Monthly Archives: November 2012

Response Post 2: Smell ya later, bye, bye bad smells.

While I would not really want to lose any of my major 5 senses: Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight and Sound. I would give up the sense of hearing ahead of sight if limited to a choice between being deaf or being blind–I would choose to be deaf.

Our world is so visual and to watch a movie or a TV show, and unless they have descriptive audio to not have a clue what is going on screen must be frustrating. To not be able to read a magazine or a newspaper, or read anything that is not written in Braille or available as an audio-book has to be so limiting.

As Oliver Sacks says “we have spent a lifetime learning to see” and so it must be for people born blind, they have spent their whole lives learning to live without sight using their senses of touch and hearing in ways that most sighted people don’t.

But we also depend so much on our sense of hearing–to be able to hear smoke alarms for example. Even at York University, while the smoke alarms blare real loudly, I do not think that the alarms have any visual cues to alert deaf students that their is a fire—so they would have to rely on their sense of smell to detect smoke, or on other hearing students informing them to vacate the building. I do think that some buildings are starting to upgrade to use combined auditory and visual alarms—but I am pretty sure that as in most things, York is behind the curve in this area. I know I have seen a Hearing Assistant help out at any lectures in York–but  then again, I am also not attending 1000 student strong Psychology lectures either, and I have to believe that there are at least a few deaf/hard of hearing students at York.

Again though, as a music lover–while I might be able to feel the vibrations of the music, this would not be the same as hearing it–or hearing a lecture, or having to throw subtitles on everything.

So truly would I want to live without hearing? No, probably not, especially since “one does not sense in isolation–perception is always linked to behavior and movement, to reaching out and exploring the world.” And Virgil, in the Sacks article, found walking “scary” and “confusing” without using his sense of touch to augment what he was seeing.

If I had to pick ONE sense out of the 5 main senses to live without, I would probably go with SMELL/OLFACTORY (Ironic as this is my end-of-term project sense I have to investigate for my sense-scape) but there are just some things that smell SO NASTY, that it must be pretty good not to be able to smell how hideous a Ryerson University washroom can get (Honestly why are the bathrooms at Rye-High always so disgusting?!) and while I enjoy the smell of French Vanilla Perfume (Ladies take note) I would be willing to give up the sense of smell, even if involved never smelling the awesomeness that is sizzling Bacon–even though lacking a sense of smell would probably affect my Gustatory sense, and steaks wrapped in bacon might not taste as awesome as they normally would without being able to smell them.

Sight and hearing are the two primary senses, and I would not be able to live in a world where I could not experience the touch of a beautiful woman, and not being able to taste food would be horrible, so smell to me is least important of the 5 senses and one I could, if forced by some tragic event, to live without.

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Feed me and I will love you forever.

The path to my heart runs straight through my stomach as I love food more than almost anything. The only reason I don’t weigh 400lbs is because I am a relatively tall dude at 6’3″, still have a reasonably fast metabolism–and work out at least 3 times a week.

When I am feeling like eating something unhealthy–and getting what in my mind are some of the best BIG burgers in the City, there is only one restaurant in Toronto that will do. Dangerous Dan’s Diner–a small restaurant at the corner of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue, located directly across from Jilly’s “Gentlemen’s” Club.

Dangerous Dan’s is famous for their epic burgers which can be seen in this video. While epic is a word that is tossed around too much these days, it truly applies when confronted with the famous Colossal Colon Clogger Combo which consists of a 24 Ounce Burger topped with a quarter pound of cheese, another quarter pound of glorious bacon, all the standard burger fixings (lettuce, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo and hot peppers) and two fried eggs. Yes, the burger is topped with not one but two over-easy eggs.

As if the burger alone wasn’t enough to feed 3 people, it comes with a “small” Poutine and a large milk-shake. Dan’s has the standard chocolate, strawberry and vanilla-but those in the know opt for the Elvis shake which is an awesome concoction made of chocolate ice cream, banana, and Kraft peanut butter. SO GOOD!

As Dan’s Owner, Chef James McKinnon says: ” I just think you should never try and make a burger too healthy. A burger’s supposed to be comfort food and it’s supposed to make you feel good. When people try and make it something that’s really good for you rather than tasting good, I think it’s missing the point.” I couldn’t agree more.

I would love to see Adam Richman, the Man vs Food guy, tackle this awesome burger. I bet he could conquer it as he has conquered some pretty amazing competitive eating challenges on his shows Man vs Food and Man vs Food Nation where Adam Richman who has held virtually every job in the Restaurant business travels across America to tackle various restaurant food challenges from eating nuclear spicy chicken wings–to eating massive Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches.

Dan’s is diner food done right. Every other restaurant opening up in Toronto seems to be a Shawarma place, Burrito place, Yuppie Burger Chain (Hero Burger, Gourmet Burger Co, Acme Burger, etc.) or some flavor of Asian-Fusion–and we are rapidly losing our old-school Fish N Chips and traditional European style diners.

Gone are the days when one can get a piece of MEATLOAF just anywhere, or Shepard’s Pie. Heck I bet people reading this don’t even know what a Shepard’s Pie is–and that is right up there with Poutine, Bacon and Maple Syrup as being food I grew up on. But North American foods, and European foods like Perogies and Schnitzels are increasingly hard to find in Toronto as we cater more and more to other ethnic tastes.

I don’t mind a good Pho Soup, and I am one of the few white boys who can handle REAL Jerk Chicken, Curried Goat and Oxtail platters (Albert’s, Mr. Jerk and Caribbean Queen are my faves)–but like Sutton says in his article, I think it is also important to preserve tastes from the past, and pass those recipes down from father to son (or mother to daughter) so that they are preserved and will not be forgotten–and this includes “white people” food as European style foods, even Traditional French style food is increasingly harder to find in Toronto especially at a price that the middle class can afford.

That is one thing I truly miss about living in Thunder Bay Ontario where I did two years of Anthropology at Lakehead University–the absolutely awesome Finnish, Scandinavian and Polish food available in that city.

Hey now what’s that sound, everyone look what’s going round.

Sound is all around us. Indeed life can be summed up as a series of beeps and boops, with one very long BEEP at the end if you happen to die in a hospital setting.

Finding Quiet or Peace, especially in an urban environment is increasingly difficult, and there are times when not having such peace can be darn annoying. I was not surprised to read in the article about the ban on those damn annoying HELLS BELLS Church bells that churches felt the need to blast constantly to get their flock of sheep in the door.

If I had to live next to a Church and be woken up early on a Sunday morning to the sound of church bells while a bunch of old people rapidly approaching death decide that at 90 years of age it might be a good idea to start going to church again, I would probably want the churches to stop ringing their bells or at least quiet them down a bit myself.

I remember my first apartment in Toronto where I lived on the 3rd floor in this old building on College street–and at first things weren’t too bad, but then my neighbors on the 2nd floor, one floor below me–got into the habit of playing @#$ing Spice Girls, Lady GaGa or some other gay-friendly music at like 2 or 3 in the morning JUST BLASTING.  I am talking floor and walls vibrating, can’t hear your own TV when it is on maximum volume kind of blasting. Worse, they thought they could sing, and oh hell no, Simon Cowell would have torn them a new one.

At first I tried to be cool about it, because it was mostly restricted to Friday and Saturday night and you kind of expect noise then (but still 3 or 4am is a bit excessive)–but then they started doing that stuff through the week, like Tuesdays at 3 in the morning. I guess they would get back from a bar and decide to just go all night playing the most god awful music imaginable. Wouldn’t be so bad if there was a little AC/DC, Nirvana or maybe even Smashing Pumpkins in there. But nope–techno BOOM BOOM BOOM music.

Then once they got the word that the music was annoying us, as I complained to the landlord and made a couple noise complaints–they of course decided to annoy us even further by putting ONE song on repeat at max volume and playing that for like 2 hours straight. I am guessing they left the house when they did that, but my god I swear I wanted to kill them as that was the most annoying thing ever, and I rationalized it as–yeah I will probably have to do 5 to 10 in jail, but I will get a free education paid for by the taxpayers, and in 5 or 10 years they will STILL be dead and I will be out free to do my thing.

Instead I would retaliate by blasting Slayer, Slipknot and the loudest Death Metal I could get my hands on with my speakers turned up to 11 during the day when I thought they would be all hung-over, and when no-one could do nothing as during the day you can pretty much go as loud as you want. Legally. Screw with me, I’ll screw with you is how I looked at it.

Finally me and my girlfriend at the time just had enough as we were both going to school and trying to work full time jobs–and we moved out, breaking our lease. We moved into another apartment building and lived there for a year, before they decided to start renovating units as people moved out so we had a steady stream of construction related noise but at least it would stop around 6 at night or so.

While sound can create moods and trigger memories, and is of course necessary for verbal communication–there are just some sounds that most people can’t stand, like nails scratching on a chalk-board or grinding TTC Subway rails.

This is why I agree with Shopper’s Drug Mart for deciding NOT to play Christmas music until after November 11th, as really over a month of the same 200 odd Christmas songs has got to become incredibly annoying for the poor souls who are forced to work Christmas retail.

I mean on the most part music played in stores sucks 365 days a year as it is almost all Top 40 pop-tunes and golden oldies from the 50’s and 60’s selected as those songs are seen as ones that should not offend anyone regardless to their religious or cultural background–which is why so many of us in stores, try to drown out whatever is playing on the stores speakers by blasting our iPods.

One thing is for sure with all the noise everywhere and with how loud some dudes have their iPods cranking noise directly into their ear-canals, a sure-fire investment is in hearing aid products as in 30 or 40 years there will be a lot of deaf or near-deaf people walking around.