Categories
Opinions

Montreal: The Coldest City on Earth

I type slowly, waiting for my flesh to defrost and the blood to return to my extremities. Performing a grocery run after the sun sets in December, in Montreal, is – to the the least – an experience. Whether it falls under the bracket of interesting or harrowing, is up for further debate.

The thermostat says it’s 20 below, but the disclaimer on the weather network reminds us – in big white letters against a striking red background, no less – that it actually feels like 30 below. Hurray for facts.

I’m certain it’s the history buff in me, because anytime the temperature outside is a good 50 degrees colder than it is inside I find my thoughts being carried back to those first Europeans, those intrepid explorers – Jacques Cartier and friends – who sailed from France and crossed the Atlantic in search of discovery and stumbled upon this heartless, godforsaken New World instead.

In grade school, we’re all taught that the first winter here for these travellers was utter bullshit. The snow came early, trapping them here in their log forts. Picture a scene of whispy Europeans, sulking around in their tights and codpieces, searching for fire, warmth, inferno – anything! – finding nothing but the bleak abandoning cold of Canada.

Before arriving here the coldest most of them had ever experienced was something just above warm

Were it not for the “noble” natives and other tropes of history coming to their rescue, none of them would have survived the winter and been able to make it back to France to recount their wondrous tales.

I suppose the hardships a 20 something year old faces getting a pack of organic tofu is of course nothing compared to the hardships of a bunch of scurvy-ridden sailors busy freezing to death, but in a way I’m a little bitter with those guys.

You’d think that upon their return voyage they might have beeb more inclined to warn Europe of this place and it’s bullshit weather. But instead, they did the opposite and got more and more people to come over to this crazy place. Honestly, what were they thinking? Why would anyone bother coming back here, much less building cities? The natives knew better, they hung out in big log cabins with 40 of their family and friends just to keep warm while we’re busy building massive, cold houses that can barely contain the warmth thanks to the no good addition of windows, doors and paper thin walls.

It boggles my mind that Montreal is a metropolis, one of the great cities of the world, and yet they chose to build it in such a damn cold place as this. How crazy were our ancestors? Was beaver fur really worth it?

 

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Books

Blood of Midnight: Broken Prophecy now Available

Montreal fantasy novelist Ethan A. Kincaid’s debut novel Blood of Midnight: Broken Prophecy is now available in e-Book format. The first of three planned works, Kincaid brings his reader into a world where magic is real, souls have twins, and an ancient force known as the White Asp is carving a path of destruction across the known world. What role does a princeling with dark blood have to play in all this and who are the mysterious, bird-like Ducal people?Fans of Jordan will find a kindred spirit in Kincaid’s world.

The Amazon Kindle Edition and Kobo Edition are now available.

I had the honour and privilege of working with Ethan on this project over the past few months, finalizing the editing and getting his manuscript prepped for formatting and publication. If you are a fantasy afficionado, or simply looking to support a local author going the self-publishing route, give Kincaid a read; it’s only a fraction of the cost a  of paperback!

Categories
Opinions

Instant Coffee

Something happened to me earlier this year, something that would cause the average coffee snob to turn their head and sneer at its very mention.

I realized that I like instant coffee.

(Now I’m, just waiting for that slap! to hit me in the side of the side.)

Now now, let’s all be rational here. Yes, I drink a lot of coffee. Yes, I need coffee every morning (2 cups if you would be so kind). Yes, I’m a writer. But, do all of those things translate into coffee afficionado? In my case, no.

I love coffee, but let’s not fool anyone: I’m no savant when it comes to blends, grinds, mixes, roasts, what have you. and I only found out the difference between Arabica and Robusta earlier this week when I somehow found myself stumbling across it’s Wikipedia entry (we’ve all been there).

I’m just a guy who really likes hot beverages, and likes it even more when it’s coffee. I’m Canadian and what do Canadians know about coffee? Tim Horton’s is our number one destination, after all; we wear our ignorance on our sleeve and are proud of it.

I don’t even like Starbucks. I prefer my Maxwell house. Poor me.

I suppose things wouldn’t be so bad if I only liked it. Liking something is fine. People like things that aren’t even good. I like bad movies. I like bad wine. I like bad coffee. The problem is, I actually really enjoy the bad coffee; enjoy it to the point that I might be addicted to that wood-flavoured powder mess.

I’ve gone out of my way to buy it, catching the bus down to the other end of the city because I suspect the Walmart at that end of town most likely has shelves of that shit stashed away somewhere. I’ve got there and left contented, I’ve gone there and left dejected. I’ve even found myself prowling the aisles of the Dollarama, hunting for dehydrated dollar grinds. I’ve found them too, they come in little glass jars with red lids and ugly graphics. They also taste like dollar coffee. For some reason, I don’t mind.

Maybe that’s all that matters. Just me and my instant coffee against the world.