Friday, December 29, 2006

Read a book

I rarely watch movies at home. This is great, because it means I read many books instead. Yesterday, however, I realized why it is that I never watch movies at home. As I described it in an email to a friend...

A scene:
[VICTORIA sees The Constant Gardener is playing on TV, and sits down to watch.]
[FATHER barrels through living room to get to garage, leaving both doors open. Cold air gusts in and opera music can be heard, distinctly, from another room. VICTORIA gets up and closes both doors.]
[BROTHER comes in with laptop and starts playing video game.]
VIC: Will, I'm watching a movie. Can't you put headphones on?
BRO: I don't have any. Can you get me yours?
[VICTORIA stubbornly refuses and tries to listen despite video game noises. MOTHER enters and sets up a table directly in front of the TV.]
MOM: Je te derange, la?
VIC(Fully aware that saying yes would result in helping my mother prepare for a cocktail party later that afternoon): Noooon, pas du tout. Je t'en prie, continue.
[MOTHER looks at the TV and sits down]
MOM: Hein? Qu'est ce qui se passe? C'est qui, elle?
VIC: C'est la femme de l'homme.
MOM: Pourquoi elle fait ca?
[VICTORIA tries to explain an hour's worth of the movie to MOTHER, and fails]
[FATHER barrels through the living room again. VICTORIA gets up to close the doors.]
[Phone rings. And rings. And rings. VICTORIA gets up to answer the telemarketer.]
[VICTORIA sits back down, realizes she has no idea what's going on anymore]
[FATHER barrels through, notices the Constant Gardener is playing]
DAD: Oh! This is a great movie. Has (reveals major plotline) happened yet?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Missing Montreal

A friend of a friend just asked me where a good place to spend New Year's in Montreal would be. Here was my answer:

-Gogo lounge on St. Laurent and Prince-Arthur(ish) is a very trendy lounge. It's got a 21-age limit, so I've never actually been inside (Why the age limit? I couldn't tell you...), but it seems like a very good time, and something a bit different for New Year's.

-Pistol, on St. Laurent and Roy(ish) is another trendy bar. It's James Bond themed, so naturally one of my favorites. It's also quite flashy.

-St Sulpice, on St Denis below Sherbrooke, is a McGill student classic hangout. It's got an amazing terrace, but it's (hopefully) far too cold to be in use. Three floors of fun!

Most places in that area-- between Roy and Sherbrooke, on St. Laurent, are going to be pretty fun and rowdy, I bet. If you're looking for a quieter, older crowd, with a smokey bar and good beer atmosphere (minus the smoke, thanks the Montreal's smoking ban), I suggest heading uptown, to Mile End (where I live!)

-Bily Kun is a bar beloved by Montreal's hipsters. It's on Mont-Royal, between St. Denis and St. Laurent.
It's a good time-- good beer and good atmosphere (ostrich heads mounted on the walls of a narrow, intimate space). It's always full though, but I guess on Dec. 31st everywhere is going to be full.

-Dieu du Ciel, on Clarke and Laurier, has been my Favorite Bar from the moment I discovered it two years ago.
It's a micro-brewery, which is to say that they brew their own delicious beer. They also have killer nachos and great cider. It's got nice copper-topped tables, awesome music (but never too loud), and dimmed lights for your convenience. It used to be very smokey, and I still imagine it as so, but once again the non-smoking ban changed that. A word of caution-- this place is always, always full, so unless you plan on being lucky, I suggest you show up early.

-Casa del Popolo is another hipster joint. It's a great place for concerts, and perhaps they'll have something special going on for New Years. I haven't been keeping up to date.
It's on St. Laurent near Villeneuve. those are a few of my favorite bars. They're quite low-key; if you're interested in places you can dance, there are lots of clubs on St. Laurent (Cafe Campus, Saphir, etc.), or even the Green Room, on St. Laurent and St. Viateur, is a nice mix between dance floor and bar.

Personally? I would chose to spend New Years at Foufounes ( a punkish dance club. You're basically guaranteed a good mosh and a good time. It's been a while since I really let loose!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Spirit

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Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!

I'd think of something better, but exams are over and I'm relaxing at home. I can only hope you're having as relaxing a time as I am (which is to say: not all that relaxing-- have you met my family?).


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Holidays!

In case you're having trouble embracing that good ol' Christmas spirit (yes, yes, I know, I'm not being politically correct), here's a little link that should help.

My particular favorite is this one.

Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Il fait beau dans l'm├ętro!

Oh, but how things have changed in Montreal since the 1970s!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ice storms and fondue

Well, exam month (December) has started.
The month began well, for what it's worth. My friends hosted an amazing formal Christmas dinner party/pot-luck...
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(This picture was taken by my friend Owen)
Don't we just look so handsome?

It was a typical evening: great food (my friend even made a Turkey!), lots of wine (collectively pooled), and lots and lots of guitar playing. The night rapidly detiorated into the lot of us sitting around in formal-wear singing along to old songs.

Then, the weather finally became winter-like (it's been an uncomfortably warm November), and we had a mini ice storm on our hands (these pictures were all taken by Heather):
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(Mile-End still has power, but Outremont doesn't. Montreal has some strange power grids...)
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Heather picked me that last flower. Isn't it cool?
It's been snowing big fluffly flakes since then-- peeeerfect study weather.

Finally, as a last pre-finals hurrah, I hosted a fondue party at my house. There was: a beer and peppered cheddar fondue, a white wine and emmenthal fondue, and, naturally, a chocolate fondue.
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And 007inAfrica: just to prove how much the lamp you gave me for my birthday is appreciated...
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Now, in all likelyhood, I won't re-surface until exams are over (December 21st).

Thanksgiving recap

I know that this is belated, but Thanksgiving was amazing.
There's something lovely (or horrible, depending on your mood, I suppose) about taking the bus. I managed to get a fair amount of work done, but the 8 hour bus ride to Massachusetts did allow me to stare at the road meditatively and, spend some time completly alone, and just think.
Montreal can be exhausting. By the time I left for Thanksgiving, I was suffering from some pretty bad insomnia. There's just too many distractors and stressors... Living in a city may be great, but leaving the city is great too.
Thanksgiving itself was amazing. What a wonderful feeling, to be in a suburban home (something I can't really say I've done in years), surrounded by family, good food, and cheer. I slept like the dead the whole weekend (8 hours a night!), and stocked up on eating. Well, it is winter. A girl's got to get her blubbler somewhere...
I love family. That's certainly what I was thankful for, this year...

Nevertheless, I was ecstatic to return to Montreal. Everytime I come back, I am reminded of the first time I arrived in this city. I was so frightened; the city landscape looked nothing like anything I was used to... Now I delight at the sky scrapers, the old Five Roses Farine factory, the light-up cross on Mount Royal. I love the delapitaded-looking streets of the Plateau, the seediness of Ste. Catherine, the various bridges linking the island to the mainland... Upone my return, I told a friend of mine:
"I don't think anything could spoil my good mood."

Unfortunately, I was wrong. I learned soon after that my darling cocker spaniel, Amadeus, passed away. I had expected to see him back in Washington D.C. over Christmas, but he wasn't able to make it...