Sunday, October 31, 2010


and goulies

and long-leggedy beasties

and things that go bump in the night

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Instant printing

In my search for my old red shoes last night, I unearthed from the back of Charlie's closet (my personal storage area back when his room was my office) ye olde typewriter. It's an Underwood Standard Portable. Clearly only used by writers with incredibly strong arms; it weighs a tonne.

Charlie clickey-clacked away at this beautiful beast for close to an hour last night (dressed as a bumblebee), and he's at it again. "It actually splotches the ink right on the paper!"

I still remember the incredible din of all the typewriters being used at the office back in the late '80s. One pre-computer place I worked had polished marble floors and several-story-high ceilings. The noise of the electric typewriters was brain rattling.

Another office I worked at, all the editors had white (manual) Olympias. Because I was admin, I got a big, black, humming, IBM Selectric - what a wonderful machine! And every couple of months, a typewriter maintenance guy would come around to service the machine; he'd clean it, check it out, and do some virtuoso typing, all while whistling "Makin' Whoopie".

At home, on one's own, the sound is one of productivity and creativity. The ding gives you assurance you're making progress. Sweeping the carriage return would make you feel cool and grown up. The thing never crashed. You wouldn't lose your work. I'm still waiting for them to come back. Sadly, today, the typewriter's image is the only thing that actually gets used anymore. Just an old icon. But what a beaut.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Red shoe diaries

I love the drama of this time of year; the swirling leaves, the spooky tree silhouettes at twilight. The season also makes me think of witches. Which makes me think of the most famous witch of all's sister: the Wicked Witch of the East. And her fabulous witchie feet: the only part of her we ever really got to know.

What a statement she made, with those red shoes and stripey legs! Personally, I felt sorry for her - creeped out too. What a way to go.

Today, in my peri-peri years, I actually wear a version of Wicked Witch of the East feet practically every day. I have two pairs of these wonderful shoes, both pairs exactly the same. And lots of stripey socks, obv.

My love of wearing red shoes goes back to roughly 37 years ago, when I had a pair of perfect red shoes that I wore with great joy until the soles wore down and my toes touched the sidewalk.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taking the subway. Wish I was on my bike.

Dear Rob Ford,

Since you claim to like subways so much, could you earmark some cash to get the brakes fixed on the trains? Please? Before you slash the city budget into the stone age? And before my hearing is destroyed and my nerves shot? Cuz gawd, they're loud. The brakes, not my nerves.

PS: I am "following" the Twitter group (are they called groups?) called "Dear Rob Ford". It'd be funnier if we didn't feel the need to express ourselves. We're afraid.

I'm mourning cycling right now (yes, Rob Ford, lots of people in the city like cycling. On the roads. In the city). I've reinjured both of my hands to the point where it hurts to twist a doorknob or pick up a two-litre carton of milk. My bike's ergonomic beauty makeover worked very well all summer, but then I tried a new route that had a long, steep downhill through a park, which meant I had to lean on my poor hands whilst squeezing the brakes for too long. The accupuncture I've had a few times from my physio seems to help, but I need more and it's just getting too expensive.


Not riding means I'm spending a lot of time on the subway. I've done away with taking the bus to the subway because one thing that happens when you spend delightful months and months of years and years riding through the city is you get used to not waiting for stuff like the bus and then the subway. The walking is lovely though - I love this time of year! It's so very Hallowe'enish and the leaves smell so good.

Sure be nice to ride though.

Back to Rob Ford. I see that a lot of people who don't like him are calling him "fat", etc. I think it's stupid and mean - but not only that, it's bloody pointless. Watch, he'll go do W8 Watchers (and really, what a great program, I admit). He's still going to be the same person with the same policies. Okay? That fat-hating B.S. is not going to help anybody. It just makes you look like a jerk.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My little dude's weird in edgewise

Charlie's been busy with his new whiteboard. Inventing very long words.

He makes me proud.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Spooky Bouquet

Every year, once leaves start leaving branches bare, Charlie and I go out (usually on an drizzly day) and gather the Spooky Bouquet for the dining room table. There was some great material growing out on the trail we have nearby - and it looked beautifully otherworldly on the wet Saturday afternoon past. (Added bonus of the drizzle: nobody outside to give us guff about cutting branches off the local weeds.)

VoilĂ . Jolie laide, n'est-ce pas?

Ooo, mysterious photograph found 100 years after the Winter Solstice of 2012 (me playing around with effects, eh).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Way scarier than Halloween

Has up become down? Is good now evil? Sane become crazed? Aaaurgh! They're predicting - already, just 18 godforsaken minutes after the polls closed - that the wretched R0B F0rd has won. Has 50-odd percent of the citizens in this city lost their minds? Gah! This is the candidate the National Post said we needed - and I quote, "Policy-wise, Toronto very much needs a proverbial bull in the china shop". What kind of clap-trap is that?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Have mercy on the copywriters for they know not what they're doing

Every morning on my way to work, I have to look at a giant face with giant greasy red lips and a blindfold. It's the new "Bisha" (ooh, how exotic! Tho, note, the real "Bisha" is a guy, not a blindfolded greasy-lipped model) condo tower. I find the huge eyeless head with the lips just plain gross, if not borderline offensive. It's so big I wouldn't be able to avoid looking at it (it's so big) unless I also was blindfolded.

Also nearby is the "Charlie" condo building. Its tagline? "Condos that love you." Tell me, does that not sound like the copyrighters have had all their ideas rejected and then at 1 a.m. in desperation they pitch "Condos that love you" and the wretched client loves it? It's a tagline that says they've given up. It's a tagline that says the client says, "we'll know it when we see it," which means they haven't a hot clue what they want.

In the paper this weekend, I found an add for the "Mercer". Look at this nonsense. Three tall, tall models (I say models because it's obvious) crossing King Street (I assume) a la the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. Of course, there were four Beatles, but whatever, what's a little detail when there's another condo to promote?

Here's the copy for the Mercer:
"Whether it's a mass movement, or an irreversible trend, the 'now crowd'--whom some have dubbed Generation Me--are heading downtown where 'what's going on' is always cool and chillin'. Be 'In The Now.' WHICH PUTS ME WHERE I WANT TO BE."

Where to start? What's with all the quotation marks? And, really, I'm pretty sure "Generation Me" was the yuppy folks when they were moving out of smoking pot and following the Grateful Dead and just starting to snort coke and go to Studio 54. I don't even need to comment on the "now crowd" or "cool and chillin'". Icky poo poo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

He just wanted to go outside

Roughly 10 years ago, my mom gave me her old Christmas cactus. I loved the thing - it was ridiculously gorgeous when it'd bloom, and smelled nice the rest of the time, looking weird.

I kept it safe inside on top of my living room shelves, never letting it get too dry, or wet, or cold. Obviously, it didn't bloom for about 9 of those years. I got fed up looking at its sad extended cactussy branches and banished it to the balcony outside with the rest of the plants in containers. Since early spring, it's withstood scorching 36-degree heat, furious high-rise balcony winds, peri-freezing temps, and torential rain.

I brought it back inside two weeks ago. Check it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ugly and beautiful

On my walk home tonight (just from the subway - no need to get excited) I was thinking about beauty and ugliness. And I made two lists.

Stuff that's most rotten: the photos the Toronto Star thought should be published this week, a co-worker who behaved like a total hypocrite, someone else who made fun of my lunch cuz it was just a heated up frozen Smart Ones (which, FYI, was really good: lasagna florentine)

Stuff that's most beautiful: Charlie (apparently a girl at school thinks so too - and told him!), the weather, the smell of the leaves in the air, the delicious Chablis I got to try at work today (tasted of olives, pepper, dill: delicious), the fact that it looks like a used book store (OMG!!!) is opening nearby and inspired a really nice conversation with a woman who was also trying to peer in the store's window, the fact that Charlie and M3I are discussing the Universe right now, and, I have to say, my hair's looking rather gorgeous at the moment as well.

Okay, there's even more: look at the moon! It just came out, and it's shining on the clouds. Very spooky looking! And beautiful, in fact.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How useful is buying a whole bunch of pink?

All the breast cancer awareness stuff that's for sale this month is freaking me out and making me sad. Buying pink things in stores to "raise awareness" is a crock. Never mind that I already feel plenty aware of the existence of that dreaded disease. Due to familial and friendial health conditions, I'm also aware of diabetes, hemocromatosis, strokes, Huntington's Disease (a tragically underfunded disease that also lacks broad "awareness"), advanced dementia, hypertension, thyroid (hypoactive and hyperactive), kidney disease, depression, panic attacks, paranoia, obesity, pineal gland tumours, and that's just off the top.

My advice? Pick a cause that's dear to your heart -- it doesn't even have to be a disease! (for example, the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund sends kids to camp) and then as often as you can afford, give a bunch of money to it. And don't waste your money on pink crapola.