Downtown church

A church in downtown Montréal where you can see its steeple reflected in a nearby glass skyscraper
A church in downtown Montréal where you can see its steeple reflected in a nearby glass skyscraper

Here’s a cool-looking church in downtown Montréal. I like the way that the steeple reflects in the glass building behind it. The first time I walked past, there was an airplane flying such that I could see it reflected as well, but I was too slow on the trigger to catch it.

McGill O-Week

O-Week at McGill
O-Week at McGill

It’s O-Week here at McGill, and I’m reminded of that every time I pass through campus. There are a few tell-tale signs:

  • Students are wearing matching t-shirts, and the girls have cut their shirts up so that you can see more of their skin.
  • Students are drunk in the middle of the day.
  • Students are walking around in groups based on their faculties and yelling at each other.

Student fees

My student fees have been calculated. :| Fortunately, I don’t have to pay until I receive my OSAP.

There are a few interesting charges on my bill:

  • QPIRG – McGill: This apparently is the Quebec Public Interest Research Group. I’m paying $3 to fund their research this year.
  • Transcript and Diploma Charge: I’m paying $19.20 for this. I wonder what this pays for. I’m pretty sure I have to pay the school whenever I order a transcript. I guess it pays for the printing of my degree when I graduate. But then I won’t graduate this year, so what does it pay for?
  • Athletics and Recreation Fee: $114 – not a bad deal, really. I haven’t found any other gyms for $114 a year. Well for 8 months, really.
  • PGSS Dental Plan: I should really make use of this, considering I’m paying $189.75 for it.

Those were the most interesting ones.

Why is that there?

This is the James Administration Building at McGill University
This is the James Administration Building at McGill University

Here is the James Administration Building at McGill. It is a big stone building just to the right of the Arts Building, and that’s where I went to get my student card. I expect that I’ll spend many long hours there in line-ups, just like I did at the Stevenson-Lawson Building at UWO.

But did you notice something strange? Look closely at the photograph and tell me if you see what I see.

Look just above the McGill crest, between the two swirlies over the “ADMINISTRATION” doorway. There’s a frog. Why is there a frog? Below is a close-up. I’ll give you 4 whole points if you can tell me why there’s a frog, and why it’s a slightly different colour than the rest of the stonework above the door.

Why is there a frog?
Why is there a frog?

The best thing in the U-Haul store

The best thing in the U-Haul store
The best thing in the U-Haul store

So after the mess-up with the U-Haul in Montréal, U-Haul generously sent me a gift certificate for the trouble they caused me, Pickles and my parents. I went on the U-Haul store on Sunday night to see just what exactly I can get there.

There were boxes and there was packing tape. There were packing chips and even special little envelopes, but I don’t think that anything could ever top the truck antlers.

Pickles is reluctant to let me get them, even though we have a gift certificate for it. “We’re trying to draw less attention to our car!”

I think they’re hilarious. My little sister says that we should buy them, give one of them to my older sister and my brother-in-law, and keep the other for ourselves. That way, we can affix the one to the front of the van, and rather than being a deer, we can be a unicorn. I would seriously be okay with that.

The job interview

St Mary's hospital, where I had my job interview
St Mary's hospital, where I had my job interview

On the first full day that I was in Montréal after moving here, I had a job interview. I joked that it was a shocking thing that I actually had an interview for a job in my field, since I am a philosophy major.

Actually, this job is even more specific to my area of study, since it is a job in the field of bioethics and I am studying bioethics.

The job is for a part-time position, co-ordinating a study in a hospital very near my house. The hours are flexible and it seemed perfect. I enjoyed speaking to the man and the woman who conducted the interview, and I think I would be a good candidate for the position.

Over the weeks since then, I occasionally got word from people that I had asked to be my references, saying that they had been contacted by a professor at McGill. That was an encouraging sign.

On Wednesday the 12th, I heard back from them by email. I had forgotten to tell them that my phone number changed. Oops! They told me to give them a call on Thursday. When I called on Thursday, I found out that I was not offered the job, but that they might have work for me at another time. The man who called me stressed that when he said that he might have work for me later, he didn’t mean that in the dissmissive or condescending way that it is usually meant when potential employers have to reject applicants. He actually seemed serious about it.

I don’t feel too bad about the fact that I didn’t get the job. The guy who was offered the job was finishing his PhD, and so he was super-qualified for the position. At any rate, it might be for the best, since I got a TA-ship, and I don’t know how heavy the work-load is.

James McGill

The statue of James McGill on the McGill campus
The statue of James McGill on the McGill campus

Here is James McGill. Or rather a statue built on the McGill University campus in his honour. After his death, his money paid to found one of Canada’s oldest universities by royal decree. While this statue isn’t actually James McGill, his real body is kept only a couple hundred metres up the hill from where the statue is, along with half of his accountant’s body.

That’s not a joke, actually.

Back in the seventies, when DNA was all the rage, some science students at McGill decided to test James McGill’s remains, which were kept on-campus, in front of the Arts Building. What they found is that there were actually two men’s bodies there, which is in fact, double the expected number. The best explanation that anyone has been able to give is that when McGill’s body was exhumed and moved from what is now the train station to what is now the campus, the people who did it had a hard time distinguishing where one man’s body ended and the body of the next man’s began.

What they should have done is have James McGill taxidermied, and then, when the technology was developed, motorised. That would have certainly prevented the mess-up that ended with him having to share a grave with half of his accountant until Jesus comes back.