What It Is: 5/4/09

What I’m reading: I didn’t read much this week, but I did manage to read Plutarch’s lives of Themistocles and Camillus.

What I’m listening to: The Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. Anyone know if M.I.A. is any good?

What I’m watching: The Bulls-Celtics series. Game 7 didn’t live up to the previous 6 (well, 5, if you discount that blowout in game 3), but it was some entertaining basketball. I think this is more of a function of the dumbness of the coaches and some of the players than of the high level of play. The most rewarding part for me was the discovery that Stephon Marbury is now afraid to play basketball.

What I’m drinking: Not much.

What Rufus is up to: Getting affection from everyone he meets, including the local policeman who stopped us on our walk one morning to ask me about a neighborhood dog’s aggression. Oh, and taking another Sunday hike in Wawayanda.

Where I’m going: Toronto for a long weekend with friends, family, and cartoonists!

What I’m happy about: Getting away for the aforementioned long weekend.

What I’m sad about: Having to leave Rufus with people who haven’t taken care of him previously. Because I’m a neurotic mess.

What I’m worried about: The short timeframe for my June ish, which I’ll somehow need to finish while I’m in Atlanta in 2 weeks. Also, I’m worried that I’ll never get around to writing up the rest of my Las Vegas trip notes. Grr.

What I’m pondering: How I managed to amass an iTunes library of more than 43,000 tracks but not manage to have any songs by Barry Manilow.

Strange Currency

Last night, early in my dream cycle, I dreamed that the U.S. had introduced the $8 bill back in 2003, but I’d done so much of my shopping online that I didn’t notice the new bill till now.

More irritatingly, in almost every dream I had for the rest of the night, people either goofed on me when I told them about this $8 dollar bill dream, or they too were using $8 bills to pay for things.

I think the presence of $2 coins here in Canada is messing with my head.

Since you put up with that, here’s another picture from Toronto.

Wait till Monday

Ahoy, ahoy, dear readers! Sorry for the lack of updates, but Amy & I have been meandering around town, taking pictures, having fancy-pants dinners, and meeting up with friends and family, so there’s been no time to write anything. But it’s Labor Day weekend, so I doubt there are a lot of people who are compulsively checking out this site to find out about my vacation. If you are one of those people, shame on you! Go out and have a nice holiday!

Meanwhile, here’s an unrepresentative photo from our trip. Well, it’s representative of how lovely the skies have been, but we haven’t spent much time by the lake.

God Moves On the Water

We still have all of Saturday and much of Sunday here (visiting my cousins today, and a college friend and her family are coming over from Buffalo to see us tomorrow), and I already have more than a hundred pix waiting to get cleaned up and posted on Flickr, so if you check back next week, I bet you’ll find a whole lot of images.

It’s a Rap!

(You know you wanna check out the pix from my meanders in Toronto on Friday)

Home from Toronto a lot easier than my boss, whose flight home on Friday got cancelled due to “the airspace over Boston,” according to his pilot. He asked if this meant the bad weather & high winds we had all over the northeast, and was told that it did not. So, after 4 hours in an Embraer 145, he was allowed to leave and headed back to our hotel, where he sat in the bar and watched hockey.

Meanwhile, official VM buddy Sam and I went to see the Raptors play the Celtics in what Sam called “battle of the worst coaches in the NBA.” Since the Raptors have a game tonight against the Knicks, we figured maybe it’s a round-robin tournament.

We had fun at the game, but it was despite the action on the court. Sam’s now been to two NBA games with me (we hit a Dallas game against Orlando in April 2005), and he’s convinced I have NBA-Tourette’s, in which a constant stream of analysis & invective pours forth from my mouth during professional basketball games. We joined up with my boss after the game for a drink or two. He seemed pretty exhausted by the hurry-up-and-wait. I admit: if I were stuck in an Embraer for 4 hours, I’d probably go bananas.

Earlier in the day, after I visited Sam’s company in Oakville and toured the company’s produciton facilities (not as heavy-duty containment suiting as I wore on Thursday), I wandered around Toronto a little, while the weather was clear.

Unfortunately, this wandering didn’t coincide exactly with the clear weather, and I was stuck in some darned cold rain for a while. Early in my meander, I stopped at the Roots store in the Eaton Centre to get a hat and gloves. But then I decided that they were kinda pricey and, besides, the weather was okay now, so it would stay that way forever.

From there, I exited onto Yonge Street, which I forgot was an interesting amalgam of high-end retail, good record stores, and low-rent strip clubs. I headed off from there to a used bookstore I remembered from a past trip, but didn’t find anything.

I decided I’d walk through the University district and visit the famed comic store, The Beguiling. I spent a while there, hoping the weather would clear again and trying to justify spending $240 (Canadian) for a limited print by Sammy Harkham of a golem walking in the forest. I held off (I’ll wait till the USD appreciates against Canada’s dollar, and I’d probably be fine with a panel from The Poor Sailor anyway).

One of the nice things about having started doing yoga is that rambling ambles like this one don’t seem to give me the slight mid-back pain I was getting the past few years. I’ve only been on it for a few weeks or so, so hey.

During this walk, I came across two things I didn’t take pictures of: the Bata Shoe Museum and the Robarts Library. The former looks entertaining enough, and I bought a postcard from there for Amy, to give us yet another reason to take a long weekend here in the springtime.

The Library, on the other hand, is one of the most overwhelmingly depressing buildings I’ve ever seen. It may’ve been worse because of the rain and gray skies, but I can’t imagine a scenario which the appearance of this building inspires anything but fear and dread. Don’t let 1970s architecture happen to you!

After I left The Beguiling emptyhanded, it was time for another overpriced cab ride back to the hotel. I was amazed by the cost of cab rides in this city, as well as the ones I had to take to the pharma companies, which were outside the city. The flat-rate limo-y cars were also awfully expensive, including $51 CAD for the 20-minute ride from downtown to the airport.

In keeping with my recent post about accumulating all sorts of change and foreign currency, I returned home this morning with about $47 in Canadian bills and change. I feel like George Soros.

Anyway, a really neat thing happened during the short (54-minute) flight today. We completed our initial descent through the cloud cover, and all I could see were brown-gray hills and a few houses and a winding road or two. I thought, “We’re only 15 minutes from landing, but I have NO idea where we are right now.” It looked like Pennsylvania farmland, or far western NJ.

Then I noticed the Sheraton Crossroads to port, and it hit me: I was looking down at my morning commute! Sure enough, Rt. 17 threaded away from the Sheraton, southeast to Ramsey. Our plane followed Rt. 208 for a bit, as I picked out landmark after landmark (the Nabisco plant, the Ikea across from Garden State Plaza, even the Lukoil I stopped in last week). I’ve only had this perspective from a plane once before. Usually, I come home at night, or on different flight paths.

It helps to see things from different angles. Except Raptors/Celtics games.

(check out a couple of pix from my Toronto walkabout)