listersgirl: (transit geek)
I had terrible TERRIBLE transit karma yesterday, although in my less annoyed moments I'm willing to admit that it probably had less to do with me, and more to do with all the snow that fell while I was asleep on Saturday night.

But still. I was supposed to go to a finger cymbals workshop in the afternoon, and after trudging down to the streetcar stop (which was kind of entertaining, because every second apartment building had cleared the sidewalk, so it was 30 seconds of free and easy walking, followed by a minute of attempting to walk through the snow, followed by 30 seconds of free and easy walking, and so on), I waited for 30 minutes with no streetcars. At that point, there was no way I could even remotely get to my workshop on time, and I *still* couldn't see a streetcar or a replacement bus, so I went home. Boo! No workshop, and I'm out $30.

And then later that night I headed out to [livejournal.com profile] tinkerer and [livejournal.com profile] gingerale_kitty's for games, a trip which should have taken me 30 minutes (one bus, a little walking), and took...an hour and fifteen minutes. CRAZY. Luckily my trip back was very quick.
listersgirl: (transit geek)
So today, the day that thinks it's the middle of summer and is 30 hot and sunny degrees, the north/south subways weren't running when I left work. These are the subways that get everyone out of the downtown core, that take me right home. And they weren't running to the extent that all the entrances to the downtown subway stations were locked up, so this clearly wasn't a temporary thing.

I walked west (to Spadina) to take the streetcar up to Bloor. Now, I'm at basically the bottom of downtown, so I was able to get on the first streetcar that came. One stop later and it was completely full already, with people literally hanging off the bars trying to keep their feet off the step so that the back doors would close and we could move again. As the woman beside me said, it looked like the entire financial district was trying to get on that streetcar. And driving past the other streetcar stops was scary -- people were spilling out onto the tracks and the street because there was no room left on the platforms.

And then I walked the rest of the way home, which is only about a 35 minute walk (one I do all the time), but uphill, and it was hot, and I was sweaty, and now I have a heat rash on my thighs and a sunburn on my arms. Blech.

However, I stopped at the post office and the library, and I have Kitchen Confidential DVDs and a copy of [livejournal.com profile] yiskah's book, so life is good. Plus some day Lost will finish downloading and then I can watch that too!
listersgirl: (jayne's dandy hat)
That was a complicated trip to work this morning! Because of the massive piles of slush and snow and water that resulted from yesterday's storm and today's warm temperatures, I couldn't get to the subway station. Which is maybe 3 blocks from my house. But I couldn't cross the street!

Between me and the intersection is a stretch of street that dips down, creating a natural puddle. The sidewalks are narrow, and there's nothing between the sidewalk and the rushing traffic. It's bad enough when it's just raining, but not only was there a pool of slushy water over a foot deep on the sidewalk, there was so much water on the roads that the resulting wall of slush whenever anyone drove past that spot was taller than me. So, ok, I could have made it through if I had hipwaders and full body raingear, but not so much.

So I thought, fine, no problem, I'll go up to the other intersection, cross there, and take the side streets to the station -- at least there'll be a protective line of parked cars between me and the water. Except when I got up to the other intersection, I discovered that the lights were out, and the cars along Bathurst (the main street) weren't even *pretending* to know what a 4-way stop is. Seriously, I tried for a good 5 minutes to get people to stop to let me cross, but that wasn't happening either.

So in the end, I took the bus down to Bathurst station, took the subway east, and then the subway south (instead of just the subway straight down, which is my normal route). Wacky! But much, much drier.

(The amazing thing is that I wasn't even late to work, because I'd left earlier than normal, since I once again got up on time. Shocking!)
listersgirl: (break's over)
OFF PLANE NOW PLEASE

This flight wins for least favourite travel experience ever, beating out even the time I fainted on the plane, and the time I arrived at 5 in the morning when I was supposed to arrive at 10 the night before. Not that there was anything wrong with the flight -- no, it was completely on time, and totally smooth. But clearly red-eye flights are All Wrong for me, because I didn't fall asleep (which was my grand plan), and instead spent the last 3 1/2 hours of the flight shaking and feeling incredibly nauseous, which was made worse when I closed my eyes. Since I haven't had any motion sickness on any of the other flights I've taken this year, I really think it's just because my body was angry at being awake during times when it shouldn't, among other things. Never again!

CANADA POST FOR THE WIN

Not only did I come home to lots of cards (my favourite part of getting back to Toronto), there was a parcel outside my door that made it to me even though it was pretty drastically misaddressed (no apartment number, and the street number was reversed). My postal person loves me! Ooh, AND, there was a menu for a new vegetarian chinese restaurant that just(?) opened not that far from me. YUM. Who wants to join me for fake meat and sweet & sour sauce? My favourite thing on the menu: Deep Fried Heaven.

NO MEMES HERE, NO SIRREE

According to that New Year's Resolutions LJ thingy that's going around, in 2007 I resolve to volunteer to spend time with board games. No objections here! I am, in fact, in the middle of making resolutions, which I didn't do last year, although my resolutions are starting to look suspiciously like a very grand to-do list. I'm just better with things that have an end.

TOO MUCH TEA

Not really, of course. But I did acquire, through various means, a ridiculous amount of tea over the holidays. As of today I declare a moratorium on bringing new tea into the house, at least until I go through some of the tea that I have, and work on my first resolution, which is to reorganize my tea shelves. If the tea is going to overflow to on top of the microwave and under the shelves, I want it to at least be all one kind of tea.

OOPS

Clearly the reason why I always unpack (...mostly) as soon as I get home, even if it's already midnight and I have to got to work the next morning, is that if I don't, I never will. Also, I won't be able to brush my teeth. After getting home this morning at 7:30, I basically threw myself into bed, with the intention of sleeping a bit, getting up in time to buy groceries, and then unpacking like crazy. Instead I slept a lot (I love my bed), barely made it out of the house before things started closing, and am, well, clearly not unpacking. In fact, I appear to be looking at DVD sales on Amazon. Damn.
listersgirl: (sondheim)
And it's December, which apparently came a surprise to me, as I left my December transit pass sitting on the kitchen table. Imagine my irritation when I couldn't get through the turnstile! Imagine my indignation as I squeezed past the people buying tokens and flashed my pass at the man in the box! Imagine my embarrassment when I realized that it was me, and not the TTC, who was the idiot, and that the transit man was probably cursing me for attempting to scam him! Imagine my annoyance when I realized that I would now have to pay actual cash to get home again!

In other news, I had no time for breakfast this morning, due to an extended bout of not-getting-out-of-beditis, so I have succumbed to the lure of toasted bagel and peanut butter. Expect whining about stomach pain and heartburn in approximately 2 hours.

These last two weeks have been full of theatre for me, which makes me all *glee* and *bliss*. Last week I went to Wicked with [livejournal.com profile] starfishchick, which was great. On their own, I find the songs fun, if nothing special, but the production made them come alive, even if it did leave out a lot of the politics found in the book. Still, great choreography and costumes, excellent singing for the most part, and damn, did they all sound scarily like the people who originated the roles on Broadway. I don't think I've ever seen a touring production before where the intent was so clearly to copy the original, down to speaking inflections.

Then on Tuesday I took myself to Chicago, which I've never seen a professional production of. And yes, there was a Backstreet Boy on stage. He was actually pretty good - his voice was a lot sweeter and somewhat less powerful than I would have picked for Billy Flynn, but it's a good voice and he's got the stage presence. The women beside me were very excited, despite having been all mocking before the show started. And the rest of the cast was great. The woman playing Roxie looked just like Miranda from Sex and the City (from where I was sitting in the gods). It was eerie. Most importantly, the dancing was awesome, and I loved how they used the stage, putting the band on stage on riser-like things, and having the cast use the same setpiece, and interact with the bandleader. It really played up the vaudeville angle.

Last night I went with dancer friends from Kitchener to see Arabesque Dance Company's new bellydance show, Asala. Fantastic. One of the best all around shows that I've seen. The live band was amazing, and there was a drum interlude that nearly killed me, and the dancing was great - group choreographies that mostly ran through various folkloric and contemporary styles. With many, many costumes, including at least 4 for each dancer during one big number. I love that. Seriously, if you like bellydance, or you're curious about bellydance, go see this show. So much better than Bellydance Superstars.

And now that it's December, I promised myself that I would stop getting annoyed every time Christmas music is played, or I see decorations, or people talk about it. Because there's only so long you can carry around that kind of irritation without exploding, and December 1st is when Christmas is allowed to begin (or so says I).
listersgirl: (transit geek)
I am a huge geek*, and therefore I would really like to ride on the old streetcars. Shut up. Streetcars are awesome! Sadly, I will not be spending the money, especially since I am planning to spontaneously** jet off to Stratford some time very soon. When I am rich, though, I will make my secret dream come true and hire an old streetcar to just drive me around one day. Maybe I'll have a streetcar party.

[I can see you all slinking away like you don't know me. It's okay, I understand.]

*Such a huge geek, in fact, that I already had a streetcar icon. I did not make one just for this post. No, in fact, I have written about streetcars before.
**I am aware of the oxymoron here. Sadly, true spontaneity doesn't work very well when there is the possibility of sold-out theatre tickets and no car rentals.
listersgirl: (be like that)
You'd think that someone who participated in a conversation about the possibility of work action shutting down the TTC today would actually remember that possibility for more than 10 minutes.

You'd also think that someone who knew about this possibility would think to check the news before leaving the house in the morning.

Instead, the world conspired against me knowing anything about it: my alarm didn't go off this morning (at least, the alarm technically went off, but for some reason there was no sound), so I didn't hear the news, and I completely forgot that there was a possibility of no transit. Instead I got to the subway station, and was very confused to see the doors shut.

Hi, doofus here.

So I walked to work. It took about an hour and 10 minutes at breakneck speed, which isn't terrible, but it was so hot out, even at 8 in the morning. Blech. By the time I hit College and St. George (about 2/3 of the way) I was sweaty, had to pee, and had a heat rash on my thighs. And then when I got to work, my boss was all, seriously, you didn't have to hurry, it's a long walk, you could have taken your time. NOW she tells me.

Meanwhile, I had an awesome, highly social weekend, during which I was barely at home, and didn't do any of my regular weekend housekeeping (ie. laundry, groceries, clean, return books to the library). Instead I hung out with [livejournal.com profile] sallym and [livejournal.com profile] dangerdean, who were here from Vancouver, and [livejournal.com profile] starfishchick, starfishdude, [livejournal.com profile] sarcasma and [livejournal.com profile] sanity_clause. We hung out at the starfishcondo, drank wine and played games, wandered through U of T and Kensington Market, and down along the waterfront, and ate tasty meals.

And then in the middle of all that, on Sunday, we got to have tea with [livejournal.com profile] bureinato, who is in town. Which was fabulous (both the highly adorable tea place (The Red Tea Box) and the excellent company). And then we wandered along West Queen West, looking at all the funky local designers.

So it was very much a weekend of being out with awesome people, remembering that I live in an interesting city (and not my living room), and generally having fun. Score.
listersgirl: (socks are talking)
I am going to Winnipeg for real next week. No, seriously. I even have a ticket, although apparently once you're there they don't want to let you leave, because there were no seats* left on any flights out of Winnipeg on either Friday or Thursday. Oy, I say.

I am still computer-free on the weekends, so I will say happy advance birthday to the splendiferous [livejournal.com profile] minervacat! I hope you have an awesome day, love.

And to all the rest of you, good weekend wishes. I think I'm going for high tea on Sunday, which should be lovely. Hello, tiny sandwiches! I may or may not be around next week -- it depends on whether or not this hotel also has a fancy executive suite where I can pretend to be doing executive things -- but I'll be checking my email if you feel the need to entertain talk to me.

Meanwhile, some BPAL reviews for you:

Smut

What a great freakin' word. BPAL LOVES TEH SMUT! Three swarthy, smutty musks sweetened with sugar and woozy with dark booze notes.

I'm not sure how to describe this - it's just sort of warm and sweet, but heavy. And really strong on application. It works once it's dried down, though.

Swank

Simply cool, the essence of Lounge: the scent of a crisp pomegranate martini.

It smells the way Knudsen's black current spritzer tastes. No, seriously - fruity and sparkling, but not overly sweet. Not so much a pomegranate martini, as a pomegranate champagne cocktail. I like it.

Torture King

The King of Pain, the Famed Fakir. Frankincense and sweet clove, mandarin and bourbon, lemon peel and leather, grasses and smoke, lime and vetiver, ambergris and deep musk.

This is very changeable on me -- earlier it was like a light floral, and now I get mostly lime and bourbon. Interesting. I think I like it, but I'll probably have to try it a few more times to see if it's ever going to settle down.

*By which I mean, no seats that weren't executive class, which is approximately 7 times as much as the cheap class I normally take. Granted, the manager in Winnipeg is paying for this, but I don't think he wants me out there quite that much.
listersgirl: (books)
Anthony Bourdain A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal

I think I would read anything this guy wrote, despite the fact that he describes meat and animal products in such gut-wrenching glory I felt vaguely ill through most of the book. Although it was a little strange reading the sections that I had actually seen on TV, like the one in Japan. If you've never seen the show or read the book, it's basically Bourdain eating his way around the world, and enjoying, well, not quite every minute of it. (ps to [livejournal.com profile] vestra: when he was in Russia, at one place he was offered a shot of vodka, followed by a shot of "cucumber brine" (basically, pickle juice) -- a do-it-yourself pickle martini!)

John Clum Something for the Boys: Musical Theater and Gay Culture

In this combination history and memoir, Clum looks at theatre queens and the impact of musicals on gay culture. A fun read.

Terry Pratchett Guards, Guards
Terry Pratchett Eric
Terry Pratchett Moving Pictures

I'm still working my way through all the Terry Pratchetts, in order, just because. But mostly only when I travel, because they're so conveniently sized. Guards, Guards was a surprise -- I thought I'd read all the Guards books (they're my favourites), but realized I hadn't read this one. Yay! Totally fun, and an excellent introduction to the various cranky and scuzzy "people" who make up the Ankh-Morpork watch. Eric is a tiny, tiny book, and really only funny if you've read other Pratchett (or so I think), because it references so much of what happened before. But it was fun to see Rincewind again. And Moving Pictures, well, I'm not as fond of the books that are such as complete parody of one specific thing (in this case, Hollywood). There were some funny bits, but it felt strained.

uTOpia: Towards a New Toronto

A fascinating book of essays from thinkers, activists, architects and journalists, all working to make Toronto a liveable world-class city. The ones that really grabbed me were about the physical reality and possibilities of Toronto: laneway housing, redeveloped neighbourhoods, and especially transit. It's official: I am a transit geek, especially about streetcars. The essay on an idealized, revitalized transit plan for Toronto took me the the Transit Toronto website, where I spent hours looking at old streetcar routes, and imagining how Toronto would be different if they'd gone with the Queen subway instead of the Bloor line, as had originally been proposed.

David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace, Ira Basen, Jane Farrow The Book of Lists, Canadian Edition: The Original Compendium of Curious Information

I bought this for my parents for Christmas, and then had to read the whole thing before I came back to Toronto. Except I skipped the chapter on sports. Seriously fun. With lists of randomness (like 14 nations with more sheep than people) and lists by famous people, you will be sure to learn something entertaining, even if you will forget it right away because it's completely trivial.

I also got about 3/4 of the way through the new Amy Tan book, and then had to leave it behind to be taken back to the library. Denied!
listersgirl: (grr argh)
Oh fucking christ.

Transit strike is on. I sure hope it's a short one.

Oh well, at least I have practice at getting up at 5:30. The walk to work might kill me, though.
listersgirl: (otp - jess79)
Why do I always get cab drivers that don't want to take my credit cards? Why do they always try to convince me to go to a bank machine? Dude, the reason I have credit cards is so that I don't have to go to a bank machine.

Also, why do the cab drivers always ask me what the best way is to get to wherever I'm going? I have no clue. If I had a car, would I be taking a cab??*

Random TV moment: I'm watching Jian Ghomeshi attempt to snowboard. It would be better if he were attempting to make out with Ian Hanomansing, right, [livejournal.com profile] sallym?

*The answer being, yes, probably, considering the amount of vodka in my body right now. But still.
listersgirl: (grr argh - jess79)
This morning two streetcars crashed into each other at my intersection. One was turning left, and one was going straight and apparently just drove right into the turning car. I always assumed that couldn't happen (I mean, hello, tracks! You already know exactly where they're going!), but I guess someone wasn't paying attention, or maybe the torrential downpour caused brake failure. All I know is, they were smushed together, mostly blocking the intersection, and the streetcars were twenty deep in every direction.

Ironically*, the reason there were so many streetcars there is because they'd all been rerouted to avoid an accident on Queen St. Yup, the gods were playing games today. And even the buses weren't running, because between the eternal line of streetcars and the parked cars on the side of the road, they couldn't get through. I could see my bus, but it wasn't going anywhere.

Eventually, after getting very wet, I grabbed a cab with someone else from my building, and we got up to the subway. But before that, we got to watch the two cars being separated, which was a crunching, scraping sound I hope I never have to hear again. Good times.

*Ever since Alanis, I have a pathological fear of using this word, just in case she affected me with her inability to tell real irony from general annoyances.
listersgirl: (transit geek)
One of my favourite things about Toronto is the streetcars. Not the transit system in general, because it's far too underfunded to be effective with the number of people that need to ride it and whose idea was it anyway to charge $98.75 for a monthly transit pass? Certainly not the idiot people who ride the streetcars (present company excepted, if you're ever on a streetcar with me) who always have to sit on the aisle seat, making it extraordinarily difficult for anyone else to sit down. No, what I love is the physical streetcars themselves. I love the old-fashioned shape of them, and the headlight in the centre that makes them so easy to spot from blocks away on a cold rainy winter night. I love the fact that they have their path, and everyone better damn well get out of the way because there's a streetcar coming through. I love how sometimes, if there's no traffic, they'll build up a wicked speed and just go barrelling down the road, but it never feels unsafe, because there's wires and tracks and you're there, you're secure. I love how they stop in the middle of the road to pick people up, and it's the one time you're encouraged to just walk out into traffic.

But most of all, I love the sounds. I lived for years on a little dead-end street in a residential neighbourhood, and at night, when everything was quiet, I could hear the buses that went up the street 4 blocks over. When I moved to Toronto, there was a bus route that went right past our front door. The sound of transit is a comforting one to me, but there's something about streetcars that is extra special. Lying in bed with the window open, hearing the ding, ding of the streetcars as they pass each other, I feel content, like I'm in the right place at the right time, and everything will be fine.

I take the streetcar to work even though the subway is probably a little faster, but I love the fact that sometimes I actually get to see some daylight that way, seeing as it's usually dark when I leave for work. Plus there's the air factor -- the subways are seriously crowded and stuffy. And usually, it's great. I inevitably hit the intersection just as the streetcar is turning the corner across from me, but at that time in the morning they come every couple of minutes. And then I can sit, read my book, or just stare out the window.

This week, however, I think the gods have declared war on streetcar riders. Monday morning, my streetcar was detoured due to one accident, got stuck for about 5-10 minutes behind another streetcar that just wasn't moving for some reason known only to the driver and his diary, finally made it into town after having to tell each person that got on "turning at Church, no, really, not going through, turning at Church, still turning at Church, just like I told you when you got on last stop, turning now, yes of course I'll stop and let you off, no of course you didn't know we were TURNING AT CHURCH", got one stop from work, and...ran into another row of stopped streetcars. When I got off (there was an accident, we weren't going anywhere, and really, I'm a block from work), there was a line of streetcars behind mine as far as I could see. Beautiful, really, if frustrating for everyone. But I really wished I had a camera.

Today, we didn't even make it as far as downtown. I had just transferred, and we'd gone one stop, and there was another streetcar pileup due to accident. The funny thing is, I swear it was the same driver as I had on Monday. The poor guy.

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