slow transformations


the lone planetarium, which closed its operation back in 1995, may get a second life now, as part of university of toronto expansion; since it sold to utoronto in 2009, many ideas floated around but this winter, a public announcement was finally made about its future: new building for history, islamic studies and music department- possibly a new chamber hall, 250-seats.

i hear much complaint that the faculty of music facilities are way out of date and that it is inadequate and that NO ONE CARES. this hurts me a bit, because when people say 'no one cares,' it seems as if people are acting 'as if (they) no longer care,' whatever the reason is.

every time i see a broken thing, trashed floor and uncared, tossed garbage at work, i am slightly disappointed.  yes, we grew out of building and we are cramped. it is worn and busy but really, music can happen here and we can practice and learn here.  i understand that old, worn-out tired building is difficult to care for, but if we dont, who will? and how does trashing it further help anyone anyhow?

but perhaps, with new project announced, may be people will remember that things do cost money, and things are important. and that we all chip in this together, not just current students but of the entire canadian community- through taxes, education in music, belief in public education etc.  as simple as not leaving garbage on the lounge table, damaging library properties, taking a thing or two home...

another thing i hear frequently is that all projects move too slow. this is true and not true. with undergraduate program consisting of mostly 18-22 years olds, couple years is a long time period (if you are 20, a 4-years project would be 20% of their life so far!) and it is easy to feel as if nothing happens and no one cares, but it's not true!

building projects in downtown toronto is slow and expensive- i do not remember any significant major projects that finished on time+budget in last 20 years.  and for st. george campus budget, i doubt music prog is a hot investment project (compare to info tech or even world-ranked medieval studies dept), which means it takes much more red-tapes to get through. im not saying we should be 'grateful' for what we get, but we must not forget that such projects move slow and that it takes time and tireless efforts of many many people.  we must stay consistent in our opinion and support for such project to actually start, and then to completion.

faculty of music was built in 1962 and school was much smaller.  just to put it in perspective, 1954, master's prog was introduced and only in 1961, musbac prog became a 4 year prog.  now we have musbac, masters, docotoral and perf dip + opera school. we did outgrow the building.  and we produced many fine artists, educators, and individuals. yes, most importantly, individuals who hopefully gained a life-long sight to importance of humanity studies, and the way to express and understand self/others through sound. people who has been enriched by the some of the best of the western civilization and more, people who can sing when their hearts are full.

just putting timeline in perspective,

-ROM second expansion with lee-chin crystal took 2003-2007 (this project had many extended deadlines), as part of 250-million expansion (cost of crystal itself hovers around 135-million)

-AGO expansion ('transformation AGO') with frank gehry initially had 195-million plans, started in 2004, ended year behind initial deadline (2008),  it cost 276-million at the end.


-conservatory construction took place 2001-2009, with construction cost of 110-million
though, on wiki entry, foot note 15 says the project was really conceived way back in 1991; the URL isnt working but i wont doubt it goes back longer than people may remember.

so though expensive, and always behind schedule, such projects can become reality.  just like chipping away on instruments every day. if practiced right, it will improve. this is not the time to be disheartened. this is the time to be couragious.

i wonder how the next few years will turn out for us, at the music faculty.  but one thing is for sure- the things we get to explore in this tattered building, often enable us to see beyond the daily grind. how lucky are we.


blue monday 2016

the city of 2.615 million
minus one



cold wind on red nose
warmth in heart on way home
spring in steps on way to work

dinner getting cold as
it taste of nothing
wolfing down every scrap in the fridge
because it is improbable that
nothing taste of something
but that it is

the world through a filter
bit of a joke
so hipster
blurry filter imitating the old days
artificially aged
as if
if the days are actually old
old enough to be transparent
like apparition of leaves
once green and alive
now transparent golden bristle wings
wings that arent attached to anything
time flowing without reference
dulled senses
days and nights rolling into muddle

trying to hold onto the beauty
that everyone's pointing at
may be an anchor

perhaps a dream
a desiccation
a shell left behind


with great gusto, hello 2016!

mousie from winter 2015 winter journey up to northbay!

hullo 2016.

there are many posts from 2015, sitting half-done, yawning.  i am holding back in hope that i can tame some of the wordings that may be too provocative, too condemning, too.. whatever. because, after all, the aim of expression through this blog is to explore, rather than defy or repel others.

so perhaps i will stick to simple thoughts.
today: consumption.

i had not such an expensive christmas and i am grateful. i didnt go out shopping,agonizing on gifts, or went on a seasonal whim on surprise found-things. not because i want to be a scooruge, but because there wasnt a need for it. and i was lucky to be able to do so, because people around me are also quite chill about seasonal consumption. thank the lord. i did get a few things for a few people, but it was not necessarily connected to christmas- just things that people needed/wanted and that i wanted to give.

we did spend a bit of dough going up to north to bury ourselves in quiet winter snow. yes, snow, while yyz stayed green and fresh! that was worth the efforts. also renting a car abled us to take my 92 years old granny for haircut, bit of starbucks and dinner while momdad's away in korea- now, that's worthwhile!

we made a few nice dinners at home and met lovely people. spent a bit of time on local LCBO's craft beer shelves, having a good time. if not, well, drink more, i suppose.

it's not so often i think: i need '___.'
many times, it's: i would LIKE '___.'

and hey, im no saint. i do spend money on certain things heavily, such as travelling. the idea of june trip (andalusia or amsterdam?) and july trip (thailand or scandinavia?), have started rattling in my head, as the annual '52 places to visit' from nytimes rolled out coupla days ago. argh. haha. such a terrible vice!

money does not guarantee happiness.
lack of it certainly will bring unhappiness.

money can be spent or kept.

money can buy some lovely things.
lovely things are the things that allows one to experience something beyond its existence.

ex. lovely shoes:
by wearing shoes, you feel good and the perceived sense of happiness then enhances one's image and self-satisfaction.  however, with just two feet, there must be some sort of reasonable number of shoes one could possess.

ex. silk sleeping bag liner:
by having such nice luxury in what could be a harsh environment (usually with dirtback camping for me), my life is ELEVATED instantaneously with warm silk cover and dry socks, as i roll into the sleeping back. groan in pleasure.

money can also buy lovely things for others.
i tried regular donation to various causes, once a month, starting mid-year last year. and it did take a bit of time to figure out WHO i want to give money to, but it is always a good feeling to know that i abled something greater than me to make the place a bit better.

money can also buy time.
as freelancer, part-time musician, oh i know this so well.

money, by itself, isnt anything too special. it's a physical manifestation of an idea, 'currency.'
what is currency?

currency (n.)
1650s, "condition of flowing," from Latin currens, present participle of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)); the sense of a flow or course extended 1699 (by John Locke) to "circulation of money."

so it is supposed to flow. and if it flows, like water, there will be things that one cannot hold onto.
two books stick out in my mind on this matter:

1. sandel: what money cant buy
i always make a point to tell a friend when making a reference, that since sandel's well and alive, if you like the premise, buy a new copy, so that he will benefit from the sale :)

2. ridley: the rational optimist
this one, also worth paying for a new one. i quite liked it. it gave me hope that yes, we are getting better as a society. book's got a bit of challenge regarding wealth division and perhaps it's bit too rosy but hey, it's always a good day to have a hope!

while you ponder another purchase, a free article...
the world is full of wealth.
i hope your consumption this year, and mine, brings much joy and happiness. resources are limited and yes, it is definitely possible to be happy through spending! happy new year!