Monday, May 29, 2017

Land of Talk, Subway Trains & Road Murals

Weekly Update 2017-22: Canadian content and proud of it: Elizabeth Powell's band Land of Talk returns to Toronto for a secret show, why the new subway trains don't run on the Bloor line, and how design and art can brighten up a bout of bad weather in South Korea.

Music: Land of Talk
Headed up by frontwoman Elizabeth Powell, this is a band that demands your attention. Between strangely dissonant-sounding guitar licks, heavy-handed cymbal use and Powell's wide range of vocal styles, this is some interesting indie rock. If you're looking for something to headbang to or to fall asleep to, look no further (often in the same song). And what's even better is the band is Canadian. Now on their fourth album, it seems like Powell has found her unique sound and is sticking to it. Listen below:

You can catch Elizabeth and her band tonight at the Baby G if you're lucky enough to be on the guestlist for their secret show. Doors at 7:00PM.

I've got quite a bit of work done on the post page for my blog redesign. Everything's coming together more easily than I thought, which means I can try to work through some more challenging interactions. Trello board update:

I also managed to squeeze in a couple of Doors Open spots, though nothing of real note. It may be possible that the event becomes less valuable with each year, only because I have seen inside so many places already and the fact that there wasn't really a noticeable theme of new building additions for this year.

This week, I'd like to write a blog post on the amazing listening guide I read while attending a performance of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Friday night at Roy Thomson Hall. It's truly a wonderful piece of design work, more on that later.

I'd also like to set up a preprocessor called Prepros within my coding workflow. While I have no idea how to do this, I am sure I can figure it out with their how-to guide. If I am successful, this will auto-refresh the browser window every time a CSS file changes, which will be really helpful for me and save a lot of refreshing.

Prepros is quite a robust tool, so it should also provide me with other useful features like live previews on mobile (for responsive code) and probably other things I don't even know I need yet! I just need to read about it and understand what it can do for me.

Random Thought: Subways on the Viaduct
If you frequently travel along the TTC Bloor subway line (that's the “green line” or “line 2” for those of you keeping score at home), you may have noticed that you're never riding in one of those new fancy Bombardier trains they have on line 1 that allow people to walk all the way through them. I always assumed it was because more people travel on line one and they get first priority for new toys.  Just another reason to dislike the TTC. Little did I know, this is actually not the reason.

Apparently, the Bombardier trains are quite a bit heavier than the version that came before them (the ones running on line two), and cannot be supported by the relatively-older Bloor Viaduct (between Castle Frank and Broadview stops). While I simply cannot believe that Bombardier dropped the ball so desperately as to design a subway train that cannot travel on a central part of the system, I don't want the viaduct to break with passengers in the train. Not even Mr. Incredible could keep that situation from becoming disastrous.

Did you know that lines one and two used to have a connecting pattern in their travel routes? See the image below:

Way back in the day, this was a solution to ease traffic eastbound to Scarborough. While some urbanists suggest this would be a good current-day solution to the Scarborough LRT possibly never being built (and certainly no time soon), it is simply not sustainable with the design of the new subway trains. How sad.

Inspiration: Project Monsoon
In Seoul, South Korea, monsoon season takes over much of the summer with three weeks of a rainy, wet season. Apparently this season is so extreme that many stay indoors for most of the time to relieve themselves of torrential downpour.

As with any negative subject, there is always a way to turn it around with a bit of creativity. Project Monsoon aims to do just that, by  installing beautiful and vibrant ground murals all over Seoul that can only be seen in the rain. They use a special kind of hydro-chromatic paint that can only be seen in monsoon season, and gives people a reason to look forward to dismal weather.

The project was inspired by South Korea's culture of emphasizing the importance of the flow of rivers.

Read more on the project here.

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