October 2007

The Alphabet in Pictures

by Joey deVilla on October 22, 2007

Preview image for “The Alphabet in Pictures”
Click the photo to see it at full size.
Photo courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.


Cover of Chris Turner’s book, “The Geography of Hope”Chris Turner, my friend and fellow DJ from Crazy Go Nuts University, is doing a small tour of Canadian cities in support of his new book, The Geography of Hope. The first stop of his tour is good ol’ Accordion City and it happens tonight at C’est What (67 Front Street East, a short walk east of Union Station) at 8:30 p.m.

According to the book’s blog, the other events will happen in the following cities:

  • Calgary: Wednesday, October 24th from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Broken City (613-11 Ave SW)
  • Vancouver: Monday, October 29th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Chapters on Granville Street (2505 Granville)

Once again, here’s the publisher’s description of the book:

After the fierce warnings and grim predictions of The Weather Makers and An Inconvenient Truth, acclaimed journalist and national bestselling author Chris Turner finds hope in the search for a sustainable future.

Point of no return: The chilling phrase has become the ubiquitous mantra of ecological doomsayers, a troubling headline above stories of melting permafrost and receding ice caps, visions of catastrophe and fears of a problem with no solution. Daring to step beyond the rhetoric of panic and despair, The Geography of Hope points to the bright light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

With a mix of front-line reporting, analysis and passionate argument, Chris Turner pieces together the glimmers of optimism amid the gloom and the solutions already at work around the world, from Canada’s largest wind farm to Asia’s greenest building and Europe’s most eco-friendly communities. But The Geography of Hope goes far beyond mere technology. Turner seeks out the next generation of political, economic, social and spiritual institutions that could provide the global foundations for a sustainable future–from the green hills of northern Thailand to the parliament houses of Scandinavia, from the villages of southern India, where microcredit finance has remade the social fabric, to America’s most forward-thinking think tanks.

In this compelling first-person exploration, punctuated by the wonder and angst of a writer discovering the world’s beacons of possibility, Chris Turner pieces together a dazzling map of the disparate landmarks in a geography of hope.

Wendy and I will be attending the event tonight.


Streetcar Streetcar Streetcar Streetcar…

by Joey deVilla on October 22, 2007

Lineup of streetcars at King and Spadina
Photo courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele and LeROIDuPLYWOOD.

“LeROIDuPLYWOOD” presents this photo, taken this morning at King and Spadina, where streetcars are backed up due to work that the TTC is doing on the tracks. Yet another reason I bike to work.


UPDATE (Monday October 22 @ 2:16 EDT): There’s been an interesting development in this story — see the end of this post for details.

Photo of Impark employee placing pylons to block people from using free street parking
An Impark employee places pylons along Commissioners St. before the Cirque du Soleil show, preventing motorists from parking free of cost. Photo taken from the Toronto Star — click to see the original.

One reason I bike whenever possible is that it frees me from having to deal with this city’s Parking-Industrial complex, the worst of whom are the parking lot operators. Once, after my car got stolen from a parking lot, I had to deal with a parking lot attendant who did his level best to prevent me and a police officer from looking at the space from which my car got jacked. He insisted that I had never parked there nor had my car been stolen from there in spite of two corroborating witnesses and a bunch of suspicious-looking broken glass where I had parked. I understand that they’re not liable if your car gets stolen, but they’re not supposed to actively hinder my recovering my ride just to preserve the lot’s reputation, either.

As a result, it wasn’t terribly surprising to read in the Toronto Star that employees of a lot run by Impark close to where Cirque du Soleil have been performing have been running a little scam. Prior to performances, they’ve been placing pylons in front of the curbs on Commissioners street, where parking is legal and free of charge in order to fool drivers into thinking that they’re not allowed to park there. Since Cirque du Soleil is a special limited-time event, the fee for parking at the nearby Impark lot is $15.

The Star approached an Impark employee who was placing the pylons prior to a Cirque du Soleil show last Thursday:

Impark logoOn Thursday afternoon, we went to Commissioners just before 5 p.m. Shortly after, we observed a man taking pylons out of the trunk of his car and placing them on Munition and then Commissioners Sts. We asked if there was no parking on Commissioners.

“That’s right, no parking,” he said.

We asked who he worked for.

“The parking,” he replied, motioning towards the Impark lot.

We asked him several times if he knew what authority or permission, if any, that his supervisor had to restrict parking on a public road. He refused to answer and finally sped away in his car.

A follow-up article in today’s Star reports that Impark stopped placing cones to block access to free parking after their ran their article. Impark has yet to return their calls for their side of the story (which I suspect is “We are scum”).

Some tips for not being scammed by parking lot operator schemes like Impark’s:

  • Movie location company pylons usually have the location company’s name or logo on them — often it’s an “@” sign, the logo for that location company that seems to handle every film shot here.
  • If free parking has been cut off by the city for an event, there are usually signs posted indicating so.


A commenter informed me that the Star has pulled both its stories about the pylons scam and posted this odd correction:

Contrary to two articles published on Oct. 20 and 22, Impark (Imperial Parking Canada Corporation) did not operate the parking lots near the Cirque du Soleil performances at Commissioner and Cherry Sts., and they have no lots in that area.

The Star regrets the error and apologizes to Impark.

My questions are:

  • How’d they get something as simple as the ownership of the parking lots in the area wrong? The ownership of parking lots is generally easy to discern — it’s usually clearly marked, as far as I can tell.
  • So who owns those parking lots, then?
  • The actual pylon incident did happen, didn’t it?
  • Who got to you, Toronto Star?


Toronto’s Smallest House is Up for Sale!

by Joey deVilla on October 21, 2007

If you’re looking for a house here in Accordion City and…

  • You live alone or with one other person
  • You don’t have much stuff
  • You miss that cute little apartment you lived in while teaching English in Japan

…then this is the place for you!

Front view of Toronto’s smallest house.
Photo taken by Alexandra Samur, courtesy of Torontoist. Click the photo to see the Torontoist post.

This house, located near the intersection of Dufferin Street and Rogers Road is believed to be Toronto’s smallest house. Occupying what used to be a driveway, it’s a one-bedroom, one-bathroom house that sits on a parcel of land 7.25 feet (2.2 metres) wide and 113.67 feet (34.6 metres) long and has an interior area of just under 300 square feet (under 28 square metres). The asking price is $179,900.

Here’s another look at the front:

Another front view of Toronto’s smallest house.

Here’s the living room, looking towards the front of the house:

Living room of Toronto’s smallest house, looking towards the front.

Here’s the living room again, looking towards the back…

Living room of Toronto’s smallest house, looking towards the back.

Here’s the kitchen. Note that despite the small space, they’ve managed to fit a washer and dryer into the place:

Kitchen of Toronto’s smallest house.

Here’s the bedroom. It comes with a Murphy bed, which is a necessity in such a space. This is what it looks like with the Murphy bed down:

Bedroom of Toronto’s smallest house, with the Murphy bed down.

…and here’s the bedroom with the Murphy bed retracted:

Bedroom to Toronto’s smallest house, with the Murphy bed retracted.

You also get some patio space out back. Here it is, looking towards the front of the house…

Patio of Toronto’s smallest house, looking towards the front.

…and here it is looking towards the back:

Patio of Toronto’s smallest house, looking towards the back.

Here are the house’s listed features:

  • “Completely Re-Done Top-To-Bottom, Front-To-Back!”
  • Tumbled stone entrance walk
  • Renovated Bath
  • Renovated kitchen with newer stove, new cabinets and new stacked washer/dryer
  • Bedroom with Murphy bed + “Built-Ins” — doubles as den!
  • Walk-out to fenced patio
  • 100-amp service
  • 2 satellite dishes and receiver
  • “Window A/C Available”

If you’d like to know more, here’s its real estate listing, and here’s an entry about it in a local realtor’s blog.


The Beijing 2008 Logo Explained

by Joey deVilla on October 21, 2007

The logo is the outline of the victim of a firing squad.
Omage courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.

Here’s what Chairman Mao would probably think of this:

Chairman Mao, with a LOLcat-style caption: “ROFL MAO”.
In case you need it, here’s an explanation of the acronym “ROFLMAO”.


Pepsi Guy Lays Smackdown on Coke Guy at Wal-Mart

by Joey deVilla on October 20, 2007

A Coke can and a Pepsi can, boxingAnd here I thought “Cola Wars” was just a figure of speech:

State police in Indiana, Pa., are investigating after a Pepsi employee allegedly assaulted a Coca-Cola employee while making a delivery at a Wal-Mart in White Township on Oct. 1.

According to police, Robert Koscho, 48, of Ebensburg, and the Pepsi employee, David Paulina, 42, of Clymer, were bickering back and forth while making their deliveries at the Oakland Avenue store. Police said the two are also accused of trying to run each other over with pallets full of soda bottles.

Pepsi fired Paulina, which is ironic, since judging from their ads, they encourage a little smacking down in the name of competition:

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