Archive for June, 2011

2011.06.26

Toronto Pictures

Rosa and Doug at Niagara Falls
Toronto and Niagara Pictures!
I realize I haven’t written any more about Toronto and the trip but I will. We’re back in San Francisco now and it’s been non-stop this whole time. I did post some pictures, though, and you can find them here or by clicking on the picture. Once I have more than 20 minutes I will also do a single entry summarizing the rest of the trip. Hope everyone is well!

Comments Off on Toronto Pictures | Catergorized: photos  travel

2011.06.20

Quick Travel Update

Just a quick note… I’ve got a lot to write about Toronto since last entry, but right now Rosa and I are up in Niagra-on-the-Lake and settling into some time on our own. I’ll write when I can!

Comments Off on Quick Travel Update | Catergorized: life  travel

2011.06.17

Second Day Toronto

So I meant to post this yesterday but didn’t have time. I wrote quite a bit, and walked even further. Having spent more time in Toronto I’ve seen some of the initial observations proven wrong. For example, police don’t hang out at all construction sites, just the ones downtown (that I’ve seen). Also, the layout of Toronto is reminding me of Barcelona, and I wonder if anyone else has seen this, too. Anyways, yesterday’s writing is below the jump!
Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off on Second Day Toronto | Catergorized: life  travel

2011.06.16

To Late for Updates

It’s too late in the day for me to post about the massive walk I did today; look for it on the morrow!

Comments Off on To Late for Updates | Catergorized: life

2011.06.16

Follow Up Notes from Yesterday

Following yesterday’s post about my first walking day through Toronto… There are a few points I missed, forgot or misunderstood. Incidentally, for those interested, I have limited internet access and cell phone usage (roaming international fees apply) so I’m only publicly available at limited times…

People in Toronto are extremely friendly. It’s almost a stereotype that Canadians are friendlier than Americans, and my experience here bears that out. For example, yesterday morning our Second Cup server, Rosita, gave us a free muffin. Maybe because she and Rosa had the same name. Last night before bed Rosa and I had something to drink in the Library Bar downstairs in the hotel and our server gave us a box of biscotti after Rosa said she loved them. People are also just friendlier, saying hello and bothering to give you the time of day. It’s nice. I kind of wonder if it’s because this area is also part of the North American MidWest as my memories of being in Ohio and Michigan are similar (though possibly not as accurate since it’s been a long, long time since I spent time there).

I think what bothered me about the University area yesterday was simply the lack of people. It is summer so most of the students would be away on break. I’m going to assume that’s what it was.

Rosa and I had dinner at the Elephant and Castle and sat outside at 9PM and it was still warm and daylight. It’s something we don’t get to experience much in San Francisco and of all things this is one that helps it feel like we’re in another place entirely.

There were a ton of people on the street asking me to sign petitions. In San Francisco I avoid them by putting on a Scottish/Irish accent and telling them I can’t vote or am simply not from the area. I did the same yesterday and realized when I finally saw Rosa at 6:30PM that I’d spoken more “Scottish” than “American” all day long. Kind of scary since the longer I hold an accent the harder it is for me to drop it. I don’t think Rosa minds, though. Also of note was the number of people handing out samples of various product. Clearly Toronto is considered a prime market for testing new products. As they say in New York City: if I can make it here I’ll make it anywhere… I find it an interesting sign and indicator of success in a local economy.

Finally, I realized I was a few streets off of the main “drag” strip of the gay district, so there’s probably actually an area still much more like the Castro than I suspected. I’m not sure if we’ll be heading back up that way, though, so I’m not too worried about missing it.

I’m about to leave for the St. Lawrence and Distillery Districts after some quick errands. I’ll write more later today or tomorrow!

3 Comments | Catergorized: life  thoughts  travel

2011.06.15

Toronto Trip

Rosa and I are in Toronto. While she attends the ISSCR I am tooling around the city making new discoveries. Here are my notes after arriving last night.

We just got to the hotel (the Fairmont). The airport was clean, efficient and orderly, and the customs people were all friendly. The drive in was smooth, much different than American taxi drivers where sometimes you fear for your life. The roads were extremely well maintained which helped the ride in. I was impressed that we weren’t bombarded by billboards and neon. The city seems clean, too.

What’s not to like about Canada so far?

Today I woke up with Rosa and walked her to the conference after getting some coffee in the PATH at Second Cup. Then I started walking. I like to spend my first day in a new city on long walks to get a feel for different areas and scale. Read the rest of this entry…

3 Comments | Catergorized: life  travel

2011.06.10

Patriotic Millionaires

Certainly, I have spent more than my fair share of time ripping on the excessively wealthy. I have made the mistake, as I have on numerous occasions, of generalizing. It’s a useful tool and I’m not afraid to recognize that there are always exceptions to the rule. Especially when it comes to these greedy, nepotistic, patriarchal criminals called the rich.

Ahem.

Like I was saying, there are exceptions and in this case it is the Patriotic Millionaires.

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT, HON. HARRY REID, AND HON. JOHN BOEHNER

We are writing to urge you to put our country ahead of politics.

For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000.

We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.
Our country faces a choice – we can pay our debts and build for the future, or we can shirk our financial responsibilities and cripple our nation’s potential.

Our country has been good to us. It provided a foundation through which we could succeed. Now, we want to do our part to keep that foundation strong so that others can succeed as we have.

Please do the right thing for our country. Raise our taxes.

They’ve even put together some videos like this to get their message out. My favorite quote from the video: “Rich people are not the cause of a robust economy but the result of a robust economy.”

Not all rich people are evil. Someday I hope to be one of those not-evil people with scads of cash on hand. In the meantime the Patriotic Millionaires can ignore my rants and if any of them want to hire me please contact me.

5 Comments | Catergorized: political

2011.06.09

Disruptive Hypotheses

Though geared towards businesses, I thought this article applied equally well to writers, especially writers or speculative fiction. That the author quoted George Bernard Shaw helped in seeing this:

The difference between prediction and provocation, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw’s famous line, is the difference between “seeing things as they are and asking, ‘Why?,’ or dreaming things as they never were and asking, ‘What if?’”

After all, what is speculative fiction but asking, “What if?”

Comments Off on Disruptive Hypotheses | Catergorized: thoughts  writing

2011.06.06

Baby Science Paper

This is just awesome. So is the rest of the article, which talks about raising kids when you’re scientifically-minded parents. Exactly what Rosa and I are!

Baby Science Paper

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2011.06.05

What Was Great About the South?

Today I saw a map of the AIDS epidemic on io9 and thought to myself, “Damn, it must suck to be in the South!”

And then I thought, well it does suck in a general way to be from the South. Generally. For example, you would be generally poorer, generally less educated, generally more likely to depend on handouts from the government like food stamps, and generally more likely to suffer crime. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find much good about being in the South unless you are religious or have a predilection for hurricanes and tornados.

Seriously, can someone remind me what was supposed to be great about the South?

5 Comments | Catergorized: thoughts
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