SOME MORE MONTREAL PHOTOS, BUT NOT THE ONES I INTENDED TO SHOW...This evening I went over to Merivale Road, mainly to go to the Shoppers Drug Mart in Merivale Mall, both to refill my prescription of happy pills (citalopram) and also to pick up a roll of photos I had dropped off on Saturday. I had found this roll of Kodak Max film in one of my bags while on a search for this old Mountain Dew-logo'd NASCAR Buick Grand National Hot Wheel that I'm damn sure was included in some collection of junk that I didn't leave back in Pincourt when I moved to Nepean, and I assumed that it was the missing roll of film with which I had taken a bunch of pictures around the old house just before we moved as mementos.
I took the bus to Merivale, but, instead of walking south to the Shoppers Drug Mart, I decided to walk north to buy some manga or something. First, I checked out Merivale Zellers, but they still don't have the 1/24th scale Maisto "Assembly Line" series Ferrari Enzo car I've been looking for.
I decided to take a couple of evening pictures of the Merivale Shell station on the way up to the Comic Book Shoppe, because I have plenty of pictures of Esso stations lit up in the evening, but none of Shell stations.
I like the deep rich blue of the evening sky, though it looks a little darker here than it actually was, because I had the brightness adjustment setting on the camera set to -2.0.
Here's a picture taken from the same angle, but with the camera's brightness adjustment level changed from minus-two-point-oh to plus-two-point-oh. The signage is a little too bright for my tastes, but those have got to be the best taillight streaks that I have ever taken.
Anyway, I got to the Bleeker Mall, only to find something surprising.
There is now a dedicated anime store in Nepean. I think the store's officially called Anime Stop, and it's in the Bleeker Mall right next to The Comic Book Shoppe.
I think it's actually owned by the same people as the Comic Book Shoppe, since I asked the girl at the checkout if the stuff in the store was from "next door" and she told me that it was. I guess the anime/manga section inside The Comic Book Shoppe's Bleeker Mall location on Clyde/Merivale was getting so big that they decided to move their selection into a separate store proper.
As you can see from the mess of a sign above the store, that particular storefront is kind of a retail black hole, having been Dewar's Audio at one point, and then Silvio's Gifts. Let's hope Anime Stop will succeed where the two stores that were there before failed. I did my part... I ordered the first volume of Barasui's Ichigo Mashimaro/Strawberry Marshmallow manga while I was there. Because, while I enjoyed the episodes of the Ichigo Mashimaro anime that I saw last spring as cute, plot-lite, Azumanga Daioh-esque, "slice-of-life", with no creepy lolicom content that I noticed, Anime News Network's "Answer Man" Zac Bertschy claims that the manga is a fair bit more gratuitous with the youthful moé content that, while not overtly sexualized, is still designed to appeal to the same college-aged-and-beyond otaku male audience as hardcore lolicom manga, and, since I enjoyed the anime so much, Zac's assertions about the manga kind of threw down the gauntlet for me and I really want to review a volume of it for myself. (Yeah, there is some kinda creepy official Ichigo Mashimaro artwork for both the manga and the anime, but the same thing exists for a lot of shows, like with this suggestive pencil board of Sasami and Misao that came with one of the volumes of Magical Project S. Basically, the otaku with the more weirdo prurient interests are huge spenders and Japanese anime studios and manga publishers don't have nearly as many reservations about catering some publicity material specifically to that ahem niche market as do American studios and comic book publishers who don't want any even remote association with that "market" whatsoever. So, basically, if you like any manga or anime with school-aged female characters, there's usually some somewhat creepy official artwork for it somewhere in Japan that will never see the light of day in North America should the series be licensed here.
Another reason I want it is because I can't get the theme song for the anime out of my head. "I-C-H-I-G-O Girl! Go go, Girl! Ichigo LOVE!"
But they didn't have the manga nor the anime in stock, so I placed an order for just the first volume of the manga.
They painted several anime characters in the window (clockwise from top right: Kyou Sohma from Fruits Basket in his cursed orange cat form, Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto (duh), some guy who is either a generic anime-esque male character, some existing character whom I just don't recognize, or a really terrible drawing of Kyou Sohma in human form, and some generic anime schoolgirl character.)
I walked the kilometre or so south down Merivale towards Merivale Mall, and guess what I saw along the way? That's right, exactly what I saw on the way up! So here's more pictures of the Merivale Shell station in the evening.
I think I still had the brightness adjustment set to +2.0, so the lights are overexposed.
Here's a trick I figured out to get a shorter shutter time at night, so that the lights don't get overexposed in a no-flash night shot: don't turn the flash off, but cover the flash with your hand so that it has no effect on the ambient light sources in the shot. The Shell logo turned out nice and sharp, but there's very little detail in this shot besides the night.
Don't worry, that's the last evening shot of a Shell station you'll see in this entry. I promise. On my pinky finger.
I got to Merivale Mall and... damn, they had progressed a lot with the renovations to the Merivale Mall Shopper's Drug Mart since when I dropped the film off on Saturday. The doors I had become used to using were now closed off, and the new doors, some 10 metres or so to the north, were now in operation. And the checkout counter where I drop off and pick up film for development had also been moved 10 metres or so, so I was disoriented and almost forgot to use the film development coupon I had.
Anyway, the photos turned out mostly great, but they weren't taken around the time of my move from Pincourt to Nepean in December 2004. They were actually from at least a year earlier.
Here's photos I took in the westernmost part of downtown Montreal in the vicinity of Atwater and Sainte Catherine's at some point in the spring of 2003, probably when I was still taking the 3D animation classes at College Inter-Dec. And it's a part of downtown I didn't really get much of any opportunity to photograph when I visited in July, so finding out that I took pictures around there over three years ago was a nice surprise.
Looking "north" (Montreal orientation: northwest in the real world) up Atwater. Plaza Alexis Nihon is on the left and the Pepsi Forum is on the right. You can see the sign for the McCafé inside the Plaza Alexis Nihon McDonald's.
Looking "south" along Atwater from approximately the same point as the previous photo, across Sainte Catherine's and towards Cabot Square park and the Montreal Children's Hospital. Plaza Alexis Nihon is on the right.
I guess I crossed to the opposite corner and snapped this photo, looking "north" from Cabot Square towards the "southwestern" corner of the Pepsi Forum.
Woo-hoo! You can see an STM/MTC Novabus!
And here's a fantastic shot of Plaza Alexis Nihon shopping centre lit up in the evening! Look at all the logos: Zellers, IGA, Sports Experts, Pharmaprix (Shoppers Drug Mart in Quebec), Yellow Shows, and, of course, McDonald's. I wish it was a little sharper, but that's very good for an evening shot without a tripod (taken long before I figured out that, if I don't have a tripod, I should find a flat surface and hold the camera down for evening shots).
And here's an evening shot of... erm... a Shell station. Oops, I guess I lied earlier in the entry. But at least it's a different Shell station. It's the Shell station at the corner of Atwater and Rue Lambert-Closse. The main building of this Shell station is an odd wedge shaped that I always liked because it reminds me of this toy Shell station I once had that was part of an interlocking Hot Wheels city playset.
This is the one Montreal picture from the roll that I actually vaguely remember taking. I just wanted a picture of the reflections of the traffic light and the street lights on the rain-soaked pavement, as I crossed Lambert-Closse. Very atmospheric. Like Eddie Rabbit sang, "Well I love a rainy night/It's such a beautiful sight/I love to feel the rain/On my face/To taste the rain on my lips/In the moonlight shadow." And, like K-Rose DJ Mary Beth Maybell said (paraphrasing from memory, since I don't feel like waiting half an hour for the song to come up in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas): "I love a rainy night, it's perfect for disposing of bodies and washing away evidence."
It's a Honda Pilot SUV parked on Sainte Catherine's with a paint job advertising Teletoon. I think the cartoon characters on the back are from Braceface, the Nelvana-produced Canadian cartoon which starred Alicia Silverstone as Sharon Spitz. I wish I had taken this photo from a rear angle, to put the characters in focus rather than the Teletoon logo... oh well. I wonder if Teletoon and Nelvana still have this Honda Pilot, and, if so, whether they put Jen Masterson and Nikki Wong from 6Teen on it now?
That's all the 2003 Montreal pics from that roll I have. I'll try and continue my photo report on my visit to Montreal last month soon.