Richard’s Blogosphere

Towel Day 2022

Just a Gwai Lo - Wed, 05/25/2022 - 13:34

Another pandemic year, another Towel Day. I finally read Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion by Neil Gaiman earlier this year, and it was everything and more that I hoped it would be. It has a hard-to-fathom amount of detail about the life of Douglas Adams and the production of the series. I brought the towel I got as part of Vancouver Public Library's One Book One Vancouver out of storage again, along with Archie the Humpback Whale (whom I would nave named Noel after Douglas's middle name). I'll walk around with towel and hopefully I'll see some other hoopy froods who know where their towel is. I brought them to the co-working space, so I know where mine is.

A white towel with a blue whale and blue text that reads DON'T PANIC along with a plushy whale in a co-working space with plants.

Douglas Adams is tied with Zadie Smith as my favourite writer of all time. He, along with Steve Martin, are the heroes that aren't my dad, because they all taught me it was OK to strive to be intelligent and have a silly streak. (Monty Python, which I'm a fan of as well, taught me that but I could never fully get into them. The comedy troupe figure prominently in Neil Gaiman's book and Douglas Adams's life, as one would expect.) The heart aches when considering all of the deadlines that would have gone whooshing by had DNA lived longer.

Previously: There's a Frood Who Really Knows Where His Towel Is

A Month of Going to Blue Jays Games

Just a Gwai Lo - Fri, 04/29/2022 - 17:33

I'm nominally a Blue Jays fan, enjoying watching baseball and them being Canada's only major league team. In the late 2010s, however, I realized (for the second time1) being a fan of a single team wasn't as enjoyable as being a fan of the sport. I also didn't watch much sports during 2020 and 2021, because the dread around the pandemic overshadowed the product on the field, and the quiet of the stadium coupled with the fake crowd noise only served as a reminder of the lengths we were going to in order to ignore the despair. I watched the playoffs when fans were allowed back, however, and it was fun watching the last day of 2021 where 4 games had implications for the playoffs.

When the Blue Jays announced the Leadoff ticket package, I was initially not interested. The more I thought of it, though, the more I liked the premise: It was a ticket to each home game, randomly assigned, in the truly cheap seats. There was almost zero chance of a foul ball or home run reaching that area.2 That took the decision of where to sit out of the equation, and got me in the stadium, where I could walk around wherever I wanted and watch at the standing-room areas anywhere in the stadium. So I bought the package, and went to most of the games, making it worth the price. Plus, I live a 15-minute walk away from the stadium.

The downsides were that every seat had an obstructed view. Opening night, I couldn't see most right field, and every other night, the corners were not visible. I was there for Bo Bichette's first grand slam of his major league career, but I couldn't see it go over the fence. I also have very few physical mementos of the games. There was a booth outside the stadium on Opening Day selling programs, so I bought one, but for other games, I couldn't find them at all on the 500 level. While one can bring their own food into Rogers Centre, it's a rarity, since I don't think people know that you're allowed to. One day I'll bring in a bánh mì sandwich and maybe someone will ask me which booth I got it at.

I ultimately waited too long to get the ticket package for May. I attended one of the April games with a friend, not part of the ticket package, but still in the cheap seats, and this time with unobstructed views of the field. So I think I'll try to sit in that same section when I do go to a game by myself.

Some other thoughts:

  • I was struck about how there was basically zero messaging about the COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing on the JumboTron, nothing in the PA announcements, and almost no signs of a new respiratory disease other than the employees all wearing masks (along with a certain percentage of attendees).
  • The Blue Jays put on a good show. I did catch myself wondering if there was ever, or ever will be, a Quiet Night at the Ballpark. That is, turning down the volume on the PA announcements, and no music between pitches, and no exhortations to "GET LOUD!!!" When attending with a friend, it was hard sometimes to hear him, and we can both be soft-spoken, and I'd rather try to speak over other people than walk-up songs and whatnot.

The games I did not watch: Sunday games, and the Thursday afternoon game during a weekday. It was a bit exhausting, especially after I had memorized the answers to the between-innings quizzes which didn't differentiate much, so I don't know how people who attend all 81 games can do it. I plan on going to one or two games a month from here on out.

See also:

  1. The first time was in the last 2000s, with the Vancouver Canucks. ↩︎

  2. During a game in which I was not in that section, Vladimir Guererro Jr. threw two baseballs into a section I might have been in. How did he know I wouldn't be there? ↩︎

Two Years of Sheltering In Place (More Or Less)

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 03/13/2022 - 16:29

Two events, one in Canada, one in Eastern Europe took the spotlight off of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has entered its third year.

Published by Richard on March 13th, 2022

There was no "Sheltering In Place" entry for February 2022

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 02/13/2022 - 03:00
Published by Richard on February 13th, 2022

Three More Months of Not Sheltering In Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 15:17

I went on a couple of trips, attended events, and otherwise spent another three months not sheltering in place.

Published by Richard on January 13th, 2022

Three Months of Not Sheltering in Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Wed, 10/13/2021 - 22:42

Since July of this year, I've been to Hamilton twice, went to an Ontario cottage for the first time while living in Toronto, and have gone to a co-working space every couple of weeks or so. While I've mostly been working from home, I haven't exactly been sheltering in place like I did for the previous 16 months.

Published by Richard on October 13th, 2021

The Minister (Icelandic TV Series): A Short Review

Just a Gwai Lo - Wed, 09/01/2021 - 10:19

My review of The Minister, an Icelandic TV drama, appeared in the September 2021 newsletter of the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto (of which I am currently the secretary). I am reprinting it here with permission.

Published by Richard on September 1st, 2021

Hamilton, July 2021

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 07/25/2021 - 22:29

I attended a Hamilton Honey Badgers game.

Published by Richard on July 25th, 2021

Reflections on a Year of Studying Mandarin Chinese with Duolingo

Just a Gwai Lo - Mon, 07/19/2021 - 13:49

Having someone to speak with and continuously practicing writing is essential in learning a language.

Published by Richard on July 19th, 2021

Sixteen Months of Sheltering in Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Tue, 07/13/2021 - 20:15

Toronto is opening up even further.

Published by Richard on July 13th, 2021

Toronto Islands July 2021

Just a Gwai Lo - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 21:35

I spent the afternoon on Toronto Islands.

Published by Richard on July 5th, 2021

Spring Stations 2021

Just a Gwai Lo - Fri, 07/02/2021 - 22:33

I love art you can touch or site on or walk inside, and did so with all of the art exhibits at Spring Stations this year.

Published by Richard on July 2nd, 2021

Fifteen Months of Sheltering in Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 06/13/2021 - 18:41

Toronto feels like a city again.

Published by Richard on June 13th, 2021

There's a Frood Who Really Knows Where His Towel Is

Just a Gwai Lo - Tue, 05/25/2021 - 19:56

I celebrate Towel Day every May 25th as an homage to my favourite author, Douglas Adams.

Published by Richard on May 25th, 2021

Fourteen Months of Sheltering in Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Thu, 05/13/2021 - 14:33

I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Published by Richard on May 13th, 2021

The King-Liberty Village Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge

Just a Gwai Lo - Mon, 04/19/2021 - 22:22

I visited the bridge over the course of its construction and today, its opening day.

Published by Richard on April 19th, 2021

Thirteen Months of Sheltering in Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Tue, 04/13/2021 - 20:43

A month and a year of staying at home as the weather warms.

Published by Richard on April 13th, 2021

Grange Park Heritage

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 04/04/2021 - 19:18

12 degrees Celsius and sunny during “Spring” in Toronto was the perfect weather to do a tour from the book Toronto Architecture: A City Guide by Patricia McHugh and Alex Bozikovic. Ontario lifted its "strict stay-at-home order" last month, so I no longer felt guilty about wanting to visit the neighbourhood adjacent to mine.

Published by Richard on April 4th, 2021

A Year of Sheltering in Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Sat, 03/13/2021 - 18:45

After 12 full months of working from home during a global respiratory pandemic, I'm not sure I learned a lot.

Published by Richard on March 13th, 2021

Eleven Months of Sheltering in Place

Just a Gwai Lo - Sat, 02/13/2021 - 13:34

Things are going about as well as one could hope while stuck at home.

Published by Richard on February 13th, 2021

Pages