I’m back in Vancouver today.  Back in my home with its open kitchen and fenced-in back yard and home theater and comfy king size bed.  But only for as long as it takes me to pack up my things, grab my dogs, and head back.  Back to Toronto with its endless driving and frigid temperatures and rundown buildings and bad sushi.  Yes, I complain a lot about it on this blog, and at work, and, sure, to most everyone I talk to – but I do try to keep a positive outlook back on the home/apartment front for Akemi’s sake.  Clearly, she aint lovin’ Hogtown and it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.  In the past, while writing emails to her English-speaking friends,  she’s asked me to help with her spelling.  Words like “beautiful”, “laughing”, and “delight”.  Then, last night, it was “How do you spell miserable?”.  Lately, completely out of the blue while, say, we’re watching t.v. or reading or doing dishes, she’ll offer a wistful: “I miss Vancouver” before moving on to the business at hand.  This, of course, just compounds my anxiety since, unlike Vancouver, I don’t have the time, the resources, the connections, or knowledge of the city to help.  Although her VISA isn’t up until October, she has started talking about an early return to Japan.

Hopefully we’ll settle in and, if not enjoy our new city, then at the very least not mind it so much.

Given my experience in Canada’s three major cities, I’d say that Montreal is the place where people go to party, Vancouver is the place where people go to enjoy nature, and Toronto is the place where politicians and sad clowns go to retire.

Watched the last third of Black Swan on the plane.  Sort of.  The woman sitting in front of me was watching when the girl on girl scene caught my eye.  I followed along to the end and it didn’t make any sense to me.  I’ll watch it on the way back.  With sound, I’m sure it’ll make perfect sense.

To those of you asking about Stargate – I have no new info for you.  From what I hear, Brad hasn’t given up the fight and there’s still hope for a proper ending to the SGU story.  So, until further notice, the gate remains –



Finally, thanks to Carl for alerting me to this report on the CIA’s wildly successful Facebook Program:

37 thoughts on “March 26, 2011: Montreal is the place where people go to party, Vancouver is the place where people go to enjoy nature, and Toronto is the place where politicians and sad clowns go to retire.

  1. Loved the video!! Tell Carl thank you.

    I’m sorry Akemi’s having a hard time. I felt really out of place when we moved to Michigan from the South, and it took me awhile before I adjusted. I hope you both get adjusted soon.

    Take care and (((hugs)))to Akemi.

  2. Wait. Akemi might leave?!? 🙁


    Joe, mebbe you need to start thinking of Toronto as a vacation, instead of a relocation. Get all the touristy books, go check out the museums and markets and Casa Loma and stuff, get familiar with the good and stop dwelling on the negative (one day I will take my own advice 😛 ). It may help. Also, spring and warmer weather may help, too. You are doing this at a bad time of year, when everything is muddy and gray.

    I hope things settle down soon, you find the right place to live, and you find some peace with Toronto, even if it never feels like ‘home’.

    Take care, and good night. 🙂


  3. Joe, you’ve only been there for a week. Give it a chance. Spring (and warmer weather) is just around the corner, and things will look up soon. The city will start to look nicer with the trees in bloom and green grass. Granted, not as nice as Vancouver, but then again, few cities in the world look as nice. And, didn’t you say in an earlier blog that it took you at least a year to finally settle in Vancouver and enjoy it? As well, I recall a certain blog bemoaning some negatives about Vancouver (the petty civic politics come to mind).

    Positives about T.O.:
    – New restaurants to discover (and there are a lot of good ones!)
    – Being Canada’s largest city, it probably offers more of everything than almost any city in Canada
    – Proximity to your hometown. If you ever need to visit your family in Montreal, T.O. is *a lot* closer
    – Exciting new job with your old pals working alongside you
    – No more wet, rainy Vancouver weather. You can put away your Gortex and start looking stylish and snappy and not feel out of place alongside other stylish, fashionable Torontonians

    Hmm… I’ll have to try to think of some other positives to cheer you up. Just hang in there, and don’t give into the negative thoughts.

  4. Oh no!!
    Joe unhappy is amusing.
    Akemi unhappy is terrible!!
    Hang in there Akemi. It will get better.

  5. Jesus Christ things must be bad in Toronto if Akemi would rather be in Japan right now!!!

    Just look at the bright side, the only way from here is up! I had to catch up all last week on your blog because i was so damn busy with this new position i applied for. I cant remember wanting anything more than i want this position right now. Everything went extremely well except the panel interview which i did good in but felt i wasnt as strong as i should have been. I should find out next week, so wish me some luck.

  6. The video was both hilarious and disturbing. I’ll take due note to post misinformation on my page henceforth just to throw off those pesky agents.
    Has Akemi looked around for a Japanese community in the Toronto area? Besides making her a bit less homesick, she might be able to find out where you can get some sushi that can meet your basic standards of edibility.
    While I am enjoying your gripes, and sympathising with your emotional/mental traumas, IggyMing does have a point. You haven’t been there long enough to have found some of the redeeming qualities of the city. And you do have good friends and good work to help with the transition. You’ll feel better once the doggies have settled in, not to mention decided on where it is you and they will do the settling. Have a safe trip back to your eastern exile, and dont forget to take your own earbuds so you dont have to pay for them on the plane.

  7. You know Joe, I get that a move is stressful. Next to a death in the family moving is the next most stressful thing but man describing Toronto as a place where “politicians and sad clowns go to retire.” That’s my hometown and a place I grew up in. I get that your just being funny but it is kind of hurtful to read something like that.

    I’m a still a loyal fan of course…just…I don’t know…not something I enjoyed reading for what it’s worth.

  8. I sympathize. Back in July 84, we moved from Miami, Florida, (ocean breezes, cooling rain almost every midday) to Dallas, Texas, (landlocked, high humidity with no precip, 100 F daily). Husband denies it now, but within a week, he was talking about giving up his promotion and going back.

  9. I dunno, Joe. I used to work with a guy who was from Toronto who described it as “The Tijuana of the North”

    Maybe you just aren’t seeing it for the gem it really is?

    Did you check everywhere?

  10. HA! That CIA Facebook video is a riot! (Even funnier was Mr. Das standing over my shoulder, asking if it was for real. 🙂 ).

    Joe, we can’t lose Akemi. Maybe you should let her pick where to live, even if it’s not a place where you can go prancing about outside in your skimpy drawers. 🙂


  11. Oh man, I have had those feelings more than once. That goes with being Navy. I was sent to Great Lakes in February from Orlando. Left behind a boyfriend I never heard from again (who was no good for me but I was in lust).
    Toronto must have some redeeming qualities. I know zip about it though. Playing tourist seems like sound advice.

  12. Sadly, that gate closed a long time ago….. remember the limits.

    38 minutes
    2280 seconds
    2280000 milliseconds
    2280000000 microseconds
    2280000000000 nanoseconds
    2.28*10^15 picoseconds
    2.28*10^18 femtoseconds
    2.28*10^21 attoseconds
    2.28*10^24 zeptoseconds
    2.28*10^27 yoctoseconds

    Life goes on.. Joe will surely impress us all again in the near future.


  13. Advice for the day:
    Okay, start cooking at home… healthy, save money, lose weight and get good food.

    Marry Akemi so she can stay, or find her a husband. We want her here, not in radioactive Japan. Keep her safe, we love her.

    Take the “tourist” advice and find fun things to do. I know this is a big new idea… so sit down … but there are more things in a city than food places. It might not meet your standards on restaurants, but you can surely find other things to enjoy.

    Take that cooking class you always wanted to take instead of cruising restaurants you aren’t going to like anyway.

    Did I mention marrying Akemi so she can stay?

  14. In light of the new information about Akemi, I would suggest you go with the modest backyard that is close to downtown so Akemi won’t feel so isolated. Was going to choose the squash court in the basement with the huge backyard with the oh-by-the-way-Robert-Cooper-is-my-neighbor.

    Akemi might think things would be better in Japan right now, but she is thinking of it in terms of the Japan she left and not in the terms of the Japan in the state it is in right now. The grass, in this case, is not greener.

    I hope you and the pups have a better trip this time.

    I’m exhausted so off to bed I go.

    Hang in there, Joe (and you, too, Akemi). Change is difficult.

  15. Thanks for the video; it cracked me up so I posted it to my blog. Hang in there with the move, it will get better.


  16. Hi Joe,

    I was looking at the Wikipedia article about you, I didn’t realize all the writing credits you had.

    Big fan of several shows you worked on, sorry for asking during your stressful move.. but I loved “Are you Afraid of the Dark”, and “Big wolf on Campus” I grew up watching shows like that.

    I wonder if you know of any revival attempts for “Are you Afraid of the Dark”? do you think the idea would be successful for today’s generation?


  17. In case anyone is wondering about Toronto’s pre-colonial past. What is now the Greater Toronto Area was a mosquito & blackfly infested swamp IIRC. That explains a lot about the interesting summertime stories now.

  18. Joe, lots of good suggestions in the comments:

    Das’s – let Akemi pick the new home is good.

    Thornyrose’s – look around for a Japanese community is good.

    IggyMing’s – you’ve only been there for a week, give it a chance sounds logical.

    Debra’s – marry Akemi so she can stay is very good. And may I add…have a baby! A little girl that looks just like Akemi. You can name her Kemi Mallozzi. How cute!

    No pressure. Just don’t let her go!

  19. Coucou Joseph!

    ça va ?

    Moi moyen, ça me rend triste de savoir que vous n’avez pas le moral =(.

    Je suis sûre que vous allez mieux apprendre à connaitre cette ville et pourquoi pas un jour l’aimer…je sais que ça ne sera jamais comme Vancouver mais je suis certaine que vous allez vous y faire.

    En tout cas bon courage, je pense fort à vous et j’espere que vous allez vite trouver un appartement.

    Enormes bisous!!

  20. Dearest Joe,

    ٩(●̮̮̃•̃)۶- ٩͡[๏̯͡๏]۶ -٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶- ٩(-̮̮̃•̃)۶- ٩(×̯×)۶ oh help… *giggles*

    A few thoughts…

    ♥ஜLaugh when you can, apologize when you should and let go of what you can’t change. Kiss slowly, play hard, forgive quickly, take chances, give everything and have no regrets. Life’s too short to be anything..but happy♥ஜ

    .•*¨*•★Don’t spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for~Epicurus★*¨*•.

    ★☀To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.★☀

    ♥.•*¨*✿♡♥Sending you a big hug ~ tossing it into the wind ~ should be there is a second *whoosh* ♥.•*¨*✿♡♥

    Joe you have made me smile so many times when the day said frown. Thank you for being here. Dream of magic…live happy *hugs*

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl ;;)

  21. You need to have a working stargate between TO and Van.(just the places u will be living,to make it easier.) Then if its a bad time, go to your happy place, if thats not possible to do in your mind.
    Things are in a constant state of chaos at the moment for sure. makes for interesting blog writing, but not so much fun in real time. I hope all your problems get resolved soon. Maybe a new even better location to live will present itself while you are back home packing more stuff. sending some positive thoughts for Akemi, take care. safe journey!

  22. Why don’t you ask David Hewlett for some tips about Toronto? He grew up there.

    I agree that the snow storm was a setback, but we’re having a string of sunny days in Ontario now. Things are looking up!

    Sometimes you have to bloom where you are planted.

  23. Hey long time occasional lurker, first time poster 🙂

    I moved from the UK to Norway a few months ago, so all I can say to you is, well, suck it up! I’ve had 2 feet of snow on the ground for 5 of the 6 months I’ve been here, and a whole new language to learn!

    I know where you’re coming from though, the constant whine of ‘I hate this, I hate that, why can’t it be like old city/country’ is something I’ve been through.

    You will feel much better when you and Akemi have a proper house, and the dogs have settled in as well. But you need to give Toronto a chance, which at the moment, you really aren’t committed to because of all the stress over finding a house etc.

    Lykke til!

  24. Score another point for Vancouver in the long running Vancouver-Toronto rivalry! Although I have to say that Vancouver wins hands down for me and that’s without factoring in decent food 😀

  25. Aww So far Toronto is not happy-making for you. Not having a place to live that you can make your own has to be one of the most unsettling things with which to endure.

    TO is never going to be as beautiful as Vancouver, and you’ve arrived in one of the ugliest months of the year. Once you find a place to call home you’ll feel better about the whole experience. You’re lucky you have a new job where you’re working with many of the same friends you worked with at your last job. That’s fantastic!

    As others have said, concentrate on the positive and you’ll start to feel less stressed. And if Akemi can find something she likes she’ll feel better too.

    You’ve probably already done this, but here’s a list that might interest you: http://torontorestaurantreview.com/

    And, yes, a great way to get to know a new city is to act like a tourist. On a day off you and Akemi should take city tours. Visit Casa Loma, go to the top of CN Tower, Ontario Place, the Zoo, wander around the areas that sound interesting to you. Try out more restaurants. Talk to native Torontonians. Talk to the guy or gal on the street, or behind the counter. Network, network, network. 🙂

  26. honestly Vancouver is too awesome that any city would automatically pale in comparison. Ive completely lost hope on stargate getting an ending but even if it did get a movie it still wouldnt be the greatest thing in the world, unless its feature film. Stargate in 3D why not? And have you heard of this?: http://www.tgdaily.com/security-features/54714-anonymous-details-operation-metal-gear

    CIA probably regrets not being the first to come up with google or facebook. but they will make strides i bet to make up for that. sadly my life is all on google, but i will never join the evil facebook ever!

  27. Sorry your transfer is being so stressful…but look at this way Joe, at least you have a job, a place to live in TO (albeit temporary) and a place in Vancouver to return to when you can..

    *goes off whistling Always Look On The Bright Side of Life*….

  28. Poor Joe. Looks like you and Akemi both need a hug. I pray for the both of you (and your doggies too) that things will get better. Like others have said, spring will be here soon.

    As for Stargate, I believe that ship has sailed. I have lost all hope.

  29. Well, as long as someone keeps their hand in the stargate, the gate won’t close… hah! what a perfect line for the situation that completely relates to itself.

    about Toronto, I could possibly agree with you… I just live around the area, and the city just aint all that positive… Your title says it all! hahahaha

    And oh, that video was awesome 😀

  30. Hi – take a look at my blog and stop feeling sorry for yourself.

    In the past year I’ve visited 15 cities in the US, Canada (including Vancouver) and Europe, and Toronto remains one of my favourites. It isn’t beautiful – although parts of it are – but it’s comfortable, and one of North America’s most dynamic cities. The art, restaurant and film scenes here are tops, no question. We have five concert halls, about 20-30 live theatres, the only opera/ballet purpose-built theatre in the country, the largest international airport, National Ballet, COC, waterfront bike trails and ravines, three arts districts, thousands of restaurants of every description, a booming skyline, the second biggest film festival in the world, 163 languages spoken, a downtown airport, a nude beach, quirky neighbourhoods, one-of-a-kind book stores, 4 daily newspapers, an emerging architectural style, 4 or 5 Chinatowns, jazz clubs, the Cameron House, Brickworks, the Distillery District, boardwalks, a large television production industry, a literary festival, etc.

    A retirement home for clowns and politicos? – I don’t think so. You may not like it, but this is Canada’s #1 growth centre, and will be for the foreseeable future. Don’t fight it – enjoy it
    Best, DAVE

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