IT REALLY IS AN ALTERNATE REALITY HERE...
...if you're an anglophone Quebecer. Not that I haven't ever been to a supermarket outside of the province of Quebec as an adult, but, yesterday, I went grocery shopping with my mother, and we went to Loeb, which is basically the Ontario version of Metro-Richelieu supermarkets (either one owns the other or they're both under the same corporate umbrella). The store layout was very similar to that of the Metro on boulevard Don Quichotte in Ile-Perrot and it carried the same store brand, Merit/Mérite. It's like a Metro supermarket in every conceivable way (excluding the rather lamentable absence of a beer section) except for one tiny detail: pretty much all of the signs and shelf indicators are completely in English, which isn't news to me or anyone else, obviously, but even if I knew it, I was surprised by how much of a shock to my system if felt like to me, almost as though I was Quinn Mallory in a bizarre Sliders
version of a Metro supermarket, though I suppose I'm actually the one from the bizarre Sliders
world. I must admit, though, that, even though I hate Quebec's language laws with a passion, I don't have anything against the French language (which is often my language of choice for manga comics translated from Japanese, since the French versions usually come out much earlier) and it would have been nice to have seen a little more French on the actual store signage since Ottawa is a fairly bilingual city. Some English Ottawans I hear on CFRA seem to have an attitude I don't particularly care for in regards to bilingualism; just as Quebec is not a uniformly French province, despite what the seditionist parties like to pretend, Ontario is not a uniformly English province and I think seeing more than one language on signs in areas where there is a significant-enough minority to warrant displaying two languages is a positive thing that shows respect to the minority. If you divide Canada up into English and French based purely on provincial borders, you're really only doing the separatist bastards a favour.
Also, yesterday, I made my first trip to an Ontario Beer Store, being pretty much the only places in Ontario where you can buy beer, and the staff was nice enough and I was pleased that they did carry the high alcohol Unibroue brands like Le Fin du Monde I really like (as well as Schlitz Red Bull, my favourite cheap-ass malt liquour), but my mother was right: the way the store is arranged is almost like something straight out of the Soviet Union; aside from a few of the most popular brands which are located on the wall, you have to order the beer you want at the counter rather than just taking them straight out of the cooler or little refrigerated room like you would at a Quebec supermarket or dépanneur
(convenience store). There are plenty of things to like about the province of Ontario, but the GUM department store-like beer store and the pussy laws against selling beer in normal stores does make me pine for Pincourta little bit.
Maybe I'll write the definitive account of my move later today, just it will be a big entry and I'm still feeling a touch discombobulated.
I'M STILL WAITING...
...for my father to string the green cable from the router upstairs to my computer in the basement. He's letting me use his laptop for now, but I'm not comfortable writing "normal", well, normal for me, blog entries from his computer, and I'm not used to this flat-type keyboard so I keep on making typos. Also, I won't be logging in to any of the message boards to which I belong on this thing, so, if you've come from any of those looking for "Kiyone"
, or just plain "Steve Brandon"
(depending on the board), it might still be another day or two before I'm "back". I'd ask him to hook it up, but, you know, we still have a helluvalot of stuff to unpack, and I'm not playing Russian Roulette with a short fuse (though, actually, considering the very stressful circumstances of the move, my father has kept his composure very well). I would do it myself, since I am a 30 year old man, but that would require messing around with his stuff, not just my stuff.
One interesting thing I've found, and this isn't an intentional "fuck you" to the Adbusters
magazine/Naomi Klein No Logo
crowd, though, if this amazing true fact pisses them off, all the better, is that, when navigating unfamiliar suburban streets (technically, helping my mother navigate since I still don't have my license... yes, I know, even though I'm already 30 years old), I'm not using street names that much as landmarks, I'm using corporate logos. The past couple of days alone, my main point of reference for where to turn off the main road to get on the street that leads to the rabbit warren of residential streets in the subdivision where my bungalow is, is that the mini-mall closest to my house has an HMV in it, which kicks ass even though it's just a mall HMV location and not a megastore like the HMV at the corner of Peel and Sainte Catherine's in downtown Montreal (even the HMV in downtown Ottawa is only about the same size as the one in Fairview Pointe-Claire, though that one is on the large side for a mall HMV), and I've also used the Wendy's logo to retrace the long path to the 417 highway thatg we use when we don't want to get anywhere near downtown, and a rather odd-looking set of McDonald's "Golden Arches" (narrower than normal, with the red bit of the sign halfway rather than below the M) to locate an Indian restaurant that is just across the street. (My parents were pleased that I had spotted that the other day, since they love Indian food so we got take-out chicken curry and lamb curry last night.) I think it's fascinating seeing how I, as an adult, create a mental map of my local area, starting from a complete blank state, since the last time I had to create a comprehensive mental map was of Montreal, especially the West Island and Vaudreuil area, when I was a very small child in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I've created mental maps as an adult, mostly of British cities (London, Northampton, and Exeter), but I wasn't there long enough to it to get too thorough.
When packing remote controls, it's probably a good idea to pack them in the same crate as the actual entertainment device or tape them directly to the entertainment device themselves. I still haven't found the remotes for my TV or DVD player, so, to watch DVDs, I have to wait for the main menu, press "STOP", and then press play to get to the actual content. And I have to watch most anime DVDs dubbed, since too many of them ignore my player's default audio language (Japanese) and even for the DVDs that don't ignore my default settings, I can't get the subtitles to come up without using the remote. Not that I have anything against dubbed anime, but I've been watching it subtitled for over a decade now, so I have no reason to go back to dubs.
CAN AN ANGLOPHONE QUEBECER LIVE IN ONTARIO AND STILL CALL HIMSELF AN "ANGLOPHONE QUEBECER"?
I don't know, but I intend to find out.
Greetings from Ottawa. I'm here. I'm as "fine" as can be expected considering I've just moved from the house I've lived in for 23 and a half years, 80% of my life. I'll tell you the full story about my move, including one unfortunate incident with a happy ending, when I get the Internet connection back on my own computer, probably tomorrow (Sunday). I just wanted to type a few sentences on my father's laptop (where I keep making typos) to let everyone know that everything turned out okay.
When you shower for the first time in your new house, make sure that you've unpacked your towels. Socks make lousy towels.
Damn, according to Movietickets.com, there are no cinemas near where I am in Ottawa, a major former suburb, now borough, and, to see anything, I pretty much have to go downtown, which is fairly easy and I've been to downtown Ottawa many times, so I do know my way around there, just I don't know my way around even my own neighbourhood yet, so the big bugger will be trying to find my way back on a bus system I've never used before. I was expecting that I'd have to see Sideways
and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
downtown, but I thought I could probably see wide releases like Lemony Snickets: A Series of Unfortunate Events
within a kilometre or two of my new "home". In Montreal, there seem to be a lot more English cinemas, for some reason.