“So,”said my mother, breaking the silence as she gazed out the car’s passenger side window. “Do you ever see yourself moving back to Montreal?”

I hesitated. Good question. Since moving to Vancouver ten years ago to join the writing staff of Stargate SG-1, there have been times I’ve missed Montreal – particularly in those first few months when our new city felt like the loneliest place in the world. But, over the years, Vancouver has become home. Whether it’s our permanent home is the big question however. It’s pretty clear that, given the choice, my wife would move back to the city she grew up in, the city her family still calls home. My family as well. But, for the time being, Vancouver is where the opportunities lie.

However, if and when Stargate does come to an end, it’ll be decision time. Montreal or Vancouver? Old home or new? When the time does come, there will be many variables to consider:

OPPORTUNITIES

We moved to Vancouver because I was offered a fantastic opportunity that blossomed into something far greater than I could have ever imagined. When my writing partner Paul and I joined SG-1 in its fourth season, it was with the understanding that the show would wrap production after it’s fifth season. In other words, I imagined that my stay in Vancouver would last two years, tops. Ten years and many, many scripts and episodes later, I’m still here and looking forward to the possibility of several more years with the launch of Stargate: Universe. If and when Stargate does come to an end, the west coast should continue to be my home – provided I was still interested in continuing my present line of work. Vancouver plays host to a multitude of productions and yet, even if the local opportunities dried up, L.A. is only a short flight away.

Montreal has taken giant steps in recent years but still, it’s a quagmire of Canadian-French-German co-productions, those three-headed monsters that end up turning into creative battlegrounds for all the different players who will want completely different, often contradictory things. It‘s a struggle of endless compromises that almost always results in an unwatchable pastiche. No thanks.

EDGE: Vancouver.

SUPPORT SYSTEM

This one’s a tough one. I have my mother, sister, and a handful of friends in Montreal while my wife’s entire family is here as well. On the other hand, we have many more friends in Vancouver.

If my wife was calling this one, she’d go with Montreal in a heartbeat. If it was up to me, I‘d give the edge to Vancouver because of the many close friends I‘ve made their over the years.

EDGE: Tie.

THE RESTAURANT SCENE

As someone who really enjoys food, I place a lot of importance on this particular metropolitan aspect. In fact, one of the things that worried me most about our move to Vancouver ten years ago was not so much how we would adjust to our new environment but whether the restaurants would be any good. Oh, how my fears were misguided. The thriving Asian and Indian populations in Vancouver ensure some of the best Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Indian restaurants in North Amerida. Throw in a general emphasis on seafood, locally grown product, and some incredibly innovative chefs, and you have a food scene that’s very hard to beat.

Montreal, on the other hand, offers some of the best French cuisine outside of France. From rustic down home to haute cuisine, they’re tough to beat in this respect – but in all other facets, I’m afraid they’re very beatable. Back when I was living in the city’s West Island, there was a high-end sushi restaurant I used to frequent regularly. On my first return visit to Montreal after the big move, I went back for dinner. After a year of eating Vancouver-quality sushi, I could barely bring myself to finish Montreal’s version.

Oh, and for the record, Vancouver has some pretty damn fine French restaurants of its own.

EDGE: Vancouver.

NIGHTLIFE

Not really a factor as my hard-partying days are behind me, but there’s an undeniable sexiness about Montreal, and a lot of it has to do with the city’s after-hour transformation into a vibrant, carefree party central for young and old, chic and casual, English and French. The city is alive 24/7.

By comparison, Vancouver turns into a ghost town after 11:00 p.m. on most weekdays. As for the weekends – sure, it has it’s share of clubs, but with the city’s growing organized crime problem, a little gangsters can go a long way toward putting a damper on a night out.

EDGE: Montreal.

TRAFFIC

Montreal drivers are the most aggressive in the country while the city’s streets and highways are perennially pockmarked with potholes or undergoing some sort of construction. Still – and despite the occasional traffic – it’s a fairly easy city to negotiate.

Vancouver is a burgeoning city that likes to pretend it’s a small town. As a result, the city is poorly designed to accommodate vehicle traffic. Some improvement has been made in recent years as the city scrambles to meet the challenges of the 2010 Olympics, but for the most part, its one step forward, two steps back. In a bid to appear progressive, the city is shutting down one lane of a major bridge into the downtown area and dedicating it to cycling traffic only. The thinking is that fewer driving lanes will translate to fewer cars on the road and, thus, prove an environmentally-friendly decision. Of course the truth is that fewer lanes will simply means more gridlock which will mean more idling engines and exhaust – but, the idiots at city hall are too busy feeling good about themselves to see the obvious.

EDGE: Montreal.

POLITICS

This one is neck and neck. At the city level, Vancouver is run by a bunch of deluded Greenatics who figure they can single-handedly legislate away the planet’s environmental problems. It’ll be interesting to see how their little “Burrard Street Bridge Cycling Lane” experiment pans out. I predict it won’t last past August.

Montreal, on the other hand, is a whole mess of other crazy where anxiety-ridden French nationalists feel provoked by English signage and a Language Inspector makes the rounds, investigating reports of shopkeepers serving customers in English or non-French speaking pet shop parrots. No, really.

EDGE: Tie.

WEATHER

Montreal is unbearably hot in the summer and deathly cold in the winter. Vancouver, meanwhile, boasts a short but beautiful summer and a rainy season that pretty much stretches from September to April. In my book, however, rain beats the deep freeze.

EDGE: Vancouver.

DOG FRIENDLINESS

As a multiple dog owner, this one is very important. And it isn’t even close. With its many doggy daycares, hotels and kennels, dog parks, pet stores, and dog-themed events, Vancouver is one of the pet-friendliest city’s anywhere. Montreal, while not exactly dog-unfriendly, can’t offer the same wide-open parks and walking trails for those sunny afternoon strolls with the pooch. Also, their antiquated moving day policy in which most rental leases expire on the exact same day – July 1st – ensure that hundreds of animals are abandoned by owners in their mad scramble to locate a pet-friendly residence. Pretty shameful.

EDGE: Vancouver.

SHOPPING

Pretty even across most retail areas except one: men’s fashion. Vancouver is great if you’re a guy who enjoys dressing in an endless variety of shorts and t-shirts. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something a little more dressy and you’d like to look beyond the standard offerings of Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew, then hop on a plane and head to Montreal where you’re guaranteed an impressive array of suits, ties, shoes, and endless accoutrements.

Edge: Montreal.

PROPERTY OWNERSHIP

Vancouver is a very expensive city to live in. Property prices are sky high and even the nicest of homes don’t guarantee you much in the way of a back yard. Montreal home prices, though having risen over the past few years, are downright cheap in comparison and you‘re guaranteed a nice piece of land. As for the homes themselves – I’m at a loss as to why so few Vancouver builders make use of stone in home construction.

EDGE: Montreal.

So, what’s the final tally? Vancouver 4. Montreal 4. And 2 ties. Hmmm. Looks like it’ll be a tough decision when the time comes.

Hey, finish up Blood of Ambrose and start putting together your thoughts for the discussion – and questions for author James Enge. We kick things off tomorrow.

Today’s entry is dedicated to Shirt ’n Tie and all those fellow travelers out there.

63 thoughts on “July 5, 2009: Montreal vs. Vancouver

  1. Decisions, decisions…

    Either strive to become a man of means and establish fine homes in both cities… Or, split the difference and everyone to damned and move to Brandon!

    Of course, what with the Olympics coming up, you could always sublet the Vancouver place to some ritzy sports nut for a couple of weeks while you vacation at your Mom’s long enough for her to be glad that you *don’t* live near her!

    Oh, BTW, T-CON in Toronto is on this coming weekend [Hewlett is there] or instead, pop on down to the Baltimore area for Shoreleave where a whole slew of SciFi Writers will be hangout – oh, and Rachel, Jason, and The Robert!

  2. You never know, maybe the time will never come and we’ll all die from swine flu before it becomes an issue for you. I here its avoiding the very old and the very young in a bid to be different and stand out from its other flu-like friends and targetting the 20-40 age bracket (not unlike tv most tv shows nowadays) If it does come down to it though, and Stargate ends before the world does, have you given any thought to Winnipeg?

  3. Doesn’t sound like a real tie to me. The dog, restaurant, and weather questions should be double weighted. While the clothing issue may be annoying, there are other venues to ensure you have fashion model clothing available. Of course, the spouce’s wishes also carries some weight. The good news is that you most likely have some time to make your decision. And as a further plus, living in Vancouver means that when you do head back to Montreal to visit, you get the royal guest treatment. A few months back in town and the family begins to take you for granted again.

  4. AUGUST!!!! You are being way too generous. That bike lane on the burrard st. bridge, if it even happens, won’t last a week!! I bet you that it will be re-opened to vehicle traffic on July 20th.

    I agree that vancouver nightlife is horrible. For me living out in Surrey, I have to worry about cutting the night short to catch public transit back home. Ontop of worrying about getting shot/stabbed, aswell as waiting in extremely long lines in the rain. Im only 23 and I haven’t been to a club in 2 years, its that bad!

  5. I agree with Thornyrose. You need different weightings based on how important they are in your life.

    Sounds like your Mum misses you.

    Family and a few friends would be the only things I would miss.

    My Husband and I have had a similar list going for the past year. The dogs and weather trump everything else. And we find that the dogs and weather are not mutually exclusive. Better weather means happier dogs. Sure, we’re on a big block here, but in the Winter it’s of no use. And if we’re on fire, also of no use.

    Our local council wants to have the power to go into each dog owner’s backyard to check our dog’s registration. Go ahead Mr Sheriff. But when one of my dogs eats your leg because you’re in his backyard when Mum and Dad aren’t home are you going to demand my dog get put down? I shudder at the complete lack of thought that goes into some of our council decisions. Make that all of our council decisions.

    DemonHunter – Living in Swine Flu capital here. And yet Codral and other such Cold and Flu tablet pushers are still advertising to use their product so you can get to work. Um, isn’t our Government telling us to do the exact opposite?

  6. It can be hard to live away from family, and I sympathize with Fondy (and you as well) in that respect. Still, as you said, the actual decision crunch might not arise for several more years. Or longer, who knows.

    I wish you both the best of luck in making choices that will lead to the best possible outcomes. You read about North Americans being spoiled for options, but my friends from college and I don’t really feel that way — something about being raised to think you could have just about everything you fancied, but finding that very few can attain that, and some things turn out to be illusory in any case.

    Geez. I should go read a chunk of Calvin & Hobbes, or maybe think some more about the wish-fulfillment octopus (and how to stay away from it).

  7. Sounds like it’s Vancouver for you from where I’m sitting 🙂 Still, it has to be tough on your mom having you live so far away. From a mother’s point of view, I can tell you it’s really tough having one of your children not being close by. We deal with it but we don’t like it 🙂 I’ve also been on the other end of this one, having moved from Guatemala to the US 30+ years ago, and I can understand Fondy being ready to move back to Montreal. You stay where you can work, I suppose, but maybe try to visit MORE OFTEN! On that note, my daughter and her husband will be here in a week, and the two weeks she’ll be here will be too short, no doubt. Enjoy your family and the rest of your trip – I’m sure your dogs are missing you like crazy!

    Wait, I do have a question. I was watching SG1 and Atlantis today (still feeling a bit under the weather) and really couldn’t help but notice the bad wigs (specifically Ronen and Sam Carter). Why? When everything else looks so cool, a bad wig can really put a damper on a scene. Oh, and there’s “The Seer”, with that combover/wig disaster. What gives?

  8. >I’m at a loss as to why so few Vancouver builders make use
    >of stone in home construction.

    Good old West Coast earthquakes, maybe? Unreinforced masonry buildings including stone are especially susceptible to earthquake damage. Although I suppose they could be reinforced.

    Of course, this raises another question: Do earthquakes (or the possibility of earthquakes) count in the “weather” category?

    – KB
    Happily living in quaky California

  9. When the time for change comes, you will be lucky to have so many options to consider and weigh against each other. But more than likely, you will go were the next job leads you and make another wonderful home with whatever surrounds you. Your next move may be the best one yet. Just keep reserving some vacation time for going home to family – no matter where you end up.

  10. Hmm, just remembered: Hubs has a cousin in Burnaby. She loves Vancouver, though is also concerned about rising crime. She’s single, 40-ish, no pets, outdoorsy rather than club-scene type, still loves being fairly close to the city since she teaches at UBC. She hated Toronto winters (tame compared to Montreal’s, I know, but just for comparison’s sake) and is staying put for the foreseeable future, crime and the Olympics – is that redundant? – notwithstanding. She really loves the West Coast informality.

    I have an acquaintance in a suburb of Montreal. (We met while skiing in Vermont.) She’s married with one or two dogs; they live within a good visiting distance of both families. They enjoy clubbing occasionally, tolerate the winters and the roads (but also love skiing; obviously that changes one’s outlook), and are not foodies in particular. Her French is limited, but she’s a big advocate for Montreal and its gallic flavor, no matter what goes on with the quebecois/anglo culture clash.

    All interesting perspectives, yours and theirs.

  11. Only now your mother asks if you’ll move back? My brother-in-law got that question at least once a week for thirty years.

    Will the dogs do a Q&A?

  12. Mr M. I don’t see you moving back to Montreal any time soon. If you are still in the TV/Movie industry. Even Toronto is fading as a production center. The fates have decree that most of the TV production be around Vancouver until further notice.

    For a short period, several US states try match the cost of production in BC. Alas with the current economic situation. That will not happen any time soon. You actually might see more production exodus from Hollywood to BC. People putting up the production money will find the business environment in BC much more friendlier than somewhere in the US. Think a lot US states got budget shortfalls for next few years. So much for the tax credits for the Entertainment industry.

    As for urban cycling. There should be no place for them in a major city. There is nothing more maddening than one sole cyclist causing traffic bottleneck on a multi-lane street at rush hour. Never mind the kamikaze bike couriers not obey any rules of the road. It’s more likely you get run down by a cyclist than a car.

  13. Hi Joe,

    Seriously? SG-1 was supposed to wrap after Season 5? Now I’m curious! What was the vision for that final season and was it intended that the goa’uld storyline would be wrapped up by then? Was there any thought given to post-series movies at that time or did that concept only come along later? I’d love to hear what the original plan was for that season and how things were adjusted as the circumstances changed. Care to reminisce?

    Thanks!

    SBS

  14. “I’m at a loss as to why so few Vancouver builders make use of stone in home construction.”

    sorrykb – said it perfectly…earthquakes. BC building codes (basically based on Calif) don’t allow for stone or brick construction.

    Not that you or Fondy need it, but how about Medical care/facilities?

  15. Fascinating comparison between two very different cities, Joe. I’m curious how your colleagues who’ve moved to Vancouver for work might complete the same assessment of Vancouver versus their hometown(s). It would also be interesting to read Martin Gero’s take on Vancouver versus NYC.

  16. Happy Belated 4th of July to all the Americans here.

    I spent the fourth (even though I’m Canadian) in Point Roberts, Washington. Where myself and many members of “The Greater Vancouver Stargate Meetup Group”, pretty much acted as David Hewlett’s escort for the Point Roberts annual 4th Of July parade. Had a blast. Carryed the Grand Marshall banner (that was David).

    Have to say he is one of the funniest and sweetest guys I have met in a while. Also got to meet his lovely wife Jane and adorable son Baz (who were dressed as Weir and Rodney (respectfully) for the parade. David was John Sheppard, though he regretted wearing all black).

  17. Hello Joe, (this e-mail is FYI re: your post)

    I did not know you were originally from Montreal! I’m happy to hear that someone from here is actually making it in the film industry somewhere else outside of the province!

    In regards to the film industry in Montreal, I don’t feel
    ( although I’m not a specialist in the subject) that there is much interesting work being made here apart from the occasional American film production using Montreal as a background for filming !

    I agree that the film productions’ quality has improved in the past few years, but still not equal what is being made outside of the province. I do believe that in the Canadian film industry, at least for now, the greatest opportunities lies outside of Quebec.

    Someone in the film industry in Toronto asked me my opinion on this subject matter last week. Despite the fact that I felt passionate about my beliefs, I couldn’t avoid being looked at like someone who did not know what she was talking about. Rest assure that I have no intention to quote you in any way, but after reading your comment, I feel better about that conversation that left me quite uncomfortable.

    In regard to the entire comment you wrote “Montreal, on the other hand, is a whole mess of other crazy where anxiety-ridden French nationalists feel provoked (…) pet shop parrots.”

    I don’t know if your family filled you in on an event that occurred a few weeks ago, which seems to be related to the Language inspector you are talking about. If these two incident are related (hum!!!!!), I believe that the term “anxiety-ridden French nationalists” is a very “Zen “and tame down word!

    A few weeks ago, a French Canadian radio show host (can’t remember the station) got really mad “ON AIR” (of course, he did it on the air) about an experience he had in well-known restaurant located in the west side of Montreal. He claimed that his waiter was very arrogant with him and refused to serve him in French.

    So while on the radio, he called several influential people in In Montreal city hall ( and other language organisations) and discussed with them the situation he felt victim of, and asked them to comment on the situation. This subject was treated for about an hour where he named, at several occasions, the restaurant “on air”.

    Now, the interesting thing is that I’ve gone to that restaurant a few times in the time period preceding his incident, and have always been served in French. So instead of addressing his situation with the manager, he decided that it was more appropriate to address it on the air. I (so) wouldn’t be surprised that this incident has something to do with the language inspector!

  18. Hey Joe,

    In case you didn’t check today – it was very warm here in Vancouver, albeit a bit overcast. Kind of muggy really. But at least it’s not raining 😀

    I may be a bit biased, but I love Vancouver. Granted my only exposure to Montreal was an 8 hour layover, all of which I spent in the airport, but still….

    As to the rock in building: when we reno’d our place several years ago, we did use some river rock in the construction (it looks really nice with the shingles), but it’s also really expensive to try and do a lot with it – I would guess even moreso in the current climate…

    Hope you’re enjoying your vacation!
    Nadine

    P.S. Speaking as someone who will be driving over the Burrard Bridge daily until august 14 (I start another summer class at UBC tomorrow), I am feeling altogether uncharitable towards the morons on the council who made the decision for the bike lanes…

  19. I can’t argue on home construction, because I’d rather have bricks and mortar any day.
    There are however two things to look at.
    One of these you’ve all ready touched on, the other you missed.
    Going forward and not backwards. What I mean is, a couple of times in my life I have moved back to my home town of Sheffield, and it’s certainly a long time since I opened my curtains to find Bob Carlyle shooting some film right outside – but it is no longer home.
    I visit, I have drinks with my friends and see my family, but they have little or no true concept of my life and other than catching up with all my old friends on a night out in a pub or restaurant, there is little.
    In this respect, I’m going to assume you have quite a few ‘non-industry’ friends in Montreal, and every time you talk about your time at SG, it’s going to sound like you ‘name drop’ all the time.
    So no, you move onwards, upwards and forwards. When you go back, it’ll always be just that bit more special than the last.
    And besides, you doing what you do and the locations you may end up doing them – is exactly what fuels the interest, excitement and imagination of your family – and indeed, there friends also.
    If anything, returning home for me, slowed the progress of my life down.

    Now, back to that point you slightly touched on;
    English or Fr**ch…. Sorry mate, no contest.

  20. Hey Joe,

    I think you are lucky. When SGU is done and you are truly at the point of “decision” it really is a blessing for you. Our work often dictates where we live and most don’t have a choice when its over.

    My family is spread over 4 different states. We will never all be together again. But, when I am done, I will go to my mother.

    I must say though, Canada sounds so wonderful. You make everything seem special. Thank you for a view of Montreal and Vancouver. It was a nice tour.

    Best,
    Cheryl

  21. Bonjour Joseph!

    Waoua combat de titan!! Moi je ne peut pas vous dire car je ne suis jamais aller dans aucune de ces 2 ville mais rien que grâçe à son histoire stargate je choisie Vancouver^^!

    Bisou bisou
    A plus tard.

  22. Hiya Joe!
    Just reading your comparisons of Vancouver to Montreal. I have to say that Vancouver sounds very much like Melbourne,
    Melbourne has great restaurants, great opportunities, crappy traffic, crappy nightlife and is expensive to live in.
    However, we have so much in common with Montreal too. Like our weather. I wish it would rain more here. Its hot in the summer and has the ability to chill you to the bone in winter!
    As for the rest…it’s the same everywhere. I’m not a fan of politics or shopping so either way it wouldn’t matter.
    So Joe…any news on when the Stargate movies might get started?? Please don’t shoot me…the kids are driving me nuts on when the movies will be out. School holiday boredom…need any helpers over there?? 😛
    Cheers. 🙂

  23. Wow, you’ve really analysed every side of this haven’t you? Well perhaps there are some you have forgotten.

    Which one has the better ice cream?
    Who has the better morning radio show?
    Which city has the most stolen cars?
    Who has the best football team?
    Which one has the best cafes?
    Which one has the most weird food?
    Which city has the best public library?
    Who has the best floral & faunal emblems?
    Who has the best Internet connection?
    Which city has the most Tai Chi classes?

    Just to name a few…….

    So, I’ve always wondered as a writer, does it really matter where you live? Can’t you write remotely and travel as required?

    Cheers, Chev

  24. Decisions decisions eh? I’m not looking forward to my son and his Fiancee emigrating to Australia, but its their lives and there’s f*** all for them in Blighty. They have asked me to consider going as well when they’re settled but I’ll be torn between wanting to be closer to them and the prospect of leaving my mum and possibly the others behind. Not counting my chickens tho, tomorrow is a whole new ball game.
    Enjoy your visit Joe, we’re all looking forward to a revisit of the WFPOTD!

  25. Joe, I agree with the people that suggest you need to give more weight to the important questions like dogs and weather. But don’t stress on it too much now – just file the questions away and re-evaluate them when the time comes.

    @Narelle: So the cold medicine manufacturers are advising people to take their meds and go to work? Bad idea. We already made it through the worst of the Swine Flu outbreak here in the Central U.S. There are still a few cases here and there.
    One of the things we learned is that the Swine Flu is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS. It did not cause severe illness here, just regular influenza symptoms, but regular influenza can still be a very nasty infection. The other odd thing about the Swine Flu was that it caused infection in young people – the average age being 15 – instead of affecting the older population. Anyway, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere and have influenza symptoms – STAY HOME! The recommendation is to stay home for 5 to 7 days so you are completely over the virus and won’t infect anyone else.
    And I do know what I’m talking about since I was part of my hospital’s Swine Flu task force. The best part was when the helicopters and military vans came to protect the Tamiflu when it was delivered to us in the dead of night. It was part of the “national stockpile” and so was distributed complete with military escort.

    O.K, I’ve made my public service announcement.

    Anyway, I’ve read “Blood of Ambrose” and I even found the book again (it wandered off and hid on an obscure shelf of the bookcase in my bedroom). Bring on the discussion!

  26. Sometimes that moving can be stressful.(stressed,,desserts spelled backwards)hmmm.always the food,yum.. Tough choices,maybe best not to worry until the time comes. Will give you gray hair, so I hear. Good idea to pro/con things, when choices arise, like which entree,,. as you can tell I am probably no help to you whatsoever when it comes to final answer. Flip a coin,,visit a seer,medium, whatever they call it. Just so you continue the blog, it is a fun place to come and read your inciteful thoughts on stuff. and I love the doggie pictures and their mis/adventures, and you can always ask our opinions and I am sure 99.9% of the time, we will all have one to share with you as well. And we stand behind you in wherever you go, even if its just to the kitchen. so I guess I am done with this entry, have a great day! 😀

  27. A couple of questions for you….

    Has Felix ever met your dogs?

    Do you ever cook for your Mom or does no-one else cook in her kitchen?

    Cheers, Chev

  28. Stuck next to a talker on the plane? Gah. I hate that, poor you. There really is no escape.

    Tough call on the where to live debate, although the climate in Vancouver would win it for me. I despise the cold, bad, bad Canadian.

    Production meeting time, have a great visit in Montreal! Don’t forget to stop at St. Viateur for some of those bagels. mmmm

  29. ChelleDeBoer – I love Melbourne too, but then I’ve never lived anywhere else. I’ve frequently heard people describe Vancouver as a lot like Melbourne. I like that we have a lot of sport and I don’t think it’s so expensive – especially if you compare to Sydney.

    Cheers, Chev

  30. Ummmmm…… was gonna say you’re up early then I checked timeanddate.com. I guess not! Good morning.

    Can you please make a weird food purchase today?

    Cheers, chev

  31. One thing you might not have considered is a subject my hubby/I have been dealing with: The health of our parents. My husband’s family moved four hours away-west from us. I moved three hours away-east from my family.

    We do a lot of driving because of our parents’ ill-health/death. Almost every weekend, we drive for 3-4 hours to visit my recently widowed mother or his lung cancer stricken mother (smoking should be outlawed). Sometimes we split up and cover them both for the same weekend.

    If your mom and your wife’s parents are feeling fine, you still have a choice. Your description of job opportunities sound iffy where you mom lives.

    Jobs are scare near my mom and I would be driven slowly insane from my relatives (a consideration for you?). Don’t answer that, they probably read your blog 😀 .

    His mom lives in a retirement company and my hubby can’t transfer his job there. For the moment, his mother refuses to move here.

    Once both our parents are gone, we’ve decided to go far, far away from our crazy siblings (their self inflicted, drama disasters of a life) and live happily ever after.

    Good luck with your decision. Chevron: great additional questions! 😀 I would add: Do the they have a YMCA/gym w/pool available?

    Tam

  32. In the end, when you are old, you may want to have family around you. Play in other places while you are young, but return to your roots for comfort and security.

  33. Poop. I miss the old smilies.

    TEST:

    😈
    .
    😀
    .
    😆
    .
    😉
    .
    🙂
    .
    🙁
    .
    😡
    .
    😛
    .
    😯

    das

  34. Test 2:

    😕
    .
    😮
    .
    😐
    .
    😳
    .
    :mrgreen:

    Let’s see how those look…or if they show up.

    das

  35. Okay – so ‘twisted’ no longer looks evil. *pouts*

    Can hardly see the blushy cheeks on ‘oops’.

    ‘eek’ and ‘shock’ are the same now.

    ‘lol’ doesn’t seem to be animated any longer.

    ‘sad’ doesn’t look to sad…more melancholy, if anything.

    Let’s see if there’s a ‘cry’ – 😥 and an ‘evil’ 👿

    das

  36. Ahhh c’est un grand jour pour mon blog!!! J’ai atteind les 200000 coms!!!!!
    C’est trés rare et encore plus que ça soit un blog sur stargate. Vraiment trés fiére de ce que j’ai fait. Et je remercie toutes les personnes qui sont passer sur mon blog =)!

    Le voici:

    http://atlantisfannew1.skyrock.com/

  37. That is a tough decision. I moved from Belgium to the US in 1996 and would love to go back there, but only temporarily. But since we’ve moved from Virginia to Indiana to be closer to the in-laws, 2 young kids in tow, I don’t really see us taking any opportunity to live in Belgium, even if it’s just for a year or two. I don’t think my husband would be very excited at the idea!
    And I can relate to the politics of language. That is one of the biggest reasons I couldn’t live in Belgium again. The stupidity of selling property lots to people who speak one language and not the other, of changing the colors of traffic signals to show you’re in *that* part of the country, of forbidding people to show ads in the other language, etc. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I hated it when I lived there and from what I understand, it’s only gotten worse. I guess that’s politicians for ya.
    But if it will be a few more years before you would be faced with that decision, your thinking might change again. Close friends move away, the job market can change, your personal life can become drastically different… In the meantime, I second another poster’s comment: if you can, go back more often.
    A few years ago, I never would have considered moving to Indiana. I loved Virginia (DC area) too much to leave. But then we had kids, my mother passed away, my job required too many hours at the office, and all of a sudden, I felt very alone. As time passes by, I think moving closer to family (my husband’s in this case) was one of the best decisions we ever made.
    Moving like that is very often a very difficult decision. Whichever you decide, I hope it works out for you and that you don’t regret it.

  38. It;s always good to go back to your Roots visit Family and friends Check out the old Hood…

  39. There are two possible solutions to the “where to live” conundrum. You could produce a small project in Montreal to test the waters. Somewhere between the sultriness of Montreal’s “Bliss” and Vancouver’s “SG-1” there might be a project to work on there. If the project is fun it could inspire you to move back in the future. Might be fun to exec produce a half-hour show or short run series like Mad Men. More work for you but could be fun.

    And the other solution is traveling home a lot more, buying a place in Montreal and really being bi-coastal. Downside to that is instead of vacation in Japan and Europe it’s vacation in Montreal. But that way you can see if any old issues come up that make you guys say hm, Vancouver is better.

    I know Dead Zone did a season in Montreal before USA pulled the plug, it’s too bad, the Montreal setting looked amazing. Canada has awesome TV, I’m loving Flashpoint and still waiting for season 4 of ReGenesis.

  40. Tammy, you are a brave girl. I hope you get to move away from the sibling drama someday. Me on the otherhand, I am apparently “the Mediator,” tasked with passing msgs among non-speaking sibs, and attending every family event to create a “buffer zone” between warring parties. I’m getting tired of it too. Fiji is looking pretty good right now 😉

  41. sorrykb & paloosa are on the right track with stone being fairly incompatible with earthquake-safe building codes, but just to elaborate:

    Although there are many similarities, BC gets infrequent huge earthquakes (subduction zone) as opposed to California’s more frequent smaller earthquakes (transverse zone). California has had several magnitude 4 and 5 earthquakes, a few magnitude 6 earthquakes (SF and LA) within my lifetime. BC is sitting on a triple-junction with potential magnitude 7, 8, and even 9 (a megaquake) on about a 300-500 year return period. The last massive earthquake was in 1700: that means we’re within the return period and expecting another massive one sometime in the next two centuries. Yup, it might not happen, but when it does, it’ll be devastating. The most stringent earthquake-safe building codes in the world are Japan, California, and British Columbia. All are similar, but BC’s codes are modified for infrequent but high-intensity events.

    You will rarely find soft-stories in the newer buildings of earthquake regions (hollowed-out garages on the first floor that tend to collapse in earthquakes), and buildings tend to either all be the same height or have a lot of distance between them (so they don’t bend at different frequencies and smack into each other). If you look at the older brick buildings in San Francisco, you can see these huge iron nut-and-bolts sticking out the sides where they have literally riveted the buildings together as earthquake reinforcement. Even so, the reinforcement will merely keep the building upright: it won’t keep chunks of stone or brick from falling on anyone below (like during the 6.8 in Nisqually, WA, 2001), so during an earthquake the rock falling off could squish a poor little pooch. …if you’re now wondering about all the glass in the downtown core & how dangerous it’d be to have that raining down during a quake, the windows are designed for the glass to break inwards.

    Earthquakes don’t kill people. Buildings collapsing on people during earthquakes kill people. Earthquake-triggered landslides, tsunamis, & fire also kill people, but that’s a slightly different problem.

    For more on our local geologic hazards, check out the GSC’s Geomap Vancouver site: http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/urbgeo/geomapvan/geomap8_e.php

  42. Boy, your mom asks a simple question and it turns into a day long heartfelt inner personal debate. Reminds me of a Fraiser episode where someone asked him if he was happy. He spent days contemplating until coming back with the answer…yes. The person who asked was like, “what?”. They couldn’t even remember asking him that. Pretty funny.

  43. ChelleDeBoer and Chevron7 – I’d also heard the comparisons to Melbourne, especially the culture. Even hearing the threats of violence on the streets at night makes it sound like we’d fit right on in. 😐

    sparrow_hawk – I’m surrounded by sick people at the moment! Usually I’m the sick one in this cold. The heat of Singapore that month ago did wonders to build up some kind of immune system. I’m not meant to live in a cold place 🙁

    Our central heating conked out this morning because, yes, it was too cold! Our split system had frozen over! What’s the point of heating if it stops when it’s too cold?

  44. Mr. Mallozzi,

    Have you seen “Children of the Gods: Final Cut”? If so, got any comments to share?

  45. You ever consider settling in Los Angeles? Seems it would be an endless source of opportunities (just hafta survive a bunch of traffic jams, crazy people, heat waves, weird weather, et cetera). Or do you want to avoid the US of A?

    Hope everyone’s weekend celebrations were swell!

  46. Wow, it’s really been 10 years since you moved to Vancouver? I swear it doesn’t seem that long ago…

    -Bianca

  47. When my late parents were ill, two hours’ drive to their home was about 1.5 hours too far. You’ll want to keep that in mind as years go on.

    BTW, I sent a link for this post to Peter Williams, who’s currently away from YVR.

  48. OMG! You caused a diarrheal outpouring of words when I sent my friend a link to your column. I got to live in Vancouver for 4 years and met her then. I have only faint knowledge of what she is talking about, but I bet you know all of it…she is about your age. (If you get to the bottom, Paco is her landlord on Commercial Drive, who has no idea what rents should be.)

    “Oh, God. The call to go home :::sigh:::.

    Lemme tell you a little story (bear with me). This is what I’d say to
    Mr. Mallozzi:

    Let me see if I can’t get you to side a bit more on Montreal.

    Me? Born and raised mostly in Montreal (well, Pierrefonds – which is
    *not* Montreal unless you consider Fairview Shopping Centre a good
    substitute for St-Cathrine street and, boy, it’s not). Left, came back,
    left after university to move to Paris, came back, left for the Least
    Likely American Place I Would Ever Consider Visiting So May As Well Take
    A Risk And Live There With My US Student Work Visa (A.K.A Anchorage, AK
    – home to two gay bars and my devastating discovery that gay men
    sometimes wore :::gah::: acrylic jacquard sweaters in neon colours. Lord
    help me, I’m such a fruit fly), came to Vancouver in the early/mid ’90s,
    went back because I just couldn’t get started in this burg, left again
    for Vancouver for good (?) Dec. 14th, 2001 since the Expos were going to
    be sold and leave and if *they* were going, I was damned well leaving
    before them (and my parent died so that had something to do with it).

    What do I miss?

    I miss my Frenglais that everyone accepted without a ‘huh’ shrug (“I’m
    going down to the dep. Need any poivrons or ciboullette for dinner? I’ll
    see how the fraise are for dessert”). I miss the city not falling
    completely into a panic when 5cm of snow falls and the crispness of the
    winter air (but not the hydro bills that would amount to an extra $125 a
    month over a year in my last place). I miss being close to Europe and
    New York and Toronto (yup. True!) and Boston and the Timberland and Ben
    & Jerry’s outlet stores in Burlington, VT.

    I miss how people dressed so casually sexy and I miss how horrified I
    would have felt about the way I now dress like a complete shlub. I miss
    how women would just not wear running shoes or sneakers and think they
    were ready to go out even for coffee. I miss miss miss sidewalk café
    life where I’d go and sit to read my home-delivered New York Times (and
    Boston Sunday Globe) and just watch people walk past and you’d always
    bump into people you’d know because it was too humid and hot to stay in
    the apartment.

    I miss walking *everywhere*, jaywalking be damned (not that the flics
    would care, anyway), and always having interesting things to see on the
    way. I miss St-Léonard and Anjou AngloSpeak. I miss going to that crappy
    concrete toilet bowl of a parc to watch my Expos get slaughtered and the
    fans yell in French and there’d be the stupid Guess Jeans contest during
    the home stretch where the entire purpose was to give a pair away to the
    girl in the stands caught on the jumbotron who’d bounce and dance with
    the most, um, gusto.

    I miss going to a bar (not a nightclub or some fancy-schmancy place you
    have to change out of your dailywear for), watching my friends have a
    pitcher of beer and the end means wasn’t to get drunk (I’d stick with
    Pepsi or RC Cola). I miss picking out the newly arrived American
    students who’d be passed out all over the McGill ghetto and the park for
    the first week or two of the semester, so joyous and novel the idea that
    in Quebec you can drink at 18 but you’re expected to act responsibly
    about it (they’d get it eventually). I miss talking to men and looking
    in their eyes while doing it and not having anyone register that as “she
    *wants* me… yeeeeehaaaa.”

    I miss the steamie ahl-dress with choucroutte and a bag of fries for
    under $5 and a Cott’s Black Cherry. I miss a wide variety of decently
    priced restaurants where you’d bring your own wine and not get charged
    some outrageous corkage fee (I’d stick with tap water). I miss the age
    and character of the buildings and thinking nothing of finding an
    apartment perfectly acceptable with a room with seven walls or the
    double-salon shotgun set up and plaster walls painted in blinding
    colours. I miss just sweeping snow buildup off the outdoor spiral
    staircases and hanging baskets from them in the summer for herbs or
    hanging baskets of cherry tomatoes off the wood or metal back porches. I
    miss the claxoning of the tow trucks as they steal down the streets
    after a storm to give you fair warning to dig your car out or they’ll
    getcha next pass. I miss the distinctive smell of spring in Montreal;
    street salt tang, dried dog shit and thawing decayed flesh that was
    obviously natural at one point but no more. I miss thunderstorms and
    lightening in the spring and fall (and the leaves!).

    I miss happily tuning out the French talk around me on the bus or metro
    if I wanted some quiet thought. I miss Little Italy and the church with
    Mussollini perched on that horse in the painting above the alter and
    ordering for pick up from Pizzeria Napoletana on Dante street after an
    afternoon of shopping for great food (and raw milk cheese) at the Marché
    Jean-Talon. I miss going to that wacked out shop on Dante that was
    literally half Italian hunting gear, guns, rifles and ammo, half Italian
    kitchenware, and getting European things like Le Chat detergents and
    soaps and not thinking twice about it. I miss Verdun and going to St.
    Barnabas’ church rummage sales, where there was always a raffle for a
    huge basket of goodies (half of it booze) and my hoary joke with the
    ticket taker (“You know, it’s not like I haven’t noticed the Bishop wins
    every second raffle”) and having to convince my Francofriends that there
    *are* poor and lower middleclass Anglos, too, you know. We *all* don’t
    live in Westmount or Kirkland.

    I miss going to the South Shore to Taylor’s, scratch that…
    ‘Taylors’… department store and hanging out at the Legion Hall (where
    I never ever heard of anything like the local Vancouver Legion Hall’s
    tradition of meat raffles). I miss going out to The Willow Inn in Hudson
    and wondering when we passed the Ontario border, then take the small car
    ferry across to Oka and grab some cheese on the way home.

    I miss rien about the West Island – a ‘burb’s a burb, linguistically
    interesting or not. OK. I do miss the Twist-N-Cream on Grouin – owned by
    a French Canadian family with apparently little regard for the Office de
    la langue Français if it meant changing the name of the profitable ice
    cream place (oh, I heard they own another one in Florida so they spend
    half the year there – lucky blokes).

    I miss bagels and Liberté cream cheese and Hasidim and Jewish life in
    general (and I’m Lutheran, fer chrissakes). I miss Mont Royal park and
    the playing fields on a Sunday in the summer where you’d have South
    Americans and Italians playing soccer and setting up bar-b-q’s on the
    tables, Mile End football teams and maybe a pickup baseball game, all
    side-by-side. Volleyball over on the other field near the Armoury. I
    don’t miss those damned Tam-Tam drummers under the statue. Fuck ’em.

    I miss telling people Jackie Robinson’s first year as a baseball player
    in the Major Leagues was right here at the old Delormier Stadium when he
    played for the Montreal Royals – the Brooklyn Dodgers’ farm team.

    I miss, and will, I’m sure, be able to relive shortly, telling visiting
    friends “our Olympics put the city a billion bucks in the hole,
    tabernac! And all we got was Greg Joy’s silver high jump to use in the
    nightly sign-off anthem for TV stations and Nadia’s Theme out of it. It
    wasn’t like Expo, lemme tell you!” (actually, all I remember about Expo
    was throwing up at the Canadian pavillion because my 4-year-old mind
    couldn’t understand the concept of an upside down pyramid. Oh, and the
    screetchy tune sung by sugar-hyped kids that came out that summer…
    “Caaaaaaaah-naaaaaa-daaaaaaah” which was only pointed out to me when I
    was in my mid-20’s that, you know, I guess ’67 *was* the rest of
    Canada’s centennial year so the song kinda makes sense).

    I miss running down Montreal’s gifts to music – “Lemme see. Um. Corey
    Hart, Men Without Hats. Celine Dion. I’m sorry. Let me introduce you
    to… Madame Bolduc!” I miss turning the corner and banging into Pierre
    Trudeau (pre-death) and Leonard Cohen (who usually managed to look like
    death). I miss visiting my favorite Adrien Hébert painting at the Museum
    of Fine Arts and always wondering how the city’s museum could have so
    many historical photos with Scottish and English signs all over the
    pictures up on the walls and not ever seem to mention Anglophones at
    all, ever, on the tour (except for the Irish rock to commemorate the
    workers killed during the construction of the pont Victoria. <–
    Frenglish!! I guess the only thing you could take from that was a good
    Anglo's a dead one?).

    I miss just going out to one of the gabillion arts events (free or not,
    festival or no). I miss the Canada Day Parade in summer where you always
    felt a little subversive just for showing up on the sidelines and, of
    course, scooting out of the way from the fat Shriners in their leeeeetle
    motorcycles and trying to balance an ice cream, a sun shade and a
    Canadian flag all at once. I miss celebrating St-Jean Baptiste Day and
    feeling very subversive just for showing up in the parade. I especially
    miss the St. Patrick's Day parade (every year since 1824) in March when
    weather be damned! it's close enough to spring and huge crowds show up
    just to get the hell out of the house for the first time in the New Year.

    I miss Ogilvy's bagpiper making the rounds at noon. I miss making my
    pilgrimage up to the Tudor Room area every mid-December to make my usual
    donation to the Veteran's Hospitals. I miss always wondering how good
    non-Montrealers had it with *their* cable packages since *our* always
    had to have at least a 50/50 split of English/French stations and that's
    just nuts. I miss watching the old community TV stations where they'd
    have mini-putt games as the late night sports offerings; women in
    bouffants, long nails and white patent heeled shoes and men in Florida
    shorts, cheap polo shirts, knee socks and light coloured slip-on shoes –
    $10 a hole, winner settles after the show.

    I miss the Remembrance Day ceremonies and the march past on St-Catherine
    and some of the old guys would go for lunch at the Eaton's… scratch
    that… Eatons… 9th Floor Restaurant; where the servers wore uniforms,
    the decor was art deco and the food decidedly and weirdly haute cafeteria.

    I miss being shocked (shocked!) that a friend would pay $88 000 <–
    Frenglais! for a new 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo downtown; "Are you crazy?
    That's almost a house in Roxboro, guy!"

    I miss convincing myself that my completely underachieving life was
    actually doing pretty OK since I always seemed to have the $535 a month
    rent for my St-Denis 11-1/2 apartment (OK. Lucked out on that one).

    I miss my friends from out of town coming in a steady stream to stay
    with me; especially if it offered an excuse to their family why they
    couldn't fly out there to see them over the holidays.

    But I just can't go back. It's bad for me and it hurts so good. So
    Vancouver it is (for now or until Paco dies)."

  49. Joe writes: “Montreal, on the other hand, is a whole mess of other crazy where anxiety-ridden French nationalists feel provoked by English signage and a Language Inspector makes the rounds, investigating reports of shopkeepers serving customers in English or non-French speaking pet shop parrots. No, really.”

    Nah… at least French is useful for something (as in, is spoken in whole countries in the world, not just regions of a single country). And in Belgium they solved the problem between frenchies and flemish by dividing the country in regions according to the languages spoken in each area. In Spain we got Gaelician, Basque, Catalan, and Spanish. For starters, every nationalist politician in those regions wants to erase Spanish from their regions. Then you got Galicia, with nationalists closer to pure communism than anything else. Catalonia, an actually expanding empire, that politicians want to grow towards the neighbouring areas where their language is also spoken, but are not officially part of their administrations, and, have archieved to have kids get only 2 weekly hours of Spanish, while everything else is in Catalan. Then there’s the basque people. Those guys actually demand quite a part of the northern Spain, and even a southwestern France border region, and have officially acknowledged their claims for a while, by not drawing borders in weather forecast maps. They’ve also got the half-century lasting terrorism with a few hundreds of thousands supporters. And there’s the fact that their language is nothing close to Latin, so you can’t even get a grasp of what the hell are they talking about.
    I’d say that Montreal is doing fine, compared to the language madness we have, lol.

    Joe writes: “I’m at a loss as to why so few Vancouver builders make use of stone in home construction.”

    That’s what I wonder about N. America’s constructions in general. That’s why hurricanes and the likes are so deadly there, because houses fly, like if they had just drunk a can of Red Bull. In Europe, houses might get flooded, and a little dirty, but they stand still.

    Cheers

  50. “In a bid to appear progressive, the city is shutting down one lane of a major bridge into the downtown area and dedicating it to cycling traffic only. The thinking is that fewer driving lanes will translate to fewer cars on the road and, thus, prove an environmentally-friendly decision. Of course the truth is that fewer lanes will simply means more gridlock which will mean more idling engines and exhaust – but, the idiots at city hall are too busy feeling good about themselves to see the obvious.”

    Hhhhmmmm. I just got back from good ol’ Montreal and noticed that they have many more kms of separated bike lanes than any other city I know of in N.A.. Those crazy folks seem to have read the endless studies that show that car traffic grows to quickly fill whatever space is provided.

    In fact what makes the best Montreal neighbourhoods so nice (the Plateau anyone), and relatively easy to get around by foot, by bike and if one must by car is the fact that they were designed with narrow streets long before the car was dominant.

    Montreal is currently the most cycling friendly city in Canada — one of the many reasons it is so livable in good times and ‘bad’. People get out and explore their hoods, meet in the street and don’t stay tucked away in their steel boxes and sterile back yards.

    Welcome to Vancouver — in time it will be like Montreal because of the cyclists not in spite of them.

  51. Regarding the cycling: try cycling across that bridge without the extra lane and see how safe you feel. It’ll change your perspective.

    Given the excessive energy dependency we have, we should be discouraging car traffic — a bit at a time. Making cyclists and pedestrians feel as if they’re risking their lives isn’t conducive to that.

  52. uhhh will the stargate franchise ever make another show or movie? 🙁 My favourite show ever! I seriously have the action figures and books, I will never part with them haha I wanted to move to montreal because the housing prices are just way to high here. I don’t want to pay a million dollars or just under and have a small piece of land with an ugly house!

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