A Windy Day Bike Rider Deserves Lunch

Yes I did. It was a cloudy, windy Saturday in Toronto and I wanted something different for lunch than coffee and a cookie at Starbucks.

I decided to head to Charles Street between Yonge Street and Bay Street for a plate of okinomiyaki at the Okinomiyaki House.

I’ve never had it before but passed the restaurant plenty of times over the past 20 years. Today was the day I ate okinomiyaki.

Okinomiyaki and a Coke

Okinomiyaki is a savoury pancake filled with chopped onion and cabbage. I ordered beef so my pancake also had sliced pieces of fried beef too. On top a sweet and tangy barbeque sauce is spread along with a dollop of mayonnaise. It was delicious and only cost $10.00 Canadian with a can of Coke and tip.

Then I pedalled against the wind to get home. Ugh. So tired now.

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and chilly so my bike ride will take me to Soma chocolate shop in the Distillery district for Mexican hot chocolate. No, I’m not bringing you a sample. Go there yourself and enjoy the spicy elixir.

Another critter captured on a memory card

I rode my bike 16 km (10 miles) today through Mount Pleasant Cemetery, along the Beltline, and down the ravine in the Cedarvale Park. It was a lovely day — a bit of sunshine, warmth, some cloud and cool breezes. I enjoyed today’s ride and managed to take a terrible photo of what I think is a Baltimore Oriole and a photo of an animal’s den.

 

I think this is a Baltimore Oriole

I think this is a Baltimore Oriole

The den is quite interesting. I only noticed it on the Beltline (I won’t say where exactly because I wouldn’t want someone finding it to ruin it. It’s not harming anyone along the trail) when I saw an animal zip across the trail. It went by too quickly for me to figure out if it was a small dog, a cat, or a rabbit. 

I wonder who lives here?

I wonder who lives here?

It’s pretty obvious an animal didn’t build and decorate this den by itself. Someone put together the den and set up a bed, food bowls, and water  bowls for the occupant. I only saw it because of the mystery critter zipping by 10 feet in front of me. When I rode past I looked to my side and saw the den. I had to get off my bike and look at both the den and maybe a glimpse at the den’s owner. No luck. But finding it was interesting, especially since I’ve ridden by countless times for years and never noticed it. Hopefully anyone who sees it leaves it be too. Luckily the brush will grow and hide the den very soon.  

My guess is a dog bides his time in this den while the owner is away at work. 

I took these 2 pictures with my Sony 4 meg point and shoot. If I didn’t have that I never would of taken a decent photo with my cell phone. Now, the thing is, the point and shoot took so long to do it’s little song and dance when it’s turned on, that I nearly missed taking the bird photo. I wasn’t even sure if I got the shot of the bird because I couldn’t tell on the camera’s small screen. The bird flew away a moment after I took this photo, but I had to wait until I got home and plugged the memory card into the computer to find out if I actually got a picture of it. If I had my Nikon D40X and the 55-200 mm lens I wouldn’t have this worry, and odds are a much better picture since I would’ve seen what I was doing through the longer lens. I guess I’ll be taking the D40X and the long lens out next time.

Please vote for my photo!!

Yellow Pages is having a photo contest and one of mine is in the running for May! They found it on flickr.com and I’d love to have more than 4 votes (although I love and appreciate each of those votes). So please vote for me!! Here’s the link:  http://www.ypgphoto.com/2009/may/toronto-on-laura-vingada/  

This is what the photo looks like:

I took it last summer. It’s a first bridge at the north end of the Don River Trail near Sunnybrook park. I think the Don River Trail is my favourite bike riding trail in Toronto. There is only 1 street crossing on the 12+ km from North Toronto to the lakeshore of Lake Ontario, it’s paved, has lots of critters, birds, and wildflowers, the Don River, and fairly flat for fast riding. I’m already looking forward to my next ride!

Spring limps in like a winter weary Torontonian

The majority of the snow has melted.

The Don and Humber rivers are flowing like mad towards the lake.

I rode my bike a full month earlier than last year, and exactly 4 months after putting my bike away for winter. I’ve racked up 90 km already.

This past Sunday I rode to the beach in the east end of Toronto and remembered to bring along my camera.

My bike on the beach.

The beach was full of people on Sunday because it was sunny the entire afternoon and about 9 degrees celsius. It was busier on the western edge of the beaches between Woodbine and Ashbridge’s Bay.

Dog footprints!

Stone inuktuks.

I hope spring continues to get milder and milder as we get closer to June.

Catching up on my Fish-eye Lomo photos

In my quest to find ever new and exciting bike rides through Toronto, I found a challenging one you can find starting at Moore Street near Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It isn’t long, maybe 2 or 3 km to South Drive and Glen Road in Rosedale. But the trail at the start is steep and rutted, a little too steep and rutted for me and I walked 100 metres or so until the trail evened out. The last half kilometre is a doozy. I walked up a seriously rutted trail that I couldn’t possibly ride up. And I was eaten by mosquitoes. They love me. 

After a simply terrifying ride thorough the Moore Park Ravine, I found the Don Valley Brick Works Park. I’d heard of it, but never visited. 

(Okay, maybe the ride was terrifying only to me. I passed by a number of walkers and runners who looked perfectly at ease as they made their way through the ravine. But, in my defense, I’ve never ridden through the ravine before, and it was the day after the Don River and it’s creek brothers flooded portions of the valley and I’m not used to riding on slick elevated trails with a steep drop further down the valley. And I’m a sissy. There! I wrote it! I was terrified. Simply sick to my stomach as I rode cautiously through the valley. Everyone else was fine. I wasn’t. Sheesh.)

Don Valley Brick Works Park in Toronto

Brickworks building from the top a corrugated metal staircase.

Bit of river, bit of greenery, bit of blue sky.

I like the way the sunshine bounced off the lens. I have to remember that the fish-eye lomo camera takes better pictures the closer you get to the subject. Intrude, my friend, intrude.

After I took these photos, I continued along the trail on my bike. The trail is beautiful! Incredibly it’s smack in the centre of the city and you rarely feel like you are near a major highway. I felt fortunate to see a couple of finches, butterflies, a chipmunk, as well as hear some mysterious scrabbling in the bushes (I didn’t dwell, I sped up a little). 

Along side Bayview Avenue, and in the distance is the Don Valley Parkway

In the distance is the Don Valley Parkway.

I had a few exposures left on my roll and I knew I had to take a picture of a house on Shaftesbury Avenue that has a Tin Man and family sculpture on the attic balcony. Once again the lesson learned is get as close as you can to your subject with your fish-eye lomo camera. I may need to scratch that sentence on the back of my camera…

Tin Man family on balcony.

And a couple of shots of wildflowers growing on the side of the road:

Now I have to put calamine lotion on my bug bites and eat supper. I am starving! 

 

How to upload photos from a lomo camera — as asked by Googlers

I noticed “how to upload photos from a lomo camera” was listed several times as search engine terms on my blog stats page.

So, here it is!

It was incredibly easy. When I dropped the film off at the developers, I asked that the photos be saved on a CD. When I brought home my lomo photos and CD (and it felt just like Christmas, let me tell ya), I slid the CD into my laptop and imported them straight into iPhoto (yes, I am a Apple Addict). Then uploaded them to Flickr and here. 

Yes, it was that easy!

For non-Apple people I imagine it is very similar. Just slide in the disk and follow the directions to your photo application.

From now on I am not having the photos printed. I’ll get them burned to a disk. Less waste, fewer boxes of photos hanging around, and the CDs are thin and easy to store. I’ll only print off favourites.

Fish eye in the cemetary

Next week in Lomo Land: I’m almost done not only a roll of Fish-eye lens photos, but also the first roll of Oktomat film! This is the most thrilling part of Lomography — what weird, wild and original photos did I make. Can’t wait!!

Trees Shackled for Public Safety

Trees Imprisoned On Spadina Avenue.

Spadina Avenue’s recent spate of tree attacks have halted since the half dozen trees were shackled in place late last week.

Three recent attacks by the small, yet agressive trees were the reason for this latest attempt to control their behaviour.

“I saw that little one with the scruffy leaves approach a mum with a stroller.” One witness, who didn’t want to be identified, acounts. “It was walking slowly behind the lady, kind of stepping on the heels of her shoes. And those roots have big knuckles on ’em, so it hurt. I could tell.”

The mum in question notified the city’s parks departments and complained, citing that this wasn’t the first time this tree has treated her rudely.

Jane Jacobiak, a tree sociologist, commented on the state of the trees “Well this was bound to happen. The trees are rebelling against the people. Trees are supposed to have plenty of fresh air, clean water and deep soil. They’re prevented from forming deep roots and they’re angry about it.”

Locals are demanding that the city control these wayward trees. One neighbourhood business operator said “The city should cut ’em down! I’m tired of cleaning up after those slobs. Always dropping leaves, shedding bark and bits of branches. I try and get here early to brush up their seed pods in the spring and fall. Dirty gits! Kids and nice people walk by here everyday!”

The city has stated that none of the trees will be removed. For now the trees movements are limited by chains around their trunks and concrete slabs near the roots.