Friday, February 24, 2006

Mysteries of U of T

It was a small group of psychogeographers that set forth from Queen's Park subway station on Thursday: just me, Himy and Sean. For weeks, we'd been hearing from Alison about the fabled orphaned parking lot of St. George Campus -- a once-operational parking lot which has had new buildings erected around it so that it's no longer accessible except by a narrow footpath. Himy had tried to find it on his own & failed, so we were trying again.

On the northwest corner of College and University, there is currently a construction site surrounded by a high wire fence. We could see a building on the other side of the site that looked like the one in Alison's photo, but we couldn't see how to get to it. Walking around the site, we found a door wide open and no sign saying DO NOT ENTER, so in true urban-exploration style, we went inside. We still couldn't see any way to get closer to where the lot might be, but now we had an excellent view of the remarkable new building with the huge floating pods inside it. I think they look like giant puffball mushrooms.

Unsurprisingly, we almost immediately attracted the attention of a security guard, who came over and informed us we were trespassing. We all started waving our arms and talking excitedly at the same time about the orphaned parking lot, and asking him if he knew where it was. He must have been having a boring night, because instead of deciding we were crazy and chasing us out, he pondered the question and said he hadn't seen such a thing. (I suspect the lot has already been dug up, and something new is being built there.)

Since he was being nice to us, I asked the guard if he knew what the giant pod things were. He told us that the lower one is going to be a classroom -- Todd wasn't making that up! -- and the higher one is going to be a cafeteria!

People: A CAFETERIA INSIDE A GIANT FLOATING POD. Minutes from my home. I am SO there.

I said I thought they looked like mushrooms, and he said very seriously, "No, no, if it was like a mushroom it would look like this," and described the shape of a field mushroom in the air with his hands. He said they looked more like cells, or eggs.

We thanked the guard and left, and wandered around the campus a bit more. At the Earth Sciences building, we peered into a low window and saw a geology laboratory, as you can see in the pic above: ore and sand samples arranged neatly on a table that also held some very healthy-looking jade plants. Sharp-eyed Himy noticed a novelty test-tube holder shaped like a hamburger, sitting near the sink (not visible here). Then we decided it was just too damn cold, and went to the Green Room.

Update: The orphaned parking lot is still there -- Alison has photographic evidence! And detailed directions! Start here, and follow the instructions to get here. I may try it tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I found a little ring on the sidewalk, and it appears to be an engagement ring, or possibly a wedding ring. Are there any superstitions about finding a wedding ring? Would it be good luck, or bad luck? Does it mean I'll get married soon, or I'll never get married? Does it all hinge on whether I'm able to find the owner and return the ring?

Monday, February 20, 2006

The inaptly named Young Centre

Why is it that at both of the Soulpepper performances I've been to so far this season, I seemed to be the only person in the audience under the age of 65 who was not there with their grandmother? Is theatre an Old People Thing now? All I can say is that my fellow non-seniors are missing out. You can skip the adaptation of The Government Inspector, but do NOT miss the revival of Our Town if you can help it. There are still some tickets available, and the new theatre is so well-designed, you'll be able to see and hear perfectly even from the cheapest, farthest seats. After the Saturday afternoon show, the cast came out to hang about in the lobby and mingle with the departing audience. I didn't go over and talk to them, but watched with amusement as tiny elderly ladies fully a foot and a half shorter than Albert Schultz went up to him & clasped his hand & told him how wonderful he had been as the Stage Manager. I know that some in this city would say Mr. Schultz does not need any more people telling him how wonderful he is, but still, it was awfully cute.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Best line so far from the biographical chapter on William James I'm currently reading (from this book):

"His father unleashed upon him baroque missiles of Swedenborgianism."

If we had a fight, and you were armed with baroque missiles of Swedenborgianism, and I was armed with sapphire bullets of pure love, who would win?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Althusser to Zeugma

Sharon has uploaded a video of Stephen Cain reading his cultural theorist's alphabet poem, which was a highlight of last Tuesday's Lexiconjury. Click here to view it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Lunch at Mimi's

Lunch at Mimi's, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

A load of fresh bread lands on the counter at Mimi's. The lunchtime crowd keeps the waitress moving.

I recommend the corned beef hash! And Mimi's coffee is great.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lexiconjury: The sugar and melancholy edition

Very, very early on the morning of Valentine's Day, those crazy kids from newmindspace were out on Queen St. with a crew of friends, showing Toronto just how much they love it. I wasn't with them, but on Tuesday evening, I followed the trail of pink hearts they'd left on the sidewalk up to the door of the Cameron House for the special Valentine's edition of Lexiconjury. (Click on the newmindspace link for links to lots of photos of a heart-sprinkled Queen West.)

Curated by Sharon Harris, appropriately enough, Tuesday's reading was a bittersweet event. Bitter because we've all just learned that, after 5 years, Bill and Angela have decided that this will be the final season of Lexiconjury. The last Lex will be in June. But sweetened by the chocolates Sharon handed round, and by excellent readings by Stephen Cain, Suzanne Zelazo and Lynn McClory. Steve Cain, York English Lit prof and father to a toddler, remarked that his current influences include the Situationists and Goodnight Moon, and read an academic's alphabet poem that I need a copy of. There was also a solid open mike set, which featured Bill reading -- what else? -- his "Romanceturgy."

Talk turned, naturally, to what we will do when Lex is no more. Jesse envisioned starting a reading series of his own, where people would read quietly to themselves, like in study hall. Boys and girls would not be allowed to sit together, and peashooters would be confiscated. Mark Truscott is actually in the final stages of planning a new reading series, which will be called Test. I was sitting near Mark, and over the course of the evening I think four or five people came over to him to say something like, "So, you'll be the one carrying the torch, eh?" No pressure or anything.

A few photos here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dizzying heights, and dim spooky rooms

Sunday was what winter is supposed to be like: cold and bright, the only colours white, dark grey and vivid sky blue. I was very happy about spending it at the Scarborough Bluffs. Four psychogeographers set off from the Annex, and we met up with Sean at Kennedy Station. Transit from downtown to Guildwood Park is, as it turns out, not bad at all, and if you get off at the stop before the park, there's a strip mall with a coffee shop that sells fresh-roasted organic coffee and old-fashioned homestyle doughnuts. Fortified, we marched on the old Guild Inn. Built in 1914, it has been boarded up since 2001. It apparently boasts a maze of underground service tunnels and storage rooms, and is thoroughly haunted. We squinted through the windows at the dim interior, but didn't see any translucent people in 40s clothes. There was an old refrigerated room at the back, the door ajar; the floor was scattered with empty bottles, burnt-out tealights, cigarette butts and small ziploc bags. There's a high school right next to the park, and I bet teenage memories are made every summer in the refrigerated room. It was kind of creepy-looking; Alison said it reminded her of torture chambers seen in documentaries about despotic South American regimes.

We walked along the Bluffs, which I hadn't visited before. The view is stunning, and Himy, who's familiar with the area, pointed out spots along the horizon where puffs of smoke marked the presence of Pickering and St. Catherine's. Sometimes on clear days, he said, you can see the spray from Niagara Falls.

Lots of photos here; the light was great. Himy took lots of photos too.

Keep away

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


You absolutely have to go look at this Flickr photoset, posted by a dude in Tokyo, and you have to view it as a slideshow.

(Every time I see a picture of a cat on the Internet these days, I think, "World Wide Intar Wub is for showing pictures of cats.")

I will be back soon, incidentally. Sooooooon.