Monday, June 28, 2010

World cup!

Whoooooooo! I've enjoyed watching the world cup games when I can find a television to watch them on. High definition slow-motion sports coverage is amazing. In the slow motion, you can see the players make decisions, react to the game. You can see their muscles contract, pulling their limbs so quickly through the air that the skin ripples. I am in love with slow-motion video of the legs of professional soccer players. It is hypnotic. Were it available, I would be content to watch the entire world cup in that mode. Maybe I can get a blu-ray of the coverage, to peruse in slow motion at my leisure? I hope so.

I mean, just look at the amazing action that happens between seconds:Via The Big Picture.

This post's theme word: semibreve, "whole note." Vuvuzela performances glorify the art of the slurred semibreves.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


You may have heard that this year's G20 meeting is being held here in Toronto. In order to maximally confer the glories of globalization to the populace, they* have designated a section of downtown Toronto as a high-security zone. This involves three-meter-high riot fences surrounding entire city blocks, two deep -- one on each side of the road. Public transport is completely disrupted for the area. This special inconvenience zone even gets its own special law, apparently. The university, which is near the official protest site (but not that close to the actual meeting site), has been completely shut down for four days (including relocating students living on-campus!).

I understand that a bit of protesting is to be expected -- last year's Pittsburgh meeting involved a fair amount of violence, tear gas, and burning cars. (Quickly googling, I see that a police car was involved in some protester action just today -- burning?) But this seems absurdly inconvenient. On the radio earlier this week there was an interview with a man making and selling G20 protest T-shirts, who expected his sales to really pick up as more and more Torontonians are inconvenienced into anti-G20 sentiment. (The security zone includes many downtown offices and condos. Many people, anticipating the difficulty of passing through security checkpoints in order to get to work or home, have simply vacated the city for the extended weekend.)

That seems preposterous -- residents are organizing protests not against globalization, but against disruption of urban life -- but not nearly as absurd as deciding to hold this large, aggravating, super-security-requiring meeting in the middle of a huge city.

This post's theme word: laager or lager, "a camp, especially one protected by a circle of wagons or armored vehicles," or "an entrenched policy or viewpoint," or "to enclose in a defensive encirclement. "

*the Powers That Be

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shiny fire engine

On a recent walk, I passed the fire station across the street from my house. A fire engine was parked in the vast driveway, with one solitary fireman polishing it with a rag and some metal polish. It gleamed like a toy fire engine, like a movie fire engine, like the platonic ideal of a fire engine.

Me: I think you missed a spot.
Friendly neighborhood fireman: Ha ha. This is my engine, I'm the driver, I like to keep it looking good.
Me: You're not being punished for something?
Fireman: Nope.
[Several minutes of banter ensue.]
L: I'm Lila.
R: I'm R. Hi. [We shake hands.]
L: Can I ask you a question? [R nods.] There were a lot of firemen accompanying the massed policemen downtown around the G20 area on Thursday, as well as up here in this neighborhood. Why?
[It is explained that there is an empty motorcade making a practice run of its upcoming journey.]
L: Can I ask you a question? [R nods. Another question/answer exchange follows.]
L: Can I ask you a question?
R: You have a lot of questions. I guess you are really a student...
L: Yes, they train us to be this irritatingly curious.
[It ensues that the fire station employees would, yes, appreciate if I brought them some cookies or other baked goods, and no, none of them have food allergies. Also, there have been fewer calls this extended-weekend than usual, possibly because so many people left town to avoid the G20 inconveniences.]

While we were talking, a few people walked by on the sidewalk and R. greeted them by name. I guess polishing his fire engine lets him meet many of the neighborhood perambulators.

Huzzah for friendly firemen!

This post's theme word: limen, "a threshold of response."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Terrible fusion food

This street food seems like a terrible fusion. I was not brave enough to try the "cheeseburger spring roll."

This post's theme word: pasquinade, "a satire or lampoon, especially one displayed in a public place."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sky jellyfish

Now that I've seen one, I want to make one -- they were uncomplicated, a transparent umbrella attached to long tentacles made of ripped-up white t-shirts tied into long strands. So soft and calming...
... or is that the anesthetizing poison? Egads.

This post's theme word: eurybathic, "capable of living at a wide range of depths in water."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

... as he looks smoulderingly into the fields

A. gave me this fantastic book cover. It's a were... leopard? It's amazing. I want to write a story that goes with this cover, in an attempt to justify it. Anyone want to help?

This post's theme word: comstockery, "overzealous censorship of material considered obscene."