Category Archives: Activities

Go Topless Day

I’ve just learned of International GoTopless Day , promoting Topfreedom around the world, and am intrigued.  Not, as my wife thinks, because “it’s a chance to see boobies”, but because it’s a struggle for freedom over one’s body.  I know first hand what it is like to be told the choices I make about my body are not tolerated, or permitted by authorities.  I support these people in their struggles around the world.  Their take on things is one of equality: “As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Or else, men should have to wear something to hide their chests”.

gotopless toronto announcementIn Toronto (for its sixth year), where it isn’t against the law, but there is still stigma and discomfort doing so, the International GoTopless Day will be at Ashbridge’s Bay Park (Corner of Hubbard Blvd and Hammersmith Ave so further to the east past Kew Gardens (map)) from noon (or maybe 11am as some places claim) to 4pm on Sunday August 25, 2013.   The GoTopless Coordinator can be contacted at 416-691-6911 before noon on Sunday August 25th for more information?

Some people who have made press over this in the past are Moira Johnston, advocate and activist for a woman’s right to go topless, Holly Van Voast who has an upcoming film call Topless Shock Syndrome, and Phoenix Feeley who went to jail and went on a hunger strike to fight for her rights.  An interview with Moira can be seen in Episode #10 of Street Epics, and on BeastTV.

A facebook event for International Go-Topless Day is available, a map of many many events around the globe is on the organizers site..

An uncomfortable aspect of these events, for me, is that it is sponsored by Raelians.

Here is a funny cartoon by Scott Metzger

Scott Metzger obscene cartoon

Scott Metzger obscene cartoon

A question to you all: do your young daughters go topless, or not, and if so why or why not?

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Jillian Jiggs Storymob

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Yesterday we participated in a StoryMob.  What’s that you ask?orangePirate_sm-150x150

“StoryMobs are where great kids’ books meet flash mobs with a dash of Mardi Gras thrown in.  A story mob is inspired by an exceptional children’s book and allows for participation in a variety of ways. These may include costumes & props, copies of the book, simple choreography, musical instruments and vocal parts.”

I learned of it through our love of Fancy Pants Kids, whose Mompreneur Gretel Meyer Odell is one of the organizers of the StoryMobs in Toronto.  We were eager to participate and lucky the timing worked out for us so we could enjoy this family friendly theatre-esque event in Toronto.

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Yesterday‘s book was Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman, which was a great choice due to all the dressing up that the characters in the book do, along with the refrain: “Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs, it looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!”.

I really wish I could have gotten video of the experience itself, but when you’re in the middle of it, as a reader (of two lines I was :-D) and costume changer of the kids, I wasn’t able too.  Hopefully down the road a video will be released of it from some of the many other participants so you can see what it is like in true flash mob style.  The passers-by who were walking the closed down Queen St for the Beaches Jazz Festival seemed to enjoy the street theatre they happened upon.

Thanks to children’s book store Ella Minnow for being a back-drop and anchor for the event.

The Children's Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it "LMNO".

The Children’s Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it “LMNO”.

Their window display for the Storymob.

Their window display for the Storymob.

If you’re keen to try this out yourself, they will be organizing two more this summer here in Toronto.   And yeah, why not start your own local one where ever you might be?

Update: More photos on the ‘official flickr‘, and Stephanie Mclellan’s  blog (you have to go fullscreen to see them all) and facebook (if you can handle the gif formated images).

What is your issue re: wearing shoes?

A facebook thread discussing this quotation “Shoes do no more for the foot than a hat does for the brain.” (which I read here) prompted this earnest question: “What is your issue re: wearing shoes?”  Here is my reply.

Hi Jen, thanks for the inquiry.  I had prepared a new reply to use: “why don’t you wear a corset”, but I’ll go easy on you 😉

Most importantly, it feels right.  Shoes have never felt right.  Have you ever experienced that pleasure of being barefoot — be it in the grass, or after a long day on your feet and you’re stretching out your toes, or having a foot rub?  Why is it people continually make themselves uncomfortable?

I have a philosophy called the escalation of convenience: if you do something because it’s convenient, you’ll soon do something else and then something else and then something else and after a while you won’t know where or why you did it in the first place.  My explorations with shoes have fallen into this model.  Most people in our culture never question the fashion that tells them to be shod, and as a result they suffer for it (see my succinct comment about corsets above).  Greatly.  Ever had sore knees, or a bad back?  A foot infection, or an ingrown toe nail, twisted an ankle?  Why?

Like bottled water, shoes have a ‘manufactured demand‘ — the producers of them want you to wear them, and wear them out.  In general, they are a fashion accessory that is unhealthy for you.

I find the information presented by Dr. Daniel Howell helpful to those curious about it  (start on that page, and other pages on his ‘resources’ tab).  Check out his The Barefoot Book if you’re keen.

As you might have noticed in the past though, whenever the topic comes up on here there is a lot of unfounded, strongly held opinions against such a simple expression of non-conformity so I can’t say it is something for everyone to try in public, for now.  Give it another few years and some of the ignorance and resistance might lessen.

It is hard for those of us in our culture to go against something we learned so young.  Your mother told you you had to wear shoes from the time you could walk.  Who am I to question that?

Mitchell Field Outdoor Swimming Pool Modified Schedule Week of June 24-28

The outdoor swimming pools in Toronto are open!  It is that time of year, when many of the outdoor swimming pools in Toronto are opening for the summer.  It is also that confusing week when it is hard to know when the pools are actually open, since they operate under a ‘modified schedule‘.  Why’s that?  Well, most of the staff for the pools come from students who aren’t yet available for a regular work schedule and/or their expected clientele are otherwise occupied in-doors in said schools.

That said, I thought I’d share the schedule for Mitchell Field Community Centre pool since the website listing is incorrect (has it has been the last two years), and the city has not been helpful in the past to post the correct one online.

Monday June 24, Tuesday June 25, Wed June 26, Thursday June 27, and Friday June 28 the pool will be open daily for 4pm to 6:55pm.  That’s right folks, no break from 4:30 to 5 which is our fav time to swim!

After this week, so starting on the 29th of June, the pool will run on its regular schedule — which I believe to be 12-4:25pm and 5pm-6:55pm on weekdays.  The website is saying it is from 11am, and not 12, and on weekends it is staying it doesn’t open until 1pm but we’ll have to wait until next week to actually get that confirmed I think.

If you are unfamiliar with Mitchell Field’s pool here in Willowdale, North York (address 89 Church St – enter through the CC, not the Arena), it is a small pool, with a very gradual incline and a maximum depth of 1.2meters (4ft 6″) or so, this makes it a great choice for the smaller kids as many of the older kids in the neighbourhood will make the trek up to Goulding Park, or if they want to pay the couple bucks and be super crowded they’ll do the afternoon swim at Douglas Snow (of note: this week it is closed and will re-open after Canada Day I believe).  Be warned, later in the season the 5-7 swim can get a tad chilly as the pool itself is in the shade that time of day.

Koch Snowflakes

Came across Sal‘s discussion of the Koch Snowflake (on wikipedia) yesterday.

Got a little obsessed and wanted to draw it programmatic like I did 20+ years ago when I first saw the Sierpinski Gasket on a NOVA tv show (which I re-did using Khan’s software a few months ago).  After a few failed attempts (and a failing to recognizing my usage of sine and cosine), today I went and looked for someone else’s code just to get me through it (oh the aging brain!) and found N-Wing’s code over at everything2.

Here it is: Koch Snowflake Fractal (Doh, WordPress isn’t allowing me to embed the program right here in the blog).

Vi Hart shows them in her Triangle Party Doodling too if you like her style (who doesn’t?).

Cirque Sublime performs the 15th Annual Wishes and Dreams Fundraiser

Last night Cirque Sublime performed at the Starlight Children Foundation‘s 15th Annual Wishes and Dreams Fundraiser in the Allen Lambert Galleria of Brookfield Place.   The Starlight Children’s Foundation celebrated receiving nearly $2 million in donations from Brookfield Place’s tenants and suppliers.

Opening the show and performing the Holiday Lighting Ceremony was Ariana Shaw (my silks coach!) as the Starlight Princess.

Les Vitaminés (Cbastien Tardif and Vincent Dubé) next did a funny and skillful clowning static trapeze act.

Amy Neumann, in her first professional performance as an aerial artist, wowed the crowd with her aerial silks skills.

Jean-Francois Martel was next on stage where the large man entered a very large Cyr Wheel.

Next up, Les Vitamines returned to the stage for their Balloon Ballet.  (No video as my hands were full of kids instead of a camera).

And to conclude the acrobatics for the evening Duo Voltart (Damien Boudreau and Geneviere Cliche) do some astounding Hand to Hand (not my video as again, I was holding a kid instead of a camera).

Toronto is a great place for seeing Circus Arts!  If you’re interested in trying it out recreationally, check out the Toronto School of Circus Arts.

You can have YouTube play all the above videos for you together using the playlist.

Our adventures this week in pictures and video 2012-45

We started the week with some slightly crazed kids thanks to Halloween.

We also hadn’t gotten a lot of good video and me in my freaky tall blue creature halloween costume so we spent some time on the weekend putting it back on and trying things out.

Our circus school was closed last week so we missed our regular classes.  It didn’t stop my son, as I found these videos he took of himself practicing the silks.

We stepped in to Kimberly Jackson on Queen Monday after our drop-in and we saw some really nice handcrafted wooden tables that they are having a sale on atm.

Tuesday I was trying to get the kids out of the house to play, but they just seemed to want to stay in.  We ended up building some bridges out of Kapla blocks (beam and cantilever), and then put it into practice as I became a human beam bridge, and my daughter was the load.

They got some exercise by playing on their homemade trapeze they have in their bedroom.

We did get out of the house in the afternoon though and started raking our leaves — mostly to have a pile to jump in, and a few to add to our compost.  Poor tree not getting fresh soil.

We discovered Richard Wiseman‘s Quirkology feed on Youtube and we proceeded to duplicate some of his puzzles and challenges.

Game wise we’ve been playing a lot of Mastermind.

Thursday we headed down to The 90th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.  We started out in the Spirit of the Horse area and watched the Toronto Police Mounted Unit, Elaine Ward demonstrate Western Style Dressage with her horse Maverick, and a Thoroughbred horse too.

We continued the horse theme as we ate our lunch in the Horse Palace watching some of the competitors for the horse jumping warm up.  My son spotted a horse he liked the look of and we followed them into the Ricoh Coliseum to see them compete.  It was Onisha and her driver, Olympian, Reed Kessler as they were competing in the Brickenden Trophy International Jumper Class.

The highlight of the Education Barn was the pig truck.  The kids watched, fascinated, as the dozen or so piglets nursed from their mother, and as the two, 6 week old (and much larger), pigs cuddled each other.

I’m always interested in the over-sized vegetables.  This year the corn-stalk was over 21 feet tall!

What did you do this week?