Thursday, August 24, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation

Orange shoes, orange cat

On Sunday I finally finished the massive paper I've been working on all summer, meaning that for the first time in 2 years I don't have anything due or overdue that I should be working on. Classes start again on September 6, so I get a summer vacation of about 2 weeks. It's not very long -- and I'm spending all day tomorrow at a conference on the history & philosophy of science -- but I did get to spend Wednesday on the Toronto Islands. I had a sandwich and coffee at The Rectory Cafe, and started reading Don Quixote. I explored parts of the Islands I'd never been to, and saw a knitted mooring cozy and a lovely wicker gate with spirals woven into it. I met numerous very friendly cats, and had ice cream, and took a lot of photos.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The muse snuffled

I remarked on Gary Barwin's blog that I have always been partial to the word "snout," and he wrote a poem about it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another inexplicable t-shirt

Okay, this has been up on Flickr for a week and nobody's been able to explain it to me, so I'm posting it here in the hopes that one of you will have some idea. It's a t-shirt I found for 99 cents at Honest Ed's. Does anyone know what "Chang Hoyienv" and "bomi" mean, or even what language that might be? For that matter, what the hell is going on in this picture? Helpful Flickrites have suggested it represents "a sort of sheep made of seafoam oozing out of a polka-dot peapod," or possibly "a cuddly telephone with teary eyes emerging from a blue polka dot frying pan."

If you know anything about this, or feel moved to make something up, please post it in the comments. (The mystery of a previous inexplicable t-shirt was solved via the internet, so maybe it will happen again.)

Update: A helpful Flickrite identified this as a cheap knockoff of Sanrio's Buru Buru Dog character.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fifty-two things to do interview
On Thursday's walk we were accompanied by a crew from 52 Mondays. (Above, you can see them interviewing Alison, while Jamie takes a picture.) Every week they post a video clip about a different way to spend Monday night in Toronto, other than watching TV. We walk on Thursdays, but there's no reason you couldn't walk on a Monday.

The amount of attention the Toronto Psychogeography Society has received in the time I've been walking with them is amusing to me. We've been written up in Canadian Art, the Globe and Mail, and 24 Hours; we've had students and writers join the walks out of curiosity. We tell everyone the same thing: "Yes, we go on walks. No, we're not jogging, or trying to raise money for charity, or heading for any particular destination. We just go out and walk around and look at stuff. Sometimes we take pictures." I'm not complaining, it's nice that people are interested in what we do, I just think it's funny that this is news.

We began at St. Clair West station this time, and soon found ourselves in a ravine. Under a bridge in the ravine we found some new-looking graffiti; the kids on bikes who hung around there deciphered the lettering for us, and told us the graffiti had gone up a couple of days ago.

We came out of the ravine and walked down Vaughn Road, past locksmiths and laundromats, churches, the Tibetan Buddhist Temple and the Wiccan Canadian headquarters. The Wiccans had some kind of worship ceremony going on; the windows on the second floor were open & we could hear ritual drumming, though from the sidewalk all we could see was a black ceiling and a string or two of white Christmas lights.

And then we wound up at Dutch Dreams. What's special about Dutch Dreams isn't the quality of the ice cream so much as the fact that, even if you order the smallest, plainest single-scoop cone, they'll crown it with whipped cream studded with fresh fruit and maybe some sprinkles. It's the most baroque ice-cream place in Toronto. And check out the decor:
Dutch Dreams

All in all I think the video crew got some good material. So did I: More pics here.

Update: The Psychogeography video is up!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sharkey's Night

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Patrickless picnic


It was all Patrick's idea. A picnic in the park! What could be better on a sunny August afternoon? He sent out a mass e-mail inviting everyone to gather at High Park's Hillside Gardens on Saturday at two. Jeremy talked to him on Friday, and Patrick seemed stoked about the whole thing, having bought a bottle of wine and masses of food.

So, a little late on Saturday -- say around 3 -- Buffy, Mo, Misha and I met up under a shady tree. But where was Patrick? They'd done a sweep of the area, and could find no trace of him. No matter: we had picnic blankets and lots of fruit.

More people showed up, with more food. Still no Patrick! He was unreachable by cellphone. Jeremy and Julie were a little worried. Buffy decided he was dead, and began putting dibs on his stuff. "I want his computer. No, not the whole computer, just the hard drive. And I want his fez."

A lazy game of croquet ensued. I wandered around and took photos of things. Patrick never showed up. Had he been run over by a streetcar? Abducted by aliens?

On Monday, I e-mailed Patrick & he e-mailed me back and told me what had happened. Turns out he'd been to see Gary Numan play at the Mod Club on Friday night, had a few drinks, and spontaneously decided to go on a massive bender. He took a taxi to the Junction, drank like a fish all night, and woke up on Saturday at 2, unable to move, moaning weakly when the phone rang. Alas! Hopefully the next time he organizes a successful event, he'll be able to join us.

More photos here.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Dreams of the distant south

Buenos Aires favourites

Now, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I love Toronto. Nonetheless, sometimes I long to get the hell out of town. Owing to a combination of poverty, busy-ness and poor organizational skills, I haven't done much travelling at all, but lately I've been thinking about rectifying that, and about where I'd like to go.

One of my favourite performances at the dance conference was by a company from Buenos Aires. Hmm, I thought. Buenos Aires. Home of Borges, and the tango! I did some Googling, and uncovered a lot of interesting factoids about the city. It is built around a port, and its citizens are called porteños. Did you know there are more psychoanalysts per capita in Buenos Aires than in any other city in the world? That its university has produced five Nobel laureates, and was the alma mater of Che Guevara? Porteños read a lot & they're all night owls, apparently. I think I'd like it there. It's very far away, and I'm still too busy and broke to go anywhere right now, but a girl can dream.

Other porteño stuff I found online:

~ An amazing online magazine called clandestina. I'm surprised I never stumbled across this before. It has sections on illustration and travel photography, featuring work by artists and photographers from all over the world. Stunning, well worth a look.

~ La 2X4 Tango FM 92.7: all-tango streaming Buenos Aires radio station. These people are serious about tango.

~ A whole lot of really great photos on Flickr, some of which appear in the above mosaic. Links to the photos: 1. mirada, 2. vidrio_roto, 3. Carrera de bondis, 4. "la luz inextinguible", 5. Julio Cortazar, 1914-1984, 6. te extraño / i miss you.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Toronto's hipster boys say the darndest things

I have started collecting amusing soundbites, things I hear people say as they walk past me. For some reason, the best ones always come from twentysomething lads.

(Queen West; one hipster dude to another)
[Pensively] "Yeah...Girls cry when I do that."

(Dude walking up Robert St., talking into cellphone)
"Soap is not a 'trinket.' Soap is soap."

(On Harbord St., U of T campus)
[Earnestly] "...I feel more human, I don't feel as manufactured."

(Hippie boys in Kensington Market, around noon)
1st hippie boy: "It's going to be a good day!"
2nd hippie boy: "I feel like doing mushrooms."

Maybe Toronto needs its own version of Overheard in New York.