Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cardigans, Bike Food Couriers & Telling Architecture

Weekly Update 2018-43: 90s Swedish pop rock legends The Cardigans, alternative payment for bike food couriers and how to know when you're looking at an abandoned Pizza Hut.

Music: Cardigans
Swedish pop rock legends of the 1990s, Cardigans will always have a special place in my heart. Totally male except for a very female lead singer (the prolific Nina Persson), they strike a sort of European No Doubt comparison. This was the highlight of 90s pop rock music for me; strong female lead and poppy music with amusing and offbeat lyrics. In a way, their music is kind of like a cardigan: doesn't take itself too seriously, but still cozy and familiar.

I started with 1998's Gran Turismo, and so shall you :)

I had a really packed weekend, lots of awesome things seen and done. First of all, I checked out Art Spin's Holding Patterns, the art exhibit held in storage lockers to be found all over a self-storage facility in the junction. What a great place for all kinds of art (visual, sculptural, performance, sound, film), even a rogue exhibit by someone who owned a locker and was not part of the exhibition at all. I particularly liked that one.

Since it's fall, I went on a nature walk with my parents in Stouffville. There is a lovely network of hiking trails in the woods near a York Region BUILDING.

Our tour guide Aileen took us through the paths, showing us the different types of trees and wildlife. She even found two cute red and white mushrooms, and some furry aphids wiggling all over the branch of a tree.

My dad enjoying his nature walk.

We found mushrooms!

Cute candid pic by the event photographer - my mom, me and my dad!

Larissa held her annual Halloween dinner party on Saturday, which is always a great spooky themed evening a nice chance for everyone to test drive their costumes. I am pretty proud of mine, especially the amount of pockets it has. I love pockets. No telling until next week!

On Sunday I visited the Israeli Market being held temporarily in the old Sears store in Promenade Mall. It honestly felt just like being in a "Shuk" (or market) in Israel, complete with people yelling at each other in Hebrew and gorgeous murals on the walls by the famous Solomon Souza. Souza is a mural artist, having created the painted likenesses of over 150 famous Israelites on the garage doors of the stalls in the market.

Left to right: Rabbi Shlomo ben David Lakein, Naomi Shemer, and local storeowner. 
Painted by Solomon Souza.

The weekend rounded off with a bit of charity work - my wonderful friend Ann helps to run the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation, which held a lovely event at the Vaughan Estate to raise money for mesothelioma awareness and to celebrate the passing of a nationwide ban on the usage of asbestos (a main cause of mesothelioma). I helped out by selling raffle tickets for a $15,000 diamond bracelet - it was beautiful but I tried it on for one minute and became very nervous. Congrats to Ann on such a successful event and to her guests for being so generous.

By the way, the winner of the bracelet was the LAST man I sold a raffle ticket to. Congrats to you too, stranger!

This week I will be teaching my user experience design class all by myself - the lead instructor will be away for two weeks so I get to see how I do flying solo. I will be teaching the students about rapid prototyping and visual design (both things I have a lot of experience with) so I am excited to show them my examples and answer their questions.

With Halloween festivities landing on this coming weekend, Toronto Cruisers is holding a spooky group ride on Sunday. My costume lends itself pretty well to biking in theme and comfort level, so I'm pretty jazzed about that. My lower-key goal is to get as much mileage out of my costume as possible - including wearing it to work.

Random Thought: Food Bike Couriers
I see a lot of food bike couriers around Toronto (mostly as they pass me unsafely with their huge backpack freezer bags) and wonder if their payment is worth the risks they take. I feel I am quite a cautious cyclist (though no stranger to speeding down a hill) and have been lucky not to be hit by a car. Because of the danger, I wonder if there is a business model for bike meal delivery that makes it more worthwhile than a simple monetary payment.

What if delivery-people were paid in taking bites out of the food they delivered? I love to bike around and sometimes I just want a snack but I have no idea what to choose. I'd treat the whole vibe totally differently, though, by incorporating biking for joy rather than speed since there's no money involved. Honestly, this could be the next startup idea of the century.

Inspiration: Telling Architecture
I came across a fellow Google Blogger user the other day...

Spyce Gentlemen's Club in Eugene, Oregon. Does its shape remind you of anything?
“These beautiful structures, most likely now devoid of the table-top Pac Man machines, dot the American landscape. Some provide ethnic food, some, used cars, and a rare few are now municipal buildings. Whatever their current purpose, we can always be reminded of the mediocre pizza that was once served in these establishments. That, and those red plastic cups.”
Yes, it's a blog totally dedicated to current tenants of establishments that once housed the almighty Pizza Hut. Having been purpose-built with the iconic architectural "hut" red roof, these establishments will forever stink of the figurative and literal cheese grease that once graced their land.

It makes me really happy.

Sam's Seafood & Grill in Halifax, Nova Scotia

IDA Pharmacy in Calgary, Alberta

I love the idea of reusing on the smaller scale of my own life, so why not adore it on the scale of a building? Yes, Pizza Hut does generally like to pronounce its arrival in your neighbourhood with a very identifiable building shape. And when it eventually leaves your neighbourhood and your heart, it leaves behind that identifiable building silhouette, only to be taken up by some new sorry tenant who will never be able to remove that smell completely. It's a visual reminder of cheese grease from a time long passed. The make-your-own sundae bar is long melted and the Skor bits are all gone. The untouched decorative kale on the salad bar has wilted away, but the red hut remains.

The author adds charming little anecdotes about the buildings and their current tenants, which I implore you to go and read. Check out the blog in all its glory.

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