Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Some things you have to be thankful for.

I had a very crummy time this week. I reluctantly made a decision to distance myself from someone for a while and that left me in a very poor emotional state. Walking was my way to cope with such issues and sort of get my mind off of things, but this time I didn't feel like it at all. I went out anyway on Saturday because I had a few errands to do and I went out Sunday night after I had dinner with my family for Thanksgiving. I thought it might help me digest the turkey dinner and spend the few extra calories from the caramel cake we had for dessert. Other than that, the idea of going out for walks didn't really appeal to me anymore. I spent a lot of time at my folks' place for comfort and support. If there is one thing, year after year, that I am really thankful for, is for having a wonderful loving, supporting family who have always been there every step of the way. In my best of times and my worst. They've never given up on me and have been a constant source of stability, and for that, I am truly thankful. I know there are a lot of people out there who either don't have their family close by or have a dysfunctional or broken family that is now spread out all over the place. I can't even imagine how that must be like, but I'm pretty sure it must be a source of stress and a lot of anxiety to not be able to have someone to lean on when you're overwhelmed with the challenges that life throws at you. To all these people, my heart goes out to you.

Anyway, here's what I did this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

To pass the time, I've started reading comic books. I read them mostly during my commute to work or when I go to bed. I've always wanted to read comics since I was a teenager. I remember back in the day, my friend Max and I were really into the Dragonball Japanese comic books. But, I've always wanted to get my hands on some American comics as well. But, in good ol' Pointe-Aux-Trembles, in the east-end of the island of Montreal (also the butt-end) there weren't any places. And in maybe the one location where they had some, they were compilations of issues and they were all in French. Ugh! Can you imagine Wolverine being called Le Carcajou! Or Spider-Man, l'homme-araignée! Worst even, the X-Men, les hommes-X! (That kinda sounds like a gay porno.) And you only had the most mainstream stuff like The X-Men, Batman and Spider-Man. Not that they're bad. I love Spider-Man. He's my favourite super-hero. But, I wanted to explore the comic book universe and all it had to offer. I wanted to read stuff that's lesser known, more underground. Well, tough luck. Today though, I have money, I have time and I know a good comic book store where I can start looking for some awesome stuff with a comic book dude who really knows his business. The store is called 1,000,000 Comix. It's located on Pierce street just west of Guy. You'll notice the shop by it's Spider-Man mask sign hanging just above the door. It's a little hole in the wall owned by two guys. But, their shop has been around since 1989! When you walk in the store, you get this distinctive musty comic book store smell. That's how you know it's an authentic comic book store: the smell. The dude there probably knows every single one of the comic books he sells in his store. He claims he's read through every single one of them. And I believe him. Ask him anything related to comics and he'll have an answer.

The guy even covered his store windows to leave the sun light out.
Now THAT's the real deal!

I wanted to start reading The Walking Dead. It's a series that has gotten a lot of praise to a point where they even made a TV series out of it. But, I also wanted to read other lesser known stuff. One of the first ones I bought along with my first Walking Dead is The Deadenders. I picked it sort of randomly because the artwork looked pretty cool. After asking the dude about it and getting a brief description, I bought it right away. I absolutely loved it. When I came back for more, I asked the dude for something a little more à la Film Noir, with crime stories and drama. Immediately he recommended I check out the works of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  They are great artists who excel in the crime noire style of comic book artwork and stories. I just finished reading through the two collected edition books of the Incognito series. They were amazing! So when I came back to the store I picked up another one called Coward, from the Criminal series along with another Walking Dead. I can't wait to start it.

After that, I went to a store that my own mother has told me about. I passed in front of it a million times and I never noticed it. It's all the way at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Sainte-Catherine right next to the Metropolis concert hall. The store is called Pantalons Supérieur. It's this tiny little shop that sells pants, mostly jeans and they have every single brand in every single colour you can think of. And for SO cheap! I've been going to the Levi's store at the Eaton Center from time to time just to try a pair of jeans I want to get. Every single time, I was so turned off by the price. Nowadays, a pair of jeans will go for about 80-90$! That's insane! A pair used to cost me about 60$ just three years ago! Well, I went to check out that other store, Pantalon Supérieur, and I found the exact same pair of Levi's jeans I wanted for 50$! Holy fucking savings, Batman! That's almost HALF THE PRICE! And they adjust them on the spot! These guys have been in business there in that exact same spot since 1924! The store was passed down through the family generations until today. I will never go see the Levi's store again as long as these guys are open! Also, I bought myself a pair of sexy-ass black skinny jeans. Yeah, I know. I'm going straight to hipster hell. That the hell where you're surrounded by arrogant, chain-smoking, European-French hipsters from Paris with attitude. But, at least I have a good lookin' ass in those jeans.

Finally, I decided to go walk around the plateau to waste some time. It was getting cold and I was thinking what the hell I'm going to do this winter. I don't think I'll be able to walk like this for very long. Not without dressing up warmly. And it's going to be even worse when the snow falls and the sidewalks become un-walkable. I also don't have any good stylish winter boots other than some hiking-shoe-looking boot that I bought a while back. They're still good, but some plastic crap tore off the back and I fear water may leak in through there. Also, they're not very stylish. I was thinking about this right when I was passing by the famous RIO X2O store. That store sells every kind of Chuck Taylor All-Star Converse shoe variant imaginable. They not only have the classics, but all sorts of different colours, designs and other All-Star related goodies. They also sell every kind of Doc Martens shoes and boots you could think of. So I thought I'd go in and see if I might find anything that looked cool but would keep me warm for this winter.

I was browsing the store going through all the shoes when I laid eyes on these. I think I may have found what I was looking for. This is exactly what I had in mind. It's the perfect stylish urban winter shoe. They are actual Chuck All-Stars made with leather and a fur lining inside! That's perfect! I Think I might get the dark brown ones. At 84$ that's not too bad. I don't think they'll be very water-proof though. But, I guess I'll have to try them and see.

On my way back around, I passed by the Katacombes. I talked about it in a few posts. Most recently on the night I saw the Fisker car. This place used to be a heavy metal club/bar where there were always a bunch of metal heads with long hair and dark clothes hanging out in the patio area of the place. There were pictures of burning skeletons riding motorcycles on the walls and stuff. Recently they covered the walls with these weird designs that seem to come straight out of a bad 80's computer animated music video. I found out what happened. It's become a hipster bar. I kid you not! They tried to change the facade to cater to hipsters and it fucking worked! Last time I passed by the place there were a bunch of people in super-skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts with beards and moustaches and huge thick black frame glasses without lenses hanging out on the patio. I couldn't believe it. I mean I couldn't believe these people fell into the trap that this establishment has set to attract their kind! I mean, you know your sub-culture has become mainstream when a club changes its setting to attract people like you in it!

Looks like the shapes and colours that used to appear behind Max Headroom's head.


Obviously, while I was out there walking, I had to spot another awesome car. This time, it's a car that comes from the old continent. A French 1969 Citroen ID 20! After that I just went home and that was it for Saturday.

On Sunday, I went to my parents place for the thanksgiving dinner. Everybody was there, my grandparents, my brother in law and my sister, who's in Barcelona for a semester, through Skype. We had a nice turkey dinner with squash, peas and mash and gravy. We had an irresistible caramel cake for dessert. It was a lot of food. After spending the evening with the family I had to go for a walk to help with the digestion. So I went around the plateau again. Except this time I noticed that some angry people ripped the new decor off of the Katacombes metal-now-hipster club. I can only assume that it was a disgruntled metal-head that tore that apart. Poor guy now probably only has the overcrowded Foufounes Électriques to hang out in with his long-haired head-banging gothic buddies.

Well, that didn't last long!

Anyway, during my walk I decided to avoid the whole Saint-Denis bar area near Berri-Uqam, so I cut through Avenue Des Pins to head back to Saint-Laurent from Saint-Denis. Passing through there I realized that's where they have the barracks for the Fusiliers Mont-Royal, one of the oldest surviving units of the historical regiments of the Canadian army, according to Wikipedia. The building looks pretty amazing, like a small castle fort in the middle of a bunch of apartment buildings.

Just across the street about a block away, I found something really special. A tiny little hole in the wall restaurant that specializes in.... stuffed baked potatoes. Yep. Nothing but stuffed baked potatoes. Actually they have some other stuff, but the stuffed baked potato is their thing. And they look delicious! Next time I feel a little peckish, I'll stop buy and get one and see what they're like.

And as I came back to Saint-Laurent, the club Rouge bar was having a celebration to commemorate it's 8th anniversary with a little show out in front of the building. They had some Chinese entertainers with a dancing dragon. That was pretty unexpected, but kind of cool.

After that I got back to Place Des Arts and it started to rain. Also, my face was getting numb from the cold. So I headed back home. That was pretty much my weekend walking around town.


  1. Having walked every day through two Montreal with a 'poussette' full of baby, I highly recommend Columbia hiking boots. Light weight, super warm and waterproof...and comfy!

    Those furry Chuck Taylors would be ruined in 3 days.

  2. Ouais je pense aussi que les Converse sont parfait pour les soirées froides de l'automne mais l'hiver oublie... Check des bottes de même c'est nice