Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Short Takes #3B

A few items that are somewhat of a continuation of Short Takes #3.

First, in a somewhat odd coincidence, the play I am seeing tomorrow at Harbourfront is actually going to New York.  Given that it was considered unstageable, that's quite a coup. I suppose it won't be all that long before it turns up in Chicago.  I will have to remember to keep my eyes open for the other things that Suburban Beast is doing, though they may be a bit too freeform for my taste.

I am holding off getting my tickets for TSO's 2015-16 season a bit longer.  My kids decided the Beethoven 5 concert was too long, so I am going on my own.  Probably for the best.  They'll probably start going a bit more routinely as they get into middle school.

However, I realized why I couldn't find my May 13 ticket, and that is because I had half-expected to be in Austin around then, and I hadn't pre-ordered one.  Given that I am going to start moving in around then, I probably shouldn't have gotten the ticket after all, but I will just try to have most of the painting done by then and it will be a bit of a reward.  I won't be able to paint and move stuff every single night in May or I will be far too worn out to get anything else done.

While I was over at Roy Thompson Hall, I went to the lost and found, but they didn't have my scarf.  I lost it there Saturday evening.  It's sort of frustrating.  It had been a particularly wet snowy evening and my scarf was quite wet.  Thus, I couldn't put it in my bag, as it would have gotten the book in there all wet.  I just left it on the seat, and I even looked around a bit as I was leaving the concert.  However, it must have slid under the seat or something.  I realized it was gone the minute I had left the hall, but the crowds were so bad to get into and out of the building, I thought I would just go back later.  While I have already replaced it, I am still a bit miffed.

I find some of the Toronto library decisions so odd.  They know there is too much demand for many items, particularly DVDs (now that Redbox is pulling out of Canada and Netflix never shipped DVDs here in the first place).  So it becomes a bit like a lottery for the first 6 months of release where you can't place any holds on them.  I don't really see the logic in that, but ok.  However, you can't build up queues of things that are of interest but not technically "holdable" like you can in Vancouver or Burnaby.  Overall, those two libraries have a better on-line interface.  I actually sent over some suggestions to the Toronto library to see if they could improve.

I don't think they have quite as long a "no hold" period on CDs and I don't think they have any "no hold" period on books (though they used to).  I managed to get a hold placed on the Beck CD that just won the Grammys and am high in the queue (should get a copy within a week or two), whereas there are already nearly 50 people behind me in the queue.  I guess that's where insomnia pays off...

But seriously, I am thinking of proposing a panel that would look at the everyday life in cities, but a comparative study that would look at things like garbage collection, applying for building permits, responsiveness of alderman, crime, transit access, etc. with a considerable focus on how much it is possible to "game the system," particularly around issues like access to magnet/charter schools and so forth.  Here there are quite a few free museum passes at the libraries, but the popular ones go right away, to the point that some libraries have instituted a lottery system.  While it doesn't exactly track with income, finding out about these things requires social capital, which is closely tied to social class.

Anyway, if Canada only had Spotify or another of those streaming services, then waiting at the library wouldn't even be an issue.  I definitely wish that the main content providers could negotiate deals that would include the US + Toronto and Vancouver and perhaps Montreal.  It is kind of sucky realizing just how badly Canada loses out on a lot of services compared to our neighbours to the south, though Amazon.ca has gotten somewhat better over the years.

The last thing (promise) is more amusing than anything.  I had read a short column in The Star by Manu Joseph, who is an Indian author.  I decided to put one of his books on hold at the library (The Illicit Happiness of Other People) and then it turned out I actually own this book.  I'm sure that's why it sounded so familiar in the first place.  I must have picked this up at a book sale recently, most likely at the book store on University Avenue.  Well, no harm, no foul, and I deleted my hold.  What I haven't decided is where to fit this into my long reading list, but I'll figure out a place for it eventually.  It's not a big deal, but I'll probably slightly refresh and repost this list in the spring, maybe right after the official move -- and report on how I did in just under a year. (A more challenging problem is deciding how to arrange books in the new house, though I think the art books will stay in the living room and 4 of the book cases will fit into the room off the kitchen, which is going to become (by default) the study.  Then perhaps the shorter bookcase will go into the basement, and if it fits reasonably well, I might get one or two just like it.  That would go a really long way towards clearing out these boxes of books.  I might actually be able to have the vast majority of books open for casual browsing, which would be pretty great.)

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