June 2004 to March, 2012

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Can coffee be too smooth?

Sm-o-o-o-th! That was my first impression on tasting this Ethiopian Virgacheffe coffee. It’s very gentle on the tongue, but I missed the more robust coffee flavour that I’m used to. Next pot, I threw in an extra heaping scoop. Much better.

Nice label, eh?

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January 6, 2012   2 Comments

Winter scene in Kitchener-Waterloo

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We went over to Kitchener-Waterloo yesterday and enjoyed a wonderful vegetarian lunch at Visnja and Stanko’s place. Fresh snow began to fall, making the houses across the street look like a little model railroad set.

Visnja, Danica, Stanko

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January 3, 2012   No Comments

Wi-fi news from Tim Hortons

I have received a response from Tim Hortons, indicating that the restaurant chain IS testing wifi in some of its stores in the GTA. Let’s hope that the tests are a success and that wifi will soon be rolled out in Timmy’s locations everywhere.

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January 3, 2012   No Comments

This post will be different for everyone.

Suppose you didn’t want me to see that your IP address is

54.166.174.48

Suppose your life and freedom depended on hiding it.

I am reading up on the Tor Project and the service it offers those in countries where government surveillance and censorship of the internet can result in the imprisoning (or worse) of those whose posts offend the state.

Since the Tor anonymizer works best when millions of ordinary people use it to do ordinary surfing, it looks like a good thing to try. After all, if only a handful of desperate political dissidents use it, they will be easier to find and harm.

After I have activated Tor, my results above should look completely different. [ Tried it. Tor gives me a different IP address.]

If you have the time and patience, this YouTube talk will explain in detail.

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January 2, 2012   2 Comments

Happy Public Domain Day!

James Thurber, a favourite U.S. writer/cartoonist, comes out of copyright in Canada this year.

January 1st, we celebrate the fact that rafts of works by authors, artists and musicians come out of copyright and enter the public domain. In Canada, copyright lasts for the life of the creator plus 50 years. In the U.S., make that 70 years and wait another 20 years. I’d laugh, but Harper will probably remove our advantage ASAP.

There are ways other than waiting to get works into the public domain. Here’s a video about one of them…

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January 1, 2012   No Comments

New Year’s Day spirit lifter

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According to the plaque, the public art in this photo “can lift the spirit of the underpass and celebrate the rites of passage”. What do you think? Is it working?

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Setting aside Mr Revington’s art for a moment (I really don’t mind it but the setting doesn’t help it)… the writer of the plaque copy deserves the “Blue Flame Award” for noxious gas emissions. (Text below)

Perhaps on a nicer day, in a nicer setting, the aluminum sculpture(s) might uplift my spirits more than they do as is. Oh, but the plaque says the purpose is to uplift the spirit of the underpass, not mine. I didn’t even know that underpasses had spirits, so I am no judge of what might uplift them.

PLAQUE SAYS:

Blue Fire – 1996

Artist: Dereck Revington

[Bumpf about local politicians removed]

Railway underpasses are significant landmarks along major City thoroughfares. As a means of recognizing these historic structures, a national competition, sponsored by the Toronto City Council through its Public Arts Commission and Planning and Development Department, was undertaken in 1989. Blue Fire is the third in a series of projects to be implemented.

Blue Fire, a constellation of five paired aluminum fragments etched with traces of a poem by Robin Blaser and suspended from the entrances to the underpass, imagines that something fragile, something tremulous and blue, can lift the spirit of the underpass and celebrate the rites of passage.

Links

Tribute to Robin Blaser after his death in 2009

Derek Revington also won the competition for creation of a suicide prevention installation on the Bloor Viaduct, called “Luminious Veil”. The link describes the piece, made of girders, cables and steel rods, without mentioning how I think it works. If I wanted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, I wouldn’t pick one that would slice and dice me like a chunk of cheddar passing through a cheese cutter. I know, I know… I’d be just as dead, but it’s the aesthetics, you see.

Lest this be taken as a criticism of the work, let me say that I would hate to be driving along below the viaduct when someone jumped…either in front of me or on me. Apparently someone was doing that every 22 days on average. I haven’t seen any numbers on what that’s down to now, but I’ll bet there’s a significant decline.

I will say that I think the name “Luminous Veil” is a bit rich.

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January 1, 2012   3 Comments

Today’s trophy photo

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My goal for the last day of the year was to walk over to the Don River and back. Not a big walk, but farther than I usually go. I took the shot from the middle of the Gerrard Street East bridge, looking south. The Don Valley Parkway runs along side.

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December 31, 2011   1 Comment

Toronto weather report

Fountain in Kew Beach Gardens

We didn’t quite make it though December without snow, but close. Rain may wash this little bit away before long.

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December 30, 2011   No Comments

Observant tweet

What evidence is there that the Mayor is pro-car, anti-transit? weirdscience tweets:

My Jan. Metropass cost $5 more than Dec. did…multiply that by 12 and there is the $60 vehicle registration tax that Rob Ford eliminated.

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December 30, 2011   No Comments

Ineke’s pottery is beautiful and original

This Christmas gift from Kathleen was made by her long time friend Ineke who lives near Kingston. We had our choice of two serving platter sets and it was awfully difficult to pick one. Both were functionally the same… large platter for ors d’oeuvres or crackers and an accompanying bowl for dips… but the glazes were entirely different in colour and design. The one you don’t see here had bolder areas of colour, especially a deep, dramatic red. Very striking, very tempting.

But we chose the one you see and we are very happy with it. The free formed wave motif and marine colours remind me of B.C. and the glazes have an appealing lustre. Food is going to look great on these!

So thank you again, Kathleen, and thank you Ineke (pronounced In-neh-keh, I believe, but my Dutch is terrible) for making such fine pieces for us.

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December 30, 2011   1 Comment