Description 23 - Honest Ed's

So you say you want a digital clock with a 3D painting of the Last Supper? Follow me through a mansion of discount wonderment (founded by another American expat!) and listen to me whine about how heavy a bottle of bleach is. Also featuring wicked new music from The Supers, 40 cent espresso shots, and the return of Les Pierrafeu!

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Associated links:
The Official (we guess...) Honest Ed's site
Mirvish Productions (the theatre stuff)
The Wikipedia listings for Honest Ed's and Ed Mirvish
These German guys did this cute site about Honest Ed's!
The Supers on myspace and Maplemusic
(and don't forget Graham Powell and Sho Mo and the Monkey Bunch!)
Peter Rukavina explains the Tim Horton's Iced Cappuccino
Ontario Science Centre

Sorry about the weird mic popping - this was the first time I'd clipped the lapel mic to my new snazzy and massive Swiss Army bag I got in Kingston when my old bag broke at Podcasters Across Borders, and it kept moving funny on the strap. Always something...

A good example of the Honest Ed's dichotomy cropped up when I was researching links. The mirvish.com site is about the productions running in their theatres, and it's very lavish and detailed. But the site for the Honest Ed's store itself? Just a basic thing connected to toronto.com, like hundreds of small businesses with barely enough coins to rub together to prop up an internet presence. I guess they figure no one going to Honest Ed's is impressed by Flash and Java. And they're probably right.

When I was first dreaming up what I'd talk about on a podcast, I considered a rant that I ended up doing this episode. I try to take a bag or bags with me when I'm shopping - a cloth one, a heavy nylon one, maybe recycling an old plastic one. I've been doing this for at least 5 years now. I have enough crap cluttering up my place, I don't need more plastic bags piling up here or in some landfill when it isn't necessary. Every once in a while, a store will search a bag if there's stuff in there already, and they're more than welcome to search or hang on to my bag at the front desk or inspect a receipt. The bigger problem is at the checkout, especially at Dominion down on Bloor. They start to check stuff out and immediately start running it into one of their own fresh bags, and I have to stop them and say, "That's okay, I brought my own bag," and set it down in front of them to use. Sometimes, most frequently at Dominion and at Honest Ed's during the soundseeing tour, the cashier takes out what may have been bagged in the new bag and continues checking stuff out...then won't put any of it in my bag. They just let it sit there. I haven't come up with a good way to actually ask, "could you put all that in my bag, please?" although now I've taken to asking right off "Could you use this bag, please?" But if I get this standoff thing happening, I'll just kind of get all passive-aggressively huffy and end up bagging it myself.

Okay, I realize this is not the end of the world here, but I just don't understand why i shouldn't have the same service as everyone else. One girl gave me the explanation that people who bring their own bags usually prefer to do it themselves anyway (read: they're picky difficult control freaks). Another said there'd been "trouble" and no one wanted to get involved with a bag someone had brought - like there had been stolen stuff in the bottom or something and God forbid a girl check it out first. I don't know...it still mystifies me. So that's why I got a little pissed there. People are just so locked into their routines supposedly for the sake of efficiency, any change is some provocation of the delicate balance of life - which of course explains a lot of damage we've done to each other and the planet (er, sorry, let me get this granola bar out of my mouth...ahem!). I don't want to make trouble, but just want to exercise some common sense. What am I missing here?

Btw, in the last couple weeks, Dominion has suddenly become more receptive to crazy me and my bags. One cashier even praised my wanting to help the planet. Er...okay. I don't want to be terribly cynical or anything, but could this change of heart have anything to do with the fact that Dominion is now selling their own re-usable bags?

You think I'm gonna buy one?


Description 22 - The Last Spike

Live (uh, a month a half ago) and direct from a VIA train from Kingston, I try to figure out what to say about what rail travel means to Canada. We also do a soundseeing tour of Toronto's Union Station with someone who knows what she's talking about, yet can't steal one of those neat goody bags with William Shakespeare's picture on it.

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Associated links:
VIA Rail!
Official Kingston, Ontario website
The Last (Canadian) Spike in Wikipedia
Silver & Blue class on The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver
Doors Open Toronto
Toronto Railway Historical Association (who took us on our tour, so support them!)
Ninjalicious (RIP) infiltrates Union Station
Steam Whistle at the Roundhouse
Stratford Express

Holy crap, was I zoned on the train. I must've had 8 hours sleep in the previous two days. And many of those awake hours were not always sober. But hey, to be in Tod Maffin's suite at 1am watching Shelagh Rogers play some crazy-ass card game? What the hell. Did I mention I didn't even talk to to her, even though I'm a fan and took something from one of her lockout podcasts for Description 06? Er...yeah.

(Update: March 30, 2007:When I go up the stairs into Union Station, a cute '80's song runs through my head, which pisses me off. The song is "Every Little Tear" by Paul Janz, and it runs in my head because much of the video was filmed in Union Station. So admire the architecture and try to get the hook out of your head. I'm sorry in advance.)

Some useless trivia: I recorded my own uneducated soundseeing tour of Union Station before I took a train to London to The Pursuit of Happiness' New Year's show last December, but somewhere along the line, I lost the file. So when I heard Doors Open snagged the station for the 2006 edition, I said, "hey!" Off the top of my head, I think I have at least 3 other Doors Open soundseeing tours, so we'll see if I can wring themes from them.

Since Taste of the Danforth came and went last weekend, I looked back and found that Description 01 (which featured Taste of the Danforth) was dated August 18, 2005. So I guess we can call it a year. YIKES. I gotta say, I have been from the depths to the heights in the last 12 months, and not much of it had to do with having a podcast. It had a lot to do with why I only squeezed out 22 episodes, though. I've gone from depression to having to finish this post quickly in time for a Yahoo Messenger video chat with my boyfriend in San Diego (!). I have a boyfriend! That's pretty f'd up. But I'm very thankful for the remarkable things that have come my way, and I'm thankful for you for bothering with this little dog-and-pony show I put on.

I'd be more thankful if you can tip me to any software where I can do video and audio chat from Mac to PC without Skype and without a frigging firewire cam (like iChat requires). :-)