Cover photo by Allan, used under Creative Commons license

In which I use a brief interlude between flights to contemplate subtle changes in how we use our spare time

Spring is usually a pretty predictable time for us. The sun comes out and so do we: we drive down to Niagara once or twice, we buy a Hot Docs festival pass and invade the patio at the Victory, we clean off our balcony, etc. But this spring? There’s been nothing predictable about this spring.

We were supposed to go to Miami, but we bailed on that when last week’s trip to Berlin and next week’s trip to Turkey came up. We had to abandon an almost-planned trip to Halifax this weekend for the Nova Scotia craft beer festival. We didn’t even buy a Hot Docs pass, marking the first time in…I don’t know, maybe a dozen years that we haven’t seen at least one documentary. We haven’t been to Niagara at all. Our balcony still looks winterized (though, in truth, winter practically just ended) as we haven’t had time to set it up, even on weekends.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I like being busy, and I’ve been lucky that travel and change has found its way into our lives these days, but I do rather miss a few of these things.

Perhaps I should go sit on the balcony now rather than write a blog post.

[UPDATE: shortly after this we walked to Bier Markt, drank some wheat beer, then ate some gelato and sat in St. James Park. So that’s more like it.]

.:.

Cover photo by Allan, used under Creative Commons license

Miami

I was in Miami for a few days earlier this week, for work. Rough job, I know. To be honest, I’d been unofficially trying to go my whole life without ever setting foot in Florida, what with it being…you know, fucked. Still, I was invited to a conference, so I went.

I wasn’t really staying in Miami, at least not the Miami most of us think about. The conference was out in Doral at the Trump Hotel. There were no signs of it being a douchey Trump property, except that when you turned on the TV it would auto-play a random Trump speech. So I got to know the location of the mute button on the remote real quick.

Still, the weather was nice and they had a bar by the pool, so I spent a fair amount of off-conference time hanging out there and drinking Cigar City Jai Alai IPAs with friends. Related: our server didn’t know what Jai Alai is, or how to pronounce it, so I had to teach her. Related to related: I am old.

One other highlight: a vendor took a bunch of us out to dinner in South Beach, at Bazaar in the SLS hotel. We had a private room (which people kept sneaking up to, thinking there were celebrities inside…once they saw it was just a bunch of nerds they looked disappointed and slunk away) for dinner, which was pretty damn great. A quick scan of the menu produced some of the tapas dishes we shared, but not all: chinese buns w/ pork belly; cones full of salmon roe and dill cream cheese; hamachi w/ pickled onions, sour orange; dragon fruit ceviche w/ tuna, pecans, lime, hibiscus; brussels sprouts w/ “lemon air”; bone marrow w/ Caribbean white truffles, florida citrus, capers; Cuban coffee-rubbed churrasco; endives w/ goat cheese, oranges, marcona almonds, orange dressing; sautéed shrimp w/ garlic, parsley, lemon, guindilla pepper; croquetas de pollo; tacos made of jamón ibérico and caviar; and for dessert, some amazing churros with peanut butter.

The night was marred only by the fact that our transportation from the hotel to the restaurant was a Ford Hummer Killer, an enormous stretch SUV limo, which poisoned my very soul. I also got into it a bit with a Republican (or, more likely, Tea Partier) on the drive home re: the relative merits of socialized healthcare. Or, in my more aggressive moments, the “fucking travesty” of the US healthcare system. So, there was that. Oh, and Jamie Foxx ate dinner at the restaurant just as we were leaving, so people were all agog and agape.

All in all, though, it was a good trip. Though I am in no way attractive enough to hang out in South Beach, I’d be willing to visit Miami again. Not the rest of Florida though; that state is messed up.