Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sugar Candy Mountain, Toronto's Harbourfront & Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Weekly Update 2018-20: Sugar Candy Mountain complimented the sunshine as I took my mother on a galavanting expedition of the cultural wonders of Toronto's Harbourfront, and then to see a truly inspirational documentary on the honourable Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Music: Sugar Candy Mountain
This music has a big mood. One of my favourite emerging genres of the late 2010's is the new wave of 1960s psychedelic revival music. When I listen to it, I feel transported to some loungey 1960s spy movie. It's smart, suave, smart and precise, yet at the same time feels effortless like everything floats into place, which is really calming to me. I love this genre. I suppose it's also my feeling of FOMO for the 1960s, when the political mood was pretty charged but there were also notions of peace and freedom.

Anyway, out of Oakland, California emerges Sugar Candy Mountain, a modern four-piece playing music that will transport you back in time (even if you were born after the 60s ended). From the band themselves:
If Brian Wilson had dropped acid on the beach in Brazil and decided to record an album with Os Mutantes and The Flaming Lips, it would sound like this.
Well, there you have it. Favourite songs include this whole album, front to back. But you can start with Windows and 666. Listen below:

I must say, my mother and I had an epic mother's day extravaganza on Sunday. We started off with an amazing walking tour of the Harbourfront, including a trip behind the old Malting silos to Ireland Park - hidden behind the coast. What an amazing place. I'd really like to make the trip back along there in warmer weather, between that, the Toronto Music Garden and the sandy "fake beach", there's literally tons of awesome things to do.

The Toronto Music Garden is simply gorgeous - I can't wait to come and read a book here.

An overhead view.

After that, we checked out the Power Plant Art Gallery. It's a pretty small place, only three exhibits this season, but it always packs a punch with us. Kader Attia's first solo exhibition in Canada, The Field of Emotion explores the shame, repentance and healing felt by both oppressor and oppressed in great trauma. Specifically regarding World War I, Attia's motion within the various installations of the exhibit were that to repair one's wounds is akin to erasing the trauma from history. We must bask in our broken states and take the damage into ourselves to fully understand and accept what had happened.

There was specifically a room, quite large, completely empty but for a very subtle installation. The concrete flooring, complete with cracks that had been naturally created from use and wear, was covered in small metal brackets, representatively "holding" the cracks of the floor together. They were barely noticeable at first, but extremely striking and resonated with me on a level I don't fully understand even now. But it reminds me of Japanese vases that are broken and then put back together with gold in between the cracks, their damage and repair now an intrinsic part of their value.

The term for this type of repair is Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi).

I gathered up all of the hard work and assets I created for the big project that just finished at work - there's quite a lot. It'll be a project in itself to figure out how best to display the work on my site. More on that below.

I also started the accessibility audit for my own site. Here's my list so far:
  • many images are missing alt tags (I'm going to write really good ones!)
  • no discernible H1 on project pages (oops!)
  • no skip-to-content link (I have to learn how to do this)
  • the navigation does not contain a selected state (this is pretty dumb of me to have missed)
  • non-live text on the archive page (I may not bother to fix this since I don't want people to visit the archive anyway!)
A lot of these pieces will improve the experience for users with screen readers, which may not be many visitors, but improving accessibility of a site also directly improves SEO and indirectly, user experience (see the navigation selected state problem), so I'm sure this will all be for the overall good of the site. Plus, these changes aren't super technical (except maybe the skip-to-content link) so I could get them all done pretty quickly.

I'd like to finish my accessibility audit, and then actually implement the changes to my site. I think I can do all of this between Thursday and Friday night. It would be amazing to get it done on Thursday or at least write a little blog post on my report, in honour of Thursday being Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

I'd also like to continue on writing my reflection of the big work project, to be done on Saturday afternoon (maybe in the park if the weather is nice). I'm hoping to attend a clothing swap in Trinity Bellwoods on Saturday as well, so maybe it'll be a two-for-one!

I've also been noticing that people have started following my playlists on Spotify, which is super exciting. I'm getting a bit bored of what I have now, and decided that I'd like to add a psychedelic chillout playlist and a hard rock hammer playlist. Look out for those if you're one of my playlist followers - since Spotify doesn't tell me who is following my playlists >:D.

Random Thought:
I have a dumb corner of my home that I hate - it's the Bunz corner. All the stuff I have on my profile, fresh and available for trade, except not super fresh because a lot of it has been sitting there for a while. My family is having a garage sale soon, so I hope some of the older items will get cleaned out.
While this corner is full of stuff I don't really need, every once in a while I pick something out of the pile and find a great new use for it. This use is often a totally new idea that the item wasn't originally designed for. This is probably one of the biggest highs that I chase, being able to renew and utilize items that were seemingly useless and improve my life while I save something from a landfill.

Some examples:
  • cutting an old wine bottle crate in half (horizontally) to make a drawer organizer
  • planting aloe babies in old tarnished mugs (tarnished is so on trend right now)
  • using an over-the-door shoe rack as extra closet space for clothes (I don't have a big closet, sadly)
So when I can find uses for some of these items that actually improve my life, it's really a great thing. Perhaps to offset the guilt of my habit of collecting, I wonder if there's a correlation between the collecting of seemingly useless stuff, and the ability/resourcefulness to find extra uses in this stuff.

Or maybe I should stop collecting so many things, and learn to be resourceful with fewer items in general. Probably that.

Inspiration: The Notorious RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a force to be reckoned with, even at 85 years young.

Without Ruth Bader Ginsburg, women's rights would simply not be as advanced as they are today. I cannot believe the amount of change one woman could enact, though of course she did have help and support from colleagues and friends. One of only four female justices of the Supreme Court's history, her tenacity and undying thirst for gender and racial equality make her a strong contender for my personal hero. On top of all that, her octogenarian brain is as sharp as it ever was, and she embraces modernism - even the moniker of "RBG" comparing her to the rapper Notorious BIG.

The movie poster.

I didn't know much about her before I saw a wonderful documentary on her life and times. I was fortunately able to see this documentary as the closing film of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, it also being my first venture into the programming of the TJFF. I was surprised and somewhat satisfied to see that her conservative Jewish upbringing was not brought into the forefront at any moment during the movie. The subtle way in which her religion was noted through its shaping of her beliefs in justice and equality was very interesting and spoke volumes to me about the way she saw Judaism as an intersectional lens through which to examine equality for all humans.

The film's trailer.

The documentary RBG is created by Magnolia Pictures, check out more info on the official movie website. Enjoy!

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