1. Bell is raising its rates $2 in May. Bell also charges me $2.50 for the first long distance call of any month because I don't have a plan with them, which is because I don't make many long distance calls. Bell also charges me a fee for accessing 911 and for having a touchtone phone, which is flat highway robbery. Looking at my bill for ways to save money I thought, 'Screw this $11 a month for voice mail, I'll get an answering machine.'
Oddly, no one makes answering machines any more. You must buy a cordless phone that takes messages. I have done so, and it will pay for itself in 6 months if it doesn't break. Or maybe people can just email me from their smartphones if they want to tell me things.
But sheesh. (No I won't get a smartphone and ditch the landline. Even more expensive, hard to hear what people are saying, and anyway-- I have three phones in the house and can reach them from most rooms I happen to be in. If my smartphone is in the kitchen when I'm asleep in bed, I shall miss all those 'Can you be here ten minutes ago?' phone calls that form a major part of my income.)
2. The 90s and even worse the 80s hang about my house. One artifact of same was file cards on a spiral ring. They're perforated and detachable, but perfect for writing grammar points on for review, where Japanese study cards are too small. Local stationers said they didn't have and had never seen but ask at Grand and Toy. Did today. Young guy with ipod didn't know what a file card was. He calls them index cards, a term I've never heard.
3. Thursday I heard there was a huge snowstorm about to hit upper NY state on the first. Tried to get the forecast for Albany NY from the weather network. Type in Albany NY in the box. Weathernetwork tries disambiguation, giving me the following five locations:
* New Albany, Pennsylvania, United StatesClick more options, and you eventually am given
* New Albany, Mississippi, United States
* New Albany, Kansas, United States
* New Albany, Indiana, United States
* Albany, Wisconsin, United States
* Albany, Vermont, United StatesThe actual weather webpage lists the towns with state abbreviations-- New York, NY, period-- but you, oh padawan, must write both state and country out in full-- New York, New York, United States-- or else.
* Albany, Texas, United States
* Albany, Oregon, United States
* Albany, Oklahoma, United States
* Albany, Ohio, United States
* Albany, New York, United States
* Albany, Minnesota, United States
* Albany, Louisiana, United States
* Albany, Kentucky, United States
* Albany, Indiana, United States
* Albany, Illinois, United States
* Albany, Georgia, United States
* Albany, California, United States
* Fort Albany, Ontario, Canada
4. Went along newly refurbished Bloor St west of Avenue Rd today, which has been an ungodly mess for at least the last three years. I see no great improvement myself. Striated sidewalks, whoop de doo. But I do see a proposal to build yet another condominium on that block in an attempt to turn the whole thing into a blank wall of stone and featureless glass. And maybe thereby to muffle some of the hideousness of the Lee-Chin Crytal, could it be?) Macdonalds is no architectural loss, I grant you, but it's a place where people go, unlike the tony clothing boutiques that luxury condos like to have on their first floors. The owners of the two luxury condo buildings already in the works are doubtless antsy at having to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi. 'Condos for curators, architects, designers, dancers!' the next door ads trumpeted. Most definitely not for people who eat Big Macs.
(And the condo on Charles St that replaced Regis College? Built to the lot line, large and loooming, where the college was set back behind a curving drive. The transformation of Toronto into a sunless canyon continues apace.)
This next one is beyond vexation:
A block or two away from me is a large corner lot on which stood a reasonably attractive Baptist church. Congregation disbanded, lot was bought by developer (spits) who wanted to put up a highrise apartment and town houses. Wasn't allowed to. Lot lay bare for years. Eventually two intensely ugly houses were built on it, with six more planned. The next three have been begun. Houses face south with what will be large back yards behind them, unless dude is thinking of building there as well, in which case they will sit cozily looking into each other's jagnormous windows, with no parking facilities at all.
At the farthest western edge of the lot line is a huge old tree, which remained there even when the church was demolished around it because the area between the sidewalk and any house is city property and the city actually counts its trees. Is why there are trees in front of the first two houses too-- hoardings actually go up around them when the diggers and whatever come in. I passed the lot today. That huge old tree has been cut down, its trunk, four feet in diameter, cut up in sections. I am utterly heartsick.