Germany? Indonesia? Ukraine? Really?

I’ve been busy for a couple of days, doing a one-time revamp of the local community association website. It was an opportunity to learn how Blogger software works (not bad) and it gave me a peek at the visitor stats that ever-vigilant Google likes to collect.

bh-web-stats

Today’s visitor count was large because the new site was just announced and, as you’d expect, all local traffic from Canada. The others must have been automated netbots … or we have generated some surprising interest!

TTC remains calendar-challenged

News arrives that the Toronto Transit Commission will be “moving into the 21st century” by accepting debit and credit cards instead of cash-only for token and ticket purchases. Yes, still tickets and tokens.

Somebody tell them that credit and debit cards were a 20th century thing.

Well into the second decade of the 21st century, tentative efforts to improve our pathetic transit system are at least underway. I am not optimistic about the city’s will or ability to really get it right, but there’s always hope.

Bosch efficiency

50-buck-bulb
The story begins with a compliment. Danica is a genius at storing and retrieving user manuals. When the lamp in the Bosch oven hood died, she was able to look up the part number easily.

Not so easy to find the E14 40 watt replacement bulb, though. The official price of the official Bosch lamp? Over $50! For a single bulb! The Bosch parts supply agent thought there might be an error, but kindly phoned back to confirm. Oh, and there would be a $9 delivery charge.

Not one to knuckle under to techno-terrorist ransom demands, Danica found online alternatives. A bit over $30 for 4 lamps from the UK … but there might be duty. Same from the US, but they don’t ship to Canada.

So … how about taking the old bulb to a local lighting store and asking about a substitute? Turns out, the Bosch manual was wrong. It’s an E12, not an E14 at all. Replacement bulb? It was on sale, so Danica scored it for $1.49 rather than the $1.99 regular price. The 50 buck bulb would not have fit, even if we had believed the manual.

HO–klik–HO–klik–HO

ho-klik-ho

The spirit of the season is reflected in the window of a local studio on the Danforth. Nobots by Shuttlewerks get all festive-like in their edgy, imaginative way. It’s fun to try and figure out what the whimsical sculptures are made of.

Danica recognized the materials for one pair of eyes …

tinkertoys

Tinker Toys! I had a set of those! Made of wood, back in the 1950s. See Danica’s comment.

Local Free Little Libraries are unlisted

Are some Little Free Libraries wild and free? I know of at least 3 in our immediate vicinity that don’t appear on the official map. (UPDATE: It’s Google’s fault.)

little-free-libraries

Anyway, when you see one of these little boxes on a stick, peek in and take a book if there’s one you like. Leave a book you’re finished with, for someone else to read.

Little Free Library example

Designs vary, because the volunteer makers are given lots of plans to choose from. Most of the LFLs I’ve seen are on people’s front yards, but I know of one in Orchard Park that also shelters ping-pong bats for use on the nearby table tennis installation that was installed last summer.

As more and more titles become electronic, LFLs a good way to recycle real books, getting a bit more life out of them before they become pulp. Seasonal books are quickly snapped up; gardening and landscaping books for Spring, for example. Lots and lots of children’s books are exchanged this way, along with popular best-sellers and mysteries.

My most amusing “find” wasn’t a find at all. Instead of a book, someone had posted a memo saying “Missing: 50 Shades of Grey“. I guess there are some R-rated Free Little Libraries. Maybe they’re the ones that didn’t make The Map.

This old goat likes the kid

You can see this video lots of places online, but why not here, too? The baby goats at the Riverdale Farm are personal favourites. I love the way they prance like demons, sometimes right on the heads of long-suffering, docile sheep.

Isn’t that prance something?

Al Runt’s mural on Lee’s Palace

I found myself in the Annex on Bloor Street yesterday, meeting Bill Byres for lunch. As we walked by Lee’s Palace, I snapped a picture for those of you who may not know what I was talking about in an earlier post. Al Runt is one of the artists in the Flying Pony Christmas Group Show, where you can buy small originals by Mr Runt for as little as $26.

runt-lees-palace

Al Runt gets my respect for his artistic endurance. He has been tattooing Toronto with his energetic, colourful designs for decades. The style has remained remarkably consistent over the years. It reminds me of a deranged Dr. Seuss mixed with a splash of Matt Groening (in his Life in Hell days) and a bit of Robert Crumb. Runt’s first covering of Lee’s facade faded over the years, so he was commissioned to do a new one, as you see it here.