supplies!

Pleasantly surprised that a local store – Scarboro Music, at Vic Park and Kingston has autoharp strings.

It also has a very fine old Dobson banjo for $1500.

Sunday night at the chalet

The craving for second-rate chicken came over me. So I’m sat here in the chalet next to two couples who are having a conversation from two decades ago: how they drive out their way for Burger King, how the auto industry’s dying (but still a good place for a pension), bemoaning the lack of the Gardner extension, why recycling doesn’t work … and how John Tory’s a really nice guy who just can’t catch a break.

Just another Sunday night in Scarborough.

not very walkable here

Walk Score rates our neighbourhood at 32%, which isn’t very good. There are some errors in its analysis — we have a library kittycorner on the main intersection, and not 12km away, as Walk Score claims.

But yeah, there are problems. Our nearest bookstore? Cupid’s Boutique, where I’m sure they sell many illustrated periodicals for the discerning gentleman …

Bluffer’s Park notes

(click image for gallery)

Sights: water, bluffs, rock, birds, blue sky.

Sounds: water, redwing blackbirds, grackles, geese, falling limestone.

Smells: the lighting of BBQs.

no shave and no haircut, no bits

The Barber’s Chair has left Scarborough Town Centre. Seems that branch went bust. They left in a hurry; there’s still unswept hair on the floor. Now I have to go to Yorkville for Arthur’s Clydebank patter.

we’re talking fish

Called in at Finatics Aquarium (599 Kennedy Rd, Scarborough, ON, M1K 2B2 – 416-265-2026) yesterday. The owner, Mike Bandura, was very helpful for the complete novice fishkeeper. I think we’ll be stocking our new aquarium from there.

Here be small wind turbines

Saw three little turbines just at Huntingwood and McCowan (from the pleasantly slow 169 Huntingwood bus). They’re probably the nearest (working) wind turbines to my house.
I’ve tagged this post with their location, so you can see it on my geo mashup page.

OEC office, with turbines

Update: they are at the Ontario Electrical Construction Company building, and they are Fortis turbines.

bankie haircut

I had my hair cut last night by Arthur, who came over from Clydebank in 1969. His workmates were amused how broad his accent got when we were talking.

It was at The Barber’s Chair, a chain (franchise?) of old-style barber shops. I think I’ll be back.

Toronto Subway Station GPS Locations

After seeing the various nifty web-enabled transit maps, I realised I had the data handy to get things started. A while back, I georeferenced the TTC Ride Guide, and digitized all the station locations. I cleaned them up today, and in the hope of being useful, here are the files:

These are simple three-column CSV files, stating latitude, longitude, and station name. They should be in order of stations. Locations are probably within about 50m of real life, but don’t bank on it.

I’ll get these into more useful formats soon, like GPX and KML. For now though, if you can use ’em, go ahead and do something.

Goodbye, Star Wars Tree

burnt-out mini mall, Kennedy & Eglinton
The mini-mall burned last night. Looks like the centre of the fire was the gift shop in the middle of the block. The rest of the block is pretty badly damaged, though. It looks like the place will have to be rebuilt — or replaced with a condo block, which seems to be the fate of shops in Scarborough.

I hope that noone was hurt.

So, goodbye Yoga’s, with your selection of teas and Sri Lankan groceries. Goodbye Star Milk, the mom, pop and smiley baby store with your VLT in back and dodgy videos over the drinks cooler. Goodbye Poondy Bread, purveyors of that which has paneity. Goodbye Amma, ace Sri Lankan takeout food shop, the place where I developed a taste for really spicy food.

But most of all, goodbye to the gift shop. Even though I never went in there, I’ll miss the sun-yellowed unsold toys in the window; the almost-Transformers and plastic racing cars.

One toy, unsold through two summers, perplexed me most. It was a cardboard tube wrapped in tinsel. Cardboard tags with pictures of Star Wars characters were attached to it with those nylon annoyances you get on new clothes. It resembled more a christmas decoration than a space weapon, which I think it was supposed to be. We called it the Star Wars Tree, and I’m guessing it wasn’t officially licensed from Lucasfilm.

It’s all gone now, washed away by the fire hoses.

An evening with Mr Gosse

I’ve just been listening to BBC Radio 4‘s dramatisation of Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son. It’s rather good.

I think I can safely say that this household knows more about Edmund Gosse than any other in Scarborough. Catherine‘s PhD was based on on the Gosse family, and I’ve read the book and proof-read the thesis. I suspect we’re also the only household in Scarborough that relates episodes from the young life of Edmund Gosse as if they were family anecdotes.

I know, we must get a life …

ididn’tBook

For a truly soulless evening, take yourself down to the BestBuy at Scarborough Town Centre.

STC is a mega-mall, with the obligatory huge concrete and asphalt deadzone around it. Its current sales slogan is For what defines you, which must mean that its denizens are in a pretty parlous state, existentially speaking. Its only slightly attractive feature is its derelict KrispyKreme store, which opened as a flagship, then frazzled almost as quickly as a KK’s dextrose rush. Abandoned donut shops are Canada’s ruined abbeys; places of worship gone to seed.

BestBuy itself is an outcast from the mall, in an especially ped-unfriendly way. Perhaps the only defined route there is through a monster split-level Wal-Mart, but I didn’t have enough hitpoints to make it through that particular slough.

I’d checked their website, and it said that the store had iBooks in stock, at $50 below retail. Did the store have any on display? No. The Apple section was set behind the customer service desk, which was a scrum of slightly disgruntled shoppers. So I left without seeing one.

I wandered in a bit of a post big-box haze to McCowan RT, a weird little station at the very end of the rails. At least I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the 401 at McCowan; all boiling red and purple. That’s about the best you’ll get near STC, and for free, too.