shoebox_dw: (butterfly gold)
[ahem]. Consider this latest layout switch a sort of tone poem on the theme of I Have Had It Up To Here With Trying To Find One That Has All The Stuff I Want. The last time I thought I'd finally nailed it, but *sigh* no, got restless after a few weeks as usual. So until the day I become a CSS master, it's minimalism or bust here @ Shoe Central.

Meanwhile. Am heading out tomorrow with friend [ profile] shing to attend other friend [personal profile] rj_anderson 's book launch party in Stratford. (The book is called Knife in the UK and Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter in North America, and if it isn't sitting on your preteen daughter/sister/friend/random acquaintance's shelf yet, what are you waiting for? Another glass unicorn? Please.)
I love this. Besides being all excited for RJ I mean. I have been going around all week announcing to friends and co-workers that 'Oh, yes, I have a friend's launch party to attend this weekend...' and secretly feeling all smug. Except around the co-worker who's a published poet, that didn't work so well. I do have the promise of an invite to her next party, though, so it's all good. My career as a socialite is well and truly launched.

Besides, I also love road trips, and at two hours or so from the big city, Stratford qualifies. It was named quite deliberately after Shakespeare, complete with a River Avon, and swans. This is all I remember from my last trip aged nine, the swans. Because as it turns out, mute swans - you know, the ones with the cute orange beaks, right next to the unicorns on the shelf - happen to be just about as tall as a nine-year-old. And they really aren't mute at all, except that instead of honking, or any other normal waterfowl sound, they make this incredibly creepy hissing noise. Really really softly, so you don't actually hear it until they're bearing down on you wings outstretched and it distracts you just enough that WHOMP! right into the ornamental hedge. The next time I ran across a sonnet, I had great difficulty in restraining a bitter chuckle.

So that's about it, as far as a status update...what? Fiction? What fiction? *eyedart*
shoebox_dw: (butterfly paper lace)
...the grass is riz, wonder where my pictures is. Well, wonder no longer, picspam lovers, because the other day Shoemom and I discovered Edwards Gardens, a beautiful civic parkland nestled up in North York. One of those old estates turned public gardens, which just parenthetically I think is a terrific way to maintain your legacy. Not only do you get to be thought of as public-spirited, but also as having really good taste.

Anyway, thanks to dear old Rupert Ed., Torontonians have an absolutely amazing amount of stroll-ready nature, right there below the Ford dealership. Between all the Olde Englishe tidiness and the scampering fauna is created the (slightly unsettling) feeling you've stumbled onto open auditions for the latest Disney feature. Ducks on the pond, squirrels racing through the branches, chipmunks scurrying over rocks, robins and cardinals singing from the eaves and - would you believe - a plump little muskrat trotting busily down the path. I love muskrats; I've never seen anything that looks so much like a stuffed animal of itself.

So between this walk and a couple others, I was inspired to create a little Welcome Spring catalogue: 
Pretty pictures under the cut... )
shoebox_dw: (butterfly gold)
--Threw on a flimsy cardigan over my spring dress and spent two hours' preaching service in beautiful Rosedale, strolling 'where the wealthy nobles dwell', almost giddy with the sensation of warm sun on bare arms.

--Went shopping and managed to find Shoemom the perfect white sweater almost on first go in the change room. Those of you who don't have mothers for whom clothes shopping is as convincing a Calvinist to have fun, trust me, this was a red-letter event.

--Indulged myself to the hilt in Godiva chocolates -- I highly recommend the key lime truffle, by the way - and Shoemom didn't complain once about the wasted $$. Probably because of my cunning flanking maneuvres involving mandarin orange ganache, at the taste of which she is helpless.

--Got to sleep in literally 'til noon on Sunday.

--Constructed the most amazing outfit for services from various forgotten pieces in my closet. Memo to wanna-be dieters needing a boost: This is the feeling you're shooting for, and oh, is it worth it. Every last glass of water and stick of celery.

--Had several nifty comments on my blog, including one from an old friend I'd been missing for yonks and another, on WordPress, that said my writing style was 'unusual and nice'. I am thoroughly chuffed.

--Made various fun and frolicsome plans with friends for upcoming summer weekends.

--Finally found the perfect 'dark' LJ theme I've been searching for - that is, elegant and evocative of something other than 'Hey world! I wanna die!'

--Contrived at last to convince myself my Holiday review had simply got lost in my previous column-proposal mess @ PopMatters, and fired it off again, to the features editors this time.

--In the course of the usual angsting over my fiction-writing follies, thought back over a project I'd started and then abandoned awhile ago...and suddenly it all clicked into place, all the plot elements I'd been struggling with resolved. A tight, complete story is now staring back at me out of chaos, one that I'm genuinely interested in telling. All ready, just as soon as I want to commit it to paper..., um, why am I suddenly terrified?
shoebox_dw: (why not dance)
Haven't been to the Metro Reference Library in ages, so decided to swing by tonight. As an aside, I really can't see why I don't do same more often. 'Food for thought' is a concept that I take seriously, and the Metro Ref is the equivalent of a black-tie banquet; all that lovely knowledge spread forth to be sampled, savoured or flat-out snarfed up, just as the mood strikes.

However, this post isn't about my contented daze - it covers the line that snapped me out of it. In re: Michael Landon and Little House on the Prairie, a TVGuide tome claimed that, roughly, 'He showed millions of viewers what a happy loving family could be..."

Ah...huh. I do not wish to pile it on the man any higher than the six feet already manifest, but come ON, now. As I think even the most sentimental of us can admit, this is feting a guy whose concept of loving family happiness mostly involved exploring the ways it deepens wounds and heightens suffering. On this show, if you love someone, welcome to a nigh-endless parade of drug addiction, blindness, alcoholism, abuse, rape, miscarriage, abandonment, menopause, the death of a child/wife/parent/dog, crop failures, devastating fires, loathsome get the idea. It was family togetherness as primal scream therapy, is what it was. And it usually wasn't even that subtle ("Say it! My brother is going to die! Say it! MY-BROTHER-IS-GOING-TO-DIE!")

This started me thinking about TV families generally, and why, the more they insisted on this kind of realism ('gripping drama' was the phrase usually used) the less I, scion of a highly *ahem* realistic family, could actually relate.

It could be that the Shoe clan just wasn't that interesting even in dysfunction, a distinct possibility. Then could be that, overall, real families in crisis generally aren't particularly exciting - speaking from the objective dramatic POV, at any rate. It's been my experience that people in RL tend to paper over their broken bits as much as possible - and by natural extension, their families' - simply because when you're in this kind of a situation your ultimate goal, your consuming desire, is to just be normal. Or anyway as close to it as you can possibly get, in public if nothing else.
Mind, there's always the chance that you'll grow up to develop a fascination with 50's radio comedians partly because they seem so blissfully average. But on the whole, not so much with the Huge Honking Traumatic Deal it all seemed to be on your Little Houses and Family-s and even The Waltons there for awhile. I mean, of course it often is a huge deal, it's just...well, you know. You deal with it, and part of that is you look for a nice escape on the TV, and instead there's John-Boy angsting over some ruddy traditional rite of Walton manhood or another. Just shoot the damn deer already, Freakish Mole Boy.

This in turn has got me realising a bit wistfully that I'll never really know normal, at least not in terms of family... at least. Is it kind of weird that, seriously, one of my chief interests re: Bob & Ray is playing around with the idea of them as average husbands and fathers? You know, contented patriarchs of their own little clans, wherein dads love their wives, and are kind and wise and understanding to their kids rather than forcing it to be the other way round, and everybody has supper together in the evenings, and it's all very (I'm assuming) sweater-intensive?

Yes, before you rush to the comments box, I know deep down that it was never really like that, for anyone. B&R had eleven kids between them at the height of the Baby Boom, I know damn well it couldn't have been even close to like that for them. Anyway, not after 1964.
Also, I should mention that I feel pretty silly, whining like this over comparatively minor issues. Shoedad wasn't a bad guy; he was just far too damaged himself to ever provide real emotional support to anyone else. As for the things that broke him...well, they're the stuff mainly of understood silence save the occasional loud accusation at the end of a drunken evening. I didn't say that there weren't times when a huge cathartic screaming fit wouldn't be welcome...only that it's unlikely.

Instead, I revel in the fact that I'm a ferociously independent woman who's learned strength in ways many people never will. And...I daydream, sometimes.
shoebox_dw: (garfield rabid moth)
I've just purchased a new Theberge-print umbrella. (Fellow Canadians might recognize Claude Theberge as a Montreal graphic artist who painted...well, stuff that looks really good on umbrellas, basically. Lots of romantic rain-swept landscapes with couples clutching hats and shawls, that sort of thing.)

Mine features little flocks of seagulls standing along the edge of a misty meadow, with bright blue umbrellas dotted in among them. I've been really quite smug over the whole thing; not only is it lovely and roomy but I have always had a soft spot for seagulls.

Anyway, so today I unfurl it into use for the first time, and I glance up at the pretty pattern, as you do (or if you don't, never mind)...and I notice that something seems a little off, perspective-wise. That is, based on the position of the umbrellas relative to the birds, either somebody has taken the time to stick little paper parasols in among them, or these are feathered refugees from a Toho movie.

So now every time I use my lovely brolly, I'm forced to contemplate the possibility that a)there are bird-watchers out there with really strange forms of OCD, and/or b)the English countryside is doomed. Thanks a lot, Sears!
shoebox_dw: (holly hare)

Toronto, my beloved city, is 175 today - and here are 175 reasons, courtesy the hometown Star, why that's a Very Good Thing.

Which also seems like a very decent segue into a progress report on the Great Shoe Migration of '09: The moving part is still on. Really, we swear.

However. As it turns out, thinking seriously about leaving a place, and leaving the people, are two distinctly different things. Witness congregations are static within a given area, rather like a Catholic parish; once you move out of the [preaching] 'territory', that's it, whole new congregation. Sure, there's nothing saying you can't keep up with your friends anyway, but...well, you know how that works. "We'll have to get together real soon!" "Oh, I know, I've been so busy!" *trots happily away, never to be seen again*

So basically for the last couple weeks it's been talk excitedly about moving, go to meeting, feel crushed at thought of parting, talk a little less excitedly, go to meeting...lather, rinse, repeat. The lack of excitement was getting to elephant-in-the-room levels - and if you'll recall, these are very small rooms - before we finally both broke down last night and admitted that taking everything into the balance, we weren't ready to give up what we have just yet. She would rather take more frequent days right out in the country over a compromise position somewhere in suburbia, and frankly I don't fancy complicating my commute the way I'd have to anyway.

On the other hand, the lack of space is still a major issue. I do honestly long for a bedroom, with a bed, which isn't separated from the kitchen only by a low counter that the cats keep knocking things off all night. For that matter, Shoemom wants a living room that she doesn't have to worry about explaining away all my tchotchkes every time she has adults over - much less the nephews. Some of them are glass.

Thus, new plan. Friends in a nice-but-affordable old building nearby mentioned the other week that there was a two-bedroom coming up there. Shoemom loves the friends' apartment, is ecstatic about the tree-intensive location (it backs out on to the huge historic Mount Pleasant Cemetery - very quiet neighbors!) and just generally 'has the same connexion I felt when I saw this [current] place for the first time'. And we've been here five years. Kitchen's a lot smaller in this new place, but not-futon sleeping place....mmmm. Also, walk-in closet. I feel so shallow, but it's true.

So we're all set to initiate paperwork. Friends are good buddies with the super, so things are looking...gahhh, don't want to get too excited about this in case it doesn't happen...let's leave it at that, shall we? Will report developments as they come in....

....eeeeeeeeeee i hope i hope i hope...

shoebox_dw: (garfield monday)
*returns from further web search* So nobody commutes from Milton to Brampton? At least, not by public transit? *sigh*

So yes, I think we're serious about moving. Something has to be done, anyway, because Shoemom is going quietly stir-crazy as things stand. She's a small-town - rural, really - Niagara native who's been doing her level best to keep up with the urban mileu for five years now; in one of the most multicultural cities in the world to boot. While she assures me she has no regrets (and well she shouldn't - the woman has a more active social life than I do at this point, for cripes' sake), apparently enough is enough. She's not getting any younger, and while she 'never thought she'd be the kind of person to care about this kind of thing', the fact is her 'roots' are calling her back.

I can't really complain about any of this, since I've had it pretty much all my own way in the matter for those same five years. She can't afford to live on her own, and neither of the Shoesisters are viable alternatives at this point, so we're joined at the hip for better or worse - better, since we're buddies as much as we are relatives at this point. I love her especially for picking up after Shoedad's desertion and making a strong, independent woman of herself, and I love her generally for what she's done for me since, well, birth, so what can you do?
Besides...while I also love my city truly madly deeply...I've been here for more than a decade now, and have reached the stage wherein most of the reasons I love it can be just as easily pursued at a distance. You know, I've been having a lot of fun playing at the city sophisticate - the way you do, in your 20's and early 30's - but I'm not really, never will be, and have the strong idea that it might be time to stop trying so hard.

Back to where, now, is the bit we've still got to sort out. Shoemom's idea is naturally of someplace corresponding much more closely to her experience; especially so since as a 'pioneer' (that is, one who works full-time in our preaching ministry) she's out in her community's face more or less constantly. Thus being able to relate in terms of language, culture etc is important to her well-being on several levels.
Also high on the list of priorities is lowering our expenses, simplifying our lifestyles at least a little. At the moment, we have a great place at a reasonable rent in one of Toronto's most desirable neighborhoods - and it's a jr. one-bedroom apartment. We're literally stuffed into two tiny rooms. An upgrade would be very nice indeed.

Thing is, there are complications. The big one is that I don't drive - and I work in Brampton, not Toronto anymore. So the search for Shoemom's more relatable mileu is limited by the exigencies of public transit.  As it turns out, apropos of my post last night, there are a lot of exigencies in the preferred corridor. It's doable, but it's nowhere near as simple as we'd thought it would be. The GTA commuter train system is set up to shuttle people back and forth from the outskirts to Toronto, not from outskirt to outskirt. Which is efficient use of resources I guess; but not at all helpful in re: ours, just now.

This nixes, unfortunately, most of the places in which she would be happiest - Niagara Region and immediate environs. Of the remaining possibilities, Burlington is the most desirable - since we lived there for awhile in the 90's - but still too far away, Oakville is kinda pointless anyway if the idea is to simplify living expenses, and Mississauga and Brampton are just...well, Mississauga and Brampton. All the same objections to the current situation apply, with 'all there is to do there is shop' thrown in.

This leaves Milton. Amazingly pretty, fashionable little city, all the amenities (it better have, being the fastest-growing city in Canada) close to everywhere else we'd want to be...a matter of minutes down the highway from Brampton...and no ruddy GO bus. Aargh. Will keep you posted.
shoebox_dw: (ratatouille remy pensive)
Sat up with a cranky computer Friday night and most of Saturday (barring an unpleasantly cold and dingy foray into preaching service). Pages won't load, downloads crawl along then corrupt. 'Course, I only discover that last bit after I uninstall current antivirus program, because I thought it had been disabled by a killer virus.

Got a sick nervous headache.

Dragged self - in a medicated stupor - to a friend's card party anyway, after friend made wistful noises about uneven tables when I called to cancel.

Resumed computer ministrations immediately on getting home, wound up awake at 2:30 AM trying for the literal fourteenth time to get fresh antivirus to download.

Finally fell asleep to docudrama about the Boston Strangler, had horrible nightmares.

Sunday morning, woke up early, antivirus suddenly downloads like a dream. Just happy enough that I don't have worse problems to avoid punching holes in monitor with shards of juice glass.

Promptly get into huge fight with Shoesis over the usual random failure to respect. In the middle of it all, Shoemom suddenly bursts into tears, on startled questioning confesses she's in a mood anyway because she's sick and tired of city life. We apply usual therapy - ie., take off for Niagara. One thing leads to another, and we're discussing moving as far out to the country as a transit commute will extend.

Arrive home all excited, hop on that despite being literally just down the highway from each other, the area we want to move to and the area I work in aren't connected by transit.

Oh, well. At least Shoesis eventually apologised. Eventually.
shoebox_dw: (garfield rabid moth)
Nothing too serious, just the usual opportunities to waaaaaaaay overthink public media on the daily commute:

1.) The Big Giant Ad of Specialness one of the online dating services - could be - has put up @ Union Station. 'We're looking for Canada's Top 200 Singles!' it says. Apparently there are prizes and everything.
Now, correct me if I'm missing some marketing subtletly here, but this is a dating service, right?  So, following things out to the logical conclusion, your 'top singles' would be...the ones who aren't single anymore? I mean, if they are still single, that would indicate a pretty severe failure to get with the program, from your POV.

2.) OK, this Robert Pattinson thing. He has my undying respect for his candidly-stated approach to his Twilight character - basically, the Method expression of "Are you %#$^%&-ing kidding me?". Thing is, he has also been confronting me on newstands everywhere lately, and you'll need to excuse me while I get this off my chest:

Is it just me, or does he - when in Edward Teh Angsty Vampire mode, anyhow - look exactly like a live-action Dragonball Z character? You know - the Brows of Badassery drawn way down his face, with a ferocious little scowl sort of wedged beneath? Like, it's hard to tell whether he's heroic or just irritable that he didn't listen when his mom said his face would freeze like that?

This all I have been able to see for some few months now, at any rate, and it is impeding what little ability I have left to take the whole Sparkly Fun Undead franchise seriously...oops, slipped another notch there.

You know, there are days when a long urban commute has its compensations, after all.
shoebox_dw: (garfield well-informed)
Musings on Teh Inauguration coming soon, I promise.

But I just remembered, I did do something mildly interesting this past weekend: went to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) for the first time post-reno. A jewelry-designer friend wanted to see the diamond exhibit, and her membership includes a guest, and I am just generally very good at being the type of person benevolent friends take to the museum.

So...the reno. To be specific, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal; or to be even more specific, 'that huge ugly blister that's now stuck to that gorgeous old building', as friend's husband put it. Can't really disagree. While the concept is clearly supposed to be 'organic growth fused to city setting', the net result is more like 'explosion at the storm window factory somebody tried to contain with random weatherstripping'. 

Inside the crystal sections, the tone-deafness continues. Where you would expect sharpness and light, an enhancement of the museum's intellectual power, there is instead flat white...drywall? As in, they were so anxious to start making money off this thing they decided against finishing off the walls? Sure looks like it, is all I am saying. Occasionally, you can glance through a haphazard shred of storm window down onto: yet another condo build. This does not discourage mental snarks about pretentious Torontonians.

(Weirdly enough, the only place the new interior works is the renovated Hall of Dinosaurs, clearly where all the planning budget went. The ancient skeletons really pop against the white and light).

The diamond exhibit was fairly cool. Albeit I had been expecting more romantic history surrounding famously sordid gems and filaments. A similar exhibit on pearls I'd seen some years ago managed to tie their formation, the rarity of their perfection, into a marvellous tour of power and prestige down through the centuries.

With the diamonds - thank you De Beers, I suppose - they jump straight from 'yup, really hard and clear' to Cartier and Harry Winston and carat-encrusted leopards with emerald eyes, all that sort of thing. The diamond as symbol of conspicuous consumption is a powerful story; but it's also, eventually, something of an imaginative dead end. All told I have added three valuable bits to my store of Life Experiences:

1.) Large, flawless pink diamonds do indeed look like 'a deuced drop of pink bubbly'. I read that phrase in a mystery once and have always been charmed by it. Good to have confirmation.

2.) It is possible to get some truly lovely effects with diamonds - picking out a snakeskin pattern, for example, or enhancing the delicate grace of a swirl or ribbon form. Lush forms are not served quite as well, or rather are served too well. And a life-size diamond-encrusted rose is over-the-top to the point of inducing mild nausea.

3.) In medieval portraits, diamonds  - and gosh weren't there a lot! - were invariably painted black, 'with a flash of white along the edge'. I will now not embarrass myself, should I ever run into an art historian. Here I'd been wondering all this time at the medieval nobility's dedication to onyx when there were all those diamonds available.
shoebox_dw: (garfield well-informed)
Scene (slightly paraphrased)  from the kitchen the other night, as I was obsessing over my fiction experiments for the umpteenth time:

Shoemom: You just need to write about your life, no matter what. It doesn't take that much - look at Jane Austen, that's all she did, and she got to be one of the greatest writers ever.

Me [trying hard to keep a straight face]: Uh, thanks, Mom, but I think there's a bit more to becoming the next Jane Austen than that.

Shoemom [completely undaunted]: Well, you'll never know until you try, will you?


Meanwhile. Did I mention I've been to the new AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) yet? Because I totally have. A friend who works at the Bank of Montreal is just important enough to score us free tickets to a private post-reno reception (the BMO was the major financial backer). Besides the sneek preview, there was herb-encrusted rack of lamb, mini-buffalo burgers and the most darling little paper cups of new-potato fries. Clearly, getting used to life among the hoi polloi would be much simpler than I imagined.

Anyway. The reno, me likey. It's really gorgeous, in a very inviting, almost casual way. Friend (whose husband works there as a tour supervisor) tells me the sculptural elements were originally supposed to be metal - stainless steel, I think she said - but I much prefer the blond wood used instead. The juxtaposition of stylised and organic speaks perfectly to the dual purposes of housing art and the people who view it.

Shoemom and I, as our print-laden walls testify, are long-time habitues of the AGO (the local nick, pronounced as 'Ay-go'.) She loves art - Impressionism, in wonderful rich examples of which it abounds, is a favourite - and I love showing off my random bits of knowledge about the artists and the history behind their works. So we knock along, the odd Saturday afternoon, in perfect harmony.
This may explain why I'm also seriously impressed with the new arrangement of the galleries - by concept instead of time period or school. It's one of those moderne flourishes that sound horribly precious and contrived on paper; but in practice it's amazing how obvious it is, how emotion and mood draw you in where linear facts might not. The myriad ways a woman can be painted, for instance, or the North in wintertime indoors and out. This may have had something to do with the herb crusts, but by the time the night was out I was even starting to see the possibilities in stuffed raccoons slumped around random mirrored columns.

So that's the high spot this winter so far. At least until we leave for Florida next week. Which reminds me...
shoebox_dw: (ratatouille remy pensive)
Being a young, single Jehovah's Witness in the big city can be a...fraught experience, at times. Especially when the need to unwind strikes on a Friday night.
It helps of course that I don't drink by choice, not by religious proscription; also, that I'm really not all that social an animal to begin with. Since I was a small child it has always seemed to me that there were more interesting things to do than actively seek the company of people - not cynicism, you understand, merely contented introversion. My friends tend to be those who understand this POV, and even share it to some extent.

Thus it is that my resourceful inner self and I have developed a compromise: each Friday night we seek out those more interesting things - new things, or things we know and love but simply haven't had the time to think of lately. We hike wherever our feet feel like going, heedless of time. Could be around nearby Leaside, or the Danforth, or Eglinton West, poking in stores and people-watching and just generally obeying the impulse of the moment. Sometimes Shoemom comes along, and those are good times, because her idea of an urban hike inevitably involves a good gossip and a stop at a favourite coffee shop.


Read more... )


Aug. 23rd, 2008 09:20 pm
shoebox_dw: (lucy)
So I'm walking briskly through the usual office corridors on my way to drop off samples - I always walk briskly, because I am hopeful that if I move fast enough my body language will communicate 'successful career woman' instead of 'woman who forgot to make the hair appointment this week'.

Anyhoo, so the walk is brisk and relatively automatic...hello sample rooms, hi random lunch remnants glued to the kitchen microwave, howdy lingerie buyer's office with the nursing-bra-shaped flyer on the door...until I get to the receiving area, which is a hallway that connects the loading docks to the mailroom, and realise I can't go any further as the way is being blocked by several paramedics (!) plus a bunch of concerned and excited-looking passers-by, none of whom I have ever seen in my life. And fresh off the set of Total Non-Sequitur Theatre, here is also an elderly guy in a Hawaiian shirt and straw boater.

Actually, as you may have guessed by now - took me about five seconds to stride briskly the hell out of there and find out - all of these people were on-set for some ruddy Canadian TV show or another, I've long since shirked the duty of keeping track of which is which. It's the one that features Jimmy Buffett wannabes solving crimes next to random special-order appliances, is the best I can tell you. You might wanna keep an eye on the listings.

What gets me about this entire sequence of events enough to record it isn't so much the novelty - those fellow Torontonians reading this are already laughing, shaking their heads and sharing their 'stumbled on-set' stories, possibly their collections. You cannot stride anywhere in Hollywood North without somebody's recording the local colour for posterity. Which, I might add, does not exactly do wonders for preserving the Magic of Filmmaking. I understand that 99.99% of anything is grunt work, and TV is no exception; but there is still something deeply bemusing about watching people make elaborate efforts to document completely mundane walls, alleys, gas stations, that kind of thing.

There are far too many cables and trailers and featureless side streets and not enough Brad Pitt in the Canadian filmmaking mileu, is what I am delicately trying to hint here. Not that any self-respecting Torontonian would ever admit this. Next time we're at a party, remind me to tell you about the time a bunch of apparently frightened squawking kids ricocheted off Shoemom and I - thus, I fondly envision, earning us immortality as Startled Adults Nos. 3 & 4 in That One Kid's Show (Probably Based Off a Popular Scholastic Book Series) Where They Panic Outside the Museum a Lot.

Even under these circs, however, I reserve the right to be genuinely tickled over the cop show filming in our receiving area. I could not for the life of me figure out how it had been selected for the honour. I envision Canadian production execs standing around at cocktail parties, going "Damn, Harvey, if I could only get the right atmosphere for the big murder scene! I want something different, something...shiny. Yeah, reflective surfaces, that's the way to go! The cold, cold Big City reflected in the paramedic's eyes..."

And Harvey goes "Look, Don, I still got the number of that guy who lent us the blanket for the latest Native doc, lemme make some calls."
shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
As noted in the previous entry, I spent part of yesterday honing my ability to photograph...well, pretty flowers, mostly. It appears they're what's called my forte.

They make excellent practice subjects, I've been telling my artistic ego in soothing tones. True, though; you don't have to fuss them up beforehand, and once framed in the lens they stay nice and still (except when a 'playful little breeze' pops up just as you clik the shutter, damn you Thornton Burgess anyway). Besides which they remain blessedly unconscious of the impulse to play Spielberg. No climbing hydrangea ever told its photographer that "you should've waited, my petals were all droopy in that one! Delete it! Have you deleted it yet?!"

Anyway, it is June, and the
world is almost deliriously awash with warmth and light, and I feel like revelling in it for awhile...

See (much) more... )
shoebox_dw: (ratatouille remy pensive)
Google News is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, when I happen to think of it, I type in the names of a few old media crushes and see what's going on. Not that I'm nostalgic for the crush, exactly; but it is reassuring to find out that they haven't yet been reduced to dog food commercials, or anything. Tom Everett Scott for instance, he's had a pleasant run. I must try and catch that Law & Order finale.

Thus I also learned this evening that one Richard Kalan Porter was up for nomination as Alberta's Greatest Citizen. I like that. In a world that seems entirely made up of pressing concerns these days, It's great to know that one small corner of Canada is still drunk on money and having a good time running pointless civic contests.

Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much going on in re: the bishonen Idol moppet. No mention of a new album in process, or any new music at all come to that. Then again, no mention of any of his family members coming down with life-threatening illnesses, either. So I'm guessing he's pretty content with his 2008 thus far.

Me, I'm having a great time in the first real summery weather Toronto's had in a month - yes, I know it's still technically spring. You want me to come over there and start carping about the Winter From Hell again?

Anyway, Shoemom is down East at a family funeral this weekend - that would not be the great part - but yours truly has
just completed a five-hour urban hiking circuit and is in decidedly mellow mood this evening, contemplating the result.
It all started with a mad desire for more saltwater taffy from this little candy shop I know on the Danforth...and about halfway down Yonge abruptly mutated into a panicked quest to stop by the Bay and make sure I remembered to hand off the non-ad signage (long week, even longer story).

Once that was polished off (phew!) I betook me across the
valley. Several random 'hey, that little side street looks shady...' decisions later, I ended up on photo safari through the gardens of Rosedale, my own private fairyland, lying as sweet and calm as if it had never even heard of concern, over work or anything else. Nothing can ever be pressing anyhow, in a summer twilight.

Then I emerged and sat for awhile, near Yonge again, in the shade of some maidenhair trees and watched a little Scottie dog play in a reflecting pool, barking ecstatically whenever the moderne
fountain design dumped the water over his head....and so home at last, tired and hungry, to a warm bubble bath and a big plate of butter chicken. Oh, and saltwater taffy for dessert.

It was a really lovely day.
shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
OK, you asked for it...What? Well, look, just play along for awhile, could you?

Seriously, the camera has been my constant companion the last couple days, and I have to say the results have been pretty encouraging. I mean, even if I'm not a pro just yet, at least I won't be embarrassing myself in comparison with the pages of...uh...well, Better Homes & Gardens, mostly. Hey, it's not my fault I don't live in the South of France, OK? If Hbc had a branch office I would be all about the sun-drenched vineyards and, what else do they have out there besides vineyards, anyway? Anybody know? Is it important?

At any rate, in my 'umble experience there's very little to compete with a lazy Saturday-afternoon stroll through Leaside, the Toronto neighborhood just to the east of mine. It's a tiny perfect city oasis of lovingly-restored old brick houses set against soft, almost dreamlike spills of green (clik any pic to enlarge):

brick house

shoebox_dw: (holly hare)
Heh. So the strike's over, and all is rather conspicuously sweetness and light amongst the red-coated rank-n-file. I was actually told 'Have a nice evening!' as I entered the subway homebound tonight. I do feel rather bad about ranting against them en bloc...then again, their first action wasn't to boot their boneheaded leadership, or anything.
Besides, PMS last week has been replaced by the inevitable this week, so I'm in no mood to pat anybody on the head, uh, period. ('Cepting maybe whoever designed that sweet Anne Klein deco-print silk blouse...but that's another story altogether.)

Meanwhile...well, meanwhile not a whole lot, actually. Spent most of the weekend outdoors and on my feet, in search of a book from the U of T library. I walked down first on Saturday afternoon, you see, but apparently the civilian population is only allowed to request retrieval from the stacks into the common areas, and the last trip up was..."That would've been about fifteen minutes ago." This spoken in that particular tone of voice only reference librarians use; the tone of people who have learned to refuse university students without raising their voice. I have often wondered what would happen were one to persist with them, but have not anywhere near the courage required to become the test case.

So away I went and back I marched the next day. Clocked about, oh, twenty-five or thirty klicks round-trip. Plus, got to be rather chuffed when I was asked if I was perchance visiting faculty. I realise this is a routine inquiry, pursuant to issuing temporary passes...however, while standing there in my jeans and COWS tank (the brown one with 'moo.' written across it), iPod 'phones carelessly looped over my neck, it was a pleasant daydream nonetheless. Every now and then us wholesome types like to be reminded we might possibly, in some remote alternate universe, be considered cool.

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (c&h not fair)
The Toronto Transit Commission is on strike. And I am angry.

No, check that - I'm furious. Furious that a bunch of complacently overpaid doofuses can basically throw a tantrum that leaves thousands of their fellow human beings helpless and stranded (and in a not insignificant number of cases, drunk) on downtown streets at Friday midnight.

No, I wasn't one of them; I happen to have a 9-5 weekday job, and no plans that would've taken me into the outskirts. First I heard of a strike I was being shuttled around early-morning service in Shoemom's Kia.

Thing is, though, among TTC riders, I'm in the minority. I know this because the last time there was a major weekday strike I was working shifts at the bookstore. Only a quirk of scheduling meant 28-year-old me wasn't tripping along freakin' Yonge and Dundas at 11pm.

Supposedly, this time 'round the union bosses violated their own promise to give 48-hours' notice of any strike action because they were concerned for the safety of their own in the interval. Uh-huh. If I'm the ticket taker at, say, Runnymede at 9pm Friday night, and I'm hearing this rationale to start kicking people off the trains at midnight (literally - TTC subway and most bus service ordinarily goes offline at 2:30 am, meaning these poor victimised fragments of humanity whom we should all rally behind in a spirit of blue-collar solidarity actually stopped the trains and told people to get off, young, old, handicapped, what-have you, regardless of how rough the neighborhood or how far from their destination)...yeah, the first thing going thru my head as I face that mob is "Ooh, such caring, thoughtful leaders we have!" You betcha.

shoebox_dw: (self discovery)
When I was very young
The canna lilies bloomed
To mark the end of summer.

Now they flaunt their blossom
All the warmer months around
And I am left behind
To write poetry.

...See, kids, this your brain on long bus commutes through the North York suburbs. Always make sure you bring a comic book along to read instead. I recommend the Adventures of Plastic-Man, if you can find it in the trade.

Anyway. Those lines appear here and now courtesy a long walk through the unexpected loveliness of an October twilight - a strange summer evening out of time. My currently brisk and action-oriented psyche doesn't quite know what to make of this whole weather situation, so I pacified it with the Rock/Psychedelia playlist on the iPod ("One night in Bangkok makes the hard man humble/Not much between despair and ecstasy..." ) and carried on.


shoebox_dw: (Default)

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