Monday, March 27, 2006

Cannuckophile/Oztraphile

As some of you may know, I'm a bit of a Cannuckophile and Oztraphile. That is to say I'm a fan of most things Canadian and most things Australian whether it be films, music, or even just general pop culture.

I'm on the daily mailing lists of Ottawa's Globe & Mail newspaper as well as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age (Melbourne). So I do parouse all three newspapers quite extensively. I recently read in The Globe & Mail that the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC has set up a website for expatriate Canadians living in the US to post their tales and memories. Despite not being Canadian I feel an incredible kinship with my neighbours to the north so I submitted a story and a photo:

I'm not Canadian, although I was raised in a small town in Northern NY, a mere 11 miles south of the NY State/Quebec border.

I traveled to and visited Canada frequently as a child and adolescent making many trips to Montreal and to Ottawa. I grew up listening to Canadian radio stations (the only American radio stations I could pick up in the Adirondacks were AM or only ever played country music) and watching about a 50/50 mixture of Canadian and United Stated television stations.

I remember going to my Grandmother's camp on the St. Lawrence at Frazier's Point in Quebec several times throughout my youth. And every year over the US Memorial Day weekend my parents & I would get together with several other families and go to Ottawa to go bicycling on the beautiful bike trails there. As a result Ottawa came to be much like a 2nd home to me.
Today I really miss those trips.I do make it to Canada somewhat frequently on business as I am a software/computer products buyer for the US's largest college bookstore chain. My territory includes our 20+ Canadian stores (most of which are in Ontario) and because 2 of the 3 nearest airports to my parents' home in Northern NY are in Canada (Ottawa and Montreal) I often fly into Canada when flying home to visit my family.

There's always been a part of me that wished I had dual citizenship. For, as much as I love the United States I also love Canada. I find myself often quick to correct misconceptions my fellow Americans have about Canada. And even though, I'm not truly a Canadian, I would love to get together with Canadians here in the US to help quell the popular misconceptions and misunderstandings my fellow Americans have of our neighbours to the North.

Darrin M., Woodridge IL

15 comments:

Bar Bar A said...

Hey Darrin,

I have always enjoyed all things Cunuck too and am very proud that my father was from our sister country up north. Its the one place I really want to visit and plan to some day in the next few years.

I have a best friend who lives in Calgary and we talk almost daily online so I get my "fix".

Keshi said...

G'day Perplexio ;-)

So ur Oztraphile ha..hehe...well u explained why u love anything Canadian but u didnt say why u love anything Aussie :) so tell us now...

U look cute!

Keshi.

The Phoenix said...

I have family in Toronto...and they love coming here to the U.S. They buy a bunch of stuff and bring it back with them. Evidently, taxes are pretty high on electronics up North.

Many times, I'm having to defend what others deem is a "misconception" when it comes to Canadian Healthcare. For years, I argued it's great in principle, but not so great in practice.

Looks like the inevitable is happening, and the Canadian Universal Healthcare coverage system is collapsing. The solution is simple - the Canadian government could take an additional 10% in taxes...what's the big deal? Sure, they could have 40% of their salaries whacked, but at least they get "free" healthcare.

And who doesn't mind waiting a month or two for that MRI???

Perplexio said...

Barbara: You'll love Canada. It's a beautiful country. I really enjoyed Toronto and Ottawa when I passed through there. Montreal is also pretty cool.

Keshi: My fascination with Australia remains a mystery to me. When I was really young I used to watch this show Five Mile Creek about a group of people living in Australia. I really enjoyed that show for the brief spell it was on. Then a couple of years later (when I was about 9 or 10 years old) this Australian guy, Jacko, started doing TV commercials for Energizer batteries, the Facts of Life TV show did a 2 or 3 part episode about a trip to Australia and I was riveted. There just seemed to be this general love of all things Australian in the eighties and since I grew up (for the most part) in the eighties it just kind of stuck with me. To this day I dig Aussie music (John Farnham, Little River Band, INXS, Hunters & Collectors, Cold Chisel, AC/DC, Jimmy Barnes, and the Bee Gees) some Aussie movies (Two Hands, Rabbit Proof Fence, Walkabout, Proof and He Died With a Felafel In His Hand), and things which are Australian in general...

Oh and my first real celebrity crush-- I was about 11 years old and Kylie Minogue covered The Locomotion I could have watched that music video non-stop for the duration of my adolescence... Talk about a saucy Aussie!!! I can't get her out of my head.

Susan as herself said...

Being from the same home town as you, I must say I never felt so much an attraction to Canada as I did sort of an inevitable natural connection to it. Hell, on Saturdays half the shoppers in the area were Canadians coming over the border to score better deals. And since the monetary exchange rate was such a common occurance, I never even felt like the currency thing was a big issue. I also watched a lot of Canadian TV and listened to mostly Canadian radio as a kid. And, I STILL have my old Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey. :)

Perplexio said...

Phoenix: You raise good points about socialized medicine. My wife often confuses me as she speaks of how she thinks the US Health care system should be set up like National Health in the UK (she's British, although she has no accent as she's lived in the US most of her life) but other times she'll start cursing how bad National Health is and how due to their misdiagnosing her grandfather's illnesses it led to a rapid decline in his health and his eventual death. I don't think the Canadian Health Care is any better-- if anything it sounds as if it's even worse.

Susan: Oddly enough, I didn't become a hockey fan until I moved to Michigan for college. Ever since then I've been a rabid NHL fan, religiously following the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins every season and even collecting several hockey jerseys (in addition to the one I'm wearing in that photograph).

As for Canadian radio, I really miss those stations out of Ottawa and Montreal, CHOM, the Bear, CFQR (I believe that was 106.1), 93.9, 95.9, etc. etc. Those were the best stations-- they sure as hell beat listening to WICY or later on WVNV (Country in the Valley).

The Phoenix said...

I think it would be so cool to study the animals in Austrailia...being so remote, there are just some of the most interesting critters in the world there.

Perplexio said...

Phoenix: I believe Australia has one of the highest concentrations of "lethal" critters in the world-- that is to say there are more animals that would just as soon as kill you as look at you in Australia than in any other nation and/or continent in the world. If I had a career in zoology I'd already have packed my bags and moved down there.

I wonder if they have any of those Chupacabras... after all, from those pictures you posted on your blog, those corpses look like annorexic kangaroos.

Keshi said...

G'day!

So u pretty much fancy Australia for it's novelty...thats great!

**To this day I dig Aussie music (John Farnham, Little River Band, INXS, Hunters & Collectors, Cold Chisel, AC/DC, Jimmy Barnes, and the Bee Gees)

I love almost all of em..especially Farnham, INXS and the BeeGees...


**some Aussie movies (Two Hands, Rabbit Proof Fence, Walkabout, Proof and He Died With a Felafel In His Hand), and things which are Australian in general...

wow I LOVE Rabbit Proof Fence! Simply brilliant movie! It's a true story btw...


**I was about 11 years old and Kylie Minogue covered The Locomotion...

I love Kylie too much I have too many of her CDs..hehehe. And Locomotion was one number I used to dance to when I was a kid..if u read my Cellular Album post, I have mentioned this song in there :)


**Talk about a saucy Aussie!!! I can't get her out of my head.

:) have u hear her song 'I just cant get u outta my head..'...... ;-)

Keshi.

Keshi said...

***heard

Bar Bar A said...

Hey! I didn't see the photo when I posted yesterday. Its nice to see the front side of you! Great pic and you look so Canadian!

Perplexio said...

Keshi: I'm quite familiar with Can't Get You Out of My Head. The odd thing is Kylie didn't really have any hits in the US other than The Locomotion and Can't Get You Out of My Head. Back in the early 90s they tried to release her duet with Jason Donovan as a single but it tanked and as a result her albums stopped getting released in the United States. :-(

As for Rabbit-Proof Fence I have the book and the movie on DVD. I haven't watched the DVD in awhile but it is a cool movie.

Barbara: I'm now clean-shaven. That pic is about 3 years old now. I'll have to hunt down something more recent. I had a goatee & moustache from the summer of 2002 until February 2005. My wife suggested I shave off the goatee (I shaved off the moustache sometime over the summer of 2004 and never looked back) for our wedding. She suggested I do so in February so if it turned out I didn't like it, I'd have plenty of time to grow it back (in April 05) for our wedding. I ended up not growing it back and I've been clean-shaven ever since.

Keshi said...

oh ok...so Kylie aint that popualr in the US :) Well 'Especially for u' with JD was a good one anyways...

Keshi.

Perplexio said...

Keshi: she's not near as popular in the states as she is in Australia and the UK.

Keshi said...

aha I gather that..hehehe..

Keshi.