Culture clash in Canada

27 May 2017 10:44 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

"I'm going to Disneyworld!"

27 May 2017 02:59 am
rosefox: A heart-shaped Roomba. (housework)
[personal profile] rosefox
I'm on vacation! That means I get to do things I don't get to do when I'm working! Like... really clean my room. Which doesn't sound very vacational, but I will feel much better after I do it.

What I wanted was to take a week off. What I'm getting instead are two half-weeks off, Mon-Wed of this coming week and of the following week. BookExpo and BookCon are intervening, as is a big work project with deadlines that can't be moved. Such is life. It's still a vacation.

Things on my to-do list/wishlist with deadlines:

* Go to arm doctor May 30
* Prepare BookCon handout by June 1
* Read ILL book due back June 1
* Return book by June 1
* See visiting friend before he leaves on June 2
* Do BookCon panel and booth duty on June 3 (if you'll be there, come say hi!)
* Meet first work deadline by June 5 (ideally much earlier)
* Meet second work deadline by June 7 (see above)
* Write guest blog post by June 7
* Read ILL books due back June 8
* Return books by June 8

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Hang out with X, who also has this coming week off
* Watch the StevenBombs
* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender (I'm five episodes in; it makes great knitting TV)
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens on a day with nice weather
* Ditto Prospect Park
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read a book for fun? I hear people do this? ???
* Knit
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Change sheets (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Move clothes from valet to closet
* Catch up on laundry
* Promote Story Hospital
* Clean out inbox
* Watch Baby Signing Time and practice signing on my own and with the family

Fess up

27 May 2017 12:04 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which of you mentioned "cultural appropriation" to Orson Scott Card?

Also, are Irish accents really as hard as all that for Americans to understand?
rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Walking up the paths on the eastern shore of the Humber River in full spring flood at night, from Magwood Park up to Home Smith and the great bridge that takes Dundas Street West over, you can get a sense of the immensity of the natural world. Even in a carefully maintained Toronto, nature retains its force.

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rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Writing in the aftermath of the Manchester attack, The Guardian's Alexis Petridis writes about how his understanding of the pop music concert changed when he saw the impact that it had on his daughter. It points the young child to the possibility of an exciting adult future.

There was more to the magic than infectious enthusiasm. I have spent a not-insignificant proportion of my working life at pop gigs in arenas filled with kids and teenagers, usually in a state of mild bemusement. I have seen shows I thought were abysmal and shows I thought were impressively slick. I have seen artists treat their audience with something bordering on contempt (there is something incredibly galling about watching a singer who can’t even be bothered to pretend to mime) and artists who genuinely left me open-mouthed (Miley Cyrus, following her decision to abandon her squeaky-clean Disney image for something deliberately provocative). I could make an informed, objective critical judgment about them, but I never fully understood them, never really grasped what they were for, never really got what was going on in the audience, until I saw one through my daughter’s eyes.

It wasn’t just that she was overawed by the spectacle, although she was: stuff I took for granted – lasers, pyrotechnics, confetti cannons, all the usual bells and whistles of a big pop show – were a constant source of overwhelming sensory overload. Nor was it the way her lack of cynicism made me reconsider my own feelings, although that happened too. I have always been deeply suspicious of the kind of rhetoric that modern pop surrounds itself with: all that platitudinous “just be yourself”, “if you dream it you can do it” stuff. But my daughter took it all at face value and I ended up thinking: Well, there’s certainly worse messages you can send out to kids.

But mostly it was the way it gave her a first glimpse of a world that was previously outside her experience, a more adult, or at least more mature world than the one she knew, a world that would one day be her own, and how excited she was to see it, how – as she put it – grown-up it made her feel. She experienced something that transcended her pretty fickle and changeable musical allegiances. Jessie J has long been replaced in her affections – by, among others, Ariana Grande. The selfie she took that night is still on her bedroom wall. If that was true of a seven-year-old being chaperoned by her father, how much more true was it for the kids that were just old enough to be there without their parents, the ones who had relegated their mums and dads to waiting in the foyer or outside in the car?
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
  • Metro Toronto's David Hains reports on a new interactive map of Trinity-Bellwoods Park designed to help users find other people in that large complex space.


  • You’ll never have to spend 20 minutes trying to find your friend in Trinity-Bellwoods Park again.

    New York-based cartographer (and former Toronto Star employee) William Davis loves Toronto, and so he knows this is one of the city’s great summer frustrations. It’s because of the geographically complicated, but very popular park, that he and Tom Weatherburn made an interactive map for Torontonians to share their location.

    All users need to do is drag and drop a “here” pin on a map of the park. It can be accessed for free at the MapTO website, a personal project with Weatherburn that features quirky and interesting maps on a variety of city subjects.

    The Trinity-Bellwoods map is overlaid with easy-to-read icons, including a dog at the dog bowl, a baseball at the baseball diamond, and beer mugs where people like to hang out.


  • The Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro describes the catastrophic state of repair of far too many of the houses of Toronto Community Housing.


  • Half of Toronto Community Housing developments will be in “critical” condition in the next five years without additional funding for repairs, according to an internal database provided to the Star.

    Already, the data shows more than 30 social-housing properties are in serious disrepair. Of 364 developments — which include houses and groupings of low-rise buildings and towers — 222 developments are ranked in “poor” condition, with dozens edging on critical condition, based on a standard ranking used by the housing corporation.

    Those critical sites are homes for more than 3,000 individuals and families.

    The data shows a pervasive problem at a time when the city is grappling with how to keep thousands of units open with a $1.73-billion funding gap.

    Of the 364 developments, more than 100 were offloaded onto the city by the province more than a decade and a half ago without money needed to cover the repairs. Of the buildings in the critical and poor categories, more than a third were downloaded by the province.


  • Back in August, Yasmine Laarsroui wrote for Torontoist about the potential for the housing co-op model to help solve the Toronto housing crisis.


  • Those affected by the lack of rent controls left young professionals, like reporter Shannon Martin, with no option but to turn to more extreme alternatives, such as couch-surfing.

    Young people seeking more reliable housing options are turning to co-op housing—at least, those lucky enough to get a unit.

    Toronto renter Donald Robert moved into Cabbagetown’s Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes in September 2016 and speaks highly of his experience.

    Robert pays $1,300 for a large two-bedroom unit with access to an underground parking and a small gym, almost $500 cheaper than the average one-bedroom unit in Toronto. Robert explains that, “the best part though has been the community here. Everybody says ‘hi.’”


  • Also back in April, John Lorinc wrote in Spacing about the oft-overlooked musicality of the lost neighbourhood of The Ward.


  • If you try to imagine your way back into the early 20th century streets and laneways of The Ward — the dense immigrant enclave razed to make way for Toronto’s City Hall — you might pick up the sounds of newsies and peddlers hawking their wares, the clanging of the area’s junk and lumber yards, and shrieking children playing on the Elizabeth Street playground north of Dundas.

    Those streets would also reverberate day and night with a jumble of languages — Italian, Yiddish, Chinese. The dialects and accents of these newcomers were considered to be not only “foreign,” but also proof (to the keepers of Toronto’s Anglo-Saxon morality) of the area’s worrisome social and physical failings.

    But despite the fact that many mainstream Torontonians saw The Ward as an impoverished blight on the face of the city, the neighbourhood resonated with energy and culture and music — evidence of the resilience of the stigmatized newcomers who settled there in waves from the late 19th century onward.

    Photographers recorded fiddle players and organ grinders with their hurdy gurdies, playing as mesmerized children listened. After their shifts ended, one 1914 account noted, labourers whiled away their free times playing mandolins or concertinas as they sang rags and the Neapolitan songs so popular at the time.

    “When sleep in crowded rooms seems all but impossible,” journalist Emily Weaver observed in The Globe and Mail in 1910, “the people of ‘The Ward’ are astir till all hours, and the Italians amuse themselves by singing in their rich sweet voices the songs of their far-away homelands or dancing their native dances to the music of a mandolin or guitar in the open roadway beneath the stars.”


  • The Toronto Star's Azzura Lalani describes how the rapid growth of young families in Leslieville threatens to overload local schools. What will the Downtown Relief Line do?


  • As the mother of a 16-month-old boy, Michelle Usprech is looking to leave the Financial District where it’s just “suits and suits and suits,” for a more family friendly vibe, and she’s got her eye on Leslieville.

    But one of Toronto’s most family-friendly neighbourhoods may be a victim of its own success as signs from the Toronto District School Board have cropped up, warning parents in Leslieville their children may not be able to attend their local school because of possible overcrowding, school board spokesperson Ryan Bird confirmed.

    Those signs warn that “due to residential growth, sufficient accommodation may not be available for all students,” despite the school board making “every effort to accommodate students at local schools.”

    [. . .]

    It’s a concern for some parents, including Kerry Sharpe, who lives in Leslieville and has a four-month-old daughter named Eisla.

    “It’s still early days for me,” she said, but, “it is a concern. Even daycare, that’s hard to get into, so I don’t see it getting any better.”

    [BLOG] Some Thursday links

    25 May 2017 03:35 pm
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    [personal profile] rfmcdonald

    • blogTO notes the recent municipal vote clearing the way for the construction of the Downtown Relief Line.

    • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly wonders, in the context of growing inequality and poverty, how workers in the United States can be free.

    • Centauri Dreams examines exoplanet TRAPPIST-1h.

    • Joe. My. God. notes the upset of Taiwanese homophobes with the idea of marriage equality and reports on the possibility of a million people dying on account of Trump cuts to HIV/AIDS programs internationally.

    • Language Log considers the use of the emoji in the Sinosphere.

    • The LRB Blog looks at terrorism and the ways it interacts malignly with the news cycle.

    • The NYRB Daily examines the anonymous "Berlin Painter" of ancient Athens.

    • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer argues that the particular structure of health care locks it into certain plausible paths for reform.

    • Torontoist argues that indigenous writers' concerns about inclusion need to be addressed.

    • Towleroad looks at how some parents of gay children were pushed out of Shanghai's "marriage market".

    • Window on Eurasia looks at the relative strengths of Ukraine's two churches and looks at Russia's trade with North Korea.

    • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines the post-war economic structures of the United Kingdom in the context of struggles between multilateralists and unilateralists.

    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    [personal profile] rfmcdonald
    Before the Nightwalking Jane's Walk earlier this month, the last time I had visited Magwood Park by the east shore of the Humber was in 2015, when I visited in the search of old Iroquoian burial mounds. Walking around the park at night, when the only lights were the lights dimly appearing through the trees, was magical.

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    james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
    [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
    The final seat count.

    Liberals 43
    NDP 41
    Green 3

    Seats needed for a majority: 44

    (opens bag of popcorn)

    Fiction

    25 May 2017 06:56 am
    rivkat: Dean reading (dean reading)
    [personal profile] rivkat
    Stephen King/Richard Chizmar )

    Madeline Ashby, Company TownFuture work )
    Genevieve Cogman, The Burning PageMore Library shenanigans )
    James S.A. Corey )

    Mishell Baker, Phantom Pains:fantasy sequel )
    Laurie Penny, Everything Belongs to the FutureSo many ideas )
    Joe Haldeman & Jack C. Haldeman, There Is No Darknessold school )
    Ben Aaronovich, The Furthest Stationnovella )
    Max Gladstone et al., BookburnersAre libraries the new zombies in fantasy? )

    The Americans 5.12

    25 May 2017 06:48 am
    selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
    [personal profile] selenak
    Which had two ZOMG moments for me. One of which expected but one not.

    Read more... )

    [BLOG] Some Wednesday links

    24 May 2017 02:36 pm
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    [personal profile] rfmcdonald

    • Beyond the Beyond notes an image of a wooden model of Babbage's difference engine.

    • James Bow talks about the soundtrack he has made for his new book.

    • Centauri Dreams considers ways astronomers can detect photosynthesis on exoplanets and shares images of Fomalhaut's debris disk.

    • Crooked Timber looks at fidget spinners in the context of discrimination against people with disabilities.

    • D-Brief notes that Boyajian's Star began dimming over the weekend.

    • Far Outliers reports on a 1917 trip by zeppelin to German East Africa.

    • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that there is good reason to be concerned about health issues for older presidential candidates.

    • The NYRB Daily reports on Hungary's official war against Central European University.

    • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the origins of modern immigration to Russia in internal Soviet migration.

    • Savage Minds shares an ethnographer's account of what it is like to look to see her people (the Sherpas of Nepal) described.

    • Strange Maps shares a map speculating as to what the world will look like when it is 4 degrees warmer.

    • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that the US Congress does not have authority over immigration.

    • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia's population will be concentrated around Moscow, compares Chechnya's position vis-à-vis Russia to Puerto Rico's versus the United States, and looks at new Ukrainian legislation against Russian churches and Russian social networks.

    • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes how Evelyn Waugh's writings on the Horn of Africa anticipate the "Friedman unit", the "a measurement of time defined as how long it will take until things are OK in Iraq".

    Not the Onion

    24 May 2017 12:04 pm
    james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
    [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
    Anne of Green Gables proves child labour is good! And Batman proves that we don't need cops, just highly motivated oligarchs in tights.
    rfmcdonald: (photo)
    [personal profile] rfmcdonald
    The transparency of Old Mill station makes it a compelling subject for photographers at night, especially with subway trains entering and leaving above the Humber.

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