This Post-it has been stuck to my desk for months:
The first part is easy - it's a site I wanted to look up. Not a clue what the epiphany moment was. I remember thinking "THAT'S BRILLIANT" (with multiple exclamation points required) and then the second thought was a fatal "Oh I'll remember this". I keep it on my desk in the vain hope I'll actually remember what the earth shattering idea was. It's really bugging the shit out of me. I'm at that awkward age where I keep pretending my memory is as elastic as it was at 18. If it was, I wouldn't have 6 notepads half started with scribbled little notes. And yes, I do have 6 notepads on the go. I keep leaving them all over the city and have to start a new one when I can't find the old one. When I retrieve the misplaced notepad, usually a friend or customer sends me a note about it, I put it in the pile until it's rotation comes back up.
Was I going to change the world? Would it lead to enlightenment? Or maybe it was the perfect espresso ratio? Whatever it was, it's lost for ever.
That is a map of Toronto neighbourhoods – some indistinguishable from others, many unique. I’m going to hop on and off the TTC (public transit here in Toronto) with my mighty Presto Card pass and photograph each neighbour. Toronto changes rapidly, buildings that are here to day may be gone next time you walk by. But it’s more than the structures – the streets in each neighbourhood are unique and I want to document them.
I look at computer based programs offered for stamp collectors and give them a whirl now and then. I'll go through a passionate period of "WOW, this is might be fun" and then I stop using it after about a week or two and go back to my old none tech way. This amuses people who know me - I work with computers everyday and love to play around with software. However, I find most inventory management software too cumbersome. Computers get in the way of enjoying the simple pleasure of wandering through my stamp collection.
Most of the software I've looked at is too expensive, doesn't offer a trial version or so aesthetically off putting I can't be bothered putting effort into it. If the software looks like it stepped out of the 90s, it doesn't speak well for the program's overall utility in an age of touch screens. But the most important issue is, for me, it takes too many steps to do a simple job. I can whip the info down into a book faster than it takes to fill out a form.
That doesn't mean I don't use computers to help with my modest collection. I do have a few spreadsheets for certain jobs. I also scan stamps so I magnify the details. I tend to keep most of my notes and collection lists in a couple of small black books. I don't like sitting at my computer when I'm playing around with stamps so a book and pen are much quicker to pop down a bit of information.
One thing I do is make quick sketches of cancels that catch my eye. It's usually stamps that I don't think I'll keep because they don't fit into my collection but I like the cancel and want to remember it. It's easy to whip off a quick pen sketch of the cancel, along with a note on the envelope/stamp or question about it that I want to look up later. I suppose I could get up, flick on the scanner, pop the stamp in, scan blah blah. It's easier to jot it down in my little black book.
I was thumbing through the black book today, looking at earlier entries and was struck by how diverse they are. Here's one page:
If I find relevant info or a correction while looking around on the internet, I'll add it. Makes an interesting little archive. I kept the Australian cover because of the airmail cancel.
Here's one of my favourites. I kept this cover as well below because I loved the graceful crane cancel.
My long term photo project is now underway. The bulk of it won’t officially start until I have my DSLR camera, which will likely be sometime in Nov. I’m waiting for the Black Friday sales before spending my hard earned dollars. Anyway, I’ve decided to photograph every neighbourhood in Toronto – a project what will take a long time, but will be fun (see the link below for more info). I’ll be traveling on public transit to each neighbour in the city and will try to take photo record of each area, looking for something that makes the neighbourhood unique. I’m still sorting out how I’ll present everything, but I’m going to kickstart the project today with some photos I took during the summer.
I’m going to start here, with a sideways map:
Always start at home, right? My neighbourhood, a sliver of the city, is an interesting mix of slightly dowdy to old and established. The dowdy parts are now being revitalised and it’s been fun documenting the changes. I have a backlog of photos I’ll use to start the project. When I get the new camera, I’ll retake some because I’ll be able to get a more satisfying sharp focus. I enjoy my little Canon Powershot, but it just can’t get that pristine clarity I really like, it leans more towards soft edges. I'm getting fussy with what I want to post. But, I’ve managed to snag some very nice snapshots of a neighbourhood going through change.
The biggest change has been the corner of Jackes and Yonge, just south of St. Clair. The squat, unremarkable CHUM radio building was located on the north east corner for decades before CHUM abandoned it for newer quarters. It sat for awhile, with a few businesses in residence coming and going until the owners kicked it down the fall of 2016. I'm surprised it disappeared with no fanfare. Granted I thought it was an ugly structure and I don't miss it, but it would have been nice if the city commemorated it's contribution to Toronto's cultural history. If you didn't grow up in Ontario in the 50s, 60s and 70s, it's hard to understand what a huge impact it had on most of us. Everyone listened to CHUM.
Here's a mediocre shot taken with my little cell phone camera. You can see the diggers are already ripping the back of the building down.
It really was an ugly as shit 2 story building, filled with a ton of Toronto history. I didn't think of taking photos when the teardown started. It wasn't until the diggers moved in and started dismantling the building that I began to wander out and take photos. Check out 1050 CHUM MEMORIAL BLOG by C F Turner for an interesting look at CHUM in it's heyday.
Right now the spot is a big hole in the ground. The construction firm is laying the foundation for the new condo complex that’s going up. When the big crane was being erected I took the chance to grab photos of the action. Here’s my favourite:
A great shot of the men preparing the cab for the crane.
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