141226 Boxing DayAccording to the files, and the dates connected to them, I haven't written anything to F1D0 for a very long time.
I've been posting the occasional article I found worth rescuing and preserving, such as the one from the New York Times about Stx. And the obituaries for Coralee Whitcomb and Crad Kilodney. But I haven't spoken to you from this particular soap box for months and months.
For one reason or another, I've missed out on Boxing Day.
During my years at Comspec, I was one of the guys behind the cash register taking your money as fast as I possibly could. People would drive for over an hour, and wait for us to unlock the front door, so they could save ten dollars, or receive a free mouse pad.
I'd heard many stories. The ones with pictures of people trampling one another at an American store somewhere. So those particular years I kept hidden inside, and didn't try to buy anything special, even if I was free.
For a lot of Boxing Days, I didn't have a lot of experience. I didn't know what I wanted, just that I wanted to come home with a Boxing Day keepsake. So there were a few years I went to Wal-Mart, and didn't find anything really worth buying.
Which brings us to 2014 Dec 26. I wasn't working, and I'm alone at home. I woke up alert, and with a clear mind. Don't chortle! So often I'm dragging my feet, and I'm unable to think. Imagine a drink called Depression-Lite. On a work day, I can hustle myself out the door to be at work on time (okay, nearly on time). But the same feat requires majestic strength on a day off.
I'm about to lock up, and the cell phone rings. Hey, it's Mom, and she wants to know if I'm working today. (no I'm not) So could I use a ride to get out of the house? (bless you, yes, yes please) I get picked up by the folks, and they cart me off to the local electronic surplus place.
If I had a car, it would be 2 minutes from here. As close as it is, to take the bus, it is 20 minutes away. It was so very nice to be there painlessly at 140pm.
When I was younger, an electronic store had only electronic stuff. Now they carry toys, televisions, kitchen appliances, clothing and outerwear, tools, and many other non-electronic things.
So this time around, I was planning on picking up one or two laptop computers. I don't really need them, but they were 130.00 and seemed like a good idea. I had a look at them, and they were IBM think pads. For an extra 100.00 they had a DVI port which could be converted to HDMI. I was looking. And I walked away from it. I guess I didn't need another two old laptop computers here.
Instead I got a couple of micro USB cables for $2 each. Uh, except when I got into the subway, they were really Apple Lightning cables. I don't have any Apple phones.
There is a thing I call a squid. On one end, it has a USB plug. On the other end(s), it has perhaps a dozen different popular phone connections. They're not very long, but one of them should fit your phone. I know, I know, I probably have a couple of these lying around somewhere already. This includes a transformer and a car charger thing (which I don't use).
As I'm paying, I see they have 16gb micro SD cards for $8, and get a couple of those.
After I've paid, the lady gives me half of a door prize thing, and advises me I have to be in the store at 200pm if I want to win a prize. "Good Luck," she says. The other half went into a box with a slot cut into it labelled 'Tec Source' (sic).
I wander around, and I'm listening to a father with his daughter. He's trying to get her to accept a 50.00 tablet as a gift. This includes a keyboard and carry case. She is visibly disinterested. The salesman says, "I only have two of the bigger ones left." He shows them a green one, about twice as big as the previous. It's 90.00 plus tax. They hem and haw.
It's out of the box anyway, so I have a look. It has a micro SD slot, and a few holes for things on the side. I tell the guy I'll take it, and this wakes the father and daughter out of their disinterest, and they want it. Fine. Then the girl (6 years old) says she prefers getting a new one, not an open one. This makes the salesman open another one to show her. In the end, she takes the orange one, and I get original green one.
I asked another salesman where the mixers are. He began walking me to the audio section, and then I told him there were hand mixers for $10, but I didn't know which ones. I got one, and it included batter and dough hooks. Cool!
At this point, the store is rather full. We all want to know if we are a lucky winner. A salesman calls someone near the front of the store, asks him to close his eyes, mix the tickets, and choose one with his eyes closed. The number is called, but nobody answers. Oh well.
Another customer is chosen to do it again for the same prize. This time we have a winner.
Surprise! I get called on to pick the next ticket. "Here. Stick your hand in. Now close your eyes and turn away. Mix it up good, and choose just one." Surprise again, I pulled out my own ticket! I was worried I'd be disqualified, but he said I did it fair and square, and wasn't looking. When the tickets were put into the box, I didn't even do it. They just handed me my stub. So I won a 7" DVD player.
So I took myself downtown, and on the way was when I noticed I had two Lightning cables instead of two micro USB cables. There is another store for the same firm at College and Spadina, so I went there hoping they'd just let me switch it. They didn't. I've never liked the guys in the downtown store. At my store in North York, everyone is busy and they need four or five people on Boxing Day. At College Street, they had two people and it was too many. I didn't make a fuss. I paid 2.25 and got another cable. But I'm sharing the story here for all of you.
Rexall is a drug store. It's been around for ages. The stores used to be sleepy and old style. Years ago they changed the name and style, and called them Tamblyn. This happened again later, and it became Pharma Plus.
Someone decided to give the chain another face lift, and now their stores are bright and many are open 24 hours. They used to focus on prescriptions and small things. Now the downstairs is divided between cosmetics and refrigerated snack food. There is an escalator upstairs to the pharmacist, where you find the rest of the drug store things. The stores are no longer sleepy, but lit from LED lighting everywhere close and fluorescent lights everywhere above.
In Toronto they compete with Shoppers Drug Mart, which are at almost every major intersection. Shoppers Drug Marts are big glass castles. They have similarly changed their public face, and have two aisles for cosmetics, six aisles for drug store goods, and a large area with freezers, refrigeration and much food. It seems the drug store business is about selling drinks and snacks.
On the corner I didn't go was a Burger King, a Popeye's chicken, a Subway, a Booster Juice, a pita place, a dentist's office.
What remains is the corner with a 7-11 and a Tim Horton's. Both of these places are selling coffee. 7-11 has $1 for any size. I was attracted to their real food section, where they have meatballs, chicken and pizza slices. These were very good. They also have the hotdogs rolling round and round, as well as other hotdog shaped food, also rolling round and round. I think 7-11 should phase out the hotdog rides. When people don't buy them, they look old and people continue to not buy them. The store has a slow oven, a fast turbo oven, and something else too. They could prepare a hotdog on demand (or anything, really) in about 60 seconds.
All of Toronto's 7-11 stores have a fresh refrigerated condiment area, and this was just pristine and perfect. Also, the university girls seem to like getting a box of nacho chips, and helping themselves to more than enough free hot cheese and chili. Funny, nobody was buying coffee or bottled drinks when I was there. People were coming in to buy phone cards and cigarettes.
The Tim Horton's wasn't busy with customers at all, but most of the tables were occupied. This particular one actually makes donuts. The others have them imported from a nearby Real Tim Hortons.
Life regret: I should have gotten into the business of making computerized signs with menus. Or ads. Or flash ads. Or both. Tim Horton's was full of them.
As the sun got weary, I walked myself into the university district, where there is a Starbucks. During school, I'm lucky if I can find a seat. But today was Boxing Day, and I was able to find a table near an electrical outlet. I was able to charge my new toys, and make sure I hadn't wasted a lot of money.
At the streetcar stop across from Stx was a shelter. That's not special. It had a huge monitor providing the advertising. That was special! I should have measured it. Perhaps eight feet high, five feet wide. It was showing ads for Coke Zero, Apple phone, and a few other things (I'm generally blind to silent ads).
- - -
Things have changed for me a lot during the last calendar year. My health.
If I get excited, or run with intent (such as to catch a bus) I get heart trouble. A heart specialist has done some tests, and decided my heart is fine. Still the blood pressure does things to me. When I experience emotion, not only does my heart pound, but my lungs get wet. That is why I posted an article about Exercise Induced Pulmonary Edema. I told the doctors that my mouth gets very dry immediately prior to the wet lungs, but they dismiss it with a wave. If I don't ignore the dry mouth, and slow down or whatever, then I don't get a coughing fit that lasts for hours after that.
Also new for 2014 is this knee stiffness. Oh, it's not new. I've had it for a while, but only this year does it make it so I often need help putting my socks and shoes on. Sitting seems to bring it on. If I elevate the seat, say, by putting a milk crate upside down onto it, then my legs remain straight, and I can walk right away. If I fail, then I'm crippled for about a minute. An eternity during which I can't do much of anything, while waiting for my legs to 'return.'
A young guest came in on crutches, and gave me a flier for Synvisc-One. The orthopedic surgeon suggests I try synovial fluid replacement too. It only costs 750.00 per knee. I have printed the forms I have to take back to the doctor, where he gets to certify I need something like this. If the insurance covers it, I will get it done, and report back.
One of my guests recently said I should opt for knee replacement. It's scary to choose surgery, but it's like brand new afterwards.
Another guest told me about her daughter, whose knee dislocated suddenly. Now this daughter doesn't miss a day of doing her leg exercises. She appears to be 17 years old.
I used to contradance a lot, but now I think it could be a form of suicide. I try to go to the local English Country Dances. They are more sedate. I can now see when others walk with a limp or other problem. For some reason, I didn't notice it in anybody before, but I'm sure it was there.
Walking, that was something I used to love. Now being on my feet for too long is the worst. The exception: when I score a real supermarket shopping buggy! If the universe provides me one of those for the afternoon, I can walk right through to midnight. Those are not permitted on transit vehicles, but I wish they were. They have the handle in the right place, and I can really put my weight on it.
At Dufferin Station recently, I met someone using a walker (which IS allowed on transit). He explained how it keeps him from falling over, which happens sometimes. He likes how it is his own personal seat, and it is ready to use. He told me the thing sells for over 600.00 and needs to be paid for by some agency. I commented that it seemed short for me. He said they fit it to you, and do more than that. They send someone to your home, and while they aren't judgemental, they help you get used to living with your problems, and new walker.
I don't need this stuff every day. Today for example. I was pain free. In fact, I'm still without real pain now. There were other days in December where I couldn't dress, couldn't sit on the toilet, then I couldn't get up from the toilet, and at work, was tired out before I even started.
I'd like to say that I will keep you appraised, but who knows when I'll write to this blog next. Happy New Year 2015.
2015 is upon us.