Documentary Review: Taming of the Queue (Josh Freed, 2017)

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Movies, Reviews | Leave a comment


Taming of the Queue (not the CFHI conference series of the same name, or blog-posts of the same name) is a rather short but succinct documentary on the modern, post-WW2 idea of lining up for services, purchases, transport, and pretty much everything else in life that requires waiting amongst other people. It is a popular psychology attempt at rationalizing common issues with queues and how “researchers and social engineers” have tried to alter the queue-scape.

In 3 chapters and several cardinal rules, Josh Freed tries to generalize the Line-Up as he saw it in different countries. By trying simple tricks to perturb and agitate people, he gets them to spill their beans (or in the case of the British, just their upper-lips) and reveal some of the underlying issues that must be balanced while we wait – do I want to, do I need to, and is it acceptable?

While quite entertaining for its length, I felt that Taming only just scraped the surface in terms of a dialogue on queuing and social etiquette. It highlighted but never explored nor extracted WHY countries have different ideas regarding waiting in line. It’s up to the viewer to spell it out for themselves. Yes, densely-populated countries like India display (to our eyes) a bewildering attitude toward cutting-the-line, but that is not a function of the particular socio-economic stratum itself – it’s a collective social contract that evolved independently. We might as well have concluded from the out-set that Indians have a different culture from the British and let it be. What would be more interesting, instead of small examples like installing mirrors and automated wait-time estimates, would be devoting some screen time to asking how to change the perception of queuing in places where it’s not popular. Because how we react to queues is simply a reflection of the degree to which we prioritize ourselves over other human beings. THAT’s social engineering. That is something that we should think about more than avoiding the issue by automating our social interactions away.

Field Trip 2017 Review: What happened on Sunday

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Field Trip by Elisabeth Isles

It was supposed to rain on Sunday. I was considering not going to Field Trip but then i was like, YOLO and went to Canadian Tire and bought some ponchos to prepare for Armageddon. Instead, I got a nice sunny (but slightly chilly) day and some music. Here are some thoughts regarding Sunday’s acts.

LP by Elisabeth Isles

Kicking off my Sunday afternoon, LP drew a large crowd to the Fort York stage most probably on the strength of her single “Lost on You.” Those who went to Field Trip early on Sunday were treated to a powerful vocal performance from LP, whose powerful unique voice had everyone in awe. LP can really really sing. It’s like, some people have one really good skill, like Steph Curry and 3 pointers – this is LP and singing. It feels like she’s naturally meant for the stage. Her music had your typical LA blues-rock vibe and perhaps a more poppy (or electro) approach might utilize her voice better and get bigger hits, but LP, between all the jokes with the crowd and her easy going demeanour, seems pretty comfortable. A great way to start out Sunday.

Oh yeah, there was a funny part when LP wanted the crowd to sing along to a part of the song, but the crowd did not know this and so it all went silent for a very awkward five seconds before the crowd realized they were supposed to sing.

Essentially a one hour free jam session of blistering jazz percussion and guitar, Thundercat’s show was intense but didn’t do a whole lot for me. Some kid started crying because of all the noise and so the parent had to leave mid-set. Thundercat had a wicked Mike Piazza jersey and was easily the most colorful person, just look at this outfit:

Thundercat by Elisabeth Isles

James Vincent McMorrow
“Life is short but it’s also long” – James Vincent McMorrow with the quote of the night. A gentle man with a gentle voice, his set was disrupted by one of the most annoying things about music festivals:

No one likes the fuckin’ beach ball, I don’t know why Indie 88 keeps on sending staff members to throw these gigantic sized beach balls into the crowd. This and their insistence on high fiving people is really starting to get on my nerves. We get it, you have an aggressively happy brand. The thing is, beach balls are annoying because no one wants to get hit in the head with the ball. So basically as soon as it comes even remotely close, you are on edge, determining if you need to participate, and by participate, I mean, defend yourself. You get distracted and stop paying attention to the ball. Then you get annoyed because you got distracted but you can’t get too annoyed because you still have to focus on the ball. Anyways, stop doing this stupid shit Indie 88.

Feist by Elisabeth Isles

Wearing the same dress she wore for the Pleasures album cover and also her show at trinity church, Leslie Feist serenaded us into the evening with songs new and old. While hardcore fans of hers might have appreciated some deeper cuts, Feist stuck to a festival style set-list which included early crowd pleasers such as “Mushaboom,” “1-2-3-4,” and “My Moon My Man.” I was crushed when the man coming out to the stage to do the spoken word part for the song “Century”  was not Jarvis Cocker, but Torquil Campbell. That’s like replacing a Porsche with a Chevy Impala.

Phoenix by Elisabeth Isles

Vanessa Williams once said “Save the best for last” and that theory definitely rang true for Field Trip. Phoenix played the best set of the weekend and added some rock star panache to the festival. I love all those Canadian bands and stuff, but they just don’t have that swagger that makes you feel like you are at a true rock show. Phoenix, with their overly complicated ground and mirror lighting system, just made you feel like “damn, I’m at a festival!”. Bathed in technicolor projections, the French group took an otherwise placid night and transformed Fort York into one gigantic dance floor with a hits filled set. New tracks like “Ti Amo” and “J Boy” mixed well with classics like “Lisztomania.” “1901” set everyone into a frenzy and honestly, after a day of nice, gentle music, we were ready to rock and Phoenix just delivered on our needs. For that, I am forever grateful.

Not a bad way to spend the weekend.

All pictures by Elisabeth Isles (From Devonshire, England). Have a safe flight back!

Oh yeah, a funny part was Phoenix thanking Feist for playing and saying it was pretty funny because Feist also opened for them ten years ago. PROGRESS! Haha.

Field Trip 2017 Review: What happened on Saturday

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Field Trip by Elisabeth Isles

What a great weekend. Good music, great friends, amazing weather and a cosy outdoor vibe just reinforces something I’ve known all along – outdoor music festivals are a great way to spend the weekend. Despite the threat of daunting weather this weekend, the music gods pulled through and we were blessed with calm weather throughout our time at Fort York.

It will be sad if there are no more Field Trips because as a community, we really need stuff like this in times like these.

Let’s take a look at some of the acts we saw on Saturday.

Portugal The Man by Elisabeth Isles

Portugal The Man
The Alaskan band played their sunset set with a great ferocity that added a nice punch to what was otherwise a pretty tame affair thus far. I had never seen them live before and was pleasantly surprised.

Cloud Nothings
Being a Raptors fan, I have a lot of hurt feelings over anything from Ohio right now. Despite my hatred, I still enjoyed the Cloud Nothings set on Saturday, Their 2014 track “I’m Not Part of Me” is a great song and well, they played it. The new album seems to follow the energetic guitar rock sound that they have utilized to much success on previous records. Why break a good thing?

Tribe Called Red by Elisabeth Isles

A Tribe Called Red
People need to dance at outdoor festivals. It doesn’t feel like a music festival unless you are jumping up and down and dancing in a field and let me tell you, A Tribe Called Red definitely provided that on Saturday. As per usual, the trio were accompanied by their own dancers who would inspire the crowd to move and move they did.

Pharcyde by Elisabeth Isles

The Pharcyde
My favorite act from Saturday, The Pharcyde brought the party to the people at the Fort York stage. Blessed with an expansive back catalog and a tight live show, The Pharcyde had everyone in the crowd on their feet, fist pumping, and dancing while delivering classic tracks. A particularly touching moment happened when they asked the crowd to raised one hand for Dilla. A great, energetic show.

Broken Social Scene by Elisabeth Isles

Broken Social Scene
The hometown band playing the hometown festival, Broken Social Scene brought out all their guns on Saturday and reminded the world what a powerful music entity they can be when they can get everyone together. The whole gang was there, and that wasn’t enough as they brought on even more people to the stage. At some point I was wondering if there was an eventbrite invite out there somewhere to join the stage.

With the release of new album Hug of Thunder looming, BSS drew a fine line between testing out new music and playing the hits that got them there. Starting off the set with an all male lineup for “Cause = Time” before giving the ladies a grand entrance for “7/4 Shoreline” was a nice touch. This was my first time seeing the band, and their sound live is much more powerful than their album. Everything just has a lot more oomph to it. All in all, a splendid way to end the night.

All photos by Elisabeth Isles, who flew a red-eye flight from Devonshire England to be at the show.

Burger Review: Brisket Cheese Burger, Carbon Bar

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment


Welcome to part 5 of the burger series. I can’t believe we actually made it to 5. I’d like to thank the academy. As a reminder, this is a series based on a top 10 list of burgers published in Toronto Life. The journey thus far has been an emotional roller coaster, from the emotional low of the thing that Doomies calls a burger to the redemptive high of tasting a good burger at the Wickson Social. I’m excited to see what’s next and am fully preparing myself for the ups and downs along the way.

Just a reminder, the control burger in this experiment is the Skyline burger (that is the middle of the pack) with the upper range being Casino El Camino’s Amarillo burger from Austin, Texas.

Our fifth burger takes place in a foreign far away land – Queen East to try out the Carbon Bar’s Brisket Cheese Burger.

The Burger
Brisket Cheese Burger – brioche bun, sliced beef brisket, American cheese, charred & pickled chili peppers, burnt onion aioli, fries. $22!!!!!

Before we venture on… 22 dollars for a burger! In what world is a burger $22? Forget the avocado toast, this burger is why I don’t have a home.

The Verdict
Last time, I quoted Primal Scream to give an overview of the burger, and so this time I will do the same. Here are the lyrics:

Too much of something is bad enough
Too much of nothing is just as tough

Yeah, that’s the Spice Girls, whatever. But wiser words regarding food have never been spoken. This is ultimately a decision every cook has to make when putting together a burger. What do you put in, exactly? If you put in too little, then perhaps the burger lacks that spark, you put in too much, and well, you get what happened with the brisket burger.

Let’s take a look at the items on the burger
– brioche bun
– sliced beef brisket
– American cheese
– charred & pickled chili peppers
– lettuce
– burnt onion aioli

Does anything stand out? Sliced beef brisket
Don’t get me wrong, brisket is awesome. It’s the one thing I look forward to when I go to Texas. It’s arguably one of the best meats you can eat. Franklin BBQ is world famous because basically they have the best brisket in the world.

The downside of this is that brisket has it’s own taste. It’s what makes brisket special – the smokey, peppery taste you get when you take a bite combined with the simultaneous action of the fat melting in your mouth is one the most pleasant eating experiences you can get. It’s a strong flavor.

Too strong.

The brisket in the burger overwhelmed the patty to the point I still don’t know what the patty tastes like. Every bite of the burger where you get brisket, it completely overwhelms and you feel like you are just eating a brisket sandwich. It kind of goes against the whole burger vibe. When I want a burger, I want a burger. It’s why the burger was disappointing because I had my mind set on something, and got something else.

On a positive note, this burger had the best lettuce we’ve had in a burger and I enjoyed the pickled chili peppers as it added a nice heat to the flavor. In a weird way, this burger was designed to actually not taste like your classic American burger and something else entirely.

The burger felt like a burger in my hand, the brioche bun held up and felt like a burger. However, fellow burger enthusiast Sarah had a completely different experience. Perhaps we had difference slices of brisket, or perhaps her patty was formed from fattier meats, but her burger disintegrated from the grease. We had two very different burger eating experiences from a touch perspective.

The idea was good, but perhaps the execution was not. The Carbon Bar is known more for their bbq-centric menu items than their burgers, so I can see why they would want to slip in a brisket to their burger (and also allowing them to jack up the price). However, the brisket’s taste completely overwhelmed the burger and combined with the inconsistency we experienced within our two burgers, I can conclude that we were disappointed with the offering.

Still, the Carbon Bar has a beautiful interior and we had really good cauliflower as an appetizer. The octopus also looked fantastic so it is most likely that we just tried to fit a square peg in a round hole with our burger ordering decision here. I’d be curious to see what their other items taste like.

Here was Sarah’s take on the burger:
This was definitely the most inconsistent burger of the burgers we’ve eaten so far. Mine was also dripping in grease, which was a negative. Ricky’s, on the other hand, seemed like it was just right. You win some, you lose some. There were moments where I bit into it and enjoyed the burger, but mostly I was hoping it would all be over soon. The fries were also not great, but I will return one day to try the octopus


Burger Scale

Amarillo Burger, Casino El Camino – 10$ USD
The Burger, Wickson Social – 19$
Prime Beef Double Cheeseburger, Museum Tavern – 19$
Skyline Burger, Skyline Diner – 14$
Brisket Cheese Burger, Carbon Bar – 22$
Game Burger, Antler – 18$
Vegan Mac Daddy, Doomies – 16$

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