Archive for February, 2008

The Upside to Winter

As much as we Canadians like to whine about winter, the snow, the cold, the winds, the endless (these days) grey skies, there is one really nice thing about this time of year. Yes, it is true that during the cold winter months, there are no mosquitoes, no blackflies or flies, no cats digging in the garden (or if they are who cares right now), no stinky skunks, for the most part, and no wasps, but those still aren’t the nicest part about cold weather.

Nope, the nicest part about winter is that the marauding, vandalizing, city-sanctioned masked bandits are hardly to be seen. Our garbage, our decks, our gardens, our dogs and cats, and ourselves are safe…until mating season.

Snowy Days

This February has seen triple the usual amount of snow falling on our streets, lawns, trees, and heads. Snow started falling last year, and at first, Torontonians were none too happy and slipped, slided into cover. Now we shrug over 10 cm, as we did yesterday. Perhaps, too, Torontonians finally discovered the usefullness of snow tires and relearnt how to drive in the snow, and so it no longer fazes us. I hope white winters continue. There is nothing more depressing than looking at brown on the ground and grey in the sky.

Crepes a GoGo

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Ronen at Crepes a GoGo
by Carl Weaver

My lovely wife and I recently decided to get a bite to eat before entering the Toronto Reference Library for some intense work and sunshine deprivation. We happened upon Crepes a GoGo at 18 Yorkville Avenue and could not have been more pleased. The food really hit the spot – delicious crepes steaming with fresh ingredients. On top of it, the restaurant had a musical guest in the form of an accordion player, who played such pieces as Stairway to Heaven and The Hokey Pokey. All this was in the background, though, as we chatted and enjoyed the expert sounds of such a wonderful musician.

This wasn’t any sort of polka accordion player, mind you, but someone who could tickle the ivories in the traditional French style I learned to recognize from a childhood filled with the sounds of Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel. Despite the nontraditional performance choices, the sound was very reminiscent of that time gone by, punctuated with the music of my father’s years as a soldier in France. If you go on Saturdays or holidays you can hear some very nice music. Alas, the lad has his plate full with other vocations during other times.

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Happy Crepe Eater
by Carl Weaver

Veronique, the owner/manager, came to our table to make sure we enjoyed our meal and were completely satisfied. I immediately felt at home in her presence, as if I had known her before and was visiting from afar and getting to know her again. Watching her work was a real treat as well, as her joy showed in what she did and the interactions with the customers and staff.

Crepes a GoGo does more than sell delicious, fresh food. They have an entire mood and feel to the restaurant experience that is worth every penny for the crepes you are sure to enjoy. Go see Veronique; she will take care of you. Tell her Carl the photographer sent you.

New Topping At Pizza Pizza

As I was having my own pizza woes in Bethesda, MD, a local pizza lover discovered new toppings from Pizza Pizza. From his Flickr post:

Yes, this is how the slice came: a used and soiled “Convenience Size” bottle of Vaseline moisturizer, as found in a Pizza Pizza, bagged slice of pizza; purchased in-store at 8:30PM (EST) 23 February 2008, Yonge St near Bloor St (Toronto, Canada).

I give Pizza Pizza a seven for creativity, as they were clearly thinking outside the box on this one, although they obviously went for something close at hand rather than making a concerted effort to try more inventive toppings. For delivery and visual appeal, I would have to give them a two. I can imagine worse pizza toppings, but I don’t think I care to.

The real question – and one I hope our pizza-loving friend can inform us of – how tasty was it? Did it live up to the high standards we have come to know Pizza Pizza embraces?

Brown Leather Shoe ISO Guy Missing Shoe

Lost shoe in snow bank

I found this shoe at the Tim Horton’s parking lot near Pearson Airport on Airport Road. What was curious to me is that it was not covered in snow, leading me to wonder how fast you have to try to run in the snow for a shoe to fly off and for you to not notice or care. I suppose after enough time in the snow, you may not have a need for it anymore.

Hey, Toronto – tell me the truth. What’s with abandoned shoes we see all over the place? I even once saw an abandoned roller blade in San Francisco once. You’d think someone would notice that. How do shoes come to be in this condition?

Musings on Taxes, Snow, and Garbage

Yesterday Global News Ontario reported that house sales are down dramatically in Toronto, yet have risen in a couple of 905 areas like Richmond Hill or Ajax. The thrust of the report was that the new land transfer tax is already affecting house sales in the 416 area, and then they ended it by saying maybe it was the weather because you couldn’t park anywhere in order to view houses.

Personally, I think it’s too early to tell. Year-over-year sales may be an indicator that the new Toronto land transfer tax is already chilling sales, yet the housing market doesn’t start heating up traditionally until the end of February or early spring. It’s usually a bit slow at this point in time, and so I’d be more interested in seeing what sales do in April, May, and June. Although I still believe doubling the land transfer tax for Toronto homes only was a dumb idea, I don’t think we can say “see, we told you so” yet.

It was nice that Toronto finally decided to shave the snow banks in my neighbourhood down to an easy-to- drive-onto height. And I totally get why side streets need to be plowed in the middle of the night, but could we possibly refrain from scaring the bejeesus out of us sound sleepers by not plowing the bare asphalt in a futile and very-late attempt to get rid of the tall snow-and-ice rut down the middle of the road. I thought Armageddon was descending upon me when this scraping thunder roared into my sleep, convincing me something nasty was coming right into my bedroom. And why was my street’s snow rut plowed several hundred times, and the rest of my neighbourhood left untouched?

And because I can’t leave this post without making at least one comment on Toronto’s stupid garbage policy, let me just note that I had to walk on the road the other day because the EMPTY bins were hogging the cleared part of the sidewalk. Now if the garbage had been put in bags, the sidewalk would have been free and clear for pedestrians to use once the garbage truck had trundled on by.

The Perfect Lunar Eclipse

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Last night is was a toss up between the Lunar Eclipse and The Toronto Raptors. For me the I decided to stay indoors and watch the Raps manhandle the Orlando Magic. For Soaleha, one of our top MB Toronto Flickr group contributors, it was the Eclipse.

Fire Hits Queen West Hard

A devastating fire hit Queen Street early this morning. Several business along the strip including Duke’s Cycle were hit by the blaze. My heart goes out to the residents and business owners faced with such a thing.

Note the TTC have diverted the 501 Queen Streetcar down to King to avoid the fire scene.

The CHL is Black History

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Halifax Eurekas 1906 of the CHL – Coloured Hockey League

In keepinmg intouch with my Canadian Black History research I can across some information about the the game of Hockey and it’s early years. Pretty interesting stuff. I also came across George and Darril Fosty’s book Black Ice which I am currently in the hunt for so I can read it in full.

Here is a post from the Black Athlete Sports Wire:

CELEBRATING OUR BLACK SPORTS HEROES- HOCKEY STYLE!

February is Black History Month.It is also “Hockey is for Everyone Month.” Since 2003, the National Hockey League has set aside the month of February to honor the contributions of blacks to the sport of hockey. To those of you who don’t follow the sport because it’s perceived as only a sport that “white people with no teeth play” are saying to yourselves, “what contributions?”

You may know of current players such as Anson Carter and Jerome Iginla. You may even know of such black hockey pioneers like Willie O’Ree and Grant Fuhr. But that’s as far as it goes. But there is a lot more that blacks have given to the sport of hockey that even an avid hockey fan like myself didn’t even know about.

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HDTV – The Beginning or the End of the Age of Television

Like the advent of the CD and DVD, HDTV promises to surpass the sound, resolution and clarity of its predecessor, traditional analog TV. Ah but quality is a matter of personal taste. The sorry state of most Pop music’s one hit wonders are recorded in pristine digital surround on hundreds of tracks vs. the Beatles catalogue recorded on tape (for the most part using 4 Tracks!). A case of SONGWRITING over studio auto-tuning, reverb and effects.

Day by day we creep closer to the rabbit ear doomsday. In 2011 , well August 31, 2011 to be exact, analog over-the-air broadcasts will be shut off and replaced by digital TV. Is the sky really falling that fast? Are the estimated three million Canadians that still rely on rabbit ears or other antenna for their TV signals doomed? The average Joe and Jane have more than 3 years of Survivor, American Gladiators and other quality educational programing to lust over in inferior analog bliss. What are they thinking?

Will the government subsidize set boxes or will the TV be shut off forever? Will free TV go the way of the the dodo? I think more of the later will be true. People are more prone to turn off than tune in. More and more people are programing their own entertainment. YouTube, the local video store, or personal content (home video/digital cameras are taking off these days even on cell phones!). Writers strikes and reality TV overload are making more and more people ditch the TV habit. Low budget straight to DVD movies are not exactly packing the theatres right? Sure there are those who spend more than $4,000 to sit on their butts and watch TV or spend $50 for a night at the movies but this is not the majority.

The bidding war is officially on as Toronto business big wig John Bitove has already proposed a plan to kick off a station. My guess is that it will be all for nothing (or nearly nothing).

TV becomes irrelevant more and more each day. Google was smart to gobble up YouTube. Yahoo would be a sweet take over for Microsoft as they would grab Flickr. The next wave of media appears to be self created media. Doesn’t fair well for TV. What? I can hear you over my radio…LoL

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