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Salmon

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Isolated Day Off

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Sandy Hook Shooting

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Toronto the Orange

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Winning Solitaire

120813
Learning about Android

120728
Car2go

120618
Convocation

120617
Father's Day 2012

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Lockdown (article)

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RIP Coralee Whitcomb

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In Praise of Crap

110920
In Praise of Idleness

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Love After 70 (snapjudgment)

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Thornhill Fair

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Bees in the Garbage

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Memories of the EeePC

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Legendary Customer Service

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to Newmarket and back

101206
borrowing Ti Gar

101005
the oatmeal

100928
three songs

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small towns

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best dollar stores

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KW day two

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Waterloo via Galt

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120617 Father's Day Minutia Report

I didn't do anything especially fatherly today. Oh, I called my dad, and we talked for perhaps 60 seconds. His fatherly advice to me was "be careful not to eat too much."

Maybe I should back up to a story from yesterday. Our store has a regular visitor we call Grandma. She's nice enough. Too bad she's keeps trying to sneak our stuff out without paying for it. Oh, we've tried everything! Talking nice, talking rough, but she's so single minded about getting some free food from us. Actually, giving her some markouts or when a guest feels badly and buys her some things does have a positive effect for that one day: after getting free stuff, she doesn't return for a day or two. But otherwise, she just keeps trying and trying. We have called the police on her (as have the other stores in the plaza) but she's not dangerous, and the police just don't have time for this kind of community work. So it was a surprise when an officer attended. We just need a solution, actually. Someone cares for Grandma, right? They could give her a loaded prepaid card to spend. Or perhaps we'd come to some agreement with the home she works at, and bill them monthly. Maybe head office, when they learn who this is, will give us permission to provide end-of-day treats as a courtesy. For now, Grandma has no name, and no address, and it's all still just anonymous shoplifting. With some help from the police, perhaps this will become a sale, or a charitable donation of some sort.

I love my job, but it involves standing all day, except when I'm on a break. I have this plantar fasciitis in the right heel. Ibuprofen helps a bit. Devil's Claw (herbal) may help eventually. I was taught some stretches, and each time I do them, I get perhaps an hour more of survival. But walking, or worse, standing, really hurts my foot.

So I come home around midnight, alert but so tired. The time between my arrival and 4am is our "family time" here. That's when Abie and I talk, eat, share and connect. I often stay up after she goes to bed at 4am, mostly to give her a head start. I have some awful snoring issues, and when I sleep in a chair, it's just easier for both of us.

So around 5am, I decided to lie down. I still use a CPAP mask. This is a $1000 device with a $325 plastic face mask. It pressurizes the air to my nose and mouth at once, and humidifies it too. Both are so essential lately. Prior to the machine, I would have a terrible dry mouth. I would wake up every 90 minutes with memories of drying out to death. No more. Some nights I actually get through the entire night without waking up. That's pretty remarkable. The plastic mask is already aging! It still works fine, and fits tight, but if I look at it the wrong way, it breaks in two, and requires a lot of love to reassemble it again. The 'secret ingredient' in the mask is a silicone gasket which fits between the plastic mask and my skin. When the mask is inflated, the silicone balloons with air, and forms a pressurized seal. It's not a perfect fit, thankfully. It allows extra air to escape, and I can breathe through it before I turn the machine itself on. I just loathe having to buy another mask.

So last night I actually woke up at 11am. I did what any other fine geek would do: I checked my email and my facebook. I find this is very soporific: a bit of computer use, and I'm ready for bed again. Today "a bit" was longer than 90m. I called my dad during that time, and sent a text message to a friend.

I told him I was going to The Taste of Little Italy today, and would be having a family dinner tomorrow, in celebration of my brother's graduation. We didn't actually leave the house until 330pm, but still, we got out during the day.

I happen to love The Taste of the Danforth. This is the mother of all of these Toronto business association street fairs. Taste of Danforth happens in Toronto's Greek neighbourhood. Every restaurant, every snackery, every brewhouse has a kind of sidewalk sale where they offer hors d'oevres for a couple of dollars each. It feels so good. A dollar here, a dollar there, and you've tasted something from each place. It draws a huge crowd. I consider it perfect.

If I LOVE Taste of Danforth, then I LIKE Taste of Little Italy. They don't make the effort to have something inexpensive at each location. I found you needed $6 for most places, and $9 others. This is not pocket money at each stop. When I found a chef offering barbecued panini at $5 with a drink, I commended him, and got the grilled vegetable version with balsamic glaze. There was one restaurant offering lamb on a skewer for $1.50, but it had a queue of guests 30 people long, so I left it behind. A South Asian restaurant had "any four items for $9" but also had barbecued corn for a dollar! You know you are at the fair when you have an ear of corn.

We stopped at Urban Thai for a $10 pitcher of Amsterdam Blonde. I still find it hard to drink that much beer. It made Abie happy. They had mushroom Tom Yum soup for $4, and that was so perfect. We had their Basil Chicken for $4 to go. It was so spicy! It would have been much better as a sit down plate with rice or noodles to tame it. The staff were tired, and lost much of their humour. They still managed to care for me, and everyone else we saw.

The real gold in Taste of Little Italy isn't the food. It is the music. They kept changing the bands around every hour. They were all fresh and well practiced; they played traditional and modern Italian (and other) favourites.

If you like beer, there are more places to drink outside in Little Italy than in Danforth. The Taste of Danforth has three large beer gardens, each with their own entertainment and security. The Taste of Little Italy allows each of the restaurants to have a licensed boulevard until late. The sushi places offered the usual 'all-you-can-eat' but also had pitcher specials.

It's done for this year. Check it out next year.

Stopping at each local Starbucks is a custom. The College St store was never overwhelmed, even though people came from all around to use the private toilets. The store at Bloor and Bathurst was a good place to rest up from all of the walking. I'm not sure I will ever get used to sitting in a high stool. Listening to the professional chatter behind the counter was comforting to me. It's like we all share the same opportunities as we close: serving guests, cleaning up, going home.

So we arrived home at 1030pm. Abie was tired, and so she collapsed shortly after we got in.

I had a problem with my computer that's been like a sliver in my foot: the audio changed so that I could hear music and sound effects at full volume, but human voices were muffled and distorted as if on purpose. When I got home, I realized that it really was "on purpose" and did a search for disabling Karaoke Mode. I wasn't able to find much on the internet, but the odd word here and there gave me important things to continue searching for. I was successful when I went to the K-Lite Codec forum, and found a FAQ about "...unable to hear voices, but music and sound effects were unaffected." I changed the settings in FFD show (audio) as directed, and my computer's audio is working again.

That's how I spent my Father's Day, 2012 June 17. It was a good day.

Gawd. Has facebook really taken over the personal web log? It's scary.