I got out fairly early, taking my son with me for the day. (I was given the day off to ensure I had my full complement of Christmas/Boxing Day holiday days.) We hit the mall and did some comparison shopping of toasters at Walmart (the one we've had for close to 10 years is starting to give out). I also got my son some pajama bottoms, since he has outgrown his current set. I had hoped to pick up machine oil at Home Depot, but they didn't have it in stock.
We ended up catching the Queen streetcar and took it all the way to Spadina. Since we had just a bit of time to kill, I wanted to show him the fabric shops that are still on Queen St. While Queen St. from roughly University to Spadina has had a lot of turn over and many of the small stores I liked (especially the book stores) are gone, Queen St. from Spadina to Bathurst is still pretty much like I remember it from the early 90s, i.e. full of small fabric shops. I'm sure this will eventually gentrify, just as Queen St. all the way east around Carlaw will, but I'm glad it hasn't yet. It really does bring me back to my first sojourn in Toronto. It wasn't a complete nostalgia trip, however, since King Fabrics (actually closer to Queen St.) had sewing machine oil, and I picked up their last bottle. I also found that probably I could find a sewing machine technician over at World Sewing Centre if I can't fix it on my own.
Here are a few shots of the Sewing District. (Not quite as picturesque as Ben Katchor would sketch them, but still interesting.) I actually find all these stores, except for King Fabrics, to be a bit claustrophobic and intimidating. I definitely don't feel that comfortable just running in and trying to get some quilting fabric, but perhaps I will come around.
We then walked over to the movie theatre and saw Rogue One. It was better than I expected, with the first part feeling just a bit like a WWII movie (spies running around in Occupied Paris, for example) and that was interesting. I don't know, but I suspect that Lucas would like this one a lot better than #7, since it definitely had more of the feel of a serial film. However, I would say it was pretty dark and more like PG-13, though I think it was only rated PG. Still my son enjoyed it.
I realize the whole point is to show how Princess Leia ended up with the plans for the Death Star in the first place, but it was still a little creepy how they spliced Rogue One into Star Wars (#4), but I won't say any more about that for the moment.
At any rate, my son and I grabbed lunch after the movie at a bagel place on Spadina, and he asked me who Carrie Fisher was. I knew, even without turning around, that the news crawl on the television was going to say she had just died. A disturbance in the force, as it were...
I'm so very, very sad that she passed away.* It's like 2016 needed one more kick at the can, and George Michael wasn't enough... Nonetheless, given that she probably had severe brain damage from not getting enough oxygen right after the heart attack, it is likely for the best. My mother had severe brain damage from an aneurysm, and she would never have been the same, had she pulled through after the surgery. She lived about a week in the hospital, but I've come to agree that it was better she passed away then rather than lived on as a shadow of her former self. That's probably what would have happened to Carrie Fisher, and I am fairly confident that she would not have wanted to live under those conditions. At any rate, it is still a bit too early to tell, but my gut feeling is that Gen X won't have its idols and stars around for anything like as long as the Boomers did. (In my most gloomy days I wonder if the worrying we do about the age pyramid is all for naught, since Gen Xers won't be living much past 75, given what a toxic environment we grew up in with excess chemicals in our food, water and air...)
To sort of complete the nostalgia tour, I took my son up to Honest Ed's, which is closing forever this Friday. I was a bit taken aback to find out that Fabricland had already closed up! If I had known, I would have found a way to buy a bit more last week. Oh well. I have a coupon for their new store, and I guess I'll try to run up after work and check it out. Most likely I will start frequenting King Fabrics a bit more, as well as make sure to save some time to go to the fabric store in Stratford between shows this summer.
I probably should have bought the slippers on sale upstairs, but this wasn't really a utilitarian trip. (I so very rarely bought anything at Honest Ed's anyway.) Most of the bins were empty, and it was kind of weird walking around inside, though there were certainly a few people looking for final bargains.
Nonetheless, I think most people were there just for nostalgia's sake, looking for a memento of the store. I ended up picking up a cardboard sign, making sure that it had Ed's on there somewhere. It's completely pointless to hang onto such things, but that's nostalgia for you...
It looks like my experience was very similar to that of the Star columnist, who also came away from a recent visit with only a sign.
* I think it is fair to say that while I am genuinely sad about Carrie Fisher passing away and can empathize with her daughter, most of the huge wave of emotion that comes when celebrities die comes from us mourning our childhood and teenage years. We feel it is unfair somehow that we have grown old. I have to admit that one of my thoughts on learning of her shuffling off this mortal coil was selfishly wondering whether she had completed shooting for Star Wars #8 (note: she had) and hoping that she had a great death scene in that film, so that they don't just write her out between movies #8 and #9. That I won't know until next Christmas, though I suppose the news will probably leak out.
Edit (12/28 9 pm): So the shock of her daughter's death has contributed to Debbie Reynolds's death a day later. So sad. I am sure if I were somewhat older I would be more broken up over this news, but Debbie Reynolds was not really part of my growing up. Back to Star Wars... While everything is hush hush, the rumours are that Princess Leia was supposed to play a role in Star Wars #9 and perhaps beyond. I think it would be pretty difficult to rewrite the material now, especially as they apparently couldn't have any close-up death scene, but I hope they can find a way to pull it off.