Monday, 29 October 2012

Like a Drowned Rat-Culture and Recreation

"In The Bleak Midwinter... "

The song will have to wait for another time.  As most Ontarians take an extra dose of Happy Pills, I say, embrace the weather.  It's just a matter of layering and not resigning yourself to complaining about it.  (But we do it anyway.)

Took some pictures of the Niagara Escarpment.  Like the contrast of the dark tree trunks and the yellow branches in the rain.


Breathing and vision fully restored by late Friday  evening. Stocked the larder against the coming storm and took a few moments of R & R.  And it was mere moments.  Declined the beer in favour of the martini but ultimately went with a Horlicks.  Comfort food.  As I didn't have a vat of macaroni and cheese waiting for me when I got home, Horlicks was just the thing.  Malt & Barley-very fortifying; like a beer, only no alcohol.  Has a very soporific effect. 

9AM Saturday.  No light in the house and staggered from one room to the next trying to find something suitable to sweat in. Enthusiasm not running high for the workout, but, I went.  Six of us in total.  What were the other ten doing?  Nestled under their respective duvet? Dreaming of the big breakfast fry-up?  The instructor may as well have stayed home.  After two hours sleep she had dragged herself in after a night at the casino.  Self-motivation was key here.

13:00  Opera bound.  The most excruciating drive into town.  Had forgotten that the Ti-Cat game was on. Ticket holders clad in yellow longshoremen slickers and pants.   It's raining so of course everyone is doing 40kmh.  Why? 

The debacle that is the Tiger Cats.    What more can be said about this team? Pages have been devoted to it. The 2013 season is an unknown quantity at this stage.  The old stadium is coming down and they have nowhere to play.  The proposed stadium is smaller than this one, seating is reduced, parking is reduced.  Full exposure to the elements for the fans.  Going to be in the same spot as the existing venue which has proven to not work for the neighbourhood, the fans and the city at large.  One only has to look at the stadium time line of events to see that it is in fact clown suits Council wears and not the traditional shirt and tie.  (Ti-Cat management have been playing dress up also.)

Had the choice to join the Zombie Walk down at Bayfront Park.  Very tempting, but, went with the hunchback in the three piece suit.

Parked up and joined the queue to feed the meter.  There is no consensus on parking fees.  Think the meter is free on a Saturday.  The lots, no.  No one really knows.  Time was a little man in the green booth took a flat rate fee but now it's all automated.  No one dare risk not feeding the meter.  Fines being what they are.

14:00  Theatre facade under reconstruction and things didn't look good.  Pink rinse set in the seats.  Lots of canes and a poor women who had both feet in therapy boots.  I kept waiting for her to tip sideways and go over the aisle.  A few under 50's.   My seat mate was a "purse rummager"  and in distress.  Her friend was nowhere to be found and she was not pleased that another woman was sitting in her friend's spot.  Friend located at intermission.  This meant that the caned rummager made two round trips to the lobby.  I feared she too would go over the aisle.  Unfortunately, she slept through two thirds of the production, waking only when the soloists hit the high notes.  Do you jab strangers in the ribs to wake them up?  They've paid good money and it's an expensive nap.

Hamilton Place this is not, but Theatre Aquarius has turned into a good venue for Opera Hamilton.  The acoustics do not compare and the pit is hidden.  Traditionally first violin walks on followed by the conductor.  You just can't see anyone in this pit.  Speers did manage to poke his head above the stage, but, I think a step stool would go a long way here.  After all, you want to give the orchestra due credit and they did do a fine job.

This was a modern day Rigoletto set in penthouse boardrooms and karaoke bars.  Great voices.  I had two very chatty seatmates.  If you've lost track of the plot, don't confer with each other; read the program notes.  These two probably talk through movies-you know the type.  I had to shush them.  Someone had to take a stand.  You know everyone wants to take a stand, but, they're paralyzed with fear.  It's only a 'shush'.  I left the theatre a conquering hero.

18:00  The Pater was cooking dinner.  Excruciating drive East.  Who's familiar with The Green Wave?  If you hit the traffic lights right, you can get out of town in about fifteen minutes.  Just maintain 50kmh and you'll hit them just right.  BUT, you're up the proverbial if your timing's off.

Sunday roast beef on a Saturday night.  Mash, roast spuds, sprouts, winner of the World's Biggest Squash award, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, cheese and biscuits, chocolate pastry.  Just the right elements on such a night.  I'd like to see more restaurants do a cheese and biscuit(crackers, to the uninitiated) course, but, it's still very much an Anglo thing.  Finishes the meal off.

Oblivious to the rain. The Merlot had worked its magic.

Sunday Afternoon.  Rain.  Decide to press on.

13:00  Final day of the Emily Carr exhibit at the AGH.  Here's a picture of the front door to the AGH.  Just want to make it absolutely clear.  There was a time when there wasn't a front door and getting in proved challenging for any visitors.  A front door was probably uppermost on the key players' minds when renovating.

And, the AGH letters are still in place.  One fell off in high wind and had to be re engineered. We'll see what happens with the coming storm.

Enjoyed the Carr exhibit. 


Adjacent to this was the Zinedine Zidane exhibit. Seventeen cameras filmed the footballer, exclusively, during a 2005 Real Madrid match. It’s a very intense ninety minutes of video. Close-ups of his head, feet, sweat. Runs ‘til April 28.

Caught the green wave out of town and headed to Walmart.  Mistake.  Hoards of parents looking for last minute Hallowe’en costumes.    Hoards of shoppers.  Can people think of nothing else on a rainy day but shop?  I grabbed my items and waited patiently in the queue.  Got to the car looking like a drowned rat.

15:00 Mohammed Hanif interview on Writers & Company.  Very eloquent man who felt very strongly that we should not be making heroes out of 14 year old Pakistani girls.  They should be doing what every other fourteen year old is doing, not trying to change policy and getting shot in the head for doing so.  Putting “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” on the reading list.

Home to the soothing sounds of Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor.  Ahhhh.

18:00  Watching junior league (six year olds) hockey.  As their coach puts it, cat herding.  This was their second game, ever, and yes, there were some comic moments.  I give full credit to parents for getting their kids involved and spending every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at practise and games.  It was tough to concentrate on the game at times as three rather (I’ll be polite here) rambunctious children ran amok in the stands.  Whither parental control?? 

I do hope those of you out there who have decided to support OHL and local hockey during this silly business with Gary and his pals, will continue to do so if and when the strike comes to an end.  You say you will, but, why is it a challenge getting more than 3,000 of you in the stands during any given game?  The Big Boys can take care of themselves; give the OHL a chance.  You don’t really want to reward the NHL with your instant patronage.  Let us have our own strike.  Enough said about hockey.   

21:00  The Strombo Show and a recommendation for Hallowe’en.  The Devils, directed by Ken Russell.  Took an X-rating back in '71.  Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave star.  Not for the faint of heart.  Enjoy!