I should be writing more. I keep promising myself to write more, but then I realise all the other things I have to do and neglect this poor little blog and end up writing a huge apologetic post every 2-3 weeks. Sorry. I arrived back in Toronto at the beginning of September. It was a long, long journey.
Classic map shot
Then I promptly spent a week doing sort of nothing but sort of something… I’m not sure how that worked out.
It involved cats for sure
I went to the Ai Wei Wei exhibition at the AGO with my dad, which was fantastic. I like our little tradition – whenever there’s something worth seeing there, we go together. I quite enjoyed it. My favourite pieces were the painted-on ancient vases. The message of it was powerful and totally clear, at least I think so – the Chinese government cares more about the ‘new’ than the old.
In the background you can also see the rubber crabs, some photos of Ai Wei Wei flipping off various monuments, and a cool infinite bicycle sculpture.
I guess it’s not necessarily the actual aesthetic itself, it’s the message that I appreciate the most, though my two favourite works based on aesthetics were the tea-leaf houses and the phases-of-the-moon portals.
What I liked about the exhibition especially is that it made explicit that Ai Wei Wei doesn’t necessarily do all the work himself – in fact, for some pieces, he conceives it, but does not make it with his hands. I think in this case especially it adds another layer of message about appropriation, though it is, as Kate told me, a relatively common practice in modern art, see for example Damien Hirst.
After we finished going around the Ai Wei Wei show, I insisted on showing my dad a painting of a man called Hart Hart-Davis, since we look fairly similar. I think I’m detecting an obsession of mine – finding pictures or sculptures of people long dead that look like me, though I suppose Sir Alfred East is technically a relative so that one is ok.
I made dad take a picture. I can see the remnants of my Tanzanian reddening (or as others call it, a ‘tan’)
After having lunch at the AGO Café in the basement (moderately disappointing for me – the quiche was a bit flavourless, but dad’s sandwich was pretty good), whose prices have definitely gone up since the last time, I met up with my friend Alex who offered to give me a ride on his cargo bike, which I was thinking was some sort of fancy shiny affair, but I later learned was a jerry-rigged home-made affair. The platform was plywood and it was a bit awkward to sit on it…
SMILE EVERYONE IS STARING AT YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE SITTING ON THE FRONT OF A WEIRD LOOKING BIKE
Sweet cat socks and basically how I had to sit for aaages
Later I went to an art show called fART (food + art) which was pretty cool. It was sort of written up in Vice. I had mint flavoured milk, which was pretty good, though to be honest, it was a bit too much about sweet foods for me. Every sensation there struck me as saccharine… I liked some of the concepts but my teeth hurt from all the sugar. To be honest, I do rather like sweets, but I’d say that my general food likes are more about texture than anything else, and I really do genuinely prefer savoury foods to sweet ones.
a sort of meat and two veg affair
After all of this exciting stuff, it was time to return to my apartment in the wilderness. Mum and dad gave me a ride, and generously bought me enough food to carry me through to October (still eating it!). I immediately decided what was in order was a giant roast dinner. So that’s what I did.
Roast chicken with roasted potato, garlic, carrot, sweet potato, and steamed baby kale. Home made gravy as well. The chicken was stuffed with lemon, rosemary, bacon, and cranberries.
I have really not been doing much else other than writing for school, teaching tutorials with my friend Andrea, and going to the gym. I saw my mum out here and she brought one of the parcels I’d sent back from England (though the other two haven’t materialised…). I got some of the Finnish stuff I bought and wanted to read, though my copy of Muumipappa at Sea is still in the post:
I of course have been to Toronto again too to see Kate and generally to faff about… Madeleine had kittens that her cat had had (so many hads in this sentence) while she was away in South Africa and I got to see them. They were adorable. I need a cat.
The reason I went to Toronto was to have lunch with my mum, my brother, and my sister-in-law. We went to ONE restaurant in Yorkville, which was a bit pricey, and moderately disappointing if only because my sandwich was stone cold, and the bread on it was fried bread, and also because the service was glacial and the wait staff spoke in run on sentences (I made that last bit up). I also feel like it was more a place to go to brag about going or to be ‘seen’ rather than a self-respecting restaurant. The redeeming feature was the sorbet, which was fantastic. I had a honeydew melon sorbet which blew me away.
the sorbet in question ($3/scoop)
I hope we get to have lunch/brunch/whatever again soon, though hopefully somewhere a) a bit cheaper and b) with a bit faster service.
Me at the restaurant
In the subsequent day or so I spent some time wandering around:
The person who wrote that is pretty much me whenever talking about any geographic issue
I also went to see Ray, my old landlord, who is an amazing person. We had tea at David’s Tea, though on the way to see him at my old place, through familiar back alleys, I found that one of my many doppelgänger had made her mark:
I had one of the fall teas, which was a pistachio blend that tasted amazing. I want it, but I have to drink through all my other tea first. On my way back to Kate’s I saw this amazing doorway on Bathurst:
It’s just so… decrepit
I’m not sure why but I thought it fascinating. So I took a photo. Because that’s who I am <_<<<<<<<
At Kate’s, I spent some time lazing around with Peaches, probably one of the cutest cats ever. He wouldn’t let me leg go. Later, I went out with Kate to Dufferin Mall, and it “wasn’t far” so we walked from her place (spoiler alert: it was kind of far, but no biggie).
We found this van on the way
We also stopped at this Modern Furniture shop whose name I’ve forgotten but who has fairly reasonable prices, because they specialise in reproductions.
I liked this lamp
One day I will be able to choose my furniture based on aesthetic and not on price. I am excited for that day. I have schemes.
Once we got to Dufferin Mall, we went in Winners, and I fell in love with our matching shoes, which were way too expensive, so we didn’t buy any.
After visiting the mall, we headed for Koreatown because I really craved kimchi-something. However, fate was not on my side as I spotted something called “Hogtown Vegan” (fyi, Kate is vegan), and pointed it out to Kate, who had wanted to try it for ages. So we went there. It was pretty good, though I found my Mac and “Cheese” a tiny bit on the salty side. I think if you served their food to someone who didn’t know it was vegan, they couldn’t tell. Kate had a “southern platter” which included some “un-chicken” whose texture was almost perfect.
Vegan Mac and “Cheese”
After getting way too full and having to take some of it home, we headed off through Koreatown, where I bought some cute stationery (I need it to live, and to write). I also bought some kimchi at PAT, the best Korean grocery store. I love PAT. They have a nice variety of products, and are affordable. My tub of kimchi (about 500g?) cost $4.99, and the equivalent one out here is about $9.99 and not nearly as good. Kimchi also lasts forever. I think. So I eat it a bit at a time.
Eventually it was time to turn home, though we of course had to make a stop to try on silly hats:
My head is small, but not that small
So after the weekend, I was back in town. Again, usual routine, but I also got to walk Zuri with Jenna, in the rain. “I like walking in the rain,” I said. It wasn’t a total lie, but I don’t like walking in once in a lifetime rain storms that soak through all manner of waterproof clothing and cause water to bubble up through the cracks in the sidewalk. Zuri was mad at us.
Zuri was having none of it
Storm water management 0 Rain 1
Zuri actually barked at this water
In any case, it’s time to get back to work and you know, write my Master’s thesis. Because it’s kind of important.
Hmmmmmmmmm (I love this gif)