Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nuit Blanche 2013

I know this post is late, but I will post it anyway.

I attended the Nuit Blanche event in Toronto with friends on Saturday, October 5th. I arrived in the downtown area late at night, so by the time I arrived at several artwork locations, there were large crowds of people. It was hard to get up close to a few of the artworks, especially the bicycles statue by Ai Weiwei. My camera was going bonkers on me too (part of the reason is because I don't really know how to use it), so most of the pictures I took looked super blurry.

Here's a collection of what I could salvage from my folder of blurry images:

I was very pleased with how clean the streets looked during this year's event. I did not stay in downtown Toronto for very long though, nor did I walk around the whole Nuit Blanche map, so I cannot say for certain that this year was cleaner than the previous Nuit Blanche events.

One odd artwork was "Music Box." At first I thought it was a simple box next to a runway, but then the box opened and a set of instruments slowly rolled out of the box on the runway. When the instruments reached the end of the runway, it rolled back into the box.

I always look forward to the interactive artworks. One of my favorites this year was the origami tunnel. Nuit Blanche attendees would walk into a long illuminated tunnel and pick off a folded paper hat from one of two walls filled with hanging folded paper. I took a few shots of people wearing the paper hat, but the images came out terrible.

I expected this one to be a mini ferris wheel, but it was just a wheel with lights. It totally made me think about angles and stuff.

Here was one stage that drew people's attention. The crowd was so big, people could not move! There were a few clowns on the float walking under the balloon jellyfish. I think they were giving out balloons to people they deemed sacrifice-able, because I noticed people holding similar-looking balloons at other locations during the night.

Honestly, I had no idea what this artwork was about. Behind a small crack on the side of the artwork, there was a wax-like old man staring intensely at a television screen. Maybe it was a model home?

Yet another artwork I was confused about. A stage with a beautiful outdoor setting and actors wearing animal masks performing some sort of seemingly unorganized play.

Glowing ball!!


Nuit Blanche was an interesting experience as always. It was fun being able to spend time with friends, and it is nice to be able to freely walk around the streets with happy-looking people. I wonder what Nuit Blanche has in store for next year? (Spoilers please!)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Peculiar Milk Tea

My father is a milk tea addict, so when he stumbled upon a small Asian cafe that was selling a peculiar house special Asian-style milk tea, he had to share it with me.

There are several shopping plazas north of Midland Avenue and Finch Avenue East. Among one of those shopping plazas, there is a small cafe called Aberdeen Delicatessen that sells milk tea with ice made from milk tea. I tried one cup and it was delicious! The tea in the drink was very strong and the ice totally did dilute it (since it is made from milk tea itself). The drink was smooth, tasteful, and unique. Regretfully, I did not have the chance to try other items on the menu.

Aberdeen Delicatessen is located at Unit G108, 3250 Midland Avenue., Toronto, Ontario in the second plaza north of Midland Avenue and Finch Avenue East in Scarborough.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Heavy Traffic is Heavier

Rush hour traffic is ridiculous, I know. It is not a new form of annoyance, but it seems that it has reached a new form of ridiculous around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). I am not a driver. I am, however, a transit rider and pedestrian. Okay, I guess it does not matter whether I am a driver or a transit rider. In the end, traffic affects everyone.

I was taking the bus home the other day and instead of the usual 1 hour bus ride during rush hour, I had a 2 and a half hour bus ride home. Traffic was slow to the point that the bus driver turned off the bus, got out of his seat, and announced to all the passengers that it would be quicker to walk home. A few of the passengers hopped off the bus and proceeded to walk along the sideways in the direction the bus was headed. When traffic started to move and the bus was finally running at [what I estimate was] 30 km/h, it was clear that the people who hopped off the bus already reached their desired bus stops before the bus, because we only passed by one of the people who left the bus.

Can you imagine all the gasoline people collectively use while stuck in traffic? That is a lot of money being wasted, and I am sure the drivers are not happy about the gas lost to idling in traffic. I wonder why the traffic is even worse now. Are the roads that badly designed or are there just more vehicles on the streets now than ten years ago? Maybe traffic is being more congested by all the blocked lanes due to recent construction going on around the main roads, or maybe it is a bit of everything. Today's roads definitely need frequent maintenance--they seem to be falling apart every season! It is no surprise that they get beaten up quickly though. They are exposed to more extreme weather like heavy precipitation these days and there are more vehicles using them. Five years ago, I would have considered the solution of convincing people to take public transit instead of driving, but it seems that would not help today. Getting people to use public transit instead of their cars to save road space makes sense, but it does not make sense to get people to use public transit instead of their cars when public transit is overcrowded itself.

Am I asking for more roads? No. There is enough habitat loss around the GTA, and we do not need more roads that may require more money poured into to maintain. Am I asking for more public transit lines? Maybe. It would help, but I can not see where the money to do that will come from. Honestly, I am not asking for anything. I wanted to share my observations regarding traffic and how it has affected me.

What are your experiences with the heavy rush hour traffic around the GTA these days?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weather Changes

Does anyone get the feeling that the weather these days are unstable? Unstable in a way where it can not seem to make up its mind on what season it is. It is as if the climate is completely out of balance. This means only one thing: we have already past the threshold to being able to prevent and possibly mitigate climate change.

I am not suggesting that the apocalypse is approaching, but more along the lines of "we have to be conscious and cautious of the weather and how our activities affect the environment ever more now."
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