Friday, 18 October 2013

Friday Thoughts-Was that a spring in the city's step?

Two four day weeks in a row.  Surely the Industrial revolution happened long enough ago that we can safely move to a four day week, every week. It’s the long weekends we cling to; cubicles are soul destroying spaces and the less time spent in them the better. 

Owing to a design flaw, I pay to have someone change out the headlight bulb.  Calling all automotive engineers-simplify your design.  And why do all dealerships have their television tuned to old Nascar or funny car drag racing?  Have you noticed that no one is watching? Try the local news station; think you’ll get more of a response. Another trip along Barton which is usually a driver’s nightmare; it too is poorly designed-lots of traffic lights and no traffic flow.

The sun does wonders for a city’s complexion and it was shining brightly that day.  Usually cannot face the Barton traffic, empty storefronts and the remains of the Centre Mall (don’t get me started on box stores and parking lots).  But, changes are afoot and the drive afforded a closer look at the shops and houses.  Underneath the years of soot and other debris stand some fine looking buildings.  Like the core, a little bit of housekeeping is all that’s required.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that Barton may be ahead of the game.  Paint and stucco had been liberally applied to a number of exteriors and things were looking much improved.  There are long standing places that will always do well regardless of surrounds-the Polish delicatessen, for example. The Double Decker restaurant seemed to be thriving. Apart from a near fatality where a driver did not look into his turn and one man rummaging through the garbage bin at Victoria, the drive was quite pleasant.  Not a word you might normally see associated with Barton. 

Took an early supper at The Bean Bar.  It’s getting to the point where you have to order course by course otherwise the first one comes before the drink gets to the table and the second before you’ve finished your soup. Having clarified that I was not in a rush, I was asked part way through the soup how long I wanted them to keep the sandwich in the oven.  Why is the sandwich made at this point?  It’s grilled cheese, it doesn’t require a marinade and a few hours of slow roasting.  This is not specific to the Bean Bar but typical of most restaurants. It comes back to an earlier point about slowing down to enjoy a good meal.  Recommending the chai milkshake and the ham & gruyere, but not fresh out of the oven.  Second time ‘round with the sandwich but this time the cheese was minimalistic and the oven had not done the ham and bread any favours.  Enjoy the potato bread.  Bottom line, be very specific about when you want your food.  Had a whip through Picones and the Beanermunky for a Food Pen Pal browse.  Settled on the caramel & chocolate pretzels.  Delicious.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned the pretzels before.  The cocoa nib & blueberry chocolate is rather nice.  Close to Hallowe’en and business was brisk.

Since I managed to miss Supercrawl and July’s Art Crawl, it was now or never.  James St. is different again during the Crawl and this was a much better experience than last month’s stroll as the sidewalks and galleries were full of life.  Enjoyed the Kostanski and Richardson pieces at the Design Annex~ ANNEX and the Visser paintings at Focus Gallery~ VISSER.  Like most paintings and photographs, a screen shot doesn’t do them justice.  Despite a cool evening, the pumpkin paleta from RUDY's was most welcome.  Found Rudy’s at the Dundas Market one stifling summer’s day and took a lemon refresher.  Christ Church Cathedral was open and we got a close up look at the intricate wood and limestone carvings at the altar.  Very nicely done.

And then it was back to reality at King & James as a young woman made a dash for the bottom of the rooftop steps while her friend stood by looking ever so slightly uncomfortable.  I thought she might have offered to hold her friend’s hair at the very least.  Further East, a young woman clad in black and red paced a corner.  I wanted to offer soup and coffee and tell her that she might be better off getting an early night.  Did you read Pat Barker’s Blow Your House Down in the end?  Great read.  It takes all kinds to make a city and Hamilton is far from giving up its ghost.  Get out when you can and support what you can be it a paleta or an original oil.