Archive for 2009

Twenty Ten

Posted on December 31st, 2009 8 Comments

There is is, the big oh-one. I’ll just dispense with the gushy anniversary right off the top. One year seems like a rite of passage, like a fraternity paddling or violent hazing. After this, I’ll have a little street cred; a little. But I like to think of this not as an end to a year so much as the beginning of the end to the next year.

(This picture is very big!)

christmas tree, nathan phillip's square, new year celebration, rogers, citytv, toronto, city, life

There was much I’d planned to do in 2009 and hope to get around doing this year. Some of it I’d foolishly planned in older blog posts. So be it. Brutal, in-your-facedness, delayed plans ‘n all. As Sam Spade so profoundly put it, “when you’re slapped you’ll take it and like it!” He meant with the truth, of course.

But at least there’s always 2010. And 2011 after that. I’ll probably, eventually, sometime get around to doing everything on my list. In between I’ll stumble onto random stuff or maybe get all Prince-like and do something brooding and moody, the purple drain, when Dove makes me cry, so on. Bathroom commentary. And all still under the umbrella of life in the city of Toronto.  Haha! So’s that growth in my fridge. Still can’t believe no one had registered torontocitylife.com – totally blew my mind.

But nothing stands still. Unfortunately, the Flickr group has been quiet for a while and I only have so many photos to go around, so I’ve mothballed it. Not dead, just sleeping. Possibly terminally, who knows. I’ll try to keep it accessible until the end of days. Or until Flickr shuts it down. Whichever comes first.

In its stead I considered some ads from Google. Just … didn’t feel right. Icky. Plus, that’s no way to earn a living. So I’m back to the drawing board or the corporate sponsors really need get their asses in gear (respectfully looking your way, tasty beverage company Second Cup!)

For now though, I think I’ll just stick with the program. More photos, more writing, more stuff – and switch it up a bit in between. I’ve really been meaning to visit with my old undercover friend again; there are still plenty of locations to eat at / shoot up downtown. And I don’t remember restricting our clandestine meeting locations to breakfast joints. Though I do love a good greasy spoon :)

wendy's, restaurant, dundas street east, toronto, city, life

I also like the older bits of the city because they allow me to hearken back to earlier days, which I find amusing. Plus they look so antiquey, which I like.

Aside from these two subjects, I really will need to revisit the Toronto Blog All-Stars again. The “s” on the end implies that there’s more than one, so I kinda have to. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person with a blog in Toronto; just need find out where the others hang out and infiltrate their society. Secretly record our conversations. Then post them online in the form of an “interview”. All mostly not in many ways libelous.

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

The bachelor lifestyle

Posted on December 30th, 2009 6 Comments

I was recently asked if I enjoy being a bachelor.

So far, my answer has to be hells … yeah.

Ask anyone who knows me, I’m definitely not phobic of long-term relationships, I think it’s just that I’m trying to recreate some of those televised dorm room shenanigans because of my own, contrary college experience. It was a community college, strikingly similar to the grouped-together rejects of the TV show Community, but with less of the dry, carefully crafted and craftily delivered humour rolling off Joel McHale’s tongue.

I was surrounded by forty-seven-year-old men who, back home, had been military jet technicians, architects, and — no kidding — bona fide brain surgeons. Often, they would correct the professor (or teacher for those who weren’t allowed to assume the title), much to everyone’s mutual amusement. (“Can’t believe I pay for this horseshit!! Why don’t I just hang around with Mr. Kim here?!”) Plus, our language and cultures often kept our relationships simply cordial. I mean, I was curious to learn about The East, but I found that I really didn’t like kimchi at all. That pretty much put an end to me trying any Korean beer. Plus, they each had families and worked 50 hours after school + studying just to be able to cover tuition (it’s a lot higher if you’re not Canadian), and sadly, yes, in the most prototypical downtown convenience stores one could imagine.

On the recognized work experience scale, I was roughly their supervisor’s supervisor. I could definitely fire their sorry asses. It was a strange dynamic, but at least I was in enough debt that we could share that misery equally (but usually them more than me). And cheating off them was a guaranteed success (a generous coffee a day gets you places! ;) ). But it was no Joel McHale making out with Gillian Jacobs, or Alison Brie. Or even Yvette Nicole Brown. (Even though you know that that last plot line will have to develop at some point. Only way to keep the show classy.)

Maybe I’m being unnecessarily sentimental. I should probably stop listening to those awful Chet Baker songs, especially this time of year.

Are you like me? Do you like to sit on the floor in a crumpled, sobbing heap, running through all the missed opportunities of your youth in your head, again and again? Right, exactly, neither do I. I mean, I’ve tried it a few times but I just can’t seem to get the rhythm of the comforting rocking motion down. And I just don’t see how it solves anything.

But old Chet and his awful good music remind us how cool it is to be a bachelor, especially this time of year.

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

The repellent scent of man and other tidings of joy

Posted on December 29th, 2009 13 Comments

Last day of vacation; regret upon regret. I was supposed to do all sorts of things before the arbitrary tick of the annum clock (I’m very annal about some things). But I did manage to clean my place in time for the folks’ visit — I was up until the unholy hours, but I did it! And my parents expressed surprise that it wasn’t as dystopian and shelled-out as I had led them to believe.

In the process, incidentally, I had another break in the missing underwear case — possibly the break.

laundry, socks, underwear, margarine container, toronto, city, life

Two breaks, actually. Number one, my whities. So that’s one less to worry about. And a margarine container?

NO … FREAKIN’ … WAY!!

Okay, back story here. I had found similar containers, many caked with mud and (seemingly) dried saliva, in a variety of nooks and crannies around the place. Gotta tell ya, I didn’t remember absconding with any margarine containers from, really, anywhere recently. I don’t even eat margarine – I’m a real creamery butter kinda guy. So I was initially mystified as to how they had all ended up in my flat.

One day, while sitting on my couch watching something pleasantly dull, a black squirrel hopped onto the sill just behind the monitor — Ollie uses that window to get out onto the overhang and lord over his domain one storey below. I always kept the possibility of something getting into the flat at the back of my head. There are some overfed raccoons that like to hang around at the jumping-distance tree in the front yard. And the wires that hang from the street to the house make jumping mostly unnecessary for anything smaller. Not for Ollie – he’s too comfortable, but squirrels and chipmunks, no problem.

Whatever would get in, I thought, would likely ransack the kitchen for something to nibble on. There would be ample evidence that I’d finally been broken into by wildlife and that I was right not to trust them all along. Especially raccoons – they already look like criminals for God’s sake!

But when I spotted that squirrel on the sill, and what was that in it’s mouth? A margarine container?

Aha!

The squirrel had been storing its margarine surreptitiously at my place for the winter – basically using it as a food cupboard. That, I had not expected. I’d also expected Ollie to be a little more vigilant with guarding the flat against invading rodents with chaseably bushy tails. But he literally picked up his head, glanced at the squirrel, gave me a glazed-over look, and dropped his head right back down to sleep. Ollie and old Blackie, it seems, are old buddies. What other explanation is there?

The squirrel leapt, almost imperceptibly, to the side table that holds my monitor, margarine container in full view. I thought that the act of standing up suddenly would be enough to spook the squirrel back out into the night. Nope. Little fucker stood there, didn’t even flinch. Just kinda side-glanced me like he was dissing me. I could’ve sworn I heard him kiss his teeth.

I took two steps forward – the full width of my living room – only then did the squirrel finally mosey back over to the sill. This was in late November, I knew I’d be keeping the windows closed for the next half decade-ish, so I was really more curious to look into the eyes of such an audacious creature than to try to scare it from entering again. Perhaps promise that I would eat its heart for courage if I ever caught it and killed it it in a death match or found its frozen carcass out in the snow – in true urban warrior spirit, and out of respect for its brave little soul.

I would cry a little when I ate that squirrel.

Luckily I don’t have to do that. The squirrel finally walked off and has only flitted by my window on rare occasions. I’m still finding the random margarine container wedged between the sofa cushions or stuck in behind the bookcase, but the mountain of rags reeking with the repellent scent of man is no longer available, and the window is closed now anyway. I saw the squirrel a couple of weeks ago as I was trying to squeeze open-window season to its limit – he eyed me from the sill, margarine container firmly in his grasp, but the fight will have to wait until spring – he retreated and I haven’t seen him since. He’s now probably nestled into a hole in a tree or in some sucker’s comfortable drywall, family cozied up for warmth, my missing underwear at the entrance keeping predators at bay with a chemical-scent shield. If the little ones have the constitution of their dad, the odour won’t faze them. Impressive.

So, yeah, no freakin’ way. It must be the squirrel. And I accused Ollie of the undergarment thefts already; I feel like a heel. He pretended not to understand what I was saying. I could tell he was hurt though; he had that dejected look on his face and stopped eating for, like, 300 seconds. It seemed like an eternity. Now I may owe him a huge apology. Then I’ll cuss him out for letting the squirrel in here.

But other than the case, of course, I’ve been busy with Christmas.

christmas tree, gifts, presents, living room, toronto, city, life

I spent a good amount of my life on GO trains, heading west to see my sister, twice, and then east to gather some documents. The documents ended up being the one gift I’d been hoping for this season – both some evidence that the ex is entangled in some untoward business (at my expense :( ), and the fact that finally, I can say with authority … I was right. Oooh. Plus, I learned a couple of new pieces of information — stocking stuffers. Sent a shiver up my spine. Maybe I watch too much Poirot, but I definitely felt a private investigator vibe – and I liked it.

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures