May 29, 2010

The Better Way? What's up with the random timing?

Just so happens that, shortly after I wrote yesterday’s post, I was sitting on the subway when, out of my periphery, I spotted a man (a somewhat disheveled, not quite on it man) lumbering toward the empty seat beside me. Admittedly, there were not a lot of available seats on my car. But, there were a few. The man had to traverse the entire length of the vehicle to get to my seat and settle beside me. And when I say settle, I mean he nestled next to me, leaning well into my comfort zone, that imaginary barrier doled out to strangers and most acquaintances.  And I’m talking here about back-the-fuck-up leaning – the arm against arm kind (the front of my arm, not side). I continued to read my book in an attempt to remain calm since I had about five more stops to go before reaching my destination. I tried to keep my eyes focused on the two words I kept re-reading over and over (and no, they weren’t help me) until I decided to get off at the next station. I quickly vetoed that plan (too many Contact exhibits to hit before work to delay my schedule) but decided instead to stand until I reached my stop. When I glanced over, out the corner of my eye, I realized he was completely “reading over my shoulder” except this was way beyond the shoulder area. I’m pretty sure he was getting much more out of the read, in the three million years it took to travel that one stop, than I did. The good news is, he waited until I stood up before slapping the side of the seat he was sitting on. It’s always important to find the good in every situation.

This reminded me of a few TTC related tick-offs I forgot to add to yesterday’s list:

  • The completely useless “sound system”. This week wins for hitting an all time low  (now that is low) when, during some sort of delaying mishap, the “announcement” sounded like a someone was trying to speak after swallowing a bag of sand and being submerged under water. It sounded more warped than Winslow Leach before Swan tuned up his voice box. (Wish I could include a clip here from Phantom of the Paradise to illustrate my point, but couldn’t find one. )
  • The out of tune doors-are-closing triad. Eye rollingly off key.
  • The cringe worthy, ear and mind splitting squeal of the rails. Ouch.
  • The hand straps on the buses. I ask this one question: What is the point? A friend of mine actually broke his finger and injured his back in a desperate grasp for safety after a bus driver gunned it out of the station. The only thing that strap has ever to for (or to) me is smack me on the head when I stand up.
  • The complete lack of anything to hold onto on the newer cars on the subway. I don’t get it. Shouldn’t the newer vehicles be better than the old ones? I have to wonder, sometimes, if the people designing these modes of public transportation have ever actually used them?
  • Which brings me to one last whine of the weekend: The new bus and streetcar shelters. Uh… They look kinda cute but in the blazing sun seem to act more like solariums and in a heavy rain or snow fall don’t quite cut it to keep one protected from the elements.

For the record, I support taking public transportation. There are plenty of ways the TTC does make it the “better way” but there is definitely room for improvement. Fares aren’t cheap and in this day and age we should be encouraged to leave the cars at home.

Just sayin’…


16) Tick-Offs

May 28, 2010

Don't bug me.

This week’s list was inspired by the pile of raccoon pooh, sitting on my rooftop, that I happened upon while gazing out my window to appreciate the lovely, peaceful sun dappled morning view.

So, setting my usual arm’s length to-do list aside here are a few tick-offs that really… get my goat (whatever the hell that means?)

List 16 – It really ticks me off when:

  • Someone (anyone) reads over my shoulder.
  • People talk with tooth picks in their mouths.
  • When I score a great seat on the almost empty subway, streetcar, bus, train, plane etc. and someone sits beside me. Depending on my mood, them wanting to chat ups the ugh factor.
  • People, usually two or three breast, who refuse to slip into single file when I need to pass them on the sidewalk, forcing me to either a) scale the side of a building, b) jump into traffic, c) climb over a fence or d) punch them.
  • Folks who seem to fail noticing and stand right in front of me as I’m perusing the shelf in a bookstore, grocery store or the like. This mind-boggling behavior has happened on more than one occasion. I just don’t get it.
  • People who put their trash out on a day other than garbage day.
  • Loud cellphone talker in general.
  • People who conduct business on public transportation on their cell phones as if they were in their own office with walls and a door. Slam.
  • People who are conducting business with someone working in, say, a bank or restaurant, than interrupt the transaction when their cell phone rings without either: saying “excuse me” and quickly ending the call, saying “excuse me” then stepping aside and quietly taking it, or, turning off the ringer until the transaction has been completed and returning the call on their own time. Uh hello…
  • My knees create stretch imprints in the fabric of my pants.
  • Cars that idle. This really bugs me, especially in front of school yards and playgrounds.
  • On an airplane (and I love to travel), the person in front of me leans so far back their head is in my lap.
  • On an airplane (and I love to travel), having the person behind me either kicking my chair or bashing the options on the on-screen entertainment feature making it feel as if their playing a vertical version of the game Whack-A-Mole. (Their finger being the mallet, my back being the mole.) Argh…
  • Loud neighbors especially after 11pm (heck maybe even 10) when I have to get up early the next morning (or even if I just feel like sleeping). It is amazing how many people don’t get this and how fortunate I feel that this rarely happens anymore.
  • Raccoons (or squirrels) that dig in my garden, have squealy fights that sound as if someone (or thing) is having a limb ripped off, or climb on my roof and shit on it. I hate when that happens.

I could go on but somehow the time has gotten away from me. I hate when that happens.

May 27, 2010

Hank WIllis Thomas' billboards @ Spadina and Front St, NE corner.

I’ve been seriously working at packing in as many Contact exhibits as possible seeing that the festival extrodinaire, in Toronto, will be ending, for the most part (a few will linger, check the program or website.) on the May 31st. Yesterday, I took a quick twirl (and in this weather it’s amazing I didn’t melt) around the Queen Street West area. I stopped in at, among others, these stand outs: Angell Gallery and Gallery TPW (I spent a lot of time there), The Gladestone Hotel (3rd and 4th Floor), The Stephen Bulger Gallery, The MOCCA (again. And, why not, since I was in the area) and The Lausberg Gallery. I enjoyed all of these shows especially the Lausberg exhibit of James Robert Durants work. And, to think, I almost skipped it since the time was ticking, I was schvitzing (I love that word and used it many times to myself throughout the day) and still had numerous and unrelated hits to make contact with before the day played out. Speaking of which, I best slip on my gallerina shoes and see how many twirls I can make before clocking into work this afternoon.

It’s Criminal

May 24, 2010

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crimes and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories…

After twenty years on the air, Law and Order will be running its last original episode tonight on NBC, 10pm eastern (you’d better double check that cuz I’d hate to be responsible for you mssing the show).  I’ve been watching since day one and have seen some episodes (most) more times than I can count. Does the name Mr. Wicketts mean anything to anyone? Well, it does to me. And, by the way, I was able to recite that opening sequence by memory. Admittedly, I’ve missed several episodes from the last few seasons, not because I grew tired of the show, but because once the show switched from Wednesday evening (where one could tune into it for years) to Friday, then Monday… I just could keep it straight. They better not mess with my re-runs on Bravo and I sincerely hope they start airing the more recent eps as well. In my opinion, there has only ever been one L & O worth watching. From the writers and directors to the actors, whether in was a starring role or one line walk-on, I’ve spent time with them all for the last two decades and I’m sorry to see the series go.

Here’s to everyone involved in that masterpiece of prime time television.

Those were their stories.

15) Contact 2010

May 23, 2010

Contact 2007. Where has the time gone?

We are just over half way through the month of May. Huh? The first three weeks have zoomed by. Between work and travels I’ve had a tough time making Contact as much as I had hoped to at this point. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been to more then one venue to find either, the gallery closed for the day, or, the show already dismounted (to be filed under the you-snooze-you-lose category). One must always remember to read the festival guide carefully before venture out. I’m usually pretty good about this due to past year mishaps but I guess I’m not on my game. I try to pack in as many hits as I can in a day off, taking care not to over do it but my brain can only (and should only – as far as I’m concerned) pack so much onto its plate. I like to give myself the space required to let it all sink in. One challenge is, one of my two days off falls on a Monday, a day most galleries are closed. No complaints, though. I just feel edgy thinking of all the good stuff floating around that I hate to miss anything.

Here is a brief list of a few favourites I’ve already hit and some I hope to take in before the end of the month:

List 15 – Making Contact

I better lay down a tight viewing schedule for the week ahead and snap to it. Consult the Contact Festival Guide to make a plan of your own. Don’t delay!!!

May 21, 2010

It’s rounding up toward the eleventh hour on this sunny Friday and already I’ve completed a few chores. I work in a couple of hours and wanted to pack a few to-dos in before heading down to “the office”. Despite the clear sky and gentle breeze, so frickin’ lovely I almost feel like crying those kinds of tears, there’s a bit of congestion floating about my insides that I’m gathering might be more complicated to expel than a simple coughing-up-of. I think it has more to do with a slight feeling of oppression (see the aforementioned “I work in a couple of hours”) compounded daily by my need to earn a living and a strong desire to slack off and figuratively and/or literally run my toes through the grass so green these days I’m envious of my last summer’s self who thought she had all the time in the world. Ha… where did she get that notion from, silly girl.


May 20, 2010

What over yonder lies?

I wonder what I should do when I grow up? Me thinks the day is arriving soon.


The Mall in Central Park

Marina Abramović @ The MOMA

A bit of Van Gogh on Free Fridays @ MOMA

Waterfall at Lincoln Center

NYC Public Library

Taking Stock

The Court House

Looking up in Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan

I had an amazing time in New York City and the one thing I know for sure is that I want to go back. My bud and I had an extremely quick visit – left Friday morning, came back on Sunday – and we covered a lot of ground. The streets were aboslutely crawling. Crawling! This was my fourth time visiting The Big Ap and I have never seen it so jammed up (I’m talking apple jammed, people). The word jostling came up a few times. We stayed on the Upper West Side, one of my favourite places, but took in Chelsea, Soho, Greenwich Village and the Upper East Side. We even went to Lower Manhattan, a place I hadn’t seen before. We strolled through Central Park, The MOMA on Free Fridays. (So many people. Marina Abramović:The Artist is Present was a highlight for me) and made a quick twirl inside The New York Public Library. I can’t beleive it was my first time in since I happen for be a bibliothequeaholic. I definitely need much more time in that buildig than I was able to give it. I was a bit disappointed that the façade was covered with scaffolding. I supposed the building is being restore. Saturday morning I received a rejuvenating manicure at Bliss57 (The Upper Hand). I seriously needed it, too, because my hands were in bad shape. Sixty dollars (u.s.) might seem like a lot of cash to dole out for a mani but I rarely get my nails or cuticles (they are in bad shape) tended to and feel it was well worth it to splurge. I should have got a pedicure as well since we walked and walked and walked some more. Except when we were eating.

Foodwise we did very well. We went to Sarabeth’s for lunch (I had the grilled salmon nicoise) on Friday and Café Frida for our evening meal (Fajitas Nortenas with corn tortillas). Then, we detoured into Wine and Roses after dinner on our way back to the hotel. Saturday we went to an okay place in Soho (I forget the name as my meal was nothing special) but made up for the mediocrity on Saturday night at our prearranged dinner a Jean-George’s restaurant JoJo’s, on the Upper East Side. This was a flawless evening. Perfection. Deelish. I don’t usuallly eat wheat (or dairy for that matter) but took a chance to taste the mouth watering baguette (still warm) brought to the table pre-meal which I slathered with an absolutely devine smattering (okay maybe it was a bit more than a smatter) of butter. I had the warm asparagus salad for my app, a black bass for my entrée (I don’t see included on the on-line menu) and I ended the meal with an apple rhubarb crumble with a mini scoop of ginger-vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm… I don’t have a wheat or dairy allergy. I guess you can say I have a sensitivity to these things since I find these product a bit hard on my system. But, it’s nights like last Saturday, where I throw caution to the (a-hem) wind and let the chips fall where they may. I’m happy to report there was not a rumble of discomfort experienced after my night of epicurian bliss. By the way, the glass (or two) I had of red wine with my meal was seriously delicious. Sunday, we fought our way through the crowds, in part due to the the Ninth Ave International Food Festival, to Eatery for our last meal in NYC. I had the Santa Fe Sweet Potato Pancake. Have I already said, Mmmmm… ? I should also note our mini snack spot at Pinkberry (we tried out two locations) and the food bar at Whole Foods for an inexpensive breakfast on the go.

All in all (and I think I can speak for my friend here in saying) we had an wonderful time. My only regret was that it went by so quickly.

May 18, 2010

Climbing the Wall

I’m back. I had a great time in The City but now I have to pay for it. Literally. I’m back to work today.

Man, that went by in a New York minute. It was fabulous, though, to sneak away – however brief.

I hope to post a shot or two in the next day, or so.


Just before I head out to the airport I thought I’d give you a VCR alert. VCR alert? How old school. I guess these days it’s more like a PVR flash? Whatever I should be calling it, you might want to set your recording device this Sunday to a show I recently became accustomed to via consecutive YouTube clippings (thanks A) called Summer Heights High. It will be hitting the Comedy Network as of this Sunday, May 16th.  Not sure if this is your bag but I happen find this show, at least what I’ve seen of it on YouTube, to be freakin’ hilarious. Here are a couple of clips to get you warmed up:

Now I better get cracking before I miss my flight.