Well, the years of spring vacations are winding down, as Young Zombie is reaching the end of high school; when he goes to college, we will no longer bother to coordinate a trip with the school’s spring break; and YZ will likely no longer feel much inclination to travel with us. The question becomes, will we even bother doing a specific vacation at all then? Or maybe more pertinently, will travel even be possible in the Mad Max Zombie wasteland to be created by Rmoney/ Paul Ryan/ Turdwaffle?
But in the mean while, this year we went to Toronto. Yes, Toronto, Canuckistan. And for a change, we drove rather than flying. 9 hour drive or so, not too bad, and we timed it to miss the crappy traffic in Chicago (apparently it is not actually possible to miss crappy traffic in Toronto). We even let Young Zombie drive over the border, which amused us but the border guard was having none of it and insisted that Wife Sublime in the back seat close her computer and answer questions. Driving was actually refreshing; in the ever increasing need to shove more people into steerage, this zombie has limbs (and ass, let’s be frank) that no longer meet the airlines’ definition of ‘standard human’ and most flights become variants of stress positions for me.
But I digress.
If you had blindfolded me, I could still tell it was Canadia; in one restaurant, I watched an episode of SportsCenter that spent half an hour on hockey, and then a good twenty minutes on a lumberjack competition. I SWEAR I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Also, every other thing you see is named after Wayne Gretzky.
For all our various trips, this is the one where we spent the most time chasing down buildings at my urging. Normally, I prefer to derive inspiration from the general urban vitality of a city (San Francisco), or the natural environment (the canyons near Vegas). But this time, there were some interesting built objects, and my interests were parallel to Wife Sublime’s. So in the course of tourism, we also saw some architecture.
And LOOK, you can tell it is capital-A Architecture:
The big budget failures use NAME-BRAND leak buckets.
On the outside, it’s like an actual building was attacked by an aggravated goth crystal:
And then we went to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which was mutilated by Frank Gehry. But before that, we saw THIS:
Sometimes, you need to check an architect’s meds before you give him carte blanche, dudes.
The AGO, however, yielded this space:
I kid, I kid, but I am usually pretty dismissive of both Libeskind’s and Gehry’s work, I find most of it to be arbitrary and repetitive, not to mention impossible to detail; but I found that both of these projects have made me back off on that a bit.
Look, Frank did good:
I think I may get a bit more in depth on both of these in subsequent posts, I feel like I have a lot to say about these buildings….
And then, we saw the FIRST building done by that insane Spaniard on the North American Continent (Milwaukee is home to the SECOND):
In the latter days of my career, I have become quite enamored of curvilinear architecture. One of the few clients who still are around, often mocks me when I design a building that does not have a curve; after all, I once designed this:
And then we went up in the CN Tower, a structure designed by the spiritual heirs of the Marquis de Sade. It did yield this view of the AGO and the Crayon Box:
YoungZom went ahead and laid right down on the GLASS FLOOR of the observation deck:
Although I was pretty much fine with the Space Pimple or whatever they call the glass bubble that’s up higher, as well as the open observation deck, when I went to walk out on the glass floor, my eyes were unable to NOT look down when I got to the edge, and then all my circuit breakers would trip, my lizard brain would say “oh FUCK no” and my feet would not take another fucking step. I KNOW better, rationally; I could fucking SEE people walking on it safely; and yet I could not make the voluntary impulses work. Fuck, I kept telling myself that I have facade inspections coming up and I damn well better be able to deal with looking at long falls, and still everything shorted out right at the edge. It was remarkable.
But anyway, after that onslaught of ARCHITECTURE, the fam needed a break and a reset, so we went to see this:
We were staying just a couple of blocks from the baseball stadium (and I do have to say that the Toronto fans are amazingly polite drunks, even when the team is winning the home opening stand) and it was also in spitting distance of Second City. How could we resist? We wound up there twice, once for the improv show (YZ is a big improv fan) and once for the sketch show. During the improv segment, YZ yelled out a ridiculous suggestion of “Ryan Stiles” which cracked up the actors; they paid him back by bringing him up on stage for the Slide Show. The following night, they recognized us, and sitting in the front row, I got picked on. MOON PHONE! Absolutely hilarious.
We went to the Distillery District, and I was very amused at the basic history; There was a huge grist mill built there, and after a while, they used the extra to make some booze; within a short amount of time, they discovered which of the products was making more profit, and never looked back. But in any case, it was the kind of industrial rehab buildings that make this zombie happy:
I always wonder how much similar was destroyed….I am not one to fetishize old buildings, I understand the necessity of a vibrant city to create new configurations, to respond to new needs. But sometimes, you also need to just pull back and say, hey, sometimes these pockets of history should also be retained.
My biggest complaint? None of the Canuckinoids who have traipsed by these dank corners of the intertubas bothered to try to meet us for drinks. LOTS of drinks. It is the first trip in years where we haven’t met any of my Imaginary Digital Friends. Either I am getting better, or they are getting smarter.
But other than THOSE assholes, Toronto is a lovely city, very reminiscent of Milwaukee in cleanliness, friendliness, and climate. The biggest difference is that Toronto is building the FUCK out of their city, and I think I should be soliciting job interviews with the Canadianoid Architectural firms, because between Obama and the nihilist Republican Congress, there will be fuck-all happening in America constructionwise for some time to come. BOOKMARK IT, LIBS.