Archive for October, 2007

How do you find a GP anyhow ?

About 9 weeks ago I crashed on my bike. I don’t want to get into it because I come out looking like a moron who can’t steer straight.

I hurt my hand, most notably my middle finger. Two weeks ago, that is, seven weeks after having crashed, and I still don’t have full movement of the finger. Grrr. So I break down and decide to see a doctor.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a doctor.. a GP. I don’t even know how to find one. I do remember something about a CLSC hotline you can call to get in touch with a nurse.

I find the number on the web and give it a ring. After about a 20 minute wait I have a fantastic discussion with a very kind nurse who points me in the right direction.

Without an appointment, I get in line at 8am on a Saturday morning and THREE hours later, I get to see a doctor. She looks at the finger, hands me a slip to get it x-rayed and out I was not but 5 minutes after I walked in.

The x-ray was quick as anything to get, the next appointment with the orthopaedist two weeks after that.

A 5 minute chat with the orthopaedist and he tells me its fine, its probably broken but he can’t be entirely sure but that it doesn’t matter as there’s nothing that can be done. He tells me to “suck it up” and work it in hot and cold water until it eventually gets better which could be months away. Months!

The good news is this doesn’t affect me really as the finger is stiff and I can’t make a fist with it. But I don’t plan on getting into any bench clearing brawls anytime soon.

But this entire affair got me thinking: How does one find a GP ? The GP you have, how long do you normally wait before s/he can see you ?

Ideally, I’d like a GP that does sports and understands that saying “stay off the bike” should only be uttered in life and death situations. ;-)

So I am curious, how did you find your GP ?

First Airbus A380 to land in Montreal on November 12th

The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, will be making its first landing at Trudeau Airport on November 12. Although this is considered a route verification flight, the plane won’t be empty as more than 500 guests will be aboard. The Air France behemoth will return to Charles de Gaulle on November 15th.

You know where I’ll be.

Price Check !

Canada’s finance minister bought himself a little prop yesterday: A Harry Potter Book The idea was to show how we as Canadians are paying too much when the exchange factor is taken into account.

With the Canadian dollar now higher then the American, we as Canadians are wondering what gives? Why are goods so much more expensive here then down there ?

Of course if you ask retailers, they will tell you that it’s the distributors. If you ask the distributors, they’ll tell you it’s the manufacturers if you ask them, they’ll say it’s their suppliers… And the game of Whack A Mole continues.

It’s a bit like trying to figure out why the price of gas is the same all over town.. You’re never going to find out.

I’ll tell you what the problem is, the problem is that we Canadians are stupid. We continue to buy all our goods here and complain about the pricing.

There is a company called Freeport Forwarding which is just over the US border that will accept all your packages. You purchase your goods in the US via the Web (including companies like Amazon.com which refuses to sell to Canada for some goods) and have it shipped to Freeport Fowarding and they will accept your goods (details on the website). One afternoon, you drive down, pick up your box, declare it at the border and voila. Instant savings.

A coworker does this regularly and figures he saved 50% on the recent purchase of snow tires, including tax and shipping.

Not too shabby. I’ve been ordering from the states via the Web now for a while but the kicker has always been the time that it takes to clear Canada Customs. It’s like a black hole! It goes in and one day, sometimes a week or two later, it comes out with taxes and service charge added.

This new option would definitely speed things up as you would clear your own packages..

So there are options to having to pay large Canadian price tags.

Inevitable

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Has this not been the most gorgeous couple of October days you’ve ever seen? For me it has. Downtown yesterday was like the first warm day of spring with everyone outside “taking sun”. I don’t think I’ve ever worn just a tshirt this late in the season. So imagine my disappointment this morning when I checked the long range forecast. Sigh. It’s all over but the crying.

Montreal as a new home for the United Nations?

It was revealed in the French Canadian newspaper La Presse that the Canadian government has informally proposed to the United Nations that they move their headquarters to the Montreal Old Port. The new site would essentially occupy a cluster of artificial islands between the downtown core and Habitat 67.

Detailed architectural plans have already been developed as shown in these images. These new installations would cost almost the same as the proposed $1.9 billion renovation of the Manhattan complex. They would also expect to save $790 millions per year in maintenance and the 65 acres site would be much bigger than the 7 acres currently occupied in Manhattan and would thus provide space for many of the UN-associated NGOs that are scattered all over the New York City area.

Finally, there is the additional advantage of improved security since the access to this new UN-city would be much easier to control.

The political consequence of such a move have not been covered in the article. I think that it is safe to assume that they would be quite significant.

Netting the neti pot

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Ever have problems trying to find a particular product in Montreal? Sometimes, there’s something you want to buy but just can’t find it anywhere unless you buy it off the internet. Well, that was the case for the neti pot. This device was featured on Oprah as a natural way to cleanse the nasal passages in order to relieve congestion. It seemed that the neti pot was nowhere to be found in Montreal – in pharmacies, health food stores, or any other hippy trippy new-agey hocus pocus lovey dovey all natural kind of establishment. However, just talking to a friend about it the other day, I discovered that there was one place in Montreal where you could find this obscure device and I managed to snag the very last one from the Sivananda Yoga Centre on St. Laurent boulevard corner Fairmount. Apparently they’ve sold hundreds of these things since they appeared on Oprah and are now back-ordered. (The one I got is not exactly like the one shown here as featured on Oprah but it’s pretty similar even though mine is purple.) I’ve been unpleasantly congested with a head cold for the past week so I’m willing to try anything at this point. But I just wondered if there are any well-kept secrets out there about certain products that can be found only in select locations around the city? The kind of thing you learn about only by word-of-mouth or word-of-blog perhaps. In a city full of cooking pots, pot, and pot-holes, it took me months to finally net a neti pot! So I’m really interested to know if anybody actually knows of any other places where you can get these things. Or did I buy the very last one in the whole city?

Make Poverty History

Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.

–Nelson Mandela

Today is the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is being marked by a global day of action sponsored by a coalition of anti-poverty groups working under the name Make Poverty History. The coalition is calling on Canadians to “STAND UP and SPEAK OUT” at events being held across the country, the purpose of which is to demand trade justice, increased international aid, debt cancellation for poor countries, and an end to child poverty in Canada.

Click here for a list of events happening in and around Montreal, and here to endorse the campaign.

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Book Launch

I’ve got this buddy of mine that I have known since High School. For as long as I have known Mark, he’s been one of those guys who just never stops having ideas for stories, movies, music.. you name it.

There’s always something going on and you figure sooner or later, he’ll conjure up that one piece that gets him the recognition he deserves.

Way back when computers weren’t connected to anything but a printer and Hydro Quebec, he and I came up with this idea to put together a magazine. We called it “Drug of the Nation”. It was a collection of stories and photos of a small gang that I grew up with.

We would sit in his apartment and listen to The B-52’s Rock Lobster, over and over again.. Actually, I think I was the one who really loved the song, Mark just couldn’t bring himself to tell me he was fed up with it. We’d print out the stories and then copy and paste them (using actual glue) and send it to the printers. You cannot believe the time this took to make.

I went on to get a boring job in front of a computer, but Mark has continued to write and he’s releasing his latest book: A FINELY TUNED APATHY MACHINE October 18nth in Montreal.

Good Luck Mark.

Last chance for fall foliage

This will probably be the last best weekend for leaf peeping. But you don’t have to go far. Fallmontreal07.jpgI caught this shot from Dezery street just north of Sherbrooke. I also took a stroll through the Arboretum at the Jardin Botanique and you can see a lot of color there. Also, our own mountain is ablaze with oranges and reds. It’s fleeting though, the next brisk wind is gonna change all that. So take a walk or drive in the upcoming days for a real treat. Where’s your favorite spot to catch the fall colors?

I Squash You

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One of the great things about weekends in Montreal is that you’re not far from the countryside if you want to take a day trip to get away from the concrete jungle. Fall is harvest time and for an inexpensive wholesome type of outing, a pleasant way to spend the day is in the fields picking apples or other crops. About 40 minutes north of Montreal in the Saint-Joseph-du-Lac region, there are plenty of apple orchards to choose from and especially interesting for this city slicker was the Centre d’interpr├ętation
de la courge du Qu├ębec
where you can pick your own squash and of course, pumpkin for Hallowe’en. You select a wheelbarrow at the entrance to the fields and off you go. The selection of squash is astounding for someone who is not familiar with squash. Who knew there were so many kinds! If in doubt, the staff are very knowledgeable about their courges. I learned that the decorative squash are not for eating as they can be powerful laxatives. So the next time, you want to get back at someone, you can cook up a pot of your special squash soup…

Apple picking and wine tasting after the jump…
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