Monthly Archives: October 2007

Metro party tonight

It’s a bit last-minute, but a metro party is being planned on Halloween night (tonight).

The plan is to get on the last car at the Côte-Vertu metro at 9pm, in costume, and rock on all the way to Montmorency, 48 minutes away. (Don’t worry, you can get back free as long as you don’t leave through the turnstiles.)

Those of you interested can check out the Facebook page.

And if you have no idea what a “metro party” is, check out my recap of the one that happened in March.

Don’t expect this one to be as popular though, since it’s organized last-minute and a lot of people (including me) will be busy doing other things.

UPDATE: Looks like it went pretty well, judging from this photo by Alex D:

Metro party

The sister party on the Toronto subway also seems to have been well-attended.

Let’s hope the next one will be soon.

UPDATE (Nov. 22): A video of the party.

TQS about to get even crappier


TQS, the least-favourite of Quebec’s three french-language TV networks, is cutting 40 jobs across the province to get costs under control. With about 600 employees, that represents about 7% of their workforce.

It’s the same old story: Mainstream media, stocked up on vice-presidents and lots of overhead for journalistic operations, respond to their escalating costs by cutting journalists. The quality drops significantly, people tune out, and the spiral continues.

In TQS’s case, the network was losing quite a bit of money (CP says $1.5 million loss on media operations, which also include Rhythme FM radio stations), and now its owner Cogeco (which is swimming in profits from cable operations, by the way) is trying to figure out what to do with the network by getting CIBC to do a “strategic review”

CTV News (CTVglobemedia owns 40% of TQS, Cogeco owns the other 60%) has speculated that “a decision could be made to sell TQS”.

Anyone want to buy?

More typos does not make better newspapers

Regret the Error’s Craig Silverman goes on an extended rant about the quality of mainstream media (mostly newspapers) now that their newsrooms have been slashed and journalists are overworked.

It’s a must-read for anyone in the newspaper business who thinks that firing editors and forcing extra work onto untrained journalists is the way to survive in this Internet world. People care about quality, they’re annoyed by typos and factual errors, and eventually there will be a tipping point (some argue we’re already well past it) where people will realize that newspapers aren’t worth their rising subscription fees.

BTK: Bertrand Targets Koivu

Guy Bertrand, the lovable lawyer and rabble-rouser, has finally shown his face in front of The Commission, and shown what a hero he is by clearing up once and for all what the greatest threat is to the French language and Québécois culture:

Saku Koivu: Menace to société

Saku Koivu.

You see, because the Finnish player who happens to be the captain of the Montreal Canadiens has trouble with his third language, he’s violating our rights by not allowing hockey fans to be served in French.

When Koivu is inevitably found guilty in a court of law for crimes against humanity, should we subject him to lethal injection, the electric chair or just force him to be a panelist on Tout le monde en parle?

UPDATE (Nov. 1): Gazette letter-writers come to their captain’s defence and let Bertrand have it. La Presse’s André Pratte points out that anglophones, not francophones, are in linguistic danger in Quebec, and François Gagnon has some good insight into the matter.

What’s in a university’s name?

McGill has a bug up its butt.

The university, whose name has apparently been left unprotected for almost 200 years, has begun clamping down on the use of the name “McGill” by organizations on campus. It started with CKUT, which was blackmailed into dropping “McGill” from its name last month. Now they’re reviewing all student-run groups, forcing them into mounds of paperwork to justify using the McGill name in theirs.

Concordia University has had a similar policy (PDF) since 2001, with one significant difference: Concordia’s policy grandfathered existing student groups, and as far as I can tell they don’t sweat the small stuff: Only for-profit enterprises and large groups bother with approval.

McGill’s move is just silly. Well-intentioned, but silly. A student club devoted to stamp-collecting at McGill is obviously going to call itself the McGill Stamp-Collecting Club or something similar, just for clarity’s sake. The name implies only that it is at McGill, not that it is run by McGill’s administration. Requiring such a complicated process as board approval will only create unnecessary work for volunteers and discourage students from creating social clubs on campus.

McGill says they’re “reviewing” the policy. Let’s hope they come up with some sane guidelines that have more to do with encouraging a vibrant and active student populace than it does with over-regulation and paperwork.

Josey Vogels leaves home

Josey Vogels I picked up a copy of Hour sitting on a metro seat the other day and noticed that I’d completely missed the fact that Josey Vogels has been replaced as their sex columnist.

Vogels’s final column (which took me about a half hour to find, thank you very much Hour’s horrible navigation system) points out that it’s been 13 years and 500 columns. Her career as a (professional) sex and relationships journalist began at Hour in 1994, after she was a Concordia student and Link editor.

To say that Vogels stopped her column (as is sort of implied) wouldn’t be exactly accurate. Vogels has lived in Toronto for many years now and her column is syndicated in newspapers across the country. My Messy Bedroom lives on in other “alternative” newspapers and on her website, while her tamer relationships-but-no-icky-sex column Dating Girl appears in many mainstream newspapers including The Gazette.

I can only theorize at the reason behind the change. I hope it was more a matter of wanting editorial renewal with a younger, fresher and more local face than it was about wanting to cut costs by slashing an expensive syndicated column.

Either way, she’s being replaced by Laura Roberts, Editor-in-Chief of local smut zine Black Heart Magazine and herself a former Link editor. How Roberts will do with the space is anyone’s guess. Her debut column focuses on herself, and how she’ll report on her boyfriends (an issue I have wondered about quite a bit myself thoughout the entire run of Sex and the City), and The Link has a brief interview with her.

One thing’s for sure: Roberts is now about as old as Vogels was when she started her column. And the replacement will mean a huge loss in experience, which hopefully will be mitigated by a big increase in enthusiasm.

Krispy Kreme forgot location, location, location

On Friday, Krispy Kreme closed its only location in Montreal, at Marché Central, giving its 50 employees only a few days’ notice that they would be losing their jobs.

While some herald the closing as a victory for healthy eating, and others are pointing out that it’s part of a larger restructuring, I think there’s a simpler explanation for the location’s failure:

It was built in the most pedestrial-unfriendly location for a store on the Island of Montreal.

Marché Central is one of the last great car malls in the centre of the city. Just above the Acadie Circle, the mall is barely accessible by public transit, has streets with no sidewalks, traffic lights with no provisions for pedestrians, and huge parking lots separating its buildings.

While this style works for Loblaws, Wal-Mart and Réno Dépôt, fresh Krispy Kreme is something that would appeal more to walk-in traffic downtown than a semi-suburban strip mall.

Open a location downtown, or at somewhere people walk a lot, and those donuts will sell like … hotcakes.

Those of you who want your fix can find Krispy Kreme locations at Carrefour Laval and on Auguste Ave. in Greenfield Park.

Go Sox!

Now that the impossible has happened for a second time in four years, perhaps it’s time to reflect on how some of the media down south are recognizing this momentous achievement on their websites:

The Boston Globe’s


The New York Post:

A-Rod (NYPost)

The New York Daily News:

A-Rod again (NY Daily News)


It’s also as good a time as any to delve into the vault and bring back this jewel of a fake ad from just after the 2004 series, which starts off asking Boston fans what they would give to have the Sox win it all. (Off the Comedy Network’s website since Comedy Central blocks Canadians now. If it doesn’t work, you can get it off YouTube here)

And if you’re the more sentimental type, Nike’s Red Sox Memories of Losing is here.

UPDATE: Never underestimate the Sox.

TWIM: Compost, sex shops and other things dirty

This week in the paper features a short story about people buying sexy Halloween costumes at sex shops instead of prefab Chinese plastic ones at Wal-Mart. After striking out at a few places (mostly because I stupidly tried researching this on a Sunday afternoon), I found a young lady at Il Bolero getting fitted for a costume. Surprisingly, she was very cooperative with my incessant questioning despite being half-naked standing on a small table. (Then again, considering the photos I’ve found of her on Facebook, I guess modesty isn’t an issue!)

Also this week is a Bluffer’s Guide on composting, which was prompted by the mayor’s request for $1 billion to create a curbside organic waste collection program (among other initiatives).

UPDATE (Oct. 30): The Globe and Mail, always one step ahead of the curve, discusses some girls who are bucking the trend by going less sexy and more fabric-y.

OMG they’ll outsource our students too!

Apparently realizing that there are no real issues in this school board election, Commission scolaire de Montréal candidate Michel Bédard has decided to invent a scandal. Bédard is running as an independent against incumbent Paul Trottier of the establishment party MEMO in Division 15, which is the area around the Gay Village in southeast downtown.

Bédard is complaining that the school board had Canada Post print some of its election material, and they did so in Toronto. Apparently this blatant outsourcing is taking jobs away from Montrealers willing to print flyers.



A small step for West Island bus service

About two and a half years ago, the STM introduced a new rush-hour bus route to the West Island. The 470 Express Pierrefonds was a strange beast, running limited-stop along the western half of Pierrefonds Blvd., then travelling up St. John’s Blvd. on regular-stop duty to Fairview. From there it would run non-stop straight to the Côte-Vertu metro station where most people would get off. The route ran, in both directions, during both rush hours.

The route turned out to be a big success, particularly for its non-stop shuttle service between Côte-Vertu and Fairview, which was the first of its kind. (The closest thing they had to it before then was the 216 Transcanadienne, which took the service road of Highway 40 and was designed to serve the industrial buildings in that corridor.)

But the bus was still rush-hour only, much to the annoyance of students, stay-at-home parents or anyone else without a car who wanted to do something during the day, at night or on the weekend. Some people (like me) have suggested over and over and over that the service be extended to become a regular 7-day route, just like the 211 Bord-du-Lac, which is non-stop between the Lionel-Groulx metro and Dorval train station, and then continues westbound to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. Because it’s so fast and frequent, it’s the most popular bus route serving the West Island.

Starting Monday, the STM will be taking the first (small) step in that direction. They’ve announced that the 470 will fill the gap between morning and afternoon rush-hours and run “all day” (see the schedule in PDF) on weekdays. (A similar announcement was made about the 194 Métrobus Rivière-des-Prairies on the other side of the island, just to make sure us anglos aren’t getting special treatment.)

That’s great news, unless you plan on staying downtown past 7 p.m. or want to go downtown on the weekend. And really, how many kids in the West Island would want to do that?

Another problem is with the schedule. About half the people who use the bus (based on my oh-so-scientific anecdotal guesstimation) use it solely for its metro shuttle part, and use another bus to get between home and Fairview. Most of those buses run every half hour on the half-hour, so they’re timed to arrive at the terminus and drop off their arriving passengers a few minutes before the half-hour mark.

Thing is, all but two of the eastbound departures from Fairview take place six minutes before the half-hour mark, about the same time as these buses are arriving. It’s a schedule that seems almost designed to make people miss connections from about a dozen different bus routes, and I can’t seem to find any reason why the schedule as a whole can’t be delayed by six minutes to make the transfers easier.

Hopefully these things will become very apparent to the STM very shortly after the additional service is launched on Monday.

Concordia Reports is back

Concordia Reports, the TV news show created by Concordia journalism students, has started its third season since the shows started being uploaded to YouTube.

Though it’s a low-budget show, its journalists are untrained and nobody involved is going to win any awards for smooth acting, the show provides a chance to watch some interesting stories about Concordia and Montreal.

The second episode of the season includes a story on CJLO, the Concordia student radio station that’s still, after a gabillion years, trying to get its transmitter setup to broadcast on AM. It also features a lengthy interview with Mike Boone (starting about the 12-minute mark) about

So far they have 32 shows uploaded, between 15 and 25 minutes in length.

DOA on permanent hiatus

Dominic Arpin is no more.

Despite promising in July, when he left journalism to create this new show Vlog, that his blog would continu despite the career change, he’s come to realize, only a month after the show’s launch, that he doesn’t have enough time to keep it updated and he’s calling it quits.

Put aside for a moment his broken promise, as well as how much these kinds of posts annoy me. I think it’s a mistake.

Arpin’s blog is one of the most popular in this city, perhaps second only to Patrick Lagacé, who mourns his friend’s passing. Other media outlets would kill for blogs with that kind of traffic (especially since most media have no idea what blogs are for or how to make money off of them).

Vlog, though promising, is entirely untested. It’s only been a month, and the show is still working to build an audience. (And their website is still unworkable, its developpers having ignored all of my suggestions to fix it.)

Here’s hoping that the Domster reconsiders, like so many other bloggers have before.