Thursday, October 15, 2015

Up and Down Day

Yesterday (Wed.) was so odd.  I had a few highs and several lows, and I'm still not entirely sure how to rate the day.

I'm still smarting a bit over having to cancel the trip to Ottawa.  I was able to schedule something for mid-November.  I was in the middle of pulling the trigger when Porter pulled my tickets and repriced them, so I had to start all over again with a different configuration.  We'll fly into Ottawa on Friday and then take the train back on Sunday, with a 4 hour layover in Kington to check that city out a little bit as well.  I hope it will be fun.

Anyway, that means we won't be heading to Cleveland or Detroit to do any of the things I had been counting on.  I can probably live without Detroit for the time being, though I sure wish there was some easy way to get there.  I am really bummed about not getting to the garden show at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  It's actually a pretty big deal, including the first time since 1980 that all 3 of Monet's huge Waterlilies painting will be displayed together.  I'll come back to this towards the end of the post.

I have been fairly happy about getting through a number of shorter novels.  I realize it isn't that big of an accomplishment, but I do enjoy checking them off my very long list.  I will say that I basically hated After Claude, and Epitaph of a Small Winner made me a bit melancholy.  The latter is definitely a book that makes you take stock of your life and whether you have achieved much of anything, or indeed if all human achievement is vanity, vanity, all is vanity...  I'll probably circle back around to this theme in a few more days.

Work had its typical ups and downs.  I guess on balance it was slightly positive.  I was happy that the weather broke and I was able to ride my bike.  Or rather I was pleased about that until the very last stretch homing home on Carlaw where an extremely aggressive driver was trying to pass another car on a stretch that is not designed for it and basically ran me off the road.  I was so upset over this that I simply gave up on my plan to go swimming, so that was certainly a major negative.

I've finally accepted that I won't lose weight given my current lifestyle (too many late nights and only biking as exercise) but I haven't moved into the next phase of actually changing this lifestyle.  Going swimming more often would help, though the hours available for lap swimming at Matty Eckler are pretty lousy.  So I'll pretty much have to wait until next week, though I could investigate their weight room and see what other exercise options I have at home.  As I said, I haven't committed to making this change.

Another major downer is that my wife's laptop has died completely with no warning.  I just don't want to have to deal with these sorts of things.  Anyway, about the only positive is that I almost never used it, so don't have files that got lost forever, and even she didn't have much on there.  Mostly photos that were already backed up.  I already tried one thing to resurrect it, though that didn't work, so I guess I'll be laptop shopping over the weekend.

I should say up front, I am not a sports fan at all (basketball being the only one I have any patience to watch and even that only for maybe a quarter at most), but I do like to know the final scores as the different sports come into their payoffs.  Obviously, it is pretty huge that the Cubs have gone from being the second seed to competing for the NL pennant.  And what can one say about the Jays?  I was sure they were done after they lost their first two home games., but they certainly surprised me.  I didn't see any of the game through the 7th inning (it's probably just as well, since I disagreed with the crazy rule that kicked in and scored a run on dead ball).  I also missed Bautista's home run (and bat flip), though I certainly saw it on the replays.  I did see the Jay's closer get his last five outs and that was awfully impressive to me.  So that's all exciting, and I'm glad the Jays are still in it.  I sort of shudder to think about a Jays-Cubs World Series, as so little work will get done in the Midwest.

One more significant downer is that someone had recommended this Quebec TV series to me (Serie Noire) and they had the DVD at the library.  It turns out it does not have subtitles at all.  What gives?!  This was put together with Radio Canada funds, and they think it is acceptable to only put it out in French?  We all know that the Quebecois would raise holy hell if it was the other way around (as they have done time and time again).  I just think it is so typical of the Quebecois and their one-way language laws, and certainly the main reason the ROC (rest of Canada) has so little patience for them.  Making it even worse is that Netflix has these episodes with English subtitles, but I am certainly not going to pay to see episodes that I already supported through public funding.  So that was actually quite upsetting to me, and I have decided I will act as if this series never even existed.

I guess on the positive side, the latest polls are looking promising for a Liberal minority government, propped up by the NDP.  That might result in some decent policies, and repealing a lot of the really crappy laws that Harper passed in the last 3 or 4 years.  Ideally, they will even agree on some electoral reform that will more or less doom the Conservatives to third party status forever. Still, nothing gets settled until Oct. 19.  (I'll probably have to arrange something to do to keep my mind off of the election...) 

The last major downer (though this is more of a projected future downer) is that I decided I really ought to try to get to Cleveland to see this art show, even though I would probably be going by myself.  It is unbelievably difficult to get to Cleveland from Toronto.  There are no direct flights at all (and Porter flies nowhere near there).  So the fastest you can fly there is 4.5 hours, whereas you could drive it in 5.5 hours, though that assumes no problems at the border.  I also started looking into buses and trains.  The train option is absurd.  Not only do they schedule a full 2 hours at the border, the train is routinely an hour late leaving Buffalo.  Then the train from Buffalo to Cleveland only runs once a day, and you have to board it in the middle of the night.  Doing a direct bus to Cleveland is still about 8 hours, which is pretty ridiculous, though on the whole the bus companies have a much more realistic view of the border crossing times (generally about 30 minutes whereas in a car it can range from 20 minutes to 2.5 hours if it is a holiday!).  I think that means for the foreseeable future, my daughter is not going to be coming with me to Buffalo and probably for the sake of avoiding any major domestic scenes my son won't be going either (plus who wants to answer to the border guards why you are travelling with a child without the second parent?).  Given that there is also an interesting show at the Albright-Knox, I might see about setting up a weekend where I travel to Buffalo in the morning, go to the Albright-Knox, come back to catch a Greyhound to Cleveland, stay overnight, see the exhibit in Cleveland and then travel back to Toronto in the evening.  It is doable, though a bit crazy.  It also depends a lot on the weather not turning bad on me in December.  I have to decide if this really is worth it, or I should just file it away with various other half-baked ideas I often have.

So anyway, that was my topsy-turvy day.  (Thinking it over, the dead laptop definitely pushes this into a net negative day.)  Unfortunately, I have now taken a bit too much of the morning writing this, so this day starts off kind of badly as well, but I should be able to recover.  Anyway, I'll have to see how things turn out tonight, though I hopefully won't have quite so many ups and downs (and hopefully more positives than negatives to dwell upon).

Coda: I had just the weirdest dream last night where I was at a large library that was basically a music library and they were having small ensembles play different pieces in various wings of the library.  Apparently I worked there, and there was some major initiative on to recycle old books into something else.  I can't recall what it was now, but it made sense at the time.  (Note: I did work at libraries up through the end of my undergrad years but not since then.)  I had an odd discussion with a co-worker, and apparently I was responsible for this co-worker leaving.  While I felt bad about it, this freed up an opening for a friend of mine, whom I started recruiting right away.  The dream ended before any personnel changes were actually made.

How do you tell someone you dreamed you made them quit their job (or be fired)?  Answer: you don't...

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