Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dress to impress or to kill

Now that the planning and organizing of my Nuit Blanche project is almost over, my mind is left to dwell on more superficial logistics, like what to wear for the duration of the event.

Here is the list of activities that I will be engaged in during Nuit Blanche:
  • standing
  • cycling
  • wading in a fountain with 1.5 feet of water
  • walking
  • running (possibly for my life if things take a turn for the worst)
Standing around in near freezing temperatures for more than 12 hours limits the wardrobe selection. If I were to be strictly practical, I would wear a water-proof parka, cozy sweat suit and hiking boots with arch support. But, how freaked out would attendees be to meet someone who looks like they're suffering from cabin fever during an urban art event?

Feel free to leave outfit suggestions in the Comments.

By the way, that's Charles Ray in the picture. His outfit looks innocuous enough but he actually handmade every part of it: jacket, shirt, pants, shoes, and even the glasses. He was aiming to be a modern day Robinson Crusoe. No, I will not create my outfit by hand, with only three days before the event.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nuit Blanche 2009

The 4th annual Toronto Nuit Blanche will take place this coming weekend, starting at 6:55pm on October 3 and ending around 7:00am on October 4.

In previous years, I plotted out my course with military precision, to ensure that I squeezed every last bit of art out of the event. This year, I have only one project on the agenda: my own. I hope to check out nearby exhibitions if my project slows down at any point during the night, but my experience of 2009's Nuit Blanche will probably be myopic.

Friends have been loathe to commit to visiting my project, perhaps due to timing or because they hate art, so I can only hope that I find comfort in the kindness of strangers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Latest obsession: bad dancing

Two sessions into my ballet class and friends are already expecting twinkle toe routines on demand. Unfortunately, I have learned nothing more than correct posture and prancing to count (or not). Introduction to Ballet is exactly where I belong, with my classmates showing about the same level of coordination and musicality. Last week, my smile spread to Joker-like proportions as I watched everyone destroy the art form, before I followed suit.

As lacking as my dance skills are, they do not sink so low as to swing back up into the 'entertaining' category like the current season of "Dancing with the Stars". I would tune in for Chuck Liddell alone but Tom DeLay is exceeding all expectations. Watch the video below and keep tissue handy for the tears.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I am Malene Arpe

I have been a fan of Malene Arpe since her days as a columnist for Eye Weekly back in the 90s but it was only when she started her Stargazing blog with The Toronto Star that I realized that we are practically the same person. See the evidence below:
  • She is nerdy enough to give updates on the TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones; I love the series.
  • She adores Viggo Mortensen; I dream of Viggo Mortensen, too (no proof on this blog but, ever since Lord of the Rings, it is true!)
  • She posted a mash up video of "True Blood" with Depeche Mode and labelled it "Overwhelmingly awesome"; I cannot agree more (here and here)
  • She lives on internet detritus; I am a cultural bottom feeder, too! (see any part of my blog)
Admittedly, the evidence that I have provided is scanty, but I believe that Arpe is the more successful, cooler version of me. Joe cannot believe that two of us exist in the same time continuum.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You can't beat crazy

Joe and I thought we were being clever by entering the real estate market recently in order to take advantage of the low mortgage rates. Of course, when everyone else in Toronto is doing the exact same thing, our actions cease to be clever, or even sensible.

In the week and a half since we started our house hunt, we have made two offers and in both cases, we lost out to the crazy rich (aka "eccentric"). The first house, a 100 year old semi-detached that was well maintained but definitely required $30,000+ worth of work, went for over half a million dollars; 129% of the asking price. The second house, a slightly younger semi-detached that was recently gussied up went for 112% of the asking price. Considering that the new wall-to-wall carpeting covered a world of trouble yet could not muffle the extremely squeaky floor, the absence of a home inspection condition was an "eccentric" choice.

We begin to despair over ever finding a well maintained and well located property that will not be immediately snatched up or fought over by the mysteriously wealthy. The media outlets are now reporting strong GTA home sales yet it was only back in March 2009 that Toronto Life was touting a "Buyer's Market" on its cover. I begin to wonder about the credibility of any 'high' and 'low' reports made by the media, including the state of the economy and Lindsey Lohan's career.

The slough through the Toronto real estate market will continue, at least until our locked-in mortgage rate expires.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two ends of the spectrum

A quick review of excellence and mediocrity:

Excellent: Cabbagetown Festival - The Festival took place this past weekend and for the second year in a row, I found it excellent. The food is cheaper than what is offered at comparable street festivals like Taste of Little Italy, and far less crowded than Taste of the Danforth. The accompanying Riverdale Park Arts & Crafts Festival is surprisingly high in quality, with many vendors that you usually see at the One of a Kind Show, participating in the Festival.

Mediocre: Crank: High Voltage - Possibly the worst movie that I have ever seen. Seemingly written by a stupid, oversexed teenager, the movie features ADD editing style, gratuitous nudity and violence, outdated racism, and callous misogyny. Some might claim that this is a parody of the action movie genre of the 1980s, but that would require irony, which is absent in Crank: High Voltage. The movie pretty much wallows happily in its own filth.
Usually, I laugh at bad movies (Twilight is currently my favourite comedy), but only a psychopath would find amusement in the explicit depiction of a gang member cutting his off own nipples or a stripper's large breast implants leaking from bullet holes to the chest.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Because I don't get enough excitement

In addition to preparing for an art event and starting ballet classes, I decided to take on another hobby: house hunting! After seeing Vicki purchase the house of her dreams, and hearing of other friends joining the hunt, Joe and I decided to do it, too (yes, monkey see, monkey do, ha ha ha).

It has been a whirlwind three days since we first made contact with our real estate agent, and we have already seen four properties. We would have seen more but the real estate market appears to be picking up again with listings being taken off the market just as we request a viewing; one house was snatched up on the first day of listing.

Hopefully, as I become an old pro at this, I will stop dreaming of houses and waking up to a racing heart at 6am.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Vive le veg!

I submitted my story of temporary vegetarianism to the Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) a while ago in the hope of winning a prize. The prize has yet to be received but my story has been posted! I think the fact that my story is at the very top of the page is very promising, n'est pas?

25th Anniversary Vegetarian Food Fair
September 11-13, 2009
Harbourfront, Toronto
Free Admission

TVA will be launching phase two of the Veggie Challenge, which involves going vegetarian for 25 days. That sounds like a challenge, TVA! I'll let it stew in my mind until September 11.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

An anonymous rant...hopefully

At the risk of being discovered by Google, I am going to rant about an art event that I am slated to participate in, without actually naming the event. In short order, the experience has been a test of my patience.
  • Submitted my proposal a few days before the deadline in February but never received the 'automated confirmation'. Ended up having to bother the organization on the day of the deadline before receiving an affirmative.
  • Awaited the organizers' decision on my proposal, which was supposed to be issued by the end of March. Waited until the middle of April to contact the organization regarding their decision. Organizers responded at the end of April to say that my sponsor had bailed on me and so they had assumed that my sponsor would tell me the bad news. In reality, my sponsor had not bailed on me and it was a case of miscommunication between the organizers and my sponsor. Organizers welcomed me into the event with open arms.
  • In spite of a month's delay in delivering the good news to me, the organizers still expected me to meet the content submission deadline within the first week of May. In a mere week, I submitted all project information for the media, found a new venue for my project, and applied for the relevant permit.
  • By the end of May, I had done the research on the equipment needed for the project and gotten the quote from a supplier. I requested that payment be issued by my sponsor, despite feeling that I was way ahead of schedule. Little did I know that the supplier would not receive the cheque until mid-July, and, after cashing the cheque, the supplier would go on a month long holiday.
  • I finally received the equipment on August 20. Now, with just over a month before the event, I will have to complete the project and begin promoting it furiously. However, I have recently discovered that I am not listed properly on the event website.
I supposed things could be more stressful. For instance, I could be a high profile individual charged with criminal negligence causing death. I will also comfort myself by thinking that the chances of me creating another project of this magnitude in the future are low. Crochet and other relaxing crafts are the way of the future.