My Old House

I used GoogleMaps this morning to give directions to someone out of town. I clicked on “street view” to provide them with a few landmarks and noticed a friend of mine in one of the street level photos. Then I started clicking around and pretty much took a virtual tour of downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland, looking for people I know.

Then I typed in the address of the house I grew up in, in Nova Scotia. I probably haven’t been there in about 20 years. The house is a different colour, the tree in the front yard is big, there’s an oil tank beside the house which I have no memory of but I guess it was always there, the front steps have been expanded into a deck, and the field behind our house is gone. Things have changed.

MY OLD HOUSE

Then I took a tour of my old neighbourhood, checking out places my friends used to live, going up streets where fields and woods used to be. It was a strange trip.

Dark Days

Dark Days is a documentary about a group of homeless people who live underground in abandoned subway tunnels in New York City. It was shot entirely on film by the director and the homeless people in the movie. None had any previous film experience. It is one of the most impressive achievements in filmmaking I’ve ever seen, a surreal and compelling documentary. The “making of” bonus material on the DVD completes the story.

From the linked DVD Talk review: “Dark Days is an alternately humorous, saddening, touching and fascinating picture that is a masterful documentary of the lives these people lead and the hope in their hearts for a better life… This is a powerful, emotional picture that is an amazing effort from director Singer. It’s definitely a must-see film.”

Bhopal Disaster Discussion

Welcome to the first discussion about anything serious on Steel White Table. The topic of the Bhopal disaster was brought up by the right honourable Tommyboy. First off, let’s read some of the Wikipedia entry on the Bhopal disaster:

The Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) disaster — also known as the Bhopal disaster or the Bhopal gas tragedy — was an industrial catastrophe that took place at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on December 3, 1984. Around 12 AM, the plant released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people. Estimates vary on the death toll — the official immediate death toll was 2,259, which rose greatly over time. The government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Another source says that a few days later the death toll had doubled. Over the next few years, the lingering effects of the poison nearly doubled the toll again, to about 15,000, according to government estimates. Local activists say the real numbers are almost twice that. Others estimate 8,000-10,000 died within 72 hours and 25,000 have since died from gas-related diseases.
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