Friday, August 26, 2016

What to Do?


For 11 years now I have been volunteering on Thursdays at a local free clinic for men. I began volunteering way back in September 2005 as way to give my weeks some structure after spending so much time in hospital. Getting out on Thursdays not only helps me structure the rest of my week but it gives me a much needed social outlet. But of late I have found the experience more tiring than invigorating. I love that I have been able to meet some really wonderful people but also find myself exhausted by others. I am not sure how to move forward. Part of me wants to stop volunteering because I really don't enjoy the experience any more and dread going in on Thursdays, but at the same time it will mean giving up a really important social outlet. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Painting


This week our painter finally finished painting all the trim on the front of the house. After the paint was stripped off the brick and the brick was restored our white trim was left in really rough shape with lots of brick residue that just wouldn't come off the trim. I was unsure about what colour to use but in the end after much dithering I choose Benjamin Moore's Stonington Gray a really light gray that I felt would work with the red brick and a white porch. I wasn't sure about painting out the porch and the porch trim but after seeing the colour on the house I am really happy with it and now need to paint out the trim on the porch to match.

Monday, August 22, 2016

How does your garden grow?

The pumpkins and sunflowers climbing over the pergola/carport in the back.

From another angle.


Looking towards the back of the house and our two vegetable gardens. 
From the other side (the sunnier garden). 


There was a Crooked House...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Checking Out the Ex

Mr.Z, Ms.E and Mr.D walking the Midway

Yesterday after making my way to Kensington to pick up dry goods and veggies for the week Mr.T and I turned a whole peck of cucumbers into pickles. We have been picking them for the past couple of weeks and we just had too many sitting around. As we finished Mr.D called inviting us to go with them to the CNE for the afternoon. Mr.T didn't want to go so when they arrived I went with Mr.D and Mr.Z to catch a streetcar to the Ex. There we met up with Ms.E. We then walked through a couple of the buildings checking out all the wares enjoying the air conditioning because it was really hot and humid outside. 

After walking for awhile we made our way over to the Food building for a late lunch. It was nice to see lots of new food booths and not just the usual fast food chain options. There were lots of unique offerings and while everything was grossly overpriced in the end I opted for one of my favourites clams and fries. 

After dinner we walked back outside exploring the Arts and Crafts building and then the Midway before checking out an advertised Star Trek bar. Sadly, the bar was really disappointing with no real theming or any attempt to make it interesting. There was also an art exhibit devoted to fan art celebrating 50 years of Star Trek which while more interesting than the bar was still really small. After looking around we caught a streetcar back home so everyone could say hello to Mr.T before they headed home and Mr.T and I settled in for a quiet evening at home. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Long Bike Ride



Today I decided to go for a long bike ride. I had intended to bike east along Harbord to Wellesley and then cross over the Don River at Riverdale Park but when I got to the top of the bridge I found the bike trails both north and south closed for construction. So instead of biking north on the Don trail I biked over the river to Broadview then south to Dundas. I was searching for any street that had a bike lane and Dundas was the first street that had a bike lane so from there I biked east as far as I could wondering where it led. Dundas ended at Kingston Road, so from there I biked south to the bike trail that runs along Lakeshore Boulevard. Heading back west I crossed again over the river then biked a little north on the Don Trail to see how the trail connected to the former PanAm village. 

The trail leads under a berm to a park in a large circle heading both north and south. I choose north then made my way back over to Richmond Street for the separated bike lanes that run west to Bathurst Street. All together I biked 19 kilometres discovering along the way sections of the city I had never explored. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Tuesday Film

















































Because today was promising to be rainy all day long I decided I would head out to the first showing of Star Trek: Beyond at the Varsity Cinemas. Because the film has been out for a couple of weeks there wasn't a large audience. The film the third in the relaunch of the Star Trek series follows the crew of the Enterprise three years into their five year mission. While not as fast paced as the previous two films, this film is helmed by director Justin Lin, better known for the Fast & Furious car films, the film still trades in everything expected from the relaunch. It begins with a monologue by Kirk questioning the routine of space exploration and his role as captain. The film then ramps up with lots of stories woven together allowing everyone in the ensemble cast to have their moment in the sun. Watching it in 3D, never my first choice, I am always surprised how dark everything is in a 3D film. Visually it is almost as if the edges of the film disappear trying to create the 3D effect making a darker world.  I did enjoy some of the technological effects, especially the Federation created world-station that is really stunning, but too often films like this focus on effects rather than narrative and at times the story which trades in the old Star Trek idea of Federation captains who become depraved when lost on an alien world is lost in the desire for effect rather than story. 

It is also depressing to continually see race, gender and sexuality given such short shrift. Why is that aliens (or those who appear as aliens) especially those who are bad have to be black? This is not the only film that trades in such ploys but it is used far too often by Hollywood. It is nice to see more women in the Star Trek universe but why must strong independent women still appeal to the gaze of young heterosexual men? Strong women who are sexualized really doesn't help make for better representations. 

There was a lot of press about the queering of Sulu in the film, responding to decades of criticism about the lack of queer characters in Star Trek. I was also looking forward to see what they would do, but knew in the end I would probably be disappointed. Why did his partner have to be Asian? Why did they not kiss when they met? An opportunity was missed earlier in the film when Kirk was talking about the trials of extended space travel, two relationships are shown, both heterosexual that could have been used by the filmmakers to show that queer characters are part of the Star Trek world. In the end too often in this world calls for inclusion become token incursions without any real incorporation into larger narratives. When I was in graduate school we wanted our comprehensive courses and classes we helped teach to include better representation of minorities. In the end what happened was that disenfranchised groups were given their own week instead of being incorporated into the entire course. Too often Hollywood's response to calls for better representation or inclusion are the same. Minority groups are grafted on allowing Hollywood bigwigs to pat each other on the back instead of interrogating their own ideas of privilege. 

How My Memory Works...


Another Rainy Day





Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bookends




While it rained all day Saturday today it was clear as a bell. We took the opportunity to have Mr.Z come over to take some photographs of me in the backyard holding the book Queers Were Here for an interview I did earlier in the week with the London Free Press. The interview will hopefully be published in the feature section in the next couple of weeks. It is nice to know that some of the smaller papers across Canada, this is the second post I know of in a small newspaper, will bring some attention to the book. The rest of the day we spent puttering around the house and the garden because Mr.T didn't want to wander to far from home with his broken ankle.

The Rains Finally Came


Today as the humidity rose we waited all day for the rains to come. Before the rain came down I was able to head to Kensington Market to pick up our dry goods and veggies for the week. After I was home the rain finally arrived when the skies darkened and the rain came sheeting down. Mr.T and I spent the day inside with the a/c on because it was still so muggy outside even though it had rained. For dinner I ordered some take out from Harbord House because Mr.T had a craving for a hamburger.


We then watched the rest of Al Pacino's documentary about the making of his play and film of Wilde's Salome. The documentary which follows his work on the play and film and his research into Wilde's life is a true vanity piece that is akin to watching a train wreck. You just can't look away as everything implodes in an unbelievable mess.