Sunday, October 2, 2016

Washed out weekend

I suppose that is a bit dramatic.  It hardly rained at all yesterday, and I did run off to Nuit Blanche, but more about that momentarily.  No, our washing machine went on the fritz Friday afternoon.  I had not been having a great day (we had a quasi-going away lunch for some co-workers transferring to different divisions and the orders were all screwed up and it took forever for only passable Middle Eastern food).  This didn't help.  Also, I couldn't drop everything, since I had dinner planned with another former colleague who lives in Vancouver, but it did mean that we had to cut dinner a bit short.

My wife had done a bit of researching and it looks like it was the MCU (Motor Control Unit) that was going out (either the entire thing or the temperature sensor).  Between parts and labor, this is a $400-500 job, so actually not that much different from just buying a new washing machine.  And there is no guarantee that once this part goes out once (and is replaced), it won't go out again in another year.  So this was thrilling news.

When I came home, I was able to actually restart the machine and do a light wash (of all the clothes that had been stuck inside for hours!).  I was hoping this would buy us a week or so to decide what to do next, but no, the machine broke down again, and I had to remove the panel just to unlatch the door this time.

I was able to reschedule my ticket to a matinee (The Watershed* ironically enough), and spent more time researching the issue.  In the end we decided to just buy a new washer (different brand though) and pay the extra for a 5 year warranty.  So that was frustrating and a bit exhausting mentally.  (I wasn't thrilled to find out they would take the old washer away but wouldn't unhook it.  I was able to deal with that this morning, though the cut-off valves seem to leak a bit, and we're not entirely sure the washers will get in and out the basement door.**  So Monday might be a very difficult day...) 

Anyway, after the purchase of the new washing machine, I decided I would go off to see a concert at UT (Vaughan William's London Symphony and Britten's Four Sea Intervals from Peter Grimes -- the last one sounds a bit like Shostakovich or Prokofiev's Symphony 5).  The concert was quite good.  I thought I would stop by the Hart House Art Museum to see if they were part of Nuit Blanche, but UT was not participating this year.

I decided I would just look at a bit of Nuit Blanche this year (I ended up skipping it last year), and I went down to City Hall.  I have to say it felt like a rave there and in general, the only art that was outside was video art (plus this huge balloon ball thing).

The event definitely felt smaller and less impressive than 2 years ago, and this article says that this was the smallest Nuit Blanche in 6 years.  (Not that surprising, when one of the main corporate sponsors pulled out.)  I guess I missed some of the stuff up on Bloor, but overall it looks like I saw all the highlights of the evening, except for a bunch of books tossed about on Queen St. right in front of the old City Hall.  (I have to be honest that this sounds like a stupid idea, and one that actually appalls me as a book-lover, so probably just as well that I missed that.)

I still like the communal feel to it, and being able to walk down Queen and John without any cars is always neat.  But the art was pretty dreadful, especially this truck piled up with coffin liners, or at least quite forgettable.  There was one space I couldn't get into at King and Bay, as the line to get in was huge; still, I was pretty sure by this point I would be completely underwhelmed had I actually gotten in, and I would have been mad at how much time I had lost.  About the only thing I really did like was the video of people crawling up the columns of Union Station.

Frankly, I just don't think I will bother next year.

* Just back from The Watershed.  It is somewhat better than what I was expecting from this review, but it really is too long and self-indulgent (just like Tideline...).  I really think it would have been better to just have the talking heads going on about the politics of water science (sort of like Anna Deavere Smith and her Twilight, Los Angeles play) and cut everything about how the family was going to go on this big adventure together in Act II.  First, I agree with Slotkin that it just pulled the play in too many directions, but more centrally for my reflections upon the play, I ended up thinking that the playwright was a total, irresponsible flake.  She really didn't think that the fate of the Experimental Lake Area (ELA) was interesting enough on its own or, perhaps even worse, she thought that her domestic drama was just as compelling to anyone outside her immediate circle?  I am glad that Ontario stepped in and saved the ELA, and recently the feds have restored their commitment to fund the ELA, but even after watching this, it still wasn't entirely clear that this was the single most damaging thing the Conservatives had done (in their crime spree against science) and why it was the focus of the entire play.  Really this is a play without answers, since no one is really ready to give up their carbon-fueled lifestyles (particularly when it enables families to travel across Canada in a rented Winnebago), and while the playwright acknowledged that from time to time, it kind of feels like a lot of wooly-minded talk about how bad the oilsands are without taking any responsibility for our own complicity around energy consumption.  Honestly, I only went to see Eric Peterson again, and he was quite good in several roles, so I guess I shouldn't gripe too much.  And it turned out to be his birthday!  Happy birthday, Eric!

** I've already removed the door, but it was a smaller, non-standard size, and it looks like they closed it up -- apparently after the washer and drier were delivered, so I actually will have to remove part of the doorframe.  This is pretty unbelievable and is putting me in a foul, foul mood.  After this, we are just going to deal with maintenance and not replacing these machines.

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