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smartygirl

the chronicles.

from 2007.

Lazy journalists that could drive you to drink

Having lived on Queen West in the middle of the art crowd, and having suffered the vagaries of bar owners' cavalier attitude towards their neighbours' sanity and the law, I was curious to read the Globe and Mail article Licensing headaches that could drive you to drink.

How much more interesting the article could have been had the journo done his homework!

Or, if not more interesting, at least more believable.

The article starts with a description of an event held at Spin Gallery, an innocent, quiet evening that was humming along pleasantly until the liquor inspectors arrived:

The gala drew hundreds on a January evening, but "rowdy" is likely the last word anyone would have used to describe it.

It was, after all, an art exhibition, a private reception where well-dressed professionals sipped wine and soft drinks, nibbled on catered snacks and filled Toronto's SPIN Gallery with happy chatter...

Wow, has this guy ever been to the Spin Gallery? Maybe that particular event was quiet, but it was in no way typical of events held there, art openings which generally are advertised as running till 1 o'clock in the morning and featuring deejays.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I've attended my fair share of Spin parties, enjoying $5 beer or glasses of plonk, and snacks galore (sushi... yum). But to pretend that they are gatherings of quiet, high-minded folk is just inaccurate. Spin has been known more for the parties than the art since it's old incarnation on Bathurst. Its description on clubzone.com describes it as an "Art Gallery - Nightclub" and a "large space which showcases a variety of music events," and features a gallery of photos of people drinking and dancing to the music of Marky Ramone (yes, of the Ramones - you know, the gang of quiet, high-minded art-appreciators). The article also claims that "the one-time events held there several times each month are rarely if ever linked to each other, or to the gallery's owner, Stewart Pollock, who simply rents out his airy upstairs space" although again, anyone who has been to a Spin party has seen Stewart holding court. I suppose things could have changed in the last year or so while I've been hibernating, but the only chnage I can ascertain by looking at their website is that they are now sticklers for RSVPs - previously anyone who walked up was welcomed - although the fact that anyone who visits their website can apparently RSVP for events calls into question whether these events are really "private."

Okay, so with those giant question marks raised, it's hard to read the rest of the article with anything other than a healthy pound of salt.

Another of the establishments he mentions is a restaurant called Teatro, which is on the corner of College and Palmerston.

Wayne Parent, owner of Teatro, a small bistro on College Street in Little Italy, said he ran afoul of the AGCO for overcrowding his dining room one night last July, although his entire property, which includes a patio, was within capacity that night. Trouble was, it started raining - at 1:51 a.m., just nine minutes before the cutoff time for serving alcohol - which sent 17 of his patio customers inside to take cover.

On the surface, that does seem pretty unjust. But my question is this: is their patio licensed till two o'clock? The patio faces the side street, Palmerston, which is residential (and one of the loveliest streets to live on in Toronto, lined with beautiful old brick homes). In the vast majority cases, patios on residential streets are not licensed past eleven o'clock at night, due to noise concerns (the hours between eleven and seven being supposedly sacrosanct). And Teatro is known not only for its food, but for live deejays spinning independent and dance music late in the evenings. So, was this restaurant unfairly targeted for being a few people over a few minutes before last call? Or was this restaurant investigated for having people on the patio almost two hours past due? It's possible that the restaurant got an exemption for their patio license, but the article doesn't answer question - it ignores the issue entirely.

Interestingly, the event currently advertised on the Spin Gallery website is being catered by Teatro. make of that what you will.

So, this is journalism? I did more research for high school book reports! Which, if you know me, you know isn't much.

rant updated 7 may 2007. permalink

Boycott Rona!

This has me steamed:

Rona Inc., the Quebec-based home improvement chain, overhauled its stores in the mid-1990s to appeal to women. Michael Brossard, senior vice-president of marketing and development at Rona, says women are becoming more involved in purchasing decisions. But even as Rona reaches out to them, Mr. Brossard says he sees no need to stock female-friendly power tools. "In general, they're not doing the heavy work," he said.

"Tools is still the toy section for guys. Will it become the toy section for girls? I don't think so."

Despite the statistics on women buying and renovating homes, Mr. Brossard said, "A single woman will have a dad, a boyfriend, an uncle to help them. It's not as though they're totally alone."

As a woman who does do the heavy work myself, I am astounded that he would be so ignorant - both to think that women aren't doing repairs themselves (especially in this home-reno-crazed era), and to say such an idiotic thing to a reporter. Way to alienate your target market! And he's in marketing no less. How did someone so media-un-savvy get that job?

I have a drill, circular saw, mitre box, crowbar etc. and don't need anyone's help to use them. I have been known to let my husband borrow my tools, although after the way he messed up my chisel, that happens less frequently. I am not personally in the market for "female friendly" tools as I have enough upper-body strength to handle anything. Last summer, when I wanted to replace the sinfully ugly concrete paving tiles in our backyard with lovely green runoff-friendly grass, I pried up the concrete and laid the sod myself. The only difficulty I have ever had with any project is not weakness, or feminine incompetence, it is good old procrastination, which I know for a fact affects men as much as women. My husband does offer to help with heavy lifting, but he knows that if I'm working on a project he'd best just get out of my way, as having people underfoot just makes me cranky.

In the past, and especially in the past year since my local lumber yard shut down (a real drag, since my poor old car is so wee - I am probably the only person foolish enough to load up a '97 Toyota Tercel with 4'x8' sheets of 5/8" plywood, plus a stack of 8' two-by-fours - such a feat is severely dependent upon a short drive through quiet side streets), I have chosen Rona over its competitor (i.e. Home Depot), as I like to support Canadian companies. However, I will not continue to support a company that espouses such antiquated sexist notions.

Boycott Rona! Tell them to join the twenty-first century!

rant updated 2 may 2007. permalink

What is it they say about good intentions?

Bah!

At least I've finally started posting baby pictures...

rant updated 14 march 2007. permalink

Hibernation.

Once again, it's a new year, and a new resolution to start updating regularly. I have actually updated the review two weeks in a row now. Impressive, huh? Don't answer that.

Anyway, long story short, 2006 was a nutty year with a lot of challenges.

First was the settling in to the new house, with the accompanying brokeness. We were just emerging from that when I got pneumonia, which knocked me out for a good month (to say the least - I am still coughing like a lunatic). Then TG's mum came to stay for a month, then (drumroll please) I got pregnant, which requires a lot of sleep, as it turns out. Which basically turned me into a hermit for the rest of the year.

So you're probably thinking - aren't shut-ins the biggest bloggers of all? I guess so, but in my case I was too busy napping and nesting.

Annyhoo, baby is due any day now (or else!), and I am home for a year of mat leave, so theoretically I will be updating more. Especially since I have a swanky new laptop, which I can easily carry around throughout the house (and beyond!) for time-wasting of all kinds. How easy is it to type while nursing? I guess I'll find out soon enough!

One thing though - I am not going to go baby-crazy here. At least that is the plan. I don't understand why some people seem to abandon all interests outside of parenting once they breed. I don't want to be one of those people. So, for people who want to look at baby photos, I plan on posting them occasionally here. For people who don't want to here yet another story about how uplifting and edifying the scent of baby barf is, stick around, and I promise not to disappoint.

rant updated 5 january 2007. permalink

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