Sunday, April 23, 2006

A few favourites

Favourites, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

Sometimes other people take photos I like a lot. Here's a mosaic of some, created with the Flickr mosaic creator. Some are by people I know, others by people I've never met who live far away. Links to each pic:
1. surprised brain, 2. Fun Runnings, 3. Uniclam!, 4. Hands On, 5. dad and sheep, 6. index medicus, 7. Data entry, 8. Gladys1, 9. flying fish

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Inverted apostrophe

ECW Press booklaunch at the Gladstone last night for Emily's Joyland (which I'm itching to read), and Bill & Darren's apostrophe. I have been hearing about the Apostrophe Engine since I met these guys, so it was really great to see the book & site released at last. Hearing them talk about it with Ken Babstock gave me an idea, which I tried out today. Here it is: the hidden message you hear when you play the Apostrophe Engine backwards.

[Note: If you are not familiar with the Apostrophe Engine, click that link first, or this will make even less sense.]

If you are • If you are • Fun stuff to do when you are • as the galaxy appears on the brink of turmoil, you are • Come As You Are • Find the zodiac sign you are • Did you build the computer you are • We're sorry, but the site you are • Why the Probability that You are • However, success can be yours if you are • Find out what your thinking style is, and whether you are • Visit Frequently Asked Questions for more information about "You Are • Among other things, it can be used find how many days old you are • so if you are • Reading RSS the way you are • Personality test to find out which superhero you are • When You are • Who Do You Think You Are? • It should be stressed that the bland indifference principle expressed by (#) prescribes indifference only between hypotheses about which observer you are • Additionally, if you are • You're a marketer- no really, you are • When you are • The higher your score, the deeper from the South you are • On the front, a view of the Milky Way galaxy with a sign that reads "You are • Microsoft fixes bugs when you are • What They Are, Why You Are • You Are My Flower & You Are • Know where you are • Hear you are • The sport where You are • Is proud to offer the You Are • Here's your opportunity to share with other students what you are • What you can do if you are • First of all, do you feel that you are • and if you are • where you are • Sometimes You are • How to Tell if You Are • the evil singularity you are • it's about who you are • places to go when you are • If anyone has said to you: "You are • This is your life (if you are • Have you ever tricked someone into thinking you were someone whom you are • I am fuel, you are • Even if YOU don't know what faith you are • unless you are • You are beautiful just the way you are • someone you are • lose weight if you are • if you are • It figures out where you are • The "you are • Would you trust a computer to warn you that you are • Either you are • or you are


Message on a chair, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

Message on a discarded recliner outside a community centre. Disappointingly, upon closer inspection, it turns out that the text is not of the hoped-for "elaborate schizophrenic conspiracy theory" variety, but rather of the less interesting "teenagers being mean to each other" genre. Still, there's some lost story behind this, something adolescent, trivial and kind of sad. If you want to try deciphering it for yourself, a closeup of the cushion is here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Someone in Slovakia was very, very disappointed

I think it's time once again for another entertaining and possibly educational peek into my referral logs. These are all actual search terms that have led people to squiddity over the last few months.

things made of cheese
where can i find the red dot email where linda blair screams [No idea]
murmur animal [Incidentally, Googling this phrase reveals it to be a literal translation of the German word for "marmot"]
become a statistic
peril pickle
pickle dropper
squid fishing adelaide
images grouchy pants
hottest drag queen makeover [from, which for just a moment I thought was Google Saskatchewan]
washroom graffiti in Toronto
whole transparent typewriter [Google Hong Kong]
Where to go on my birthday
hang out with boyfriend clipart
QED Quiddity
squish faced cats
who is that side Nadia
cn tower plumbing
hand gestures
zombie clothes [this was just before Halloween]

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Went into Kensington Market today to get laundry detergent and check out newmindspace's Easter egg hunt, but I saw no signs of it: not an egg! not a bunny! I was not hugely disappointed, however, as it was a sunny Sunday afternoon and Kensington was packed with throngs of hipsters, friendly dogs, Rasta dudes, kids playing with hackysacks, music blaring out of storefronts, piles of fruit and vegetables, street artists, etc. I ran into Jesse and Olia, who had set up a stand of rare used books Jesse is trying to sell.

In front of the Seven Seas Fish Shop, for some reason, there were about twenty hardcore punk kids, all in black leather studded with steel. Jesse told me they were overflow from Planet Kensington, still one of the last old-skool punk hangouts in the city. We hypothesized that maybe they were drawn to the Seven Seas because they were pescatarians.

And in front of one of the healthfood stores I saw a teenage boy standing around wearing a fake moustache. As I looked, he seemed to get bored with it & peeled it off. It looked like a caterpillar.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lights in the sky

In the Distillery District today I noticed these things, suspended from wires above the lane leading to the Young Centre. The lights flicker and change colour as you watch, from green to red to blue. Are they just "mood lighting" fixtures that are left on all day? Or are they landing signals for UFOs? Whatever they are, they're kind of neat looking.

Kensington Market loves you!

My friend Sharon Harris has been photographing this graffiti tag all over the city of Toronto for years. An exhibition of these photos was on display at Dooney's late last year. She's now working on a book, and she has an I Love You blog, too. Drop by and spead the love!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Through dark scary places, with flashlights

Interior of brickworks
Last Thursday, I suggested we walk through the ravine to the Brickworks, so a group of us met at 8:30 at Castle Frank subway station. Sean, the TTC expert, showed us that the cupola at the entrance to Castle Frank station has this interesting acoustic property: if you stand directly beneath it and stamp your foot hard, the echo sounds like a gunshot. Try it next time you're there!

After blundering about the tony neighbourhood just north of Castle Frank for a bit, we found our way into the ravine, and saw Blair-Witch-esque stick huts that someone had built there. We followed paths and arrows, and soon the Brickworks loomed out of the dark before us, brightly illuminated and eerily deserted. We poked around its shadowy corners with flashlights. All my photos of the place look like they should be labelled "Site of the Alleged Paranormal Activity."

The wetlands reclamation area outside the building was just as spooky. The pools looked black and lifeless, but when I leaned over the railing and took a flash photo, something unexpected was revealed in the depths:

And then we made our way back to Yonge, and beers at the excellent Yammy the Cat.

Brickworks photo set here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Water music

Playing Nessie
Another sunny spring day, another walk. On Dundas St., across from the construction-ravaged Art Gallery of Ontario, I heard spooky, resonant music. A few steps further, and I found the source: a man playing a remarkable water-organ.

I stopped to ask him about it. He said his name was Steve, and he had invented the organ, which he called Nessie, to amuse his 2-year-old daughter. He showed how blocking the jets of water with your fingers produced different notes; a softer note could be produced by allowing a bit of water to trickle through.

A crowd began to gather. "Well, isn't that something!" said a woman standing next to me. An older Chinese woman, having observed Steve's playing for a few minutes, took over the jets and played, with great authority, something complex and operatic-sounding. Steve asked her what other instruments she played, and she said, "I am from Peking," and made keyboard-playing motions with her hands.

A more polished version of Nessie -- Nessie 2.0? -- will apparently be part of an upcoming Ontario Science Centre exhibition on hydraulics.

Steve and Nessie
Update: Read the comments -- some helpful readers have come through with more information about this!