everything a bride should be. I think I speak for everyone in Ottawa when I say we're gonna miss her though.

Last wonderful piece of news is that my Habs played the mighty Buffalo Sabres (first in the Eastern Conference) last night, and won by a convincing margin of 5-2. Strong performances from players all around. I'm so proud of them :D We're now only 5 points back of Buffalo... Keep it up, Les Boys!

And finally, in tribute of my favourite Hab-following journalists (the legendary Red Fisher, and the wonderful Jack Todd, Dave Stubbs, Mike Boone, and Pat Hickey), here's a pic of their newspaper's bulding (the Montreal Gazette), which I snapped up on my trip to the city two weekends ago.

and here are a couple of other random Montreal pics.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Political Ramblings and Ventings

I've been having a really good weekend, but for a small event that took place Friday night:

My father and I went to pick up my sister from the bus stop (she's visiting from Montreal for a few days and it's SOOOOOOOOOOO nice to have her here. A big thank you goes out to my currently-alone-in-Montreal-brother-in-law for being such a good sport :DDD) and we listened to 580 CFRA in the car on the way over. This is Ottawa's news talk radio station, and it's ridiculously right leaning, but for a small handful of reporters that don't spew out the first Republican-endorsed sentence they can think of. I personally prefer listening to CBC Radio One, but this station (CFRA) is my father's station of choice, not because he's right-wing himself, but because he likes to know what others are saying and thinking, so I respect that when I'm in the car with him. Anyway, it turns out last Friday was Donald Rumsfeld's last day on the job as U.S. Defense Secretary, and so, as reported by CFRA, it turns out they had some sort of party for him, involving full military honours and speeches and what-not.

Okay, let's stop, look back, and consider what might be wrong with this picture.... Rumsfeld was one of the architects of the war in Iraq when the majority of the world was screaming "WAIT, there are no WMD's" (I'm not naive enough to believe he was THE guy. Usually those truly responsible and really running the show are in the background, nowhere near the public fame of elected officials), he's the guy who barely flinched when the disgusting abuses (which he probably ordered) at Abu Ghraib were publicized, he's the guy who's stood by and refused to look for other tactics to deal with Iraq as the country deteriorated into the insurgency and flat out civil war that it's currently facing. He's the guy who, on a visit to "motivate" troops in Iraq, actually told them to "settle down" and that he'd "had a long day" when they complained that they weren't properly equipped and were dying needlessly. and we're having a PARTY to celebrate him before he leaves after all the disgusting stuff he's "accomplished"???

In case you're not already sick to your stomach, here are some details: at the goodbye ceremony for Rumsfeld, Bush said "The man knows how to lead, and he did, and the country is better off for it." (oh really? Tell that to the families of close to 3000 U.S. soldiers who've died in Iraq. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and we'll never know the true number because the government won't keep statistics on the Iraqi dead; not important enough I suppose)

Cheney called Rumsfeld "the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had." (Hmmm, I'll have to disagree Dick. I'd have liked him better if he'd managed to invade Iran and Syria during his 6 years too. Oh wait, I suppose you're still working on that).

As if the goodbye party wasn't enough, Rumsfeld went to Iraq last weekend to see the troops one last time. Of course, this is definitely going to help them and the Iraqis! This will improve everything. Let's waste more money on an old man who's managed to participate in the destruction of a country and countless lives, so he can leave with dignity and a false sense of accomplishment. What about all those who's dignity was taken away from them for nothing? What about those who never got a chance to accomplish what they wanted to in their lives because their lives were taken away?

If it were me in charge, I would sent Rumsfeld to jail, not throw him a party.

Friday, December 15, 2006

CBC Radio Tomorrow Morning

I'll be on in town and out as part of the Neighbourhood Chat Group on CBC radio tomorrow after the 8:30 news. If you're awake that early on a saturday morning, go back to sleep! But if you absolutely can't, and you want to listen to Rob, Sharon, Jean, and I discuss Ottawa's loss of Light Rail Transit, Ottawa's loss of the National Portrait Gallery, Ottawa's loss of cold weather, and Christmas, you can listen on 91.5 fm if you're in Ottawa, or go here if you're not, select Ottawa from the list of locations, and it should give you live streaming to the show.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

That Sculpture Again

M explained to me a month ago what this sculpture represents; something about privileged ppl, wealthy ppl, getting access to everything, while the poor are in the back and don't even get their basic needs met. I need to ask him again because I don't remember exactly how it went. Anyway, last time I saw it, we were driving by and the picture came out blurry. This time Katherine and I were walking, so I stopped and took a whole bunch of pics from different angles. Here are some of my favourites...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Go read this beautiful post on materialism at Arem Arvinson Log. I can't say it any better than he did, but it's exactly right.

Montreal Ads

My Ottawa life since getting back on Sunday has consisted of ITIL training for the last two days. I have my foundations certification exam tomorrow morning and have just finished studying (quick, what are the main activities of capacity management?) wish me luck...
Back to 8 million photo weekend, here are a couple of pics I took of different advertisements in Montreal.
Despite the fact that I get my Internet and cable from Rogers and cell phone from Fido (which is really just part of Rogers too) I LOVE Bell's Frank and Gordon... they're just so... hilarious, and lovable, and completely the kind of ad campaign I fall for. Of course, I do view ads more as another media art form than as a marketing technique, and I rate the success of an ad more on its creativity than whether it produces higher sales... all this to say, I'm not a big consumer, but I enjoy commercials, and Frank and Gordon commercials are my favourite. Interestingly, it turns out that in Quebec, Frank and Gordon are Jules and Bertrand... I'm not sure who's who (my best guess is Frank is Jules and Gordon is Bertrand) but anyway, I'm happy whenever I see a billboard, just as I was with this one.

The other ad I saw (well, I saw A LOT of ads, the other ad I took a picture of) is for some sort of Botox-like treatment called Restylane. I think it's basically non-invasive cosmetic surgery to remove wrinkles, etc... what's funny about this is you would never, ever see an ad like that in Ottawa on a bus-shelter. I kind of prefer it that way, but then, I guess that's part of what makes Montreal a "bigger" city. Does anyone remember the TV ads a few years back for some pharmacy about wanting to grow old? They had a bunch of different women saying thinks like "I want laugh lines", "I want wrinkles". It was refreshingly different. I wouldn't mind more of that and less of the 'pump your face full of collagen so you can look like Cher'...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Metros and Forums and Schools, Oh My!

Have I ever said how much I love Montreal? Oh, well it seems I've definitely shared similar sentiments in the past. Well, I mean it. Montreal is Gorgeous, it's old, it's cultured, and it's fascinating. Especially if you're spending most of your time downtown. Especially if you're as obsessed with the Habs as I am, and your sister lives two blocks away from the Bell Centre, and your friend decides to take you to the old Forum for Breakfast.

Katherine and I met up at the Marriott on Peel and walked around for 20 minutes trying to find a Metro station. It was my first time on a Metro (this information totally betrays what kind of a "small city" girl I am, but whatever.) For whatever reason, the Bell Centre had a sign right next to it for the Metro, but all the doors leading there were locked. We eventually went in at a stop called Lucien L'allier, and rode the metro to Alexis Nihon. Katherine had only said before hand "I think you're going to like the place that I'm taking you for breakfast" but wouldn't explain why I would like it so much.

So we get out Alexis Nihon Mall, and there in front of us across the street it says on the building "Pepsi Forum", and it hits me. I can't decide whether to be horrified, devastated, or thrilled. On one hand, I'm at the old Forum, for the first time in my life; on the other, it's been gutted, turned into an AMC, and the word Forum has the word Pepsi beside it. PEPSI for God's sake! The epitome of big business and the corporate machine tacked on to take advantage of THE most famous building in hockey. This is offensive indeed. So, do I stay outside, put my foot down and refuse to enter as Katherine mentions one of her other friends does? No, I go in and take a bazillion pictures. Because after all, it's been the Pepsi forum for years, and my not going inside is not going to change that.
Breakfast was great. I broke my no milk products rule (there was montery jack cheese involved :D) but I didn't break my no-wheat rule. You should have seen the waitresses face when I asked for an Eggs Benedict with no bread on the bottom... I burst out laughing, so I guess she felt safe to ask why, and I went on to explain about my allergies...
Instead of taking the Metro back the way we came, we walked all through downtown and I got a better feel for the city. There's an interesting crazy graffiti wall, which I took another billion pictures of, and once again, the buildings themselves are just more interesting to look at. We eventually ended up at McGill (more snap-snapping on my camera... trying to figure out which engineering building M's lab / office is in... no luck) and then walked back to Peel and parted ways at the big monument with the church behind us (near the big "The Queen Elizabeth" building).
Don't worry Katherine, I didn't get lost on my way back to the my sister's place. The Marriott was my guiding light home :D

An ad outside the Bell Centre. That's a pic of Matthieu Dandenault

Katherine at the Metro in her cute hat

Outside the "Pepsi" Forum, they have the various Stanley Cup Championship Teams Engraved into the ground. This is 56-57's team. Maurice Richard was Captain.

Crazy Graffiti wall

Katherine's building at McGill is actually an old church

p.s. I took so many pics that they'll probably be popping up in my posts for the next few days / weeks

p.p.s. Less than a week left until my brother-in-law, sister, and niece get back from their trip, and then I can see my little angel again.

p.p.p.s. Aisha's wedding in on Saturday. Yay! I have to figure out what to wear. Ugh.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Organic Rebellion

I firmly believe that we, as a society need to eat healthier; and I'm convinced that my allergies have everything to do with the food industry and the amount of pesticides (as well as other unhealthy substances) we end up consuming...

That's why I loved this video spoofing star wars and the food industry so much... Check out Store Wars.

A Note on Saying "Merry Christmas" (or "why can't we all just get along?")

I had a conversation with a co-worker today about the use of the term "Happy Holidays" and how it's almost politically incorrect for people to use the term "Merry Christmas" for fear of offending those who don't celebrate it. She mentioned that she thinks "it's" been decided by the powers that be at work that no one should say "merry Christmas" any more, that "they" have decided that's excluding to some... I certainly have not heard this from anyone, and I don't know who "they" are (the bosses at the top of the work food chain? HR? Communications?) but here's my two cents on the whole issue...

Part of what makes Canada so special is that I, as a Muslim, can remember that you, a Christian, have a big holiday coming up (and really, how could I miss it, there are lights on every house, decorations in every store, and Santa corners in every mall) and tell you Merry Christmas, the same way you can tell me (as some of my co-workers and friends did this year, and have in many years past) Happy Ramadan, or Happy Eid, the same way that we can tell our Jewish friends Happy Hanukkah, and the list goes on and on...
My being Muslim does not preclude that I refuse to recognize that you have a joyous occasion coming up, I would have to be blind to miss it. Respecting multiple religions and traditions is not disrespectful to any one of them. So please, don't worry that you're going to offend me by saying Merry Christmas around me. Say it all you want. I'll be happy for you that you're happy; and by the way, Muslims have a holiday coming up soon too: we're celebrating "Eid Ul-Adha", or "the Celebration of the Sacrifice" on December 31st this year. If you wanna tell me happy Eid, I'll be happy to hear it.

Friday Happiness, Ottawa, and Holiday windows...

Will be in Montreal in a few hours... I always take better pictures there; somehow the 'history' of the city is more apparent in its architecture than Ottawa's is... It gives itself some weight...

Ottawa, which is home more than anywhere else, which is where every important memory of my life has ever taken place, and which I love like crazy, is still just not that amazing to take pictures of. In some ways, it feels like a little city trying to pretend to be a big city. It's familiarity and "little city-ness" is what makes me love it, but it's just not that inspiring...

I was telling M a few weeks ago that while I think it takes talent to capture something beautiful in a picture, it's much harder, and takes much more talent to capture the mundane and make it extraordinary or somewhat interesting. I'm trying to train my eye to do that ...

On a different note, the building I work in has a Holt Renfrew downstairs, that most expensive of clothing stores... I usually walk through in the afternoon on my way out, since it's the exit closest to my bus stop, and in this weather, I avoid the outdoors as much as humanly possible... I feel exceptionally silly walking among the Burberry Shirts and the thousand dollar sweaters. I wonder that anyone can pay that much for clothing.

Here's their display window this week...

Thursday, December 07, 2006


My daily commute to and from work provided the following visuals...

Habs Lose...

Sigh, why is it that Marty Brodeur can always beat my beloved Canadiens, but can't win when it's Team Canada at the Olympics?

Okay, maybe can't win is a stretch since he was in nets in the 2002 Gold medal victory. But this is Canada and it's hockey, which means if you're not the current champs, nothing else counts...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Accosted by Free Newspapers

Something has happened in Ottawa over the last year, and the result has been that suddenly, there are about a gazillion free, short little papers available for commuters to read on their ways to and from work. It started with Metro and Dose, last year sometime, then Dose disappeared to online form only, and for a few blissful months, Metro was the only one available.
I enjoyed my Metro greatly; it was a good, short read with sections on Sports, National News, international news, and the token celebrity gossip section that now seems to exist in every newspaper, serious or not. Then, last month, something crazy happened. Ottawa was invaded by free papers. There is now, along with the Metro, and English 24 Hours, a French 24 Heures, and an afternoon paper called "Rush Hour". Add to that the Epoch Times, which has been around for at least several months, but which I only really noticed a few weeks ago, and you have at least 4 free daily papers you can read. Then there's the weekly freebies: the Express, and some others I haven't bothered to remembers' names that are new.
All of this would not be much of a problem, if it wasn't for the fact that each of these papers has a paper distributor standing at the main bus stops downtown (where I work) waving the papers at you as you arrive at the bus stop (either getting off the bus in the morning, or waiting to get back on at night). It's a sign of how truly timid I am that I feel guilty NOT taking a paper from every one of these individuals as I try to thread my way through the crowd to work. I mean, am I applying favouritism when I smile and shake my head apologetically at the 24 Hours woman (in Orange), the 24 Heures guy (in yellow) and the Epoch Times gentleman (not wearing a discernable colour uniform each day) and reach for the Metro outstretched triumphantly in the hand of its Green-clad distributor? Is this unfair? I try to remind myself that this is their job, that it doesn't matter if I take the paper or not, but what if these people get paid based on the free-newspaper equivalent of commission? What if it DOES matter?
As it is, I only barely skim the Metro as it is; there is definitely NOT enough time to read all these papers. I get most of my info from anyway, so I shouldn't give a second thought to this, right?

A typical line of newspaper dispensers on an Ottawa Downtown Street

Bush... Dion...

Saw this post on Bush over at Not the Country Club, and I just had to share.

Also, this comment from Rick Mercer about Dion comes via M's email this morning:

"At the end of the day though, watching Dion on stage, I couldn't help but be amazed at his physical presence. The Liberals went into this convention with a host of choices. They could have gone with a battle-tested politician, a former athlete, a world famous academic or a food bank founder from the West; at the end of the day they choose the nerd.
That's pretty Canadian."

... So Canadian, So True. He may be a nerd, but I still think he's the best guy to get the Conservatives (notice 'progressive' is no longer part of the name?) out of office.

Monday, December 04, 2006


This pic taken this summer on the mediterranean coast in Egypt, about 50 Km from Alexandria:

This pic taken two days ago across my driveway in Ottawa, Canada:

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Technical difficulties, politics, and more pics...

So I was having trouble with my links yesterday, but after reading some blogger help documentation, I should now be able to post pics and make links again... Kudos to Blogger for keeping the status page up to date. Now on to business:
I was following the Liberal leadership convention fairly closely, cynically figuring that the worst possible thing would happen and Ignatieff would win (Hello? Ppl, you're going to vote for a man who has justified the use of torture???), but still unable to tear my eyes away from the whole thing, the way you can't look away from a car crash. Then, something amazing happened: the Liberals elected a man who cares about the environment and sustainable development, who's a clear alternative to the Conservatives, who says what he believes is right even if it's not the most popular, and who managed not to attack other candidates during his campaign, as their new leader: Stephane Dion. If he sticks to the things he said during the campaign, I can easily and with a clear conscience vote for the Liberals in the next election. Major, major relief :D

And because I found this blog entry, that combined two of my favourite topics (hockey and politics) I thought I'd point you all there ;) Enjoy, my fellow Canadians (and Canadiens fans).

Lastly, weather was nicer over the last two days in that the freezing rain disappeared and the snow gave a different look to everything ... As I was driving up Greenbank Rd. in toward the city (around this spot)
yesterday morning, I saw a gentleman pulled over, taking some pics of the cornfields dusted over with snow and ice in the sun... his camera looked fairly expensive too... that's gotta be some picture. Mine will probably be significantly less breathtaking.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Waffles Continued

Crazy busy today and now very sleepy. Tomorrow is packed as well, so this is an extremely short entry just to state that last night I tried the waffle iron, using this recipe ( - link button is missing for some reason as I write this post??)(except I substituted the milk for soy milk, the wheat flour for Kamut flour, and the sugar for cane sugar to accomodate my allergies) and they were fantastic :D
Anyone with a wheat allergy, I'd totally recommend this... waffles aren't that fluffy to begin with, so they don't taste all that different with another grain then they do with wheat because the texture is the same regardless of the grain

Friday, December 01, 2006


So the brief warm spell really was a brief warm spell. Today it turned just positively icky... Actually, truth is it started last night, with freezing rain, which turned into ice pellets, back into freezing rain, and then wet snow and freezing rain combined with a wonderful wind chill kicking in for extra effect...
The ground in Ottawa is now white, but it's not one of those pretty, pristine whites that only gets ruined when the cars drive through and turn it into slush. It's already slush, from the first second it comes down. This is officially our first snow of the season. It was overdue; we were really too lucky to get away with no snow this long. Welcome to winter... Of course, being re-inspired to take pics, I took off my mitts (which completely restrict my hand movements - I have to take them off just to show a driver my buss pass) and totally froze my poor little fingers taking these pics... I reminded me of a great prof we had at the U of O, Dr. Groza, for Electrical Engineering, who used to start off describing the week's assignment with the phrase "Now when you burn your little fingers in the lab..." I never actually burnt my fingers on any of the wiring I had to play around with there. I may have gotten a few callouses from being ridiculously bad with wire cutters, but that's a whole other story. Today, however, I BURNT my fingers. You know when something's so cold it burns? That was how my fingers felt after taking these pics. Alas, sometimes one must suffer for one's art (said totally tongue-in-cheek. Hope they're at least some good).

Note all the icicles hanging from the tree, bushes, sign...

(all of the above downtown near work)