Sunday, October 23, 2016

On Being Cheap

I was in Harvest Barn yesterday - it is a local produce and bakery store in St. Catharines (like the old days of grocery stores in yesterday's daily post).  The cashier asked the lady ahead of me if she wanted to buy a carry bag ($.05) or use one of the small meat/freezer bags as they were free.  The lady had only 2 pounds of butter, and she wanted a bag because the butter was cold.  She accepted the little bag over the bag that cost the five cents.  Then the cashier told me how she uses these little freezer bag for all kinds of things.  And concluded with:  "I'm cheap".

So I wondered what "cheap" is and how do we recognize it.  Here are 5 major differences between cheap and frugal from

1. Cheap and frugal people both love to save money, but frugal people will not do so at the expense of others.

2. Frugality is about assessing the bigger picture and having the patience to cash in on the simple savings strategies.

3. Cheapness uses price as a bottom line; frugality uses value as a bottom line.

4. Cheap people are driven by saving money regardless of the cost; frugal people are driven by maximizing total value, including the value of their time.

5. Being cheap is about spending less; being frugal is about prioritizing your spending so that you can have more of the things you really care about.

When I read the full article, I was a bit discouraged.  It points to a lot of rationalization by the 'frugal' author for choosing where and how to spend money:  a lot of one's internal conversations are taken up with mundane decisions.  It is a start, though, and helps to understand this significant topic.

And a search for the country with the reputation for being cheap?  Two countries show up: Holland and Scotland!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Which Grimsby?

What is one difference between Grimsby England and Grimsby Canada?  I did a search of "grimsby canada vs grimsby england' and what a contrast of pictures. As I did more research, I found out that according to the Grimsby Telegraph, Grimsby England was voted the worst place to live in England in 2016.  The voting for Grimsby went viral on Facebook and it had more votes than all the other places combined. 
Describing his recent visit to Grimsby, shortlist writer Sam Rowe said: "With no cinema or recognisable restaurant to speak of, the town is stuffed into a corner of the country... with high levels of drug use, crime and unemployment, it seems you're either visiting Grimsby for a specific reason or not going at all.  "Most choose the latter."
Residents are described as 'chavs' - "a pejorative epithet used in Britain to describe a particular stereotype."
The Oxford English Dictionary defines "chav" as an informal British derogatory, meaning "a young lower-class person who displays brash and loutish behaviour and wears real or imitation designer clothes".The derivative chavette has been used to refer to females, and the adjectives "chavish" and "chavtastic" have been used in relation to items designed for or suitable for use by chavs. 
Today's photo is an abstract of a sprawling blue sculpture on the street in the Entertainment District in Toronto. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Urban Attractions

Wikipedia says: Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE, and sometimes known as 'roof-and-tunnel hacking') is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment. Photography and historical interest/documentation are heavily featured in the hobby...

I found a website that identifies urban exploring sites in Toronto here.   However, as I scrolled through the list, so many of the abandoned buildings have been demolished and are gone.  

Today's images might also capture urban components that will become lost.  Our Piano Keyboard in the first image has been added to the loading dock in recent times and brings a sense of delight to a back alley. It could disappear quickly with graffiti or demolition to make way for grander buildings.

Our second image is a "preserved" painted billboard for Tip Top Tailors.  It is located on Richmond Street West - you can see the 'suits and coats' quite well.  I found a posting on it which says the building was once 5 stories with a small painted sign, and then become 6 stories, with the large sign painted over the first. As they have decayed, the original sign has shown through.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Walk Right In...Have a Seat

The facades that face the commercial streets in Toronto have a minimalist approach to texture and surface. Less seems to be better.

All the surface and texture lie in the back alleys.  The pictures today show back alleys in the King Street West area yesterday.  I was in search of doors and chairs. The first picture is the remaining wall of a building under deconstruction/reconstruction. This is the alley-view of a second story door - I didn't go around to see the facade from the street view.  The door got my attention as it looks like a swing door.  What would have been on the second floor?

These back alleys are grimy and gritty.  They don't get washed down like the sidewalks out front of commercial and retail stores.  At Yonge and Bloor, the gorgeous black granite sidewalk along Bloor Street got washed every morning before 7:30 as I was on my way to work.

In the alleyways, back doors are open to the kitchens of restaurants.  Loud voices pour out, releasing the vitality and energy of the City. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Support Ontario Strawberries

Wake Up on the Bright Side

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I found these giant strawberries at Hildreth's yesterday, with the backdrop of Thanks for supporting Ontario farmers.  It seemed like a fitting tribute for Niagara's autumn Thanksgiving.