Birthdays Collide, January 7th 2017

I saw this and thought it was sort of cute. I actually didn’t know that Montréal was so much older than Canada.

The Globe and Mail’s Robert Everett-Green writes about how the conjunction of two anniversaries, Montréal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th, is set to give Montrealers a memorable year.

On May 18, 1642, a few dozen religious fanatics from France arrived at an island in the St. Lawrence River, held a celebratory mass and declared themselves home. Their goal was to build the New Jerusalem and convert the heathen.

Ville-Marie could have vanished like most utopian settlements, but it became Montreal. Many current residents may have little idea of the town’s original purpose, but lots of Montrealers have reason to be glad the missionaries didn’t reach their destination, say, a year earlier. If they had, Montreal would have lost a convenient overlap between significant anniversaries for their city and the country.

Canada 150 is also Montreal 375, as anyone who lives here can’t fail to know. In public discourse, the two fêtes are like paired runners in a three-legged race: One can’t appear without the other.

The convenience of this is that everyone in town, including federalists and sovereigntists, can feel festive without having to be specific about why. Also, since national celebrations inevitably bring on capital projects, Montreal can count on a double payout for every commemorative jackpot.

Each of the past two significant birthdays for country and city have yielded significant new building projects. For the 1992 celebrations, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts built a new pavilion, the Pointe-à-Callière museum of archeology and history opened its doors near the Old Port and the Musée d’art contemporain moved to its current site at Place des Arts. The McCord Museum had a major expansion, the historic Bonsecours Market reopened and the Montreal Biodome was installed in the former Olympic velodrome. Nineteen sixty-seven, of course, was the year of Expo, the ne plus ultra of overlapping anniversary projects. Expo helped provide the spark for the construction of the Montreal Metro and much else. Most importantly, for a few weeks in the summer, it made Montreal the undisputed centre of Canada, whatever Ottawa and Toronto might think. It also stoked the fever dreams of then-mayor Jean Drapeau, who imagined putting on some kind of international jamboree every five years, continuing with a failed Olympic bid for 1972 – disastrously realized, from a financial point of view, four year later.

Progress So Far

At least I would call it progress.

  • Exercise twice per week: 100% success
  • Bike to work 50 times: Haven’t started yet, but that’s okay.
  • 20 push-ups every day: 100% success (I had to make up 3 days, but that is acceptable).
  • Try SUP yoga: Still too cold.
  • Get weight back under 140: Average is still 146.
  • Max out 401k and IRA: Successfully set and forgotten.
  • Travel to a state or country I’ve never been to: More plotting is required.
  • Finish knitting 4 pairs of adult socks: 1 done, 3 to go!
  • Finish 10 sewing projects: The first project is in progress and going well.

Green Hunt

Deathstalker Rebellion

The second of the Deathstalker series is divided into two major parts, each centered around one group of rebels, though other members of the extended cast may appear. In the first, Owen and Hazel head to Golgotha to attack the Imperial taxation office, crippling part of the empire and adding funds to the rebel accounts in one stroke. Also, they hook up with the rebel underground on Golgotha, teaming up with the Suzie Blues (a group apparently destined for a bad fate) and one Alexander Storm, an old friend of Jack Random. Who may not, in fact, be who he claims to be (Jack, that is).

Regardless of who he is, Random heads off to rescue slaves from the plant producing the new stardrive that the Empire is counting on. He takes Storm and Ruby Journey with him, and again they hook up with the local rebels, but in addition to the best troops House Wolfe can send against them and the top battle-jesuits of the Church of Jesus Christ, Warrior, the whole planet seems to be fighting them.

This planet is actually the biggest problem for the story. Its seasons are measured in days, which is an interesting concept, particularly when we learn that it was caused a century ago by a hacked weather satellite system. No one can fix it, which the story makes sense of, but we are never told why it isn’t shot down and replaced by a new one. Also, life on the planet has adjusted and now lives and dies by the seasons, just as it would if they were their natural selves. Problem is, there just hasn’t been enough time for anything to evolve to deal with those conditions. Even insects and bacteria would have died off in the first couple of winters, each coming less than a week after spring. The planet would be, at best, devoid of native life.

But, yeah, space opera; don’t sweat the science too much, if things slow down have a man with a blaster come through the airlock. Also, it’s Simon R. Green so he’ll probably have a blaster and a sword. Mindless fun. Mildly recommended, with a bonus recommendation for fans of Green’s other works.

Don’t Get Me Started

I worked for eight days straight and it was the worst thing ever because I had a cold for most of it. Also, 8 days straight. I finally had my energy back yesterday, the last day, and wow, it made such a difference. I get so cranky when I’m tired!

Today I finally got to spend most of the day in bed– I didn’t really need to, but better to be safe than sorry, because I’m moving. I’m kind of like o_O and entering homestretch packing mode but I’ve even made myself a lunch, so I think I’ll be ok. I’m mostly going to eat French food, tbh. Somewhere in town there must be a bakery that does decent macarons. I am going to find it, and I am going to eat them.

Even though my new place already has internet, I doubt I’ll be around much. See all y’all in four days!