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Imagine my surprise when I turned on the radio on Monday for a little musical distraction while painting our house and I heard a quick between-the-songs promo for a local radio station.

Err…did I hear that right?

Sure enough, a trip outside to run some errands confirmed what I thought I’d heard. There it was, clear as day on a bus stop advertisement: Ho 89.9.

Seriously, Hot 89.9? Seriously?

I knew right away it must have been part of some ridiculous stunt/shock advertising campaign. They’ve done it before: in the spring of 2009 they partnered with Strathmere for a “Married in 24 Hours” contest where the winner received a quickie wedding complete with wedding bands, a dress, a bouquet and boutonnière, and a ceremony and reception at Strathmere. Sanctity of the institution of marriage be damned! (On a personal note, when Joe and I chose Strathmere for our wedding in 2008 we thought it was a lovely and charming location and had no idea that they would just a year later stoop to this level of offensive marketing…believe me, I would not have gotten married there had I known that was coming!)

Back to the current situation. I have to say that I am unimpressed with this new campaign and underwhelmed by their “creativity”. And I’m not the only one as a recent editorial in The Ottawa Citizen so clearly expresses.

It’s not like the brilliant minds at Hot 89.9 didn’t think it through – this was a well-organized campaign. All the radio spots, the bus ads, and a new domain name for their website, which I imagine they had to purchase from a porn purveyor.

They say that there is no such thing as “bad press”, and this stunt has certainly got people talking. But I can’t imagine that it’s the smartest business move to identify yourself as Ottawa’s trashiest radio station. And what about your listeners, Hot 89.9? You used to call them “Hotties”, which was lame and condescending enough. But now, will you be referring to them as your “Hos”?

At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Don’t ever send an email to the mayor!

You know, I can’t say I have a final opinion one way or another about the Lansdowne Live proposal; I haven’t done the in-depth research required to hold an educated opinion. I’m hesitant because it’s a lot of money and it appears that only one company/group was able to submit a proposal. On the other hand, I think Ottawa needs to stop cancelling projects and concentrate on developing an all-encompassing vision of its future. What will make this city better? What will make people want to live here? What will make residents at their wits’ end want to stay?

Until city council has developed such a vision, I think they’ll just be chasing their tails until election time.

As some of you may already now, I am often less than impressed by the workings of Ottawa’s city council and staff. It seems to me that they take too long to make too many bad decisions. A crippling bus strike? Let’s sit on our hands for 50 days! Flooding in Kanata? We’re not legally liable! A major overhaul of an important public site? Let’s have city staffers ignore all the recommendations! Looking for a new communications person? Let’s hire someone with an EXCELLENT track record! Someone is trying to improve their life and career past the age of 27 by going to school? Let’s stretch their already threadbare budget by charging them full price for a bus pass!

Anyhow, I recently heard about a little blog posted by anonymous insiders over at City Hall. Now, this blog is currently under scrutiny as possibly being libelous (it’s quite obviously anti-mayor and it makes some very interesting comments about well-known Ottawa councillors and other public figures) so I’m not going to link directly to it…but I won’t NOT suggest that you type “zeromeanszero” followed by “.blogspot” and then “.com” into your web browser…oh, who am I kidding? Here it is.

Yay for free speech!

UPDATE: So the City of Ottawa did the right thing on Wednesday and lifted the age restriction on student bus passes but this was quickly overshadowed by the tale of a potential $36.7 million settlement for the light-rail project that this council cancelled in favour of its own plan. *le sigh*

There is a fantastic little Chinese restaurant in Kanata called the Maple Court Dining Lounge. It was the only Chinese take-out I ever had growing up and my husband’s family went there often as well. Inside, there is a nightscape picture of Hong Kong along one wall and Joe can point out the apartment building he lived in for a while when he was a child.

My brother and his girlfriend were in there a few days ago enjoying the lunch buffet. When they asked for the bill, the confused waiter told them it had already been taken care of. He gestured to an empty table where a kind looking couple had sat during their meal.

“They paid for you,” the waiter explained, “did you not know them?”

In fact, they didn’t. My brother remembers that the woman at the table had looked over at them and smiled widely, giggling to herself as she and the man she was with – presumably her husband – collected their things to leave, but he’d brushed it off. Now, it makes perfect sense.

Thank you to the mysterious people who took care of a young couple’s meal. It was a small gesture, but one that brought our family great joy. It’s such a treat when, after being chipped away by all the slights and cruelties in the world, your faith in the generosity of the human spirit can be restored, even just a little.

Why I’m here

My name is Sonya. I live with my husband and our cat in the suburbs of Ottawa. I started this journal to document my thoughts and experiences and share them with friends, family and anyone else who happens to pass this way. My hope is that it will help to keep me focused on the simple things I value most in life and, above all, keep me writing.

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