September 2004

Cup of Soup

Tue, Sep 7, 2004

Mount Royal Banquet

I was in Montreal this past weekend to finish off the celebration of my sister's wedding, and - after the four months I spent there three summers ago, and this short trip - I can confidently state precisely what Montreal means to me: Lots and lots of food.

I don't believe I've ever eaten more in such a short time span than I did this past weekend. Juicey steak and mash, endless dim sum, a 10-course Chinese banquet, and - of course - a really big Sammich from Santropol. I can't believe I fit that much goodness inside my stomach. I had been losing weight over the past few weeks, but those two days have nearly reverted all of that change.

The trip on the whole was, of course, a success, and it was worth it just for the sammich.

Mon, Sep 13, 2004

Labour Days

When I was in school, I never liked Labour Day because it meant school was starting up again the next day. When I became a working man, I looked forward to Labour Day, because for the first time it was actually a holiday and not just the eve of dread. Now that a few of those Labour Days have passed, I have come to dread them again, because it now means that all the kids have gone back to school and their parents are no longer on vacation, which means that the parking lot at the train station fills up at a very early hour.

I essentially have flexible hours at work - come and go as I please, as long as I work the number and quality of hours to which I am contracted - but my commute dictates that I must begin my work day at 8:30, because the train station parking lot fills up by 8:00.

This morning, I decided to circumvent the problem by dusting off my bike and resume my healthy mode of travel (thus, not needing to worry about parking), which was far underutilised this year by poor weather and laziness.

Naturally, about half way to the station, I ran over someone's discarded lapel-pin, and my rear tire went flat, requiring me to call for a lift, and greasing up my shirt in the process of loading the defunct bicycle in the trunk.

Wed, Sep 15, 2004

The Big Three

Canada now holds the triple-crown of major men's ice hockey: The Olympic Gold medal, the World Championship gold medal, and the World Cup. Woo!! Canadian World Domination in full effect!

Out of the three, the Olympic championship is still held in the highest regard, and I think quite a bit of work will be required if the World Cup were to take on a prestige that will fill Yonge St to 1993-World-Series amounts. This would include, but not be limited to: regular staging of the event (no more 3 years, then 5 years, then 4 years, then 8 years nonsense); fair qualifying rounds for all hockey-playing nations; and a single, variable host country for each tournament, rather than staging games in different regions and having players battle jet-lag.

What's most inspiring about this latest victory, is that Canada iced a very young team, with few members who were on the Olympic Champion team of two years ago. That speaks well for the state of hockey development in Canada in general, and could be the signs of a long and healthy dynasty in the future.

Thu, Sep 16, 2004

Internet Freak Friends

Why is it that all the freaks I meet over the internet end up being very friendly and wonderful people?

Here I am, with an invite to gather at a bar with a group of Toronto-area Corrs fanatics I have briefly met over the 'net to discuss post-concert reactions and watch a bit of the World Cup. I ponder the situation to myself. "This could be interesting," I think. "What if these people turn out to be the psychotic crazy folk with whom the internet is supposedly filled to the brim? What if they are super-obsessive people that eat-sleep-and-breathe The Corrs at every possible moment? What if they all wear blue jumpsuits and drink "special Kool-Aid" to achieve transfiguration, thereby becoming "closer" to the band that they hold so dearly? What if they - *gasp* - insist on group sing-alongs?!?!"

This could make for a great story.

Picture it. I'm at a party, and somebody tells the story of their narrow and courageous escape from the attack of a ravenous, fire-breathing, chainsaw-wielding, Republican grizzly bear while lost in the thick forests of Northern Quebec. Through the clever use of a toothpick, a frayed piece of string, and a handy sample of maple syrup, he concocts a trap for the blood-thirsty creature and lives to tell the story later over a tall glass of ale. The audience is amazed.

"That's a great story," I would say. "But I once spent an evening with people I met over the internet."

A hush would silence the entire room, and all would hear my story of stubborn bravery in awe and disbelief, and they would shower me with godly respect as they recall the tale of how I stared peril in the eye and won through.

This is going to be great. I get psyched up for my quest. I plan my approach; I identify signs of danger; I draw charts of different routes of escape if the peril becomes too perilous even for one of such high bravery and steely nerve like myself.

Then I finally meet the people and they all turn out to be very pleasant and extremely friendly.

Thanks for ruining my fun.

Thu, Sep 30, 2004

Au Revior

I've never been an Expos fan - being a Torontonian and a Jays fan during the glory days of the '80s and early '90s - and I've pretty much rejected the game of baseball entirely since the World Series-cancelling strike 10 years ago. However, it still seems a terrible shame that Canada's first major league baseball team has packed it's Youppi! and gone south.

I can't blame the organisation for leaving, of course. Having drawn a mere pittance worth of fans for many years now, it undoubtedly seems Montrealers have, on the whole, abandoned the game of baseball. However, after having the season cancelled while the Expos were the best team in the game, being short-changed twice while selling the team, and being the main target of a failed contraction bid, you can't help but think that baseball abandoned Montreal first.

Baseball has simply withered and died in Canada since the strike. It's not our game, and we really don't care too much to come back after the greedy squabble that ruined a year for fans. The Expos are the first casualty of that folly. Now, if the NHL could look at this as an example of what would happen to hockey in the U.S. if the lockout remains, then there would be a hope of slavaging our fair sport.

Looking at the two stubbornly proud suits up in those offices, though, I don't think they're about to listen.

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