Friday, August 28, 2015


Can you feel it? There is a change coming. It's there in the air, certainly you can feel it. Fall is coming ..

Hold it right there. I'm not talking about leaves changing color or the air becoming cooler. No, I'm talking about the smell of corn dogs cooking and the sound of the midway

Yep, the CNE is back

Collette and I will be going to the Air Show next week but we decided, this week, to go down to the Ex after 5 pm when you can get in for only six bucks.

We stumbled upon, quite be accident, the Rush parkour show. Not sure how you would stumble upon something not by accident but we'll leave that for a more contemplative, reflective post .. in other words, never

We're fans of parkour, also called free running. From the District 13 movies (the original French ones) to American Ninja Warrior (if they really wanted that show to be ninja, they'd have obstacles where the runners had to dodge shurken and katannas) we really enjoy this sport, so we sat down to watch this show

The show had a story to it, two sad sack security guards protecting a construction site. A group of freerunners break in, and the chase is on

The show was pretty good. The set was quite large, with lots of levels which allowed the runners lots of freedoms to perform a wide variety of stunts

At about 25 minutes the show was far too short but hey, it's free and I suppose all that running and jumping and swinging from poles can be tiring. God knows it made me want a beer .. don't go there, it's just way too obvious

More new things at the Ex. There is always sand sculptures but this year they had something new: Sculptures made out of Spanish moss. This being Canada (and yes, Toronto is a part of Canada no matter how much the rest of you wish it were not so) the artists chose a very appropriate subject matter

So here's the video. Um, well maybe, depends on where you are. Getting harder and harder for me to make my little non monetized home videos with the music that I choose. Vimeo will not allow any music at all for any reason that you do not have rights to. They used to, it's one of the reasons I used Vimeo, that and the quality. But that site itself has become increasingly profit oriented and I think copywrite holders caught on to that. Then there is Youtube. Not a big fan of Youtube, the player never seems to properly embed on this blog but mostly I can use the music I choose, maybe they stick a little ad in there. But to used this Nikki Yanosky song they blocked it in a few hundred countries

So good luck

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


It begins in the morning. In my sleep I don't hear anything but I know that they're there. Perhaps it's the quiet warm breathing, more than likely it's the stares. The border collie stare. It's like a pressure, a presence, an organic tractor beam, pulling on me.

Time to get it up, is what it all means. Two dogs letting me know, Time to get up and let's go. Border collies know what they want, they know the order of things. They are never afraid to to remind me what that routine is. In their own way, they try to herd me, "We want to go out there and to go out there we go through here"

They know the routine. Terra exits the house first and Panda follows; it's not the order of age of course, Panda has that advantage but it's an order of seniority. Terra was here first. It's Panda's house no doubt and in most things both dogs must share, but to seniority there must come some privilege.

The car is a different situation. Panda is first into the car because, due to the grace of her almost 10 years, she needs a little assistance getting into the vehicle. So Panda first then Terra comes, through the hatch, and once inside they are left to their devices to figure our the geometry of who lays where. It's funny, the back of my car is pretty spacious, but they always seem to end up together

They are not sisters, there is no relation between the two of them, but as time has gone on they have become what I refer to as house sisters. Probably against what is in their little doggie hearts more and more and more, they are learning "Hey, she seems to be here to stay, may as well make the best of it"

They become a united front when it comes to going out and playing. Out in the parks and the trails and the ravines and the woods they are in their element. They have a lot of discipline in their lives and it doesn't end at all outside but still, they know this is their time. That time is earned through good behaviour and damnit, being good ain't easy. Let's appreciate our rewards

We hit the park and they're off. I don't throw the ball and then have them chase it down. That's not the border collie way (Feel free to say that to yourself in a Sean Connery accent) I raise the Chuckit and they go off, moving fast, Terra stretching her long form, legs moving with a liquid grace, Panda hunched over a bit and digging hard, her back legs, a little stiff with age, moving in tandem. They run down to where they think the ball will land then they wheel to look at me, to look at the ball. Heads flattened, ears out, butts slightly elevated "Yeh, ok, we're ready for the sheep"

I call this playing, you could call it work, work is play for a border collie. I have working dogs that have taken a very early retirement. The work hard, on command, there's some competition there but mostly it's benign. They play hard and they crash hard, people see them collapsed on their water bowl and will say "Oh they're too tired to play now" Then I raise the ball and they're off again

What is the point of all this? Your dogs want to play with you. Today is National Dog Day. So go play with your dog.

And that's the end(s)

Sunday, August 16, 2015


The cars are parked on the street. They are not moving. Their engines are not running.

But they look fast, they look powerful, they look dangerous. The look sleek and sexy and beautiful. They look like my past, they look like art. The art of steel and paint and chrome and leather. The art of looking fast, while standing still.

This past weekend was our second visit to Wheels on the Danforth, an annual on the street car show that happens in the Crossroads of the Danforth, where Danforth Ave meets Danforth Rd in Scarborough, close to Victoria Park subway station. Last year our visit was plagued by cool rain but this year it was hot and sunny and dang, did all that chrome love it.

The show features vintage and classic cars. Detroit, of course, was well represented ...

... but a few foreign interlopers managed to sneak in

While all the cars were arftfully parked, not all the wheels were stationary. A stunt troup joined the show, featuring BMX bikes and a skater. A lot of speed on display, but no chrome and none of that panty-dropping-rumble the muscle cars represent (It's true, everytime I hear the roar of a 68 Shelby GT Mustang my panties drop right off)

It's a great show, very community based. There is judging and rewards but the atmosphere is very relaxed. It's quite easy to have conversations with the owners of the cars and they were more than willing to accomodate Collete and myself, opening hoods, opening trunks etc so we could get good shots.

No celebration of gas and chrome and internal combustion muscle is not complete without beer and rock and roll and Wheels on the Danforth supported both in the form of a beer tent and the Blues Brothers.

You can hear the latter on the video. I would reccommend hitting the "YouTube" button in the lower right corner so you gain the function to play the video full size

Monday, August 10, 2015


Plans. You make em. Sometimes you wonder why Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not so much. It's all about expectations

This past weekend Collette and I headed downtown to attend the Lovin Local Food Festival. Food fests run amok in this city, there's about 12 (it seems) every week, all year long. Yeh, cuz you know, we gots a lot of foodies in our city, many of whom fall under the sobriquet MMTB .. more money than brains

Me, I ain't no foodie. But I do like me some vittles. However, we don't attend many of these food fests, mostly because they charge you 20 bucks to get in then charge you for the food. That be double dipping and don't just mean in the chip dip

But last weekend we went out to Woodbine Park for a free Food Truck Festival that featured 40 trucks, a beer tent, wine etc and charged us nary a dime. We'd never before been to this Lovin Local fest but it was also free and it was in Younge Dundas Square, a great location right downtown

Well, we didn't end up eating anything there. There were only a few food stalls, none of which were terribly exciting .. get what you pay for, eh. But the the folks from Muskoka brewery were present and it followed the new trend of licensing the entire venue

Yeh. Summer . Beer. Nuthin more to say there is there

But there was one very pleasant surprise, one that we did not plan for. Several years ago, down at the Harbourfront Centre we encountered, quite by accident, a band from Vancouver that on the surface I should have no interest in. They played a fusion of Indian bhangra music, Celtic, dubstep and electronic DJ. Yeh, you know, I've done a lot of Indian weddings and while I've always admired the stamina and enthusiasm of the drummers, it's really not my style and I is too old and white to be a hip hop fan

But ...

This band is called Delhi 2 Dublin and we liked them when we saw them years ago and liked them even more when we saw them over the weekend

 The whole fusion thing works here, I never would have thought of combining Indian drums with Irish fiddle but hey, what do I know

Combine with that some very animated and passionate vocals and a searing guitar, you have a perfect afternoon on Yonge St

They are a great live outfit. This was a free event downtown and I'm sure a lot of this audience had no idea who these guys are but I think that very quickly changed. Many of the band's lyrics have a message but essentially, I think, this is a dance band and it's pretty difficult not to fall under the spell

Check it out for yourself

Delhi 2 Dublin at Food Festival from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


I hear it before I see it. A rumble. Low and throaty and sexy in that femme-fatale-she-has-a-knfie-in-her-bra-but-it's-so-worth-it kind of way

It's not thunder. On the highway at night in the city it's difficult to see the sky but I know it's clear. It's not a storm or the vibration of Thor's hammer. This is something else. Something entirely man made

I begin scanning the highway around me. The highway is busy but it's moving well. Four lanes as it curves up towards the next ramp. My rear view shows a dust streaked SUV, certainly not the origin of the rumble. Driver side mirror shows a four door sedan coming up to pass, I can barely hear its engine over my stereo. In the passenger side mirror there is a white box truck, a working van, which one should not be surprised to see at night; New York is the city that never sleeps, Toronto is the city that never stops trying to make money

The box truck is blocking my view of anything behind it. But the sound is there, I can hear it, something between a growl and a whine and it's growing louder.

I'm in the middle lane. The highway is about to make a wide sweep, arching to the right, the ribbons of black and white vanishing into darkness

My lane is sparsely populated. I have space to ease off the gas a bit. At the same time the box truck sees an opening and he accelerates, passing me in a jangle of axles and a belch of diesel.

It's coming up on my right now; that rumble is louder and fully complex, a range of sound moving from soprano to baritone, filled with vibrato, a liquid sound, more organic than mechanical. I can't see it at first. I check my side mirror but there doesn't seem to be anything there; the mistake I've made is that I've been looking at the height of most cars.

I look down. And there it is.

It's black. At first it seems formless, hints of its shape defined by the lights of the highway that slide across its skin. It seems liquid, rippling as it moves along, as black as the pavement but gleaming in the harsh lighting.

It's low slung; like the gunbelt around the waist of Paul Newman in the The Left Handed Gun, like the bikini slung around the hips of Ursula Andress in Dr. No.

It comes up directly beside me and for a few minutes we are matched at speed. Look at that thing. I'm driving a car, I have no idea what this thing is. It's black and sleek and ugly and sexy all at the same time

Yeh, it's the fucking Batmobile

It's entirely black, or hues thereof, from the body to the deeply tinted windows to the spiky rims. The only other colour on it is the silver of the dancing pony. There are louvers on the back window. They look like fish gills which seems appropriate; the thing is some deep ocean predator, shark like and menacing, slipping swiftly through the shoals, hunting for prey

What the hell is this doing here. A weeknight, north end of the city, surrounded by family cars and work vans. It's exotic indeed, as in otherwordly. It doesn't belong on this highway. It may not belong on this world. And it seems to know that

It hangs beside me for only a minute. Then the timbre of the growl changes and the lights ripple across the car's skin and it moves. I swear that the air around my car changes. The shark lunges forward then I am not looking at the car, I am looking at the lambent red glow of its tail lights as it sweeps around the long off ramp just ahead of me.

Then it's gone.

Was it ever here. Did I ever actually see it. Who the fuck knows

I look up on to the ramp as the tail lights flicker brighter red for a moment. I guess it's entered warp drive. The thing got out of here in a damn hurry

Commissioner Gordon must have lighted the Bat Signal

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Today is a sad day for me. Today will be the last day I will be walking Shya. Her owner's life situation has changed and he will no longer require my dog walking services. Shya has been a part of my pack since the very beginning, this is our third summer together.

Shya is not the first dog that I've "lost", as in stopped walking, For a variety of reasons I've stopped walking three other dog, a couple of whom were dogs I only walked two days a week and did not have for very long. Recently I stopped walking Hank, a French bulldog. I liked Hank, he was a fun dog with that crazy single mindeness that Frenchies have. I miss him, but it's not the same as Shya

When I first met Shya, an eight year old mixed breed, she was fairly aloof. She was well trained and accustomed to Dogtown but she didn't know me from Adam (or even Eve for that matter) and just didn't see any reason to give me much. She was also known as a problem dog. She got into scraps with other dogs in the park. The walker from whom I inherited this job had Shya in our "time out" cage pretty much every day

Trust is this thing between dogs and humans. Trust is a large component of what we call love. Puppies generally trust the first thing that feeds them. You could say the same about labs and retrievers. For many dogs that I walk, trust just seems to be part of the deal. It's not that way for all dogs of course. It was not that way for Shya.

I think that hesitancy to trust was part of the reason why she sometimes had issues with other dogs. If a dog was skittish, or unessicarily submissive, she didn't trust that behavior. And she was willing to put an end to it

She really wouldn't play with me at first. Perhaps it put in a vunerable position, especially around those other dogs. But I didn't force it. I didn't force anything. I quickly saw what her trigger points were with other dogs and I tried to get to her first, before the scrap started. I kept my voice level, got in front of her but kept my body still and I just let her know "I'm on to you, now let's stop this nonsense" She's a smart dog. Soon, she got it. And soon she got me

Over the course of a year we slowly built that trust in each other. She knew I was there for her. She knew that I understood the things that altered her state and she knew that anytime she actually did want a ball, well, I was the dude that would throw it.

It was a big moment, for me, when I got my first Shya kiss. It was one of many.

I will miss my Shya kisses. I will miss how quiet she could be. And I will miss how that quiet would suddenly explode into puppy joy when I put her favorite ball into the air. There is some possibility that Shya will return to walks in several months to a year. I don't really think that will happen. I hope it does. I'll be holding onto her favorite ball for her

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