Guest Post: Andrea Peneycad’s Magico Magico

January 17, 2011

I tried to trick Peneycad into starting a blog by being all tricky, like “hey that thing that happened to you is funny, you should type it” and she did and then I was all tricky again, like “oh hey great story, why not start a blog and put that story on it” and she was like “no”. So basically she’s the one who tricked me, because look, I’m posting it here.

I was on the subway on Saturday night. It was around 10:30 – kind of a lull time, just before the going-out crowd, um, goes out. I was coming back from a baroque- concert-slash-gay-marriage-fashion-show that I saw with my aunt and my 91-year-old grandmother. But that is entirely another story.

At maybe St. George station, this guy about my age got on the subway. He was incredibly nonremarkable in every aspect except for that he had kind of searching eyes, which are entirely unusual (and entirely undesirable) eyes to see on the subway. The rest of us were playing our required roles of Weary Torontonians On The Subway Who Don’t Notice Anyone Around Them.

I half watched him choose a seat not too far away from me, next to some other guy I dutifully hadn’t noticed either. He then sat down with an exaggerated ‘aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,’ a sound which I can compare only to letting the air out of a bicycle tire. This guy was happy to be taking a load off and wanted us to know about it.

In that exact moment, the man who had been sitting on my same bank of 3 seats got off the subway, and our deflated bicycle tire gave us all a look like ‘golly, isn’t that just Murphy’s law that a better seat opens up right when I sit down, well, gee, I’ll just snag it, it seems like the only thing to do, wouldn’t you agree?’ We wouldn’t agree (or disagree), we were Not Playing. He got up and crossed to sit down next to me, leaving a seat between us.

I focussed on my subway activity of choice, which is to send text messages to my friends, which eventually send themselves when I get to ground level, but once again, ‘aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.’ This sealed the deal for me. I had to keep my eyes to myself; this guy was looking for some sort of conversation opener, and it wasn’t going to take much.

The next time I looked up, he was sort of clumsily shuffling through a deck of cards. Not in a ‘wow, I’d really better get these cards mixed up; look, all the jacks are together’ kind of way, but more of a ‘if I do this for long enough, someone will ask me if I do magic’ vibe. We’d just passed Christie station, which meant I was getting off in 4 stops.

It sort of flashed through my mind that I could make this guy’s night by asking him if he did magic. He was basically wearing a sign that said ‘Ask Me If I Do Magic (Hint: The Answer Is YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)’ but then I thought better of it, and right in the middle of deciding not to, I heard myself say resignedly ‘so. do you play poker, or do you do magic.’

Him: ‘Why, I do magic!’
(I swear, he threw in the ‘why’ at the beginning of the sentence.)

Me: ‘Ok. I’m getting off at Dundas West.’

Him: ‘I’m getting off at Lansdowne! What you see here is a completely normal deck of cards.’

He lifted his deck of cards up, which he was awkwardly holding, as if to prove that there WAS something fishy up with these cards. He kind of clumsily half- fanned through them, so I could vaguely see some writing on at least one corner of the cards. ‘What I plan to do, right before your very eyes, is erase these cards. So, first thing we nee–
FFOOOOOOOMMM

He threw an ENORMOUS fireball into the air, then did some sort of awkward sleight-of- hand and, yup, he’d turned all the cards white. But who cares. I was still back at ‘WHOA. You just threw fire on the subway. Did you really just throw fire on the subway?’ Also, I was thinking how READY this guy actually was for me (and by ‘me’ I mean ‘anyone in the entire world’) to ask him about doing magic.

The other riders on the subway, god love ‘em, they were all playing their ‘I’m in Toronto, nothing’s gonna surprise me’ roles all the way to Oscar nominations. Not a blink or a raised eyebrow anywhere. Inspiring stuff.

With one stop till he needed to get off, I kind of expected that we were just gonna have the ‘thanks, that was neat’ ‘oh really? You really think so? Thanks a lot I have been working on it I am really into magic it’s not that easy you know thanks a lot’ conversation that happens after someone almost singes off your eyebrows, but he stuffed his hand into his pocket and pulled out 3 pieces of trick rope. Kleenex, receipts and instructions for other tricks came tumbling out too, but this guy didn’t care. He was on a mission.

‘I have in my hand 3 ropes. I’m the kind of guy who carries rope in his pocket, crazy eh?’

‘You certainly are prepared,’ I managed.

‘As you can see they’re all of differing lengths. I will now transform them to be the same length.’

He started doing some clumsy movements in his palm. ‘Next stop, Lansdowne Station’ came the recorded voice. He sped it up, and I kind of glanced away so he could hurry up with whatever secret moves he needed to do.

The subway rolled into the station, and he kind of threw the rope out of his hands ‘ and now you see they’re all the same length um bye!’ he grabbed his bag, stood up, and started scooping the receipts, tissue and the instruction card back into his pockets, sliding out the doors just as they were closing.

I laughed and laughed to myself. I tried to catch the eyes of the other passengers, but they weren’t having any of it.

Understandable, really.

– Andrea Peneycad doesn’t have her own blog.
(yet)

PS, Here is an unrelated link.

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Ransack The Universe – Vintage stuff, Toronto

November 8, 2010

The other day I wandered into a Toronto vintage shop, only to discover that (a) it’s full of full of cool stuff, and (b) it’s run by some people I’d already met. Small world (still wouldn’t wanna paint it, though, haaa).

The shop’s called Ransack the Universe and they sell all kinds of stuff made by indie artists and crafters, along with awesome vintage finds.

Look at these amazing vintage pictures I bought. I think they’re meant to be classroom art; I fell for them because they reminded me of early 1980s Sesame Street clips:

This one’s my favourite, look at that dreamy little face:

I also drooled over, but managed not to purchase, this wire-art Unicorn.

The shop is huge (a whole basement level) and totally packed with great stuff- books, kitsch, clothes, furniture. I browsed for almost an hour and still kept finding more cool things.

photo by Valerie Marchand.

I also liked these screen-printed T-shirts by local artist Michelle Bemister (that’s her on the right, accompanied by my old roommates-turned-models, Leslie and K).

Ransack the Universe is located at Bloor & Lansdowne (1207 Bloor, below 69Vintage). Mention you read this and get 10% your purchase for the month of November. Yaaaaa.


Scott Pilgrim action figures are pretty much perfect

October 27, 2010

Anyone who’s spent more than thirty seconds with me in the past two years has heard me go on and on and on about three things: cats, dodgeball and the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. I liked the movie quite a lot, too, but the books are way better. I find the artwork incredibly appealing, so I was pretty excited to see these adorable action figures, which are perfect renderings of the drawings. They’re so well-designed. I go out of my way not to buy ornamental things any more, since my apartment is smaller than a high-top sneaker, but listen, when I get my mansion there’s gonna be a whole room full of these little guys. Right alongside my lacquered collection of dodgeball team shirts and my seventeen cats.

PS, Wanna hear more about my dodgeball team(s)? Because I can and will tell you aaaall about them.

Thanks to Brummy for finding these!


They want it.

September 9, 2010

This video is why Toronto is awesome and I love it. There’s an awful lot of hating on Toronto that happens on the Internet (and I imagine also probably off it, or what the kids are calling ‘In Real Life,’) so, don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the trouble of disagreeing with me in the comments about the fact that Toronto Is Super Awesome. I feel like the war is won here: you can’t argue with a city that makes these kinds of ads. Nor should you. (Argue, that is. Nor should you argue with a city that makes these kinds of ads. We’re clear?)

Protip: The City of Toronto official version of this same video left out the ‘pretty blonde lady’ comment. Which is too bad, I think, but also so conscientious that it’s adorable. Oh Toronto, I could just pinch your cheeks.

[thedailywh.at]


VROOOOOM

July 23, 2010

Fun fact: many Torontonians don’t get their drivers’ licenses until adulthood. It’s a pretty transit-friendly city, and as a Toronto teen, you just don’t *need* to drive, the way one might in a more suburban or rural area. I grew up feeling very comfortable on public transit, and living very close to the subway, and very good at mooching rides, so I just never bothered to get my license.

Eventually it occurred to me that not being able to drive kind of sucks, so I started taking lessons. It turns out that learning as an adult is tricky. Where teens are blithe and reckless, adults are sweaty and neurotic, and trying to teach me to parallel park was a little like trying to teach a squirrel how to move a refrigerator, or trying to teach a hypochondriac how to identify poison berries in the woods by their bitter aftertaste, or trying to teach a blogger how to come up with a metaphor that makes even a tiny bit of sense.

Never mind all that. I finally found Ali, a calm teacher whose melodious and lightly-accented voice patiently eased words of driving wisdom into my thick skull, the result being that I passed my roadtest on the first try this afternoon.

I am the proud owner of a valid driver’s license, you guys! Time to throw out all my shoes because obviously I’m never walking anywhere again. NOW GET OUTTA MY WAY VRRROOOOOM NEEEEEEER BEEPBEEP!

PS, Jokes, guys! I am actually a very catful, I mean careful, driver. I like to sit reeeallly close to the wheel and lean right into the windshield and beep my horn a lot and swear. Like a tiny old lady with neurological problems.
Look for me, coming soon to a street near you at 50 km/h!
Or just listen, you’ll probably hear me yelling GAS! BRAKE! GAS! BRAKE! VROOOOOOOOOOOM


Happy Canada Day!

July 3, 2010

Belated, of course. Here, have a funny Kate Beaton comic.


Canadian Looting Fail

June 29, 2010

This happened during the Toronto G20 so-called “riots” this past weekend. Pretty sure it’s at Yonge & College, right in the centre of downtown Toronto. The only way this could be better is if the thief said “Sorry” after being wrestled to the curb.

Although, frankly, given the hellswamp that is Bell Canada customer service (I was on the phone with them for FIVE HOURS last week), I kind of wish it was a better company who was getting their little products returned by gentle Toronto vigilante wrestlers.

Thanks to Rebecca for Facebooking this.