Started out today with a bit of a walk around town (heading to buy office supplies). On the way, I saw a cardboard sign on the side of a car for bagels (arrow pointing down alleyway between two industrial buildings). Bagels? Wow... I wasn't expecting that--pleasantly surprising to see an actual bagel store. It turns out it was a tiny operation, just a bakery really, where they also sell on three days of the week. Very casual--the baker let me know, "Yeah, just grab some bagels and pay; there's change on the coffee maker!" Weird.
Anyway, the bagels were excellent... I was worried I would be stuck having friggin' goyische dinner rolls with a hole for the next two years. [later added note] In fact, some UW prof who has lived in New York and Israel wrote a letter to the local paper
about the bakery.
So... when are people coming up here for a coffee and bagel hour?!
I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised--did some web research on Jewish populations
in various countries:
United States 5,800,000 288296153 2.0%
Canada 360,000 31805954 1.1%
However, having lived in New York and Boston (#1 and #8 world Jewish cities, respectively), I consider myself pretty lucky to have decent bagels here. Toronto's #12, FYI.
During the walk home, on the street, I spotted a few shards of a toilet that was being thrown out in the trash... I could recognize some parts of the flush mechanism. Then more pieces. Then the replacement wax ring package. Then chunks of the seat, no bigger than 2" in any dimension. Stopped, and turned around--it was a debris field about 40 feet long, running down the street. I wondered if somebody did a hit and run on the toilet at the side of the road. Or if somebody had a really hard time getting the thing out of the house, and took out his aggressions on it. I could just imagine the FDR (flush data recorder): "At 1351 hours, there was a noise and overpressure signal consistent with an explosion in the fill tank. Recording stopped shortly after that time."
After that, my advisor took me on a grand tour of Many Useful Stores in the area that sell mechanical parts useful to our research (read: bearings, wheels, motors, fans, tools, and an immense amounts of other useless junk).
The first stop was Tractor Supply Company
(the farm supply store)--if you're looking for a 500 gallon plastic tank, well, they have them sitting in the parking lot right outside. Everything from farm machinery tires to tow straps, animal antibiotics, electric generators, V-belts and pulleys... pretty impressive to check out.
The next stop, mostly for amusement value, was the KW Surplus Store
--as noted on their website, "Our Russian Tank is an easy way to spot our store while travelling on Victoria Street!!" (yes... they have a Russian T-54
parked out front). Immense amounts of overruns, crappy Chinese tools, obsolete computer equipment, paintball accessories, bins of plastic pieces--many things that are probably useless to most people, but probably incredibly useful to a select few people.
We had a brief stop at the University of Waterloo's new Architecture School
(new campus--the department has been around for a while). It's a gorgeous location, right on the Grand River running through the middle of Cambridge, Ontario, located in a renovated silk mill. The bridges and riverwalk have an incredibly European feel to them--see Page 3 of the website--I have to head back there and hang out sometime.
Last stop was Victoria Auto--not only automotive parts, but tools, welding equipment, vacuum cleaner guts, random automotive body parts, a big box of assorted mufflers... yet another entertaining and useful store.
I'll have to come up with some projects to make use of this wealth of knowledge... but shall I use my powers for good or for evil? Muahaha.