Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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Water under the bridge

Had a sublime moment today in the local park (Serena Gundy). Just last summer I realized a secret entrance that I’d never known about. Also, I used to go away for summers when I was a kid. These days, I improvise.


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TV and Church

Image via Tumblr

So today I finally got around to taking the wheels into the shop. We had four slow leaks.

The auto shop is pretty cool. In a grubby end of town under gentrification. The shop has been around for years, unchanged, and is pure Starsky and Hutch. The characters coming and going… I swear I could write a successful TV pilot from just a few hours there!

But I didn’t stay the whole time. I had to get away. So I walked to the downtown core, which is getting more congested every year. Felt more like Chicago or New York instead of my once modest Toronto.

After an icky visit to the Eaton Centre – don’t like it much any more – I hopped over to the newly renovated St. Michael’s Cathedral. I haven’t been to Mass for about a week and felt like a fish out of water… happily diving back into the tank after almost thirsting to death for the waters of heaven.

But it was a huge change from the auto shop.

Leaving, I noticed a brand new flatscreen monitor by the exit. It seemed strange and unnecessary. But what do I know?

I just took the picture…


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Boxing day, my father’s birthday

Poor dad. We were always so hungover or just plain tired on his birthday. I don’t drink alcohol any more but still feel fairly wiped this morning. It’s all the excitement, preparation and texts texts texts! Will be nice to take it easy for a while and settle back into my usual routine.

My dad was a proud Canadian. He went to Upper Canada College and then the University of Toronto. A civil engineer, he settled into business and worked for a couple of large companies. He did well but found that teaching was more to his liking. Ending up at Ryerson university, he became the Dean of Business. But he didn’t take himself all that seriously. When friends came over they’d joke around, lightly calling him “Dean” and he’d always play along.

After retirement he and my mother had a wonderful time doing volunteer work in the 1990s with a Canadian organization (CESO/SACO) helping Eastern Europeans develop Western style businesses. He and mom went everywhere: Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, to name a few places. Dad and mom were well liked by Dad’s students and seminar participants, as evident from the old, analog photos they brought home.

I often think it ironic that dad tried so hard to help Eastern Europeans and I was literally bit in the a** by one at the University of Ottawa.

In this photo dad is visiting my great aunt in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a librarian there. A very kind, saintly woman who eventually moved up to Toronto. Because dad had been to UCC, he enlisted for Officer Training during WW-II.

Here he is, ready to go and risk his life for democracy and freedom.

dad_as

William James Loudon Clark

Happy Birthday Dad! Even though you’re not here physically, I believe you’re around.


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Old Building in Old Toronto

St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto recently reopened after seemingly years of being closed for reno (I’m not sure exactly how long it was closed). I’m happy to be able to go back, deep into the downtown of Toronto to attend Mass. It’s a nice big old church, although the reno arguably stripped away some of its old world charm. But that’s a topic for another day. Today I just want to post a nice old building that I saw the other day on the street about ten minutes walk from St. Michael’s.

Pembroke Street Toronto (near Shuter and Jarvis).

Pembroke Street Toronto (near Shuter and Jarvis) via Tumblr


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21st Century Signs and Urban Changes

Image via Tumblr

Now that I’ve finally got a good mobile phone that takes nice pics, I’m beginning a new venture, one that has been percolating for some time now. Actually two ventures. One is a photo series called “21st Century Signs.” The other is a series called “Urban Changes.”

21C Signs will chronicle signs that catch my eye as I go about my daily business. I won’t crop or filter the images. It’s just a quick historical snapshot. The series might seem unexceptional today, but in the future I think folks will be interested.

Urban Changes is about how my city, Toronto Canada, is changing soooo fast. Old buildings are disappearing by the truckload. New buildings are coming up and altering our skyline like never before. So this series will outline abandoned, soon to be trashed, and glittering new structures.

You can keep up by simply coming here because it’ll all be on Twitter. And my personal Twitter feed is at top right of this page. I was lucky to grab the name “@MikeClark” at Twitter early in the game, when Twitter was just taking off. If you want to see the whole thing, here’s the link:


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What have we done to the night?

Image via Tumblr

So if you read yesterday’s post you’ll know that I have a smart phone after years of doing without. I must admit, I like having the phone and camera all in one. I like taking pictures. And many times I “saw” something but didn’t have my camera with me. So I didn’t get the shot. But now I should be able to chronicle anything halfway interesting.

I might be a little camera crazy for the next few days. But can you blame me? My nieces and nephews have been pulling out their smart phones while I’ve humbly abided by our old motorola v220 (ancient phone). Well, things change. And the dumb ox is finally smartening up. (Theologians might get that pun >> click here for explanation).


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fly beyond

via Flickr

Christmas Day 2015 in Toronto. The weather has been unusually warm. The steady din and chaos of an unprecedented construction boom has – for a day – disappeared. My walk is quiet and sunny. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have stopped to take this scene.