The Macallan

Wonder of wonders, I was invited to a classy event last night! Finally I understand why I have my hair cut by Enzo from time to time.
(insert photo of me standing around, looking casually delicious - never taken - here)
The event was a Macallan scotch tasting and as if that wasn't classy enough One Restaurant (Hazelton Hotel) was the setting and Matchstick played host. Toon was my hook-up and Deck was along as well. Smart girl that Toon, showing up at an event about 90% boys with 2 of her own.
(Toon has more photos - mostly her legs but I'm in there too - here, with the promise of more still to come)
Well. As long as she's happy.

We had the the pleasure of our whiskey guide Marc's knowledge, and 10, 12, 15, 18 and 21 year old vintages with which to wet our whistles.
Much to my delight geography featured heavily in the evening's information. Scotland to America and the north of Spain, we learned all about oaken varieties, cask manufacture and how distinct environments donate flavour to the drink through a woody medium.

Marc even gave us a chemistry lesson, the relative merits of ice cubes, ice balls and chilled Lake Ontario pebbles. Then threw in some economics as well, focusing on the impossibility of scotch soothsaying. Twenty-one years ago no one at Macallan could have predicted the recent scotch boom that has caused supply and demand conundrums the world over.
Heck, 21 years ago I was tidying up grade 1 art projects with Mrs. Kaufman, oblivious to everything save recess and what was in my nose.
Just like any normal red-blooded male, all the talk about barrel manufacture - bourbon in America, oaks in the north of Spain, 100 year plans for stave manufacture - got me thinking about maps.
Shocker! I know.
A map project that encapsulates the geographic spread of a bottle of scotch and the time it takes to come together would be fun. For that I'd need to think about ways to draw time alongside the spatial language maps are already so good at. There are examples, here's one of Napoleon's ill-fated march on Moscow, so I have a starting point. Don't know what the end result will be, but here's hoping for giggles.
Oh right...the tasting part. Delicious!

The 10 year old was smooth, as was the 12 but with more complexity (is that the word that makes me sound clever?). I found the 15 had more of a smoky edge, it strangely reminded me of some Islay malts. The 21 year old was mellow in an inexplicable and delightful way, one that I can't really remember but know I want to try again. Then the 18...ah the 18. Finally a scotch where I could taste the toffee, the fruit and the layers that all those people that drink the stuff are always talking about. And for the low low price of $289 a bottle!

Let me join you scotch drinkers! Give me money, then let me join you.

But seriously, as Mark repeated over the evening, there's no need to be a snob around scotch. If it tastes right for you, it's the scotch for you. There's so much variety in palate and preference, sometimes changing over the course of a day, to become too concerned with age and cost is to miss the point.

A great event! And to top it off they sent us home with a lovely little loot bag. Tumbler and samplers and tasting cards, oh my.

And I won the draw meaning + one bottle of the 10 year old for me!

Here's me bemused and confused, basking in the glow of applause that broke out (not just Deck) upon my name being announced.
I work hard.
I deserve it.
I think Toon was jealous, then she stole some when I wasn't looking. Thief! Damned thief that brought me to the event in the first place, therefore all is forgiven.

We were even taxi chitted all the way home. Given the evening started with a streetcar driver telling me I don't like being hailed like a cab this seemed like a nice way to finish up.
-some photos courtesy of the organizers



I've been casually casting around, trying to learn something about modern poetry. It shouldn't be difficult and if I decided to focus on it I'm sure I could find what needs to be found - a book, a website or whatever.

It hasn't happened yet.

Part of the problem is I am reading a lot these days and as usual that means a lot of variety and all the reading styles said variety entails. Alongside Calvin and Hobbes beside my bed I have two books on picture framing (not ready for that project yet), a collection of short stories, a 20 year old National Geographic, Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, a stack of readings from BCPV that I don't think anyone else is reading (this is why I'm the best), Noel Castree's Nature (again) for the class I'm TAing and The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution just because I found a reference to it somewhere.

I'm hoping the last book, by Carolyn Merchant for those who care, will help me develop Gaia more fully. Gaia being (obviously no originality on my part) the Earth personified and the main protagonist in my comic, featuring everyone's favourite conflicted environmental superhero Antaeus Findlay. Right now I feel she's too stereotypical nature-mother-figure. The wild, uncontrolled woman as opposed the structured and rational male scientific society. I suppose there is some strength to be found in that view, but I have to be careful. Right now there's too much jealousy and vanity in why she does what she does and it needs something more to make her a complex being. I want to avoid a male-female binary paean and don't think creating a distinct female character to counteract Gaia will cut it.

Can you tell this story found its genesis when I was in grad school? And it's not even on top of my to do list. That's the novel. So why not throw poetry in there as something else I haven't read enough of, alongside short stories?

Yeesh. I just wanted to tell you about a neat poetry thing I found.

Here it is. Joel Stickley, a member of the Aisle 16 poetry group in Britain. He teaches you How to Write Badly Well and writes a damn fine poem. Complete with pictures!
So I have an entry into poetry. Hurray! Now I just need to learn a new reading style for the medium. One that is slower, more expansive and better able to take in what's on offer. Reading academic stuff lends itself to speed and skimming, as does having a to-read list a million miles long, not to mention only giving yourself a few minutes in bed to read before sleep is undeniable.

Priorities my good man.

Eventually I'll learn that life is life and needn't be completed by the end of the month; there's time to be apportioned. Perhaps I need to sharpen my apportioning sticks as much as anything else.


...and the rest of my day

You would think, standing up from a man who had fallen in the street would be enough to reset my brain, inspire me to smiles and bring thanks for my existence.

No way.

I brooded through the art stores and clothing boutiques as I made my way along Queen, contemplating the notion of nice pants and $400 boots. Quality versus ubiquity, everyone scurrying looking and buying. My unconflicted love affair with consumerism continues.

Did you know there is a paper store south of TB Park? Just paper. Such variety.

Then with a dark sky threatening (that's all it did) and my stomach grumbling I made my way home.

Fortunately Annie was about, so I vented my spleen and felt better. Sometimes you need to hear someone else say something, even when you know the answer already. And sometimes you just need to hear something when you aren't even sure what questions you're asking. Keep on keeping on dear reader.

And then because I was in the mood to do something I followed Annie out on her comedy rounds. I'd missed the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde show Friday night at Comedy Bar. That featured sober performances, followed 3 hours later by the same show but with the performers toxified in various ways. It was apparently awesome and I didn't want to miss any more fun.

Friday's show was good in part because a Chicago performer was in town and all the other people wanted to break out their best stuff. Or at least so suggested Annie. We went to Unit 102, which is a great little venue featuring an LCBO across the road and enjoyed a bunch of stuff including said Chicagoan, Jet Eveleth by name. Hilarity reigned.

She did this bit. Supremely funny, and of course even more so when I saw it, LIVE!
Then we motored north to Comedy Bar to catch the end of Jet Fighter Pilots before heading home to watch Empire of the Word.

Empire of the Word is very exciting for me. A documentary on reading and how it has affected society over time, I saw an ad for it on TV the other day and was rambling on about it last night when Annie informed me she had a screener copy of the whole series.

Win, me!

What I remember was good. I was too tired to follow it thoroughly but it's on DVD so I'll just try again later.

Who even regularly watches shows if they have to remember to sit down at the same time each week?

Cavemen. Stupid stupid cavemen.

Epilepsy (?)

I left the house in an undeniable grump. Not sure what was up, but the seasonal change always does something to me and my first 5 day work week since 2006 had left me tired. Harumph.

I was on my way to an art store on Queen when I looked up to see a man lying in the road in the midst of a seizure. A lady had just run up to him from nearby and was squealing about something. Surprising myself I took complete control of the scene, calling 911 and dealing with the dispatcher, rolling the fellow on his side and holding him there, while the first lady remained slightly animated and a few others came and went with comments about tongues, choking and their personal experience with seizures in the family.

Giving my location, condition of the patient, following instructions and on and on.
Shit = together.

Fortunately a police officer who was just around the corner arrived quickly and the ambulance was there shortly after. By the time it did the guy was coming to, completely disoriented but trying to get up. His wheezing had become laboured at times and his lips turned a bit blue. Happily the scene never became mega-intense.

I remember looking up at one point and seeing people peering out the window at me from a cafe nearby. I'm not saying they should have all run out to help, but it makes one wonder. Stories of disinterested urbanites walking past their fellow citizens in need tend to be replayed and highlighted in the media so I'm glad I sprung into action when the opportunity presented. And if I hadn't been there I'm sure one of those other people would have been.

And good thing I had a cellphone to call 911! First time ever.

My past experience with random men falling down on the street let me know trying to stand him up only to watch him fall on his face would be a bad idea.

Demonstrated learning.


What a strange day yesterday was. I spent the first half in my room watching rugby on the internets while finally gluing together my turtle shell.

Not my turtle shell so much as a turtle's turtle shell. But, given he was hit by a car before a troop of ants and maggots ate most of his flesh I don't think he'll mind if I borrow it. Forever.

Pay special attention to how some of the patterning is red while the rest is yellow. All the pattern used to have red on them but because the layer covering the shell has come off the pigment has leached! Where it stayed stuck down the red remains. A pro taxidermist would have preserved the shell to keep the colour or maybe not. A roadside gift (with assorted cracks) as the source material makes preservation more difficult.
Here's how he was coloured when I found him. I would have liked to preserve the leather somehow too, but such tricks are beyond my means.
Now I am preserving the shell (one layer at a time sprayed on in the backyard...are you people outdoors? It's amazing out there today!) I need to decide what to do with it next. A lot of taxidermists hang them on the wall, but I won't be doing that, or maybe I will.

Other option. I have some groundhog skulls in my room from when I was a kid. I might use them, the shell and other bits I don't have yet to make some sort of awesome creature. If I can find the right arms and legs I hope to have the beast stand upon my desk as a warning.

Don't play God!



Regular employment kills blogging.

A vicious combination of waking early, doing the same things each day then being too tired for evening adventures doesn't leave much to say.

Now, I'm not doing exactly the same thing each day and every once in a while a child will say something mildly amusing but that's the limit of it unfortunately. There are no kids getting trampled by horses or chewed on by geese. I don't want that of course, just saying it would give me something to write about.

So let's see. I guess I tuck my shirt in a lot these days, and as a result look dapper as fuck. Yes, mum. I'm using the F-word intentionally. In fact that's my new catchphrase.

If I made t-shirts with "dapper as fuck" on them, who would buy?


Heck, even most of my groups have been awesome, so I don't have much to complain about. Someone suggested it might be simply because I'm a tall man which lends an air of authority to my person, and these children don't know me so I suppose that might be the case. Or maybe I'm just particularly skilled. Let's assume I'm just fortunate to get the good classes/teachers and hope it continues because I'm already awesome in other ways. There's no need to overdo it.

I have had one bad class. They were a private school that may or may not have told the kids they were the chosen on a regular basis. Apparently the school is awful every year. The teachers are less concerned with the quality of the tour as they are with getting to as many buildings as possible. Mine informed me and the class her record was 10 buildings and if they behaved we might be able to break it. It didn't help with discipline but I obliged as best I could, bypassing the interactive fun stuff like getting dressed up.

Nothing holds a child's attention more than being rushed through something their teacher has already told them is more about speed than learning!

What else...

This job is really the first time I'm interacting with the multiculturalism that Canada keeps yammering on about on a regular basis. The past week has been a bit more mixed, but up until now it has been no white kids in the classes, just a myriad browns. One of the other guides is a former principal in the TDSB and she has some really interesting insights on the Toronto board and certain areas of the city where the white folk go, trying to enclave and isolate themselves. Guess what people, we're on our way. Time to let go of the past and get used to it.

Another of the guides is currently an archaeologist for the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (who run BCPV as well) so yesterday we chatted briefly archaeologically (she only completed her degree relatively recently and is 40+, so there's still time for a career change).Also yesterday my assigned school was misbooked, so I ended up in the office counting activity sheets for the Christmas season and chatting with another guide. She having recently graduated from a master's in museum studies at Leicester University in England.

Not only is the job decent, when you have 25+ other people around you're bound to find some interesting experiences to learn from.

Up until now the only complaint has been the commute distance. Starting work at 9 means leaving the house no later than 730 to catch all the buses and trains I need to get there. And if it's only a morning shift I work 3 hours and am hurtling south by 1215.

As per usual fortune has smiled upon me and another new guide lives mighty close and she owns a car. She's been driving me home after work when she's heading downtown (out to another job some nights) and the last two days has been kind enough to pick me up in the morning. Hello 8AM departure!

Too sweet.

It's all ticking over really purdy like.

Except for this one thing. This morning, after a restless night, the clock said
when I opened my eyes for the umpteenth time. There was a fraction of a second where I thought, Awake, and too early again. That was followed by, Stef's picking me up exactly NOW! (my clock's 4 minutes fast you see).


But that's what bananas dipped in peanut butter are for right? And she was 2 minutes late herself so I even had my shoes tied by the time she arrived. I win!


bike ride (of a few weeks ago)

It's a lovely day out there. I don't have time to go riding today but I did a few weeks ago. There's a path that parallels the railway from Landsdowne to Cariboo Ave. Apparently it's going to be extended south, and maybe north when they're done driving all those pilings (see below).

There are lots of old factories along the route. Some have been turned into storage or offices.
I hope they leave some smoke stacks standing. They're great. There is quite a bit of graffiti. I didn't take too many pictures of it, but this one had some great colour. Look at that sky too! It was a funny day. Rain was expected but before the main force arrived periodic vanguards launched sharp, quick and cold drizzle attacks.
But then the sun would come out.

On the other side of the tracks some people were already ensconced in some nice looking apartments.
Some of the buildings had already been torn down and replaced by attempts at mimicry. It's a nice try but the bricks just aren't weathered enough. The GO Trains that run through the area are diesel powered but I don't think their exhaust is going to mark the new bricks like the smokier trains of the past.

Save old bricks!

There's actually a hullabaloo from the local residents concerned about air quality with an increase of diesel locomotives.
Vroom! Vroom!
I assume this land will become condos. Maybe office space I suppose given proximity to the rail line, but if you don't know what a construction site today in Toronto is destined for residential is usually the safer bet.

It was a good day for the sky and verticality in general.
The bike trail ends at Cariboo. Along the trail each road was marked with some nice sculpture, giant sheets of rusty metal with the stenciled names cut out.

Just north of Cariboo is a rail junction, I think the junction for which The Junction neighbourhood is named. Looking at a map there aren't many other rail junctions around and about, and according to this article The Junction centres on Keele and Dundas, just to the west, so I must be right.

On the left is a drill, on the right a pile driver. They are pounding pilings here to support the increased train traffic. Hurray for sleeper communities as long as they DO NOT add more cars to the streets.
Do you see that puff? That pops out on every clang. It didn't take me very long to catch it because the thing must clang every 7 seconds or so. Clang! Clang! I can understand why the neighbours are complaining and not enjoying their aural lives right now.

I've driven some t-bars in my time, and that's nothing compared to this ruckus. Maybe if I had steam driven, piston arms. Hmm. Maybe. Something to think about...
This is one of the GO stations, Bloor, further south on the path. I like the overgrown look of the rail bridge and my orange bridge is pretty sharp too.
Just another rail line. This one splits off from the one I was following at Landsdowne and travels more directly north. It ends up at Downsview airport, and probably beyond. Well meshed infrastructure gives me a warm feeling inside.
It would have been a different place when the trains were running through the guts of the city on a regular basis. The Big Smoke indeed. This smaller line has road crossings, as opposed to bridges, so there would have been lots of waiting. Given that the advent of rail travel in the 19th century signaled the new faster modern life it's interesting that I now think of it in terms of slowing people down. It says something about how people are increasingly individualized nuclei, enabled, largely through technology, to live removed from the greater society that surrounds them.

Come on LRT! Be finished already. Force people to live face-to-face.


Cool maps or how I lose an afternoon to the internet

How could anyone not lose an afternoon when this is the image that introduces you to the site? What better way to signify concern in Iceland about joining the EU?
The name of the blog is Strange Maps and that's all it is. Pretty neat stuff.

Also an encouraging site because it's given me a whole whack of ideas for what I can do with some of my maps. The problem I'm having right now is I want to do something, but a lot of the somethings I am considering involve a pair of scissors. The maps are so lovely in and of themselves I'm a little hesitant to go to chop town. I guess that's why they say "You can't make art without cutting a few maps!"
(click through the image for a bigger version!)
This one is neat too. I love hyper-simplified maps. That's probably why I'm a big fan of urban mass transit maps and rail system maps in general. When working with maps that need to carry a lot of information clearly you have to kill the geography sometimes. And that leaves room for lots of 3 dimensional brain translation.

Better than chocolate!



Is it all over so soon? The answer, obviously not. There is still oodles of transported turkey in my fridge and it looks like one more full on turkey supper (with all the trimmings) before I start converting.

Turkey à la king, turkey fried rice, turkey sandwiches and so on.

--Just discovered I forgot the rest of the homemade cranberry deliciousness in Owen Sound. Grunt.--

Last week the plan was to go home, relax, hang with my mum, and get some writing done. Real writing. As in finish a chapter or something. Some stuff just isn't meant to be though. Instead I got to work my face off!

It was actually loads of fun; cleaning eaves troughs, reversing gates, raking leaves, collecting branches and scrub, cleaning up the garden, removing fencing, reorganizing the shed, etc. I can't remember what else but I'm sure there was more.
Part of the gardening was me picking carrots. I love carrots. I use them in a lot of my cooking, and sometimes as carrot sticks. The problem is most carrots you buy at a store these days are bitter, gross and grown by the bajillion. Not these carrots from the garden though, they are sweeter and have dirt on them. I like to eat at least one carrot a year that is pretty clean but not all the way clean. Nothing like a satisfying grit filled chew to re-establish your connection with the earth. And it helps my gizzard to function properly.

Aside from the work around the house I also had the chance to hang out with some friends. Deck was there (he drove me home after all) and I saw Chippy and Dank. Oh my what fun. Even Andy managed to squeeze in some Owen Sound time between his 5th wedding of the year (in Ottawa no less) and returning to LA. And why not? OS is a lovely place in the fall.

To take advantage, one day we went walking to Indian Falls.

Something that I was obviously more excited about than certain other members of the party.
I think they had fun too. I'm probably just really happy because of my new sweater. Awesome basement find!

Later in the day Andy chased wild turkeys through a field until they took to the air. Seemed like a good plan. As Deck said, this weekend is all about harassing turkeys...and then killing them. Or he said something like that, it was probably much more eloquent.

There are way more turkeys about these days, so I'm assuming the Wild Turkey Management Plan for Ontario is working (seriously check out the first page of that pdf).

Aside from that, it was hang outs with my mum (she requested her picture not be posted, but I assure you she is a lovely lady) and this guy. He is neither lovely nor a lady. His name is Hannibal and he has his own charms.
Sometimes I give him a hard time. Here for instance, Hannibal knows he isn't allowed to eat what's on the plate, but he figured he'd try a few tricks to see if something happens.
He's a good guy so we usually let him help with the dishes.

We recently had to put down his brother Hermes, so Hannobal's adjusting to a slightly different life. He'll muddle through though, just like the rest of us.
I hope everyone got lots of good thanking done, and if not swing by my place and I'll give you a high-five and/or a hug so as you don't feel left out.


urban thoughts

I'm not sure what I was trying to achieve with my thesis but it's nice to know other people are thinking similar things. These quotes are taken from an article on Torontoist. It's an interview with Mark Kingwell, author of Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City.

Two bits that really jumped out at me, mainly because they repeat things I said (and by said I mean rewrote and struggled over a million times).

"The cityspace is so often about function - the movement of goods and services, desires and bodies, from node to node - that anything that disrupts the function is at the least interesting and at the most liberating."

This comment is similar to something I said, but in terms of the Lefebvrian spatial triad. I think using Lefebvre made my words a lot more confused. Look.

"If something must exist in space to have effect, contemporary society’s emphasis on work and consumption finds spatial form through representations of space and the resultant built infrastructure of the city. Skyscrapers dominate most cities today and are perhaps the most widely visible demonstration of the dominance of the city by capitalist work; their size and solidity leave little doubt of their importance...These buildings extend into the ground, connecting directly with a city’s arterial systems of transportation, communication and resource distribution. In this way, places of work are integrally tied into the core of a city. People flow into the buildings during the morning rush, and out at the end of the day, when they become work sites for cleaners and maintenance personnel who keep the buildings running and usable."

Heh. Who knows. I guess comparing an answer in an online interview to a paragraph from a thesis is a bit silly too.

But, do you know what isn't silly? Comparing both to a music video.

And then this comment from the interviewer.

"You talk about the playful city, and the importance of play, and how play in cities can extend beyond the stadiums and other sanctioned heterotopian sites through the transformative power of carnival. Would you agree that graffiti, like skateboarding, longboarding, urban exploration, geocaching, parkour - or any of the other forms of independent repurposing of the city and its infrastructure for play that exist - are like carnival without end?"

I'm only posting this quote because longboarding caught my eye. As far as I know, and I could be wrong, longboarding is riding a longboard down the street. There aren't tricks and kickflips and grinds on cement ledges like there is with regular skateboarding. I'm not suggesting one is better than another, but if you're just using it as a mode of transportation it lacks a transgressive depth. Something that comes about once a space is re-imagined and used differently. To include it in the list I ask myself why bicycling isn't on there? They go along roads and aren't cars too. And if bikes were there, should all types of cycling be included? Similar questions could be asked about walking fer crimminy's sake...and on and on and on.

So what is considered as transgressive in urban space? That's the 20 million dollar question. Does it require intent behind the act? Is anyone on a skateboard transgressive or is the kid in it purely for the look something less? Can a person only be transgressive if they seek out the opportunities? Do we get to call them mindless automatons if they don't?

Questions without end.

As I said at the start, it's nice that others have considered similar issues and topics I invested so much effort and time in (but why didn't they publish their books before I was writing?). I'll leave the discussion to them for the time being because whenever I try to get involved I ask more questions than I manage to find answers.

And that makes me dizzy.

To end the discussion I'll simply say, make sure you PLAY at every opportunity and as far as I'm concerned the city will somehow become a better place.

Playing makes me dizzy too, but in a good way.


born to busk at rancho relaxo

If I was in a corn farming cooperative I'd want to call it Born to Husk. And then the other farmers would kill me.

But seriously folks.

Last night, Wednesday night, was a night for good times and good music at Rancho Relaxo. Born to Busk, Deck's band, were playing a set so despite an early morning wake-up for work I went out. And yes, I have settled on Deck, which is Toon's blog name for him but why reinvent the wheel?

Anyway, there are no pictures, good blogging me, but a good time was had by all. niXon was there (that's a new nickname and I think it's a good one for her because she is not a crook, just a candy fiend) as well as Chewy (damn this should just be the introduce a bunch of new nicknames post. This nickname came about because I am stupid and half deaf). This is Chewy's face. I'm really working my way into the Toronto blog scene now, I'll tell you what, what what!

There was an opening band, heavily influenced by The Killers. Their lead singer had a high school jacket that said Jets and that's all I have to say about them.

Then there was an outdoor adventure made amusing by a wee blond boy and his crack friendly female companions who kept telling him to Run! Run! Run! This was funny for a bit as he carried his chubby little body along with an amusing strait legged gait. Then he started coughing some dry long wheezy thing that should only come from a 70 year old 3 packs a day for the last 55 years kinda guy. I became slightly less amused.

And then there was B to B. I danced, Toon danced, Chewy danced, niXon bopped (she might have danced, I didn't see) and a bunch of other people flailed.

Then I went home with buzzing ears - why sound people? why so loud? - and was unable to fall asleep. Hey! Perfect.

No matter. I was up and at work on time. In time in fact for the morning meeting to hear, amongst other things, jeans aren't cool for work unless they are black and tailored. We need to look professional for the 8 year olds. My pants do have a hole in the bum, so I guess I was pushing my luck right from the start. Meh, I needed to get new pants anyway.

The end.

street view 2

Forget it. The media caught up with me.

Here's a bunch.

Google Street View

It's now in Toronto and in its honour here are my three favourite shots (so far) as discovered by friends...don't ask me how. (since posting these The Star has joined in. I guess there's news enough for the both of us...but they don't have ghost scooter, yet.)

Toronto, perfect timing as always.
"Ghost Scooter"
"Another sleepy day in a typical Toronto suburb"


ears (art)


nuit blanche


As with last night, I don't know where to begin.

I saw so much, there was so much more to see, and I had a great time of it, seeing what I could and hammering around the city at top speed. Mercy my legs are tired now but I couldn't be more pleased about everything. Let's relate it all in order and see how that works out. I saw more than this (it's impossible not to), but I only took so many pictures and a blog post can only be so long.

The bus station was my first stop where I met up with Brendan.

What better way to start off your evening of art than with cage wrestling? Unfortunately the show was periodic and because there was so much to do so we couldn't wait around.

I did see some of Canada's "elite wrestlers" standing around though. I think that's Vampire Man and Mega Hollywood standing on the stairs (might not be their actual wrestling monikers).

We did get to see some of what was going on in the previous show through the window. They were blindfolded and bouncing slowly. Meh.

From an intellectual perspective, this was a perfect place to start.

I had been in the space on Friday, using it for its 'proper' function on my way to Kingston and since juxtaposition is such a big part of this sort of event the timing was ideal.

The art and shows are great but the under-riding theme of nuit blanche is the need to re-imagine the urban spaces we travel through daily, opening people to the possibility that other ways of seeing things are always there, waiting below the surface. I could get into ideas of capitalist space, social norms and the Lefebvrian spatial triad but who needs more of that?(especially when one now questions some of the arguments previously put forth)

And perfectly, when I looked past the red velvet curtain there were people with suitcases buying tickets and readying themselves for journeys to who knows where. Don't restrict urban space to single use perspectives people, it just doesn't make sense!

Oh, and George 'The Animal' Steele was there but I decided against the autograph and photo. He's one of the good guys.
After the bus station it was off to the mall where we saw a dancing snow queen, and then...looming high above, a ferocious silver rabbit signalled DOOM FOR ALL HUMANITY!
Seriously though. So good. And by approaching the way we did I feel we got maximum points for an exciting reveal. Coming from below the bunny wasn't there, and then he was upon us in all his glory. We are but specks of dirt in this holy temple of the rabbit.
Brendan and I scoped it out from all the levels and I think we agreed this angle took best advantage of the space, the architecture and of course the giant silver rabbit.

From the mall it was off to city hall. Hang some giant letters on what is again unique architecture, hook them up to a computer with some sort of random word generator and a digital voice and let things take their course.

I'm not totally sure if it was meant to be completely random and if it was I kind of wish it wasn't. When the words started changing and people were shouting them out as they appeared it was pretty fun. I almost wish it had been telling jokes or something so on the final word, when all was revealed, the whole crowd could have giggled knowingly as one. Ah well. Something to work on.

From city hall I was off on my own, scampering across to the Distillery District for a dance show. It was improvised from suggestion made an hour previously and was lots of fun. They seemed to go for more of the fun and funny than extreme and deep emotional contemplation. My favourite was undeniably the Mario Bros. inspired dance.

I didn't get any clear pictures of that, so here's another one, equally good featuring trees and other stuff.
My legs were getting pretty tired at this point, but I was feeling the evening so I hiked back to the centre of things at King and Yonge (stopping along the way for treats). I visited the vodka pool, taking the chance to throw in my 2 cents.

Before watching this guy wade through the art work, fishing out some of the non-coin related items that had been tossed in.
Art!? No, just trash.
The night was pushing on, as is this post, so it was a brief stop at real money Monopoly, where Hannah Sung won 2nd prize in a beauty contest and was awarded $10, making Trevor Boris very happy.
Then it was a crammed street car ride to Liberty Village, where I reunited with various cool dudes and dudettes. Hurray!
Indie band album cover anyone?
And finally, thoroughly slogged, I dragged myself to see Brendan one last time. His class with the Canadian Film Centre's media lab were showing their project. Spooky heads saying stuff from Twitter.
And then I slept. But not enough. Work tomorrow and I am so tired it hurts right now. Might add more commentary later, or not. Good night.

nuit blanche = good