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The trip to Ottawa was an excellent break, and it provided fresh air, a relaxing train ride, German cooking (bacon & sausages GOOD), German schnapps (40% or more GOOD), tulips in Ottawa, and a visit to the Candian War Museum. (The last two I'll likely cover via some photos.)

While I'd hoped to try out Via Rail's Wi-Fi service, it was a non-starter. Last October, the service was available for a fee (aorund $9) but it's currently free because, well, it doesn't really work. The Asus EEE did pick up the signal, but it was weak, and attempts to connect to the internet en route and at certain stations (Fallowfield, for example) failed.

I didn't use it inside the lobby at Union Station because I wanted to conserve battery power, just in case the AC socket in the train was dead (as happened last October to a traveller on the opposite side), and in case too much Wi-Fi might drain battery time I might need.

As it happened, it was a good move to fully charge the battery before the trip home because a train derailment at Smith Falls meant all travel along the Ottawa-Toronto corridor was frozen through Wednesday and Thursday last week.

Much like the TTC's use of shuttle buses when a subway station is shut down, VIA's bussing scheme wasn't a big deal, and their team handled the situation fairly smoothly (most likely since Friday was the second day of service interruptions). Passengers were grouped into three lines for unique destination points, and within 70 mins. the last bus headed for Toronto pulled out of the railway station.

The trip was initially slow due to stops at Fallowfield and Kingston, but afterwards it was a direct route, with the driver keeping a steady speed to ensure the bus arrived at Union Station within 5 hours. The were no AC sockets, so the fully juiced Asus had no problem playing a movie (which isn't a big deal, anyways. On the way to Ottawa, I used it to transcribe a 25 min. audio interview, and there wasn't any undue battery drain from typing and replaying chunks of audio using Sound Forge).

VIA had sandwiches and drinks for the passengers, and the reps did an excellent job keeping passengers relaxed, and tempering ire from the lone outraged customer. A credit on the next trip for the equivalent distance travelled was offered in liew of the bus trip, although the credit's only good for 6 months. (Those who make infrequent use of the train might have trouble with the credit, but it is transferable - you just need to hold onto the original ticket receipt.)

Word of advice: build a second rail line. The regular riders mentioned derailments happen far too often.

In any event, now with the backlog at

Just uploaded is a film review of Legion (2010) on Blu-ray, a well as an interview with composer John Frizzell, and the discussion is more about the aesthetics and technological changes of electronic gear for film composers rather than the score itself (even though it's also covered).

Coming next: Library Music Part 2, featuring the last part of our interview with Monstrous Movie Music's David Schecter, regarding the release of stock music from the Valentino library on the CD The Blob (and other creepy sounds). Those extra creepy sounds represent samples of the patchwork scores from The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962), Terror from the Year 5000 (1958), and Green Slime, The / Gamma Sango Uchu Daisakusen (1968), and to place the music in context (or just because it was fun), there'll be reviews of these three terribly bad, amazingly funny movies.


Mark R. Hasan, Editor


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