Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reminder: This weekend is Jane's Walks

Jane's Walks in Toronto.

Explore the city, meet the neighbours hear the stories and share your thoughts. All walks are free and open to the public, just show up at the meeting location and join in.

The ones I'm thinking of attending are below. It seems like a really good year... some overlap, but it's still gonna be a bit of a cut-show with some tough choices. Any other ones jump out at you?


Saturday morning options:

Dufferin Grove Park and its friends
Saturday, 11 to 7, and I'm sure later.

Park friends will be stationed in various parts of the park—at the bake ovens (baking), the marsh fountain (with gardening), the cob courtyard (working on the cob wall), the adventure playground (junior builders), the park clubhouse (with early-days accounts), the outdoor rink (playing ball-hockey and skateboarding), the campfire circles (cooking over the fire), the puppetry fieldhouse (building puppets), and in many of the other places where things happen at the park.

This Jane’s Walk tour will run as a wandering self-guided tour that you can do at your own pace by visiting the various ‘stations’ in the park.

There are two walks, 11 to 1 and 4 to 6. Plus there's pizza-making at the oven from 12 to 2, and a campfire with good farmers' market food from 5 to 7. As well, Isabel Peres, the park's first campfire cook, has agreed to come back and cook Guatemalan dobladas at the campfire beginning in late morning. (Isabel is in the little 1994 park movie) that's linked on the website.

This walk is especially suitable for three kinds of people: (1) children, (2) hands-on, how-to, DIY people and (3) people who want to talk about community engagement in public spaces. To get a map of the ‘stations’ go to


Saturday afternoon.
King West: Exploring Pedestrian Infrastructure
Guided by Dylan Reid (Dylan Reid is co-chair of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee, and a senior editor at Spacing magazine.)
Saturday 2pm, 2 hours.

Our walking experience is shaped by a whole range of infrastructure that we hardly notice. This walk will be an opportunity to delve into the details of the city that affect our walking, for better and for worse - curb radii, curb cuts, pedestrian countdowns, crosswalk rules, desire lines, tree pits, pedestrian clearways, sidewalk boulevards, and more. And we will talk about the city policies and politics that govern these details.

The Other King
Guided by John Gillanders and Christian Huggett
Saturday 2pm, 2.5 hours.

Trace the past with us as we walk through the King/Parliament neighbourhoods...
The King-Parliament area comprises Corktown, Moss Park, St. Lawrence, West Don Lands, and the original Old City of Toronto, settled by John Simcoe in the 1700s. Many of the buildings in this area are designated heritage buildings or are of historic significance.

360 degrees – Grange Park as a time machine
Guided by Max Allen
Saturday 5pm, 1.5 hours.

The focus is on the invisible civic processes behind the visible architectural facades. The structures, built between 1817 and 2009, include The Grange (a Georgian manor house) and the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Anglican church of St. George the Martyr, the historic row houses of Beverley Street, University Settlement, the early RCMP headquarters, the concrete apartment tower at 50 Stephanie, two condominium complexes (Village by the Grange and the Phoebe, which was built on the site of one of Toronto’s first Negro churches), the Ontario College of Art and Design, and the park’s crowning glory: a vandalized public washroom.



Neighbourhoods 101: Theories of Place-based Community Organization
Guided by Diane Dyson
Sunday 9:30am, 1.5 hours

Wandering through one Toronto neighbourhood, this walk will explore the practical applications of sociological and political theories at a local community-level.

How are urban disorder and collective efficacy connected? How were Toronto’s priority neighbourhood areas identified and what’s a better alternative? How does “third place” improve dense social networks or “CIM”? And what does game theory have to do with gentrification?

\\ OR below, \\

Queen and Spadina - 100 Years Ago
Guided by Steve Brearton
Sunday 10am, 1.5 hours.

This community isn’t the vision of utopian planners or earnest environmentalists. It exists in Toronto. Or rather existed. One hundred years ago, the group of streets that bordered on Ogden Junior Public School near Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue offered residents the opportunity to work, shop, play and prosper.

In fact, the 100 or so houses that lined Bulwer Ave., Soho and Phoebe streets and Spadina boasted access to services and resources we can only dream of today. In an era when walking was the norm, proximity was the way neighbourhoods were organized.

So today, as we cast our eyes increasingly outward for models of sustainability, perhaps we would do better to explore the local villages that thrived in our midst.


So, gonna try to make the Diane Dyson walk just to for this:

Corridors of Power
Guided by Jonathan Goldsbie
Sunday 11am, 2 hours.

There are a handful of individuals and organizations that exert disproportionate influence on Toronto’s municipal politics and on its elections in particular. And, lucky for us, most of their offices happen to be within a few blocks of each other. Power brokers, fundraisers, lobbyists, and the convenors of the rich and connected — there’s value in associating these abstract forces with concrete locations (even if we aren’t actually able to go inside a lot of them).

What are the Economic Club, Empire Club, and Albany Club? What’s the deal with the Toronto Board of Trade? And why did certain power players choose to coalesce around Adam Giambrone? We’ll be charting out the key events and turning points of the election thus far, on top of the small grid that is the Financial District.

Sunday afternoon is another tough one.

Lanes of Runnymede
Guided by Madeleine McDowell, local historian
Sunday 1pm, 2 hours

The lanes of my father’s childhood and my own, some of the barns, a pigeon coop, dairy remnants; the recollections inspired by the back alleyways of a child’s life and the magic of youthful imagination along with a few historical photographs: across Jane Street the beginnings of one of the most important Voyages of Discovery in North American History, an Aboriginal site and a Designated Heritage Tree that makes a poet’s heart beat happier and another lane.

+: I also partially grew up on Annette near Runnymede and have almost no knowledge of it.


Soraren-Wabash Railway Loop
Guided by Doug Bennet, Chair, Wabash Building Society, and special guests
Sunday 1pm, 1.5 hours.

The walk will start at the corner of Sorauren and Wabash avenues, at the southwest entrance to Sorauren Avenue Park. You’ll learn about the history of the park and the street itself (it wasn’t always called Sorauren) before we head north to begin exploring the area’s colourful industrial past.

The railway corridor cuts through this area and we’ll explore the 150-year history of the railroads, up to the present-day Railpath development and the controversy over the Metrolinx diesel train plan.

More industrial history awaits along Lansdowne, then to Wabash, where the tour will conclude with an update on the proposed Wabash Community Centre situated in a 100-year-old linseed oil factory… what promises to become the greenest community centre in Toronto if not all of Canada.

or, depending on timing...
St. James Town SEED Walk: Safe Engaged Environments-Disability
Guided by SEED Project Staff
Sunday 2pm, 2 hours.

You will hear stories about the original development of St. James Town, North America’s largest social housing building, access and safety as well as what might be the very last of Sherbourne’s chestnut trees, all portrayed from the perspective of residents with disabilities.

You never know what stories exist in your own back yard until you ask people, and this is a perfect opportunity.


Chicken Fat Perambulation
Guided by Adam Sobolak
Sunday 4pm, 2 hours.

A project consisting of a series of 2-hour guided walks up Yonge Street. The end point for one becomes the starting point for the next. Ultimate destination: Steeles. Guided by the awkward, imperfect soul of the city; the awkward, imperfect soul of ourselves; the awkward, imperfect soul of pure chance.

A touch of architecture, a touch of history, a touch of psychogeography, a touch of urban exploration, a whole lot of psychodrama, in a way that only Adam Sobolak—onetime CIUT late-night fixture, executive member of the Toronto Architectural Conservancy, and all-around urban gadfly (not to mention author of the immortal “Pioneers Of Modern Design: From Britney Spears To Christina Aguilera”)—can manage. Don’t expect the over-authoritative or over-systematic; it’s one continuous interactively animated sensual shimmering urban riff and vamp.

... and then collapse.
Other possibles: (Sat. 10:30, 1.5 hr. Adam Vaughn)

It may rain (so far) Saturday and Sunday, but warm as well. Bring
an umbrella, some coffee, and see you there. I'm also up for a patio beer inbetween walks if you're out and about.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Out of the window this morning.

This is all new. I saw buds last night.

While listening to this again:

Spring has sprung!

Trees are allowing themselves comforts. More so. I swear to god, every second I look out there are more and more, even on this cloudy rainy day. More yellow. I'm in love with the hook, of which everyone hangs.

Last night Wolf Parade, who played mostly their older stuff, making me happy, but, in saying that, their new stuff, Expo 86 sounds really good. I normally I don't like hearing something new in concert, (Weezer and Sloan come to mind instantly), but I will say, with great confidence, that there is some great stuff on E86.

That classic drum loop can make a 4 year old sound like gold.

Undebatably (w?) great song. Canada's Killers/Kasabian. The slow/great build up. Picture perfect video. Worth watching. 4:42 min.

Give me your eyes
I need sunshine
Give me your eyes
I need sunshine
Your blood, your bones
Your voice, and your ghost

We've both been very brave
Walk around with both legs
Wait for the scary day
We both pull the tricks out of our sleeves

But I'll believe in anything
And you'll believe in anything
Said I'll believe in anything
And you'll believe in anything

If I could take the fire out from the wire
I'd share a life and you'd share a life
If I could take the fire out from the wire
I'd share a life and you'd share a life
If I could take the fire out from the wire
I'd take you where nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn
Said nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn

And I could take another hit for you
And I could take away your trips from you
And I could take away the salt from your eyes
And take away the spitting salt in you
And I could give you my apologies
By handing over my neologies
And I could take away the shaking knees
And I could give you all the olive trees
Oh look at the trees and look at my face
And look at a place far away from here

So give me your eyes
I need sunshine
Give me your eyes
I need sunshine
Your blood, your bones
Your voice, and your ghost

We've both been very brave
Walk around with both legs
Wait for the scary day
We both pull the tricks out of our sleeves

But I'll believe in anything
And you'll believe in anything

If I could take the fire out from the wire
I'd share a life and you'd share a life
If I could take the fire out from the wire
I'd share a life and you'd share a life
If I could take the fire out from the wire
I'd take you where nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn
I said nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn

I said nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn either way
About your blood, your bones
Your voice, and your ghost
Because nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn either way

And now I'll believe in anything
You'll believe in anything
Because nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn anyway


btw, 20 minutes later, in the rain.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

If this isn't illegal, it should be.

Good article here.

How “Dirty” MP3 Files Are A Back Door Into Cloud DRM

"Here’s how it works. During the buying process a username and transaction ID are known by the online retailers. Before making the song available for download their software embeds into the file either an account name or a transaction number or both. Once downloaded, the file has squirreled away this personal information in a manner where you can’t easily see it, but if someone knows where to look they can. This information doesn’t affect the audio fidelity, but it does permanently attach to the file data which can be used to trace back to the original purchaser which could be used at a later date.

Certain record labels have aspirations to use this hidden data to control future access to music in a return to DRM (digital rights management). The labels yearn to control where you can listen to your music and this could be a backdoor for them to achieve it. When personal libraries are stored in the cloud, it becomes possible to retrieve this personal data and match it to a user identity. If the match is successful the song plays, but if not, access can be blocked through a network DRM system such as the one Lala patented (which is now owned by Apple).

Retailers and record labels should have the right to sell dirty files if they wish, however they should be obligated to disclose their practices in advance. Consumers should have this information so they can make an informed buying decision about whether to support dirty or clean MP3 vendors. If Barnes and Noble printed your name on pages of books you purchase that would be important information to know because it would affect the value of your book. Here the clandestine actions are even more worrisome because it could lead to a future lockdown of purchases. If the labels have plans to require cloud vendors to use this information in the future, they should disclose that as well."


So, it's like putting up your personal information on the internet without your knowledge or consent. Hmm.. it's not "like" that. It is that. Utter fucking bullshit.

(ahem... the irony is not lost on me... ;)


Another reason to download your music for free. If you like it, buy the record, buy the t-shirt, go to a show. Most artists make almost nothing from album sales and almost everything from t-shirts and shows. This is just another way for corporations to control what you can and can not do with your stuff. Moreover, this is spyware, a virus, and will expose you and your personal information without your consent.

"Napster, Amazon and UK based 7digital are selling clean MP3 files... Other retailers such as Apple and Walmart have succumbed to label pressure to embed personal info."

Good job, Toronto

From a couple of weeks ago... With this and the Stockyards (ugh... no pics; hands full of ribs, which, btw, are better than Buster Rhinos. Yes.), if you're looking and got a bike, Christie and St. Clair is becoming much more livable! (Well, still, it's no Parkdale/Ronces; more later... )

The old TTC barns.

Kinda what it used to be:

From here.

Both from here.


A bit on its history and here's their current news and calendar.

Parks and Recreations win.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday night.

Started the night off with Derek and Lisa hosting me with some fine Indian cuisine and two great NCAA bball games, if you like Duke ;)

I know I overstayed my welcome (as I usually do), but I had a fun time talking with them, and by the end of the night I felt a stronger connection to Derek because of it. Weird to think with one of your best friends who you've known for so many years. Weird is the wrong word here. Increasing ones perspective and understanding within a well established relationship is not something one gets to do everyday. (In general, maybe it should be? Not sure if it should be? Anyway.. I suppose most things ebb and flow, but yeah... )

I'm not sure how this all started; we were talking about our mutual history and our friends and how it all started, and how it all intertwined. I mean, I kinda know it, and yet I kinda don't within his perspective, and because of that it was great to sit down and share our thoughts, and it's really awesome just chatting relaxed on a couch, especially with a ball game (baseball in Houston on the Tivo at that point) in the background.

I feel I've changed a bit over the last few months, and enjoy listening and interacting more within this kind of thing. What I mean to say is that I've ALWAYS enjoyed it, but I'm enjoying it on a different level at the moment. To me that kind of thing has always been really special. Hmmm.. not sure how to further express; I mean, I think it has more to do with me and my (inner) thoughts and (outer) actions in regards to these things, and slowing down and participating more. Instead of just thinking (internally) about what has been said, if I question something, I try to question out loud. I feel better about expressing questions and about expressing myself and my thoughts for some reason. I think that there is a different level of interaction because of that; a better bouncing of ideas because of it. And I'm sure this is sounding self serving (welcome to my blog ;), but I love talking about this shit. Perhaps what I am trying to say is that the opportunity to have multiple friends with which I can discuss anything with is something I want to continue developing and taking advantage of. Revolutionary, I know.

Anyway, after bidding Derek and Lisa a good night (and skipping the Japandroids show at the Horseshoe.. meh... ), I made my way over to Jeremy's and we chatted about a few things until we somehow slipped onto the topic of good intentions. What are good intentions? Can you read someone's intentions based solely on their actions? When disagreeing on that, does one just need greater perspective? How does that help? i.e. can everything be solved with "full" perspective? How about greater good vs. long term good vs. short term benefits? And, the big hitter, does every person always everywhere (yup), depending on said perspectives (from selfish, self-destructive, altruistic, etc), always act within the framework of "good" intentions?

These things turned into a lengthy (3 hour, by my count) discussion. There was quite the matrix established... haha... semantics of positive vs. negative intentions, actions, indirect actions, assuming actions and reactions, etc...

This kind of thing may be boring/unproductive/counter-productive for a lot of you, but I find these types of examinations quite beneficial on several levels. For one, it's not that I was always scared to express my opinions - quite the contrary! But lately I've been thinking that I just never had the time to develop my opinions to the extent that I expected from myself. Ummm... I know it sounds weird, but sometimes I feel I've been institutionalized, relationshipized, and regimented too well, enough that I feel my thoughts, ideas and feelings were relatively set, but predominantly internalized. I've just never been able to fully express them coherently (a) about something as wonderful as these things (b) as "eloquently" (c) with the proper rational thoughts and (d) proper examples. Put another way, the connections and thoughts have always been there but they have just never been associated with the eloquence and fluidity necessary for simple discussion and expression for further thought and examination... haha.. and obviously still aren't! Within my mind and expression style, at least.. hahaha! I think this has to do with the story telling aspect/kick I've been on (/trying to be on) lately, and to express what I feel and believe with examples and real thought out emotions and ideas, rather than just gorgeously vague thoughts and feelings. This may simply just be coming down to a new found confidence, or an attempt to try something new. I'm not sure. Anyway, further fodder.

At the end of our talk we agreed on the thoughts at hand(!), and realized that despite the fact of both of us knowing each other so well it was still absolutely necessary to properly define terms and muddle through semantics on these types of complex issues and ideas. (And now one wonders how NATO discussions are often left fruitless? ;) It goes without saying (ahem) that how, what and why one says something has so much specific and individual meaning that it's often hard for others to even fully understand or grasp the basic meaning one is trying to convey.

I suppose that's eloquence and clarity? Is that even necessarily always the goal?.. ugh... I digress.

And with that thought on my bike ride home, smiling to myself, I again realized we both agreed that people can and do occasionally act with 'negative intentions'.

Yeah, we also listened to the entirety of Plaskett's Three along the way...

Ever wonder why Joel hates that (Kelowna) town? See below.. but just be warned, he does rattle on a bit ;)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

of Great Friday.

24?.. 28?.. who cares. Shorts weather, for some of us.

Half-time in front of the green house. We played for over two hours in front of that lovely 1959 built community centre...

Bikes, footballs, hardballs, walkmans, 2-on-2-on-3, stretching on the soggy grass, tds, high fives, zero picks, kicks, and a whole lot of fucking awesome.

Later Tara and I fell upon Dundas West for Good Friday reparations.

And then more biking, walking, dinner, and Julian Casablancas at the Kool Haus, who was pretty perfect. Full band, best friends, venue was surprisingly apropos.

And we heard the 11th dimension.

I'll just nod, I've never been so good at shaking hands
I live on the frozen surface of a fireball
Where cities come together to hate each other in the name of sport
America, nothing is ever just anything
I looked up to you, but you thought I would look the other way

And you hear what you want to hear
And they take what they want to take...

Don't be sad, won't ever happen like this anymore
So when's it coming, this last new great movement that I can join?
It won't end here, your faith has got to be greater than your fear

Forgive them, even if they are not sorry
All the vultures, bootleggers at the door waiting
You are looking for your own voice but in others
While it hears you, trapped in another dimension

Drop your guard, you don't have to be smart all of the time
I've got a mind full of blanks, I need to go somewhere new fast
And don't be shy, oh no, at least deliberately - cause no one really cares or wonders why anymore
Oh, I got music, coming out of my hands and feet and kisses...

That is how it once was done
All the dreamers on the run

Forgive them, even if they are not sorry
All the vultures, bootleggers at the door waiting
We're so quick to point out our own flaws in others
Complicated mammals on the wings of robots

If you believe in this world then no one has died in vain
But don't you dare get to the top and not know what to do.

Tonight Japandroids at the Horseshoe.

Measuring Cups

get out your measuring cups and we'll play a new game
come to the front of the class and we'll measure your brain
we'll give you a complex, and we'll give it a name

get out your measuring cups and we'll play a new game
can't have the cream when the crop and the cream are the same
liquid or gas no more than the glass will contain

when you talk about the hand of glory
a tale that's rather grim and gory
is it just another children's story that's been de-clawed?
when the tales of brothers Grimm and Gorey have been outlawed

i think they're gonna make you start over
you don't wanna start over
put your backpack on your shoulder
be the good little soldier
take your places now, cause we're all predisposed

measuring cups, play a new game
front of the class, measure your brain
give you a complex and we'll give it a name

when you talk about the hand of glory
a tale that's rather grim and gory
is it just another children's story that's been de-clawed?
when the tales of brothers Grimm and Gorey have been outlawed

so put your backpack on your shoulder
be the good little soldier
it's no different when you're older
you're predisposed
that's all for questions
now, the case is closed

past post.

From the last beautiful day two weeks ago:

This little motherfucker chased this goose for at least the two minutes I watched him, and the goose didn't seem to mind at all.

Here's the full interview from the above video, maybe to watch with your breakfast. I feel obvious superficial connections to him, except for the musical talent. ;) It really is a great interview. Andrew Bird is worth knowing, and here's 15 minutes of your life listening.

previously posted from here.

re: his social atmosphere - there is more on that coming...