Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This Modern World

Yesterday morning I booked a train trip, a hotel room and a flight.

In less than half an hour.

Without leaving my apartment.

What amazes me most is not really how easy it is, but how commonplace it has become. It has gotten to the point where booking a flight is only a little more involved than checking email or reading the news. It's only in retrospect that it even registers.

I guess I could lament the loss excitement that used to come with making travel plans - the browsing of books and the trips to the travel agent - but I have to admit I kind of like booking my trips while still in pygamas.

Anyways, back to work. . .

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sometimes I wander about in a daze. . .

So, I'm on the subway last night, heading over to the Annex for a late evening, post-work stroll. I noticed some strangely dressed people on the train and I figure there must be some sort of party or event going on. I get off at Bathurst and the oddly dressed contingent gets off as well. I'm mildly intrigued as they are quite oddly costumed. But I'm in wander mode and really not paying too much attention so I just pass it off as one of the strange things one sees in the city.

It doesn't hit me until I am almost at the Bloor Cinema that it is Friday night. . . And that the Bloor just happens to do monthly Rocky Horror screenings.

It all fell into place and I felt a little foolish. It takes a moment like this to realize just how far out of the loop I often am.

That said, I had a very productive Friday night. I bought a book of Jack Kerouac's letters and proceeded to read it on the subway. When the excitement became truly overwhelming, I headed for home.

Now, it's time to get dressed and start heading to the cottage.

So long for now.

Cult-Like Behaviour / Subway Reading / A Cool Website

I can't believe how many people are reading the new Harry Potter tome. It's everywhere. It's hard to walk into a subway car without seeing at least one copy. And while I feel Potter's literary legacy is suspect, I do like to see so many people passionate about those old-fashioned blocks of paper and ink.

A more interesting trend, though, is the number of people I've seen reading old school hard-boiled fiction lately. I have never seen so many Hammetts and Chandlers and Thompsons. Let's hear for worn fedoras and stiff drinks.

But these musings are done so much better someplace else. Head on over to http://seenreading.blogspot.com/ if you really want to know what people are reading. The premise is simple - the author notes what someone is reading on the subway or streetcar, guesses roughly what page said person is one, prints a paragraph or so from the book and then writes a short response of sorts. It's a great site that deserves all the hype it's gotten and then some.

Well, that's about all for now. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A theme song. . .

With very little effort and no soul-searching, I have found the theme song for this blog:


Sometimes even I have too much time on my hands.

Free Cam Wooley. . . A Rant

First read the article.


I had an uneasy feeling reading this article. There was something wrong the I could not quite put my finger on. On the surface, it seemed like a good article. One can appreciate the level of dedication Mr. Fantino has for his job. Here is a man not afraid to mix it up with the general public. A man not afraid to have his driver chase down any and all law breakers. A man whose sense of duty is matched only by the Boy Scouts.

Then it hit me - why do we have a police commissioner doing the work of an everyday constable? This is not the Boy Scouts. Mr. Fantino is not the leader of a small troop of badge-wearing boys. He is the Commissioner of Canada's second largest police force. I, for one, would hope he has more pressing business than playing traffic cop. Besides, I thought that was what we had Cam Wooley for.

Then there is the cost. I am pretty sure that Mr. Fantino is making a bit more money than your average constable. I mean, if Mr. Fantino wants to work as a constable, I hope he at least gets paid as a constable. Of course, if that happened, he may just feel a little less duty-bound and a little more interested in doing the job we pay him to do. I say, if he is really an officer first, then we should pay him as an officer.

Why I Take Transit

Where else can you have a random conversation with a group of strangers from all corners of the planet about the origin of the english language? At 11:00 PM on the Finch bus, no less?

Walking home from the bus stop, I wound up continuing the conversation with a Russian who immigrated from the Ukraine. While I was sort of criticizing the english language and the way it tends to homogenize cultures and customs, I was also glad to have a common tongue so I could easily talk with someone from the other side of the world. It was a kind of have your cake and eat it too moment.

I love talking to people who have immigrated to Canada. I have the utmost respect for anyone who has chosen to move to a different country to have a better life. Think of how difficult that is. I mean, I come back from the States amazed and sometimes bewildered by all the differences between that country and mine. To travel half way around the world? To risk all of one's savings? To give up everything that is familiar and safe? I don't know if I could do it.

That's something I wish more people would understand. Before you start laughing at or, even worse, complaining about immigrants, think about what they have gone through to be in the same country that you were born in. This sounds preachy, but it's true. Too often I've met people who resent immigrants. People who go to great lengths to highlight the differences when they really should be looking at the similarities. People who harbour ridiculous resentment against people for trying to maintain traditions and all because these traditions are somehow "not Canadian", whatever the heck that means.

I wish these people would just wake up and see that, while there are differences, these differences should be explored and celebrated, not mocked and denigrated. I'm going to step right out on a limb, catch my balance, and make a tv analogy. These are people that go home and expect 50 or 100 channels on their tvs. They want 30 varieties of donuts at Tim Horton's and a whole wall full of choices at the beer store. Why, then, are they so willing to accept just one type of Canadian citizen? Sounds kind of boring to me.

That's how I spent my commute. I doubt any of this would have happened had I owned a car.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Quick Question

How can a restaurant chain as big and profitable as Dominos get away with making such consistantly horrible pizza?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One for the road. . .

I actually was not planning on posting anything this morning but I couldn't resist. So here is a link:


Think of this the next time Harper and Co. want to scare us into giving up our rights in the name of fighting crime.

At the end of the day, when it comes time to evaluate the effectiveness of Harper's Parliament, I think it will just be simpler and quicker to look at what he has done right as opposed to what he has done wrong.

For instance, Harper has done. . . uh. . . well. . . didn't he. . . ? But there was that time when. . . uh. . .

And that's it.

ps. - I forgot to mention that he did try to buy us off with one GST cent on the dollar. And then he went on a vote shopping spree that has yet to end. Let's hear it for slash and spend conservatism.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Power Touristing

Got back from Ottawa Friday. In just over two days I saw the Parliament Buildings, the Changing of the Guard, the War Museum, Bytown Museum and the Locks, the National Gallery and the Aviation Museum.

I didn't really intend to do all that. But Ottawa's core is so compact that the only thing that wasn't in walking distance was the Aviation Museum. Packing in a few museums, then, is quite easy. It was fun to just wander around.

I also took some time to go for a ride on their busway. While I still like railed transit better, the busway is a great system - a line of dedicated roads for buses with full, subway-like, station stops. Especially for a smaller city, it seems to be a great way to get subway service from buses.

Now, I have to go do some cleaning.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Well, I've finally decided what I'm going to do with myself this week. On Wednesday, I'm taking the train to Ottawa for a couple of days. I went there years ago for a school trip and I kept meaning to go back. I figure I'll overdose on museums and the national gallery. I want to see the War Museum, The Aviation Museum, the Parliament Buildings and the National Gallery. Other than that, I'll probably just walk a lot.

And play with my cameras.

Even better, I get a discount rate at the Chateau Laurier.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Movie madness

I just looked at my much earlier review of the Da Vinci Code and compared it to my thoughts on Die Hard. How can I like one dumb movie while despising another dumb movie? I guess the big difference is that the Da Vinci Code was a dumb movie that tried to pass itself off as smart while Die Hard was an unabashedly dumb movie that never tried to be anything more or less than what it was - a no-brainer action flick. For some reason, I can accept the latter while rejecting the former.

Just a thought.

Die Hard

I guess it's time to fire up this blog again. Myspace's blog function seems to have siezed up so I think I will lay down roots here. I will now mess around with this thing to get used to it. First, I will add a picture. . . .

. . . and mess with the fonts a bit.

Now that that's over, I think I will talk about the latest Die Hard flick. I liked it. It was silly, over the top and somehow the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work.

Yes, the plot is ridiculous. Yes, the brushes with death are all too conveniently foiled. Somehow, that seems to be the point. This is 80's action filmmaking cast through the lens of the Scream movies. You don't have to worry about suspension of disbelief because even the stars seemed content to wink and mug for the camera while firing off more one liners than bullets. That's what made it so much fun. It's a throwback that seems fresher than it should, a reminder that, in summer movie land, fun can trump smart at least once in a while.