Damn. Has it only been 7 days since I wrote last?
Three major things:
1) Stats is done
2) New uke
3) Toronto's on fire
1) I wrote my Stats final. It was as difficult as I as I expected, but I can't really say I aced it or bombed it. I just have to wait until the final grades are released. I'm a little nervous, but I did really well on my midterm, so it buys me some leeway.
2) I bought myself a new ukulele. It's a little different than the standard soprano I was budgeting for - a factory second of a longneck soprano became available, so for a little extra dosh I have a soprano-bodied uke with a concert-length neck, i.e. more frets. That's great, since I'm getting better all the time, and I'm able to play up the neck quite a bit now. With my standard soprano, though, my hand get mashed up against the body of the uke at even a barred B (on the 6th fret).
Anyhow, I'm really wound up about it. It should arrive this week. I am so pleased with myself to have saved for over a year. It's very satisfying.
It was cool talking to the guy in Hawaii. He had the greatest accent. It's very soft, and sounds a little like a Canadian native accent, but more Pacific, if that's an adjective. And he pronounced it "oo-koo-lay-lay" and "ook" instead of "you-ka-lay-lee" and "youk." I asked him to forgive my mainlander pronunciation, but I'd sound like a poser if I said it his way. I think he liked me.
3) The G20 is underway here in Toronto, and what an effing shitstorm it is. It's so gutting to see the damage these scumbags are doing. (I'm surprising myself with feelings of "my city!") I hate that most times the media lump all the marching people together as "protesters." The legit protesters aren't running around smashing stores, lighting fires, digging up cobblestones to throw at police, and scaring regular Torontonians.
I was at a friend's condo at College and Yonge for the US-Ghana World Cup match, but we didn't watch any of the game. I was with three journalists (one being the oft-mentioned friend M), two of which work for the CBC. One had itchy feet and said he had to get out into it. He took a camera and his phone and headed down Yonge. He called a few minutes later to say a mob was storming up Yonge, and they'd laid waste to Yonge and Dundas Square. We looked out the balcony and heard them before we saw them.
Here's what I heard: it sounded like a thwang of an arrow being released from a bow, but deeper, louder. I thought maybe they were throwing stuff at streetcar cables, because it sounded like a deep resonance of a tight cable being struck with a hammer. But there are no streetcar cables on Yonge. I had no idea what it was. Then the shattering started. It sounded like dozens of story-tall storefront windows were being destroyed. That's exactly what it was.
Then I put it together - the thwang was the sound of a huge pane of glass being struck but not yet breaking. It was the glass buckling and recoiling, and punching out a burst of sound energy. It was so menacing and ominous.
The mob of black-clad assholes came into view a moment later. They surged into the usually-busy intersection and targeted a Starbucks that was on the north-west corner. People were still inside when they smashed the windows. I suspect they went in and smashed from the inside because there were suddenly chairs and a table being used to smash the glass. I even saw one prick throw something at Fran's window. "Not Fran's!" said M. (Fran's is a Toronto landmark - Glenn Gould ate there early every morning.)
They continued west to Queen's Park and were out of view, but that's where the police all headed, and where the mounted units were. People were worried because four major hospitals are very close to there, including SickKids.
So, my friend on the street called in every few minutes to fill us in, my other friend would tweet what he was telling us, CBC would pick up what she was tweeting and broadcast it! I guess they're a reliable source, being employees. M and I would describe what we were seeing out the window and she would monitor the computer.
We saw a coach pull up and c. 50 police in riot gear get out and stand in formation. We saw panicked crowds running east. We saw a Canadian Blood Services van idling for a long time, as if poised for a triage centre.
The TTC was not running, so I got a cab home after things seemed to calm down. The thing is, we were quite north in the city, so we didn't expect to see what we saw. Yes, College and Yonge is still downtown, but relatively north, really, especially considering where the G20 convention is actually taking place - way down on Front Street.
I'm nervous more shit'll go down today, but I live way over in Little India, quite east. I'm not nervous for myself, but for others and for the city.