Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lighter on My Feet.

Up until recently I was a pretty bad yo-yo dieter. I would lose 15 to 30 pounds during the spring and summer only to put it back on between October and New Years. A few years back I put on the weight but have since not taken it back off. So I have been randomly fluctuating between 205 and 215. I used to be big on running and sports, now I still play sports but get winded or my knees hurt during or afterward. I can't help but think the knee problems are due to the weight. OK maybe it was all that long distance running in my youth, but taking weight off it will help.

Soooo.... I am making a resolution. I will get back down to 180 lbs by the end of May. I am mentioning it here because this is one of the best ways to reinforce the goal. By making it public, you have others around you to encourage you along and help instead of hinder. Plus there is the motive of saving face. This time it will be through regular controlled eating habits and exercise and not the Atkins diet like a couple previous times. I will cut down on snack and replace them with healthier ones like apples and oranges. No more extra portions and I plan to bring my lunch to work instead of having the piled high Libenese special downstairs. I feel confident that the weight will stay off because of fewer pressures to eat in this society. And heck, I want to look thin like most people here.

There you have it. Wish me luck and see you on the other side.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Music as Identity - Part 5 - Electronica

It was 1996 when I met John. Damn, it's almost been a decade. He was a rather eccentric fellow who joined our architecture firm. We became good friends and he introduced me to two bands in particular. Yo La Tengo and Stereolab. Yo La was good, but Stereolab has stuck with me through the years. And so began my interest in Electronica or as Wikipedia calls it the sub-genre of Downtempo Music . It seemed quite a natural progression. I had been big into dance music and this was kinda like music for people who grew up listening to dance music/synth pop. Like lite jazz for todays Baby Boomers. To boot, Austin Powers had just come out and Stereolab's style had similarities to some 60's lounge music. Surprisingly, even though their music is so electronically based, they are one of the best bands I have seen in person. Alongside Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails in the same small venue (The Metro) five years earlier.

From there, we bought a compilation CD called UltraChilled. The album left us with such a good feeling everytime we listened to it. It didn't leave the CD player. From there, we got in to the popular Play by Moby and my sister started introducing us to other bands. She supplied us with a steady stream of musical groups that we loved one after the other. Favorites like Thievery Corporation, Kruder & Dorfmeister, DJ Krush, and Royksopp. In addition, we bought more in the UltraChilled series and picked out bands that we liked. There's also Massive Attack and Boozoo Bajou. My recent favorite is details by Frou Frou and a Quebec compilation CD called Resonance. The latter has songs that vary from more recent styles to stuff I listened to almost two decades ago.

It is quite interesting to see how I got to this point with the influence of previous musical tastes. To make the liasons and the disections. Will we continue in this direction or will some other genre influence our listening tastes? Will we regress or just be content to listen to the stuff we used to listen to? How will our decendants be affected by our listening tastes like I have by my parents? Cool stuff to think about.

Next stop, I will return where New Wave and Industrial left off. Dance Music. Currently the other forthcoming parts include Dance Music, Grunge (yes, Grunge), Mainstream & Misc, and the Conclusion. I may add another part if any come to mind. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I'm a fairly average sports fan. I can really get into it at times. Other times I'll be concentrated on something else then check back once in a while to see what's going on. Lately it has been the latter. I'll return to this, but first I would like to talk about the differences between sports here and back home.

Stateside there are sports going on almost constantly all year. At some points there are even two major sports or leagues competing for our attention. Arguably, football and baseball are the biggest in the fall and summer. Basketball and hockey are lesser competing with each other in the winter. Nascar is huge in some locales also during the summer. College football and basketball also vie for people's attention. Personnally my allegiances fall roughly in the following order Cubs & Bears, University of Illinois College Basketball, the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan, and the Indy 500 race. For the other sports teams I am a fair weather fan, if that. I never got into hockey because it was not a sport we could play very much unless we got passionate about it and played in a league.

Here in Montreal I have found that sport is not as big a part of popular culture. Save one big exception. Hockey. I came up here hoping to discredit the thought that hockey is the only sport in Canada. It is not the only sport, but it is still quite pervasive. When I came up here for interviews, I took a break between them and had lunch at Peel Pub in order to catch up on the latest sports news. Every television had sports on it, but it was hockey or Caribbean workout. I was hoping for some college basketball, so I finished my fish and chips and left. But there are other sports. Baseball was here for a couple seasons while I was here before they left. The other big sports (Canadian football, Formula One, and Soccer) I have not gotten into because I really don't have others around me who are fans of it. Part of the fun of following sports is to compare notes with other fans. I can still follow teams back home because I can discuss them with my father who is a huge sports fan. Last year was very quiet on the sports front with the Expos leaving and hockey on strike. The hockey fans up here came back full force after the strike.

So that brings me to what happened to me this past week. I have been a bit focused on this blog thing and haven't been making my daily rounds of other websites. I watched some NFL pregame show found out that the Bears are considered by some to be the best team in the league. Huh? You've got to be kidding. I've been half following them all season and thought either they would fall apart before the playoffs or in the first round. Now they have clinched their division and have a first round bye. Well at least that means I'll be able to see them instead of the Patriots or Giants.

Then I was looking at ESPN online and they have a front page article about how the Fighting Illini are undefeated. What? But they lost quite a few of their good players last year? So after all this I feel quite out of touch with the Chicago sports scene. The Cubs I can follow because we get WGN, but the others I rely on national TV. I'm gonna hafta be more vigilant about finding out when the games will be on. That is... if I can slip it in between twice daily showings of Cinderella.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Hello Family and Friends

Welcome to my blog. Feel free to browse around. A good starting point to give you an idea of what I have written here, scroll down to the Post #100 - The Best So Far.

For those of you who did not receive an email from me, I have opened this blog up to family and friends. Some of them have been reading for a while, but I have widened the circle. One of the reasons is because I have found that the words written here are nothing to hide. If it is something that I would share with the general public, it is something I could share with them. For myself, things of personal nature are best left between myself and the people they concern.

This space as evolved to become an outlet for my inner monologue. Whether it be observations or personal opinion. It has been great to get many of these thoughts out of my head and written down. My hope is that they are topics of interest and they initiate discussion. By no means am I an authority on anything. So many times the postings may not be well researched. Feel free to correct me or if you find my point of view incorrect. That is the nature of this medium.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas vs. Holiday Season -Yet Another View

There have been much talk lately about the use of the term Holiday Season over the traditional term Christmas. Religious conservatives stating that a religious holiday is now becoming secular. Yes, in some instances there are some ridiculous changes of the term in order to appear politically correct. Such as the Christmas tree offering from Halifax to Boston being changed to the Holiday Tree. My take is that if you are talking about something that specifically relates to Christmas and has a history with Christmas, call it Christmas. If you are talking about the season and talking to a broad audience who may be of different religious backgrounds, say Holiday Season. Of course many of the arguing points fall in the fuzzy area in between. Such as Target Stores changing their decorations to holiday decorations. The decorations are probably related to Xmas, but they serve people of various religions. And are decorations necessarily tied to Xmas.

Anyhow, the reason for bringing this up once again is I came across an article with a twist on the whole thing. Apparently there are Christians who do not celebrate Christmas. The logic is why celebrate Christ's birth when his teaching occured primarily as a grown man. Also, the merriment that is associated with the holidays is not really in keeping with strict religious doctrine. Pigging out and getting drunk are not really looked upon in the Bible in a positive sense. They also point out that many of the traditions like Santa Claus have no religious basis. So the argument follows that why make a complaint that Christmas is becoming secular when much of it already is and has had a long history being secular.

So my suggestion is that we forget this whole thing about whose Christmas it is and celebrate it the way we want to in the positive traditions of the holidays. It's a bit like the Christianity that I grew up with. Lets not dwell on negatives like banning gays, pitting us against them, and knocking off foreign leaders. Lets love our neighbor, help the less fortunate, and enjoy the company of those around us. That's what we should be focusing on.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Post #100 - The Best So Far

It is hard to believe but this is my 100th post. So far I have enjoyed getting these things written down and I feel proud of much of the content. The other day I was browsing through the blog and thought it would be good to resurrect some of the better posts. So in keeping with America's fascination with superlatives and having grown up with David Letterman, here are my favorite top eleven posts in chronological order. Why not ten? Because ours goes to eleven.

July 8: London
Written shortly after the terrorists attacks sharing my thoughts.

Aug 1: Back Home Again (From Home?)
A clearinghouse of past observations on the differences between Chicago and Montreal.

Aug 15: Poulet
A tongue in cheek observation of Quebecers eating habits.

Sept 19: Racism
My take on racism in both Chicago and Montreal.

Oct 7: Language - Part 3, Correction
A thorough study of the language demographics on the island.

Oct 8: Autumn This Weekend
One of the two best photos. The autumn peak actually occured much later this year and with less pizzazz.

Oct 16: Overpopulation
A rant on the growth of the world population.

Oct 30: Sovereignty - Part 2 - My Viewpoint
Aside from language, probably the second most important topic here.

Nov 17: My Beaujolais Nouveau Story
Some humour from my past.

Nov 30: Music as Identity - Part 2 - Industrial
A bit of nostalgia.

Dec 2: Montreal Sunset #4
My other favorite picture.

So that's it. I hope to be able to share more interesting items and observations. I am enjoying writing this and I am really happy to meet so many interesting people through this medium. Happy Holidaze.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Life in Hell - 24 Warning Signs of Stress

Before the Simpsons, there was Life in Hell. I was processing some old boxes of miscellaneus items and came across these cartoons I have saved after all these years. The other will be posted later. Click on the image for a larger view.

When I was in high school I would drive every Thursday night into the Lakeview neighborhood and pick up a Chicago Reader. There were three things I was looking for. Firstly, I sent in typed up 3x5 cards to the "Personals" section under various aliases with what a teenager considered witty quotes and banter such as "A woman begins by loving love and ends up loving a man. A man begins by loving a woman and ends up loving love." Secondly, I religiously read News of the Weird. Lastly, I read Life in Hell. As with the Simpsons, it is a social commentary, but more on a personal relation level. I found this one appropriate for the stress created by the holidaze. Work is crazy with people wanting stuff before the end of the year. There are various holiday parties to prepare for and attend. Then there is the gift foraging. Next one will be about work when we return after the holidaze.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Blogger Get-Together.

Friday night I met up with a bunch of other Montreal bloggers. Sadia and Zura floated the idea and those also in attendance included Paolo, Jonas, keyofD, the Shatnerian, and myself. It was interesting because it was kinda like a blind date except we had been reading each other's material for a while. So there was some trepidation and nervous chatter. Plus it was interesting to finally put faces, voices, and real-world character to each person's semi-anonymous online persona. It was a wonderful evening of engaging conversation, great stories, and most of all fascinating people. Thank you very much Sadia and Zura for the invite, I hope we can all do it again soon.

Heck of a Snowstorm!

Wow! That was something else. I was really amazed about the things I saw the day of the 41 cm (16 in) snowstorm that blew through here Friday morning. It's not that I had not seen that much snow before, just how quickly it arrived, how people and the city dealt with it, and the aftermath or lack of.

I went to sleep at midnight Thursday night. I purposely looked outside because I knew that the snow as coming before sunrise and I wanted to see if it had started. No snow yet. When I woke up at 6am, there was at least 15 cm (6") and by the time I got out to start clearing it away an hour later, it was about 20 cm (8"). We allowed extra time for the morning commute and it seemed to work out fine. I got to work right on time 90 minutes later. It was slippery and I plucked a 60 pound bag of sand in the trunk for more traction. We followed the city construction grader plows up St.Laurent til we got to Ontario. We sat at the light and cars were sitting diagonnally criss-cross up the slope to Sherbrooke and none were moving. We managed to get over to Berri and take it's gentler slope.

At work I could see all the city snow removal equipment working at full force clearing streets and sidewalks as the snow as still coming down. I ventured out (without my camera unfortunately) and had fun pushing through the snow. It reminded me of cross country where our coach would take us running up and down the beach on Sunday. Except this time no one was yelling at me to pick up the pace. The sight of a city covered with a 16" blanket of new snow was astounding. Just everything was covered. Then every so often people were digging out their cars and cleaning them off with shovels. Not brushes, shovels.

It only took me 20 minutes to get my car cleaned off, dug out, and pulled out of the space. It was fairly easy since all the snow was light and fluffy. Every street width was reduced. Two lane streets became one lane streets. Some one lane streets became obstacle courses with cars parked diagonnally. It really was like a war zone. The commute was amazingly good. We think everyone else went home early. The only thing that slowed us down was the road conditions. Though when we got home there was a three foot high line of snow blocking the driveway. And it was hard pack from the snow plows. So I dug out the bare minimum and left the rest for over the weekend.

This whole thing has been quite an experience. Definitely early for this much snow, but good exercise. Let's just hope it's a while before we get another.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Watercolor - Peillon, France

I am copying the idea that Paolo started on his blog. I have a bunch of drawings and photos in boxes that would be better served in the public eye. So I will also start posting them on a weekly basis. This one is from 14 years ago. Damn, I'm old.

My junior year of college was spent studying abroad in Versailles, France. During the year we had plenty of time off to travel and at the end we were encouraged to join one of a few handsketch or watercolour sketch trips. I opted for watercolour and we toured the French Riviera and Tuscany. I probably completed about 7 or 8 of them. I will post the best four. This is probably the second or third I had done. You should be able to see the progression. Peillon is a secluded hill town tucked up behind Nice and Monaco. Built largely of stone with roller coaster pedestrian streets like this one. Holy crap, I was just surfing and found a picture of the subject on some other page.

In other news, all this nostalgia has pushed me to commit my memories to paper. So I have created a blog about my memoirs of Europe. I have spent 19 months of my life over there and it had a significant affect on the direction of my life. So if it interests you, you can check it out. I am trying to go in chronological order.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Music as Identity - Part 4 - Singer Songwriters

Growing up, one of the primary types of music my parents listened to was the singer-songwriters of the early '70's. James Taylor was probably the biggest since I know his songs so well. They evoke some much emotion and comfort when I listen to them. Then there were the two American women Carole King and Carly Simon. Carole King was one I actually stumbled on recently. I heard a greatest hits and realized, hey, I know all those. Then there was the Canadian, Gordon Lightfoot. I really like Lightfoot for the folk aspect of his songs, there is a very personal feeling to his songs and his voice. There was also Simon & Garfunkel, who's work probably needs no explanation.

Lastly, probably the ones my sister and I know best were John Denver and Barry Manilow. We took a road trip out to Colorado in the late seventies. As was tradition with each of our road trips, we bought a tape or two and played them on the trip. A tour of Lake Michigan was Christopher Cross (Ride like the Wind). Cooperstown, Boston, and Acadia was 1984 by Van Halen. The Pacific northwest was Phil Collins and Billy Joel. But our trip to Colorado was none other than John Denver and Rocky Mountain High. Barry Manilow was played at home. It was our first live concert at Ravinia Music Festival Grounds north of Chicago. I have the impression my sister and I spent the night taking turns on my fathers shoulders in order to see the show.

Other singer-songwriters and bands that we listened to include: Jim Croce, Don McLean, Harry Chapin, Elton John, the Carpenters, Bread, Chicago, and Kansas. We didn't listen to rock, disco, or Motown much, so it wasn't until later I learned more about Led Zepplin or the Rolling Stones. Though we did have the Saturday Night Fever album and it got heavy rotation.

It is interesting to look back at that time and that music in the context of what came after it. From there my tastes when to Pop/early New Wave, to New Wave & Industrial, to Dance Music, to... The explanation for the fairly radical switch was probably that I had entered the adolescent years. It has been nice to revisit the music of these singer-songwriters over the past few years.

Next up, I will skip from high school to the present and look at Electronica/Chill Out music.

Monday, December 12, 2005

With Sympathy

Recently a fellow Montreal blogger, Zura, posted that a friend had been taken hostage in Iraq. Harmeet Sooden was taken hostage on Nov. 26 along with another Canadian, an Englishman, and an American. They went over for humanitarian reasons and were captured by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade. The latest reports are that all four are alive and doing well. We hope for Harmeet and everyone that knows him that he comes back safe and sound. From an article in Scoop magazine in New Zealand:

In an email to his friends Harmeet described the purpose of the four-person team"s work in Iraq as: "providing humanitarian aid in the form of training and documentation of non-violent responses to lethal inter-group conflict. We will also record the current conditions in Iraq, meeting with representatives of NGOs, Christian and Muslim clerics, Iraqi human rights groups and others". He also recounted a story from Iraq: "A little 3-year old girl, Alaa, ran up to me and gave me a big hug me yesterday. She reminds me of my niece. She, however, does not see as my niece sees. She sustained severe shrapnel injuries to her abdomen and micro-fragments peppered her eyes, face and body during a US military attack in May on al Qaim, Iraq. Her mother lost an eye. She lost two brothers and several other relatives".

In trying to sympathize with what Zura and her friends are going through, I thought back to three similar situations that occured to me.

Through all four years of high school, I sat in front of Jaime during homeroom. Although he tended to give off a tough guy aire in the halls, he was always very nice with me. Shortly after we graduated, I heard that he had been killed in a motorcycle accident. It was the first time that someone I knew of my age had passed away. It's a similar feeling as having a childhood figure passing, but does not have the deep sorrow of a close friend or relative. Sad, achy, and a bit disorienting.

In my second year of college, those of us in architecture were a fairly close group. That happens with long nights in studio spent together. One night a bunch of us were there late and some other students popped in before they left for Indianapolis for the weekend. I talked to one of them, Bill, for 15 or 20 minutes. About what, I can't remember. Turns out he contracted spinal meningitis and didn't make it past the weekend. This was similar to Jaime, but a bit jolting in that the sickness took him so quickly and I had just talked to him.

Lastly, a member of a white supremisist group went on a three-day shooting spree in 1999 killing two blacks, a Korean, and injuring others. At the beginning of his spree he passed through the highly Orthodox Jewish Chicago neighborhood of West Rogers Park. He drove through the neighborhood shooting at people on the street. He was a poor marksman and only injured my cousin Ephraim striking him in the knee. He was fortunate and I recently learned that he enrolled in the Israeli army. This one hit home how your life can be touched by angry extremists. They are not only those you read in the papers in far away lands.

So again, I really hope Harmeet comes away unharmed and puts to rest the fears of his family and friends. I know the feeling.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Music as Identity - Part 3 - New Wave

As mentioned in the last post, I learned about (what we considered) New Wave music early in high school from a couple friends. Primarily my friend Eric introduced me to bands like Depeche Mode (around the time of Music for the Masses), New Order (Substance), and The Cure (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me). From what Wikipedia says, this was music from the later period of New Wave. At the time, we listened to the local college station, WLUW, from Loyola University. They played almost exclusively music from this genre. I grew to love Erasure (The Innocents), Siouxsie & the Banshees (Peepshow), Art of Noise (Best of), Echo & the Bunnymen (self titled), Nitzerebb (That Total Age), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (Best of), Cocteau Twins (Blue Bell Knoll), and the Psychedelic Furs (Midnight to Midnight). It was the music we listened to and danced to. I even had my hair cut in a 'wedge' through most of high school. Best described as an extreme combover (with a full head of hair) cut in a straight line, and shaved under on the sides.

DM, New Order, The Cure, Erasure, Cocteau Twins, and Siouxsie were the bands that stuck with me. The Cure probably more than the others. Somebody by DM and Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division were the songs of emotion from that time. The dance tunes were many from DM, New Order, or Erasure. As an aside, my friend Eric is Filipino he would often take me to family gatherings and events. One was a large celebration in a gymnasium with almost only Filipinos. There were usually only two or three other non-filipinos. We all chowed down on ponsit and chicken adobo. Anyhow, synth pop was very popular and what we called the Filipino national anthem was always played. Once they put in Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order, the dance floor was packed.

Oddly enough, after looking over the list of bands that are considered New Wave, it seems my tastes have always followed that genre. Before and after those bands listed above. Though these bands were more mainstream such as Duran Duran, INXS, REM, XTC, or Tears for Fears.

And now a little game of name that tune (my sister and Eric can't play because they know them all, I'm sure.) The last one should be easy.

"He wasn't white and fluffy, he just has sideburns"
"And turning on his heal he left a trail of bubbles bleeding in his stead"
"I'll make your heart smile. Pain will you return it."

Again, it is quite something to dig back and research the info for these posts. Brings back so many memories, most I have not thought about for over a decade. Finding bands that I only have on tape and still being able to remember the lyrics. Along with the emotions they evoke. Remembering the adolescent years and all that went on. Maybe I'll finish processing the last few boxes from the move and dig out those tapes.

For the next post in the series, I will dig even farther back to the singer songwriters that my parents used to listen to.

South Beach at Night.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

South Beach Observations

Here are some of my observations during my 24 hour stay in South Beach along with the 12 hours of travel required to get there and back.

- Everyone clapped as we touched down. I remember people doing this before, but it had been a while. It kinda caught me off guard thinking that it must have been a tough landing. Like we were close to dying and I totally missed it.

- South Beach was cool. Beautiful people and beautiful buildings. I have always liked the Art Deco style, but to see the South Beach version of it was even better. The colors (and warm temps) do a lot compared to the staid limestone versions back in Chicago. There were more good looking Latinos than I remember back home. It kept catching me off guard to see someone who looks primarily 'American' and than hearing them speak fluent Spanish. There are quite a few that did not have that stereotypical Latino look.

- I overheard a lot of Spanish being spoken. I should have expected it, but it surprised me. I also heard quite a few people speaking French. I could not distinguish if they were French or French-Canadian. They didn't have distinct accents in either direction.

- Business travel is bitter sweet in nice locales. It was the same when I was in LA two years ago. South Beach was beautiful, but it can get depressing eating by yourself all the time and constantly lugging around your office with you. The upside as with any solitary travel is that you can spend eons setting up nice photos and choosing where you go. But again, having someone there to share it with is better.

- As we boarded the plane in Miami, an endless line of police cars and emergency equipment raced over to a few gates down out of view. We backed out, passed by the gate with easily thirty vehicles surrounding the plane, then took off not far from it. I got a picture of the mayhem as we were taking off. My boss said this morning that some guy who said he had a bomb was shot and killed. Kinda weird how close I get to these situations. There is also a post on the Metroblog.

- Can someone explain the rush to get off planes? Is it claustraphobia? As the pilot or stewardess was explaining over the intercom that you must keep your seat belts fastened, I hear a chorus of clicks and two older guys jump up and open the over head bins. It happens on every flight. Then they have no choice but to stand there and wait five minutes for the rest of the plane to exit. The whole while, I sat back comfortably and exited only a few seconds after them. I really don't get the rush. It's not like the Amazing Race was on.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Miami Sejour

I'm headed off to Miami for a couple days. Hopefully my flight back won't be delayed and I'll make it to YULblog. In the meantime:

Which is most likely to happen while I'm down there?
A. meet, make friends with, and hang out with Chad and his pregnant wife.
B. be blindsided by some kid named Elian during his driving test.
C. be mistakenly arrested by bank security and retired police officer Tubbs.
D. I will be awakened in the middle of the night by a drag queen that resembles Lex Luthor and his excort named Sparticus.
E. while poking around a vacant store, find six hundred uncounted ballots for some guy named Al.

Anyhow, hope to see you at YULblog.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

This is Bizarre.

A while back I noticed a referral page that I had not heard of before. I clicked on it and came across a page that listed me in their blogroll. I felt kinda honored because it was only the second page that I knew of that had done that. But, it was kinda weird because there has not been any contact (comments on each other's pages) at all. Usually a blogroll shout out is after at least a minimal amount of back and forth.

But just now I happened back on that page and found they had posted my most recent sunset. I didn't mind that so much, but there was absolutely no acknowledgement where it came from. It really comes across as if it was a personal photo. I will confront them, but I would like to mull the whole thing over a bit. It's late and I have work to finish before tomorrow morning. It's just so bizarre.

Chicago Style Pizza

It is my favorite pig-out food. Everytime I have returned to Chicago, it is one of the first things I try to get my hands on. We order twice as much as we can possibly eat and save the rest for breakfasts or snacks. Pure heaven. It must be an ingrown thing. Our parents rewarded our good grades with a Chicago Style deep dish pizza dinner at Lou Malnati's. Visitors to Chicago have found it to be no big thing. Probably the same way I have had trouble understanding the smoke meat and bagel thing here. Blasphemy, I know.

This all comes up because we recently tried one of those 'Chicago Style' pizzas by President's Choice (PC) at Provigo. I'm sorry, but IT SUCKED! The principle was there, but the correct ingredients were not. For those unfamiliar, Chicago style pizza is a pan pizza with the layers of tomato sauce and cheese inverted. The crust is normally a butter or beer crust. It has a consistency similar to cornbread or it is at least risen a bit like a cake, not pie crust like PC. Next is a layer of mozzarella cheese. The filler is usually slabs of sausage (not deer scat like PC or Dominoes) along with mushrooms and pepperoni sometimes. The top layer is tomato sauce with bits of stewed tomatoes. The only purveyors of real Chicago style pizza that I know of are Lou Malnatis, Gino's East (featured on the Amazing Race), and Rico Benes. Even the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory on the Champs Elysee had good Chicago style pizza. When I was working on the stadium construction, the roach coach always had some Rico Benes pizza and I pigged out almost every day. Must be how I got this gut.

So a note on the pizza here in Montreal. Now there were always very good thin crust pizza places around in Chicago. Yes it was greasy, but the sausage was real (not scat) and it had a nice thick layer of cheese. My worries started when people told me Dominos had the best pizza here. As far as ordering out for pizza I have been bitterly disappointed. There is just something about it that lacks flavor. I have found that Pizza Hut has the best delivery pizza. Even in France we were able to get some good funky gourmet pizzas. Really our best bet here has been gourmet frozen pizza. Ones with goat cheese, artichokes, and stuff like that. If anyone can recommend a good pizza place, maybe a delivery place on the south shore, I am all ears. I will gladly eat these words along with copious amounts of pizza if I can be proved wrong.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tag! You're it!

Zura has tagged me with a 'meme' along with a couple others. A meme is a blog game where you are tagged by a fellow blogger, you write a post according to specified instructions, and you in turn tag another blogger(s). It's kinda like a blogger version of those chain emails written by teenage girls that my father keeps sending me. In this meme, you google '(your name) needs' and post the results. An overwhelming number of my results related to either: a prime minister, a certain disease, or a jazz musician. Only one was myself.

F needs system failures, transit related and otherwise.
F needs to be preserved.
F needs other ways to deal with financial aid.
F needs to protect rare species and forests.
F needs to tell you all the gory details.
F needs 6 month airline notice.
F needs to build on this success to create new opportunities.
F needs for us to cooperate to realize the holding of a conference.
F needs to pay special consideration to the socially disadvantaged.
F needs to reform his political and economic systems to meet new challenges.
F needs to restore confidence in the financial system and give the sagging economy a boost.
F needs to call project Dana for assistance.
F needs an English speaking minister.
F needs his neighbor once in every ten years.
F needs to clarify the function of Dsg4.
F needs to increase the thyroxine dose over time.
F needs to become weary of coming to meetings, parking himself, and listening.
F needs not to be heard obviously.
F needs to push men to admit depression.
F needs to ensure transparency in order to enhance the understanding.
F needs boardinghouses opened.
F needs help from Frank.
F needs to shake the status quo.

Looks like I've got a lot to do including some big ones. Makes me look like a world leader or something.

I, in turn, tag Rachel and John.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Montreal Sunset #4

It has been a while since I put up a sunset. Click on the picture for a bigger version. For those of you keeping track at home here are #1, #2, & #3. When we lived in this apartment, it was our first time in high rise living. There were some nice perks such as covered parking and a pool, but the best perk was the sunsets. In the time we lived there, I probably took over 100 photos of sunsets. We were also prefectly situated to have the sun set over the city. This photo has NOT been modified. It was probably the most surreal one while we were there.

In other news, my traffic doubled last month and I quickly passed the 2000 visit mark. Much of it has come through searches for info on Montreal, but thank you to those of you who keep coming back.