28 April 2008

I'm back with scars to show

I haven't posted here in almost a month, but I have lots of good excuses:

  1. I'm never sick, but was sick three times during the month of April. Feeling better now, fortunately.

  2. Tax returns. Yes, tax returns plural. In Quebec you have to file a completely separate provincial return too. Killer.

  3. I really enjoy listening to podcasts (MP3 over RSS), especially French and British ones, but my MiniDisc setup just hasn't been letting me enjoy them in the way I want to. I'm so tired of Sony and SonicStage and all that they've done to cripple the MiniDisc format. Consequently, I've been thinking about getting an MP3 player for a couple of years now. While I was ill and feeling depressed a couple of weeks ago, I finally caved in and bought my first iPod (6th generation iPod Classic, 160 GB), not because I think it's particularly hip or well designed, but because of the seamless podcast integration in iTunes. I can no longer deal with all of the complications of transferring files via SonicStage, nor the inconvenience of swapping MDs when I want to listen to different music or different podcasts. So I've been happily busying myself with adding podcast subscriptions and transferring all of my music. The thing is already half-full!

  4. In turns out that in Quebec, if you don't give your landlord three months' notice that you're moving, your lease is automatically renewed for another year. I find it a bit odd to provide this kind of protection to property owners at the expense of poor, impoverished renters, given that this is supposed to be the paradise for progressive social policy (in North America at any rate). After all, in Manitoba there was always a form to sign every year, and none of this implied renewal business. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that my current lease expires on 31 July 2008, so I had until the end of this month to tell the landlord that I want out of this overpriced trou pourri that passes for an apartment. Consequently, I spent most of the past month desperately searching for something better, with the April 30th deadline hanging over me the whole time.

    I signed the lease on much better place last Tuesday, so I can finally breathe easy. I'll be moving from being right next to Université-de-Montréal Métro Station, to being right next to Mount Royal Train Station. I'll be a bit further away from downtown, but only a nine minute train ride from Gare Centrale, versus the 20 minutes it currently takes me to reach essentially the same destination on the Métro (including transfer from the Blue Line to the Orange Line). Technically speaking, my new apartment is not actually in Montreal proprement dit, but in the independent Town of Mount Royal which is located in the centre of the Island of Montreal. This is neat because Mount Royal was designed and built by the old Canadian Northern Railway, the same company that built the inland freshwater resort at Grand Beach in my home province of Manitoba, a favourite childhood destination of mine.

  5. I'm now on Twitter (see sidebar for live updates).

  6. The 2008 edition of the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival is happening this week, and I'm running the English-language section of the festival bookshop. Stress, stress, stress!!! Tomorrow we're bringing all of the stock downtown (several trips with the van) and setting up, then the festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday, and Monday we're returning the unsold stock to the publishers. Lots of twelve-hour days in perspective. On the bright side, I'm hoping to meet Nora Young, a favourite CBC personality and adolescent radio crush of mine, who will be hosting an event on Saturday night.
Don't expect too many posts anytime soon, as it won't be long until I start to stress about the move, and that should keep me occupied until well into July.