Category Archives: Diversions

Being a tourist in my home town – Visiting the AGO

Now that the weather isn’t so unbearably hot and humid for me I thought I’d try and go out for a walk during my lunch break every once in a while. The Art Gallery of Ontario is just around the corner from my office so I figured that’s a great place to start.

In September I went and saw a photography exhibit called “women in focus.” It was lovely.

Here are some of my favourite photos:

This one is from Lotte Jacobi – I love the way the movement is captured. I keep expecting the dancer to keep going!

I just want to know what she’s thinking! This is called “Sea of Ice (Genevieve)” from 1935.

This is a print from Violet Keene Perinchief – originally from England but moved to Ontario and “found commercial success as the manager of the Eaton’s photography studio” before setting up her own shop. The eyes. Really, that’s it. Just the eyes.

Taking pictures of photos behind glass isn’t a strength of mine obviously. Here’s a better version of the above photo:

More from the AGO in the future that’s for sure, especially because now I have a membership.

Learning about soccer – soccer clichés

I stumbled across this video in an older BBC Ideas e-mail I hadn’t yet deleted (and needless to say, finding it now isn’t gonna do much to encourage me to clean up my e-mails any time soon!)

One of the best lines in this video – in fact the whole reason I’m sharing it – is this:

Paranoia and pessimism are, after all, central to the enjoyment of football.

It’s always a bit tense watching a game with my dad but also lots of fun too. Game 1, Spurs v. Aston Villa is today!

And of course there’s a book! But it’s not out until September 2019. Sooooo soon…

Football Clichés – picture from

Praising Black Gold (aka coffee)

Since Friday July 19, I’ve done my best to stop drinking coffee (all caffeine really because 99% of my caffeine is consumed in black gold form) by about noon. The first few days I strayed till 1 pm or so but since then it’s been finished by around 11:30 am.

No real change in sleep (which was the experiment) BUT it really is only one part of the equation (snoring, heat, beer all add up on the other side). No real change in mood either.

So why am I posting do you ask? Because I knew I was only going to be consuming a much smaller amount of coffee than before I figured I was going to be sure it was GOOD coffee, and not just the free unlimited stuff I have access to at work.

Sparkplug Coffee gets delivered to the house. I have used my french press every freaking day for the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed my coffee so much. I will probably never cut coffee out completely – I enjoy it too much – but I am actually enjoying it more when it isn’t so much the “quantity” of the stuff but the “quality.” Who’d a thunk it?

The most recent limited edition was called Mad Bastard. They describe it as a “blend of premium Arabica beans from Colombia and Brazil.” It’s a medium roast and tasty! I can’t wait to see what the next blend will be!

Logo from the sparkplug coffee website

So I wanna learn a little more about soccer: il-futbol

I grew up with sports around the house – my father is from Malta and soccer was a big deal. Somehow or other he fell in love with curling on TV so that’s long been a family favourite too.

Then my older brother started playing hockey and I spent a lot of time goofing around in rinks during practises and games. My brother played american football, hockey and curled in high school and then fell in love with golf. I wasn’t very sporty myself but I tried my hand at field hockey in school and I did end up on the ice, in front of a net, eventually. (My current goal is to get back there!) I did play a little bit of soccer – again, mostly right in front of the net, but I never really knew what I was doing.

And soccer is my dad’s one true love and so I’m going to see what I can learn this year – and hopefully have some of it rub off on The Mighty Q as well.

And there we have it – we all joined the local supporters club for my dad’s favourite team:

As I learn stuff, I’ll share it here. There will be history, there will be rules, there will be silly trivia I am sure. Mostly from a keeper’s perspective because that’s my bias. And definitely pro-Spurs (And Toronto FC too!) 😉

If you have a favourite source for soccer info definitely share that!

Periodic Tales – and an intro to the Toronto Public Library 2019 Reading Challenge

In February I stumbled across this page on the Library’s website: 2019 Reading Challenge. I thought it sounded like so much fun! It would definitely make me choose some books I probably wouldn’t otherwise have picked. Or at least pay attention to who writes the books, where the book (and the author) are from etc.

So of course, it’s me, I made a spreadsheet. Some books can easily go into different categories! For example – one of the advance challenge categories is “a book from The List: Great Reads for Youth”. So I scrolled through the list. And stumbled across this:

Yep – that’s Robin‘s name on that book 🙂 So it obviously goes in the Great Reads for Youth category but it could also go into the “a book by a LGBTQ+ author” or “a book by a Canadian award winning author.” Also if there was a “book written by a family member” that would work too lol

Most recently I finished Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams for the “a book that’s related to the periodic table of elements” advanced category. And yes, I am almost always this literal 😉

I learned an awful lot and I like how Aldersey-Williams comes across as a very smart, very friendly person just sharing his own little obsession with the world.

I loved reading the very elementary (hahaha) explanation behind the choice of gold, silver and lead chests in the Merchant of Venice – something I’m sure I just glossed over in high school. Oh and I enjoyed learning new words (hoicks for example) and loved the description of Eugène-Anatole Demarçay as “a gaunt, severe-looking man whose chief glory was his florid moustache.” My dad’s mustache is awesome so I had to go look up Demarçay’s!

From Demarçay’s wikipedia entry

There are lots of references to movies, to cars, to art, to architecture and so on. In fact, I was drawn so much to a passage on artists’ colours and the art supply store L. Cornelissen & Son that I went and looked it up – it still exists in London and Q has agreed that we should go check it out when we visit in August! You can do a tour online here. How cool is that?

So, what are you reading?