When we moved to Toronto I got more diligent about checking in using Yelp, using the app to track the various cafes and restaurants Kelly and I have been trying out. It’s less true now than it was, but in our first few weeks here I was often sitting in a perfectly nice joint with no real clue as to where I was.
And then, when I would get the I wanna go back to that place, where was that place? itch, I didn’t have to try to remember its address–which would be impossible. Or even its name–honestly, that’d be pretty unlikely. The incomparable Sense Appeal was, until I looked it up, “that place with the black and white bags that I posted on Instagram.” But I didn’t have to know! I just scrolled through my check-ins until the answer turned up, in red and white, complete with map. Turns out it was less than a kilometer from the house.
I am apparently the only Yelper currently active in the West Queen West area, though. Eight weeks of trying to track my own movements has netted me a handful of Dukedoms, on just about every place I’ve been more than twice. True, I’d been auditioning a lot of coffee houses, looking for the all important remote work site, but still!
Speaking of apps, the one that counts the number of days I’ve been here would also like you all to know it’s 160 days until December 25th.
Toronto seems to have more work-at-cafe culture than Vancouver. A lot of places are jammed with computer-using busy people by as early as ten, and there’s a very serious air about it.
Also, they seem to think you should be tall. One of the reason for all the auditioning was I kept finding perfectly nice places whose tabletops were too high for me to either write long hand or safely type.
Seriously! In the end, I had to go to MEC and buy an inflatable camping pillow. Which I now carry in my portable office along with all my other carp! How crazed is that?
An excerpt: Even the Trio has noticed, by now, that our Slayer’s a bit unfocused.
That doesn’t stop Jonathan from taking up his magic bone and tossing Buffy into a service industry version of the film Groundhog Day. Warren and Andrew are delighted because this gives them a chance to talk about Star Trek: TNG and the X-Files episodes that also riffed on this idea of, as they call it, looping.
On a personal note, yesterday marked my 52nd day in the Toronto version of Chez Dua and the first day when Canada Post actually sent someone to our building with mail. That’s right, folks–I no longer have a two hour round trip to Leslieville each week just to see if RONA has sent me snail spam.
Irrelevant bonus question: can anyone think of a reason why I shouldn’t freeze ricotta for later use?
Saturday was our fiftieth day here in the big city, and I am definitely beginning to have a sense of things having settled. The apartment is squared away and I’m finding some satisfying routines. I’m starting to feel, for Downward Dog, the first wisps of the deep affection I felt for Open Door Yoga in Vancouver.
The landscapes are still incredibly new, of course. There is no place I can go where I’ve seen and noticed everything. By chance we spent both this past Saturday and the one before walking north up Bathhurst Street . . . and on the most recent jaunt, I saw this, which I’d totally missed the first time.
I’m building up my mental maps of the neighborhood, but there’s an enormous novelty factor. It’s exciting, because there’s always something new to see. Touristy, you know? But it also means there’s rarely a moment where I can lapse into walking on auto-pilot.
In other news, my latest session of Creating Universes, Building Worlds has opened up at the UCLA Writers’ Extension Program. (I didn’t announce registration this time simply because class filled so quickly.) I’m looking forward to meeting a new crop of writers and seeing what they write this summer.
Finally, and on a related topic, I’m not doing the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. I love this event, but the things I need to accomplish right now don’t lend themselves well to a Thon.
Buffy’s back from the dead this week on my weekly rewatch, which means I have two to go. Two seasons, that is. I’m headed into the grimmer stuff now, but remember these latter seasons as still having had some hysterically funny lines and character moments; I’m looking forward to rediscovering those.
The process of moving has turned out to be rather endless in terms of fiddly paperwork details. Connecting up people we pay–like our insurer, for example, and our RRSP guys–to the new bank accounts has been a mind-numbingly dull and rather tedious process. Yesterday I realized our old condo manager had taken our strata fees out of the Vancouver bank account, as usual, so I’m also chasing a refund, with the very kind assistance of our realtor.
I also have a pile of receipts waiting to be data entered so I can figure out how much we actually spent moving. This is important and exciting because when you relocate more than 40 km for work reasons, you get to write a whole whacking chunk of things off your taxes.
So, if you ever heave yourself halfway across the country, give yourself a generous dicking-around allowance, timewise. And consider the tax return, if it comes together, your pay for this fun temporary job.
Enough with the boring details! Here is a dog photo, sort of, that I found very cute.
Going to Montreal to see Camille Alexa and Claude Lalumiere made for a nice break from the paperstorm. (The Megabus we took there was twelve hours of horrible, though: next time, we train.) And this weekend we have an embarassment of riches to choose from: there’s a tall ship festival, a literary event, Luminato, in the park ’round the corner, and with luck we’ll find time to see Joss Ado About Nothing. (Much Ado about Joss Things?”
Kelly and I went to our first SF community event Wednesday night, a ChiSeries reading featuring Guy Gavriel Kay, E.L. Chen, Jim Munroe and Leon Rooke. The monthly readings are held at The Augusta House, a pub conveniently near our place, and we met a few people I’ve known for years in a cyberspace way (I tend to forget that some of these friends of mine are people I’ve never actually looked in the face.)
One of the night’s unexpected delights was hearing the music of Kari Maaren. She is an amazing filk lyricist (Badger and Fearless, I suspect you will heart her bigtime, if you don’t already). Her The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy song, “43,” made me howl with laughter. And there’s this:
We slipped out at about nine-thirty, so very late by our ridiculous up-at-dawn standards, and walked home. It felt as though it might have been the first time–in almost a month!–that we’ve been out after dark. The pubs were just getting lively, filling up with crowds of people keen to watch hockey and socialize.
It was a warm and humid night, full of sights and cheer, an altogether magical walk.