Archive for February, 2009

Coins are, like,

Posted on February 26th, 2009 Be the first to comment

index fingers out-apart-down-together-snap-sville. Dig?

I feel like I’ve discovered a bewitching new world right where my TV monitor used to be. In the same sense as car crashes or deformed kittens are so damn compelling, local access cable offers a dizzying variety of shows that make looking away impossible.

I just want to point out, right up front, that this is neither moaning, bitching, nor complaining. I watch enough dreck that tries to pass itself off as entertainment that, production values aside, local cable is a comparative gleaming jewel.

I mean, there’s absolutely no pretense here.  These folks know that their audience is extremely limited so their shows have a real laissez-faire atmosphere. During weekdays, some of these shows must skim dangerously low over the ratings plains. The effort matches the budget, matches the content, [unfairly] matches audience numbers.

Yet, despite these seeming obstacles, we find encapsulated in each frozen frame a vast, endless realm of entertainment. Kind of like a heavy acid trip.

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Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right

Androids, Rampant Crime and Unicorns

Posted on February 20th, 2009 1 Comment

I was suckled by Bruce Sterling, weaned by William Gibson, and can recite the dialogue in Blade Runner from memory.

So it came as no surprise when, flipping through the latest edition of Eye Weekly while stuffing my face with a Liberty Village jerk chicken sandwich, I was drawn to Shawn Micaleff’s article on development in Toronto and the tensions it raises between pro/anti-urban development advocates.

Like an earlier article I had written, Shawn points out that construction around the metropolis is rampant (the second largest in North America), and that many of the new highrises are indelibly changing the historic face of the city.  He also makes an aborted attempt to connect what’s happening today to a hackneyed version of the future as it was seen from the nineteen-eighties. Aside from a few weak parallels between the cyberpunk genre, Shawn mostly misses the point.

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Filed under: Why I'm Right

Seasonal Urban Archeology

Posted on February 12th, 2009 3 Comments

My best laid plans had all the chances of snow in hell.

I had been depending on the bitter cold to stay in place; I needed liquids to be able to flash-freeze on contact with surfaces. Unfortunately, a major thaw settled over the city and I ended up with nothing more than slush and puddles, and my originally planned topic ran down the storm drain along with everything else.

beneath the thawI was moping along until, my eye being drawn by a reflected glint of sunlight, I spotted something just as worthy of an in-depth article: a filthy snowbank, slowly disintegrating in the gentle afternoon sun, dislodging it’s treasures onto the sidewalk.

It occurred to me that the layers of the grimy snow (and more importantly their contents) were, in a sense, a sort of stratified time capsule much like the earth embankments of traditional archeological digs. Each line represented a period in which it snowed sufficiently to engulf any lost or discarded articles.

beneath the thawWe could (more or less) correlate these layers’ contents to actual calendar days and trace the history of the pile.  A whole two months’ worth of history just lay there in the dirty ice waiting to be uncovered! … Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures


Posted on February 2nd, 2009 Be the first to comment

city constructionI’m veering away from my regular existential indulgences for a bit to wax oracular about a highly visible trend around the sprawl: the influx of permanent influences that will change, and are changing, the face of city.

None of this will even begin to approach news for most Torontonians.

The slow and stealthy creep of Metro stores over the past few years as the company gobbled up A&P/Dominion, Loeb, and other grocery stores, was clearly visible even as it came as a bit of a surprise to locals (that was my impression anyway). The re-branding was simply a facelift on a done deal, but it threw light on a trend which is continued by extra-Torontonian projects such as the Ritz-Carlton Group’s Ritz Residences, the Maned One’s Trump Tower, and even the sweet and matronly franchise of Chez Cora’s.

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Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right