Thursday, October 10, 2019

Online dating

"There is no need to continue,' responded Dorotea, "except to say in conclusion that my good fortune has been so great in finding Don Quixote that I already consider and think of myself as queen and mistress of my entire kingdom, for he, in his courtesy and nobility, has promised me the boon of going with me wherever I may lead, and this is nowhere else but to Pandafilando of the Gloomy Glance so that he may kill him and restore to me what the giant has so unjustly usurped; all this will happen exactly as I have said, because this is what Tinacrio the Mage, my good father, prophesied; he also said, and left it written in Chaldean or Greek, neither of which I can read, that if the knight of his prophecy, after cutting off the head of the giant, wished to marry me, I should immediately and without argument, give myself to him to be his legitimate wife and grant him possession of both my kingdom and my person"--Don Quixote

I've been getting into online dating just lately.  I joined a site called Soulgeek, for people who are into comics and anime and such.  There was a questionnaire asking "What comics character would you most like to be?" and I answered Batman.  Then it asked "What comics character are you most like in real life?" and I answered Alfred the Butler!

The other day I was on the Zoosk website and got a chat message from a woman who was impressed by my Ph.D. (It impresses other people more than it does me...) I've forgotten her name but I remember that she was a law clerk.  If you're reading this, message me again!

At the Mukherjee campaign office, I was pressing Mukherjee pins.  They have a machine with two round holes that you fit metal discs into:  the one without the safety pin on the left, the one with it on the right so that the squiggly wire is facing up and the part with the point is facing down.  Then you take these pieces of paper with Mukherjee's name and cut out circular shapes from them. (That's the biggest challenge, but I've got pretty good at it.) Then you put it over the left disc and put a plastic circle over it.  Then you rotate clockwise so the left disc is away from you and the right disc is closer, and you press.  Then you rotate counter-clockwise so that the right disc is away from you and press again, and you have a pin ready to go!  I've produced dozens.

I've been colouring two more zone maps of the riding, one showing the results of the last federal election in 2015, the other last year's provincial election where we elected Jill Andrew.  I was surprised just how well we did last year:  there were about twenty zones where Jill got over 50% of the vote!

At Sunday's singing group, we did the calypso song "Yellow Bird" and the country song "Last Thing on My Mind," as well as "Side by Side."

The other day I watched a Youtube video that played Stravinsky's Rite of Spring while showing each page of the score as it was being played.  Anyone who can conduct that score has my respect!

Thursday, October 03, 2019


"It would not be surprising if that were the case, because it is evident to me that in my imagination the power of my afflictions is so intense and contributes so much to my ruination that I am powerless to prevent it and I become like a stone, bereft of all sense and awareness; I become conscious of this truth only when people tell me and show me the evidence of the things I have done while that terrible  attack has control over me, and all I can do is lament my fate in vain, and curse it to no avail, and offer as an excuse for my mad acts the recounting of their cause to all who wish to hear it, for if rational men see the cause, they will not be surprised by the effects, and if they cannot help me, at least they will not blame me, and anger at my outbursts will be transformed into pity for my misfortunes"--Don Quixote

It's got cool the last couple of days, and I got another big headache.  At tonight's opera rehearsal, where we were doing the part with Olympia the dancing robot, I had to leave halfway through.

Sunday was the first fall rehearsal for my singing group.  We sang "Come By the Hills" and the Irving Berlin song "Blue Skies." It was our accompanist's birthday, and someone brought a cake!

I've been doing a lot of different stuff at Alok Mukherjee's campaign office.  Tuesday  I took a wall map of the riding and colored the 200-odd poll zones according to our party strength:  weakest blue, weaker yellow, medium green, orange stronger, red strongest. (If it were up to me, I'd make yellow medium and green weaker, but that's just me...) We have four red zones but none blue.  As I expected, the NDP is strongest in the southwest and weakest in the middle with the Forest Hill millionaires: millionaire socialists are a cliche!  But we've been gaining strength in the area east of Yonge Street.

Wednesday the History Meetup discussed Korea. (I finished reading the background book on the way there!) Now I've started reading Mark Mazower's The Balkans:  A Short History for next month.  It turns out that the Balkan Peninsula only got its name in the 19th century!

Our house used to have a fireplace that's long been walled up.  John's been removing the now-exposed chimney one brick at a time, to make more room, and Moira and I have been toting them to a pile outdoors.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Climate March

"I do not know how long I lay there on the ground, but then I woke, and was not hungry, and there were goatherds with me who undoubtedly were the ones who helped me in my need, because they told me how they had found me, and how I was saying so many foolish things and raving so much that I clearly had lost my reason; from that time on I have felt that I am not always in my right mind, and my reason is so damaged and weak that I do a thousand mad acts, tearing my clothes, shouting in these desolate places, cursing my fate, and repeating in vain the beloved name of my enemy, having no other purpose or intention than to shout my life to an end; when I come back to myself, I am so tired and bruised I can barely move"--Don Quixote

"Please let my poor life choices cause my death, not climate change"--my favorite placard

Yesterday I went on the Climate March.  Lots of placards saying things like "Respect your mother," with an image of the earth, "What we stand for is what we stand on," and "Eat the rich." (One said, "You'll never be a billionaire, but that doesn't mean you can't find out how they taste!") In the last march I started near the end and advanced to the front; this time I started near the front and let people pass me.

After I got home, John was digging up the basement's cement floor near our main water pipe, so Moira and I were carrying bucketloads of cement and dirt to the back yard.  He may end up redoing the whole floor!

Thursday I set up some Mukherjee signs on Wychcrest Avenue.  Later, at opera rehearsal, we started staging the first act from Tales of Hoffmann with the drinking students.

Today I went to an Astrology Meetup. (I wish I knew the exact time of my birth to determine my ascendant, but I'm really not motivated enough to seek out the records and find out!) Then I went on Betty-Anne's Queen Street West art walk.  I was somewhat late because the Queen streetcar went into a King Street detour between Yonge and Spadina!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Campaign office

"It was rare foresight on the part of the wise man who favours me to make what is really and truly the helmet of Mambrino seem a basin to everyone else, because it is held in such high esteem that everyone would pursue me in order to take it from me; but since they see it as only a barber's basin, they do not attempt to obtain it, as was evident when that man tried to shatter it, then left it on the ground, not taking it away with him; by my faith, if he had recognized it for what it was he never would have left it behind"--Don Quixote

I've started doing volunteer work on the St. Paul's NDP campaign, as I've been doing for twenty years.  Their federal candidate is Alok Mukherjee, and the official kickoff was on Saturday. (It helps that the campaign office is only a few blocks from my house!)

Lots of different stuff to do in a campaign.  Sunday I divide thousands of leaflets into bundles of 200, which didn't take so long:  first I counted out 25, then made a second pile of the same height and combined them into 50, and did the same thing again to get 100, and again to get 200. Eventually I kept one pile of 200 and made new piles of the same height!

Yesterday I went out dropping leaflets with Mrs. Mukherjee in a single block next to Melita Crescent.  And today I went out putting up NDP signs.  We were driving around the neighbourhood for three hours, and when I got home dinner was cold! (I could have microwaved it, but I didn't feel motivated enough.)

I finished bringing in the potatoes the other day.  Now John can add a new layer of topsoil to that frame as he planned.

I finally got around to sending in the Civic Centre Public Space Account Application for my Play Readthrough Meetup.

My new shoes feel great!

Thursday, September 19, 2019


"Speak quickly.  I ran out of patience twelve years ago!"--The Last Valley

I took over the Play Read-Through Meetup and I'm trying to find a location for it.  I hoped to book a room at a library branch but that process has proved too bureaucratic for me. I'm going to try for a room at Metro Hall instead.

Monday night I went to a Meetup for over-50 dating.  We met at Chi, the same place where I went to an Organizers Meetup the other year.  Thirty people came, and it was a bit intimidating.

Last night the History Meetup screened James Clavell's The Last Valley, about a group of mercenaries in the Thirty Years War who find a village in a valley that's avoided the general devastation and arrange an uneasy coexistence.  Surprisingly intelligent.  A dozen people said they were coming but just five showed up.

Today I went to Walmart and finally bought new shoes. (I also got a shirt and pants.) Now I'll use my old shoes in the garden and finish gathering in the potatoes so John can put some more soil in the frame.

I finished translating the story "Early Morning Rabbits" into Korean!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Fall cleaning

"The thought left me disconcerted and wanting to know, really and truly and in its entirety, the life and miracles of our famous Spaniard Don Quixote of La Mancha, the model and paragon of Manchegan chivalry, and the first in our age and the model and paragon of Manchegan chivalry, and the first in our age and in these calamitous times to take up the exercise and profession of chivalric arms, righting wrongs, defending widows, and protecting those maidens who rode, with whips and palfreys, and bearing all their virginity on their backs, from mountain to mountain and valley to valley; and unless some villain, or some farmer with hatchet and pitchfork, or some enormous giant forced her, a maiden could, in days of yore, after eighty years of never once sleeping under a roof, go to her grave as pure as the day her mother bore her"--Don Quixote

This week we've been doing fall cleaning.  Think of it as spring cleaning six months late. (Or as I prefer, six months early!) We shifted a lot of junk at the outermost end of the back yard, and I'd forgotten how long it is! It reminded me of my Aunt Alma's back yard in a suburb of Sydney in Cape Breton, which went all the way down to the shore!

My room also got Marie Kondoized.  My computer now has a big table in place of its former old-fashioned desk.  The armchair I used to sit in when using it is now out on the sidewalk in case someone wants it.  We'd got it when we lived in New Brunswick almost forty years ago!  That's the same age as my clock radio, which no longer works as a radio, but I'd still been using its digital clock feature, but now I feel it's time for a change.

When I sat down at my computer on its new table, I had a drink in a glass that came apart in my hands! (It had had a crack at the bottom but I didn't care because it wasn't leaking, even earlier that day when I noticed the crack getting longer.) Hello again, mess.

Thursday night was this season's first opera rehearsal.  This year the Toronto City Opera is doing Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann (one of my favourites!) this fall, and I think we'll be doing Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana (another favourite) in the spring.  We started learning Offenbach's Drinking Chorus, just the notes without the French words.

Today we had the first Crowdreads Meetup since Sergei's return from Odessa. We discussed art, and I brought several coffee-table books of ours showing masterpieces from famous museums (National Gallery, Louvre, Prado...). I also printed out Picasso's "Guernica" and Joseph Wright's "Experiment With a Bird in an Air Pump." It occurred to me to say that "Guernica" depicts chaos yet isn't itself chaotic, which John P. thought sophisticated.

Unfortunately, I was way late because the Harbourfront streetcar was off, and the walking route was also blocked, so I had to go to the York Street end of Union Station and go south and east. (I was also late getting home, of course.) The Harbourfront bike path now has its own traffic signals!

Yesterday we were airing out the house because of smoke detector problems, so I had to open my windows, and it was so cool that I put on a sweater (the first of the season). Yet when I went out today I wish I'd taken my summer jacket, it was that warm!

This is a longer post than usual...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


"He spent four days thinking about the name he would give it; for--as he told himself--it was not seemly that the horse of so famous a knight, and a steed so intrinsically excellent, should not have a worthy name; he was looking for the precise name that would declare what the horse had been before its master became a knight errant and what it was now; for he was determined that if the master was changing his condition, the horse too would change its name to one that would win the fame and recognition its new position and profession deserved; and so, after many names that he shaped and discarded, subtracted from and added to, unmade and remade in his memory and imagination, he finally decided to call the horse Rocinante, a name, in his opinion, that was noble, sonorous, and reflective of what it had been when it was a nag, before it was what it was now, which was the foremost nag in all the world"--Don Quixote

I've started reading Cervantes' Don Quixote for my Book Club. (I'm just getting to the chapter about the book-burning, clearly a commentary on the Inquisition.) They say Edith Grossman's new translation is great, and what I've read so far is pretty good.

Over a dozen people came to the History Meetup Wednesday, but the Book Club Meetup Sunday was only Debi and me.  Oh well, I greatly enjoyed The Way of All Flesh.

Friday I had lunch with Sergei and Maria at the new Thai restaurant around the corner from my house.  The last time we'd met I'd promised to take care of Maria's orchid while the two of them were visiting Odessa, but I'd lost it on the way home! (I had a big headache and wasn't thinking straight.) I was worried about how Maria would take it, but she was surprisingly understanding!  They gave me a cup from Odessa showing Ukrainian place names in the Cyrillic alphabet, and they were surprised that I could read most of it.

I did get Maria a new orchid. Tuesday I went to a place on Roncesvalles Avenue, but they only had them in white instead of purple like the original.  On Wednesday I went to a place near King and Parliament, but they didn't have any orchids.  So Thursday I went back to the first place and got a white one after all.

Dinner today was fettucine alfredo, but we tried a different recipe using brie cheese and bacon pieces.  I think I like smelling bacon more than eating it!