It Happened to Me

Hello from Montreal!

Ah, Montreal. Home of McGill University, people-watching on St. Laurent and Prince Arthur, smoked meat and poutine, the great club known as Foufounes Electriques (literally, “Electric Buttocks”) and my first serious brush with girl trouble so many years ago.

Or was it my second serious brush? It depends on how you count it, and what you classify as trouble. It’ll make a great blog entry someday.

Thanks to Dave Polaschek’s VIA rail voucher, my housemate Paul and I travelled here first class in one of those four-seat booths with the table, getting our asses kicked my the chess program on my PowerBook, eating pan-friend trout, and drinking Bloody Marys, red wine and I introduced him to the joy that is Grand Marnier. If gangsta rappers took the train, they’d do it the way we did. Once again, thanks, Dave!

My friend Boris loaned us his apartment while he jaunts off to New York to hang out with Joi Ito. His place is in a cute little arrondisement just off the St-Laurent strip and across the street from a cool little cafe called Cafe Jose where they make great crepes and soups and seem to play nothing but Men Without Hats (who came from Montreal and wrote The Greatest Song in the World, Safety Dance). Once again, thanks, Boris!

(Cafe Jose has “RIP Johnny Cash” on their blackboard today. We’ll miss you, Mr. Cash.)

Later tonight, Steph (a.k.a. “Sniffles”) from the #joiito channel, and possible Aaron and the rest of the YULbloggers (YUL is the airport code for Montreal’s Mirabel Airport) will be meeting us at the resto-bar Pistol (on the east side of St-Laurent, just south of Ave. des Pins) at 8:00 p.m. Feel free to join us. I’ll be the Hawaiian-looking guy with the accordion.

The interesting thing to note about this vacation is that it would’ve happened differently without the Internet and “social software” like blogs or IRC. Dave wouldn’t have read my blog and he never would have decided to send me a rail voucher that he wouldn’t have had the chance to use. I never would’ve met Boris, and would have had to make alternate (and more expensive) accomodation arrangements. I wouldn’t be meeting with anyone for drinks tonight. What wonderful things happen when technology and people blend in just the right way!

Yesterday, we wandered around the city, toured the Ste-Catherine strip, and hit old Montreal. We met Tony, an nice older gentleman and accordion busker, where we had a little jam session. Paul took the footage, and I’ll post it later. Last night, we had dinner at the Shed on St-Laurent, stared at their hot, hot bartender, watched girls and did your typical good-lookin’-single-guy things. I tried to teach Paul some remedial French and get him to appreciate Campari and soda with little success. (Especially the Campari and soda. Suddenly, it’s as if a switch has gone off in my head and I’m into “old man” drinks.) Today, it’s some clothes shopping, then the Biodome, then Le Pistol, then who-knows-what. Tomorrow, it’s tam-tam by the mountain, who knows what else, and then back on the train at around 6 p.m. to arrive in Toronto around 11:30. I’ll probably still make it to Kickass Karaoke, which takes place at Rivoli tomorrow night.

Wandering around town, I see posters for two of my friends, who’ve made rock stardom: Lederhosen Lucil, with whom I played in the electro-improv band Lion, and Hawksley Workman, with whom I’ve jammed and backed up John Southworth on his radio special. Well done, guys!

Boris, if you’re reading this, your home internet connection is still down. I’m entering this from a net cafe on St-Laurent. We fed your cat. You’ll have to guess what we fed it to.

2 replies on “Hello from Montreal!”

I hope you guys had a blast! T’was my pleasure to put y’as up for the weekend. 🙂

Sorry about the Net connection. As far as I can tell it’s the phone line that went wonky… still not back up to a 100% .. aw well.

Other than a friend’s apartment, do you know of any good cheap places to stay in central Montreal? I’m flogging my network for contacts who might be able to advise me about affordable lodgings for a conference I want to attend there in a couple of months.

The conference will be the Information Architecture Summit held March 3-7 at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, 900 Blvd Ren� L�vesque O, Montr�al. Rooms there would be CA$200/night. I’d like to spend more like CA$60/night as close as possible to the Fairmont. Proximity is more important than comfort. (When I go to conferences I like to be nearby so as not to miss out on all the informal networking. Not to mention the occasional nap. 🙂 )

So, any suggestions? Thanks!

— Prentiss Riddle

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