A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for the ‘Non Blog’ Category

[MUSIC] Röyksopp with Robyn, “The Girl and the Robot” (Kris Menace Remix)

The Kris Menace remix of the 2009 classic “The Girl and the Robot”, by Röyksopp with Robyn, is my favourite song for listening in the morning. I like how this particular remix has an urgency to it, a sense of destination; it really does help me get out of bed and feel more energized, at least.

What is your morning song?

Written by Randy McDonald

May 3, 2019 at 8:00 am

[NON BLOG] Me in the #Vogvault, 686 Queen Street West

I owe thanks to the woman who, when I visited the John Fluevog shoe shop at 686 Queen Street West, took three photos of me posing in the in-store trompe l’oeil Vogvault. A room tilted 90 degrees to the side can be uncomfortable, I’d think.

Defying (?) gravity in the #Vogvault (2) #toronto #queenstreetwest #fluevog #trompeloeil

Written by Randy McDonald

April 21, 2019 at 12:30 pm

[PHOTO] Ten points I have taken from my recent trip

I have been left, during and after this recent trip, with a few thoughts and observations in my mind.

1. Friendship is magic. Other people, through their kindnesses, have transformed my life, and I only hope I have been able to have the same benefits for them. I do want to do better.

2. Always remember to use the active voice, not the passive voice. This holds true in life as much as in language.

3. Telephony in the European Union is remarkably affordable relative to my experience in Canada.

4. The Lombardo-Venetian countryside, glimpsed from bus and from train, is beautiful, but parts seemed to be in slight disrespair. Was this a real consequence of a decade of austerity, or is this just me projecting onto a helpless landscape? Discuss.

5. Venice is a marvel. For centuries, generation after generation of people took enormous care to build up a glorious city open to the world from the mud of the Venetian lagoon. Venice has flaws, but Venice’s successes far outshine these. We must find ways to keep this city alive.

6. Never underestimate the ability of islands to be cosmopolitan. I did not get to go to the old Ghetto, nor did I go to the churches of the Greeks and of the Dalmatians, but these three locations certainly exist, sustaining dynamic communities for centuries. The population of actual Venetians, meanwhile, is diverse; the Bangladesh-born operators of a San Polo gelateria we visited on our final night were not unique. It is not that islands are incapable of being open and diverse; rather, it is a matter of some people on some islands choosing to keep these islands from being home to open and diverse societies. (Prince Edward Islanders, take note of these anti-cosmopolitans your enemies.)

7. Murano and Burano, while small relative to Venice and removed from the heart of the Venetian lagoon’s archipelago, are worthy destinations for exploration.

8. Metropolises like Milan and Frankfurt, tempting as they were to me in their proximity, also to me merit more than a few hurried watch-watching hours of exploration. That would have been more tantalizing than satisfying.

9. I am more comfortable with Lufthansa, in the way that it deals with inevitable setbacks, than I do with United and its surprising successes. (I could make this into an illustration of a deeper contrast between German and American corporate practices, but should I? Discuss.)

10. We cannot do everything. I mentioned, in point 5, three destinations that I did not glimpse; as a long-standing fan of Sid Meier’s Colonization, I also regret not seeing the Arsenal. Even so: we are beings limited in space and time existing on the surface of a plane effectively endless in its diversity. A choice to reject all of it because we can only experience some of it, because we are not perfect, is the stuff of an ill-thought tragedy. Imprisoning ourselves is something we should learn to stop doing.

[PHOTO] Off to Venice!

Courtesy of a remarkable gift from my friend Alex, the next five days I will spend on a remarkable trip to Venice. I can still barely believe this great kindness, this good fortune.

More to come.

Lonely Planet, Venice & the Veneto #books #travel #venice #veneto #italy #lonelyplanet #lonelyplanetvenice #tripreading

Lonely Planet, Italian Phrasebook #books #travel #venice #veneto #italy #italianlanguage #phrasebook #lonelyplanetvenice #tripreading

Salvatore Settis, If Venice Dies #books #travel #venice #veneto #italy #salvatoresettis #ifvenicedies #tripreading

More to come.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 5, 2019 at 10:00 am

Posted in Non Blog, Photo

Tagged with , , , , , ,

[NON BLOG] Me and mustaches and social media

Yesterday morning, I had a bit of fun. While I was shaving, I decided to play with a mustache for a bit. I’ve almost always fluctuated directly between having a full beard and having no facial hair at all. On a couple of times, I’ve played with a goatee. But a mustache is something I’ve never done, at least partly because of the intense reactions it has gotten from others. I wondered: What would happen if I did that now? So, I took a selfie of myself with a mustache, went to shave it off, and then took a selfie of me without.

Me, with and without mustache

I posted the two photos, with and without, on Instagram. I’d also taken care to crosspost them to Facebook, with and without. The photos also made it to Flickr, too, with and without. (They made it to Twitter and Tumblr, too.)

The reactions I got were very interesting. The reactions, as I noted, were intense; I got not a few GIF responses. On Facebook, a notable majority of people seemed to be hostile to the mustache, even intensely so. On Instagram, as one friend pointed out, the reactions went the other way; my mustache photo got nearly twice as many likes as my non-mustache photo, and the comments were accordingly more enthusiastic.

What was going on? I might speculate that my Facebook friends tend to be people I know relatively well, even having real-life relationships with them, while many of my Instagram friends are more random additions. Was it a matter of people with relatively little attachment to me being interested to see what I might do? I wonder.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 2, 2019 at 10:45 pm

[PHOTO] Me, 2009/2019

Me in 2009, Linux Caffe

Me in 2019, at home

Written by Randy McDonald

January 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Non Blog, Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , ,

[PHOTO] AGO Selfie

AGO Selfie #toronto #artgalleryofontario #me #selfie

Written by Randy McDonald

December 31, 2018 at 10:00 am