Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Window With A View

I have a full day of stuff to do, but took the time this morning to gaze out my window and admire the fantastic view.  I find the blue expanse of Lake Ontario comforting and an intriguing contrast with the hustle bustle surrounding the buildings in view.  There is always something to watch, and as a consequence I find myself absent minded and daydreaming  much more often than I did at my old place.  Maybe it is the view, maybe it is my mood as I am now officially making plans for a 6 month sabbatical starting next February. 

Yesterday was the first season's home game for the TFC -Toronto Football Club at BMO field, which is the red stadium in the background of the picture.  The stadium was full of freezing fans and the cheers were audible yesterday afternoon as the two goals were scored which brought them their first win of the season.  I guess spring is officially here, even if mother nature is withholding the goods from us for a wee bit yet.

I am thinking back to my old place, the Battery Park Condo and the spectacular view I had from my office window there.  I got to see the CN Tower and the lights of downtown Toronto at night and I can't decide which view I prefer.  There is certainly something nice about a lake view, however the Toronto Downtown skyline is exceptional and a view to the east with morning sun is actually my preference, I think.

In any case, the discussion is moot - my wonderful lake view will be gone by the end of the summer as the high rise to the west of me rises up into the sky.  At that point, I will be able to see a sliver of Lake Ontario from my living room if I look to the left in the spot which will be the space between the two buildings, but the spectacular view that I have now when I sit at my desk will be gone.

I am consoling myself with the thought that there will be another full Lake Ontario view in my future - the "to be built" condo I have purchased for 2016 occupancy will have an unencumbered view south to the Lake and on the 30th floor will be just spectacular, I am sure.

Stay tuned in a future blog for more discussion of the travel plans I am cooking up.  I have a couple of trips planned for this year.  I have booked time for a brief trip to Cuba mid April for a week of well deserved rest & relaxation and a week in Iceland at the end of June to see in summer solstice and the midnight sun in Reykjavík.  I am just starting planning for my 6 month holiday next year but it will include 6 weeks in Spain to do the Camino Pilgrim's walk and I am hoping to find someone in Europe to do a house swap with for maybe a month.  So perhaps I am spending more time daydreaming because my travel dates are getting nearer and not because of my Lake view.  Whichever the case, I my mind is full of dreams these days.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Juno Cup Hockey and There Ain't No Cure for Love

I had a great time watching the Juno Rockers play the NFL Alumni last night. The seats were general admission (no reserved seats) and we got a great spot with a fabulous view of the net.

There were two 25 minute periods separated by a skills competition which was fun to watch.

I don't know who had more fun -  NFL Alumni, including Paul Coffey, Gary Roberts, Mike Pelyk and Mark Napier and others playing hockey with Rock Stars or the rock stars playing hockey with the hockey pros.  Jim Cuddy, from Blue Rodeo, captained the team of pretty excellent hockey amateurs.  Included were  Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards who both are  surprizingly good players.   

There was lots of action and a high scoring game in which saw we the NFL players take the cup (surprise, surprise LOL).

During the skills competition there was a singing segment included where each captain had to sing a tune and the crowd voted by cheering loudest for the winner.    Of course, Jim Cuddy won!  And we got to hear a neat a cappella version of "Try" his signature song. Mark Napier, the Alumni captain had to bring his whole team up to sing with him and also needed the help of 2 of the Rockers - Sarah and Kathleen, but they didn't best the Cuddy falsetto voice.

I took a few pictures which I have shared here, but if you are interested to learn more about the Juno cup I found a great You Tube with interviews of Rock Stars and NHL greats alike which was recorded during their training camp held in February and talks about the Musicounts charity which was the beneficiary of funds raised.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 30: Poet/recording a...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeI am busy working today so no time to write a long blog but I would like to share with you my favourite musician/bard.   Leonard Cohen is both a great Canadian poet and Internationally renowned musician.  Given the emphasis on Canadian Music this week in Toronto with it being Juno week and with  Poetry month beginning in less than a week, I thought I could sneak him into this blog. 

There Ain't No Cure For Love
by Leonard Cohen

I loved you for a long, long time
I know this love is real
It don't matter how it all went wrong
That don't change the way I feel
And I can't believe that time's
Gonna heal this wound I'm speaking of
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure for love.

I'm aching for you baby
I can't pretend I'm not
I need to see you naked
In your body and your thought
I've got you like a habit
And I'll never get enough
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure for love

There ain't no cure for love
There ain't no cure for love
All the rocket ships are climbing through the sky
The holy books are open wide
The doctors working day and night
But they'll never ever find that cure for love
There ain't no drink no drug
(Ah tell them, angels)
There's nothing pure enough to be a cure for love

I see you in the subway and I see you on the bus
I see you lying down with me, I see you waking up
I see your hand, I see your hair
Your bracelets and your brush
And I call to you, I call to you
But I don't call soft enough
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure for love

I walked into this empty church I had no place else to go
When the sweetest voice I ever heard, whispered to my soul
I don't need to be forgiven for loving you so much
It's written in the scriptures
It's written there in blood
I even heard the angels declare it from above
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure for love

There ain't no cure for love
There ain't no cure for love
All the rocket ships are climbing through the sky
The holy books are open wide
The doctors working day and night
But they'll never ever find that cure,
That cure for love

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Big Moon in the Sky Like a Great Pizza Pie... Again

I have to wake up early Sunday morning and go to work, so I am going to make this short. In case you are wondering why I might need to go to work at 4:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning - it is the time people would be least affected if the new computer programs we are about to put out there decide not to work properly. So we work these odd ball hours sometimes.
Full Moon (1)Image via Wikipedia

Tonight is a full moon - the Lenten Moon to be exact.  Also known as Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sugar Moon, Sap Moon, Moon of Winds, Chaste Moon and Death Moon.  Some of these names are more obvious as to their origin, but others are not.  What is with "Death Moon"?  Curious, I went on a bit of a hunt and found this poem:

Neo Pagan Moon
     by RM Wey
Come new year...the Ice Moon,
The Snow Moon...cometh nigh,
The Ides of March...the Death Moon,
Yet the Awakening Moon...doth rise.
And yonder come the Grass Moon,
The Planting Moon tis wise,
For the Rose Moon...but doth follow,
The Lightning Moon denies.
The Harvest Moon doth shineth,
As the Blood Moon saunders by,
The Tree Moon be the twilight,
As the Long Night Moon...doth die.

I was hoping to get a glance of it as the moon rose in the east - but no luck as the clouds obscured it.  Maybe I will get to see it if it is visible in the western sky when I wake up.  The full moon this month is a special treat -- it is what is called a "super moon".

I have blogged about the Moon before and why it looks so much larger as it is rising or setting in horizon - it is due to something called  Moon Illusion. I also blogged about the full moon called Snow Moon about a month ago and used it to introduce a favourite romantic movie of mine, Moonstruck. I think the moon in the movie Moonstruck must have meant to represent a super moon.  A super moon appears very much larger than the usual full moon.

From UK's Daily Mail Science & Tech Section:
The phenomenon of the lunar perigee can occur around four or five times a year, but tonight’s more dramatic version happens only once every other decade. It was first dubbed a 'Supermoon' in the 1980s by the American astrologer Richard Nolle, who claims extreme lunar perigees can provoke tidal waves, earthquakes and storms.

A science lesson on super moons.

I am not going to be able to put together a long blog today, so thought I would just treat everyone to a selection of moon songs.   I think there is one here for just about everyone's taste.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

I have blogged about many Neruda Poems in the several years I have been blogging. I have 5 volumes of his poetry which I pick up regularly to re-read a poem or two. You might laugh, but I still haven't finished his biography which I started last year, but I read a bit now and again, so eventually I will get it finished.  We are approaching poetry month and with it I my thoughts are turning lyrical.  So time to blog about another Neruda poem or two.

Neruda spent 3 years writing the 100 love poems to Matilde Urrutia. He wrote many hundreds - even thousands of poems in his lifetime, many of them political and perhaps in violent opposition to popular political thought.  Putting those aside, his love poems expose another side of the man. One cannot read his deeply loving and sensual poems and conclude anything but, this man had found his one true love.

I was moved by the dedication "To Matilde Urrutia: ... Now that I have declared the foundations of my love, I surrender this century to you: wooden sonnets that rise only because you gave them life."

In writing the 100 Love Sonnets Neruda divided them into groupings, Morning Afternoon, Evening and Night representing the early passionate stages of love, from the more maturing love represented by Afternoon and Evening from the final stage - Evening.  One poem I am including in this blog is from morning,  the other two are from Night.  The poems from Morning are erotic, sensual and full of fire while the poems of Night are haunting and sad - dealing with separation, the end of love and death.  Notice the difference in the two poems - does that not strike you that the first is a fresh love - in the morning of a relationship and the second a deepening love which one might see in an elderly couple who have loved long - through both good and bad times?

Sonnet XII - Full Woman, Carnal Apple, Hot Moon

Full woman, carnal apple, hot moon,
thick smell of seaweed, crushed mud and light,
what obscure clarity opens between your columns?
What ancient night does man touch with his senses?

Ah, loving is a voyage with water and with stars,
with suffocating air and brusque storms of flour:
loving is a battle of lightning bolts,
and two bodies, overcome by one honey.

Kiss by kiss I travel across your small infinity,
your images, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and the genital fire transformed into delight

runs through the narrow trails of the blood
until it plunges itself, like a nocturnal carnation,
until it is and is nothing more but a ray in the shadows.

Sonnet XCI - Age Covers Us Like Drizzle

Age covers us like drizzle;
time is interminable and sad;
a salt feather touches your face;
a trickle ate through my shirt.

Time does not distinguish between my hands
and a flock of oranges in yours;
with snow and picks life chips away
at your life, which is my life.

My life, which I gave you, fills
with years like a swelling cluster of fruit.
The grapes will return to the earth.

And even down there time
continues, waiting, raining
on the dust, eager to erase even absence.

Sonnet LXVI - I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
One of the more famous poems from the Night section of 100 Sonnets is Sonnet LXVI or “I Do Not Love You except Because I Love You”.  In it Pablo Neruda plays with the paradox that sometimes both love and hate can exist at the same time and each can swing to the forefront in a strong bond. 

Neruda is deeply in love but also feels hate, perhaps in the loss of control - "stealing the key to true calm" that is is part and parcel of a particularly wild and passionate love affair.   Neruda spent many years in a clandestine affair with Matilde before he left his wife to live with and eventually marry her.  Knowing that, I expect that the love he felt was at times wrapped in hatred for the complications that it entailed.

I have to explain this You Tube - although it is a recital of the poem - it is in Italian.  The other recitals I found were all trite and amateur - except for one which was orally quite fine, but I was put off by the man with very sad eyes who kept staring motionless into the camera, which drew closer and closer to his face as the narrator spoke in the background. It was unnerving.

This Italian video has wickedly great visuals, wherein love is represented by heavenly figures and hate is represented by a winged devil. I am really not seeing why the last image of a child is there.  But no matter - up to that point the video is great.

I Do Not Love You- Except Because I Love You

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
from waiting to not waiting for you
my heart moves from the cold into

the fire. I love you only because it's you
I love; I hate you no end, and hating you
bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
is that I do not see you but love you

blindly. Maybe the January light will consume
my heart with its cruel
ray, stealing my key to true

calm. In this part of the story I am the one who
dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Tough Choice - Liberty Bistro or the Cameron?

Just a quick one to pass along a really fine You Tube I saw posted on Facebook which was recorded at our very own Liberty Bistro

I also saw a note from from Tony Quarrington, who it seems has taken over organizing the Tuesday night open mic at the Liberty Bistro - at least for next week.

I will re-tweet his invite, since I am sure it will be a great night of music.
Please join me at Liberty Bistro (25 Liberty St.) this coming Tuesday night, March 15, 7.30/10.30 pm, for a mix of concert and open mic presentations. I will have some special musical guests, and all players and singers are welcome. Bring charts, or just tell me your key! It will be cool. Tony Quarrington

It is going to be a tough one for me - Alejandra Ribera at the Cameron House or the Liberty Bistro with what will be a - no doubt - wonderful mix of great musicians out to have a good time and make some great music.  Maybe I have to go to both events.  Alejandra's at the Cameron from 6:00 to 8:00 and Open Mic at the Liberty is from 7:30 to 10:30... hmmm.... just about do-able!

Which reminds me, I did not yet blog about my Alejandra night at the Cameron the other week.

I last blogged about Alejandra at my night at Hugh's Room in early February.  I went to see her show and at which she announced that she was going to be at the Cameron House on Tuesday nights starting in March.  As it turns out, it seems she is just doing the gig for a month, to work out the wrinkles in some new material.  I was able to attend the first of the 5 nights on March 2nd and was very happy with the 6 to 8 pm set.    As she explained, she was doing a stripped down version of her songs initially and would be adding a musician each week as they worked on each of the pieces.

I enjoyed it a lot, even though the sound was stripped down, particularly near the end when the house amp gave out and they had to go mic-less.  It was more like a house party when she came down from the stage and sang amongst us in the front area tables.  I particularly enjoyed some of her new songs - and the banter leading up to them.  I hope she is able to put together enough songs for a new CD soon.

 I am looking for a new camera - one that will do justice to indoor pictures - such as the ones here - range of about 10-15 feet, in lower light.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Liberty Village Construction Progress Report

Looking south from my balcony - OK so zoom makes the water look closer! :)
I was hit with one heck of nasty bug this week and as I recovered enough sufficiently this morning to go for a walk, I decided to do a photo blog of my changing neighbourhood/construction site. My bones are so achy from lying in bed motionless that the bit of exercise did them good no doubt and my dog Bella was equally thankful for the walk.

So today I post just some pictures with promise of a more meaty blog once my brain is back in form.

From  my balcony:
The King West Plaza rises in front of my eyes.  Building #1 of 3, to my immediate west, has risen above grade level at the rear. Interesting to watch the construction details. 

This area - looking down to the south and west between my building and the new one under construction - is proposed for a bike trail along side the tracks and a residential street to ease traffic along East Liberty Street, the sole artery going e-w through the village.

My new Liberty Central Condo will be in the triangular spot in the fenced area under excavation.  There will be 2 buildings constructed here. They have started to exavate!
This is the Toy Factory Lofts Condo Building and a new shopping complex under construction.

Brazen Head Irish pub and Liberty Market Building.  I much prefer the Liberty Bistro, just beyond the Liberty Market Building to the Brazen.  An outdoor shopping galleria is under the black steel structure to the left of the Liberty Market Building.  Lampert Stadium, with its winter air dome, is on the upper right.
From the City of Toronto Heritage Buildings Site:
The King Liberty Lands once formed part of Garrison Common, lands that were set aside for military use. Fort York was built at the mouth of Garrison Creek, and in 1871 the provincial government allocated 20 acres of land south of King Street and west of Strachan Avenue for the Central Prison for Men.  
I live in the middle of an area of land steeped in history.  An important historical military landmark, two prisons (both men's and ladies') and according to a resident friend of mine - great Native American Indian significance as well. 

There are two heritage buildings remaining from the old prison site - the Prison Chapel and the paint shop, which was later incorporated into the A.R. Williams Machinery Co. building.

Liberty Central Park which features a Toronto Heritage Building - the Old Central Prison Chapel.

View to the N-W showing the A.R. Williams Machinery Co. Building and shopping beyond
During my walk I wanted to capture the current state construction of Liberty Towers and Bliss.  The building complex is comprised of 4 buildings, two high rises joined together in a rectangle with two low rises with an inner courtyard is almost enclosed on 4 sides.  It is now sufficiently constructed to provide hints of what is to come.

Here are a few of the photos I took on my walk this morning.
View along East Liberty Street - decidedly sad looking right now.

The courtyard between the buildings is on the left of the driveway which accesses the underground car park. My building is to the right.

I am guessing that this is to be a reflecting pool - but with steps down to the water maybe we are going to be encouraged to dip our toes?
On the main level south building I see what looks to be a swiming pool under construction.

You can see the construction elevator on the side of the Bliss building.  The Liberty Village "Urban Towns" in the foreground.  They were the first constructed in our construction boom.
The dull grey/browns of early spring.  No robins yet as the snow has barely gone.

If you would like to browse my picasa album with all of today's photos go here.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Wonder... Bobby Bazini and the 2011 Junos - In Toronto!

My Sunrise View to the west from Liberty Towers

This is awards season.  February is kind of a slump month in the northern hemisphere and so awards season is well placed at this time of year.  In Toronto, everyone has been hibernating since late fall.  OK, we came out briefly over the holiday season late December to celebrate with family and friends, but after that it was cocooning, internet surfing and Saturday Hockey Night in Canada.  Heck, I used to hang with one guy who bragged to his friends that he watched 32 games of hockey during one cold winter week.  There have not been many street festivals in Toronto since Nuit Blanche came to a shivering end that cold evening on Oct 1st last year. Have you noticed that  the only Toronto Events content my blog has had in months has been indoor music concerts? 

In short, we get pretty fed up with winter at this time of year and so to distract us, the powers that be send us awards nights.  The Golden Globe and Oscars out of the way, we now move into the time of music awards.  In Canada, that means the Juno Awards and this year they are going to be held in Toronto.  Good timing to kick up our heels and get out to a few events in our city.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced last October that it would bring the awards ceremony home to its city of origin, Toronto, to mark the occasion of its 40th anniversary.  The Juno awards were held in Toronto until 1991, when they began to move to a different Canadian city each year.  It has been a while since it was last held in Toronto.

JUNO Week takes place March 21-27, 2011 and in support of the awards, the month of March will encompass a variety of events spanning all art forms from music, fashion, art and literature.  In short, we will be immersed in all things Juno and it has begun!  This week I noticed in the Toronto Events blog that there is a free Juno Photo Exhibition  at First Canadian Place Gallery.  I've just bought some tickets to the March 25th Juno Cup, in which former NHL players team up against Canadian musicians and entertainers to raise money for MusiCounts, a Canadian music education charity. Should be an interesting hockey game.  According to stats, JUNO Cup has raised over $700,000 for music programs across Canada.

I've also got it in mind to go see the Juno Tour of Canadian Art at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).  It is on until August, so lots of time to go see and blog about this very interesting installation.

I am wondering if I should/could go to the Awards Ceremony which is going to be held on Sunday March 27th at the Air Canada Centre.  Hmm, something to think about - anyone else interested?

The Toronto Events site has a great guide to the Junos.  There is also a full article on the 2011 Junos on Wiki

Bobby Bazini - Image via
I wandered into the topic of this blog when I woke up to the sound of Bobby Bazini on CBC's Radio 2 Morning.  As regulars to my blog know, this program, featuring Jazz musician Molly Johnson as radio host,  is part of my weekend wake up ritual. I have discovered some just fabulous musicians during these lazy morning R&R times.  This morning's treat was Quebecois musician Bobby Bazini, who is a Juno nominee for New English Artist of the Year, along with Basia Bulat, Caribou, Hannah Georga and Meaghan Smith. He was also nominated for Pop Album of the Year, although I suspect Justin Bieber has that one tied up.

Arcade Fire will perform at the Juno Awards Ceremony

Keeping with the topic of nominees, Arcade Fire, blasting out of international obscurity via their Oscar win, is nominated for Group of the Year, along with some other pretty fine bands, such as Great Big Sea and Broken Social Scene.     I am wondering, is this a shoe-in given the recent Oscar win?  They are also nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Album of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year.  For sure they will pick up an award or two.  I also have my fingers crossed for Neil Young, who is nominated for 2 Junos, including Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Artist of the Year as well as being honoured with the 2011 Allan Waters Humanitarian award.

But back to Bobby Bazini, his sound is spectacular.  His voice is quite distinctive - you would say belongs to a grey haired, belt it out, R&B singer. I predict great things for this guy - and to think he is only a child at the young age of 22!

Bobby Bazini is a Canadian singer/songwriter whose full-length album debut, Better in Time, was a Top Ten hit upon its release in 2010. Born in Mont-Laurier, Quebec, Canada, he grew up in a rural setting in a family with a love for country music. Influenced by Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan as well as Otis Redding and Ray Charles, he is often compared to Paolo Nutini. Bazini made his commercial recording debut in 2009 with the single "I Wonder," which became a hit on both French- and English-language radio stations in Quebec. Several months later Bazini made his full-length album debut with Better in Time (2010) on Mungo Park Records. Comprised entirely of material written by the 20-year-old wunderkind, Better in Time was a Top Ten hit on the Canadian albums chart. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
I scooted over to iTunes and picked up his debut full length album, Better In Time, which has 12 great tunes on it, two of which I have featured below.

To hear more of his songs
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