Monday, May 30, 2005


Here is something from Chicago that I would not be able to experience unless I moved back there. The frequency and force of thunderstorms. Science, nature, and therefore natural phenomenon have always been of interest to me. In Chicago we would get about a dozen thunder and lightning storms a summer. Here in Montreal, it seems it is more like one or two. Ironically, we lived in a high rise apartment with an uninterrupted view of the horizon when we first moved here. A great vantage point to watch them roll through at night. But I was only able to see one display during our two summers there. While in Chicago, where we lived only had a limited view of the surrounding sky. Other natural phenomena that I would like to see or experience are volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, and earthquakes. The first of those I would not be able to experience here in Montreal and the other two are pretty rare.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Bicycle!!! Bicycle!!!

They are everywhere. Two wheeled transportation is more popular here than back in Chicago. That includes motorcycles which I will talk about more later. I would have thought with the colder climate that they would be less popular. As long as there is not a significant amount of snow on the ground, the bicycles are out there. I have even seen studded bicycle tires for the first time in my life. If it's raining, there are less out there, but everyone else dresses for it and pedals to their destination. My wife pointed out that there are probably more people biking because people here choose it over running. I have read that hockey players prefer getting exercise on a bike, but I'm not sure if there is a correlation. There are even people dressed nicely for work (suit & tie) who ride their bikes. There seems to be a bike repair shop every few blocks also. As a friend pointed out this weekend, there may be less people wearing helmets, but I could not say either way. Sometimes when you are driving, it can be a bit frustrating sharing the road with so many of them. But since I'm becoming more and more ecologically minded, it's nice to see one less car out there and to see others getting some exercise. I'd join them if I commuted to work alone, but the distance, time, and a two-year old passenger would be difficult to manage.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


One of the major differences between here and the US is frequency of obesity and the size of people in general. Whereas my weight was considered fairly normal in the US, I tend to be more on the big side here. This is probably more of a US issue than that Quebec is thinner than usual. The three times I returned to the US from living in France, it was the one thing that always stood out and was almost a bit surprising. Just getting off the plane, I immediately noticed the difference. The odd thing was when I was going to France that I did not remark that people were thinner.

Though now living here in Quebec, I do notice the difference in the people I see on the street day to day. I would go as far as saying that the difference is about 20 pounds. If you live in the US and imagine yourself minus twenty pounds, that's the difference. The opposite applies for people here in Quebec. Now there are the normal difference in each population. Suburbanites tend to be bigger than urbanites. People tend to gain weight as they grow older getting that beer belly or whathaveyou. People who go through major crisis sometimes gain weight. And sometimes it really is genetic, though I think many people are trying to use that as an excuse. Not that being overweight is the fault of that person, though measures can be taken.

The people I see that I have still not gotten used to are those with thighs as thin as my upper arm. It just seems unnatural, like they should have trouble walking or something. Thing is it's probably more natural, and maybe just genetic.

What are the reasons? Here's just a few. First the portions you get when you go out to eat are made for one person to eat. They don't give you enough for two meals as it is becoming the trend in the US. Also I am pretty sure there is no supersize here. Second, people seem to exercise more here. I don't think people run for exercise as much, but it seems like bicycles are everywhere. Though I don't know if they are making up for the lack of exercise over the winter. As far as diets, people seem to eat pretty much the same types of food as the US. Lastly, part of it can be genetic. French Canadians tend to be smaller that the rest of Canada from what I know. Or it could be just the dietary tradition.

Unfortunately, after two years here, I still have not followed along with the population and brought my weight down. Hopefully that will change.


Does anyone know of any good books on the history of Montreal or Quebec? Granted I have not had or spent much time looking into it, but the times that I have, there had not been anything concise. I am looking for something in English, mainly so I am sure to understand, and also so I can read it fast. That may be my main problem. We have the historic atlas of Montreal in French which is a great resource. I have looked at Pointe à Cailiere and the Chapters downtown. I would like to learn more about this place like who da heck is Rene Levesque. Or what was the silent revolution? Any help will be greatly appreciated.