Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I'll be honest, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. And I wasn't all that concerned. I figured, well, it'll be an experience. It was.

Scott's buddy, Dave, was going to the Family Values Tour and asked if we wanted to come along. Scott didn't think it was my kind of thing, but asked anyway. I said, "sure". Why not? We'd been meaning to visit for a while, and this was as good an excuse as any.

I knew it was some kind of metal, hard rock, something like that. Music I don't really listen to. At work, someone asked, "so, what, is it AC/DC, Def Leppard? The Who?" Those bands didn't really seem to go together, but all I could think in my head was, "uh, maybe, like, Korn." I didn't say it 'cuz it was probably way off. It wasn't.

In fact, Korn was headlining!

My first clue that this event was not my bag should have been when Dave was shocked and maybe appalled when I said I was bringing my knitting. Yeah.

The concert started at 2 pm. We arrived in the parking lot about 1:30. Looking around, it was Sesame Street's "one of these things is not like the others". That would be me.

Headbangers. Punked out, black wearing, dyed hair, mohawked, tattooed and pierced lovers of loud loud music. I looked around, remembering high school, months when most of my wardrobe was black: small potatoes. And now, definitely yuppy! Eek! My raincoat had a Burberry-esque lining. I turned it to the inside.

There was a warning before we entered:

FVT: warning

It was pretty empty:

FVT: empty

We were on the lawn, slightly huddled against the surprising chill. Also, cuddled:

FVT: hanging out
Dave and Lindsay: awww, so cute

Clouds loomed overhead:

FVT: impending rain

It was gonna rain, just a question of when. Music started around 2: short half hour sets followed by a quick setup and another band. Some of the music I would never listen to, some was alright:

FVT: stage

This guy walked around promoting the side show tent:

FVT: promoting the side show

It was a cool effect, with the costume and the way he walked. But... side show tent??

In the food areas offsides, some guy with a bullhorn harassed passersby obnoxiously, dared them to throw a ball at him. The goal: hit him in the nuts, win a prize.

FVT: offsides area

Gradually, more people showed up:

FVT: growing crowd

And I got the courage to pull out my knitting:

FVT: Knitting

You can't tell, but I was moving my head to the beat. Rock on.

Scott was happy to wear his new shades, which were too bright and reflective for my tastes:

FVT: reflections

He had no idea what I was photographing. :) Check out the ominous clouds in the reflection!

And then we found out Korn wouldn't play until at least 6 pm. It was now 3:30, we were a bit chilly, and felt the first rain drops. So we bailed. And as I left, I saw the beginnings of the forewarned mosh pit forming:

FVT: mosh pit forming

Driving around, we heard on the radio at 8 pm that Korn still hadn't come out. Good thing we left.

The rest of the weekend was nothing but rain. And ridiculous attempts to find something to do. I'll spare you most of it, but as an example, we showed up at the ice skating rink at 3:30 only to find that free skate was from 1-4, and 7-10. Yeah. Like that.

We saw some of the locations shown in Clerks 2, which will be cool to see in the movie. We were hoping to take photos, but, well, rain. We saw an awful, awful movie, Talladega Nights. Sorry, folks, hated it. It was painful. When I lived in Alabama, we were about 20 minutes from Talladega, and my dad actually worked in Talladega for a while. Didn't recognize anything in the movie, though.

We did have fun thrown in here and there. And Dave made a comment about learning to knit (in jest?) and I was at the ready to teach him just in case. And if it hadn't rained so hard all day Saturday, we had plans to hang out in Red Bank, the cute downtown nearby. Shops, a marina or some such, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash (their comic book store). Ah, well. Maybe next time.

Dave and Lindsay persevered along with us. I think the weekend was just not meant to be. We hope they haven't given up and that some time in the future, we'll go for attempt number 2. We'll be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand.

And for actual knitting, here's what 3 balls of Classic Silk will get you:

That Cute Flirty Skirt - in progress

It's starting to look like a skirt!

Thanks, Denise, for shedding light on the sculpture. It is called "La Foule IlluminĂ©e", or "The Illuminated Crowd" by Raymond Mason. Denise included a description, and I found a slightly different one as well, once I knew what I was looking for:

"A crowd has gathered, facing a light, an illumination brought about by a fire, an event, an ideology - or an ideal. The strong light casts shadows, and as the light moves toward the back and diminishes, the mood degenerates; rowdiness, disorder and violence occur, showing the fragile nature of man. Illumination, hope, involvement, hilarity, irritation, fear, illness, violence, murder and death - the flow of man's emotion through space."

It's an interesting concept, and next time I'm in Montreal I'll check it out with new eyes.

(In searching for more info, I found a post listing "strange statues" which included the above. Quite the range: some clever, some refreshing, some ridiculous. And I'm sure we can all disagree about which are which!)

Thanks also to Jen for confirming that EA does have offices in Montreal! The mystery is solved!

*     *     *

When we left our Sea Silk shawled wanderer and her camera shy guy... they were on their way to ... Old Montreal!

*     *     *

En route we were happy to report good cell phone reception:

Montreal: good signal

'Though I think we'd be charged up the wazoo for roaming.

We knew we were in Old Montreal when everything

Montreal, Old

around us

Montreal, Old

looked less than

Montreal, Old


Montreal: Notre Dame

Above is Notre Dame Cathedral, and as we came upon it, the bells were chiming and chiming. We figured out it was for a wedding, and saw no fewer than 3 brides in the next hour and a half.

I took advantage of flower boxes when taking photos to mask streets and cars, and there were lots of flowers around. Above, they also cover horse drawn carriages. The horses didn't look so happy. It was hot. Below is the building connected to Notre Dame. Back in the day that must have been a cool courtyard to wander.

Montreal: Notre Dame

I started to sneeze (I'm very allergic to horses; back when I was a kid, I'd always be miserable on class trips to the Toronto Royal Winter Fair. Took me a while to realize I was allergic to the animals, and even longer to realize there might be something I could do about it.) so we headed towards the water:

Montreal: harborfront

which you can't see here, but on the left you can look out and see lots of 'spensive boats.

Along the sidewalk are entertainers and caricature artists. There was a particularly talented caricaturist in the far end of the street, probably where the flock of people are. I was tempted but too chicken to get ours done. Maybe next time.

A little further down, we headed back towards the streets:

Montreal, Old

and towards the main "square" which I remembered from my 8th grade class trip:

Montreal, Old

The rest of Montreal was quiet, but Old Montreal was bustling. In the square were lots more caricaturists, folks selling jewelry, street performers:

Montreal, Old: street performer

Git your mind outta da gutter!

He was swallowing one of those 3' balloons, the kind often contorted into animals and hats. He swallowed it all the way down!

Montreal, Old: street performer

But wouldn't bring it back out.

Boo! Boo!

Sidestreets off the square look like this:

Montreal, Old

But we were tired, and I was distracted by this:

Montreal, Old: flowers

(and want to dye something those colors!) and the fountain in the top corner. We found shade and a place to sit. And watch:

Montreal, Old: just married

Seriously, though, the street performer that wouldn't regurgitate the balloon got to me. I was ready to leave. And find a yarn shop. I knew there was one around there, I had seen it on a map. Information pointed me in the right direction, so off we went!

But first, photo op:

Montreal, Old

and more floral inspiration:

Montreal, Old: flowers

Our route included hopping on the Metro, and of course, passing more flowers:

Montreal, Old

Montreal, Old: flowers

Seriously, I don't know if the Harlot and her sock have made it to Montreal, but if not, I'm priming them for unusual fiber blogger phototaking.

Speaking of:

Montreal: at Mouline

Mouliné! The yarn shop! Easily found, and first thing I see are these crazy mannequins! I fit right in. (Their website is in progress, but has their contact info.)

I narrowed my purchase down to a couple of cute Phildar baby magazines (wait 'til you see them!), though I was sorely tempted by some sock yarn, among other yarns. These days, I try to limit purchases to fiber, and yarn purchases to dyeables and bahgains. It's tough. If I hadn't been buying so much lately, I woulda broken down.

Svetlana and Scott run the shop and they're very nice and quite knowledgeable. There was a gorgeous scarf on the table that Svetlana designed combining Noro Kochoran and 3 different ribbon yarns, the colors and textures combined very nicely.

Scott recognized the Sea Silk in my shawl (they're getting Sea Silk soon) and we ended up talking for a while, about knitting, blogs, spinning, fleece processing. Svetlana talked about designing for knitting magazines, too.

But, I had to get Scott (my Scott) out of that store. Poor guy, sitting and waiting patiently. Not so fun for him.

On the way back, we passed these crazy runners, dressed in red, sometimes in drag:

Montreal: crazy runners

There were dozens of them. What the hell? Anyone know what they're doing?

We had an amazing "bistro style salad" at Bistro L'Aromate, and a fabulous wine; the rest of dinner was pretty good, too. We'll definitely go back.

Afterwards we strolled around Rue Ste Catherine, listened to a lovely non-traditional quartet playing classical music, sat down to coffee and saw these ladies stopping a firetruck:

Montreal: crazy night life

and playing a ukelele:

Montreal: crazy night life

Crazy Montrealers.

Rue Ste Catherine got rowdier as the night went on but we were pooped from all the walking so we chilled at the hotel. We're such fogies.

Next day, we stopped atop Mont Royal to catch the view on the way out:

Montreal: view from Mont Royal

Ah, Montreal. Filled with crazy people and interesting sights, commas instead of periods and 10% cream. Thanks for the good times.

We had a fabulous time in Montreal!

(Warning: You asked for lots of pictures. You did not specify what kind of pictures. You have been warned.)

The drive there (~6 hours) was uneventful. Once we crossed into Canada, it was nothing but corn fields and silos for miles (er, kilometers):

to Montreal: corn fields and silos

with the occasional tall Coke guy along the way:

to Montreal: big Coke guy

(and no, that is not me messing with scale, he was that big!)

Look, speed limit 100!

to Montreal: speed limit 100!

Kilometers. Man, as soon as you cross the border, it's all french, and kilometers, and totally alien. Look, they even use commas instead of periods like those nutty Europeans:

Montreal: crazy comma users

And along with 2%, they have 10%:

Montreal: 10%?

It was weird to see bookstores and newstands with so many French titles. But cool at the same time.

We wanted to be within walking distance of the city and sights, and that meant shelling out more bucks. Rather than pay too much for a Marriott Courtyard, we found an online deal and paid the same for the 4 star Sofitel Montreal: tres chic; modern; clean; friendly and helpful staff; a very nice place if yer splurgin'.

As soon as we checked in we scattered our things about and dove onto the feather duvet covered bed, ruining our chances for a nice photo. Ah well. This is the kind of place where, if you take a shower after checking in and then head out for a walk, your shower has been cleaned and towels replaced upon your return. It was kind of insane, actually. I could get used to that kind of luxury.

I did take a few photos the next day, after room service had tidied up.

Entrance with orchids, tea light and matches:

Montreal: hotel

double doors lead to the bathroom with rain shower (rain shower head is in the ceiling):

Montreal: hotel

(I loved having the swinging door and not dealing with a shower curtain.)

super big bed with feather duvet:

Montreal: hotel

(Too soft for our tastes. Can King size beds really be that much bigger than Queens? I felt like Scott and I were in different beds we were that far apart. I don't think I kicked him once.)

and a little living space:

Montreal: hotel

Very nice. I really appreciated not seeing those awful patterns you see on motel room bed covers. And lots of natural light when you wanted it.

We took a walk around the hotel, walked by:

Montreal: butter sculpture

this piece that looked like butter in the sunshine. Anyone know what it is? The people towards the back are sick or starving, the ones in front are looking towards the future, hope, destination.

We walked through parts of the Underground Mall, which was mindblowingly vast. Picture 5 malls, all underground, all interconnected. Throw in a few interconnected subway stations, hotels, movie theatres, etc. Now multiply the picture in your head by, oh, 100. Well, maybe not that much. But it was HUGE.

Dinner at a so-so place, where we had 2 beers each and walked back to the hotel. I loved that. Being able to have a drink and walk back. After leaving the city, we've left that convenient lifestyle behind as well.

And actually, I loved walking around the city. Downtown, Old Montreal, it was all very walkable. Loved it.

The next day, I saw this sign:

Montreal: Look! EA!

that looked just like the EA Games logo (Electronic Arts, I think?). We went searching for answers but all we found was Dunkin Donuts: 

Montreal: Dunkin Donuts

where they had weird romance novel teas:

Montreal: Dunkin Donuts romance teas?

I really didn't know what to make of it.

Outside we enjoyed the quiet and breeze, and took a few photos. This was a good chance to take some FBS-in-action shots, too!

Montreal: FBS

Montreal: FBS

Montreal: FBS

I even got one of Scott:

Montreal: chillin'

(he's so cute)

and one of us:

Montreal: awwww...

The weather was in the 70's, with strong sunshine and cool breezes, so the shawl was just the covering I needed to keep from being chilly. And, of course, I loved wearing it. :)

Tomorrow: actual photos of Montreal! Mostly Old Montreal. And the one yarn shop I managed to visit!