….we’re resting our brains.
The number of people who visit this blog has risen over the past few months, but hardly anyone comments over here. Was it something I said?
This evening we sallied forth across the invisible border between Long Branch (or The LB as our neighbour Kate calls it) and New Toronto to a new joint called Ember. We used to go there when it was Long Grain Pan Asian food, but that’s ancient South Etobicoke history and Ember is the new kid in town.
The attraction tonight was live music – our friend and neighbour Chris Plock was playing along with a guitar player. Chris sings and plays all the saxes and clarinet and flute. Steve on guitar also sings, and these guys sound great together. It was especially fun because some other neighbours, Kate and Leon and Jolene and Phil came too. (by the way I realized tonight that I haven’t exactly told my neighbours I’ve had this 27th Street blog going since we moved here several years ago….surprise!)
For us it had to be a short evening, both because we get up at 5:30 weekday mornings so we generally can’t stay up too late, but as well, Tuffy P still needs lots of rest – regular readers will know that a little over a month ago, she became a liver donor, donating the right lobe of her liver to help give someone who needed one to live a fighting chance. It may have been a short night out but it was a fun one.
I’ve likely confused some readers by talking about South Etobicoke and Long Branch and New Toronto – and I didn’t even bring up Mimico. Maybe I should try to explain.
A number of years ago, Toronto was amalgamated. The area in which I live was once the Borough of Etobicoke, quite a big area on the west side of the city from the lake to Steeles Avenue on the north. Toronto proper is to the east and Mississauga is to the west. Etobicoke itself, along the lake, had three distinct “villages”, once upon a time. These were:
- Mimico on the east – from Fleeceline Rd and Louisa St to the east to Dwight Ave to the west and north to maybe Evans Ave (?).
- New Toronto in the middle, from Dwight to 23rd St on the west
- And Long Branch, from 23rd St west to Etobicoke Creek in Marie Curtis Park.
At some point in the 60s, the three villages were amalgamated into Etobicoke and in 1998 Etobicoke was amalgamated into Toronto. In spite of the efforts of politicians to chunk everything together (with a promise of big savings which somehow didn’t materialize, but that’s another story), residents around here still identify as part of Etobicoke and as part of one of the three villages. We might say we live in South Etobicoke or we might say we live in Long Branch, or if we’re talking with someone who has no idea about those places, we might even say we live in Toronto.
Our neighbourhoods are unique because they border Lake Ontario on the south and they are isolated from the rest of the city by both the rail tracks and the QEW/Gardiner expressway. One of these days, I’ll devote some space to some of the history around these parts.
Tonight, Kate was saying we should do a blog called The LB (for Long Branch) all about life in The LB. That’s when I mentioned that I run the 27th Street blog. I suppose I should have spread the word about it ages ago, but I guess I figured people would find this place if they’re interested. I know there are a few lurkers out there who live in the area. I post regularly as you know, but I don’t put much effort (translate: any) into promoting this blog. Of course there’s room for more than one blog on 27th Street – or maybe I can convince Kate to make some posts on this blog! Perhaps I’ll simply send her an invitation to post here. Stay tuned.
I’ve been snapping quite a few Instagrams lately and most of these don’t make it onto blog posts. This evening I added an Instagram widget to the sidebar of my blog. You’ll see 10 thumbnails on the sidebar to the left. If you want to see any of the photos full-size, just click on any of them and you can see them on Instagram, and if you feel so inclined, you’re welcome to leave comments there or click the little heart if you just want to say, hey I like this one.
Thanks to those of you who ventured an opinion on this. I’ve brought back my blogroll. I edited it back severely and I hope that’s OK. If your blog isn’t there, it’s likely because you’re not blogging with any regularity, and if I keep a list of links I want it to be current. If your blog was there before and isn’t now, and you’re regularly blogging, drop me a note and I’ll add you back. If I don’t visit your blog, I’m not about to add it, so please don’t ask. Now that the blogroll is back, I won’t be able to resist building it up some, so expect to see some new blogs there in the coming weeks.
While I was in there messing about with the blog, I also added a header image, just for fun.
As regular visitors know, I had a blogroll here for years until I switched to a “shelf” format for a while, a format that did not support one. I’ve had mixed feelings about the current value of blogrolls. I find that on most blogs they are hopelessly out of date and don’t really reflect the places the blogs’ owners visit. On my own blog, when I took mine off, I had a closer look and realized that many of the blogs I linked to were no longer active. I would say disappearing blogs has been a general trend, at least among bloggers I’ve followed over the years.
Along the way I packed in the shelf format. I liked it at first but there were problems with it that turned out to outweigh the advantages – so I’ve reverted to a more standard blogging format. When I adopted the latest format, I didn’t even think about establishing a new blogroll and nobody has mentioned it to me – that is until today.
Today I received an email from a fellow who had some kind words about my blog, but who lamented the fact that I had no blogroll. He suggested I start one. Well, OK, somebody out there cares and I’m paying attention. This is what I’ll do. If I receive 8 comments on this blog (no, comments on Facebook don’t count) from (8 different) bloggers who say yay to a blogroll here on 27th Street, I’ll start one up and do my best to maintain it better than I have in the past. If not, I’ll assume there is limited value to having one and I’ll carry on without.
This blog was viewed 28,000 times in 2013. In total there have been over 118,000 views since I closed down Mister Anchovy’s and started 27th Street. Thanks very much for coming. I hope you visit again soon. Comments welcome.
I tried the Shelf experiment with this blog for a host of reasons, not the least of which was a kind of desire to break away from the way I’ve done things in the past. I had hoped that it would work very well on tablets and phones as well, and wanted to consider other devices in my choice of theme. It turned out it didn’t work so well on the iPad. For some reason on some longer posts it didn’t want to scroll.
I initially liked the way the format chunked out each post, but I confess I tired of it much quicker than I ever anticipated. And so I’m back to messing about with another theme I haven’t used before. This one is the 2014 WordPress default theme. It’s a magazine format, but for now I’m not using the featured posts but instead treating it more as a traditional blog. I like the design and I like the featured images capability and the nice large images.
I haven’t really settled on details like colour and font so you can expect I’ll try out some different ones for size in the coming days. Fortunately I have a patient and understanding little core of readers.
Now to again consider if I need a blogroll. There were almost no complaints when the previous theme eliminated it completely, and when I went back to look at my old one, I realize that it, like almost everybody’s blogroll I look at, is hopelessly out of date and full of links to blogs that are no longer active. I’m open for suggestions on this. I’ve considered creating a page with fewer links but perhaps including a little something about each of the blogs I do feature. If I do that the rule will have to be that only active blogs stay.
As usual I welcome comments on the new format. And to those who hated the previous ones but were too polite to say so, thanks.
When I changed my blog format, I eliminated much of the stuff that was sitting on the sidebar, convinced by my blog stats that very few of my readers clicked anything on the sidebar. This of course brought out of the woodwork those folks who really liked having that material around. I’m still considering adding a page that holds a list of recommended blogs and some other side-bar like material. That way, the links will still be around for those who want it – just a click away. If you would like to see a blogroll back, somewhere around this joint, comment and let me know.
Meanwhile, I thought I would occasionally make posts pointing to blogs I like for one reason or another. Today, I’m going feature two blogs I came across early on. Many of the bloggers I stumbled across when I first became interested in blogging have moved on to other interests. On the other hand, a handful of them, like the two I’m featuring today, are still going strong. They’re comfort food blogs for me, always there, dependable, always interesting, ever eclectic. Both these bloggers are tour guides to fascinating and unusual corners of cyberspace.
After mulling it over for some time, I’ve made some changes to this blog. I may make more adjustments to it in the coming days. For instance I want to get my brain around what to do about a blogroll. I could create a page and make the page a menu item and maintain a list on that page. When I went through my blogroll before I made the changes, it was obvious that I hadn’t updated it in some time. There were a number of blogs on there that simply aren’t active anymore and haven’t been active for some time. Nobody has complained to me about that and I suspect nobody has noticed. I need to chew on how I’m going to approach links. One of these days I’ll get around to making a custom logo….but not today.
I hope you like the renovations.