Ankle Update


I was back to see my surgeon today and I’m happy to report that my ankle is healing well, although I will be hobbling about on crutches for some time. As well, it will be quite a while before I do any driving, since it is my right leg in the cast. All those white lines in the photo of my X-Ray are screws holding me together. The smaller white lines on each side are the staples along the incisions. The surgeon had to go in on both sides, and as well as the screws, he had to sew up some ligaments.


I also got a new fiberglass cast today, which is much lighter than the plaster cast they put on after surgery. I go back to see the surgeon again in 4 weeks and we’ll go from there.


Since breaking my ankle, I’ve been spending most of my time in a large room that was built by the previous owners of our house above the garage. The only problem with this plan is that there was no railing at the landing at the top of the stairs from the ground floor to this room. As well, there was no railing along the short flight of stairs from the main level of the house down to the bathroom.

Today our friend Frank installed some new railings, which have immediately made it easier for me to get down to the main floor or the bathroom. I’m continuing to hang out most of the time in the one large room but now when I do need to tackle the stairs it is a much safer adventure.

On Monday morning I go back to see the doctor. Hopefully this injury is on track for healing. I’m trying to be a patient patient, but no two ways about it the restricted mobility is no picnic.


Dig it

The guy who dug that mystery tunnel up by York University – the one that has had all the news attention – has come forward saying he did it because it was his dream to build something like that; it was a fun project for him and his friends, a place to hang out.

To me that is an explanation I can understand, much more so than the various nefarious explanations floated in the media. I share that desire to build things that don’t have a rational use. After all, I built the imagination stations out behind our house. They are shelter-like but I didn’t intend them to be shelters. I don’t know what I intended them for really. I just thought it would be fun and interesting to build structures out of garden waste and other things found out back.  I don’t think of them as art, or specifically as sculpture but I can see how some people would look at them that way. They are just imagination stations.

I don’t  think the fellow who built the mystery tunnel thought of his project as an art project, but it seems to me that it shares some of the same spirit as some of the earthworks sculpture that has been done over the years. The most famous example must be Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Smithson built this huge jetty – 1500 feet long and 15 feet wide – into the Great Salt Lake way back in 1970.

There are also various so-called folk artists who re-purposed things around them. I’m thinking of people like Felix “Fox” Harris, whose creations we saw at the Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaument. Whatever he thought he was doing, I bet Mr. Harris never expected the things he built to be in a museum, treated as art.

For over 20 years Harris crafted his sculptures of recycled materials and displayed them in his yard, creating a forest-like environment. Harris was inspired to make art by a vision from God telling him to set aside his old life and make a new one.

It turns out the mystery tunnel never got finished. Elton McDonald was considering expanding it, adding a couple rooms, maybe bringing in a television. I love the spirit and the ambition. He was really making a place, marking a place for himself. When would he have stopped? When it got big enough, would he have furnished it, hung pictures on the wall, installed a toilet? We’ll never know now as it has been filled in. Too bad the powers that be were so quick to do that.


Meet me with your black drawers on….

Jackie Richardson sang Meet me with your Black Drawers On tonight at the Salah Bachir show, fronting the Toronto All-Star Big Band – a show-stopper, and just one of many highlights at this gala to support the Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre here in Toronto.

Gavin Crawford did some stand-up, Louise Pitre sang, Billy Newton Davis sang, Theo Tams sang, Lorraine Segato sang. Then there was Man Murray…

Tuffy P with Deb Pierce AKA Man Murray
Tuffy P with Deb Pearce AKA Man Murray

To explain what Deb Pearce AKA Man Murray does on stage does not do it justice. Man appears in full polyester regalia and lip-syncs to Ann Murray songs. It is disarmingly funny and wonderful.

Of course the important thing is that Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex are making the new dialysis centre at St. Joseph’s happen, with a little help from their friends and the broader community. Great job guys!

Big Night Tonight

Stepping OutThe Big One – benefit for The Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto is tonight.  Going to be amazing!Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 9.51.58 AM




Landing in Toronto

IMG_3034I seem to be a magnet for unfortunate flying experiences lately. Today my flight from Ottawa to Toronto was (according to the web) delayed, but when I got to the airport, the folks at the counter knew nothing about that. One of them said, “Do you believe everything you read online?” Then came the announcement we were to take off on-time, followed a few minutes later by the announcement that we were waiting for the flight attendants to arrive so we would be delayed (they likely checked online just like I did).

Finally they loaded us on the plane…..only to park on the tarmac. The captain told us only one runway was operating at Pearson due to the weather so they couldn’t take off. He promised us an update in half an hour. At some point a flight attendant came around and offered us water, which I welcomed. Eventually we did take off, but that isn’t the end of the story.

We circled Toronto for a while, then came in close for a landing but aborted, and climbed back up in the sky. The flight attendant announced that we did this because another plane had not cleared the runway. Scary. So we circled for a while longer and finally landed. There was no in-flight service on this flight outside of the water. My flight was scheduled for 6:30 and it was after 10:00 when we pulled up to the gate.

IMG_3038I had an interesting experience at the airport going to Ottawa as well. At security, Buddy scanned my boarding pass and told me my gate had changed to Gate 20 from Gate 35. He was a busy guy and told this to many people. The only problem is that it wasn’t true. I mentioned it to the person at the desk and asked what happened. She said, “I guess somebody made an honest mistake.”

IMG_3033Finally, I would like to mention a restaurant experience in Ottawa. It was at a popular brew-pub/restaurant. The food was actually pretty good. The problem came when I ordered coffee. It tasted foul to me, and I thought it was because I had just finished a beer and perhaps the flavours clashed. However, I continued to drink this foul brew and when I got near the bottom, there was a whitish gelitanous mass about 1 inch in diameter bobbing around in my cup. It was disgusting. I have no idea what it was.

I’m happy to report I did not get sick from drinking this concoction at least, and I’m thankful for that.  I gave the cup to the waitress who took it to her manager and returned in a few minutes. She told me since I already paid she couldn’t comp me anything I had ordered but she would be happy to offer me a free dessert. Really what I was expecting was for the manager to come out of his cave and apologize for the goo in my coffee. I think they should have been as horrified as I was.  After all, it was unidentified and I might have become very ill as a result. We were leaving and I declined the dessert. I don’t think I’ll go back to The 3 Brewers in Ottawa.

Toronto Tops

In the news today, the Economist has named Toronto and Montreal the top two places to live on the planet. Safety, livability (whatever that means) and cost were key factors considered. I’ve lived in and around Toronto all my life and I haven’t considered living anywhere else. I think we have a great city in many respects, but I’m a little surprised at the designation because it’s getting to be an expensive place to live; public transit hasn’t kept pace with the city while driving and parking in the city has become increasingly difficult; and we have a climate that can be inhospitable for a significant chunk of the year.

On the plus side, we enjoy a wealth of cultural resources, better safety than many cities of comparable size, loads of great places to dine out, a Great Lake, and wonderfully diverse neighbourhoods.

For my friends here in Toronto – are you surprised the Economist thinks we’re tops? And for those of you who live elsewhere, where do you live, and how do you think your city stacks up against Hogtown?

Fiction on Ello

I’ve been messing about with a bit of fiction for some time, since approximately the dawn of the last ice age. One day I hope to finish it. The story is set in 1982 in Toronto. The narrator is Lazarus Allen, but we just call him Lazy. Lazy is a burnt out musician working in a bottling plant who becomes involved with a polka-punk band.

From time to time I plan to publish either an excerpt or a related story over on my Ello page. I just want to see how bits of it sit on a page. For those of you who visit that space, you can find me @eugeneknapik. I posted a story over there a few minutes ago. For now, I’m only sharing these infrequent excerpts on Ello.

If you need an Ello invitation, by the way, I have a few. I can fix you up until they’re gone.