onefixedstar: (academic)
Last night I went to a mystery reading at Casa Loma sponsored by the Crime Writers of Canada. I like a good mystery novel and enjoy book readings, and the craft-focused Q&A sessions that accompany them, but I have to confess that the main draw of this event was the location. Casa Loma, for non-Torontonians, is a 19th century castle started by romantic-minded millionaire Sir Henry Pellat. Unfortunately, he ran out of money while trying to expand the castle, but it's still around and in good shape, managed by the Kiwanis Club. Frankly, I can't think of a better place for a mystery reading than the Casa Loma library. I should see if they run more events. Halloween at Casa Loma has promise....

As for the actual event, it was quite good. The authors (Lyn Hamilton and Rick Blechta) were entertaining and reasonably insightful, and the book excerpts were fun. Both books were clearly set in Toronto, and it's always fun to try to picture the locations being discussed. I didn't end up buying either book, but I think I might check out some of Lyn Hamilton's books from the library. Her books are of the historical mystery-paralleling-contemporary mystery type, which I often find entertaining. (Hamilton's main character lives in Toronto, but she ends up traveling around the world, so each book is set in a different location. Last night's was set in China.)

All in all, a nice break from the marking that is consuming the REST OF MY LIFE.

A night out

Aug. 6th, 2007 10:34 pm
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Six weeks since my last update...I'm turning into a bad LJer. I'm going to blame my lack of presence on running up against program deadlines. I hit the summer and suddenly realized that I had four months to study for and write my second comprehensive exam, and prepare my proposal. My own fault, for dithering and delaying on a topic (which in turn delayed my comp area was supposed to be related to my thesis topic). I ended up picking a very broad comp area (culture) that I thought related to the general topics I was interested in and that I already knew fairly well from my TA work and running with it. I managed to prepare for it in about half the recommended minimum time, at the rate of one or two books or 5+ articles per day most days. And now that's over and done with, and I'm working on my proposal and changing my research question every other day as I read further in the literature and then go back to the available data. I came up with a new topic today...I'll see if it sticks. (I ended getting a two month extension on the proposal, so I now have until October 31st to finish. I'm aiming for mid-September, though, as I'm tired of having it hang over me.)

With the comp out of the way, I've been going out a little more. On Thursday, B and I went to the new Annex BBQ restaurant, Cluck, Grunt, and Low, where we had a rather unusual experience. They'd been getting good reviews, and the place was packed when we got there. Rather than wait for a table, we opted to sit side-by-side at the counter, facing out onto Bloor Street through a large open window. B ordered ice tea in place of the sweet tea we'd been hoping for, and sat drinking it while we waited for our ribs. A few minutes after it arrived, with scarcely more than a sip gone, a man passing by on the street reached through the window, grabbed the drink off of the table with a grunt, and kept on walking. The man walking behind him paused, looked at us incredulously, and asked if that had really happened, to which we could only shrug and laugh. What else can you do, really? The dry rub ribs were generally good (though the BBQ sauce could have been smokier), and the server replaced our iced tea for free once we convinced her that it really had been stolen, and we'll definitely be back at some point to try the pulled pork. B, Southern boy that he is, has been lamenting the lack of good Southern food for a while, so it's nice that something opened in the neighbourhood.

Crystal!

Jun. 4th, 2007 03:14 pm
onefixedstar: (cherry blossoms)
I had a nice entry written up on my trip last Friday to the free concert hosted by the ROM in honour of the opening of the Lee-Chin Crystal wing, but I lost it when LiveJournal wouldn't let me post for two days. (Probably more, but that's how long I know I couldn't post for.) It looks like I'm finally able to post again, but the opening wasn't exciting enough to recap yet again, except to say that the MC bits between the performances were incredibly cheesy. The premise was Paul Gross arguing with Time over whether the human race deserved to continue to exist, with the occasional boost by guests like David Suzuki. I like Paul Gross. I like David Suzuki. But still, incredibly silly. Like it was aimed at 8-year-olds.

Later this week, I'd like to actually get inside the Crystal.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
The Art Gallery of Ontario currently has an Emily Carr exhibit on display. I've been meaning to go for a while, having heard from my roommate that it's fabulous, but kept putting it off for later. Yesterday, however, I realized that it closes on Sunday, and so tonight B and I finally made the time to go. My roommate was right--it is indeed fabulous, with enough paintings to give a real sense of the changes her in style over time (including the influence of the Group of Seven). I was particularly interested in a couple of rugs that she did, which were apparently originally displayed under a different name. The exhibit didn't say why, but I suspect it was because she didn't want to detract from her artistic reputation by becoming known for art in the form of women's crafts. I suppose it takes someone like Joyce Wieland--and a few decades of time--to begin to garner some respect for that kind of work.

I think the rest of the evening will be spent on pop culture, specifically watching season 5 of Gilmore Girls.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
As I sit here, reading posts from my friends in Ottawa and Toronto about how very, very hot it is, I'm really coming to appreciate the air conditioning in my apartment. It is, of course, a terrible drain on our resources and generally bad for the environment, but since I have no control over it and no way to turn it off, I'm just going to enjoy it. Until 3:00, when I have to leave for a meeting.

And hey, the kitten is finally coming out to play, though she still runs under the furniture if I move too suddenly.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
It's summer in Toronto, and the film crews are out and about. Last year, it was Take the Lead, for which they transformed the building where my department is located into a New York high school, complete with New York police cars, New York cabs, New York street signs, and a partial facade. (I have no idea what, if anything, they did to the inside. I didn't go into that part of the building to check. Although I probably could have--security wasn't that tight most of the time.)

This year, they're filming at a local frat house two doors down from my apartment. The letter they sent around last week said that they're filming the next American Pie movie, specifically an after-party at a frat house that takes place following the famous Naked Mile run at the University of Michigan. Toronto: the all-purpose city. One year New York, the next Michigan. It's a more focused shoot this time, so they haven't done as many external transformations: one street sign, some different Greek letters on the house, some carefully positioned beer bottles (which didn't really require staging), and I think they took the snow tiger statue down. I believe it's entirely an outdoor shoot. Sadly for them, it just started to rain.

Oh, and they were a lot of trucks on campus today, so someone is probably filming something there too. But then, they usually are.
onefixedstar: (Default)
It's reading week at the university, and so B and I decided to take yesterday off and wander the city. We had originally planned to go out for lunch, and then stroll along Queen St., coffee in hand, and do a bit of window shopping. The sudden rise of a brisk wind as we left the restaurant changed our minds and drove us underground into PATH. As we walked under the heart of Toronto's financial district, we came upon an interesting little set-up: two large televisions, positioned back-to-back, with mini-bleachers on either side. A crowd was gathered around, mostly in suits and ties (and yes, mostly men), watching the Canadian-Russian Olympic men's hockey game, cheering and groaning in unison. Mostly groaning, of course, since Canada lost. (Interestingly, I didn't see any signs advertising who had set up the televisions...they were just there.)
onefixedstar: (butterfly)
B and I went out for supper last night along College Street. The restaurant we went to was heartbreakingly empty; we were literally the only customers there, and probably wouldn't have gone in ourselves if we hadn't been there before and knew the food was decent. (And the food was decent, though sadly, they'd changed their menu and the French onion soup that had drawn us there in the first place wasn't being offered.)

As depressing as an empty restaurant must be for the owners, I've discovered there can be advantages for the patron in the form of extra-attentive service. As B was finishing his meal and I was still only half finished my beef medallions and clearly slowing, our waiter popped over and asked if everything was okay. When I confirmed that the problem was a waning appetite and not the quality of the food, he suggested that if I wasn't going to finish my meal, it would make an excellent sandwich the next day, as that cut works very well cold. He added that he'd put in some extra roasted red peppers for me when he wrapped it up, as those work particularly well on the sandwich.

When I finally gave up on the food, he came over to clear our plates, and asked if I'd like him to slice the beef, since he had some sharp knives on hand. Once he was done that, he just went ahead and made the whole sandwich for me, with lovely crusty bread and roasted red peppers, and packaged it all up nicely.

Mmm, steak sandwich with roasted red peppers.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
B and I went out for Summerlicious at Canoe on Tuesday night. The restaurant is on the 54th floor of the TD Bank building, so it offers a fabulous view, even at 9:45, which was the only reservation we could get. (It was almost 10:00 before we were seated, in part, I suspect, because people were enjoying the view too much to leave their seats.) The ambience was also fabulous--all gold and white and plush and exposed brick; it was a great mix of rustic and luxurious. The food, sadly, was the most disappointing part of the evening. It was visually striking, but only okay tasting. It wasn't bad, but I've had better at much cheaper restaurants. The menu: hearts of romaine salad, pork tenderloin with summer squash and couscous, and a caramel butternut tart for dessert. I hope their regular fare is better than what they offered up for Summerlicious.

Last night I went over to AmericanAnglo's place for television night. Since we have neither "Alias" nor "The Amazing Race" to watch this summer, we've switched over to AmericanAnglo's extensive DVD collection, which has the advantage of making television night much more flexible, although a little less exciting. Right now we're slowly working our way through the first season of "Roswell." AmericanAnglo's new boyfriend joined us for TV night for the first time. There was general agreement among all present as to his high level of attractiveness, enthusiastically expressed the moment he stepped out the door. (FrenchWriter and his boyfriend pounced on AmericanAnglo for details as soon as NewGuy left. Admittedly, they were a bit drunk.) I'm hoping NewGuy turns out to be nice as well as cute; AmericanAnglo deserves it.

Today MasseyPrincess leaves for Montreal with friends, and I clean up the apartment for the weekend. I'm also going to be transcribing interviews, coding interview transcriptions, and working on editing the Heritage report. I'd like to get out to a Fringe Festival show, and probably to dinner, but apart from that, I suspect this is going to be largely a working-weekend.

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