Tag Archives: paris

Of plants and plastic

Cité de la mode et du design, Paris

A couple of weeks ago, tired from a full week of completing projects both at work and at home, I decided to do a little indoor gardening. The tropical plants, lucky bamboos of birthdays past and and whatever is  left of an orchid plant after the bloom is gone were the subjects of the Friday night impromptu botany experiment.

Fifteen years ago, my grandmother gave me a plant that has not been repotted since. Imagine a 4 foot tall plant in a 6-inch plastic planter. It was an odd thing to behold.

“Why don’t I cut stalks from this plant and put them in water? I know roots will shoot. Let’s just see,” I thought to myself. the success story involves the first plant, roots and all, being potted the day before yesterday.

I never fancied myself a greenthumb but here I was, little plant in my hands, dirty with soil. I started thinking: “What’s an interesting plant to grow?”

I started thinking about my lithops when I was living in Montréal. Lithops are also known as living pebbles because they are the perfect example of biomimicry. Their camouflaged appearance has helped these succulent plants (ex. cacti) escape predation and getting eaten by the thirstiest of animals for the water stored in their leaves. They are ‘designed’ by nature to withstand the dry summers in Southern Africa, their native habitat.

I know I am geeking out, dear readers, but they are such strange plants and lithops just made me read more about them and other succulent plants. The best design inspirations definitely come from nature. Have you read Darwin’s “Origin of Species”? Go ahead. You’ll see how Alexander McQueen‘s Spring 2010 collection makes sense.


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Filed under Architecture, City Life, fashion, History, ideas, Industrial Design, nature, travel

Oh, TTC. Oh, TTC, be mine.


I spend a big chunk of my waking life on public transit.  From the east end, my destination of Lakeshore and Kipling seems like a long zombie walk.  I read a lot though between départ and arrivée.

The Lakeshore streetcar is a pleasant but long experience in the middle of the day.  The gentle rocking of the tram enforces the conflict between slumber attention.  Needless to say, I enjoy the streetcar even though it is the long way to get to downtown Toronto.   (I think, I might just made a breakthrough: I like complicating things!)

The Queen/Parliament/Long Branch streetcar is a moving microcosm of life in our city.  For any sociology and anthropology majors, please consider my proposal to take this relatively inexpensive trip within Toronto.

Today, I found my streetcar driver to be semi-maniacal and a self-talker, who laughed at his utterings that no one else heard.  I understand that it is frustrating to maneuver a giant piece of machinery with limitations pertaining to its circulation.  I bet that this is further aggravated by the construction at Church and Queen which slowed down traffic.

I am a reasonable person and a very sympathetic person.  When I ask if I can get off in the middle of a gridlock, is it necessary to respond with a laugh followed up by a denial and a mockery of a reasonable request? You represent the TTC! I realize that it is a monopoly and that people who take it on a regular basis often do not have another choice.  This does not give you permission.

The TTC can be a wonderful experience and is conditionally convenient.  With the threat of a fare hike in the new year, despite some politicians’ promises, TTC employees should remind people why they should pay the extra quarter for the same services they have been providing since the system’s inception.

The fare already exceeds Paris’ more complex system.  What are the merits of a higher fare? Is it reasonable to expect Wi-fi? How about just finishing the St. Clair line? I await answers to these questions.  In the meanwhile, I will just keep my head down, reading my copy of Metro, checking what Twitter updates Ashton Kutcher might have.

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