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15 Maj 2005 @ 18:12
Happenings that happened in the United States and Canada  

They seem to have turned the street the right way round again, and I think that's a good thing. I have always been too easily confounded by directional surprises; it may give you some idea of how either young or foolish I am if I tell you that the first time I ever encountered Zork, I was naïf enough to do this:

Forest Path
This is a path winding through a dimly lit forest. The path heads north-south here. One particularly large tree with some low branches stands at the edge of the path.

>go north-south

Well, if the path went north-south, why couldn't I? Eventually I figured out that north-south was a different sort of compound from north-east, but that didn't help me when they started turning streets around. I used to live on the one block of Manning Avenue that runs north—it's precisely one block north of where Mapquest thinks "Toronto" is—except that they flipped it around 180° four times while I was living there, so that on two occasions it was briefly south-only, like the rest of the street. Since I don't drive, this didn't bother me too much, except that I always had to stop and figure out which drivers were going the wrong way and could thus legitimately be cursed at at any given moment. This generally took long enough that the drivers in question were out of cursing range by the time it was over, so I figure the directional fluctuations, capricious though they were, probably saved my life a couple of times.

Turning a northbound block into a southbound block is a nice enough trick, but it's nothing to what happened on a couple of recent weekends. I guess I noticed the taxis first, because there's something quite distinctive about New York taxis (possibly just the fact that they're solid yellow rather than, say, yellow and red or orange and green). Then there was the sign suggesting that, if you waited beside it long enough, you might eventually be picked up by an M60 headed for LaGuardia, and there was the black and silver fire hydrant, and the trash can bearing the motto "Keep New York City Clean" (which was gradually filling up with Tim Hortons cups), and the newspaper boxes purportedly selling the Times (empty, but there's a real Times box near the Bathurst subway station) and the Post (full, but who cares?). Oh, and UTS had turned into John Drake Public High School; the downside of this was that the school now had ugly red doors on the front of it, but this was offset by the happy news that they had managed to hire Antonio Banderas as a dance teacher.

We Torontonians are used to this sort of nonsense, of course; heck, Hogtown even portrayed the Hog Butcher for the World in its own big-shouldered musical. So naturally I took all this in stride, but what really threw me was the fact that Bloor Street had been transmogrified into West End Avenue, and Huron into 106th Street. Because, of course, Bloor Street is an east-west street, and I am accustomed to walking east-west on it, but in New York the avenues run north-south and the streets run east-west. They had rotated the street 90° counter-clockwise. (Well, okay—if you're going to be geographically picky about it, it was more like 60°, since Toronto "north" and Manhattan "north" are about 30° apart, and while both are strong and both are free, neither is technically true.) I expect it doesn't make a particle of difference to the filmmakers; they had great big lights with them, and it was pretty overcast most of the time they were shooting, so I doubt that even the most observant of moviegoers will find a shadow pointing in an implausible direction. But oh! the difference to me, and to anyone else who dwells among the much-trodden ways of Bloor Street.

Nuværende humør: geekySandburg, Wordsworth
w1ldc47w1ldc47 on 15. Maj, 2005 20:50 (UTC)
You are *so weird*
Q. Pheevr: Plaid god!q_pheevr on 16. Maj, 2005 09:24 (UTC)
What's your point?