Archive for the ‘good bad ugly’ Category

MAC Girl in a Bikini

Scarborough Town Centre is growing. Lululemon just opened a store there. And MAC has a bikini model. Okay, not the best segue ever.

At first I thought she was a mannequin, but then she moved and I did a classic double take as the escalator lifted me away from her orangey complexion.

Several questions came to mind: How long has MAC been doing this? How much is she getting paid? Don’t people find this odd and degrading? What’s she advertising? Full body make up? How long has she been sitting there? Are those 2-inch heels?

As myriad questions floated through my mind, I couldn’t help but replay the last image I saw of her as I walked up the escalator. She had a hugely fake smile on as a mall patron waved at her. It seemed kinda sad.

It’s Spring!

It’s Spring — as of 8:07 pm last night! So I thought a shot of a sunny crocus from last spring would be a nice way to celebrate since it still looks like winter with snow covering the ground, melting under the sun where the sun can catch it, and no sign of a crocus, nary a shoot in my garden, the usual sure sign of spring. However, is it my imagination or did the squirrels suddenly get skinny and acquire afterburners yesterday? They’ve gone completely bonkers. One keeps crashing into the base of a nearby tree, and another goes back and forth, back and forth at hyperspeed. The flowers may not have noticed the change in season, but these critters sure have!

The Reality of Raccoons

I hate raccoons. I haven’t always, only when they insisted on holding their screaming matches during final exams. But now I do. They’re vicious, dangerous to humans and dogs with their sharp claws and teeth — except possibly pit bulls where I think it’s the other way around — and filthy vandalizers. They dump garbage everywhere, toss garden furniture, poop on the patio or the patio chair, threaten your dogs, and kill each other off. They have always been a fact of urban life, at least in Toronto, but because of city regulations, they have become more than just a nuisance. They’re become the summertime horror show.
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Shoddy Wire Work in the Distillery District

I photographed this building in the Distillery District on a cold, windy day, with snow blowing everywhere, which might be why I didn’t notice the wire strung across the front until after I uploaded the shot. The wire not only strings across the brick, but in one place, they even nailed it across a windowsill.

Homeowners have to keep a beady eye on Bell guys, electricians, and cable guys, else they’ll string wire all over the front of your house. They’ll even argue with you over why they have to make your nice-looking frontage unsightly with hanging wire. Only if you put your foot down, will they finally find a way to hide the wire and still get the job done. I never thought architects and owners of commercial property would have the same problem, having more clout and more money to spend.

So what happened here? As one of my Flickr viewers Maureen F. said, “it is funny when they go to such trouble to reno and restore ……and then have crappy wire hanging off of it!!”

No Fun Permitted!

I saw a news item the other day on how Grenadier Pond has not been inspected for ice thickness since the time of amalgamation. Before then, the city regularly drilled holes in the ice to assess it for skating safety and open it to skaters when safe to do so. But one councillor justified the change in rules by claiming it would be too expensive to drill regularly (why wasn’t it before?) and open the city to liability if someone fell through the ice (and why wasn’t that an issue before amalgamation)? Bureaucrats and lawyers once again make decisions for all of us based on rules, not on real human behaviour, common sense, and urban quality of life.

Fortunately, one councillor, Paula Fletcher sees the need for regular inspections so as to open up the Pond once again to skaters, officially. After all, people are out there skating and playing hockey despite the flimsy and permanent “no skating” sign beside the Pond and the stern bold letters on its website. It’s Toronto’s civic duty to ensure that those skaters are on safe ice, not to run and hide cause the lawyers are clanging the warning bells. Besides which, because of the weather, we’re increasingly skating on outdoor hockey rinks or indoors in arenas and becoming separated from our natural environment. Even the in-between arena and pond ice of local park rinks are extinct. If Ottawa can open the Rideau Canal and have a winter festival on it, why can’t Toronto open Grenadier Pond to those Torontonians who want to skate in the fresh air, on nature’s ice, away from the artificiality of our city?

McGuinty Marks Time on Bill 2 as Another Dies in a Fire

Bill 2: An Act to Amend the Building Code Act, 1992 respecting home fire sprinklers

I had no idea politicians could be brief and lucid. But MPP Linda Jeffrey (Brampton Centre) wrote a concise private member’s bill, Bill 2, first read on 13 October 2005, which simply put, requires all newly constructed residences, whether apartment buildings, semi-detached, detached, or row housing, to install sprinkler systems. Second reading occurred on 3 November 2005. The McGuinty government has since allowed the bill to languish, just like many a private member’s bill.

Meanwhile, Vancouver has had a similar law in place since 1990 — that’s 17 years ago and counting — and according to the Toronto Star, 40% of homes there now have sprinklers. No-one has died in accidental fires in any of the sprinkler-equipped homes. But in Toronto between 10-15 people die every year needlessly, just like that elderly woman a few days ago on January 29th.

Sky Weight

Nothing but endless grey skies. This is not supposed to be Toronto. November used to be grey skies and the beginning of snow. December brought in a few blue skies and more snow falling. January froze us to the marrow and blinded our eyes with sun and deep blue skies and glistening snow. February continued the bright blue deep freeze. And greyness only returned with March.

Now it’s grey grey grey. More and more each winter. No wonder we elected the same stuck-in-the-dark-ages, get-nothing-revitalized cabal. We’ve lost all hope. We watch chunks of Gardiner drop, shrug our heads back into our coats, and carry on, knowing nothing will change. Toronto is doomed.

I hate you grey sky!

Are Drivers Bad in T.O.?

We were talking after Christmas about story ideas for Toronto Metroblog, and the question came up: is it safe to drive in Toronto? I had a ready answer to that question — No! — but at the time was still obedient to my muzzle and said nothing. Then about a week and a half ago, I had a wake-up call, and no more will I remain silent, not about what happened to me nor about what happens every day because of the culpability of the government, the shenanigans of the automobile insurance industry, and the sheer destructiveness of our so-called legal system, all of whom allow bad drivers continue to be bad drivers.
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Christmas Windows

I drove by The Bay on Queen the other day and thought, “Hey! They’ve got Christmas Windows!!” For a long time, Simpsons, later The Bay, had not done Christmas Windows; you remember, those windows filled with tableaux of Christmas stories ancient and Victorian. Instead, they’d fill them with displays of their goods, dressed up to look more festive than usual. And so I had to go back to check these Windows out. And this is what I saw: Narnia.

Now I know Narnia is a Christian fable written by C.S. Lewis, but these windows are taken from the movie, and quite frankly, they’re not Christmas. I’m not going to rant about how Christmas has become that x-word that no-one, especially a commercial establishment or school, must say. Instead, I’m going to say it’s a shame.

After the Santa Claus parade, I couldn’t wait to see Mr. Claus in person, get my photo taken, then bundle up for the trek out into the deep snow and frozen air to see what Simpsons had dreamed up that year. Christmas windows were intricate settings filled with moving characters and hidden spaces you gleefully hunted to find and peek into, telling a traditional story we all knew so well…and sometimes not. But that was the beauty of it, being enchanted by something new or familiar, fighting with the crowds to see and drink in all the details before your parents finally hustled you away.

Video and movies didn’t kill the windows. Children are still fascinated by stories and by the many different ways imaginative adults can bring them alive. But Narnia just doesn’t cut it. These windows aren’t even up to the standard of when I was young (and we won’t say when that was, as I think I’ve already dated myself!). They aren’t attracting a crowd, not even a few for nostalgia sake. But at least it’s a start back to what used to be. And maybe some day kids will experience that old enchantment.

A True TTC Story, No Kidding!

The lights in the subway car go off as we enter the station. They flicker on, then off again. Somebody close by mutters something. The lights go back on.

“Did you say something?” The young Chinese man asks the dyed-blonde, red retina-burning lipsticked woman behind him.

“What?”

“Did you say something?” He repeats curtly.

“No, I certainly did not!” She retorts, her cloud of perfume puffing out.

The doors open.

“Get out of my fucking way kid!” She says as the man strides across the platform, while she struggles out the door behind him.

He looks back, swings onto the escalator, and retorts, “You are one crazy bitch.” He jogs away up the moving stairs while she steps onto the terrazo stairs and shoots back a reply.

“Learn some manners child.”

TTC Kindness!

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