Saturday, June 23, 2007

Murray St.

I woke up this morning in my usual spot on Murray St. in John's parking lot when Carrie called to tell me that she and the family were headed to the country and they would leave the key under the mat for me so I could stay at their place. I was really looking forward to having a bath and doing some laundry, especially using the clothesline to dry my stuff. So, after breakfast I decided to go up to Fedex to see if I could get the new card that had arrived from my bank which replaced the one that was stolen when my car was broken into 10 days ago. Since I was going to Carrie's for the weekend I decided to take my guitar along with everything else so I put everything in the van before walking up the hill to Place Ville Marie and Fedex.

It was one in the afternoon, since Fedex was closed I was back a half hour later and jumped in the driver's seat ready to head over to Point St. Charles. When I was about to back out of my spot I looked at the window of the sliding door and saw pieces of broken glass on the window "How could there still be broken glass around and how did it get over there?" I thought as it slowly dawned on me that the big, sliding window was GONE. I jumped out and ran around to the door side and sure enough! My window had been smashed and my guitar was gone! I assumed my camera and computer were gone as well as I ran up to get Dave to come and help me. Help me what? All he could do was wait patiently as I cursed and swore at the top of my lungs, alerting everyone in the neighborhood that I had been robbed. When I got back to the van I saw that my computer was still where I had left it but the thief had taken my camera, my guitar and the basket that lives between the seats full of gum and advil and so many various odds and ends.

I screamed and screamed until I could scream no more and then called BT Auto to see if they were open on Saturday and had another window for me. They told me to come on down, which was lucky because Monday is a holiday here and otherwise I wouldn't have a window until Tuesday. Dave came with me to the south shore and they fixed me up for $130. I'm putting up reward posters and tomorrow I'll start checking the pawn shops. It's not the first time I've been through this and I know it's not the end of the world but I am so sad right now and feeling so defeated, for the first time since I left Portland I feel strongly that I'm ready to go home. If only I knew where that is.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

More Montreal

I had a feeling Montréal was going to have some nasty grease. Click here if you have a strong stomach.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

BT auto repair

These guys fixed me up with a new triangle window for a mere $50 and even offered to let me have the entire door that it came from. I bought some coolant instead and just took their picture.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Place des Arts

I got John and Brook to come with me to see Rufus Wainwright at Place des Arts and enjoyed another fine and hilarious performance by the gay one. After a glass of wine under the florescent lights of the Salon Vert we all went to the Main for late night deli food and more sexy mood lighting. I had a half order of potato varenekes, coleslaw and a dill pickle while others were more adventurous and went all out with smoked meat poutine.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The longest drive

I left Brooklyn at 11 am to go back to Montréal. I noticed that the vaccum gauge for the vegetable oil was showing some restriction so I pulled over near Kingston and changed the fuel filter. All was fine for about 30 miles and then I saw that the coolant light was flashing and looking very hot. I pulled over at a gas station and sure enough, coolant was spraying out at the rear of the van. I was talking to Marc Amsden about what to do when I was approached by a friendly truck driver. He helped me to locate the leak, which was caused by the axel rubbing against one of the hoses. He offered to drive me to buy a new hose connector and some clamps which we found at a truck repair shop about 5 miles away. Of all the days that I needed my camera this was the one that it would not work. Fred, the truck driver, travels with his daughters Elizabeth and Gabby. They play video games from their bunks in the cab while traveling the country. The office at the repair shop was completely decorated in shades of purple and lavander, clearly designed by the office manager who was also dressed in those shades. I took some tootsie rolls from the jar on the counter for the girls.

Once we arrived back at my van Fred helped me to install the hose and fill up with coolant. once everything seemed normal I continued on my way, delayed by about 4 hours. Of course, by the time I arrived in Montréal I was ready to relax and drink a beer. I found Dave and Kevin listening to records and we sat up for a while. At three am I got my guitar and computer out of the van but forgot my wallet and my iPod. When I went to move the van at 7 am, this is what I found:

My wallet and iPod were gone.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Montreal, encore

Back in Montréal, we did laundry and ate dinner at Glen's sculpture garden on Van Horne. Sautéed fiddleheads with mushrooms and quinoa. I wish I took a picture but we were too hungry. I was driving Brenndan to work after dinner and the route I planned to take, down St. Hubert, was closed for the big bike tour so Brenndan had to get out and RUN about 20 blocks to get there on time. I got to sit in traffic and look for parking for about an hour. Don't you wish I had a picture of that too?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Marc Amsden, Conversion specialist.

After a week of trying to find a VW specialist to look at my clutch and transmission, in addition trying to find a vegetable oil conversion specialist to help me find the restriction in the fuel system, a friend of a friend gave me Marc Amsden's card. Marc worked for 21 years at the VW dealership in Verdun and now builds vegetable oil conversion systems. What luck! Not only that, he agreed to look at my car on his day off AND only charged $50 per hour for labor. THEN after we talked for a while he said "Are you Chantale Doyle, the cartoonist? I loved your zines." My new favorite mechanic. Wow.

If you need a kind, thorough professional to work on your car in Montréal contact autoeem at videotron dot ca

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Sunday, May 20, 2007


Ever since I arrived in Montréal I have been having a problem with my vegetable oil system. Thaddeus said that it sounds like there is a restriction in the fuel system and that I should try changing the fuel filter again. I have also been having problems shifting gears so I took it in to have the clutch looked at and the mechanic I saw said the problem is in the linkage system for the transmission. Today I changed the fuel filter at least and will have to drive it for a little while to see if that takes care of the first problem. As for the second problem, so far it's proven impossible to get in to see a VW specialist on short notice.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Poutine and Dangerous

On Saturday night I went to a show at SAT (Société des art Technologiques) where Peaches and Lesbians on Ecstasy were performing and I was frying up some samosas outside when Anni Lawrence stuck her head in the van and said hello. The last time I saw Anni was on a beach in Oaxaca, Mexico where we bumped into each other and spent a couple of days playing in the waves. Anyway, Anni and her twin sister, Kate hung out and fried samosas with me then went across the street and came back with a big, greasy Poutine. For those of you that don't get to eat a lot of French Canadian fast food, poutine is an order of greasy fries smothered in dark brown gravy and covered with cheese curds. Yes, cheese CURDS. It is packaged in an aluminum dish with a lid which allows the cheese curds to get all melty with the gravy. I don't know a single person in Montréal who has never woken after a night of binge drinking to find the empty poutine container nearby, taunting them with the memory of their debauchery. It's like a rite of passage.

Just after Anni returned with the poutine and a grilled cheese we all watched as a young man exited the show and just as Anni and Kate were whispering under their breath "No, no, don't come over here, no, keep walking.." our new friend, Dangerous climbed into the van and helped himself to some poutine.

So, we all had some poutine and samosas and then Dangerous stole this girl's silver baby and we all howled with laughter.

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Yes, this is really how people talk here.

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