In response to those of you have been wondering, just because I'm unemployed at the moment doesn't mean I sit around and do nothing all day. I know it seems like I've been spending the majority of my time obsessing over animals of some sort or another, in someplace or other, away from home, but actually, i do other things as well.
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Saturday, October 13, 2007
I just got back from Montreal where I spent two weeks visiting Megan who recently moved there because its fashionable to do so. Not only is it fashionable, but it's also economical, rent is cheap, and you can eat for free any day of the week at the Peoples Potato, where they let you cut in line if you bring your own tupperware dish. Also, Megan is currently living large off of Concordia bursaries (take that anyone who thinks you have to be a francophone to get free money in Quebec) so if it wasn't for buying booze, it would more or less be free to live there. In fact, if you made your own booze, you'd actually be making money. Like any third world country, Montreal has a high unemployment rate, and major problems with their infrastructure, but the hassles are well worth dealing with as you soak up the enchanting atmosphere and enjoy the colorful street life.They take thier night life very seriously in Montreal, and with a bar on every corner, and more live bands than you can shake a drum stick at, going out to party is an obligatory part of the experience. This Liquor store perfectly illustrates my point. Thats right, it looks like some sort of train station or town hall or something, Infact I was going to write about how in Montreal they've found creative new uses for a lot of old buildings and so on, but it turns out the place was built to be a liquor store (Note that its the nicest building in the neighborhood). Now a lot of people will tell you to go party on St. Laurent, or to have a coffee in little Italy, or this and that, but the truth is the best time to be had in Montreal is feeding the raccoons at the lookout point in the park. Go at dusk, bring Cheetos.
This being the first time I've been out east in a while, naturally I was anxious to do all those things you can't do west of the Rockies, and no, I don't mean eating putine, you can get that in vancouver too, what I mean is catching a catfish. Unfortunately it rained on that little adventure, the St. Lawrence did however produce on one of the other aquatic vertebrates I had hoped to encounter which was this little baby snapping turtle. Too cute for soup, we realesed the lucky little guy unharmed, although I did reconsider it later. Although Montreal doesn't have as much money floating around as we do here in the west, at least the money they do have seems to be going to some of the right places. In Vancouver all the money gets turned into glass towers and hideous condo developments. In Montreal they have things like the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Musee de beaux Art, and everyone just lives in regular houses.
In Vancouver people drive their Bentley to go pick up their miniature short haired dachshund from the pet pedicureist down the street. In Montreal people go to the bar at night. Different values. Incidentally, my friends Colin and Cabiri also just moved to Montreal (its fashionable), and while I was there Colin let me paint his portrait.
Email me for a cute Raccoons of Montreal photo album you can use as a screen saver.
thats all for now.
Those of you who know me are familiar with the idea that I had to ride my scooter to Montreal this fall. Now alot of you have told me not to do it, that it would be dangerous and insane, and that my scooter would break down somewhere in the middle of saskatchewan and that.. well actually at this point in the conversation most of you would just shudder and then go back to something like, "look erik, just dont do it". Scooter problems aside, and yes, I understand that some of you guys are engineers, the general consensus was that it is a "bad idea". What most of you don't realize though is that I had this idea while attempting to ride my BICYCLE to Montreal, and that is what I would classify as a "much much worse idea". Thankfully, that idea wasn't mine, but belongs instead to my good friend Phil, who deserves to be either applauded, or to have his head examined, for having actually done it. Phil rode his bicycle clear across the continent, from the pacific to the atlantic. I dropped out after the Rockies, and took the bus home from Banff. I often cite this as an example of my ability to make good descisions when confronted with the "look erik, just dont do it" arguement. Anyway, the point is that, relatively speaking, riding my scooter to Montreal seems like "not that bad an idea", and actually kinda fun. Along the way I would get to visit my friend Mark in Winnipeg, and I would get to test my mental stamina against a Boring incredible for its colossal singularity (yes I used boring as a noun). Also, the trip would make a modest homage to Bas Jan Ader, a Dutch Californian conceptual artist from the seventies, who is most famous for his final performance in which he set out across the atlantic in a 13 foot sail boat, "In Search of the Miraculous", and disappeared at sea. (his boat was later recovered by the Irish coast guard or something, but his fate remains a mystery) Ader brought with him a copy of Hegels "the Phenomenology of the Spirit", which I have not read, but I now carry a copy of around in my scooter with the dedication on the inside cover "never forget". Which brings me back to Montreal (Je me souviens), and that I ended up taking the plane just because I felt pressed for time. Even at 70 kms an hour it would still take at least 10 days to ride from Vancouver to Montreal, but I still intend to do so sometime, regardless of what you engineers tell me.