Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Swim

Wednesday is long swim (40 min) day in the training and it was my first day. Kate had gone for a short run Tuesday morning while I slept (yessss) so she's a day ahead of me. 40 min of swimming, it doesn't really sound like too much but we went during the time the pool had lanes. 40 min of fun swim isn't very difficult, 40 min of front crawl back and forth in a lane is impossible. I think the longest a human has ever been able to swim without food and 8 hours sleep is 17 min so the 15 min Kate and I did was pretty good. I'm very glad the pool is so close to us, 2 blocks, otherwise I would have passed out on my bike. I'm not sore today somehow, sometimes it takes a day for your muscles to realize how angry they are at you, they're not the sharpest tools in the shed.

There are medium lanes and slow lanes. I was in the medium speed lanes as often as I could be and I would swim with Kate in the slow lanes to rest. For some reason these two jerks decide they're only capable of swimming slowly then they're on my ass the whole time. What kind of logic is that? Should I only play basketball against midgets because I'm sure to be the best player? I think these two were mental midgets.

To commemorate our first swim I downloaded the South Park episode 'Towlie', pictured above. Towlie is by far one of my favorite characters and I am in complete agreement with his assertion that we should never 'forget to bring a towel'. As we learned in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy towels have a great many uses. Especially one that gets stoned and plays 'Funky Town' on a digital key pad. Won't you take me to, Funky Town.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Note: I was accepted to Concordia today! I have a meeting on Monday to determine if I speak French or not. I guess they insult me in French until either they get bored or I get angry?

We've been living in Montréal since December 1st technically. I say technically because Kate was forced to spend much of December back in Toronto. We're still waiting to find out why she needed to spend those three weeks in Toronto, I'm not holding my breath. I got to spend much of December alone in a new city, one that speaks a language I don't. As you may expect it was exciting at times and deeply depressing at other times. My biggest low was when I realized most of the bars that serve food don't have tvs with sports on them. I probably walked around for two hours trying to find a pub with a) draft beer b) sports (I was even willing to settle for the Hab game) and c) food other than potato chips. Now I know where they are but I didn't then and I went home ashamed and sober.

When Kate finally came home we settled in for what turned out to be a decent winter. Of course the first snow fall of the year was on moving day so we didn't see the ground in our backyard until we had lived in the house for many months but I think that's pretty par for the course here. The snow in Montréal is like playing Galaga, you play and you play and you play and finally you get to level 50 and you think you've played all you can play but there's level 51, mocking you. It just kept on snowing with seemingly no end in sight. Even now it's almost May and there's a pile of snow in our neighbours backyard as big as a bar fridge, I know cause I measured my fridge and the snow pile. The roads here are terrible, partially because of the mass amounts of snow we have to deal with and partly because of the massive machines that the city uses to clear the mass amount of snow. I think they're old Imperial Star Destroyers converted to remove snow. 5 people were killed by them this year, sounds like the Empire at work to me.

Kate wasn't home long before work called again and we both, mainly me, were sent to Windsor to help open a call centre. Very dry in Windsor, much colder in Montreal but I didn't get chapped lips once. In Windsor my lips started bleeding as I walked off the plane. There was even a guy waiting in the airport to punch me in the face should my lips be fully hydrated, he was quite disappointed upon all my arrivals. February, March and April were all good. We had many visitors using our spare room. Even now we have bookings all over the summer and I just received word we'll have a guest this Thursday. The decision to get a second bedroom has worked out better than we imagined. We even had room in it to put in a washer dryer and as per Chris's suggestion we set it up so the dryer exhaust goes into the house. That way we warm the house a bit and save on electricity. It gets a little moist but it's worth it to be warm and to smell dryer smell, mmmmmm. We spent these months finding bars, restaurants, parks and places to shop.

A little about the area in which we live. Most people who visit Montréal go to St. Catherines and that area: Old Montréal, downtown, the Eaton Centre, the Bell Centre. We're about a 30 min walk from that area, maybe longer in the winter when the 45 degree hill you're walking up is literally covered in smooth ice. It's crazy. We live in an area called The Plateau, which as you may expect is flat. It's still a hockey rink at times but at least when we fall we don't slide for 200 meters in the opposite direction of where we want to go. The Plateau includes St. Laurent and St. Denis, which most people have been to but maybe haven't spent a great deal of time on. There is also Mont Royal which is north, I think, the directions in this province are French and hard for me to understand plus some jackass turned the city 45 dergees so every street runs either nw-se or sw-ne. Mont Royal has many little shops and bars and such, they even have a little market near the Metro station, it sells Christmas Trees in Fall, Maple Syrup in Spring, nothing in winter and something mysterious in summer. There's also a very cool street that we live extremely close to and hang out on ofter called Duluth. Our first experience with it was asking where it was:
I said "Pardon Monsieur"
Kate then took over as I had exhausted my French and said, in French "Do you know where Duluth is" Duh-looth
The man looked confused and tilted his head slightly, a sure sign of his confusion. Kate said the name of the street a few more times until the man said "ahh Duluth" Duh-lute. It was the next street over.
Duluth is restaurant central and cobble stone to boot (bute). In the winter it often looks like it's straight out of one of those snow globe things that crazy people have hundreds of. We like it. Eduardo's is on it which everyone who has spent time in Montréal, that we spoke to, suggested. They were not wrong. We've been there a number of times and try to take all our guests there once.

Let's see what else has happened since we got here. We were robbed while I was in Windsor. Kate didn't mind they only thing they stole was my Xbox and all related items. They passed two real guitars worth more than the Xbox guitar each on thier way to take my copy of Rock Band, such jerks. They didn't even take my bus pass. It may have been someone tired of looking in my window and seeing me rock out in my underwear like Tom Cruise did before he went mad and died.
We went to 3 hockey games which was awesome. I saw the Leafs win two big ones and we saw Pittsburgh squeak by the Habs in the final game of the season. The playoffs sucked, there was no confidence in the team from the fans and the Habs bowed out in 4 straight to loathsome Boston.
We've also acquired a new cat. Her name is Jedi. A friend of Kate's moved to Thailand to be educated in the ways of the force, I mean scuba. She could have brought the cat but Thailand is like a lobster trap for cats, they can get in but they can't get out. So we have Jedi for an amount of time TBD. At first I thought Jedi was a snake but then she stopped hissing and is actually quite affectionate. I believe she is partially blind and partially deaf so she gets startled easily but only if something is near her head. A pot could crash in the next room and she won't flinch, Brewski will high tail it for the underside of the bed but Jedi is oblivious. Brewski loves the new cat. He used to drag his humping sweater to wherever I was, he would even follow me if I moved to a new room but now he likes to hump his sweater in front of Jedi. An exhibitionist at heart. Jedi is not impressed. She will play with Brewski though and while I haven't caught them curled up on a bed together yet I have noticed Brewski has usurped Jedi's bed, so I hope it's just a matter of time till they start cleaning each other and doing all that cute garbage.

This summer we'll be biking so we'll be able to investigate the rest of the island including the main downtown and Old Montréal. Kate actually works in Old Montréal but we've only been there to hang out a handful of times. We've not even visited the water areas yet, or the Casino. Speaking of bikes, this is a bike town, there are more bikes than cars and more bike stores than you can shake a stick at. I've tried they just don't go away.

So with the winter officially behind us (or I'll break out my stick again) you're now up to date with The Crap I've Done. Let's hope future seasons are as fun and exciting as this winter was.

The Crap I Do

So I guess since I don't have enough crap to do I'll start a blog. I actually do have a lot of stuff going on so with a blog I only have to tell my stories once. Then when a guest comes to visit and asks how things are going I can direct them to my blog and go play Xbox while they catch up with me.

So let’s see, firstly I'm sure that something will give of them many things I've lined up for the summer, this blog is at the top of that list but we'll see. Maybe I'll become responsible.

I've been taking guitar lessons since January, so that's about 4 months and I have a little over one month left then I'm quitting that for the summer. That frees up my Monday nights but I've still got to practice all summer as I'll start the lessons again in the fall or winter. Especially since I'm pretty much past the technical stuff and onto actual music. Hopefully in the summer I'll really nail down the technical side of things, practice makes tolerable to listen to!

I've also signed up for a French class at Concordia, one part of five to earn a certificate. I do look forward to being bilingual, mainly because I'm sure people are talking about me in French and I want to catch them in the act. May take a couple years to get the full certificate though. This particular goal will be the last to fall by the wayside if I become overwhelmed. If this blog survives I'll write something in french on it but for now je n'écris pas de français très bien. I had some help with that statement. Classes are 3 hours Tuesday and Thursday and I have to put in an additional two hours every week in tutorial, plus homework. Concordia isn't making it easy for me, what university does? Classes start in six days and I applied two months ago but I haven't been accepted yet. I called yesterday and they said I can still sign up for classes a week into the session. That's great I'll start my re-entry into school by missing the first week. Jerks.

Kate and I have signed up for softball, that's Mondays. I'm looking forward to that, meeting new people in Montreal and playing organized sports. I hope they like beer and wings after games.

The last thing that we're going to attempt this summer is training for a triathlon. There is one in September and the olympic distances don't seem too daunting. Not with a summer of training. It's a 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run. I swam a distance comparable to that 1.5 last summer and wasn't very tired, I didn’t' do it very fast of course but still 1.5k won't be too bad. The biking will probably be the hardest, maybe I've biked 15k at one time last year? The run will also suck, 5k was annoying when I did that, 10k after all that other stuff will be extra crappy. Still I'm sure the exercise is good for me somehow and I'll probably feel better once I get into it and then maybe I'll be able to say I did a triathlon, if not well the pools here are free so what did I lose?

That's just the weekly stuff, we've got two weddings, travel to various parts of Ontario to visit various people. We'll have guests ourselves and we have a backyard with a charcoal barbeque that we'll have to use. Kate is volunteering at a meals on wheels sort of place. So good luck to me, and to a lesser extent Kate, during our busy Montreal summer.

Tune in next time to learn more about The Crap I Do.