Get your flu shot!
Went for a flu shot the other day. Yes, I am one of those who diligently toddle off to get it every year. Normally my arm has a powerful reaction, the spot heats up and the entire arm aches for days but not this time. I do however, feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Hell of a trade off. This too will pass.
But it’s left me feeling whiny and a bit childish so I think I’ll bunker in the apartment today and avoid humanity. Not sure I’m up to dealing with people. I feel like I have low grade malaise, just no energy to do a thing. I shouldn’t be complaining. It’s better than a case of flu. So, yea, I’ll take a flu shot over the alternative any day.
Mask up & get your flu shot if you can. Protect your friends & neighbours.
Instead of working on articles, I’ve spent the last 24 hrs thinking about this site. It’s time to rationalize the categories. I’m going to amalgamate Photography with the Typography and Design section. It makes more sense to have them together. They are related in themes and will be easier to keep the content fresh. It’ll be re-labeled Photos & Design.
Whither now philately?
A lot of time has spent on sorting out newsletters as well. I’ve begun to sign up for stamp related news releases from post offices around the world. It’s time to shake off the Canadian centric view and look at the glorious offerings around the world. Let me tell you, it’s a trip and a half. Some sites don’t translate well. I had to tap a couple of friends for help with a Hungarian translation. Between the too of them, they sorted me out.
I’m playing with an idea of doing a retrospective of stamps around the world from 2020, but that might turn out to be too big a project. But I did manage to line up topics for approx. 100 stamp articles for 2021. As well, I have a number of Christmas themed stamps ready to post. Keep watch in the Philately section them.
What about the rest of the world?
In my travels, I came across a superb website:
Rest of the world – reporting global tech stories
Rest of the world breaks out of the annoying western obsession with Silicon Valley and North America. It offers coverage of important tech and social media issues affecting the world. Well written and insightful. I spent about 3 hours yesterday cruising their website. Subscribe to their newsletter and get the latest news delivered to your mailbox. You won’t regret it, especially if you are like me. I have had a growing dissatisfaction with the smug navel gazing of most tech news sites based in North America. They all report the same news, over and over. That’s partially why I haven’t posted a lot on the tech section of the website. I’ve become bored with technology. Too many sites offer what feels like breathless anticipation of the most insignificant changes but missing the bigger picture.
I’ll have to give thought to the Tech section. It needs a serious boot in the typeface. I will continue to write little reviews and offer advice because I enjoy doing it, but I need to look at tech issues beyond my borders. So many exciting things are happening around the world, it’s a crime to ignore them. I’d be grateful for any ideas pushed my way.
A wee bit of art news
I also discovered a new bit of software – Adobe Fresco and played around with it off an on. So far, I like what I see and will explore it further with my mighty tablet. If I continue to enjoy the software, I’ll drop a few articles about it.
Also in art news, I am arranging an interview with an artist friend. She’s the real deal and I’ve always loved her artwork. When things settle down a bit, we’ll get together for an interview about her work and the thought process behind it. I’m hoping she will discuss with me how she’s evolved as an artist over the years. Will be FUN.
So that’s the round up of my week so far. I originally started out writing about food. The article sat at 50 words for the last 3 days and didn’t get anywhere. I was despairing a bit that I’d never be able to finish it. But here I am. Sometimes you have to let you brain meander where it wants.
I didn’t use the camera much this winter. I hate wandering around in the cold. But, there’s a hint of spring in the air and it’s time to start thinking of photographic expeditions into the wilds of Toronto. To prepare, I meandered through some of last year’s work. I’m fussing a lot over the quality, trying to figure out how to improve the sharpness and clarity. In the meantime, here’s one of my favourites from last year.
Bauhaus has the best signage in Toronto
This has to be the best store signs in the city – Bauhaus – fine windows and doors. If you’re strolling along Avenue Rd, and Davenport, check it out.
What is this animal? Dragon? Dog? Rodent?
The animal is a bit of a mystery. At first I thought it was a dog, but then maybe a cat? But not with that tail. So I’ve settled on a dragon-cat mutant. I stood back quite a bit to take these photos and am pleased with the level of detail that popped on the carving. I worked hard with the various settings until I could see all the fine details and sharp shadowing. One of the successes!
I’m looking forward to this year. There will be more architecture, signage and hopefully flowers as well. The old tripod is ready to go, camera cleaned and polished. Come on spring.
I’ve been digging through older photos of wall art, looking for something a bit cheery to blow away the winter blues. My mom often reads through Bitter Grounds, offering ideas and advice. Around Christmas she looked over her glasses at me (never a good thing) and told me to lighten up the content. I took that to mean my passion of construction sites was a bit too much. Not sure if the photo below will pass muster, but I love it so, sorry mom.
I forgot about a short trip I took to Budd Sugarman Park last summer. It’s a wee slice of green, squished between the Rosedale subway station, Aylmer Ave and Yonge. There really isn’t much to see down there, but Sugarman is a nice little spot to sit and relax. The park hosts an amazing piece Toronto wall art, or in this case, utility cover art.
On the south side of Aylmer is a utility box that showcases a stunning piece of art.
The colours are so vivid, the photo doesn’t do it justice. I’m not sure who the artist is, which is a shame. I’d like to see more.
You can follow Bitter Grounds via Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. I’m working on setting up a subscription system, but time is a bit short so don’t expect it this month. I’ll do my best to get it going. Subscribers will get a few perks – voting on upcoming stories, give aways (modest little items, but fun) and a few other ideas I’m working on. If you’d like to support Bitter Grounds visit my support page to find out how.
While sipping on an ale, I sat back and rethought the article I was originally working on. I decided to break it down into 2, with slightly different focuses. The decision was heavily influenced by the utter deliciousness of a cold ale on a hot day, buzzing conversations around me and music reminding me why I love living in a large city so much. When I walk down a stretch of road exploding in a riot of colour and ideas, I feel like I’m walking through an urban art gallery. As I wrote the previous article, in one short walk you can encounter whimsy, anger, cynicism, hope, and a whole lot of confusion. Today’s post is all about murals rather than the graffiti.
I have no idea where to start with this. I call it Dog-A-Thingy. Let’s just say the Zombie Apocalypse got a whole lot more interesting.
The art on this next one shuns the usual sharp (and sometimes harsh) lines usually on display. This is a fuzzy, warm mural that stands out because of the striking stylistic difference.
And then we have Mr Angry meets plastic bag.
Originally I had airbrushed the plastic bag hanging off the horn, but I’ve decided leave it. When Toronto banned plastic bags (for a brief time) there was a surprising decrease in the number that drifted in the wind. When Ford removed the prohibition, bags once again became the official leaf of Toronto – hanging in trees, blowing by in the wind, filling ditches and stuck on walls. As a species, we really are asses.
Near Dog-A-Thingy, is a wonderful wall filled with vibrant colours, ivy and faux windows. The entire section looks like this.
At the end of the lane, you pop out onto Harbord. Before you leave, look on the west wall for a moving tribute to Toronto both past and present. It’s a beautiful mural.
The next couple of photos were taken on Harbord, east of Bathurst. Keep your eyes open as you trot along, for little lanes and alleys that hold some inspiring art. This teapot is part of a larger mural that’s beginning to flake away.
It covers a large section of the wall and some of my shots weren’t good enough to post. The angles were all wrong, contrast off and well I wasn’t happy with them. At the time I was more interested in the teapot so I’ll have to return to grab the rest.
I’m ending with my favourite shot of the day.
He’s massive! The phto is stitched together from 6 separate shots. I scoured the print trying to spot where the pieces joined, but Photoshop did an excellent job. The perspective correction is spot on too. Very happy with Mr Snail. Or is it Mrs Snail? Is there such a thing as snail sexing? To date, this is my all time favourite street mural.
Look for the 1st Mapping Toronto post late next week. As I was trotting down to the Boxcar, I realised I’d left out a few important things so a re-write is in order.