June 2004 to March, 2012

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Clueless marketing names and slogans

This CD offers me no clue about what it goes with. The name and slogan are useless. Rummaging around, I found an “info” sheet. It offered this, in English and several other languages:


  1. Do not make any connections to your SpeedTouch™ until you are instructed to do so.
  2. Insert the setup CD in your computer’s CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.

    • On MS Windows: The CD should autostart.

    • On Mac OS X: Double-click Menu in the window with the content of the CD.

  3. Carefully follow all the instructions.

OK, that’s all you get. Any idea what a SpeedTouch is? [Hint: It’s not a quick grope on the subway.]

January 24, 2012   3 Comments

Reporting in from The Remarkable Bean

East Queen Street, just east of Beech Ave.

A hefty patron has just flumped into an easy chair, knocking the coffee table and spilling my cup onto the newspaper it rested on. A perfunctory “sorry” preceded her loud cellphone call. Subject: chicken for dinner tonight. The coffee is smoother than my neighbour, who is now eating something noodly from a plastic tub. Time to abandon the free wifi and resume my walk.

January 23, 2012   3 Comments

Hello from the Sideshow Café

Danica and I sat up high in the front window of a nifty little coffee place on Gerrard Street East. We didn’t really try to act as window displays but ours was the last available table. There are, maybe, 3 or 4 tables all together. There’s free wi-fi.

The “sideshow” refers to the fact that the coffee (and ice cream in the summertime) outlet is an add-on business. It is attached to the Centre of Gravity Circus Training Studio. Neat place and interesting people. We ordered Americanos…they only have an espresso machine… which were delicious. Danica’s small was 2 bucks and my medium was a better deal at $2.50

January 23, 2012   2 Comments

Art in Rebecca’s park

Click to enlarge

I was delighted to find this bright bit of yellow in Rebecca Staton’s email message this morning. Welcome relief from the grey days we’ve been having. Rebecca’s photos of nature, birds and animals in High Park are always a treat to receive, but I’m happy when she branches out, too. For example:

Click to enlarge

Interesting juxtaposition of sanctioned vs unsanctioned art in the park. Lobo’s effort is a bit adolescent for my tastes but I respect his ambition and his daring. (If you are female, Lobo, pardon my mistake and my surprise.) Maybe this is a smoking awareness message for the Weedless Wednesday month.

January 22, 2012   2 Comments

Blintzes NEXT time, for sure

I got there before noon and beat the lunch crowd. Yes, there’s free wi-fi.

I got back to the wonderful Free Times Café today, introducing the place to my buddy Bill. I had intended to try the blintzes but the all-day breakfast was just too good to pass up. No regrets. On the contrary, it was a VERY good choice. Toast, potato patties, a couple of eggs, peameal bacon or tomatoes, salad greens, slice of watermelon, slice of kiwi and (neat surprise) a delicious little section of pomegranate. Bottomless cup of good coffee, refilled frequently… what’s not to love?

Bill’s bill came in under 9 bucks. Mine was just under $11, because I splurged and substituted strip bacon for the standard peameal. Given the peameal bacon/tomatoes choice, the saintly Bill opted for tomatoes. He announced that he could really taste them so there’s something special there. Organic perhaps, Bill thought.

If you are near the corner of College and Spadina, or you’ve been exploring Kensington Market, treat yourself. Here’s a map.

January 20, 2012   1 Comment

Follow up to SOPA blackout day

Here’s a clear and balanced assessment of SOPA issues in about 5 minutes. This is also an opportunity for me to share my (belated?) discovery of YouTube Education. When there’s nothing worth watching on TV, there’s plenty to enjoy on the computer!

January 20, 2012   1 Comment

Local bathing beauty with important news

It was too cold for swimming at Kew Beach on May 1, 1945, so the Toronto Star shared the news. The newspaper is also sharing free searches of the whole year (1945) in its digital archive collection of past issues. If the ads don’t interest you, there’s lots of war news. [Spoiler alert: the Nazis lost]

One more… forget diet and exercise…

January 19, 2012   No Comments

The new face of Maple Leaf Gardens

Mannekins display the Loblaws Joe line of clothing on the 2nd floor.

The old home of the Maple Leafs Hockey Team reopened about a month and a half ago, as a rather spectacular Loblaws supermarket. Personally, I think this is a better use for the building, but I’m not a hockey fan.

In any case, the new store is giving a shot in the arm to the street it occupies. A new Bulk Barn is open, too, a few doors west, on the same side of Carlton.

Everything is all shiny and bright, and blindingly orange! It’s amazing to see how stores could be laid out, if the inevitable clutter of aisle-blocking merchandisers didn’t take priority over customer convenience. Danica and I were there on a grey Tuesday morning, so it was the slowest of times. That certainly added to the impression of space and openess, but the paths really are generously wide and uncluttered.

The store is stocked with all of the brands you see at other Loblaw’s stores, but there’s a more complete range of products than in any other Loblaws I’ve seen. The prices seemed in line for such items, but there are some pricier goods in quantity, too. Lots of “gourmet” preprepared meals, fresh, fancy sushi, displays of orchids… that sort of thing.

There are some fairly Spartan tables and chairs inside, too, so that hungry shoppers can buy a bit of lunch and have it on the spot.

January 19, 2012   No Comments

A Helen Andersen oil painting

Click to enlarge

This oil painting hangs over our fireplace. The canvas measures 32″ x 20″ without the frame. It’s signed “Andy” and dated ’63.

The subject is a shore of the west coast Gulf Island, South Pender…looking down over the rocks from above, with the water’s edge appearing in the top part of the picture. Helen once had a studio on South Pender, built from scratch by her husband Raabye.

Helen painted many landscapes and seashores in Vancouver, on South Pender and in Victoria. In the early 60s, she was signing her works “Andy”, which was her nickname from her days as a nursing student in Regina. If you have one, now you know that “Andy” wasn’t a guy. And there’s more to the story of her name.

Helen’s maiden name was Anderson (with an “o”). Her first marriage changed her name to “Helen Ross” but she signed her paintings “Andy” all through that period. Later, her second marriage was to Raabye Andersen (with an “e”, Danish style). So Helen was an Andersen once again, although with a different spelling.

January 16, 2012   4 Comments

MacKeeper to the rescue

MacKeeper found my photos of masks from 2 years ago.

Inadvertently, I deleted, then emptied Trash. How to get my photos back?

I fired up MacKeeper and set it to work finding deleted images that had not yet been overwritten on my hard drive. When I got back from my afternoon nap, the list of rescuable items was HUGE! I could preview them to hunt for the ones I wanted and retrieve them with a click. Pretty nifty.

January 16, 2012   No Comments