What Would Marshall McLuhan Say?

20191010_121300I don’t get into graffiti. I don’t go crazy over Banksy, though I suspect there is something there worth looking into–maybe when I am older.

The other day, I spotted this piece of graffiti on a TTC subway. The subways are usually pretty clean and while graffiti is common on overpasses and exterior walls, the interior has mostly escaped the scourge–they aren’t on time and there are many faults within the system, but this isn’t one of them.

I might not agree with the medium, but I so like the message.

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Posted in art, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Banksy, commuting, graffiti, subway, TTC, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

After Work

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When the long week of work was done.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, comfort food, dating, food, food blogging, pizza, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Balanced Life

viva bus at night

My original choice for Today’s Perfect Morning was going to be the nice lady who gave me a lecture on Dale Carnegie while we were waiting for the bus–which took a long time to arrive. Actually, it was less of a lecture and more of a sermon.  She had a good point, but I was too stressed by the bus coming late to absorb it.

My current students would like a mention on this blog. I almost awarded them the title because their taunting of each other during our last activity of the day made me laugh quite a bit.  I am just not sure I should reward sarcasm.  Once I go down that road, I am not sure I can come back.

Instead, I want to relate what happened on my bus home today. The bus was crowded and I had taken a seat I was not accustomed to.  It was facing away from the bus motion and had a table in front of it.  I suppose it would have been good if I had had my laptop with me.  Instead of affording me a good view of the bus and the environment the bus was passing through, it gave me a view of about 12 or 13 bus passengers squeezed into the back of the bus.

Shortly before we passed the mall, a young lady got on the bus. She had with her an amazing smelling dinner in a crappy white (totally environmentally unfriendly) Styrofoam container.  Later she told me it was Greek food, but at the time, all I could think about was how good it smelled.

At some part of the ride, perhaps a stop or two later, I looked at her eating her meal and saw the most extraordinary thing. She had been balancing the box on the palm of her hand and not really holding on at all.  Just as I looked at her, the bus did one of its patented shimmy slides.  Her eyes widened and her concentration became laser focused.  She did not want to drop that box.  I can’t say as I blamed her.  As the bus rocked she moved the box about in a non circle just at her eye level. The bus swerved quite strongly and I expected the remains of her food to be all over that section of bus.  However, she proved adept at protecting her dinner and didn’t spill a drop.  It took some pretty quick thinking and manual dexterity, but she did it.

I am pretty sure I am applauding her skill, but another part of me just wants to make note of the entertainment value. Shortly after that a new passenger, complete with his own beer for the trip, got on and blocked my view of her.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, bus, commuting, incredible, Viva, York Region, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Children

As a commuter, you are bound to see things. They can be horrible things like bad behaviour and rudeness, to things more shocking.  They can be confusing things like able bodied people not giving up the disability designated seats they are so incorrectly inhabiting.  Then again, you can also see some incredible things that make the journey that much better.  Today was one of those days.

After charging down the stares, only to find the subway was out of service–yet conspicuously not empty of passengers, I only had to wait a minute for the next one. As minutes go, it wasn’t too long, but sadly it wasn’t too short either.

The train was quite full and attempts to secure a seat were unsuccessful. I travelled south a car or two in hopes of finding a seat.  While this did not happen, I did encounter Today’s Perfect Moment.

I was walking the length of a subway car when a little girl I was passing reached out and grabbed my pants somewhere between my knee and thigh. Her mother apologized, but I really wasn’t worried about it.  The kid seemed to have some jump in her.

From my vantage point a few sections of car over, saw that this young girl, or more precisely this young girl’s mother, had a handful of helium filled balloons. If I had any doubts that it was this girl’s birthday, watching her and listening to her removed them.  She was the star of her own show.  She was talking and shouting, jumping up and down, moving towards and away from her mother, and pretty much making her mother the poster Mom for beleaguered mothers everywhere.

I imagine some people out there who either viewed this scene or are reading it now, think the kid should have been chained to her stroller and kept under wraps. Today’s Perfect Moment is reason enough to know that you’re wrong.  Dead wrong!

Let me explain it this way.  How often do you here people complaining about children? They make bold generalizations about video games and staying indoors.  They squabble over whose child, just now entering kindergarten, will go on to Princeton or Yale.  Everyone has a solution.  The thing is, maybe they don’t have the right one.  People tell you that their childhood was better and how much they played and how many adventures they had.  They remember being a kid themselves and feel that there are no children these days.

I know that this kind of thinking is definitely wrong because I listened to this happy and energetic kid (for several subway stops) make noise by singing, dancing, shouting and doing all that kid stuff that somebody wants you to think never happens anymore. It was so refreshing and different that it couldn’t help but be Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in adapting, adventure, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, celebration, commuting, subway, Toronto, TTC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Need of Warmth

It’s been a little while since I have seen you. You’ve been hiding.  I knew you were there, but I didn’t feel the need to bother you.  I am glad you were there, but I was also quite happy to let you lie.

This morning, however, with the temperature in single digits for the first time, and the fog rising off my breath with every exhale, I pulled you out of exile in the bottom of my bag. Today, red Columbia fleece you were called into action–at least until I got on the bus and the heating took over.

It really wouldn’t be fair to consider the end of the good weather Today’s Perfect Moment. So, I won’t.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, autumn, clothes, fall colours, fashion, seasons, temperature | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Like a Flea Market…..(sort of)

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Wading through the days moments to select Today’s Perfect Moment is sometimes like visiting a flea market that has seen better days. You really don’t know what you’re going to find.  You might come across something odd.  You might find something that can be salvaged.  You might possibly find something, while not particularly interesting or useful for you, that a friend might appreciate.  You might also find something you consider a wonderful treasure.

Today was much like that.

I saw a strange collection of people on the bus. This collection included a slightly drunk guy who wanted to ride his bike home in dress pants, dress shirt, tie, and an ill-fitting leather jacket.  Another was carrying two bags, a piece of wood panel, and one ski pole.  It might have been a walking pole, but one has to wonder why he needed only one.

At work, the HR director from Europe made an appearance.  He mentioned something about being on holiday, but that before the family joined him, he would check out the Toronto, Boston, and New York Schools.  Is that how one get the company to pay for his vacation?  Is there some way I can get in on this one?  Luckily he brought us food, so I can’t really complain.

I wanted to show my students an example of their speaking exam and came across a fantastically scripted version where students executed their lines without any hesitation or thinking time. I don’t know if they believed me when I told them it was “too good to be true,” but I hope they don’t think that was real.  It was some of the most un-natural speaking I have ever seen–complete with awkward hand gestures and sly camera looks.

On a more positive note, the mini green tea kit kat I had as dessert for my delicious sandwich lunch was quite good.

As for the gold that is Today’s Perfect Moment, I have to pick a later in the day moment. After arriving at Finch station later than usual–I had to stay after work and prepare copies of the mock exam I am giving my students Wednesday morning–my girlfriend and I decided to have a hotdog from the hotdog stand.  While I know that this food has about as much nutrition as eating a cardboard box, I have to admit that it tastes quite good.  Additionally, the toppings they have at the stand are different than the ones I have at home.  Also, since this is a rare occurrence (every three months or so) I can’t really make myself worry about the negatives to my health.

We got our hotdogs personally topped and managed to eat them without spilling those generous toppings on ourselves. I can’t speak for my girlfriend, but this is a bit of a rarity for me.  I don’t know how many pieces of clothing I have ruined because of hotdogs (or ice-cream, or pizza…I will stop now).

Oh, and we managed to catch the bus, get a seat together, and make it home in decent time.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, ESL, flea market, green tea, kit kat, students, teaching, Viva, York Region, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Progress

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I am sorry for placing a picture of a sandwich at the top of this blog.  It was a delicious sandwich that caused a number of comments.  In fact, my students suggested I make them all sandwiches–or one giant sandwich that they could slice hunks off of.  It’s a good idea that I just can’t make happen.  It also isn’t Today’s Perfect Moment.

Today’s Perfect Moment is that I can finally see signs of progress on The Construction.  Finally, a brand new lane is finished and work on the stops can start in earnest.  For too long, I saw people working, but I couldn’t really be sure any progress was being made.  Nothing seemed complete, or anywhere near complete.  Now, some sidewalks are done, and some traffic signals have been put up.

I don’t know if it will get finished before the snow starts to fall, but at the very least I can see the shape it is all going to take.

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Sadly, this morning my bus arrived late and it caused a knock on effect that saw the bus become extra-full.  As a result, I couldn’t save my girlfriend a seat and had to endure a sharp elbowed sitting companion.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, construction, construction equipment, construction machines, constructions, public transportation, transportation, Viva, Yonge street, York Region, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Man vs. Squirrel

brown squirrel

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A few weeks ago, I came face to face with the thing all homeowners don’t want to encounter. I saw a squirrel climbing though a gap in my siding.  I managed to scare him off, but I was worried.  It was a combination of horror at the damage and worry about how much money it was going to cost me.

I investigated and noticed that the critter had pulled my siding away from the house to make a home for winter. I dealt with it quickly and secured the siding, and reduced the gap.

Well, not long after that, I noticed that the little bastard had chewed through the wooden upper part of the window to gain access to his little hole again.

I am sure I screamed loud enough for the entire neighbourhood to hear.

Now the battle was on. Obviously the little bastard was not going to give up his home without a fight.

I solicited help at work and got a myriad of stories from chilli peppers to other noxious substances. I was given a mild lecture on predators and the food chain.  I was even told interesting stories of people who ate squirrels.  I was informed that poisoning was not condoned, but that trapping and releasing would require a substantial drive.  I was also told to take care of the problem as soon as possible.

Round one had been a failure. Round two involved wire mesh across the entire window frame.  I will probably look less ugly when I have a chance to paint it.  It also involved filling the gap with expanding foam.  So far, the squirrel has made repeated attempts to get in, but has failed.  My window screen has taken quite a bit of abuse and the foam that escaped from the holes across the wire mesh has been completely shredded, but he has not gotten in.

Of course, I forgot to wear gloves for this procedure and still have some of the foam stuck to my hands. Not pleasant, but that’s what I get for not reading the instructions.***

When the weather warms up, I am going to have to find a better solution, but hopefully the squirrel will find somewhere else to hibernate for winter.  Obviously, this is not a Perfect Moment, but dealing with a house and all the problems that arise rarely is.

Have you had any determined animal problems?  How did you solve them?

***I was watching Seth’s Mountain Bike Hacks on YouTube and he recommended using sea salt as an abrasive.  It worked quite well and my hands, while not completely free of the gunk that’s on them, are much better.

Posted in animals, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, home maintenance, home repair | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Free Stuff! (Really)

yellow dry maple

Photo by Kadri Vosumae on Pexels.com

So, Saturday had a lucky moment or two.  While it is small, I think every victory or reward is worth celebrating, reflecting on, and ultimately blogging about.  So here it is.

I went to the hardware store to pick up some stuff for ….well, I will probably write about that later tonight and don’t want to spoil it for you….. So, the hardware store, in this case Home Hardware (free plug for them) has just finished remodelling.  As part of that celebration, they were giving out popcorn and free leaf bags.  As I am going to need to start raking up leaves any day now, I gladly took my allowed ten bags.  As my waist doesn’t need any more inches, I left the popcorn.

I love walking around this kind of hardware store more than the other chains.  I think it is because they seem to have a weird selection of products.  They have stuff that they should have discounted and liquidated a long time ago….but they haven’t.  They probably never will until someone like me walks in and thinks,”Hey, I need a gigantic hamburger press.”

It was fun to poke around, but I had to get back and work on …..Oh yeah, I promised I wouldn’t spoil that.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, autumn, fall colours, free stuff, hardware | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Blogging Can Do For Someone

A few weeks back, I helped my friend and co-worker bring his blog over to WP. I was hoping that his form of ranting would find a more willing to engage audience than he had on the other platform.  I also hoped that the features here on WP would appeal to him.

Since that time, he has thanked me on a couple of occasions and we have spent a few minutes talking about blogging. Since, at times,  I find blogging more interesting than my job, these have been wonderful distractions.  It’s nice to talk about things you have a passion for and not how to teach the present perfect or modals of obligation.

During today’s conversation, he mentioned his plan to use the blog to promote his upcoming e-book and some of his other ventures and ideas. That he was able to temper these ideas with a healthy dose of realistic expectations was no small feat in itself.

Some of you might be wondering where I am going to weave Today’s Perfect Moment from this. Still, some of you who know me well can probably guess where I am going wit this road I am making you follow.  There might even be a few of you out there who knew much earlier than the rest.  You all deserve a pat on the shoulder.

Today’s Perfect Moment comes from all of it. It was great to be of help to someone.  We all try to help people, but most often are efforts don’t result in anything.  My suggestions don’t always lead to other people taking action.  More often than not people tend to see my suggestions as hindrances or annoyances rather than genuine help.

It was also great to see someone expressing an ambition that they had never shown before. The effect on others listening, and even on the speaker himself, was interesting to watch and listen to.  I was caught up in it too.

Posted in ambition, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, growing your blog, increasing blog traffic, inspiration, inspiring, starting a blog, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment