Monday, August 13, 2018

Deerhunter, Designer Goods and Toronto Botanical Gardens

Weekly Update 2018-33: Cross-genre tunes from Deerhunter, what exactly makes a handbag "designer" and the beauty and sculpture found in Toronto Botanical Gardens.

Music: Deerhunter
A classic from my childhood days of borrowing CDs from my local library, Atlanta's Deerhunter continues to create melancholy tunes that are at once simple and extremely intriguing. The band describes their music as "ambient punk", though I also hear tones of rock and even pop at times. That's one of the things that makes their music so interesting, is that it borrows from genres that are really different from each other.

Even the list of bands they've toured with speaks volumes in the span of genres: Nine Inch Nails, TV on the Radio, Project Pat, Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Spoon, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Fiery Furnaces, Lower Dens, Ex Models, Battles, and Kings of Leon.

Their third album, 2008's Microcastle was how I found Deerhunter, so it would seem a fitting place for you to start as well.

It's been a busy week. I was able to finish a first draft of the general flow for my associate appointment booking app, so this week will be about refinements and user testing.

I also played a bonus little drumming show with my band this week, at a children's day camp festival in Grange Park. I thought our set went really well, though naturally we were upstaged by the Reptilia man who had a live boa constrictor wrapped around his neck. It's ok, my ego is hardly tarnished.

A shoutout must be made regarding the amazing Dim Sum breakfast that my dad's coworkers threw for fun, to which I was very graciously invited as well. It was enough food to feed thirty people easily, and I tried some weird new things I'd never had before. It's amazing to eat at restaurants with people who know what to order. All the food was so extremely tasty.

A mango pudding in the shape of a fish.

As intended, I also biked to my friend Philip's party through Richmond Hill - which I so rarely get to bike around. There are not a ton of bike lanes and you wouldn't catch me on a main road by any means, but I know the side streets and neighbourhoods pretty well so it wasn't terrible. Too bad Richmond Hill isn't just a name though - it was all uphill on the way there.

Last week I finally completed a Kijiji sale, purchasing a device that's meant to be a stretching and strengthening workout band as well as a back brace. All this time spent sitting at a desk with bad posture to begin with has been causing my spine to curve - so I thought it was time to try something that has a regimented plan. I'll be starting the treatment this week, which lasts 8 weeks of stretches and time wearing the brace.

I'll be spending all my free time this week working on the presentation and refinements for the associate app, hopefully coming to a good place by the end of Thursday since I'll be up at my friend's cottage this weekend. Lucky me!

Random Thought: Designer Goods
Having spent some time these past few weeks on the insides of malls and department stores, I have seen the word “designer” being thrown around a lot. Designer handbags, designer shoes, etc. I take this to mean that the handbag or shoes were made by a high-end designer, but I just find the term a bit hilarious in its generalization, as if to say that since this is a designer handbag, handbags that are not "designer" are not designed. But of course they are! Literally everything we come into contact with on a daily basis that isn't from right out of the ground has been designed by someone.

I actually find that thought endlessly amusing as I move through my day. I am constantly thinking about the person who decided to make the handle on my mug or select the pattern on my shirt. I get the impression most people don't think about the items they use, but as I am able to add more well-designed items to my life I find more gratitude in myself for those designers. So perhaps we might change the term "designer handbag" to "well-designed handbag", though the two current definitions are certainly not always found in the same item.

Inspiration: Toronto Botanical Gardens
The good summer months bring about a lovely scene in the parks around Toronto, perhaps none quite as beautiful as Edward Gardens and the Toronto Botanical Gardens. I took a trip there this weekend after quite some time since my last visit, and it was even more beautiful than I remembered.

Not only are all the flowers in beautiful bloom, but there is a wonderful exhibit on right now with literally dozens of stone sculptures by Zimbabwean artists. I honestly couldn't tell you whether the sculptures or flowers were more beautiful.

There were a couple of artists there as well, having come all the way from Africa to discuss their work and showcase how they do their carvings.

And on top of all that, I got to try out the Gardens' new mobile app, which uses beacons and geolocation to take you on a tour through the gardens. As you access each new part of the garden, more information is revealed to you about the plants and landscaping surrounding you. It was a lovely addition and contrast to such a natural and organic experience, not too overbearing.

The app is called GrowIt, and it's actually used for plant identification anywhere you happen to be looking at beautiful plants, not just at one of its official locations like the TBG. Check out the app here.

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