Monday, June 19, 2006
What Is Up
I have been neglectful of my academic blog because I've been feeling very blah about most academic things. That is not normal for me, and I think it's largely due to my recent weaning from a drug that fucked up my head, a recent health problem re: a person very important to me, and a whole lotta exhaustion. Luckily, I've found a new sense of purpose in terms of my academic self. I've decided that my ideas matter, even if they're not buttressed by hundreds of important critics. I know they matter because I care about my ideas and my students are inspired by my ideas. I'm a reasearcher and an educator, and I wouldn't want to sacrifice either for the sake of money or reputation -- how could I live with myself if I did?
Monday, June 12, 2006
Toronto, part 2
Monday -- Day 3
Monday was ROM day -- I walked down to the museum and realized a few things along the way: the village in Toronto is really cool, and city parks suck ass. Har. Queen's Park was graced with a large statue of King Edward VII and way too many plaques, all on a mound of dirt. Some new grass seed is needed. I've artfully distressed the King so things look, uh, artier.
This is the park behind the legislative buildings, but it was looking very ruddy (although I'm a bit spoiled since I live in the land of milk and honey). But hey, atleast it's a park.
After the museum Phil, Karen and I walked our way to a liquor store as the TTC was on strike. It was about 40 degrees, so the walk was kinda gross, but we did happen upon a hot rugby team from England while walking so that made it worth it (no pics, sorry -- but I'm sure Karen has some mental images stored away as "my birthday present"). Then we did the most touristy of tourist Toronto attractions: the CN Tower.
And yes, it's all the tallness you thought it would be. I actually felt sick looking up at it, but I was fine when we made it to the top. The scariest part wasn't the height, or the price, or the elevator -- it was the two dozen teenagers screaming in French and jumping all over the place. They kinda made me wish the glass floor would break so they'd shut up.
After the tower we went to dinner at a steak house and comfortably pigged out. I had to have an early night as the next day was conference day -- the actual reason I was in Toronto. Oh, yes, had you forgotten I was there to read a paper? I kinda did too.
Tuesday -- Day 4
Conference Day! I walked to the subway, transferred to another line, then found the express bus to York. It was a hot, sunny, busy day -- one of those days when everyone on the bus is sweaty and tired and wishing they'd worn a cooler shirt. It took me about 90 minutes to get from my hotel to campus (there was a train delay) and the commute made me very happy I was staying downtown rather than at the uni. I liked the look of the campus -- big, grassy, modern -- but insiders tell me it's hell in the winter and far too sprawling to be manageable. I registered and found my room without a problem and ran into a couple people from JA University. Pleasantries were exchanged, although a bit less so when I saw one of my old profs from JA uni. I wasn't really surprised.
The panel was fine, although rather short. My paper was fun and I'm planning on sending it off somewhere once I do a few revisions that were motivated by a question from the audience. Overall, though, the panel was underwhelming. There wasn't really any sense of community, even though it was ostensibly the association's annual meeting place (although I didn't go to the AGM, so maybe I missed out on all the fun). I got a free bagged lunch, roamed around campus for a bit, got my internet fix (the Jolie-Pitt baby was born and I hadn't heard about it!! I was gossip-starved) and checked out the book fair before calling it a day and heading back to the city. Oh, yes -- the theme of the congress was "The City" and it was out in suburban York. Um, yeah.
I roamed around downtown for a bit and bought a disposable camera to take new snaps as my camera had run out of juice at the tower the night before (despite the new battery, it died so quickly the lens wouldn't even close. I blame the heat!). Tuesday night was spent with Karen & Phil and their very lovely hotel, the Grand. That first beer on the patio was possibly the best summer beer ever, and the night got better from there. We hung out on the rooftop patio and Phil prepared a yummy appy feast. And we had tetra pack wine! So effing cool.
The night was wine-filled funness. We ate and drank and swam in the pool and hot-tubbed on the roof and then we decided it was time to head out and find some more food. We walked around, probably a bit too tipsy and loud, and ducked into a pub for a pint and some greasy fare.
It was great to see Karen again and to meet Phil -- I wish they could live here on the island. Wah. We finished the night with some good wine and potato chips and I caught a cab back to my inn at some ungodly hour. The other b&b guests probably hate me, but they're just jealous that my life is so rockin'.
Wednesday -- Day 5
I slept in (of course!) and read my book in my room most of the day. I was tired and it was hot. I ended up going down to the AGO at 6:30 but not much was open, and my disposable camera refused to take pictures without flash so I've really nothing significant to share. I did get to ride in the biggest elevator ever, but the pic hardly does it justice. It was probably the size of our old apartment. And that little flash is me -- hi! I saw some nice Henry Moore maquettes though.
I was a subway pro by this time so I had no trouble finding the Duke and meeting up with the the TO Hitched gals for more beer, gossip, nachos and cigarettes. Whee!
The best thing about Toronto was definitely all the visiting I got to do. It was great to meet all the bitches and drink, eat, gab, make too much noise and generally be silly.
That's pretty much it! Thursday I had an early breakfast and took the TTC to the airport.
Good-bye, big smoke -- I will forever insist that your smog is fog. Sigh.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
The Big Smoke
Saturday -- Day 1:
The husband drove me to the airport for 6:30 am. I was surprisingly awake as I only allowed myself 4 hours of sleep the night before. Solid REM sleep is overrated. After a turbulent-filled flight and a landing that made me understand why barf bags exist, I managed to get on the downtown shuttle (which is a rip-off, but public transit info is nowhere at Pearson), meet an English gal travelling solo, and walk to my B&B without getting lost. First impression of Toronto: it's big and hot, but not scary.
I was checked in by 5:30ish and had a rest in my pink and floral room (gah) before evening festivites began. I walked to the Annex area and didn't get lost. Toronto is surprisingly easy to navigate on foot. I really can't do justice to how incredibly stupidly fun Saturday was -- Foxy narrates it best on her blog: Doctor T Comes to Town a la Foxy.
(I have no photos as my camera died the moment I tried to turn it on in my room. Toronto kills cameras, as I would soon learn.)
Sunday -- Day 2
I didn't make it to breakfast on Sunday morning.
After a good sleep, and a lot of water, I phoned up my friend Karen at her hotel and made plans to meet up in their lobby at 6:30. I walked downtown as I had to stop at the mall to figure out what was wrong with my camera. (I tried an independent camera store because that's the Victoria gal in me, always wanting to shop at the little guy -- but they were utterly useless, unfortunately. So many thanks to the Sony guys in the Eaton Centre for the camera battery -- apparently they do die after about 2.5 years -- the lithium batteries, not the Sony guys.) I also bought toothpaste because not-so-sneaky cigarettes the night before made me realize that forgetting your toothpaste in BC really is gross.
Along the way, I had some time to kill (Toronto is really easy to navigate on foot) so I popped into an air-conditioned glassy building, BCE Place.
There was a big model display of Toronto-in-progress down the middle of the aisle and a turn-of-the-century stone building facade recreated inside the modern glassiness. Very cool. It was like an updated Parisian arcade -- the sense of movement was amazing. Further down there was a glass installation outside of a restaurant that seemed to have no entrance. That's a sign the restaurant is probably out of grad student price range. Har.
I met up with Karen and Phil on time and we made OUR (you have a sick, sick mind, Weldon) way to the distillerary district, which is very cool -- but they thought we were poor and so a certain oyster bar didn't treat us very well. Piss on them, I say. But I did manage to snag a great pic of a pillar -- Toronto is just full of phallic imagery! After dinner we did a couple bars (I don't think the waitress at Hemingway's was happy to see me again) and some deep-fried appies before calling it a night at about 2am. Do you see a pattern in terms of my visit to Toronto?
More to come....