Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2016/02 Moments February 2016

Helsinki, Finland; Frankfurt Airport, Germany; Toronto, Ontario; Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, California; Whitby, Ontario

Hakaniemi Market
Hakaniemi Market: Fishmonger filets pike-perch (kasvatettu siika), as I requested a whitefish for soup tomorrow. She and a passing customer recommended against the hauki (pike) which has many small bones. The advice of a professional is preferred since I’m less proficient varieties of fish, particularly when they’re named in Finnish. (Ekströms Fiskebod, Hakaniemi Market, Helsinki, Finland) 20160201
Post-lecture dinner
Post-lecture dinner: Warm hospitality following pattern of preparing dinner in AS’s kitchen, coming up to Chinese New Year. Old friends and new acquaintances numbered 13 around the table this time. Menu favourites included vegetarian ma po tofu and stick dried bean curd (foo jook) and reconstituted dried shitake mushrooms brought in suitcase from Toronto. Switched seats before dessert to talk to more people at the long table. (Töölö, Helsinki, Finland) 20160202
Cafe Tin Tin Tango
Cafe Tin Tin Tango: Meeting venue popular with coffee up front, laundromat in the back. Fortunately, no clothes were being cleaned while we had our research discussion, so we could sit near a power outlet. Had kaneli pulla (cinnamon buns) with herbal teas. Wifi is available for free 30 minutes at a time, so camping out for the day is monitored by servers. Lavatory was practically Japanese in the economy of space. (Cafe Tin Tin Tango, Toolo, Helsinki, Finland) 20160203
Local tax office
Local tax office: Arrived just before 4:15pm when doors are closed, while government employees continue serving visitors inside. Alternative to 35% withholding for non-residents to Finland is to get a tax card and be calculated on the progressive rate. When income is low, having a tax card could pre-empt having to file a tax return available only in the Finnish or Swedish language in the next year. (Vero Skatt, Fennia-kortteli, Helsinki, Finland) 20160203
Museokatu laneway
Museokatu laneway: Apartment windows look out over open parking behind five storey buildings with commercial businesses that face the street on the other side. View west doesn’t provide much sunlight, and dusk is relatively early at this northern latitude. Having a three-metre day, grading student work for tomorrow’s lecture. (Hellsten Parliament Apartments, Museokatu, Helsinki, Finland) 20160204
Kiasma: Art is free on first Friday night of the month at the Kiasma. The exhibition of “Demonstrating Minds: Disagreements in Contemporary Art” may reflect the prevailing pessimistic mood in the country. The long slow ramp up to the second floor is a famous feature designed by architect Stephen Holl. (Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland) 20160205

Kiinalainen Uusivuosi
Kiinalainen Uusivuosi: Lantern dance at 10th Chinese New Year festival in Helsinki. Program of dancers, musicians and kung fu ran throughout Sunday afternoon to usher in the Year of the Monkey. With the foggy day persistent after sunset, the fireworks over nearby Töölönlahti seemed to explode low altitude for a public show. (Keskuskatu, Helsinki, Finland) 20160107
Ravintola Jing Cheng
Ravintola Jing Cheng: Chinese cuisine executed well, but recipe lacking in green vegetables may be preferred by Nordic clientele. Venue convenient to the apartment where I’m staying, but local foods and cooking by my own hands are superior. Met with once-removed acquaintance, exchange perspectives on dual careers in academia and commercial practice. (Kiinalainen Ravintola Jing Cheng, Töölö, Helsinki, Finland) 20160211
Steam Hellsinki
Steam Hellsinki: Invited by students for after-class visit to bar by central bus station. Interior decorated in steampunk style, we moved chairs together for conversation, waitress says crowd arrives at 8 pm. Can’t recall if I’ve ever been in a Finnish bar in 12 years. (Steam Hellsinki, Kamppi, Helsinki) 20160212
S Market
S Market: Displays of Karelian pies prepared commercially in large quantities are indicative of Finnish palates. Wheat pastry with topping of rice and egg butter is a light savoury snack, tasty, wholesome and inexpensive. Many times, I have eaten these directly after checkout, to tide over the appetite before getting back to the apartment to prepare dinner. Homemade would likely be better, but economically uncompetitive. (S Market, Mannerheimentie, Helsinki, Finland) 20160214
Hesperia Park
Hesperia Park: Steps up to viewpoint just north of Finlandia Hall not cleared of snow, yet still a better pedestrian option than sliding on the granite face. Natural promontory overlooking Töölönlahti bay, and new developments in Finlandia Park. A film crew lighting the front entrance of Finlandia Hall suggests movie production, not news. (Hesperian Puisto, Helsinki, Finland) 20150215
Ravintola Mezopotamya
Ravintola Mezopotamya: Knitting together parallel histories on systems thinking and university research projects. Careers and social ties had intersected many times, but the women had never met. Bonding proved strong when comparing photos on mobile phones of cats. Language switched to Finnish when I left the table, and back to English when I rejoined. Casual Kurdish buffet cafe was a quiet place for 3 hour conversation on a weekday evening. (Cafe Caisa / Ravintola Mezopotamya, Kaisaniemi, Helsinki) 20160216
Gongfu tea ceremony
Gongfu tea ceremony: Chinese New Year celebration at Tongji Lounge at Aalto U. included welcomes from the Chinese consulate, Tongji U. in Shanghai and local student organizations. Snacks for casual time in the Moose Lounge of Aalto Ventures Program, dancing in contemporary (not traditional styles), then jigsaw and chopsticks games. Formal tea tasting by Xinyuan Sui from Teemaa Tea House in Helsinki. (Tongji Lounge, TUAS building, Otaniemi, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland) 20160217
Helsinki Music Centre
Helsinki Music Centre: Kirsi Kaulanen (2011) “Gaia” sculpture in main lobby used as public thoroughfare by pedestrians from Eduskuntapuisto eastbound towards Central Railway Station. I followed others from the traffic lights into an aesthetically better route, since Kansalaistori Square is a construction zone for new Central Library. (Helsinki Music Centre, Finland) 20160218
Sanomatalo: Happened into Kaiti Kink band performance in Close Encounters Jazz Festival live broadcast. Paused for a few tunes. Had wanted to see music on another evening, but my schedule has been too busy. I was trying out a new short cut in bad weather through a glass tower on the way to the tax office. Serendipity wins. (Helsinki Pop and Jazz Conservatory, Sanomatalo, Helsinki, Finland) 20160218
Why join the navy when you can be a pirate
Why join the navy when you can be a pirate: Enthusiastic students, after Friday course completion, picked a bar with name quoted from Steve Jobs. Actually, it’s a cafe that serves alcoholic drinks, mixed juices and smoothies. At 5 p.m., some of the clientele still had laptop computers open, and were tapping away as the sound levels rose. (Why join the navy when you can be a pirate, Annankatu, Helsinki, Finland) 20160219
Helsinki Airport T1
Helsinki Airport T1: Train from city centre arrived at 12:49pm downstairs for 2:00pm departure. Star Alliance Gold check-in counter moved to far side of economy line, so slight stress to find right place. Worth maintaining frequent flyer status to speed through airport. Built up sweat dragging 2 checked bags plus carry-on through Helsinki snow. (Helsinki Airport, Vantaa, Finland) 20160220
Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport: Cool welcome to Germany with stairs to bus to Terminal A. Long immigration lines to B gates. (Frankfurt Airport, Germany) 20160220
Pearson Terminal 1
Pearson Terminal 1: Passenger volume to U.S. flights heavy on Sunday morning 7 a.m., but lines are moving. Full staff on at Air Canada check-in, lots of automated passport reading machines, backlog mostly at x-ray scanners. Warm weather in Toronto, so travellers expecting to escape chilly temperatures booked a while ago. (Toronto Pearson Airport, Terminal 1) 20160221
Lake Mead
Lake Mead: AC1851 on approach east of Las Vegas, with scenic view of the Mojave Desert, fresh water fed by Colorado River. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is in Red Rock Country, a high sierra, at the Nevada-Arizona border. Flew over Bonelli Landing, view north to Echo Bay. (Air Canada flight 1851, over Lake Mead National Recreation Area) 20160221
Spring Valley Library
Spring Valley Library: Using free wifi in public library for tasks too slow on mobile device. Just 2 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, Spring Valley is an unincorporated town, with lots of subdivisions and 17% of population Asian. The Chinese strip malls run up S. Jones Blvd. past W. Spring Mountain Road. (Spring Valley Library, Clark County, Nevada) 20160222
S. Las Vegas Blvd.
S. Las Vegas Blvd.: View north of the Strip from W. Tropicana Ave., with New York New York towers. Rode tram to Excalibur casino, past Luxor casino, from Mandalay Bay resort. Transportation is a freebie since these south end properties are all owned by MGM. (Excalibur casino, S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada) 20160223
Marjorie Barrick Museum
Marjorie Barrick Museum: Well-curated gallery of contemporary art at U. Nevada Las Vegas. Temporary show of Ellsworth Kelly paintings displayed more than the monochromatic bars. Other walls hung “Unseen selections from the Las Vegas At Museum”. Focus on quality over quantity in a well lit and quiet venue. (Marjorie Barrick Museum, University of Nevada Las Vegas) 20160224
Downtown Container Park
Downtown Container Park: The Praying Mantis sculpture (2010), created for Burning Man by Kirk Jellum, was installed at Fremont Street at N 7th Street in 2013, sponsored by Zappos. Flames shot out of the artwork a few times per hour, which we could see from the other side of the park while having dinner at The Perch on the second floor. (Downtown Container Park, E. Fremont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada) 20160225
LACMA: Claes Oldenbery (1967) “Giant Pool Balls” on floor, with John McCracken (1967) “Don’t Tell Me When to Stop” and Ellsworth Kelly (1972) “Blue Curve III” on the wall behind, in the Ahmanson Building, level 2. Leisurely stroll through galleries with brother, talking while walking. Collection much broader than contemporary art, so focused on primary interest. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California) 20160226
Casablanca Resto
Casablanca Resto: Mexican restaurant with a Moroccan name, obsessed with Bogart and Bergman. Freshly made tortillas. tequila cart. Enjoyed calamari fajitas, unique texture fit seafood. Early dinner with brother’s family. (Casablanca Restaurant, Lincoln Blvd., Venice, California) 20150225
The Baked Potato
The Baked Potato: At close of set, @JeffLorber shout out to Ben Ing, recalling recording at Indigo Ranch circa 1984. Before set, they connected on acquaintances lost over nearly a lifetime in music and production. Standing room full at performance of trio of Jeff Lorber (keys), Jimmy Haslip (bass), and Gary Novak (drums). (The Baked Potato, Studio City, California) 20160226
LAX Terminal 2
LAX Terminal 2: Interior design of departures corridor upper level has curved perforated window shades towards northern exposure, hanging pendant lights in centre, and polyhedral lights over the stairs. Terminal 2 Improvement Project of 2015-2017 adds cohesion with greater Tom Bradley International Terminal expansion. (Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 2) 20160227

Canon Service Centre
Canon Service Centre: Powershot camera needs repair, discovered service depot is also a major factory sales outlet for refurbished Sony, Samsung and Miele brands. They repair Canon cameras, but don’t sell them there. Friendly staff was helpful with procedures. (MTC – Manufacturing & Technology Centre, Water Street, Whitby, Ontario) 20160229
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