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Notes on Winnipeg

Sat 8 Jan 2011 by mskala Tags used: , ,

The firewall box does seem to be dead. It's quite possible that some parts of it are salvageable, but it appears that I can also reconfigure the MTS DSL box to do most of the firewalling I would like, and that doesn't cost me anything in replacement parts. Given that I'm already over budget on such things as the movers' fees, and doormats, I'm going to go that route and keep the firewall box for parts. More moving-in notes below.

I don't do New Year's resolutions, but I'm making a plan for this year to post more on the Japanese side of this Web site. Postings there will generally not be announced or translated on the English side because that would kind of defeat the purpose, and I'm going to discourage even comments in English (though I see the first comment I got, from a known native Japanese speaker, is mostly in English); but if you can't read Japanese you can at least look at the pictures. I recently posted some photos of my apartment and office.

My apartment contains two light switches that initially appeared to control nothing at all - and no light fixture in the bedroom, making it rather dark in the mornings and evenings what with these long Winter nights. My plan was, once I unpacked the Dymo machine, to label the switches as to their functions, "BUPKES" and "NANI MO SHINAI"; but diligent experiments revealed that in fact, each of the switches controls one electrical outlet. So I bought a floor lamp for the bedroom and plugged it into the switched socket there to substitute for the absent overhead fixture.

Supermarket prices here do not seem to be notably lower than in Toronto, the way I had hoped. Fresh vegetables may be cheaper; fresh meat is noticeably more expensive, and lower quality (though that may just be the particular store I visited). Some things are a lot cheaper, though: laundry in my building is only $0.75 for a wash and $0.50 for a dry, whereas I think at my last place it was $1.75 and $1.50.

The Shopper's Drug Mart next door to my apartment building carries the largest selection of sexual lubricants I have ever seen, including Shopper's Drug Mart's own "Life Brand Intimate Fluid," and "Life Brand Warming Intimate Fluid," which I guess is important in this climate. I don't recall seeing those at Ontario Shopper's Drug Mart stores. (ETA: See also this sexually explicit comic strip.)

The Shopper's Drug Mart does not stock 99% isopropyl alcohol, and the 70% variety is kept behind the pharmacy counter where you have to request it from the pharmacist. That makes it a more heavily controlled substance than codeine, which is an opioid narcotic that you can buy (diluted and mixed with other things to deter you from getting high on it) right off the shelf in cough syrup. I formed the politically incorrect suspicion that the restriction on isopropyl alcohol might be intended to prevent members of Canada's First Nations from drinking it; and on returning home, I made some inquiries on the Net and discovered that yes, that is pretty much exactly the reason, and it is Manitoba law: the "Non-Potable Intoxicating Substances, Stomach Bitters, and Rubbing Alcohol Regulation." I'll have to bring back a bottle or two of 99% next time I visit another province.

Toronto billboards: "BUY EGGS! THEY ARE MADE BY FOLKSY HUMAN BEINGS! NO CHICKENS ARE INVOLVED!" Winnipeg billboards: "DO NOT RAPE 8-YEAR-OLD GIRLS! THEY HAVE GONORRHEA! PROBABLY ALSO COOTIES!"

Eggs in Winnipeg seem to be higher-quality than in Toronto, probably because of being made by chickens. They are much easier to cook over-easy without breaking the yolks.

Check-out clerks in Winnipeg fast food restaurants say "Inside or to go?". This is surprisingly difficult to get used to.

It is at least partially true about the special unnamed streets that don't appear on maps. I have seen them.

It seems not to be true about the gay male beauty pageant.

4 comments

Axel
Odd, these provincial differences. The highest percentage ethyl alcohol I have seen in Quebec is 95 - in one of the drug store chains but not the others. Anyway it was on the open shelves. The provincially operated liquor stores sell 94 and 40 percent, also without restrictions. Eggs are different too. The best I ever found were in Maine: very hard shells, sturdy yolks that were almost orange. Axel - 2011-01-09 10:27
Matt
With isopropyl alcohol, apparently part of the reason for the 70 percent dilution is that that mixture is actually a more effective antiseptic than the pure alcohol. Which is fine if you're using it as an antiseptic, but my own usual use for it is as a cleaning solvent that evaporates, and for that I'd rather have the 99%.

In the case of ethyl alcohol, 95% is the strongest concentration you can get by distilling a more dilute alcohol-water mixture; to get a higher percentage you need to use a more expensive separation process that usually requires adding really toxic substances like benzene. (It's somewhat counterintuitive, but by adding one impurity, you can remove another, in such a way as to reduce the total amount of impurities.) So you only rarely see anything stronger than 95% ethyl, and pretty much never in drinkable form. Matt - 2011-01-09 11:26
Matt
By the way, Axel, I think I just now got the chart service back online. You might like to test it. Matt - 2011-01-09 11:40
Axel
It works fine - just drew up the chart of Emperor Qiánlóngdì (乾隆帝), born in the Forbidden City 25 September 1711. Axel - 2011-01-09 23:10


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