Archive for November, 2007

Except in Quebec

Tivo is coming to Canada.

Except in Quebec.

sigh

Curling Rocks!

724706_curling_rock.jpg
Last night, I tried curling for the very first time and boy was it ever fun! I went to what’s called a “Friendly” at the Montreal West Curling Club – sort of like an open-house intro to curling for non-members. Curling at the club is a great social event where you can curl a little, snack a little at the bar, have some dinner and then curl some more! As a newbie curler, my technique is less than perfect – alright, downright awkward and pathetic – but I never thought that curling could be so amusing. For someone who doesn’t like winter, this is a pretty good winter sport to engage in. It’s an outdoor kind of sport that you can practice in the comfort of the indoors. Mind you, it’s really quite chilly in the rink – a jacket and gloves are a good idea and your feet get chilly if you don’t keep moving. But instead of hibernating through the winter, this is a great way to get through the long cold days ahead. I always thought of curling as a rather quaint, ok dorky, Canadian sport but it’s really one of those things that you’ve got to try to truly appreciate it. It’s really not as easy as it looks and the sweeping provides a not too bad cardio workout ’cause baby, that rock moves fast! It’s a great sport for all ages and there are curling clubs all across the island. If you’re interested in trying it out, and I highly recommend it, you can join a group like the Montreal West Curling Club Meetup.

Ski Conditions

The month of November is usually the month I dread the most. If there is one thing I fear, it’s having nothing to do over the weekend. I need to get outside and do something.

The problem with November is often snow falls making the roads too tough to bike on and there not being enough snow to ski on.

But this year, we’ve lucked out. Last week I was riding the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and yesterday I was snowboarding.

St-Sauveur has 5 runs and 3 lifts open. Now, 1 of those runs is the kiddie run and one of those lifts is the moving carpet for the kiddies. So really, it’s 4 runs and two chairs. I arrived yesterday at Sauveur at 09:30 and already the parking lot was full. Not a good sign. Packed, wall to wall people and conditions were a little on the icy side.

After one run, I packed it in, jumped in the car and headed off to Morin Heights. They have 1.5 runs open with one chair running. But there is NO ONE there. It was entirely dead. Skied for 3 hrs with my father and headed back.

They are blasting snow all over that mountain. If we don’t get too much rain this week, I think it’ll be great skiing next weekend.

P.S Anyone know where I can score a pair of Flow snowboard bindings? I’m getting too old for this having to bend down to tie up my bindings..

Who’s gonna wake me up now?

Every morning, my radio comes on at 5:58 AM and I spend the next 20-30 minutes listening to CHOM FM. The old rock songs might drift in and out of my consciousness but I consistently perk up when I hear Terry DiMonte’s baritone voice. I have always been impressed by his intimate knowledge of our city (especially the West Island), his generosity and his sense of humor.

Tonight the following was sent to the CHOM mailing list:

Some sad news to share with you today. Morning man Terry DiMonte is leaving CHOM.
Terry is moving on to a new opportunity in Western Canada. If you’re a fan of Terry, then you know his love for the West. We know this comes as a shock. Terry’s been a large part of our lives and will be missed tremendously.

Terry DiMonte says, “I had quite a decision to make. Montreal is my home, it’s where I feel like I belong, but life is a series of forks in the road. I’ve always been up for a challenge and I believe my success is tied to the risks I’ve taken. It was a tough decision but I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and take on a new challenge. I’ll miss my loyal listeners who followed me from CHOM to MIX 96 to CJAD 800 and back to CHOM 97.7 completing my circle. Most of all, I’ll miss sitting with one my best friends every morning, Ted Bird”.

Terry’s last day is this Friday.

First they send us Stephen Harper and now they seduce our best morning man with the promise of a challege and a truck-full of petrodollars. This means war.

Winter driving, ready or not

I see that Meteomedia is forecasting 20-25 centimeters of snow between now and tomorrow afternoon. It’s going to be nice to look at the city with a fresh winter shine. Have you changed your tires yet? I resisted and really wanted to believe that All season tires included winter. Thankfully, long time denizens and drivers here knocked some sense into me. You’re going to have an accident, they said. You’re going to get stuck, they warned. So I bit the bullet last week and got some brand new winter tires on the car. This will be my first winter behind the wheel, and I really don’t know what to expect. I feel pretty safe with my $500 tires, for that price, they better be. Any other tips you’d like to pass along to a rookie winter driver?

Parade de Noel sur Sainte-Catherine

Parade de Noel sur Sainte-Catherine

Il y avait énormément de monde hier dans le métro pour un samedi matin. Il y avait beaucoup d'enfants et de parents. C'était une belle journée ensoleillée et il ne faisait pas trop froid. Les gens semblait très heureux d'être là.

Montreal Limbo

Mid-November feels like a strange time of year in Montreal these days. The weather feels like it’s not quite Fall-ish yet not quite Winter-ish. Do you wear a spring coat with layers or just go for the all out winter jacket? Time keeps marching on nonetheless and to keep things exciting, we have several interesting developments taking place in and around the city.

  • A looming transit strike that will no doubt cause countless tales of grief but is such a recurring event in this city that I no longer have the gusto to even launch a tirade against it. I am resigned to coping with it when it comes and so battle worn that I am ready to say just give them what they want. Meanwhile, I’m saving up to purchase a car in the spring time.
  • Those anglos are stirring up the political pot again with the emergence of the new and controversially named Office Quebecois de la langue anglaise. Nothing like a little tension between the two solitudes to liven up the party.
  • Students are demonstrating again against tuition fees. This brings out the ol’ In my day, I had to walk 3 miles to school in the snow…without shoes! part of me. I guess it’s age and the old 9-5 wearing me down. I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of students walking around with laptops, cell phones, ipods, starbucks coffee, wearing really nice duds. I’m not sure how $50 a semester is going to put a dent in their pockets. Of course, there are legitimately poor students out there but heck, if I could get an education on loans and bursaries in the cheapest province for world class education, anybody can.
  • Don’t even get me started on the Reasonable Accomodation hearings – the Jerry Springer-like freak show circus touring the province.
  • I think I’ll just curl up with a nice hot cup of chocolate and wait out this lunacy limbo period. Meanwhile, don’t forget to head downtown and catch the annual too-early-to-be-happening Santa Claus parade taking place today.

    Can this be ?

    Bell is offering full data on your cell phone for 7 bucks a month.

    Whoa. I nearly fainted there. I figured it would take the arrival of another carrier to bring down data prices in this country. But there it is.

    Canada can now finally crawl out of the stone ages in terms of data pricing and just in time for the iPhone too.

    The other carriers will have to respond quickly. I believe is Telus has something similar and Rogers, well Rogers is hoping the rest of us aren’t noticing.

    Snow!

    Ok, ok don’t panic but the Eastern Townships are expected to get 15-30cm of snow tomorrow

    Also of note, Mont St-Sauveur is now open. They have one little pathetic run open, but they are open..

    November is that month that I dread. It’s cold, it rains, riding the bike outside is limited and it’s usually too early to go snowboarding. However, it looks like with the snow storm coming to the Eastern Townships and Sauveur’s canons blasting away, that November dread might not be all that bad this year.

    We knew that the A380 was big but…OMFG!

    A380.jpg

    This is how it feels to see 600 tons of aluminum flying a few meters over your head. I used a 17mm wide angle lens and even then I almost didn’t get the shot.

    I was initially planning to stay on the viaduct that goes over Highway 13 but the thought of spending an hour in the wind with trucks passing right behind me was not really appealing. In addition we couldn’t see the approach so I was afraid that I’d miss it. Ultimately, Christiane and I decided to get right in the middle of things and we walked to the end of Pittfield Ave.

    A few landings provided me with the opportunity to do some test shots, including a great image of an Air Canada A330. Ultimately these didn’t really prepare me for the real thing. Following a leisurely stroll around the island, the A380 finally settled into a final approach that seemed to take forever. That was just a size-induced illusion as it got in much faster than I anticipated. I got my approach shot, turned around, got down on one knee and barely had enough time to capture it going over the silhouettes of the other plane spotters.

    If you send your images to Flickr, tag them with Montreal and A380.

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