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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Recent stuff

Saw the new Ron Howard doc on the Apollo astronauts In the Shadow of the Moon last week. Highly recommend it, they used a lot of footage you haven't seen before and the interviews are just fascinating, see it at the Cumberland before it vanishes.

I saw it with Catherine who said afterwards that she was eight at the time of the final Apollo flights and already reading SF. She figured that there would be commercial flights by the time she was forty, so all she would have to do is stay in shape and she'd get to go. Sigh.

Saw the new Cirque du Soleil show, Kooza, with my brother last Wednesday. They've moved from their old location at Ontario Place to the Cherry Street area, which is certainly tougher to get to via public transit, the bus we took that was supposed to get us there went out of service , and we had to grab a cab. When we got there, there was a big line-up waiting to get in because of an ambulance parked just inside (some patron had collapsed). When we got in a few minutes star tthe start time, they hadn't held the show, and we missed the first few minutes (which we are now complaining about).

Still, the show was amazing as usual. Dave and I sprung for good seats this time, which ultimately worked out. I didn't think so as first, because we turned out to be at right-angles to the high wire act, which made it tough to follow, but we were in exactly the right place for the Wheel of Death, which was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen them do. I was completely freaked out and biting my fingers while these guys were leaping around in this spinning contraption, without any safety lines (which would be impossible to use anyway). The Contortionists were also totally amazing, and another act made riding a unicycle look cool.

Friday night I broke in the new bike with an evening ride along the waterfront with the bike club. The Chinese Lantern Festival looks great all lit up as we rode by, so I've got to see if I can make it there before it closes this weekend.

Saturday I checked out a chunk of Nuit Blanche stuff. I didn't go all night like some people I know as I had brunch the next day with Charlene and Hayden, as well as Word on the Street, but I managed to work in several neat items. There was a lot of good performance art at U of T, and good gallery shows as well. I was impressed with all the prep work that went into Event Horizon on the Back Campus lawn (crashed spaceship, lots of emergency vehicles and "cops" around) but the final joke that you had to go into a tent to see, that it was E.T. bringing Yoda back to life, was a bit lame. I was a bit disappointed with the "Diamond Lights" as well (strands of LEDs help aloft by balloon) until i found out that someone had walked off with most of the strands while they were setting up.

I didn't manage to get down into the "ghost" subway station at Bay as the line was just too freaking long, but the paintings at the Japan Foundation (where I ran into Janet) were good, and the film loop at the Isabel Badur theatre was just weird. It was a wolf and a deer in a large white room, an animal version of Cube. The wolf stalked around the walls while the deer looked like it was having a nervous breakdown.

Anyway, there were big crowds all around, so it certainly looked like it was a success.

Sunday managed to get up early enough for the aforementioned brunch, and made it over to Word on the Street for the rest of the afternoon. Picked up a couple of things, no big finds (Dave is much better at that then I am). The Beguiling was hosting a Comics and Graphic Novels tent this year, the first time for that, and their turnout was quite good. Highlight of what I saw was Chip Zdarsky explaining how he had forged a transcript in order to graduate from art school, and as his day job now at the Globe and Mail involves a lot of photo manipulation he feels it was good training.