Archive for December, 2007

Happy YUL-tide

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This sight struck me as poignant as I walked along Notre Dame street the other day near Peel. A new set of Prevel Lowney lofts sits patiently in half-construction with a cheerfully lit Christmas tree up top.

Happy New Year to all!

Slipping into Christmas

Well, it had to happen sometime. I took my first fall of the season this morning as I was making my way home from the grocery store, lugging 3 bags and a purse. Sidewalks were covered with a light dusting of snow that left the black ice underneath impossible to see. On my way there, I’d already slipped in a few spots but managed to catch myself but I guess I wasn’t so nimble on my way back. So there I was, flat on my back, my bags and my purse strewn all around me on the ground. A piece of camembert cheese stuck under the wheel of a parked car. Thank goodness I wear a well-padded parka so I didn’t feel the force of the impact too much. The city has layed down abrasives on the main streets but walking on residential and side streets can be treacherous if not tricky. So if you’re planning to head out tonight or tomorrow to visit family and friends, be careful and watch your step. And on that note, I’d like to wish all the Metroblog readers out there a safe and Merry Christmas!

Frozen body parts courtesy of the STM

The warm fuzzy feeling that I had on the weekend during the snow storm as it was coming down is now effectively gone. Two days of struggling with Montreal’s public transportation has been enough to wipe out any seasonal cheer that I may have had. It is absolutely ridiculous for the city to encourage people to take public transport in the aftermath of the storm when there are clearly problems meeting the demand. It was freaking cold today as I waited 45 minutes for a bus this morning. I saw more “Désolé Hors Service” buses go by than actual buses for my route. When one did come by, it was too packed to stop. I finally managed to board a bus by going in the back door. I still had to walk a few blocks to work after that and I could hardly feel my feet they were so frozen stiff. Only the heat from the anger inside me kept me going. And things only got worse. Tonight, I waited for the bus to come home and I did not even see a single one pass in the space of 45 minutes. I was so absolutely frigid that I gave in and hailed a taxi. I am so fed up with the bus situation and I know my sentiments are shared by many of the people who were also waiting in the extremely long lines at every bus stop I passed while thawing in the cab. Something is just not right when people have to wait so long.

La slotche

Thanks to Kate over at Mtl City Weblog who points to this article on salting of roads.

It brings up a fair point. What would happen if the city didn’t salt the roads? Where I was born, the town never salted the roads. Same goes for many rural communities. The streets would be slippier, but I argue, as does the article, that people would drive accordingly.

Salt ruins my bike. I have to hose my bike off and then dry it off for fear that salt will eat away at all the parts. It’s horrible for the environment and we’d all get less wet feet because of it.

This morning, on Mount Royal, the salt still hadn’t taken full effect. The roads were entirely snow covered. They were completely white. It was easy riding on. I saw no cars slamming into others. It wasn’t pandemonium. Must the city really salt all the roads ?

When is winter ?

Enough of Autumn, when is winter!?

I chickened out this morning and didn’t ride the bike in. I figured I’d take the metro. The day of the last storm, the city was very quiet. The metro as well. I hoofed it down to the Mount Royal station and the guy working the booth was out for a coffee. Yipee. Free ride.

Get down the stairs in what I am SURE is the hottest metro in the network and people are lined up 6 deep from end to end.

Not good.

First metro arrives and it’s completely packed and one person gets off two squeeze on.

More people arrive, the line is now 7 deep.

Next metro arrives, again completely jammed with people and two people get off, 3 get on.

Enough of that. I’m hoofing it all the way. It took me 75 minutes to walk to work and I was cursing myself for not having taken the bike.

A fellow coworker told me that what I should do is take the metro going north, get off at Cremazie and then get back on going south. In his opinion, not only will it be faster, but that I will get a seat as well!

Snow in the City

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I just love a winter snow storm on the weekend. When you’re not obligated to get yourself anywhere, you can actually enjoy it instead of fighting it. This morning, I was walking around town and took some photos with my cell phone camera. It was actually quite an exhilirating and pleasant walk. As long as you’re dressed properly – warm parka: check, head covering: check, gloves: check, boots: check – the calm that settles on the city during a storm is quite lovely and peaceful. The streets are near deserted as people hunker down indoors and cars are few and far between or else crawling along at a snail’s pace. Everything just slows down. That said, Monday morning rush hour will probably be a more messy picture.

Canadiens finally won one at home…

And it’s the one I went to… Cheering for the opposite team: the LEAFS! But yea, both teams really played well, a nice fast-paced game with so many great shots on goal (some that turned into goals, mostly for the Habs… 4-1 being the final score)!

A faceoff…
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The final score board…
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Pictures (c): Christelle

Former Expos players cited in the Mitchell report

Today’s big story in sport is the release of the Mitchell report on the common use of steroids and Human Growth Hormone in Major League Baseball. I obtained a PDF file of this report and noted the sections related to a certain baseball club formerly known as the Montreal Expos:

In September 2002, a bullpen catcher with the Montreal Expos was arrested for trying to send marijuana back to Florida with the Florida Marlins’ luggage. He later told Major League Baseball security officials that he had supplied drugs to nearly two dozen major league players, including eight players for whom he said he had procured steroids.

On September 26, 2002, during a game against the Florida Marlins at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, Montreal’s bullpen catcher Luis Perez asked a Marlins clubhouse attendant if he would carry a duffel bag back to Florida for him. The Marlins employee, who knew Perez from his previous tenure as a bullpen catcher with the Marlins, agreed. Perez later delivered a large padlocked duffel bag to be included with the Marlins luggage. Marlins equipment manager John Silverman was suspicious because of the padlock and directed that the bag be opened. When it was (using a combination that Perez provided), Silverman and the clubhouse attendant discovered a box coated on the inside with pine tar that contained two plastic packages amounting to one pound of marijuana.
The Montreal police were called. That evening, Perez was interviewed by telephone by Kevin Hallinan, the Commissioner’s senior vice president for security, and other baseball officials, who advised that “the legal process should take its course and that [security] would contact him once the authorities were completed with their work.” Montreal police interviewed Perez and arrested him for possession of marijuana. Perez ultimately received a $5,000 fine for the violation.
After the criminal process had ended, Hallinan and his deputy, Martin Maguire, traveled to Miami to interview Perez. Perez explained that during his time as a bullpen catcher for the Florida Marlins, between 1998 until 2001, two players asked if he could obtain steroids for them.

At the conclusion of their interview of him, Perez’s lawyer handed to Hallinan and Maguire a typed list of players and their “drug of choice” that had been compiled by Perez. The list identified eight players (with the Marlins, Astros, and Expos) for whom Perez personally had acquired anabolic steroids, in addition to identifying twelve players for whom Perez had obtained other drugs.

The following Expos former players are directly cited in the report.

David Segui – infielder
Tim Laker – catcher
Rondell White – outfielder
F.P. Santangelo – various positions
Mike Lansing – infielder
Matt Herges – pitcher

Segui was reportedly at the head of the distribution network.

Christmas Parties Overlapping

Nous sommes dans la période dans laquelle nous devons assister à plusieurs réunions et partys. Étrangement cette année, les soirées auxquelles j’ai été invitée sont à des jours différents.

But how would you choose from several parties in one night? I would probably take into account three things: weather, proximity and cost, assuming that the people who invited me are equal friends. Priority would obviously go for family, even if some I hate.

Why do people always run towards family even when there’s hatred and annoyance? I guess that’s only a part of what’s called holiday spirit and unconditional love.

Holiday time in the city

Ready or not, it’s crunch time. It’s such a frantic time of year. Everybody seems stressed out. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as it will be like this at least through boxing day. I made the mistake of going out to Quartier Dix-30 on the weekend. After securing a parking spot a number of kilometers away (I’m only mildly exaggerating) I faced hordes and hordes of people trying to shop. I wish I had read Christelle’s post (below) before I did that! It’s true, the downtown malls are totally empty weekdays, except around lunchtime, when it’s like being in a beehive. Instead of physically shopping this year, I’m doing a lot of cybershopping. All the big box stores have websites, and if you know what you want, it’s easy as pie to order. But I wouldn’t push it past the weekend since you have to allow time for delivery. It’s also wonderful this year to have a white coat blanketing the lawns and rooftops, it does make the city seem more festive at this time of year. As for me, the cards are mailed, the tree is up, the holiday music is in the CD player and I’ve just got 2 gifts to go. Here’s hoping you make it through these last two weeks!

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