Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guess what I'm doing next month?

[editor's note: TIFF = Toronto International Film Festival]

While I am getting kinda tired of the "V" word, if it wasn't for that, I'd have nothing to do and no one to hang out with in this city.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another one bites the dust

Okay, so I didn't get the job I had applied for. I'm sensing a pattern here ... and it is not flattering.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A perfect birthday, indeed ...

When I discovered that Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition started on my birthday, I knew what I would do to celebrate. That, or I was going to go see the new movie, Piranha 3D. But then I did a little web research and discovered that the CNE's neighbouring amusement centre, Ontario Place, offered a special where admission was free on your birthday. Bingo. Free day. I'm in.

Keep in mind, Ontario Place is kinda sorta adjoining the CNE, so admission to one gets you into the other -- two for the price of one. And that price is free. Did I say Bingo yet?

I set my alarm nice and early. Then when it rang in the morning, I told myself it was my birthday; alarm clocks have no place on birthdays. (really, alarm clocks have little place in my life lately; I simply chose to blame my birthday on Friday) So, a little later than my plan had planned, I was off for the day.

[Aside: I had to forcibly keep my cheery nature while on the street car, because a blind woman got on but the (insert expletives here) who were sitting in the prefered seating section didn't move, didn't rise to move, didn't even speak to the woman to say "hey, someone is sitting here." And they weren't even teenagers. They were two middle aged men and one middle aged woman. And the street car wasn't even full. There were many other non-prefered seats for where these people could relocate their asses. After the blind woman felt for, and touched, the third person sitting where they shouldn't, I blurted out "Someone give her a seat, my god!" Then one of the lazy asses, the woman, did jump up, but I'm pretty sure it was from being startled by my exclamation, not out of an intention to give the blind woman a seat. I told myself not to let it colour the day I was determined would be fun.]

What I discovered, though, is if I take the street car right to the CNE stop, there is no walking around the CNE as I had planned, to get to Ontario Place. You have to walk through the CNE. Which yes, had a discounted admission price because it was opening day, but discounted is not the same as free. (have I discussed that I am a cheapskate -- I mean financially prudent?)

After determining that I couldn't go around to the east, I tried the west -- and discovered that when I walked on the road by a sign that said "Exit", I was suddenly on the fairgrounds without having paid admission. ?! "Frugal" as I may be, I wasn't looking to be a gate crasher (even though technically, what I was was a Road Walker).

So, in order to be as un-illegal as possible, I stuck to the very edges of the grounds, where there was no fun or cotton candy to be had, and circled around to where I could see the entrance to Ontario Place ... and found myself nose to chain link with a large fence erected to make sure people who haven't paid for the CNE can't get in. What's the rule about scaling a fence, when you haven't paid, so you can get out?

At that point, I saw a security guard watching me, so I walked up to her. She asked if she could see my ticket, and I quite honestly said "I don't have one -- I just want to get to Ontario Place." The confused look on her face quite rightly reflected that I shouldn't have been able to get to where I was if I didn't have a ticket ... but perhaps she was thrown off by my own look of general confusion.

I got the same confused look when I followed the guard's direction and found myself at a desk at Ontario Place -- how did I get here without a CNE ticket? Again, I was honest: "Really, I don't know either. I made a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up where I shouldn't have been. Can I get my free pass now?"

And then, cue the fun. Most of Ontario Place is a family amusement centre, full of entertainment for rugrats not in my possession. But it is right on the lakefront, so there was much sitting and watching the water on my part ...



... with some friends ...


... and my best friend of all ...


... and a bit of a show off ...


I did go on two rides that were adult friendly, but mostly just walked around and took in the atmosphere and the lovely weather -- not all that hot, but not all that cloudy. It was Goldilocks weather: juust right.

After a few hours, I returned to the CNE, this time with proper hand stamp and ticket. There is little of photo-note there. One exhibition is largely the same as another across this great country of ours. Again, just roamed around, saw a few performances at a couple of pavillions...

... picked up a few old friends ...


The ride home took me a little over an hour, what with traffic and stops for all the people stuffed on the streetcar and then subway. It occurred to me that in that time I could have gone from Pincher to Lethbridge. Odd that.

(I still had some old friends left over this morning ... for breakfast)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy tears!

Edmonton wildlife rehab group moves to new digs

I'm particularly fond of the quote "...the society has a sterling reputation."

Leaving WRSE behind was one of the hardest parts of my decision to move, probably because it may have been the one thing in Edmonton that I really put my heart and soul into. Knowing how bright its future will be makes me so proud, but the fact that I won't be a part of it makes me pretty sad.

It's like I released a rehab shelter that I helped back into the world, and now have to let it thrive without me. I'm happy for it ... and sad for me.

Spontaneously, I chose to be impetuous.

Yesterday I had a job interview for a job I really want -- so I pulled on my "it's 27 degrees outside with 76 percent humidity" interview outfit (a hot pink cotton shirt with white cotton pants and grape-purple gladiator sandals bought specifically for Lynn's wedding last week but capable of doing double duty nicely). After the interview (that I think went well -- it was a first interview, used to narrow down the talent pool to decide who they want to ask back for the "actual" interview sometime in the coming weeks) I had intended to finally check out the much ballyhooed Kensington Market along with the Art Gallery of Ontario (they are in relatively the same area -- and the AGO is free on Wednesdays after 6 p.m.) ... but as attractive as grape-purple gladiator sandals are within the context of weddings and job interviews, they fall remarkably short in the context of walking about town in sticky hot weather. Still, the social event for an online writers group I was going to attend wasn't for a few hours, so time needed to be killed. What kills time better than Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore? (yes, that was rhetorical). And I can sit when pursuing that option.

After the movie and onto the bar where the meet is to take place, I discover that I am an hour early. Was I given the wrong time, or did I write down the wrong time? Turns out it mattered little to me since I wasn't married to the idea of meeting up with people who -- last time I met up with them -- were insufferable boors who would certainly find no amusement in my being witness to K. Galore's revenge. I intended that to be the end of my day, but after buying a token for the subway, I found myself physically incapable of bringing myself to drop it in the turnstile. I decided to wait out the boors just for something to do.

Across the street from the bar, though, I got distracted by this:

An inflatable movie screen! I had heard about these! An outdoor movie screening at random parks in the city. What movie? How should I know (- were you not following that I hadn't planned to see this?) But years ago, a friend and I used to revel in an evening of arriving at a repertory theatre on time to see a show without knowing anything about what was playing (okay, we knew the title. it was hard to not know the title, given it was on the marquee when we entered the theatre). It was fun to be surprised. So now, with the sun on its way off its perch, sitting outside in a park with a breeze watching a surprise movie seemed most pleasant indeed. Sadly, it wasn't to start for 90 minutes -- but aha! I had some of my writing with me from a failed attempt to go to the library and write in an air conditioned location earlier in the week. Out it came, and so ticked away the minutes.

A lady in a hot pink sweater and white pants ended up sitting next to me, saying she didn't want to sit in the grass with her friends at the other end of the park, then laughed that we would only look like bookends if she did anyway. I liked this lady. She told me that we were about to see Cairo Time, which I had heard very good things about and thought was a lovely choice for an summer eve screening in the park. Turned out, I was right. It was a beautifully understated movie, and Jane (or did she say her name was Jan?) was a delightful benchmate. We exchanged humourous comments sporadically throughout the movie, but mostly sat silently and enjoyed.

After the movie, I decided to pop into the bar to see if the writers were still lingering. They were. They also were neither welcoming nor inclusive so I stayed exactly 45 seconds before deciding that life is too short and I choose to take away from my night a random encounter with a stranger on a park bench watching a movie in the night air instead of a lingering taste of boor in my mouth. Schmoozing? Not tonight dear, I have an aversion to haught.

Still, I was in the mood for something ... else. I decided I'd go towards home and stop off at a 24 hour McDonalds by my place to continue some of the writing I had done earlier in the night. But on my way to the subway, I was once again distracted by fate's surprises:

It was eleven o'clock on a Wednesday night, for propriety's sake! People were just hanging out, watching a few random street dancers, reading, talking, relaxing and people-watching in Dundas Square. So I found a table in one corner of the square and hauled out my writing once more. I ended up between two groups of young men -- the left group was engaged in an African dialect of some fashion, while my right ear was treated to the insistent tones of excited Arabic chatter. Which was exactly what I wanted since I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying. I am least creative in a quiet environment, and have always studied with my radio or the tv on, but the balance between what is background noise and what is distracting is a constant struggle. Energetic conversations in two foreign languages -- perfect!

At midnight, my increasingly constrictive grape-purple gladiator shoes decided that my day simply must come to an end NOW. That, and I just could no longer pretend that I was not aware of how sticky and salty I had become over the course of a humid August afternoon in downtown Toronto. When your inner elbows smack together and peel apart every time you move your arms, it is time to retreat to your own shower for a quick hose-down.

Midnight on a Wednesday. This is Dundas Square at midnight on a Wednesday:


On a closing note: If you could put your love for another human being in the form of a monetary sum, and that sum happened to add up to $4,000, I know what would make a certain birthday girl very happy next week:

(Course you'd have to buy her a new apartment, too. There's no way this painting can be displayed in anything less than a lakefront condo with floor to ceiling windows and an open concept design.)