Archive for February, 2010

Spiky metal shard restaurant

Posted on February 25th, 2010 6 Comments

Eighteen hours on. Two hours of sleep (well, I had four until I had to get up again, but it was hard to turn off), then another twelve. You may wonder if the management believes it’s that important. Well, much to their credit, they’re there before I get there and often well after I leave. So I think they do and I’m trying to help ‘em out. But coding is mostly undivided concentration. That’s tough on the ole noggin’

I really wasn’t planning on writing about work but that’s been my experience for almost two weeks now. That and dark haze and memories of an apartment and Oliver. Okay, I stretch a bit, but feel I’ve been making a pretty fucking honest effort and have been in that seat more than not. And the part I’m working on is somewhat big and complex – it’s a good chunk of the overall effort. I also stitched together everyone else’s pieces. And patched them up where they had holes or got unstitched somehow, or by someone. Oy vey!

But the end result will be pretty nice, I believe. Actually, it’s pretty close now. Down to the wire. I ended up re-writing the core engine at the last minute to make it play better (it’s a game), and I was actually enjoying testing it. Good sign.

Here’s a Haiku to sum it up:

I’m staying afloat.

It’s too bad I can’t segue.

For you, here’s a boat.

captain john's restaurant, 1 yonge street, toronto, city, life

This is Captain John’s, a ship-borne restaurant harboured at the absolute foot of Yonge Street. The M.S. Jadran is pretty much a sitting hulk. There is some doubt about whether or not she can be moved without something falling off. Passengers getting impaled on shards of spiky, twisted hull metal would be bad for business. They’d never pass the health inspection after that!

The selling price recently dropped from $1.5 million to $1.1. The Toronto Star took that to mean that John Letnik, the guy who’s trying to sell her, is getting more desperate. I don’t know if I believe that.

captain john's restaurant, 1 yonge street, toronto, city, life

Competition around town is certainly heating up. I can attest to the fact that literally from any street corner in downtown Toronto, you will see a large new building under construction when you look in the cardinal directions. There are parts of town where entire skylines are going up.

The resident boat-restaurant business is, I believe, somewhat of a niche market. Selling the Jadran will probably take some time and, I sincerely hope, result in a very public string of colourful characters who want to make the boat into everything from a three-ring circus to a performing art piece. It’ll take a hundred restaurants at the bases of nearby towers to realize what a great thing this ship could be, even with all her baggage. Plus, all those new buildings will house hungry mouths. And I had a gander at the lunch menu (a hand-folded photocopy) — $7.95 for most of their maritime delights.

What a catch!

Okay, and think you and I both know, dear reader, why this has to end for today. It’s gone too far.

captain john's restaurant, 1 yonge street, toronto, city, life

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

The Projects Project, pt.2

Posted on February 23rd, 2010 10 Comments

…continued from previous part.

The “trial by fire”, as my manager put it, continues. This is the eighth straight day of 12-hours-per-day, no-breaks keyboard bashing and code-slinging. Sheer exhaustion set in about two days ago. The deadline looms, I get it — I just better get a few days off after this is all over!

In the meantime, however, the small pocket of wit I had stored at the back of my brain was used up about four days ago. I hope you bear with me through this challenging time, dear reader. It’s hard enough to just string a sentence together let alone something coherent. At least there are some photos to fill in the gibberish!

Plus, thankfully, Regent Park has a history that I can regurgitate to pretend like I’m saying something meaningful :) For example, after a little digging around I learned that Regent Park was considered a slum in the heart of Cabbagetown well before it was destined for the projects. In other words, I don’t think the buildings necessarily made it what it is. But I don’t think they helped.

There, didn’t that sound meaningful? Haha … I can’t even tell anymore!

Anystars, the northern part of Regent Park was built in the early fifties, the southern nearly a decade later. Apparently the guy who designed the southern towers won an award. From the air, I guess, they’re nicely arranged. On the ground though, they just don’t seem terribly people-friendly.

south regent park, shuter street, community public housing, apartments, flats, toronto, city, life

Oh don’t get me wrong, the place has “fascinating history” written all over it, even if that history isn’t necessarily all happy. Why the heck else would I go there? I already have enough crack at home.

There are some unusual aspects to the place that give it a little more fat around the jowl; you know — character. It is, after all, easy to dismiss it as that place you avoid at night, but that’s way too simplistic.

south regent park, community housing project, shuter street, toronto, city, life

The majority of Regent Park is composed of mostly poor Asian people who’ve been living there for decades, most of them with kids. The predominant ethnic group is Chinese. Which pretty much proves that the Chinese are troublemakers. But if you don’t buy that, it at least shows that the problems that Regent Park has aren’t necessarily caused by one group or another.

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

The Projects Project, pt.1

Posted on February 19th, 2010 3 Comments

Wow, I sure am being put through the paces these days. Big client. Big deadlines. No weekend :( Gonna be pounding the keyboard hard, so I’ll keep it brief and choppy. But luckily, that’s probably the best style to adopt for what’s coming up.

Also, I luckily managed to string that U of T series along for a bit, and even more luckily, the this week’s stuff is considerably less soppy: Regent Park!

It all started with a great documentary called Invisible City that I saw on TVO last Sunday.

In it I learned all sorts of interesting things, like Regent Park is Canada’s original housing project. And much like many of it’s American cousins, this one went south. You know, the usual stuff; drugs, violence, poverty, all mushed together in a gooey mess. There’s a northern part, made up of short and brutish red brick buildings facing each other antagonistically, and a southern part consisting of a cluster of tall, low-privacy, high-density apartments ringed by run-down townhouses.

What struck me as sad about the documentary, though, is that the two kids are already feeling a bit nostalgic for the place, both because of the course of their lives and, I suspect, because the neighbourhood’s being torn down. The new buildings being put up contain starter condos — around $200 Gs. That’s a very reasonable price for a downtown location and is a much more affordable starter loan. As shocking as this may sound, I think the city actually did something right there – it seems to make sense.

Unfortunately, it also means that Regent Park may be disappearing. I mean, it’ll be a while yet, but the revitalization is slated for completion around 2015. And, once again, bizarre as this may seem, I believe that the project is mostly on schedule. Weird, right? Maybe it’s because this is my homegirl’s ward.

In any event, shortly after watching the documentary I decided I had to see it for myself. I only had to walk a few blocks. I know! All this time and I’ve never been!

Well, I went, and I got a little panorama-happy. At least at the beginning — kept me in a natural three-sixty motion. Smart! But I relaxed eventually, though the place continued to be unpleasant. In the middle of February, not a place to bring your valentine. Well, maybe the right one ;)

Anyhow, the buildings may look a bit warped, but at least you’ll have context. But, because of so much context, I humbly request your patience when you click on the pics -– they’re loading, they’re just big. Now’s the time to get that refreshment you’ve been thinking about. Go ahead, it’s alright, that photo won’t go nowhere :)

Also, I’d recommend turning on full-screen mode (usually under the “View” menu at the top – or try hitting the F11 key). Stick your schnoz into the monitor to complete the effect. Finally, because the photos will probably take up more than your whole window, you should probably know how to get back here :D You have a few options:

1) Hit the ESC key. Works for me, probably will for you :)
2) Use the scroll bars, or the arrow keys, to scroll to the lower-right corner of the photo (down and right). Just below that is the close button.
3) Use the scroll bars, or the arrow keys, to scroll above or below the photo. Then just click anywhere on the blog.

And please enjoy your visit!

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Continued in next part…

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures