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Category : Currently Marinating

Dear TTC: Bus Stops. You Are Doing It Wrong

Dear TTC: Bus Stops. You Are Doing It Wrong

MOBILE EYE: Our Toronto Transit Commission At Work!!

Taken on Sunday, May 5th. Bay and King Street. A bus, while trying to make a very wrong turn ended up getting stuck and holding up traffic. We never found the mysterious reason for the attempt. Only that it blocked traffic in both directions for about 10 minutes.

Yelp's Oyster Night™

Yelp’s Oyster Night™

I have been a Yelp Elite for about 3 years and unlike Facebook and Twitter,  where most of people’s updates go straight into the ether where they disappear without any major payoff, being part of this social epicurean network will certainly be a breath of fresh air.  I am not undermining the power of Social Media, au contraire, it as proven to be extremely useful when used intelligently. Coca-Cola, Dove, Old Spice and countless DJs use it daily with great gains in relevance. However for most users out there, posting endless cat/dog/hamster pictures along posters highlighting a grade 6th English, vacuous pseudo-spiritual quote only comes at the price of them being thought as egomaniacs in waiting.

In case you may not know, Yelp tries to changes the game a bit by using crowd sourcing’s power for good and not to annoy. Users write reviews of restaurants they have visited writing down reviews of their experiences to highlight or to warn future foodies. Can this site be exploited? Sure. Like any other site, however users are encouraged to post their real (abbreviated) names along portrait photos to identify themselves to others. Like on many sites, recognition and a good reputation are very strong motivators to keeping the site useful.

PLUS, the delicious events “Elite Members” –those who express an above average dedication to the site, are invited on an almost monthly basis. These are only limited by the city’s community manager’s creativity and budget and vary from pizza nights to burgers to full-fledged whole pig on pit! There are also plenty of vegetarian options for those who are wondering… and either way the wine and beer, always flows freely: both figuratively and refreshingly literally.

So what was the most recent event? Oysters @ Samuel J Moore, a new, classic looking restaurant that I would have never known about if it was not for this event.

Oh, a night of Village Bay oysters, sparkling and white wine, great conversation and an opportunity to meet new people! It was really a good experience and unlike Facebook and Twitter which tend to be mostly inclusive to your own friends or strangers you are likely not to ever met, Yelp helps locals to meet like-minded foodies face to face who are specifically not in your circle of friends. All while, thanks to your reviews, actually helping others eat better. A win/win.

Kudos to all at Yelp.

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Yelping Elite

One of the worst side effects of being stuck at home with a broken leg is that you are pretty much homebound. You can’t go anywhere, well you can although everything becomes a crazy obstacle course. Everything has to be planned well in advance. Stairs turn into major hazards. Streets are adventures to be crossed and subway stations, with their run-of-the-mill escalators or worse, lack of them become simply dangerous.

In fact, of the few times I have gone out, the highest ratio of close calls where I could have seriously fallen and re-broken my leg where at subway stations. There are tons of people everywhere, the floors can and tend to be slippery and just imagine trying to carry food, or any dead weight using crutches while not being able to bear any weight on your right leg. Not to mention I live half a kilometer from the nearest subway station. So that means that anywhere I go, I have to crutch my way at least 1km for a return trip. Now that is some serious non-fun.

A few months ago I had joined YELP for fun and I was doing well as a top Yelper but I only visited the site sporadically. Being mentioned in their newsletter was good and dandy but after my accident, I began writing again, you know, to help me keep busy and drive me less crazy. What is Yelp you ask? It’s a site where people review businesses, restaurants, fast food joints and help out others who might for example be wondering whether that Mexican place on St. Clair is any good (is not). So you write reviews for your fellow man in hope that when it is your turn to wonder if that new sushi place in the Annex is any good that some fellow Yelper might have you covered and wrote a review that might help you out. So I thought I might be able to add a few reviews here and there… You see, if there is one great thing about being an event organizer for 4000 people is that over time you do get to visit a lot of businesses and that is what YELP is all about.

So I began writing some reviews and all of the sudden I was nominated to become a Yelp Elite!  What does that mean? I think it is an icon they put next to your profile to show people how dedicated you are. Now the most awesome thing is you get invited to this Elite only parties where the food and drink are all paid for. NOW YOU ARE TALKIN’… However, with a broken leg is not like I am going anywhere yet. BUT the one good thing is I have had the chance to make some new friends, and help out the Toronto community! Now I am only up to 52 reviews but I am hoping, after having joined the 30-Day Review Challenge to hit my goal of 67 by the end of the month! …And keep my sanity.

In the end, it is a good website, so click over if you would want to check that new restaurant you have been hearing about! Below is a map of my latest reviews!

PS:. If you read this after 10/12/2011, chances are you will see a lot more locales!

Mad Man With A Camera: Whirlpool!

Whirpool! by The Torontonian
Whirpool! a photo by Mauricio Alas.

A few weeks ago, I decided to try something new. To begin a Photography Collection where I try to experiment both creatively outside of the scope of the camera, while at the same capturing that same ‘Eureka’ moment through my lenses. Thus expanding, exploring and dare I say it, hitting two different venues with one proverbial stone. So without further ado, my first photo of this collection: Whirpool!