Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Little to report

Sal's, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

Still swamped. Something will happen on Thursday! Perhaps there will be photos! In the meantime, here is a picture of an empty tattoo parlour at night.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Maybe all the buildings are not as empty as they seem

Still busy, busy, busy. Missing a party I wish I was at RIGHT NOW. Three essays to write, 55 Intro to Philosophy essays to grade.

Here's something fun, though: go to The Triangles' website and download the song "Let's Replace the Cityscapes". I think I've listened to it 12 times today. There has been much singing along and dancing around the room.

Found on Warren Ellis's website. Mr. Ellis is also responsible for the Edison Hate Future T-shirts. Don't read these while drinking coffee, because you'll spray it all over your keyboard.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


So I went to Brett's big Fall party last night. I've been reading the addictive Blamblog regularly for months, and it was great to get to meet some of the people and entities who make regular appearances there, like Amber and Zack. Zack is an excellent party dog -- very friendly, but not the jumping-up-freaking-out kind of friendly. He padded around the apartment, toenails clicking on the hardwood, greeting people, and occasionally expressing his approval of someone by lying down on their feet.

I also met Quon'dar!
I hope this does not come as a shattering disappointment to other Blamblog readers, but Quon'dar is in fact a very large, full-head papier-mache mask. At one point during the evening I saw Amber and a friend of hers from the sociology department trying to wrestle it back onto its perch on a desk in Brett's room, after the friend had picked it up to try it on but had thought better of it. "It might get stuck on your head," he observed, "which would be bad, especially if it happened right before you had to meet with your dissertation committee."

The many blogfolks present included Jen, Dave, Natalie, Merv (Brett's sister, who is actually named Merideth), Kat, and newlyweds Joey and Wendy.

The story behind Brett's strange fascination with used deodorant tubes was revealed. Apparently he used to make spaceships out of them when he was a kid, and he still keeps them, in the belief that he will someday dream up some kind of project to use them in. He now has roughly enough to make an actual spaceship, or perhaps to build low-cost environmentally-friendly housing:
His friend Dave leaned over to me and said, "This is what happens when men live alone."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This explains a lot

Poached from Zoilus, and probably the only thing I have in common with John Cale:

Songs of Innocence, Introduction
You are 'regularly metric verse'. This can take
many forms, including heroic couplets, blank
verse, and other iambic pentameters, for
example. It has not been used much since the
nineteenth century; modern poets tend to prefer
rhyme without meter, or even poetry with
neither rhyme nor meter.

You appreciate the beautiful things in life--the
joy of music, the color of leaves falling, the
rhythm of a heartbeat. You see life itself as
a series of little poems. The result (or is it
the cause?) is that you are pensive and often
melancholy. You enjoy the company of other
people, but they find you unexcitable and
depressing. Your problem is that regularly
metric verse has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Happy birthday, everyone

Don't crowd the bar
Last week was something of an exercise in sleep deprivation: A seminar presentation (on theory of mind and the false-belief task) on Tuesday. Fifty-five undergraduate mid-term tests to mark & hand back for Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, SSHRC applications were due, and so was a 2000-word essay (on Gilbert Harman's moral relativism). By Friday afternoon after class, I'd had about 8 hours' sleep in three days, so I took a nap and then decided some drinking was in order.

As it happened, half the city was celebrating birthdays Friday night. First up was Paul's party at the Chelsea Room, which was full of people from DOSE (where Paul works) drinking swanky cocktails. I had a raspberry mojito and a really tasty apple concoction involving Calvados and ginger juice, and then some of us proceeded to the Canadian Corps Veterans' Club, where there was a mass birthday party for five different people, including Leslie's roommate Angela. That's right: a big hipster party in a veterans' club, on Remembrance Day. Drinking at the Veterans' Club was a lot cheaper than at the Chelsea Room, and the setup was decidedly no-frills: the fellow behind the bar sold you a shot for $3, then you added your own mixer from the taps in front.

Carl was there, and Mo, Julie, Margaux, and Jim, who snagged the bar's last Molson Stock Ale. The room was decorated with flags, trophies and portraits of the Queen. A girl jumped up on a table and started dancing, kicking people's drinks over. One of the people having a birthday looked exactly like Nick Cave.

The veterans turned on the painfully bright overhead lights around 2, and I went to a small afterparty and was there until 5. Still tired today, but damn, it was good to finally get out and see people again. A few more pics here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hegel at the Bagel

It is probably a sign of encroaching insanity that this weekend, the only "break" I took from writing essays and marking tests was to go to, um, a lecture on Hegel. But The Bagel -- site of a fine John Barlow reading last summer, best known for indie rock and cheap beer -- is hosting a series of Hegel lectures, and I was curious.

It turns out this series is part of an ongoing project called Open Street University, organized by University of Toronto semiotics prof Paul Bouissac. Similar mini-courses have already been offered on Plato and Vico. The lecturer for this series is U of T's John Noyes, and he's very good. About 20 people turned out to hear his introductory talk on Hegel's quest to guide humanity towards truth and self-fulfillment.

Here's the schedule for the remaining talks, if you're interested. It's all free and no registration is required.

Monday, Nov 14 5:30 - 7:30
Hegel's dialectic

Monday, Nov 21 5:30 - 7:30
Reading the Phenomenology of Mind

Monday, Nov 28 5:30 - 7:30
The master/slave dialectic

One week after Hallowe'en

Still there, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

...the jack o'lantern that somebody managed to get up onto the glass awning of the Bahen Building is still there.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bossy robot sticks


On Sunday, Room 204 of the Gladstone Hotel was furnished only with a red chaise longue, a couple of high stools, and around two dozen Hasbro Torx toys. When I walked in, a handful of people were standing or sitting around the room, holding Torxes close to their ears, intent on trying to follow the instructions the toys barked out. Misha and Margaux looked pleased. Misha's invitation to this event had read, in part:
If you like fun and pleasant times, this might not be for you. But if blind, repetitive obedience to the orders of cheaply made toy robots is your cup of tea, you will not be disappointed!!
The high score so far was 90, which was alarmingly high. I took a stab at contorting a Torx and was unable to break 10.

Most of the others grew bored or frustrated and drifted away, seeking fun and pleasant times, perhaps. Misha closed the door on the melee of Canzine-goers out in the hall, and the room was almost quiet. He, Margaux, Bobbie and I stood gazing at the Torxes scattered about the floor. Each toy would beep softly every few seconds, and the effect was peaceful, like standing in a field of android crickets. "It's so soothing," Margaux yawned, reclining on the chaise longue.

She and Misha decided to turn the Torxes off and go for lunch. They moved around the room, flicking switches; each toy said, "Okay! Some other time, then!" in an identical cheerful, tinny voice. "It would be so great if just one of them said, 'Well, fuck you too,'" I said.

Misha and Margaux left, and soon I did too, leaving Bobbie alone with the Torxes, trying to beat the high score.


More photos here.