Archive for September, 2006

I Hate To Do This…

… But I feel the need to point out yet another sign that summer has ended.

Last week I brought up that summer was over by posting a picture of geese flying South. But there’s one other sign that I always look for when determining how much longer I can still wear shorts and a t-shirt;

Pool EmptyingWhen folks around town start emptying their swimming pools.

It’s a surefire sign that there won’t be anymore frolicking by the poolside, there will be fewer and fewer BBQ feasts and people will give weird looks to someone wearing nothing else but a pair of cargo shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt at 7:30 in the morning when everyone else has an autumn jacket on or even sporting a scarf.

I’m not complaining, I actually quite like this time of year. But I’ll certainly miss the longer days and wearing shorts (which I start to wear as early as the end of March). I do, however, occasionally fire up the BBQ mid-winter on a mild day. What about any of you fine readers, anyone else brave the cold and risk lighting you mittens on fire while standing in front of the BBQ?

Dawson Folks Still (Understandably) Nervous

The after effects of the Dawson Shooting 2 weeks ago are still lingering around the college and it shows, it’ll likely be this way for some time to come.

I was on my way back to the college with a couple of coworkers today after having lunch at Westmount Square and on the corner of Wood Ave. there were 3 police cars there waiting for the light to change. Not too odd we thought, police have been patrolling around the college quite regularly ever since the tragedy. But then there were two more cars coming up de Maisonneuve, and then a couple more…

Now we’re sort of worried and confused because at this point we’re close enough to see the entrance to the college on Maisonneuve and there was a large crowd of people, mainly students, hovering about and a few more police cars starting to pulling away. There were even people on the terrace at Alexis-Nihon looking over toward the college. Now keeping in mind that it was right about 1:00PM, our thoughts quickly became “No, not again?” …

What was THAT all about?

So I was watching the midday news on CTV earlier, and they were discussing the hearing for the teenage boy in Hudson who was arrested for uttering death threats on the same website that Kimveer Gill used prior to the shootings at Dawson. I didn’t manage to catch the entire story because neither of my kids have much desire to let me actually listen to the news, but I did get to hear just enough to experience a “HUH?” moment.

The reporter was asked whether the boy had taken the stand and she yes he did, wearing a black t-shirt.

Why was that a necessary piece of information? How was it remotely relevant to anything? The fact that he was wearing a black t-shirt has nothing to do with death threats or his guilt. If he had worn a black t-shirt saying “I hate everyone and want to kill you all” then I could see the point of bringing it up. Just a black t-shirt is such a fluffy bit of information. I own plenty of black t-shirts, black button-up shirts, black pullovers, black hoodies, black pants, black skirts, and black dresses. I assure you I am not intending to shoot anyone or write intricate death threats because of my wardrobe.

It just seemed like a bit of useless and even shoddy reporting. This is the news, not “What Not to Wear”.

Fat squirrels

Every morning out back, I’m treated to the flying trapeze antics of the squirrels as they sail from the electrical wires to the crabapple tree. The squirrels cram the fruit into their mouths and then run down and bury them in all the yards. And they are getting fat too. Seems they have to prepare for the long winter. Last year we found a pile of goodies stashed into a folded up camping chair in the back yard. There were crabapples, nuts, and bits of food from the garbage. I’ve even caught the squirrels burying their treasure in the snow (my dog loves a good treasure and promplty finds the caches).

I love watching them scurry about and fattening up for the winter. The neighbor hates them though – she comes out of her house shrieking and whacking at the creatures with a broomstick. (which is pretty funny all things considered.)

Love ’em (as I do) or hate ’em (dirty rodents) squirrels are part of Montreal living.


Not to gross anyone out, but I had to grab a shot of this..

This, believe it or not, this is a urinal in a resto on the corner of René Lévesque and Jeanne-Mance. Water runs down the wall and collects at the bottom. You stand on those little steps.. keeping your feet, um, dry. I’ve never seen anything like it..


I didn’t dare look at the toilet!

Google Map of Montreal Subway including Laval Stations

Most Montreal Subway maps you find online are either the official map showing only the stations without any street information or low resolution, difficult to read pdf files. This site presents all the stations superimposed on a detailed interactive street map of Montreal. A link to the official Montreal STM site for each station is included. (The new Laval stations are already shown on the map!)

Somebody used the Suggest a story link to submit this link that goes with the description I just quoted. Whoever left that link didn’t leave any sign of who they are.

I checked out the map. At school, we are working on reorganizing Berri street around metro Sherbrooke. Over the last few weeks, we studied the areas, how people/cars/bikes circulated. All that included studying the metro. I check the map and noticed the subway station Sherbrooke is misplaced; the station is actually on corner of Berri and Cherrier and the exits are on either side of Berri on corner Malines.

Relying on this map will only let you know approximately the area where you might end up. I would also like to point out that every subway station has a map of the neighborhood on a wall. Quite efficient.

Lighter winter in Montreal

Montrealers can look forward to a milder winter this year. At least that’s what they discussed on the news last night; sometimes I think weather forecasts are possibly done by throwing a dart and making a few good guesses, but studies are showing that once again the winter will be a little easier to deal with. The news blurb mentioned that it will include less precipitation as well, so I assume no giant snowbanks to plow through.

For people who hate winter and the cold, it sounds like good news, but of course the drawback to that is that our gentle winter comes at the hands of global warming so it’s a nasty trade-off. I can’t stand extremes – super humidity in the summer and bitter cold in the winter make me want to scream – but I’d rather have a winter of my childhood if it meant the planet wasn’t slowly heating up.

It’s coming… I know it’s coming

I’ve never been one of those people who enjoy seasons. Or rather, I like two seasons: dry and monsoon. I spent my early childhood in the tropics and have never quite adjusted to lands where people wear things on their feet to make them go fast over ice and snow.

I moved here because of my husband’s screenwriting career, and we love it here. Alex sets everything he writes in Montreal (never in some generic North American city) because Montreal has more charm than anyplace north of New Orleans. Still, there’s this thing here that begins with a W. I can barely bring myself to say it… Suffice it to say that Canada has its own problematic “W” and it’s the season that comes after fall.

How did colonists settle a place that gets down to 30 below? I don’t care how many beaver pelts you have — that’s cold! On particularly frigid days, I beg Alex go to Hong Kong to make kick-boxing movies for the winter — it’s tropical there. Helpfully, I suggest various plots for possible Hong Kong films. It’s become a seasonal shtick in our household for him to ask, “What’s the weather like outside?” and for me to answer: “He promised his sainted dead mother he would never fight again, but then the Big Boss violated his innocent cousin Ming…”

Other times, we go into denial. When we had our convertible, whenever the temperature was 1 degree above zero, Alex would ride around the block with the top down. I’d go outside and mock-scream, “I can’t see my breath! I can’t see my breath!” Then we’d go inside for frozen tropical drinks and listen to salsa.

I’m told that other locals, when faced with the severe climate, take up sport d’hiver. Tell me, fellow Montrealers: What’s your own strategy for adjusting to the cold?

Surrounded by wineries

Picture%202.pngAn interesting link was dropped in the suggestion box. It leads you to a map showing the location of all of the wineries in Quebec. As you can see, we are completely surrounded and have no other option than to get out of our SAQs with our livers up.

Beware of bikers

Today I passed a bad-looking accident at St. Urbain and Prince Arthur. A car had hit a cyclist, whose bike was in a crumpled heap on the curb. An ambulance was there.

Folks, if you’re driving, keep an eye out for cyclists. One of the great charms of this city is its European-style reliance on bikes to get around. Let’s keep it that way.

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