Sunday, November 16, 2003

red noses running

Spent the day down at the Santa Claus parade, third year in a row. This year, a bunch of us helped out Jess and Dee by selling noses for Sunnybrook/Women's down at Queen and Yonge. All I hoped was that it wouldn't be as bone-chilling damp as it was last year.

Did not get off to an great start. Took longer to get ready than expected, so I made a mad dash to the subway. Thought I'd make it down just in time, until a fire investigation at St. Patrick station brought the Yonge line to a crawl, then stop. I was stuck at St. Clair and nearly got off to search for a taxi, until it was announced all was good to go.

Arrived 15 minutes late, but that didn't seem to matter too much. Picked up a bag of moses and headed south on Yonge with Kiersten and Dee's mom. Business was good - went through two bagfuls quickly. Was a little nervous at first, following behind the others, then gradually starting bellowing out like a baseball game program huckster.

The parade took awhile to reach our cubbyhole. We had the area around the van semi-cordoned off, which didn't prevent onlookers from trying to sit on the van or crowding around it. We had to act like cops to shoo people away, which some took better than others - a few comments were muttered under people's breaths. One family tried not to understand the concept of "move away", asking every possible way to stay.

At least we could see the action, unlike others in the crowds around us. People would swoop down and block the view of those who'd been standing for hours, leading to a few near-bustups. Kiersten got to stand in the middle of one, as an older woman started yelling at others. So much for holiday cheer.

There was a long lull between the first few clowns (the only one I recognized was Norman Jewison) and the parade proper. Kids went running after the clowns, pulling on the odd one. Some candy landed our way, with thumbs down on the gum. "Disintegrates in the mouth" was the concensus.

Things were brighter once the rest of the parade rolled by. One of the highlights was the little kids in miniature Florida Orange Juice cars. Cute to begin with, but even cuter when they piled into each other when coming to a brief stop while waiting for the folks ahead of them to turn the corner.

One motorized bear (forget who the sponsor was) sped down the street, making me wonder if there were frat students inside planning revenge against the world. Astonished it didn't wipe out at the bend. Lots of marching bands, mostly from western New York state. Lots of happy kids walking or riding along. More miniature cars, from Pizza Pizza, but no pileups.

The parade wrapped up just past 3. After the crowds thinned out, we headed over to Church St to Hair of the Dog to grab food and drinks, and for some to say goodbye to a friend who was going away for a month. We caught the transition from brunch to dinner - I went for the former. Forget the name of what I had (along the lines of "easy pie" or "easy as pie") but it was the largest breakfast dish I'd seen since my last trip to Louie's in Detroit. A huge bowl with a bottom layer of scalloped potatoes, then ham and peameal bacon, then poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. Very good, but very filling, but luckily Chris was able to finish it off.

Left around 6, loped back up here, then sat staring into space in a daze for an hour, letting my body finish thawing. - JB

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

election wrap-up

Looks like the polls at the end of the race were accurate - David Miller won the mayor's chair, with John Tory a close second (44% to 38%). This will go down as the first time I ever voted for a political candidate who got into office. Barbara Hall's campaign completely collapsed - from polls indicating support in the mid-40% range before the campaign picked up full steam, she wound up with 9% of the vote. I walked by her campaign party (the old York theatre), where glum faces paced outside. Nunziata's car-honking only grabbed him 5%, while Jakobek...BWAHAHAHAHA...1%.

monkeys from the past

Decided to sift through the back reaches of my rarely-used Hotmail account (aka Spam 'R Us). Found this note, received way, way back in September of 1995, the oldest e-mail I have kicking about. We're talking the dawn of my second year at U of G. It's juvenile and gut-busting at the same time:

I like monkeys.

The pet store was selling them for five cents apiece. I thought that odd since they were normally a couple thousand. I decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I bought 200. I like monkeys.

I took my 200 monkeys home. I have a big car. I let one drive. His name was Sigmund. He was retarded. In fact, none of them were really bright. They kept punching themselves in their genitals. I laughed. Then they punched my genitals. I stopped laughing.

I hearded them into my room. They didn't adapt very well to their new environment. They would screech, hurl themselves off of the couch at high speeds and slam into the wall. Although humorous at first, the spectacle lost its novelty halfway into its third hour.

Two hours later I found out why all the monkeys were so inexpensive: they all died. No apparent reason. They all just sorta dropped dead. Kinda like when you buy a goldfish and it dies five hours later. Damn cheap monkeys.

I don't know what to do. There were 200 dead monkeys lying all over my room, on the bed, in the dresser, hanging from my bookcase. It looked like I had 200 throw rugs. I tried to flush one down the toilet. It didn't work. It got stuck. Then I had one dead, wet monkey and 199 dead, dry monkeys. I tried pretending that they were just stuffed animals. That worked for awhile, that is until they began to decompose. It started to smell real bad. I had to pee but there was a dead monkey in the toilet and I didn't want to call the plumber. I was embarassed.

I tried to slow down the decomposition by freezing them. Unfortunately, there was only enough room for two monkeys at a time so I had to change them every 30 seconds. I also had to eat all the food in the freezer so it didn't all go bad. I tried burning them. Little did I know my bed was flammable. I had to extinguish the fire. Then I had one dead, wet monkey in my toilet, two dead, frozen monkeys in my freezer, and 197 dead, charred monkeys in a pile on my bed. The odour wasn't improving.

I became agitated at my inability to dispose of my monkeys and to use the bathroom. I severely beat one of my monkeys. I felt better. I tried throwing them away but the garbage man said that the city was not allowed to dispose of charred primates. I told him that I had a wet one. He couldn't take that one either. I didn't bother asking about the frozen ones.

I finally arrived at a solution. I gave them out as Christmas gifts. My friends didn't know quite what to say. They pretended that they liked them but I could tell they were lying. Ingrates. So, I punched them in the genitals.

I like monkeys.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

one fine saturday in the city

Feeling impatient about wanting to see the remaining Halloween pictures in my camera, I spent Saturday walking around downtown, snapping whatever looked interesting, or worth looking back on 30 years from now.

Started by heading west along Bloor to the Annex. The ROM has an old new temporary look - the last addition has been demolished to make way for the touted Daniel Liebskind design. Currently, you can see the old outside walls of the museum. Enjoy the view while you can.

As I headed south on Bathurst, a steady stream of cars adorned with red balloons raced by, horns honking. It was a caravan of vehicles for John Nunziata's faltering mayoral campaign. I resisted the urge to yell "Nunziata sucks!" A few ballons fell off, causing anxious moments for drivers behind them.

From there, went across College and down through Kensington Market. One of the few times I didn't run into anybody I know. Went into Chinatown, stopped to snack on some Chinese buns. I should know by now that the "pineapple" style are too messy to eat while walking, but the taste is worth it ("pineapple" buns have a crunchy sugar pattern on top that suggests a pineapple. Have never had one that contained said fruit - usually vanilla custard).

The new addition to OCAD is coming along quickly. For those of you who haven't seen it, go down to McCaul and Dundas to take a look. The least you can say is it's different. The expansion is being built above the current building, supported by slender multi-coloured poles and an elevator shaft.