I spent Saturday afternoon and evening in Toronto--taking a break from school, classes, research, and the City of Waterloo. My actual excuse to go in was to see a concert at Massey Hall
--more about that in a bit.
After getting into town, I started my usual city thing--walking, wandering, and discovering, on a misty grey afternoon. There's something magical about cities in general--the density, busy streets filled with people, subways, tall buildings. I took a break in a warm bustling independent coffee shop, had a biscotti with coffee, and wrote some postcards while watching the evening sky darken.
My wandering took me into Chinatown--the ideal spot for dinner. Grabbed a curry bun from a bakery to tide me over while deciding where to go. The sidewalks were packed with fruit & vegetable vendors--the typical sounds and smells of Chinatown. I can really see where the producers of Blade Runner got their visual ideas for their street scenes. ("A new life awaits you in the offworld colonies. A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure.")
My restaurant selection was based on the crowd (packed at 6 PM), and dead animals hanging in the front window (apologies for the squeamish who like to think of meat as something that comes on styrofoam wrapped in plastic).
It was a place called Goldstone Noodle Restaurant
--pretty damn good. I had noodles with pork dumplings and BBQ duck pieces: the broth was great, and the noodles had a great authentic texture to them. The duck pieces were yummy (mmmm.... subcutaneous fat...), but some of them looked like they gave the new guy a duck carcass and a band saw and let him go to town (i.e., "Man... what part of the animal is this bone from?")
But on to the concert: Death (via Perlick) pointed out that the French Canadian Genesis tribute band The Musical Box
(they're in San Francisco on December 5th), re-creating the live show from the Genesis concept album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (1974). Yes, I admit it feels a bit goofy to go to see prog-rock tribute bands recreating concerts from when I was four years old. But damn... they were good.
The lead singer did a really good impression of early Peter Gabriel's voice (including the narration which tried to make the Lamb more understandable); the Mike Rutherford-equivalent had the two-necked guitar/bass instrument going. The Phil Collins analog actually had a really close physical resemblance. The Steve Hackett equivalent sat on a stool in the front and played. This group re-created the background slide show, stage show, props, and costumes--pretty damn impressive. Although I have to admit that the 'Lamia' looks a lot like a tall paisley cooling tower.
But the music. Wow.... the music was spot-on: a note-perfect rendition of the album. Unfortunately, one of the parts I was most interested in (Tony Banks-equivalent/keyboard) was blocked by the railing--I was leaning over trying to get a better look. The lead singer seemed like he was straining a bit at the high end--not sure if he's already blown out his voice on the tour or something.
A little amusing aside: I overheard some people talking about the music: "Isn't this where side 2 started?" "Yeah, if you had it on vinyl." There were lots of people way older than me, but there were actually a fair number of younger people--I was a bit surprised.
Anyway, back in the world of school and classes: I've been expecting a big turd to drop out of the sky onto me
--i.e., the last assignment and lab. The turd did arrive, but it's a bit smaller than expected. I'm pretty sure the prof realizes what he's throwing at us at the end of the semester (on top of our final projects), so he made them a bit lighter. A bit of a relief, but I'm thinking about what I need to finish in the next twelve days... yikes! Enough blogging; back to tooling.