Stumbled upon this during my morning walk.
Posts from the ‘Photography’ Category
As a vegetarian I do not believe in capturing animals for the entertainment of humans. I think it’s wrong, and I am vehemently opposed to anyone who tries to defend zoos and aquariums. The only exceptions are sanctuaries who rescue and protect animals from neglect and abuse.
When I first heard that Toronto was working tirelessly to open an aquarium I was upset, but then told myself that once it opened its doors I would go and see for myself what all the fuss was supposed to be about.
It came as no surprise then that Ripley’s Aquarium opened at the foot of the CN Tower in downtown Toronto to much controversy two weeks ago. It’s clearly a tourist trap, and has divided opinion amongst animal rights activists and capitalists, the latter who claim that it’s vital to the health of Toronto’s economy.
The new Toronto attraction includes 5.7 million litres of water, with over 15,000 marine creatures. There is a variety of species to delight children and their parents.
The most impressive exhibit is the Dangerous Lagoon. With a slow-moving sidewalk, visitors are overwhelmed with ocean life. From sea turtles, tiger sharks and a multitude of other fish, there is a plethora of information about each species and the aquarium’s efforts to ensure that each of them thrive in their new habitat.
I was pleased to see that the aquarium provides educational programs, and there are plans to expand its research initiatives and day camps, as well as a sleepover program that give visitors the opportunity to sleep in the Dangerous Lagoon after a day full of activities. SCARY!
I also appreciated their attempt to dispel the myth that sharks are man-eating creatures, which continues to be a fear of most people who make the foolish mistake to swim in shark-infested waters.
The price to visit the aquarium is a tad on the high side: $33.88 including tax. Luckily, I visited the state-of-the-art during the early morning hours, when there were little visitors, which permitted plenty of alone time with the marine life.
It’s probably the first and last time I’ll attend the exhibits, primarily because it’s hard to ignore that the tiny tanks these poor animals share are nothing close to what they should be experiencing, and that’s the natural bodies of water where they were born.
288 Bremner Blvd
Tomorrow is the last day of the Ai Wei Wei exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ai Weiwei is an artist who, for many, symbolizes the assertion of freedom of expression against great odds. Using the fame and recognition garnered by his art, he has taken on issues that could not be raised publically in China. His passport has recently been confiscated by the Chinese government, and he lives in Beijing, where he his activities are heavily monitored. The gallery was busy, and the exhibition was smaller than I had expected, but it was still worth the $25. Go and see it tomorrow if you can. Yay! I hope you like my photos.
A few years ago I met a woman from England who had recently moved to Toronto, and she complained that Canada had only two seasons, summer and winter. I thought she was mad, and clearly inexperienced to Canadian weather, because we most definitely have four very distinct seasons, with autumn being the most beautiful. To honour my favourite season, I have compiled some of the best photographs I have taken of this magical time of year. How could one not notice the crimson leaves? To miss such an occasion is a tragedy unlike any I have known. I hope you like what I have compiled. Halloween on Thursday, I can’t wait!
These days I’ve been working tirelessly to complete my book. The problem is that as I review the content I’ve written, I want to change all of it. This has happened to me before, and it isn’t uncommon that I trash entire passages, and start from scratch.
I have a tendency to include too much information in one chapter, so what I try to do is chunk out paragraphs and elaborate on them in chapters of their own.
The long process of finding a literary agent is upon me. I’m not sure why it’s so important for me to finish this book, but it is. I’m not expecting to sell thousands of copies, in fact, 250 would be considered a success, but there are themes in my novel that I believe other people will relate to, and hopefully appreciate. I’m not interested in self-publishing, I want to find a publisher.
I spend my days taking care of pets so sometimes it’s hard to focus, and I’m behind where I want to be. Hemingway would seclude himself in Cuba to finish his novels, but then again, I’m not Hemingway. Not even close.
Maude had two seizures back-to-back yesterday afternoon, so I had to attend to her. It’s so funny when she has one of these damn seizures, because when it’s all done she gets up and walks around like nothing ever happened. Her tongue turned blue, which I had never seen before, and I’m worried that the frequency of her fits are increasing.
Anyway, that’s a side note. My book. I’ve been doing a lot of research on Truman Capote after watching the movie Infamous on Tuesday.
The only book of Capote’s that I have ever read was In Cold Blood, which I enjoyed. In fact, I’m re-reading it at the moment. Many people believe that he invented an entire new genre of storytelling with that book, but it’s really just true-crime, not much more than that. He had such an active imagination that it’s impossible to determine which passages are truth, or fiction. His insatiable need to embellish would cost him a lot of friendships.
After In Cold Blood he spent the next ten years trying to finish what he claimed would be his masterpiece, Answered Prayers. Due to popular demand from the public for new material, Esquire released a couple of chapters in 1975 and 1976, the most controversial piece was titled La Côte Basque 1965. This one chapter culminated in Capote’s fall from high society grace.
Many of Capote’s female friends, whom he termed his “swans” were featured in the text. Scandalously, he revealed the personal secrets that they had confided to him throughout the years. Upon publication, they swiftly shunned him, and he turned to alcohol and drugs to cope. These substances are what eventually led to his death from liver cancer at the age of 59 in 1984. Answered Prayers was never completed, and upon his death, despite claims to the press that he was close to finishing his so-called masterpiece, it was discovered that he had only written three chapters.
But many people believe that what really killed Capote was Perry Smith, one of the murderers that he had interviewed extensively for In Cold Blood. In many ways Perry was like Truman. They were both raised in troubled homes, were short in stature, had a talent for art, and creativity. It is rumoured that they fell in love while Perry served his prison sentence, and when Perry was executed, Truman, who arrived to witness the terrible event at Perry’s request, ran from the building in a fit of tears. He was said to have never recovered from Perry’s demise; it traumatized him to the extent that he became self-destructive.
It’s strange though, because out of all his “swans” he kept as company, the one that remained his true friend was Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. After its success, she never wrote again. Lee was instrumental in helping Capote finish In Cold Blood, accompanying him to Holcomb to research the book. Due to his flamboyant mannerisms, the towns folk were reluctant to speak to him. It was Lee who would knock on doors and politely ask residents to speak with Truman about the murders that had rocked their quiet rural village. Her charm persuaded them to agree.
Lee and Capote grew up together, in the same neighbourhood, but she never had a penchant for the high society crowd like Truman did, and after her book’s success she retired to the same town where she grew up. No mention is really made of their relationship after Truman’s disgrace, and because Lee does not give interviews, I guess we’ll never know.
Capote wrote a short-story called A Christmas Memory that I read recently that enlightens readers about his upbringing, and if you get a chance I hope you read it, as it’s only 11 pages. I don’t think it’s that much a sacrifice of your time. It illuminates a little of the obstacles Capote faced as a gay kid growing up during a hostile environment where being homosexual was a dirty little word.
I think people underestimate how challenging it is to be gay in a time when it was not spoken about, and to do so was illegal. Think about how traumatized a gay person would be having to live a secret, and then be ostracized when he slowly made efforts to come out.
One of the things I’ve learned from reading about Capote is that it’s not enough to be good, you have to be great. I don’t want my book to be good, I want it to be great. It’s possible that what is great to me, is mediocre to others, and if that’s the case, I will have to accept my limitations.
When does an artist know that their work is complete? Capote said:
“Since each story presents its own technical problems, obviously one can’t generalize about them on a two-times-two-equals-four basis. Finding the right form for your story is simply to realize the most natural way of telling the story. The test of whether or not a writer has defined the natural shape of his story is just this: After reading it, can you imagine it differently, or does it silence your imagination and seem to you absolute and final? As an orange is final. As an orange is something nature has made just right.”
I’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer.
Every two weeks I get a haircut. For some this seems a little excessive. When I lived in Argentina my barber Federico would tell me that I cut my hair too often. I responded, “I’m paying you aren’t I?” Not quite sure why it perplexed him so much.
Maybe it’s because I have no hair, but it still makes me feel good to trim what I have. Nothing wrong with making myself feel new, is there?
In Toronto, Ho’s Place, located in the Village, is my barber shop of choice. Established by Vietnamese immigrants, the interior is a little run-down, but the barbers are friendly and skilled.
I prefer to get my haircut from Kennie, and from the looks of it he’s quite popular. I’ve had middling results with some of the other employees. Over the years, the price of a cut has gone up, but it’s still reasonable, about $18. So if you haven’t checked these guys out yet, do it, now. There are two locations close to one another, both at the corner of Church and Wellesley. That’s all!
509 Church Street
For a dog designed for indoor living, Maude sure loves to be outside. At the cottage she runs all day, and smells everything and anything at her feet. She is one crazy cat. She loves being outside so much that by evening she is dead to the world. Here she is awkwardly sleeping on Scott’s lap. When she returns to Toronto she passes out for three days straight, only to rise for washroom breaks, and then back to her crate for more sleep time. She’s a got a good life, and lots of people who love and take care of her.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has mounted an installation sculpture in Nathan Phillips Square. It’s composed of 3,144 bicycles, connected into a three-dimensional structure that in turn creates a visually stunning piece of public art.
Yong Jiu, translated in English as “forever” is the most popular bicycle brand in China. Ai re-imagines this object to create a complex sculpture that represents the rapidly changing social environment in China.
It’s up for the public to see until October 27, so I recommend you take the time out of your day to pay it a visit!
Toronto is listless today. Dark clouds, and threatening rain have kept most of us indoors. I haven’t been taking as many photos lately, and I’m going to try and get back into it. Here are some random shots I took this morning. They’re not the best, but I kinda like them. I hope you do too.
It’s that time of year that most Torontonians fear like the plague — Nuit Blanche. The 905ers take over our streets in an effort to discover more than 65 independent outdoor projects from Toronto’s art community.
Toronto’s first Nuit Blanche began in 2006, and was influenced by a similar venture in Paris, France. The problem with the Toronto event is that the program’s description of the installations are often misleading, and you’ll wade your way through crushing crowds to discover that what you wanted to see is simply a screen projection on the side of a building.
This morning I discovered something interesting at the Metropolitan United Church. Called The Garden Tower, and created by Tadashi Kawamata, chairs are piled atop one another to evoke the Babel Tower myth which states that humanity speaks with one voice to build a better future. Clearly, a myth!
I thought it was pretty cool, and happy I saw it before the crowds descend onto our streets this evening. It turns into one big drinking fest, and I hate it.