Today was my first weekday with the library experiment underway – substituting many of my paid or commercially supported entertainment items with those from the Toronto Public Library. Here’s how it is going so far:
My best luck so far has been with CDs. Pet Shop Boys, Beastie Boys, Shad, Lupe Fiasco, St. Germain and some world music found their way in to my house via our local library. A 3 CD changer that I never used before (we only used the turntable on the stereo and the aux-in for digital music) came in very handy for this.
Streaming music turns out to be somewhat available. There are two services – Hoopla Digital has an excellent selection with not only music (I got New Order’s Substance Album which I couldn’t find on any of the usual streaming site, and a B-52’s compilation along with an 80’s compilation) but movies and TV shows. I got a Dino Lingo Hindi class. This was effective and managed to do well without using any English. But it was below my level (which felt good for a change!). It was also really strange. I think it might even be targeted at preschool or toddler age kids – few words, lots of weird repetitive images. All in all it’s pretty great. But there’s a catch: You get eight check-outs a month. Videos automatically are returned in 3 days and music in 7 days. Once you’ve done 8 transactions, you’re done for the month. So budget wisely! On the plus side, you can stream to your phone.
The other source that’s available also has an app. And there’s unlimited streaming. Naxos Music Library offers a huge collection but not much pop/rock. Their jazz and classical collections are extensive, though, and there are playlists of all sorts of themes. I’m not a huge fan of classical music though I did find John Harle’s Terror and Magnificence – notable for including Elvis Costello on vocals. I got this one when it came out and quite liked it but hadn’t heard it since then. I enjoyed some of the jazz, though.
Book-wise I’ve been enjoying The Edible City – Toronto’s Food from Farm to Fork – a collection of essays about food in our city. It has me inspired to cook, shop at farmer’s markets, and eat more local food. I’ve been devouring it (see what I did there?). I’ve already planned a trip back to the Brickworks farmers market for Saturday. It has been a few years since I’ve canned any jam and that’s long overdue and I’ve many new friends in this building who would likely appreciate some.
Hindi study-wise wasn’t so great. Mango Languages are free. Sadly, it also started me at way too low a level. So back to Memrise I go which is actually excellent and not only helps build my vocabulary but I’m slowly learning to touch type in Devanagari script – yay me!. Speaking of Hindi study, I’ve been spending more time reviewing at Memrise lately and have been braving using it in the outside world more. The folks at the Indian restaurant in the food court have all but dispensed with English with me, helping me practice Today we had a bit of small talk about the weather and where my son was (Mera beta so raha hai – my son is sleeping! (at noon – ha!!) Kyonki kal rath vaha midnight ko kam kiya – because he worked until midnight last night). I was really pleased when the woman who took my order complimented me on my Urdu (there’s lots of overlap between the languages – enough that I can do just fine. I can only read Hindi script, though.)
On my lunch I did some searching through the online newspaper archives. I looked up our neighbourhood and our buildings in them going back to the early 70’s. The earliest one talked about how people were moving from the Bridle Path area (very expensive large homes – Prince used to live there) to our buildings which back in the day had Japanese bamboo grass wall coverings and marble floors. There used to be a concierge and valet parking back in the day and the penthouse apartments were up to 3,000 square feet. Happily for us and our pocketbooks that has changed. The only thing that is the same is that the penthouses are still that big – but they’re much cheaper. The smaller ones (in the 2,500 square foot range) rent for the same price as our 500 square foot downtown condo rental listed after we moved out and the landlord raised the rent astronomically. Still, I can’t complain – we don’t need those luxuries and otherwise this is an excellent spot with fantastic neighbours for what is now considered a total bargain by Toronto standards.
I’m jonesing a bit for news, though. I usually check 1-2 times/day online and sometimes look at an article or two linked online. None of that today, though. And so I only know hints. Terrible flooding in Texas (lots of news from my company as well – we have offices in Houston), North Korea firing missiles, and doubtless Trump doing things that would upset me if I knew about them. But I’m in the dark. Finally, after work I walked over to our neighbourhood library. A small branch that I’ll review one of these days. While we were able to find a few Hindi movies to watch (Sage and I are both craving action films so we’ll likely re-watch Don soon – the remake, not the 1978 original though that one is also really fun. Watching either one will get me at least one of my favourite actors in it.) Once I got my movies I went to find the newspapers. Though they had the three major newspapers – the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and National Post, not one copy of today’s paper was available. A few sections of Sunday’s paper were scattered around. Saturday’s paper (Odd to see that at least in Toronto, Saturday’s the big newspaper day, not Sunday like in the US) was there but also separated in to scattered sections. And so I gave up and headed back home. Maybe tomorrow after work I’ll head for another branch to see what I can find.
Coming up I’ll be trying some other resources this week – maybe see if I can’t find an event or class to go to as well.
And with that I’ll end it. I’ve got a bit of dinner to make and then I have an 8:15 PM conference call. Such is the nature of working on international projects.