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Left to my own devices, I don't tend to read guidebooks or look for sights. That seems more like work than vacation to me. But that's probably kind of a dumb attitude, and I feel sort of self-conscious about it, so I usually try to give myself some minor goals for the day anyway.

The guidebook Sara checked out of the library had two public libraries listed in downtown Toronto, so I set those as my sort-of-goals for the day.

So, after breakfast--assorted fruit, yogurt, then a plate of hot food with a couple fried eggs, bacon, toast, and tomato wedges--I made my slow way up Spadina to a library branch across from the University of Toronto campus on College street. It wasn't open yet, so I wandered on a little further, found an intersection a few blocks down with a nutty-looking traffic pattern, and sat and watched for over half an hour.

Toronto has many more cyclists than Ann Arbor--at this particular intersection there were often 8-10 cyclists lined up from one direction when the light turned green. The street had two lanes of car (and streetcar) traffic each way, and a bike lane on each side. The bike lane stayed on the right throughout. There was also a lot of right-turning car traffic. If I were riding straight through that intersection, I'd merge left into the rightmost car lane before going through the intersection, and if I were driving and turning right, I'd merge over to the right to block the bike lane first. But with a couple exceptions everyone was waiting till the last minute to cross each other's path.

But interestingly, the only bike/car conflicts I saw were between straight-through cyclists and left-turning drivers facing them. I think what happened was that straight-through car drivers hung back as the lane ahead of them filled up (traffic was that backed up), and then the left-turners facing them assumed no-one was coming and cut across the path of a cyclist emerging from behind the rightmost car lane on the other side of the street. Either that, or some cyclists were just running red lights.

The library had a special science fiction collection upstairs, and I spent a few minutes looking at some of the stuff they had out on display. It would've been more interesting if I'd had some old edition in mind from the closed stacks that I wanted a look at, but I didn't.

So I found a nice spot at a table downstairs, forked over for a city-wide wireless network, wrote a couple patches, sent them in, and handled some email before moving on. It was fun.

I roamed around and looked at odd buildings on the campus for a while (it has lots), got a sandwich at a Tim Horton's, then visited the reference library on Yonghe, which has a really impressive building. It looked like a nice place to hang out and work, too, though their network seemed a little dodgy.

Then it was back down Yonghe to meet Sara at the convention center.

Another side project for my day had been to find an electronic shaver to replace one I broke recently. I found something at a Sears. I was less succesful at finding a copy of Dick's "Flow my Tears, the Policeman Said", our next book group book. One bookstore had just a few Dick books, two used bookstores had none at all on the shelves--one of them had a single book behind the counter, but the wrong one. Is there an anti-Dick conspiracy?

On our way to find dinner, Sara and I got an explanation from the guys behind the information counter at a big chain bookstore, where we were surprised to discover a little marker on the shelf saying "ask at the information desk for books by this author." We asked. They explained that Dick (along with, for some reason, Murukami), was one of the most shoplifted authors. Apparently they have high resale value. Anyway, "Flow My Tears" wasn't among the few books they had behind the counter.

We ended up at a place called "Hungary Thai", thanks to the interesting (Hungarian-Thai) menu and the pun. It was pretty bad--may we should have noticed that there weren't any customers. Sara's beef paprakish was good but ordinary, and my Thai curry was unusually tasteless and came with underdone rice.