Perspectives: May 14-20, 2012

     Fish in a stack.

My week started on a note of panic and high anxiety.  These are the feelings that accompanied the realization that we had agreed at work to do some programming for a festival happening over the long weekend.  This meant prepping craft supplies for approximately a thousand small children.  Which is more small children than I care to think about.  And it wouldn’t have been a big deal but for the fact that it was too late to ask volunteers to help and everyone was pretty busy last week.

In short, most of my week at work was spent cutting out construction paper fish.  Of course, this paid off when I saw the enthusiasm with which the thousands of small children greeted this craft idea.  So much so that on Saturday morning they had burned through at least 150 of them in the space of two hours.  At which point I had to go home because the panic was rising again…

Dotted. 

     This was probably one of my favourite moments of the week.  I was walking to work on a lovely morning and caught one of the wonderful gentlemen who helps to keep our workplace clean and tidy walking along this line, from dot to dot, across the wave bridge.  He didn’t realize anyone was watching him at first and when he caught my eye all he said was, “I’ve never counted these before.”  And there was no trace of embarrassment or shame in his voice, as if it were perfectly normal that a middle-aged man would be walking along this yellow dotted line early on a weekday morning.  And I thought, why not?  It was a beautiful moment of embracing one’s childlike curiosity in the morning sunlight.  I wish there were more moments like this.

     Modern art litters the street…

     Just so we’re clear, I squatted on a downtown street to take this picture during my lunch hour in the middle of last week.  It wasn’t the banana peel so much as the fact that the banana peel was duct taped to the sidewalk.  To prevent its escape, I suppose.  And given that this happened on the road in front of a large arts organization, I felt like it might have been intended as a piece of guerrilla art.  How, you ask, does a banana peel duct taped to the street qualify as art?  Welcome to the world of modern art, my friends.

     This reminded me of a conversation I had with some co-workers a few days ago.  We were discussing what constitutes performance art–a genre that is, I think, difficult for the average person to define.  It’s a bit like pornography, I suppose: I know it when I see it.  But I offered an anecdote from a friend about an incident during Nuit Blanche some years ago.  He was out for the evening with friends enjoying the art and general outrageousness of the Nuit when he decided to just start running back and forth from one side of the street to the other.  While screaming.  And what he noticed was that, a) many people didn’t pay any attention at all and b) the one guy who did comment on the scene said something to the effect of, “Yeah, YEAH! This guy gets it!” as if it were some grand artistic statement and not just my friend being weird.  This, in my head, is performance art.

     And the banana peel is, in my head, modern art.

Underwater circus.

     Back to those fish for a second…this was part two of my festival challenge: decorate the tent for this activity.  One of my co-workers suggested it should look like an upside-down fishbowl.  And it seemed like a pretty good idea, given the fish activity.  And then I decided they could be clown fish since the theme of the festival was Circus.  So I went to the dollar store in search of streamers and the like only to be totally disappointed when I realized that the only party decor supplies on sale at the moment are red and white for Canada Day (a bit early, I think).  Instead, I bought some green plastic tablecloths and cut them into strips and thought, sometimes I’m so resourceful I impress even myself.

     Nomnomnom.

     If you live outside the province of Ontario, you are missing out.  Why?  So many reasons, but the one that is pertinent at the moment is the Food & Drink magazine published by the LCBO.  It offers six issues of delicious recipes each year and is available at your local liquor store while supplies last.  Fortunately for you out-of-province suckers, most of it is also available online.

     After collecting these magazines religiously for the past three years and change, Mike and I realized that we will quickly run out of room to store them.  And since it seems like sacrilege to just throw them out, we have set ourselves a challenge to try all the recipes we think are delicious and practical given the limitations of our non-state-of-the-art kitchen.  We made a giant list and we knock a few off every week.  I’m pleased to say that we’ve been doing this for a little over a month now and have had very few duds.

     This picture is just one of the mouth-watering treats made this weekend, a beautiful breakfast strata from the Early Summer 2012 edition.  Definitely a keeper.

     And that’s how I saw the world this week.  How was your week?

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