"The optimist says this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears he is right." -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Friday, September 28, 2007

Squirrel Up a Tree

Has anyone noticed that this time of year the squirrels are acting weird? Maybe it's because they're fixating on their nuts (you know, for winter food storage), but they're running out into the street, right in front of my bike, making me swerve and brake and almost hit them.

So far I've managed to avoid the little blighters, but I get nervous every time I see one of them standing at the edge of a sidewalk, twitching their little bushy tails, looking ready to make a run for it...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Go Buy A CD

I keep plugging Tim Hamel here, not just because he's a friend (which he is), and not just because he's one of the bike messengers to whom I dispatch (which he is); I plug him because:

a) He's a hell of a musician, and,

b) I love jazz, and,

c) I've got lots of pix of him.

I always find it frustrating that there are so many amazingly creative and talented musicians out there who have to work day jobs and gig with numerous groups just to scrape by, when there are little teenage poptarts out there making a gazillion dollars an hour to shake their surgically enhanced body parts to drooling adolescents while lip-syncing lyrics.

Such is art, I guess.

Tim plays every Friday night at a coffee house at 136 Ossington (here in Toronto) called Repasodos (or something like that). First set is 9:30 (which means you'll be lucky if they start by 10. Check them out. This is a different group than the one that plays on his CD, but knowing Tim, they'll smoke.

If you can't make it, go buy or download his CD. It smokes, too...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sidewalk Tango

I could have gone the Martha and the Vandellas (later covered by Jagger and Bowie) route and called this one Dancing in the Street, but that's way too obvious, don't you think?

I could have travelled down the MGM "Golden Age of Musicals" path (Gene Kelly, Singin' in the Rain) and called it Gotta Dance!, but I decided against that, too.

I guess there are some that, when they feel the need to dance, just do it - wherever they happen to be at the time - and maybe that's not a bad thing...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sightlines

Recently seen at Toronto's Eaton Centre...

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Blues

Not only did this guy look like a blues singer, he sang the blues.

I don't think I've heard a better live rendition of Dock of the Bay...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Not an Indian Summer

For one thing, I think we should stop calling it Indian Summer, which is clearly a racist term. Perhaps we should refer to it as "First Nations' Warmth"? "Aboriginal People's Unnaturally Warm Autumnal Experience"?

For another thing, this isn't Indian Summer. Indian Summer is a warm spell after the first frost, and we've yet to experience anything close to a frost around these parts.

What it is, is unusually warm for late September. It's been in the mid-to-high twenties all week long, and today it's going up to 28C. These sorts of temps will hold through the weekend until at least Monday. Global warming? Just an anomoly?

I don't care, I like it, and I'll be out enjoying this glorious weekend. I hope you'll be out there, too...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Show Off

I imagine a giant Acme Instant Brick Wall (a la Wile E Coyote chasing the Roadrunner) just to the left of the frame, with the boarder going ~splat!~, flattening against said wall, and sliding down the wall into a heap on the ground.

He might possibly hold out a sign saying "ouch!" or "mother!" as he slides down.

It would serve him right for not looking in the direction he's going.

By the way, does anyone out there know why it is Wile E. Coyote is mute in Roadrunner cartoons, but quite verbose and erudite when he co-stars with Bugs Bunny?

"Are you in-genius?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Fitting Room

In Kensington Market, we don't need no stinking fitting rooms...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Technology is a Wonderful Thing

So says the People who kindly bring us Windows Vista.

Me, I'm not so sure. Neither are all the people walking down this Brand New HiTech Hallway...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Coming Soon to a Season Near You

Cool Mornings.

Shorter days.

Now the trees.

You can smell it in the air...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Excuse Me

I have to go feed the cat...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Who Wears Short Shorts?

Looking past this gentleman's cyclo-fashion faux-pas for just a moment, I hope to be this fit when I'm his age (whatever his age might be - I'm guessing him to be older than me).

Living proof that cycling is good for you!

Ride your bikes, kiddies!

Mind you, maybe he's 34, which would shoot my "advice" all to hell, wouldn't it?

And, dear me, get "proper" bike shorts: gotta keep those hamstrings warm!

;-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On The Cutting Edge

Lately, I've been working on digital B&W conversions.

Before I went digital, I thought of such concepts as absolute heresy; after all, Henri Cartier Bresson shot TriX with his Leica for his whole career, and he was (in my mind, and the minds of many others) the greatest photographer. I have a little Leica, which I tend to load with TriX: If it worked for HCB, it would work for me!

But then I had to ask myself: WWHCBD? (What Would Henri Cartier Bresson Do?) Back in the 1930's, he was among the earliest pros to use what was then cutting-edge technology, a small handheld camera of extremely high quality, using very fast (for its time) 35mm movie-film. Due to the resolution of those Leica lenses, image quality could rival that of large press-cameras such as the Speed Graphic.

Were HCB starting his career now, it's quite likely that he'd do the same thing he did back in his day: he'd equip himself with the latest, most convenient equipment out there, to allow him to do his job in the most efficient manner possible.

I have to admit, I've been bitten by the digital bug. I thought that my pixelization would be a gradual conversion, continuing to shoot film for a long long time. It hasn't been that way, though. I haven't shot a roll for months, and my Pentax *istD (that's in answer to your question yesterday, Frejus!) has constantly been at my side. Now that I'm learning a bit about B&W conversion (there's still a lot to learn), I'm even less inclined to return to the hassle and expense of film.

Fortunately, the Pentax first-generation digicam that I have is a very compact DSLR, with a very bright viewfinder (one of the few SLRs left that actually has a prism, rather than a cheaper mirror-box). Its size makes it ideal for street shooters, while the bright viewfinder and backwards lens compatibility (long a Pentax hallmark) allows for a wider variety of lenses than other companys' DSLRs.

I've now come to the conclusion that a photo is a photo, and that choosing to shoot digital and subsequently convert to black and white is no more "artificial" than choosing to shoot monochrome film over colour. Am I right? Or is there even a right or wrong to this dilemma?

Whatever the case may be, above is a conversion of an earlier photo presented here, Who's Minding the Shop. It's not perfect yet (I want to give it more "pop), but it's getting there.

In the meanwhile, that shot reminded me of an older film photo that I took with the old Leica loaded with TriX, and I suppose that it's most appropriate that I show it today, as someone I showed it to years ago told me that the (apparent) father reminded him of a Rabbi. I believe that in Hebrew, "rabbi" means "teacher", and this man seems to be teaching the young boy. The man's hat rather completes the perception.

And, of course, this evening Rosh Hashana starts, the Jewish New Year. L'shanah tovah!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Not in Madrid

Probably won't ever see her again. Got one quick shot as she sat on her bike, next to the streetcar, waiting for the lights to change at Queen and Victoria.

I liked her hair.

I wonder if La Gatita Gringa likes her hair? It's more than likely this smiling young lady got her 'do here in Toronto, rather than Madrid.

Oh well...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fire Station

On the Ward Island Ferry.

I don't know why, but I've always liked nautical stuff. Stuff on ships - it's a whole different world, everything's different. Different materials, different design, different stuff.

Much of it seems quite anachronistic, like this old "fire station."

Cool stuff...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Interaction with Others


Spotted last night at King and Portland here in Toronto

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Night Ferry

From a distance, the Night Ferry skims silently across inky black waters.

Below its decks, ancient marine engines thrum incessantly: their relentless vibration permeates every corner of the vessel and into the consciousness of every passenger, every crewman, every officer aboard.

All are more-than-aware of their point of departure; none can possibly know what awaits them at journey's end.

Or, maybe it's just the Ward Island ferry, on it's semi-hourly 15 minute ride back into Toronto, bringing weary day-visitors back home from Toronto's Islands at the end of a long weekend. But that's not so mysterious or romantic, is it?

One thing I noticed about this photo is that there's a timeless quality to it. There are no visual cues that put it in any particular time-frame: it could have been taken now, in the forties, even the thirties or earlier. Actually, that's not entirely true. I've spotted two things that make this obviously comtemporary: can you spot them? One of them in particular is fairly subtle, but it's there, and of course, there could be more.

Feel free to point them out. We can make this a fun game!

Or not. Perhaps you'd prefer to just enjoy the photo (which I hope you do in any event).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

From Ward's Island

Toronto's skyline from Ward's Island, one of the Centre Islands in Toronto's harbour.

And now you know where we went
this past long weekend...

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