Home renos

El Franco: “Let’s replace the steps to the basement! They’re old and crooked and dangerous.”

Me: “Okay … but it’s going to cost a fair amount to have a carpenter come and install them for us.”

El Franco: “No, I’ll do it myself!”

Me: “Um, okay ..?”

Two days later, after buying the wood, some power tools, and watching a few ‘How To’ videos on YouTube:

A morning walk to work

Walking by the TIFF Bell Lightbox building on King West on the way to work this morning, a guy in front of us strolls along with a hint of a drunken swagger. Dressed in ripped and soiled jeans, a dirty jacket that’s too big for his slight frame and carrying a green plastic bottle crate, he weaves and snakes his way through the early morning crowd. Oncoming people have to steer clear of him, as he moves from side to side on the already narrow sidewalk, seemingly oblivious to their presence.

I wonder why he’s carrying a crate. Does he sit on it outside of Tim Horton’s or Starbucks all day, panhandling for change? He looks down-and-out, like he’s seen better days and now his luck has run out.

Across the street on the side of the TIFF building, an impeccably dressed, larger-than-life image of Grace Kelly stares down on this unfolding scene with mild disinterest.

He seems to sense our approach and slowly turns around to make eye contact.

“Hey, fellas!” He actually shouts this loudly, as we begin passing by.

“Hey, how’s it going?” I reply, in a friendly way.

He blinks. I don’t think he’s used to people sounding so friendly after one of his outbursts.

“It’s goin’, it’s goin’…” he mumbles quietly after a second or two.

At this point we’ve passed him by and are on our way down the street, moving steadily away from Grace’s watchful gaze.

“It’s fuckin’ goin’!” he says, with an increase in volume.

“I said it’s FUCKIN’ GOIN’, assholes!” he shouts, as we make our way to work this morning.

Mushroom Studio

The Mushroom Studio, by Katie Bethune-Leamen
The Mushroom Studio, by Katie Bethune-Leamen

I’ve been meaning to post this photo for some time, but my regular camera broke a few weeks ago so all I’m left with right now is the camera on my phone, and the quality isn’t too good. Anyway, it’s a photo taken in the Toronto Sculpture Garden, which I pass every day on my way to work, and it’s a giant mushroom (specifically, Amanita pantherina) currently on display, which is actually a working studio for Canadian artist Katie Bethune-Leamen. The art pieces in the garden change every 6-12 months, or so, and this is the exhibit du jour.

Isn’t that a cool place to work, even if a bit cramped? I keep expecting to see a giant, hookah-smoking caterpillar sitting on top of it one day, as I walk by on my way to the office.