090324 dan(ce) for Dan Gorno
1 Dan(ce) was the name of a benefit concert I went to on Sunday. I'm a musician, but forget how good some of these other guys really are. As always, I write this in the order I think of it. Then, some time after I've posted it, I will read it again, and proof it. That's when the time irregularities come out. Finally I proof it once more to remove the changes of grammar required for the change in step 2.
2 A good friend has been sick and had surgery... and has surfaced again into the folk dance world! We got together for brunch at the Freetimes Cafe. It appears to be the only Jewish buffet like it in town. Everything was dairy, fish or vegetable. It didn't promise to be kosher, but it wouldn't have offended most people who practice the jewish dietary rules.
3 What a small crowded place it was. It's a storefront on College St near Spadina. It's nestled in with all of the computer stores. I hear it was a bagel and cream cheese restaurant years ago, and by running this buffet, is returning to its roots. From left to right, the goodies they had were scrambled eggs, another variant of scrambled eggs with onions and things in it, fried somethings (little disks which had fish and potato and onions), grated potato latke, a basket of St Urbain Bagels.
4 St Urbain is a street name in Montreal where the original St Urbain bagels still lives. They use a brick oven and their bagels are made in plain view by the hard working staff. The product is heavy, and thin if that makes sense. They don't dust the bagels with seeds, but hold on to one side, and dip them, so only 3/4 of each bagel has the seeds on it.
5 Back to the buffet, they had a wide selection of cream cheese, and next was a huge server of cream cheese with lax. It was good. As I look to the right, the fish continues. Sliced gefilte fish, assorted dry smoked fish, assorted wet pickled fish. A plate piled high with onions tomato and cucumber. Now the dips- eggplant, hummus, and a few I cannot really name. And finally the sweet table, perhaps 15 things.
6 The food was heavy. It was good, but I could only make two trips all told. It included orange juice and coffee for $20 per person. They have an 11am and a 1pm seating. Freetimes Cafe 320 College Street Toronto.
7 The music was played by a band of four guys, "The Schpeelers". They were okay. They were right on time, and had perfect intonation. They were a Klezmer band, but lacked the life I associate with this kind of music. They found their "life" for the last two songs of the set. These guys are good musicians, but maybe they don't see each other except at the Good Times. They were all just reading the music, and I know how hard that is.
8 I was so full. So I took my time walking to the next event. This charity concert and dance for Dan Gorno. I had not met him, hadn't even heard of him, but the people organizing this dance were making sure everyone knew, and came out to it. This guy was a teacher of step dancing at the Algoma Traditional Dance Camp, St Joseph's Island. He's not gone, but he's got cancer, and does not have medical insurance, so all of those who know him are doing what they can to raise funds.
9 The event took place at one of the many churches along The Danforth. We hold dances in this area frequently because they're good places for events. The churches have people who care for the site, keeping it clean and secure. They have many different rooms available, each with different characteristics. We hold lots of interesting dances along The Danforth.
10 I usually have no patience for a concert. Even though I'm not a great musician, especially now that I don't practice often, I'd rather play it than listen. But I have to say these performers were so amazing, so very, very good. Anne Lederman, Shane Cook, Rick Avery, James Stephens, Emilyn Stam, Ian Bell, Brian Pickell, Jack Charron. I mention their names in case this site is later scanned by a search engine. I was misty eyed during the performances. New interesting music. Two of the fiddlers there were young and shy, but they were both winners of the Shelburn Fiddle competition. So they're waay good. Remember I commented that the klezmer band didn't have enough life? These people had plenty of life. PLENTY. They were good listeners- they didn't have music, but somehow followed each other around using their ears.
11 There was a little dancing, but the leaders decided to run mostly simple dances, suitable for a non-dancing crowd. Still, there were 100+ people in the small auditorium. It was good.
12 Across the street from this church is the church we rent for our English Dance. We sometimes have trouble getting enough dancers. We can dance with only 6 people, but it feels empty. We had 12 dancers, and 10 musicians come out! I'm sure there was some carry over from the Dan Gorno event.
13 I proceed to Monday. I was moody, but not sure why. I had a day off, and used it to get my hair cut, and wander around in the sunshine. I succeeded at that.
14 I went into Staples, and I'm always looking for stuff. Stuff on sale that is interesting and very inexpensive. I almost bought more stationery. Instead I bought a package of 5 rolls of tape. These are special because they have words like "Kitchen", "Living Room", "Bedroom" on them. I'm not planning a move, but just thought that this tape had to be worth $3 to me.
15 Loblaws was where I ended up next. For you who don't know, that's one of the major food stores around here. They're not the cheaper "B" variety, but the more expensive one. I started by getting a salad: cubes of pineapple, real bacon bits, whole pecans. I didn't get very much, but still it came to $3.60 at 5.99 lb. There are signs all around the various food bars saying that they never wash with chlorinated water, never carry food over from the previous day, and so on.
16 After eating all of that stuff up, I wandered around the store. Oddly, nothing really caught my fancy. I'd look at something, like meat on sale, and say "I've got some of this in stock", I'd see matzo, "I've got this", I'd see bacon on sale at $2, "Freezer has a lot of that." In the end, I picked up a 2 lb container of beautiful strawberries. Since I didn't want them growing any hair, I had the entire package last night before bed in three servings.
17 My odd mood continued. Left unchecked, all that would comfort me was buying things and eating things. I should have just gotten onto the subway at North York Centre and proceeded to the Monday night Irish dance. But I really didn't want anyone telepathic or empathic to notice that I was feeling off. I don't lie well, and didn't want to discuss it. So I walked homeward.
18 I got home, and realized I still hadn't done the laundry nor the cleaning that needs doing around here. I handwashed some things I use over and over. First my pants. I have lots of t-shirts, many many socks, tons of undies, but not enough pants that fit me the way I like. They are all black, and are not jeans. They're suitable for use at work.
19 I found a big yellow plastic drum originally used for cooking oil and set this up in the kitchen sink. I made a mix of hot water, liquid laundry detergent and some high-test oxygen based floor cleaner I like. This was effective. The water changed from crystal clear to opaque black in about 10 seconds once my pants were in it. I prodded them with a big brush for about a minute, and squeezed as much of the sanitizing solution as I could back into the drum.
20 Any washwater that effective needs to be well rinsed out. So I carried my pants to the bathroom and kept rinsing for about 5 minutes until I was satisfied that my legs wouldn't get much chemical contact. I repeated this for a few other things I rather use a lot. I have a polar fleece blue sweater that goes between my coat and my shirt (that got some food on it that I wanted to clean out), a small microfibre bar towel that I use as a hand towel in the kitchen, and a personal towel that really wanted to be cleaned up too.
21 Handwashing takes so long, but I wasn't ready to carry 50 lbs of laundry on the bus. Sometimes I am ready, but I wasn't ready yesterday.
22 So now I'm writing for today, for Tuesday. The high point of today was my doctor's appointment. For my friends outside Canada, note that a doctor's visit is free of charge; I see him approximately monthly. We talk about computers, diets, exercise, pills, work, life. It's pleasant. He takes my blood pressure and weighs me. I'm told it was lower today than usual. I forgot to get the numbers from him. I spent a lot of time dancing and walking, so my blood pressure low this time around. I really do well with bike riding and exercise, and must must must start it again. I will. I'd better. I will.
23 The walk along Bloor Street West is always pleasant for me. It wasn't always a Korean district, but it's well suited for all of the unique BBQ restaurants, sushi bars and unique bakeries. I stopped in at Above All, a small surplus store. They were busy with other customers, so I didn't try to start to visit there.
24 I did stop off at one of my favourite green grocers in the city. They always have lots of interesting things, and lots of interesting Reduced Items. I bought a big package of reduced tomatoes, a pound of mushrooms, and a crate of clementines. I wanted to take home much more, but I really don't even need that. I should be preparing that now, but I'm writing to you.
25 Netbooks: Those tiny little computers with wireless. I continue to jones for one. I probably don't need yet another computer. When (if) I do get it, it will be the fastest computer in my current arsenal.
26 I took the Bathurst Streetcar south to College Street, and took the College Streetcar east to Spadina. This is where so many of Toronto's small computer stores compete. The first store I entered had two of the computers I wanted at $329 each. The Asus Aspire One with 160G hard drive space. I hesitated because I don't really know them personally. I did think about it a long time.
27 I went into two other computer stores along the south side of the street, and had similar experiences. I entered Alpha Plus Computers, the store run by Sam and Lisa. They often have their dog Jumbo there. He's a dog with far too much skin. Oddly, he didn't have any netbooks, but had a good selection of regular and extra-large sized laptop computers. I looked for a long time at one which had a fingerprint reader for only $350. But I've been craving a very small computer that can live in my pocket. The stores all close around 7pm so I had to leave quickly if I was to check out any of the other stores around. I do wish he would have had something for me though. He's always kind and fair. He's been in the neighbourhood for a long time, and does qualify 'someone I know personally.'
28 I crossed the street to check out Fortune Computers. I don't know these people personally, but buy things from them often. Little things, like SD cards, and USB flash memory. In the old days, when I was working at iSource Pricebridge, we would go there for all of our hard drives. We'd buy the 2g hard drives because they could be set up with FAT16 instead of FAT32 (in English: they could be formatted so they operate in new as well as old windows computers).
29 They had an amazing deal last month, but my bank account wasn't ready. At that time they had a small (but not netbook) computer for $299.99 in an extra thin design. DVD writer, webcam, wireless, everything. And since it wasn't extra small, it had a very nice keyboard. I went to the cashier, and tried to pay. I anticipated possible problems with my bank account, so I asked the sales guy to let me try to pay up first before taking anything out of the back room. These guys were very cool, like they must hear this often. Today they had only one netbook left, and would have no trouble selling it for $499 (they said). I guess I'm not the only one buying today.
30 I went into Factory Direct next. They actually had a bunch of netbook computers. White, Blue, Black. 8g solid state drive, 120g drive, 160g drive. For some reason, I wasn't ready to buy. Not from them. I saw something else interesting. They had Canon portable labeller devices for $15. Wow! You can't get the tapes those things run on for less than $25. Still, I'm not made of money. I bought 8 AA batteries from them to test out the one unit they had left. Good thing too. It fired up, but wouldn't run for more than 5 seconds without turning off. It had a short or something. So now I had 8 new AA batteries for $12 which isn't awful. It is that kind of Factory Direct experience that keeps me from buying a new computer from them.
31 I went back to the cashier there, and saw a girl I'd seen before over the years. She's been with Factory Direct for over 10 years! I should know her name, but don't. She doesn't know mine either, but still, we recognized each other right away. I remember her taking time off for her first baby, then her next baby. I remember running into her at another store along Dufferin Street. I was listening, and here she's directing the younger kids to do things in a way that only a manager can. "Wow," I ask, "You manage here?" "This is my store now!" she says. And we talk a while. She sent her cashiers home so she didn't have to keep paying them to stand around. And she directed the young guys in the blue shirts to clean things up, lock doors, and other things they weren't able to think of on their own. So I'm thinking now that I might be able to buy my netbook from this store with a bit more certainty. But I'd already decided against it for tonight.
32 I picked up something I'd been looking at for ages: an electric blanket. Not often, but often enough, this place gets cold, and no amount of turning up the heat does the trick. I was thinking an electric throw like this could make the difference for cold nights without cranking the heat up to max, or cooking something just to make the air warm and moist. This was a Sunbeam unit for $20. I asked her whether she's had any trouble with these. Even though they don't do refunds, if they're a problem, people would attempt to get their money back. She said nobody brings them back, and she bought one in September because they were only 9.99 on Labour Day. "I still haven't opened mine, so you should still take your time," she laughs. "Zellers has the same ones on sale for about 100.00 so you should probably take it. I did." So I got one.
33 I got onto the College Streetcar towards Yonge Street, and went to the Starbucks on the corner. I was well treated, but entirely ignored after that. I sat down near the back of the work area where all of the staff are working. They were talking about a lady who comes in regularily and demands a free sample. And they were talking about all of the other people who come in who frighten them. I was thinking I don't get so many of these people at my store, until I actually saw the lady they were talking about. She Does come into my store, and Does demand free coffee! I did try to comment with the rest of them around me, but I was either ignored or they didn't hear me. Sigh.
34 As long as I'm alone in the Starbucks, I may as well read the paper. They had bits of the Sunday New York Times. I read an article in the New York Times Magazine about the language used by President Obama. On Language by William Safire. He looked at some words that should be avoided because they mean both what you expect, and also they mean the opposite as well. "Fulsome". It should mean complete, but it has another meaning: so complete it's over done. So "fulsome praise" could mean generous honest remarks or could mean flattery over the top. The article also explored "noisome" and "enormity". I'm not a word expert, but I like reading articles that highlight interesting things now and then.
35 So I'm home now. About to make food. Preparing the F1D0 took a lot longer than I hoped it would. The comic at the bottom caught my interest in a dark way!
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