Weekend surprise succeeds

I had serious doubts that the secret could be kept by over 50 people and there were some moments when blowing the surprise seemed very close. Somehow everyone pulled it off. Angela was so overcome seeing the crowd at her 90th birthday party, it took two stiff shots of slivovitz to set her right.

The birthday announcement in the Windsor Star could make no mention of party plans.

Composure quickly regained, Andja accepted the adulation with characteristic grace and style. Great party. Family from toddlers to contemporaries and many, many friends … all now outed as capable liars.

Bazaar opportunities

A couple of storefronts are putting dents in the Bazaar’s “little India” foundation. Toronto Tabla Ensemble has moved to Woodbine and Cosburn. That’s a cultural loss for the Gerrard Street strip.

The Kitchen Queen looks like she might be abdicating, too. Will another South Asian business reign in her place? That would be nice, but if not, we could use a mini version of Queen West’s old Active Surplus or a replacement for Harold’s now-closed Ends bargain clothing store over on Queen in The Beach.

Made with free software

This popular animation was created with Blender, a program anyone can download and try out. Free doesn’t mean easy, though. The makers of the video below have a lot of patience and also know a ton about storytelling, character development, editing, lighting and the “mechanics” of 3D animation.

What? You say you’d like to leave society, lock yourself in your room and spend hours, days, and months making a short of your own? Go for it.

Here’s a 2016 Blender demo reel for inspiration.

Are dogs smarter than people?

Rhetorical question. Of course they are, but we need examples as reminders.

I thought those flat channels down the sides of the bridge steps were for rolling bicycles up and down. A dog had to show me what they are actually for.

Dogs aren’t perfect though. This one was letting his owner run around off-leash.

Fab for Beach Hill

MacFABsews is coming to Beach Hill’s retail strip, just up the hill from our house. It’s a wonderful place to shop for all things textile … a special boutique with unique, quality goods.

MacFABsews will take the place Soft Options Upholstery. Soft Options owner Patrick Kennedy is a MacFAB partner. I hope the upholstery service will continue.

Beach Hill is well-served in the sewing/textile department. We have a sailmaking loft, UK Sailmakers and the Sports Sewing Shop and nearby, on Kingston Road, Beach Sewing Centre offers expert sewing machine repairs, supplies and lessons.

There’s even a talented quilt maker living right inside our house.

Viktor and Judith Tinkl: Must visit

Thank you, Karen Franzen, for telling me about this remarkable couple. They offered a studio tour in 2017, so I hope there will be another in 2018.

The video will explain why we must zip up to Uxbridge.

That was shot 5 years ago and Viktor is already talking about getting older, back then. I hope we can still visit.

The Tinkl place makes a wonderful setting for all kinds of musical and dance performances. Here’s an example that also affords more views of Viktor’s creations and Judith’s quilts.

 Search Vimeo and Youtube to come up with more. Here is the official Tinkl website.

Exit Plan

Eleven months ago:

Andy Byford is counting down the days until the end of 2017. That’s when he believes Toronto transit riders will be able to enjoy what he calls the “utopian journey of the future on the TTC.”

Nobody could have kept such a promise, but nobody should have made it, either. The convenient exit casts a shadow over any real accomplishments, however partial.