Recently in Montreal Category

Montréal en trois temps

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Dernière d'une série de trois, voici un tracé de la provenance des contributions faites aux partis politiques et associations de circonscription en 2009. L'outil d'où proviennent ces captures d'écran sera publié tard vendredi soir, heure de l'est. Samedi matin, la surprise sortira.

Contributions aux conservateurs 2009 - région de Montréal
Parti conservateur

Contributions aux libéraux 2009 - région de Montréal
Parti libéral

Contributions aux bloquistes - région de Montréal
Bloc Québécois

(Les dons au NPD et au Parti vert dans la région métropolitaine sont trop minimes pour être montrés ici.)

Cedric + La Presse

Cedric + Radio-Canada

Mon père (un photographe émérite) a pris ces photos de moi devant le bâtiment du journal La Presse, et puis avec au loin la Maison de Radio-Canada derrière mon épaule droite. C'était à l'angle de la rue Saint-Antoine et du boulevard Saint-Laurent.

Canada 2008 election - Montréal

S'il y a des luttes serrées sur l'Île de Montréal, ça risque fort bien d'être celles que se livreront le Parti libéral du Canada et le Bloc Québécois pour Papineau et Ahuntsic.

Ces deux circonscriptions du nord de la Ville de Montréal se sont promenés entre le bleu-vert et le rouge durant ces dernières années. Autrefois des châteaux-forts libéraux, ces circonscriptions sont maintenant des toss-ups sur l'Île de Montréal (avec aussi Verdun).

Circonscription de Papineau - carte des résultats électoraux aux fédérales 2008

Papineau, qu'on voit ci-haut, c'est la circonscription de Justin Trudeau, fils de feu Pierre Trudeau. Trudeau Sr. avait d'ailleurs occupé la circonscription voisine de Mont-Royal, maintenant siège de l'ancien ministre de la Justice et prof à McGill Irwin Cotler. Papineau fût le siège du ministre Pettigrew du temps de Jean Chrétien. La Bloquiste Vivian Barbot n'aura siégé qu'un peu plus de deux ans aux Communes.

Si on regarde les résultats par scrutin, on voit bien que la portion Parc-Extension de Papineau vote en masse pour les Libéraux, alors qu'entre le Parc Jarry et le Parc Villeray (tout autour de la rue St-Denis), on préfère le Bloc. Plus loin à l'est, dans St-Michel, on a tendence à voter pour les Rouges.

Circonscription de Ahuntsic - carte des résultats électoraux aux fédérales 2008

Dans Ahuntsic, c'est le duel entre Maria Mourani (BQ) et Eleni Bakopanos (PLC) qui retient l'attention. Ces femmes se sont bataillées pour le siège pendant trois élections de suite et peut-être une quatrième à venir, si fédérales 2009 elles y ont lieu.

Ahuntsic est l'autre circonscription remarquablement divisée, avec une forte majorité d'électeurs votant pour les Libéraux vivant au sud-ouest de St-Laurent et une majorité d'électeurs pour les Bloquistes au nord-est.

Canadiens in Central Hong Kong

C'était le souper de fête à Doris, mais au bistro où on était, ils avaient une grosse tévé qui montrait la game de Canadien contre le Maple Leafs de Toronto. J'ai donc passé la soirée à hurler ma déception pendant que les Kulemin, Grabovski et Ponikarovsky s'amusaient aux dépends du bleu-blanc-rouge. Score final: 5-2.

Comme disait le Maxim Lapierre après la partie lors de la séance de torture devant la presse, la casquette bien basse, "sac', st..., e' va être dure à digérer celle-là".

Mais comment la digérer alors en tant que fan? Ben, on pourrait commencer par écrire sur son blogue. Certains préfèrent appeler sur les lignes ouvertes, ou bien se défouler sur les forums de discussion.

Vous pouvez aussi poursuivre en écoutant les échos de vestiaire, qui prennent de plus en plus des allures de scènes de funérailles. Josh Gorges, vers la fin du vidéo, essayait tant bien que mal de rationaliser, en se détachant du contexte, comme s'il était devenu un ancien joueur qui parle des mauvaises séquences de son équipe d'autrefois. Réjean Tremblay, chroniqueur au quotidien La Presse, nous rassurait lui aussi hier matin en relativisant les choses.

Franchement, j'ai beau m'imaginer dans ma tête qu'après celle-ci, les choses iront mieux. Comment je fais? J'essaie de penser positif, du genre, oh, les joueurs ont passé un beau samedi après-midi avec leur famille et ils auront le coeur à l'ouvrage. On en gagne une facile contre Toronto, pis c'est parti pour la gloire (scénario à l'eau depuis la fin de la première période ce soir). Pour mardi qui vient, je m'imagine que Sergei Kostitsyn apportera l'étincelle qu'il avait apporté en 2007-08.

Autrement, tu peux aussi écouter le point de presse de Gainey où il dit qu'il convoquera les joueurs qui ont mal joué samedi (pour leur dire quoi? qu'ils ont mal joué et qu'ils feraient mieux de ne pas recommencer??). Tu peux aussi aller checker du côté de Guillaume Latendresse dans l'émission d'après-match, au cours duquel il s'est permis de tourner ça avec le sourire avec les Michel Bergeron et Dave Morissette qui voulaient entre Gui dire ce qu'il pense _vraiment_, à la tévé. Même quand ça va mal, vaut mieux essayer d'en rire.

Tu peux aussi aller te défouler sur Facebook. J'ai posté la nouvelle sur Sergei Kostitsyn qui revenait à Montréal après son sevrage exil à Hamilton à faire de l'autobus avec le club-école de Canadien. Je l'ai postée avec bien entendu un petit commentaire sarcastique. Ça fait du bien.

Enfin, on peut aussi se dire que notre équipe est mieux que celle qui nous a battu et qui ratera les séries probablement pour une cinquième saison de suite. Pire encore, ta blonde pourrait te laisser, ta mère pourrait mourir, et tu pourrais perdre ta job (ça risque d'arriver, à cause des coupures à annoncer ce mercredi). Bref, y'a des choses pires que ça dans la vie.

Je pourrais aussi aller en Chine, là où la photo ci-dessus a été prise. J'ai alors manqué la presque déconfiture contre le Bruins de Boston, et comment le Flyers n'a finalement fait qu'une bouchée (ou cinq) de Canadien grâce au bourreau dénommé Umberger. Là-bas, personne n'avait rien à cirer de Canadien.

(PS: Dans la catégorie « Comment rationaliser la défaite », ne manquez pas ce texte du Sportnographe intitulé Serge K : "Je suis essentiel à la pérestroïka de Canadien".)

Ou encore, la caricature à Chapleau résume bien la situation:

La Coupe Stanley ne reviendra probablement pas à Montréal...

Montreal snow

Five minutes later...

The fluff in moving mages is even more impressive, if you've never lived a real wintertime snowfall. I'm going to head out later just to see how it is *in* the storm. This is perhaps the first big one of the season.

Akoha, quesséça?

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Akoha.com logo

On the very very lucky August 28th of 2008, I was invited to a pre-launch of Akoha, a project started out in Montreal which buzz I've felt in the past year or two, and which has equally left me wondering as to what it ate in the winter (mais oui, qu'est-ce que ça mange en hiver??).

Simon Law, a former Canonical (makers of Ubuntu Linux) employee, is one of the people working on Akoha. When prompted about Akoha, he wouldn't say more than a word about it, except that all his talk about karma and good deeds finally made sense at the pre-launch (how are you supposed to hide something you worked on, believed in, for more than a year?).

We were not supposed to talk about Akoha in the next month following it, as the confidentiality agreement stated. So it's been more than three months, and I almost forgot about Akoha altogether.

It turns out that Akoha is indeed a new kind of game, in which you start with a stack of paper-real "mission cards" of good deeds of all kinds, such as buying someone coffee, or giving someone a compact fluorescent light bulb. These help you accumulate "karma points" and allow to advance in the v3ry g33ky social ladder of levels (yes, as in Level 99 levels...).

However, the cool part is the potential in social information. Whereas Facebook, perhaps today's most successful social network, is backed by the ground-breaking idea of mapping real-life social relationships into the digital world, with the concepts of photo-tagging one's friends, as well as the consensus of using real names, the first great potential that I saw in Akoha was a real way of measuring (if not quantifying) bonds between human beings.

Also, cards that you give to the receiver of a good deed are to be redistributed by the latter. As you have guessed, this is almost like the experimental process at work to prove (or disprove) karma.

Of course, you can't help playing the Devil's advocate by saying : are people going to start giving cards out in exchange of accomplishing "social missions"? Where is the dough to make this a viable successful business?

For sure, I am curious to see what's next for Akoha (still in beta testing, not planning a wide release until much later next year), how they are going to harness the new trends of the web, which is giving a lot more importance to mobile devices, and how the cards that I've disseminated around the globe will go from one user to the other (if only the receivers of these cards would *use* them). Btw, who wants a card / account?

Now a few screenshots...

My home page (1 of 2)

Welcome to your Akoha home!

My home page (2 of 2)

Akoha - My home page

My Friends - List of contacts / friends

Akoha - My Friends

My Missions - a list of missions... a mission designer will eventually let you create some of your own to feed into the System

Akoha - My Missions

Play a Mission - play it and earn points when the other player reciprocate

Akoha - Play a Mission

Think big, sti

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The Masked Avengers

Les Justiciers masqués... Vu qu'on les a connu dans le temps, on veut saluer quand même qu'ils aient mis Montréal (ou le Canada, en fait) sur la carte électorale américaine. Ça c'est une entrevue radio bien intéressante faite avec Christiane Charette et leur ancien prof d'histoire à Brébeuf André Champagne en septembre sur les ondes de Radio-Canada.

The Masked Avengers. Yes, we knew them back then, and we still want to salute them for putting Montreal (or Canada, in fact) on the American electoral map, so to speak. This is a radio interview made with Christiane Charette (hosting the kinda French version of CBC's The Current) and their high school history teacher / radio personality André Champagne this September.

This week in cheese

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Bleubry

Last time that I went to Asia, I invited friends to a Greek restaurant on Prince-Arthur, as something suitable for large groups, but also as something likely not to be found in Asia.

This week has serendipitously one of cheese. Last weekend, I asked my parents to buy me a cheddar from Costco for macaroni and cheese. It was not the greatest cheese, but it did the work for a rich and delicious macaroni and cheese.

I had some grated Parmigiano Reggiano from PA, which I got for my various pasta dishes of the week, and which can presumably be kept for a month or two without (seemingly) going bad.

The next cheese was a new discovery, something called the Bleubry (see photo above), a Quebec cheese produced by La Maison Alexis Portneuf, that makes various kinds of cheese sold under an interesting branding scheme. It's a bloomy rind blue-veined cheese, extremely rich, and I ate 1/4 of it (w/o bread) in five minutes. On the same run, I had many pieces of a truly excellent cheese called the Champfleury, a washed rind made by Agropur, no less.

Then, on Friday, we went to the Fromagerie Hamel, an excellent cheese shop (and producer) in Marché Jean-Talon (Mentioning this to a colleague, I was told there is a better, although more expensive, place on Bernard called Fromagerie Yannick - they have "closets" to hold their cheeses, I heard). At Hamel, I had a Brie de Meaux, that is usually in the refrigerated counter seen in the last photo. I usually dislike Brie, because I always associate it with the infect Agropur kind sold in mainstream supermarkets, which surface constantly has a smell of plastic wrap. But each bite of this Brie de Meaux, in particular, sold to you wrapped in specially designed-for-cheese wrapping paper, tasted of creamy milk. It was a big hit with my friends too.

À la Fromagerie Hamel - Marché Jean-Talon

I then took a chance on the nearest inexpensive-looking cheese, a Saint-Guillaume. From what I found on the Internets, St-Guillaume may be the fromagerie, rather than the cheese itself, and the cheese is perhaps a cheddar. In any case, the piece that I bought turned out to be a fresh cheese, the kind you put in poutine, but instead of being in curds, came as a block.

Finally, not cheese this time, but rather saucisson! Saucisson sec is my péché mignon. Every time my relatives come to visit from France (my aunt who just arrived yesterday is no exception), they smuggle a saucisson or two for me, because you may not find the same quality in Quebec. Oh, how wrong I was! In fact, I limited my search to mainstream supermarkets, when I should've looked at Montreal's public markets. This land produces the best French stuff in the world outside of France (and sometimes better than, if you consider places like bakery Première Moisson), and we arguably make cheese on par with France's. Why wouldn't a decent saucisson?

By definition, it is to be hard and firm when you feel it, with a thick salpeter-laden white powder covering it, and a strong meat aroma. They were to be found at Cochons tout ronds, an artisan charcuterie all the way from Île-de-la-Madeleine. It took samples of saucisson freshly cut above the counter filled with saucissons of all size, to convince me that you don't need to go all the way to France (or Hong Kong - scroll down) to get good saucisson that tastes exactly like the real thing. I got mine "ménage", which is the cute way of saying "ordinaire" (as in pain ménage).

Saucisson de Les cochons tout ronds

Chinatown Montreal - 2008-03-11

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Ruby Rouge - Quartier Chinois de Montréal

Went to Chinatown after work yesterday to do my groceries, and took pictures of businesses over there.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/smurfmatic/sets/72157604098265388/

New York's Chinatown in Montreal

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One Way

Upon reading Chris' article about Montreal Chinatown's sudden metamorphosis for a movie called "Baja" (say the signs, but Chris mentions it is something called "The Punisher" instead), I was obliged to go take a look for myself. Indeed, the change is very amusing, as most store names remained the same, except for a brand new dim sum place called "Imperial". It was like an alternate reality where Quebec language laws did not exist!

At the corner of the virtual Eldridge & Grand (De la Gauchetière & St-Laurent) stood a newsstand typical of New York City. It turns out that one of my favourite eats in NYC, one random dirt-cheap dumplings house, is within a block of the real Eldridge and Grand.

They also shot at Église St-Pierre-Apôtre, corner of La Visitation and René-Lévesque, shining huge projector lights into the church's stained glass windows.

Wah Fung / Pho Cali
The "City of New York" pole marks where reality starts and ends

Flickr set http://www.flickr.com/photos/smurfmatic/sets/72157603446335603/

Before and after the storm...

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A huge snow storm blanketed Montreal with a thick layer of snow (28cm during the past 24 hours, to be exact, which beats a record for a 3rd of December). In anticipation for the snowfall, I took a bunch of "before and after" pictures around the area where I live. The before pics were taken on Sunday, December 2nd at around 3:30PM and the after pics were taken on Monday at 11AM.

Rue Villeneuve Rue Villeneuve
Cars parked, rue Villeneuve, near Avenue du Parc, looking west (map)

Darfour / Darfur Darfour sous la neige
Rue Villeneuve, closer to Parc, looking west (map)

Hour, Mirror, Postes Canada Hour, Mirror, Postes Canada, et neige
Hour, Mirror, Postes Canada, corner of Villeneuve and Du Parc

Coureur sur Rue Jeanne-Mance Coureurs sur la rue Villeneuve
Runners on Villeneuve on Jeanne-Mance (map)

IMG_3566 Ruelle off Rue Jeanne-Mance
An alleyway off Jeanne-Mance, between Villeneuve and St-Joseph (map)

Boulevard St-Joseph jaune Boulevard St-Joseph
Boulevard St-Joseph and Rue Jeanne-Mance (map)

This article was originally published in French on Spacing Montréal, a magazine on urban public space.

Un festival de feux jaunes

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Avenue Laurier jaune

La commission des raisonnables

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Commission Bouchard-Taylor

La Bouchard-Taylor était à Montréal cette semaine. Ils étaient arrivés la semaine d'avant, de passage dans le quartier Côte-des-Neiges, dans la seule ville vraiment multiculturelle du Québec. Je ne sais pas vraiment ce qui m'a pris de me présenter au Palais des Congrès ce mardi et jeudi soirs, sans m'être inscrit d'avance, mais ayant tout de même suivi de plus ou moins près (plus que mes pairs, en tout cas) le débat généré par les accommodements raisonnables ici.

Expozine 2007 pictures

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November 24-25, 2007.

Expozine 2007 + etc

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Expozine 2007

Have not blogged in half a week, but I doing it here to publicize Expozine, a small press, comic and zine fair. It is going to be at the Église Saint-Enfant-Jésus, on the corner of Laurier and St-Dominique. Will be there to help man the Spacing Montreal kiosk.

Unrelatedly, but not quite so, I was very tempted to buy this month's Urbania, a really cool hipster magazine. Radio-Canadian Émilie Dubreuil wrote an article criticizing life in Montreal without knowing French. It is bizarre, but such is the reality of hipster ghetto, the Plateau (ironic). There are those trying, and those not trying too much. For some reason, many friends/acquaintances who don't speak much French all very much like Jean Leloup and Ariane Moffatt (who are two of my fave local artists - even have the latter's "L'autre Gala de l'ADISQ" poster, w/ an excellent pic by John Londono).

Ok, I'm going for a walk to the supermarket, munching on a bar of dark chocolate bar.

at17 at the Montreal Club Soda

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at17 in Montreal

Okay, rendons à César ce qui appartient à César: this was the first time that I attended a singing contest, and it was a very remarkable event. So, yes, a singing contest for Chinese folks in Montreal. It's very interesting that the language of choice is still Cantonese (both hosts spoke Cantonese all the time, except when the contestants were Mandarin-speakers), but that half or more than half of the songs sung were in Mandarin. Shows how meaningful the "old" Cantonese establishment (and how the new force of "pan-China" is changing things). Overall very pleased to having Hong Kong in Montreal.

at17 were very cool on stage. They corrected the crowd on the pace of the clapping for instance, poking fun simultaneously. They started with 始終一天, and there was 三分鐘後, and The Best is Yet to Come, and some song from Sing Sing Sing (我們的序幕), their September 2006 show at the AsiaExpo.

I believe that it is a rare thing to have Hong Kong artists perform in such intimate venues, as the Cantopop stars that we do hear about always do at the HK Auditorium and the like. It is an observation that needs exploring. We know after seeing Beijing Bubbles that a Chinese city could have a music scene. Hong Kong does have one, but if I read about it in a English-language newspaper, is it only geared towards expats, or a "certain slice" of the population? Question en l'air.

Green Life had a kiosk during the singing contest.

Si Cartier avait navigué / À l'envers de l'été

Il faisait drôlement doux pour un 21 octobre. The Indian Summer came late, and the wind blowing on Montrealers' faces today was surprisingly warm, comfortable. Along the way, I discovered an Asian snacks shop near Concordia, on De Maisonneuve close to St-Mathieu, below Tapioca Café, and formerly a comic books shop, that hides behind a nondescript "Dépanneur" sign. The sign above actually points to the existence of veritable Sichuan (Szechuan) food, which could be served at the place that is/was Tapioca Cafe, say some of my friends who have been recently. It has yet to be tried and integrated into Métro Boulot Resto, if deemed worthy.

Monument to Georges-Étienne Cartier

It was indeed a really really nice day. Once more tomorrow, and it's "see you next year, summertime!".

spacingmontreal.png

A repost for the Election Sign Project over at Spacing Montréal, an online magazine on urban affairs. It is widely thought that the upcoming throne speech this Tuesday in Ottawa will make the current Conservative government fall (to summarize for those who have not been following the news, the Bloc and the NDP are voting against, and Stéphane Dion of the Liberals is stuck between a rock and a hard place, namely his popularity as the Liberal leader, and his party's popularity with the electorate).

You are strongly encouraged to send us pictures of election signs of years past, or even of this current election, with a comment on the sign, the campaign in the particular riding/district that it was taken in.

spacingmontreal.png

http://spacingmontreal.ca/?p=162

Weirdness! That is a story that strikes one's imagination. A random encounter with the modified metro wagon? Sounds straight out of a video game trying to surprise you with rare prizes / monsters.

Clues

Sunday's Bleating Hearts Show was at McGill University beautiful Birks Building's chapel. On the picture is the band Clues (Alden Penner, Brendan Reed, Bethany Or) sound checking right before the show.

Raccoons!

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IMG_1977

Last week, we had the untimely visit of raccoons! One must recognize that animals of all sorts have been the lot of "inconveniences" that we had to face, among arthropods (the tinier ones), and rodents (how about squirrels going through your refrigerator's leftovers - albeit ones that were contained in trash bags). Raccoons, or rather, a family of raccoons (my roommate speculated that they might've been looking for a relative that was randomly thrown in one of the trash cans, or something). They were at least three, probably four, roaming the balcony for at least fifteen minutes, before I snatched this picture of them escaping by the way they probably came about. Just like a gang of burglars, eh.

Galacticast

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Galacticast is Montreal stock! You know, Anglo Montreal is such a small circle, that I bet I know people who know them, or will know them by the end of this year. :P

Pointe-Claire - 2007/09/15

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Laine and Chris (and Cedric) are doing Pointe-Claire!

Chinatown - 2007/09/09

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Osheaga Festival 2007

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Did Day 2 of Osheaga 2007, on Sept 9th.

Cleanup Chinatown Montreal 2007

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Cleanup Chinatown 2007

Cleanup Chinatown 2007 is today!

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Cleanup Chinatown t-shirt closeup

La journée de nettoyage du Quartier Chinois, c'est aujourd'hui que ça se passe!

Samedi, 19h, à Banlieueville

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Photos taken tonight in the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent, nearby Place Vertu shopping mall.

Bus stop, Ville Saint-Laurent

Place Vertu parking lot

L'Itinéraire parkometers

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We saw these all over downtown, in particular close to today's Montreal business centre of Avenue McGill College and Rue Ste-Catherine, sponsored by L'Itinéraire, a community group that sells a magazine of the same name (often containing pieces by and on known personalities) through homeless people, as an alternative to beggary.

L'Itinéraire parkometers

Pictures taken along Ste-Catherine Street, of the side of otherwise unnoticeable office buildings.

IMG_0511

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La Banquise

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Famed poutine place on Rachel, on the north-west corner of Parc Lafontaine (next to bike shop, facing a police station), La Banquise serves twenty-something variants of the Quebec delicacy (and adopted by the rest of Canada, even found in expat areas of HK and China). I had a poutine with merguez sausages, while my guest, content with poutine served at Montreal Chinatown's L2 bubble tea cafe (!), took the original (fries, gravy, cheese curds). There you go for your Canadian/Quebecer-Chinese take on poutine! (When's the char siu poutine for? - eww)

I liken La Banquise to Crif Dogs, a place in East Village, NYC, that I visited in February and that serves hot dogs fried with a bacon wrap, as they are both late-night fast food joints with a specialty "dish" (La Banquise is in fact open 24 hours).

Clouds, grain elevator

The Slanted Screen

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The Slanted Screen

The Slanted Screen is a documentary film by Jeff Adachi.

A screening of The Slanted Screen will be presented on Friday July 27th at 7PM, at the Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal. The movie lasts for 60 minutes, and a short discussion will follow. It is a follow-up to the General Tao, Kung Fu, Ching Chong round table on Chinese identity and multiculturalism in Canada held in early June 2007, and screening of Chinese Restaurants during the same month.

Facebook event for this activity.

L'Avenue du Plateau

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L'Avenue du Plateau: very close to the window

You will probably have to lineup for around an hour on the Sunday morning brunch rush hour, but the wait will be definitely worth it. We went to L'Avenue du Plateau, otherwise known simply as "L'Avenue", last week, and discovered that none of the five attending people went there before, despite its reputation as a premiere breakfast place on Avenue Mont-Royal on the Plateau.

While waiting outside, we were greeted by loud electronic music by a folk named Michael Meyer, on a compilation prepared by Londonian party venue Fabrik. The place is definitely for twenty/thirtysomething hipsters. Walls were decorated with various graffitis, customers seated in large comfy upholstered chairs.

After waiting for an hour, we ordered. Three of us had omelettes, each of which are prepared with four eggs, unknown (but indecent) amounts of animal fat, and a choice of filling. They were a delight, but made me wish of eating congee for the rest of the week.

922 avenue du Mont Royal Est, around 15-20$ per person, taxes and tips included.

Photos here below:

Cedric & Sandra at the Green Life kiosk

More on the Green Life website, and specifically this entry.

Chinese Restaurants: Song of the Exile

Cheuk Kwan's Chinese Restaurants: Song of the Exile (English w/ French subs), on Friday June 15th, 6:30PM, at the CFSGM. Free admission.

Festival Fringe de Montréal

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Montreal Fringe festival poster

A poster in Chinese! (I should really speak up against the trivial use of Chinese characters, when the event itself has nothing at all that we could call Chinese!)

http://www.montrealfringe.ca/

Festival de rue St-Viateur

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Welcome to my new office

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Outdoor office

And this is why Montreal is such a great place in the summertime...

The round table on Chinese identity in a multicultural Canada will be held on June 3rd at 2PM at the Main Hall of the Chinese Family Service (987 Rue Côté in Chinatown) and is bilingual, English and French. RSVP on Facebook or Google Groups.

As for the show, catch it on 207 on Bell ExpressVu this week on Tuesday at 1PM, Wednesday at 9:30AM, Thursday at 4PM and Saturday at 9AM (phew, no more prime time). Original time that the show is shown is Mondays at 10PM.

The round table is on Chinese identity and multiculturalism. The object of the discussion, like I was saying, is just to get people together and talk about stereotypes, how we each forge our identity, and how our experiences defined us. I am hoping that such activity could un-confuse people growing up, propose a new perspective about their identity. I really hope that we don't come across as hardcore activists or rather academic...

The metro to Laval is opening next Saturday, so I'll grab on to the occasion to launch this:

http://www.metroboulotresto.com/

For all transit system geeks who happen to be foodies (or foodies who happen to travel by metro), this is your ultimate destination for restaurant reviews! It's a reimplementation of xanawu's restaurant page (who will also be a main contributor of this site - once she gets back from HK, I suppose). We will be adding stations profiles eventually, but for now, please take a look and drop us a line if you have comments/suggestions/questions! (The site is also bilingual English/French, if you click on the sub-headers.)

Actually, this was my first Saint Patrick's Day parade ever that I can remember, after living in Montreal for only the entirety of my life! I have photos on Flickr. XD

A hipster party in Mtl

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After watching Pan's Labyrinth (an excellent fairytale for grown-ups), we went to this party of a friend's friend, thrown in a nondescript old building at 10 Pine Avenue W, in what seemed to be either a building for small businesses (some Chinese newspaper I've never heard of before on the ground floor), NGOs, and perhaps shady activities. It was apparently someone's flat (or loft), but noone there really knew, as they'd just be holding these get-togethers once in a while. We were charged a cover of 5$, which probably helped pay the rent for the whole month. Weren't more than 50 at a time, but a lot of people just came and went.

It turned out to be organized by some Japanese expats, and more than half the guests were/looked like they were Japanese, and the other half, declared or implied Japanophiles. The first DJ (one of the host's friends) played more of that normal dance pop, and was saying how he didn't want to venture too much into his J-music collection for the sake of the many locals present. Of course, I didn't believe that, and hinted him to play some from it anyways. Eventually, Chara (MILK) and Yuki (Joy) (in a party!) was played, along with what the DJ described as children music. And it was a first time hearing J-music, and especially with noone reacting strangely. The second DJ (another one of the host's friends) played some electro that was hard and abstract the way we like.

Tonight, by Radio-Canada's website, I was reminded that it was the Nouveau Cinema festival time of the year. I don't recall if I went last year... hmm, wait a second, yeah, I did (I went to see, um, Lie With Me - in 2004, it was the infamous Nine Songs, and also the FFVII "extended trailer").

In any case, I've never been to the second event, but the premise sounds interesting: a multimedia art competition + video games, and apparently "CD-ROM and DVD" too. I know that the SAT frequently organizes montages and exhibits, but it's always a tad intimidating. Du 13 au 15 octobre.

More notably, the Nouveau Cinema film festival. The website is not up yet, but at least *they* know where they're putting their money (in good looks - design for the Nouveau Cinema has always been superior, or at least more appealing to types like me). I've found something whilst doing URL guessing, but at this stage, it's still using last year's contents. 35th anniversary? Du 18 au 28 octobre.

向日葵

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Sunflower
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.
Rest of the set.

Oh Montreal, what have you done?

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The second thought that came to mind was, shit, this is the sort of thing that happen every day in Bagdhad, 100x worse the violence, in places you instinctively figure as anonymously secure like your home. First, it was the war in Lebanon, and then, probably where we should feel responsible about as Canadians, the war in Afghanistan. The situation bothers me like fingernails screeching a chalkboard. The SRC sent a journalist to Afghanistan (right after the man had covered Lebanon in July/August) to produce a series over the course of a week or two. He interviewed respected religious leaders, ordinary townspeople, etc, and all of them seemed to point the obvious, that the gov't is corrupt to the bone, and that the foreigners are not necessarily welcome. It bothers me to hear Canadian soldiers saying that they are there to help, that they fight for an ideal; and it bothers me that if we're against the war, we're not supporting the troops, and thus being un-patriotic. It seems to me that there is nothing to justify the presence of a foreign army in any active fighting role. I know people enrolled in the army, and I hope they never get sent overseas (which would probably happen - but you can correct me up on it).

But at the same time, I understand the deeper consequences of our country's army in foreign soil. It's the defense of Canada's status in the world, if not in front of the world, at least in the eyes of our most important ally. It seems at least an accurate reading of history. The Economist had a story on the 50th anniversary of the Suez Canal crisis, during which, the old European powers were led by men obsessed by the Munich compromise. I think that similarly, the road of appeasement is the last that the US/UK would be taking. I can understand that their governments act in accordance with the interests of their population - and they can't do otherwise, can they - and have decided to go the tough way.

What can you do, really? Cut your addiction to oil? That'd probably take at least a generation, and a lot of tough choices for everyone (like, do you spend extra few grands for a hybrid car?), I think. Then, maybe once the technological edge is established, maybe those powerful countries will want to release a bit of their grip on the Middle East...

That's it, quite some mish-mash nonsense. Nonetheless, the Canadian presence in Afghanistan, the American-instilled instability in Iraq: cannot bear it lah.

Still shocking when your city makes the front page of an international news service, the bad way.

The Telephone Pass

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The Telephone Pass
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.
No, this ain't a Photoshop trick. The STM has actually decided to put ads on their September 2006 bus passes. Urgh, and the card design is plenty of finger-down-throat ugliness...

Osheaga

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Flora

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Went w/ Stephanie to the Flora outdoor arrangements competition thing at the Parc des Écluses, in the westmost part of the Old Port. It ends in mid-October, but it was so boring that I wouldn't recommend going unless you're in pleasant company, or actually have backyard fantasies. Not my forte, at least.

It was still nice (to get a good tan), but maybe I was expecting flowers to be at the front stage of the expo (for that, I'm better off going to the Botanical Garden). There are some striking "cubicules", like one made of poles spiking up at 10cm intervals, painted in dual colors, such that you saw red or blue depending of your positionning, or the trees transplanted on supports rocking to the rhythm of a pneumatic device.

Patrick Masbourian is now hosting the 9-11:30AM show on Radio-Canada's Première Chaîne, and on Monday, he interviewed Miss Vicki Ng-Wan [asx clip - between the 27th and 40th minute], Miss Chinese Montreal 2006. The story was that after winning the contest in Montreal, she went to HK, did not agree to the terms of the contract (where she was legally bound to stay in HK for three years, she said), didn't sign, obviously got kicked out of the contest. She reports that another girl, from Malaysia, also went back home before the end of the contest.

Never followed beauty pageants, but it was nice to hear about something Chinese in the local medias (besides how the Mainland is crushing the world, etc - which was incidently a segment of today's show...). Most notably, Christy Chung was a winner of the Montreal contest in 1993, and went on to win HK's and become a big Canto-star in the mid-90s.

After spending some time at McGill, decided that it was enough of a nice day to walk from there all the way to Concordia. Down on University, cross the lower campus from Milton, then south on McGill College, east on De Maisonneuve, south on Peel, east on Ste-Cath, all the way to Guy.

The goal of this was to get to the big dollarama in Faubourg, thinking that I would be able to find a cheap couscousière there. Maybe I'll just cook it in the rice cooker... Nonetheless, I stopped at that Middle Eastern shop on Ste-Cath next to the bank on the corner of Guy, and got myself another contingent of random spice (ground cardamon, and paprika - cuz the paprika we have at home is probably as old as this house), and some dry-roasted peanuts to quell the aggravating hunger. Then, on my way to the metro, decided to stop by another shop, the one directly on the corner of St-Mathieu and De Maisonneuve, and also got spices (ground cumin), pita, and zahtar pita, which I had the pleasure of discovering as an undergraduate, as it was sold by the student-run architecture caf, right on our way to classes.

We've been going pretty Mediterranean these past weeks. We've started buying the Pheonicia brand of yogourt which, at about 2$ for its 750g format, totally whips the mainstream brands (goes for about 3$ in the same format). The taste is surely different, and caters to a clientele that does not mind to mix in their own flavours. One of my favourite is a pinch of ground espresso coffee with a drop of vanilla extract. Others would be just a spoonful of fig jam; or sultana raisins and walnuts with a bit of sugar (unless you chew on the raisins, it gets a bit bland otherwise); or just honey.

Last week at Adonis, I was intrigued by the rectangular plastic bins filled with fresh (goat?) cheese, and what people actually do with it. If it weren't for the very long queue-ups at the cheese counter, I would've gotten myself a portion of that, just to dip the Lavash crackers we bought at Cosco into something.

Now I totally have spices in excess and will want to season any sort of meat with it in preview of any garden party I would happen to host this summer (which would either be plenty or none at all, since almost all my Montreal relatives, including those living in the same house, would be gone to Asia...). And in terms of meat, I would suppose that anything exotic has to come with the seasoning, b/c, what sort of other meat than beef, pork, chicken, lamb and fish do people actually eat? And now, I should try to finish pop novel Guns, Germs and Steel... I think I'll read up on spices.

Lamb, merguez sausages. Now maybe fresh parsley, onions, spices and ground beef for some easy kebabs?

Re-posting from an Angry Asian Man news story of yesterday, because the thing actually happened in the Montreal suburban area where I live: A Filipino second-grader in Canada has been repeatedly punished by his school for eating with a spoon and fork (link). A stab at my wronged belief that differences would be understood and accepted. Some things like these push me out of me. To a lesser extent, people who think that manga/anime is a marginalized sub-culture. Cultural misunderstandings take a pinch at my arm skin and twists it 360 degrees x 10. I guess it's because of how something so anodine as eating the way your ancestors have always eaten was singled out by a near-sighted educational system tool as a deviant behaviour, even after adults have been involved. >:O

McGill "censorship"

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Hmm, in some countries, censorship is certainly a more serious issue than this.

But one of the more famous profs we have at the School of Computer Science, Luc Devroye, (if you went font-hunting one day, you'd end up googling him out) posted a page to scans of the Playboy feature on best party school involving McGill (so that we all finally get to see it for ourselves), and ended up getting his page at McGill yanked out from the domain completely by university authorities and forced to relocate to Carleton (not him, just the page, less the Playboy stuff - see explanation [link removed]). And as my former schoolmate says, "McGill, one of the top ten party schools in North America, and one of the least human administration." It turned out that a PGSS exec (perhaps through a student contact?) initially got wind of the page, and created the situation by asking the dean who asked the dept chair to take down the page.

Anyways, take this as the latest of a number of funny/embarassing anecdotes on McGill...

Hung out downtown for most of the afternoon. Got a different haircut from this winter's trend of going longer. Walked from McGill to Concordia, and in circles until I bussed to Chinatown to get some siu lap for dinner tonight (one of those perfect cantonese meal: siu yok, char siu, oil/garlic sauteed bok choy quarters, and white rice).

Part of the second-floor hallway has been taken up by our new bathroom, but has overall been enlarged. I can now walk straight to the toilet w/o having to make a turn! Anyways - for now, looking out from my room, all there is to see are the house's frame, naked floors, and trash, in a way somewhat reminiscent of Labyrinth. But soon, I'm going to learn how to lay ceramic tiles, and stick new carpet (so I can do it myself, for my potential room renovation).

Allergies have started, soon after Wee mentionned he was currently being incapacitated by pollen & dust. It doesn't usually start before mid-May, but the weather in Mtl has been exceptionally warm (usually we even expect it to snow at this time of the year!).

Real hockey has also started. Exciting games all over the league, and I've predictably been glued to the TV screen all evening (the emotionally important series only starts tomorrow). What a shame that the Oilers lost that way after Roloson's performance. The Ducks-Flames game is tied, and will probably last all night for overtime (as we remember Anaheim's 2003 run to the Cup finals).

Been exercising, reading, and have felt very relaxed for the past month or so. The university pool has been closed for repairs during the finals stretch (until end of the month, that is), and looking forward to extend those arms into cool clear chlorinated water. Got to work on not dying after a single pool length. :\

Books and ice cream

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So I forced myself downtown to attend my boss' husband's novel launch (he's an U Ottawa academician), in a chic biblio cafe on the Plateau called "Salon B" on St-Laurent (just past the Parc des Amériques, corner Rachel). The right choice: perfect blue skies, and somewhat warm in the dark white-stripped zipper sweater I wore. I strolled from the McGill campus through the ghetto, stopped at the Metro in the Galeries du Parc to get myself some healthier snacks (sultana raisins, roasted corn kernels), and then at my grandma's who lives nearby. Then I bussed up, and got there right on time, stood there for a few long minutes (my boss + colleagues weren't there yet) watching the crowd of lit people happily chat in the white-walled small room with hardwood floors that is the upper section of Salon B (we never saw the footbridge they said they would deploy).

They served a delicious bruschetta with a vertically-aligned thin crisp piece of bacon, and pita bread with a hummus dip. After the presentations, they served panini bread with brie cheese and mango or apple, and two simple salads, one Greek (cubes of feta, red onions, tomatoes, the usual), and the other Italian (basalmic vinegar, what seemed to be dried game meat).

The underlying themes of the novel remind me a lot of Murakami's latest. Oedipian thematic (in this novel, father and son also don't get along, father dies -the premise to story-, and he ends up sleeping with his mistress), and general exploration of death (characters dying, finding their "spirit"/influence passed on through other characters).

Finished the evening walking down St-Laurent, getting a green tea + ginger ice cream from Ripples (which just reopened for the summer) - and I quickly note that ginger in ice cream is such a delight, gently spicy as it melts on your tongue - and hung out at Wee's for 30 mins, and finally walked back down on Parc, and commuted back home hard asleep, masterfully waking up at the right moments.

Who said it was going to rain?

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Environment Canada was forecasting rain for tonight. But the skies were baby blue all of this afternoon, and even so until sunset. So, as far as I'm concerned, the people at the weather station just left their machines running on auto mode for the long weekend.

I was deposited at a farther northwest end of the subway system, and made it all the way to Mont-Royal, which was at the commercial center of the Plateau, Montreal's gentrified artsy neighborhood. People spilled all over the sidewalks and happily sipped their beers on open-air terasses or tapas-serving and other conceptual drinking holes which had their windows open for the second Friday this season (the first being two Fridays ago). I tried looking for one of those specialized music shops carrying rare discs, but could only find three or four used CD/DVD shops on the same block (there must be some sort of scam-trend going on).

Couldn't be tempted by anything exotic enough to try in terms of food, so instead took the next metro back to more familiar spaces, such as the stretch of Ste-Cath between McGill and Concordia. The initial trip from one end of the orange line to the other (it's a big U dipping into downtown, with both ends stretched towards mid-to-uptown) reminded me of trips in foreign cities on various subway lines. For the unadventurous, subway lines ensure that you don't get lost, but it also ensures you the Teleporter Effect (of not seeing the gradually changing cityscape as you travel from point A to point B, blabla). It's not annoying, b/c Montreal has always been my city, but it's weird, b/c I am not supposed to feel like a tourist in my own city.

Besides, I take the bus in foreign cities. 2 yuan a ride. Octopus, beep. SMRT card, beep.

I spent the next two hours at the busiest Starbucks of this town, on Ste-Cath and Crescent. Probably one of the worst managed ones - on both occasions I've been this week, they either didn't have straws the right size (stuck with a pole-size straw for my tiny mezzo iced americano), or the right lids (stuck with a hemispherical lid, when there was no whipped cream to go around). Busiest one; surely your chance of making mistakes when calculating for cafe furniture increases proportionately.

After a stint on the side of the Starbucks (off an opened glass vitrine - slightly chilly from the occasional breeze), I finally got the Corner Seats. Or just one of the two, because immediately after getting It, a middle-aged Southeast Asian couple came to sit on the facing seat, and the adjacent chair that was left by the former tenants and completing the semicircle around the glass-bayed corner of the establishment. The Corner Seat was quite a special one, b/c it gives you an open view on the Ste-Cath/Crescent corner, a strategic location in the dynamics of humanflow of the great city of Montreal. It is at the confluence of two streams, one made up primarily of students from Concordia University (towards the East), and the other made up of Ontarian or American tourists (towards the West). In fact, the customership of that particular Starbucks would surely include a mixture containing a larger-than-average proportion of both.

The middle-aged couple must be about 10 years younger than my parents (maybe they weren't even a couple at all), but my parents wouldn't hang out at a vulgar Starbucks, unless they're in a foreign city (and then, who doesn't hang out in Starbucks in foreign cities? :D). Trading seats between the cushioned one-seat sofa and the wooden chair (the man eventually settled for the sofa), they sat there for the whole time I was there, quietly chatting on in a foreign language (sounded like Vietnamese, but not quite?) mixed with hints of English, as they stared towards the outside, neither of them very interested in the view. It, of course, reminded me of the first time I went to that particular coffeeshop, where another middle-aged couple occupied the two seats, quietly talking, looking out, not quite as if they were waiting for their potential children to finish some social activity (it was ~11PM, one Saturday night, as I killed time before my last time clubbing, waiting for my friends who were customarily late).

I'm still not done with my book, but it's very very entertaining, and I retract whatever I said about it not being well-written (becoz I am no book critic). The characters are quirky, and the way that the prose is always interspersed with a variety of diagrams and figures just cracks me open. I figured it might be a very Asian thing to have - in books, but especially in movies, tv shows - these comical interludes where the protagonists might come out of character, or bring up some sort of transcending opinion about the drama unravelled in their narrated stories. I like it very much how each character gets a chance at the mic, for about 20 pages, until you move on to the next. It reminds me of (while I haven't read one myself) those novels where you simply have the same scene described by the 120 characters present. Anyways, it's not worth "discussing" in depth until it's finished reading.

Link sticking

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McGill Off-Campus Housing Service. The actual listings seem to be down, but there a cool first-time apartment tenant's guide.

Argh, it's April!

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I can't believe it's already April. No backing off, and let's make it rain FROGS! And in actual fact, it's going to be the case for the rest of the week - if not frogs, leeches.

One and a half more month before the tree in front of our house starts blooming. In 2003, it practically failed to do so - I'm not sure of the reason: maybe a winter too cold, or, once-in-a-lifetime, a tree decides to skip a year? Anyhow, it bloomed in '04, and apparently too in '05. Nothing like watching the sakuras in a public park in Tokyo (it would've been nice if this year was last year - as the sakuras bloomed a week or so ahead of schedule!), but really looking forward to the Botanical Garden's o-hanami (this time, I will ensure to smuggle some sake in). Our crabapple tree in May 2002:

pink.tree.may2002.jpg

The weather in May (of which we seem to get an early mild preview of), leaving wet cement, greening grass in its midst, reminds me inexorably of the all-nighters I used to pull for math and language courses taken during the first summer session. You dare not do it, but once I did walk out at 5AM to get a newspaper. Days are warm, 19C-ish, but right before dawn, temperatures are very chill at 8C-ish, the air, heavy and dense. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't (usually) snow in May - but I've recorded a picture where everything was covered in thick snow on an April 29th (gone the next day):

snow.april2002.jpg

PS: Wah! And Pizzicato Five, soundtrack of 2002! It's already four years ago. -_-;

[music: Pizzicato Five - Groovy Is My Name]

It might still snow in April

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Although the rest of March will be uber-awesome.

Kobayashi @ Main Hall

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Finally, it was by pure chance that we caught the Kobayashi show tonight. It was through Sean, who was coming back from China this week, that I knew about the show and with whom I had a Radio 3 conversation started this morning:

Sean: Oh by the way, do you know this band Kobayashi.
Ced: Hell yes, I do!
Sean: Well, the pianist's my neighbor.
Ced: No shit, cuz the sax used to be my cousin's teacher in high school.

(Well, isn't Montreal a small city...) I was able to relay the info to Sabina, who mentionned the music in her blog for its, err, 'medicinal virtues'... I'm totally making this up, but I find it's true that the music, acid jazz with electronic and funk elements, is entrancing, carries you off sometimes... as soon as the pre-show bands retired, a certain aroma could be felt in the room, and a particular gigantic rastaman proceeded to impede on the view of the whole right wing. A rather tall asian indie boy went to talk to S - turns out to be a freelance photographer taking pics at the show - although I found it rather clumsy that he seemed to have the timer on, and kept on blinking its light in the performers' faces. The girl doing the occasional vocals (no longer the same in the latest album) also stroke a conversation with us between the pre-show bands' performances as we were standing at about 10 centimeters away, err, against the scene, for most of the evening. XD

The pre-show bands were somewhat more low-key. The first band were the Antizario from Ottawa, of whom we missed the first few songs - and caught in time a rapped solo for a jazzy tune. Sean said that the first songs reminded him of 1- Modern Era theme song from Civ3, and 2- Cowboy Bebop. To me, it was a really cool mix of genres, which I have the impression to be so 2000, but really something to smoke up to (at least the more high-beat Kobayashi would be). Then the Soundclash, another band with a more experimental sound in the same jazzy sound, which I couldn't fully enjoy in the state I was in (30 hours straight awake, mind you). I dozed off on my chair, but as soon as Kobayashi came on stage, it was a succession of songs that I knew and which are usually played as "work music", and therefore naturally swung to it in the first row, and cheered as the solos went by.

The ride home was a particularly adventurous one. The new lead singer (a somewhat short girl with a particularly expressive gesture) was saying how she lived in the South Shore, and had to stay over after the show. Time went by quickly, and we left the show early, only to miss the last metro to Cote-Vertu by 5 minutes. S took the metro to Jean-Talon, while I decided for an adventure. It ended up being a succession of very well timed buses: the last 51 from Laurier at 1:08AM to Snowdon. Then up Decarie on the 371 night bus at 1:45 (at that point, I only waited 10 mins) to Cote-Vertu metro. And from there, the 382 on the north path into the West Island. Home at 2:50AM.

B&S show photos

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Already I knew that most people at Saint-Laurent Metro at 23:30 came from the show, but that was a given. Although I've known of the WWW's magical powers, now I can be off for some magic for myself to witness as I browse pics of the show in all sorts of other angles too!

Nuit blanche notes

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I'm listening to a bandeapart news report on the upcomind Montreal All-nighter. The radio station's associate director dude's has a proposed trail for the 25th...
- Nuit Electronik (starts at midnight)
- Usine C (a walk up the street at 2AM)
- Musee d'art contemporain (at 3AM)
- Free breakfast at Complexe Desjardins at 5AM
- Nuit Electronik again
- (Ced's addition: the Olympics men's ice hockey final LIVE at 8AM :D)

... the tour's stopping on March 2nd in Montreal. Comme Un Homme Libre, Hexes & Ohs, Pony Up, Alligator Trio (they are on this week's CBC Radio 3 podcast) - for free, at Club Soda. Call 1-866-588-3383 to reserve a ticket.

Two nights of boogie-woogie. Friday night was with buddies Francis and Ivo from CTF at our club's mascot band, The Electric Six, who seem to be old boys in their late 20s or early 30s doing what Francis describes as rock/punk/alternative, which could also just be a 'rock band with funny lyrics'. A lot of fun, especially being just one metre away from lead singer (who just did that, sing, except during that stretch between him shouting "STOP" and "CONTINUE", at the middle of a song, where he went backstage to fetch a guitar while other members less clavierist retired and sings some unknown moody rock song, and oh; I will immediately forget about the details on pants and shirt, or lack thereof during 5-minute intermezzo). That was Electric Six, the band that tours Montreal, Canada, every six months...

[I often forget what I said before long parentheses, go on and ramble about all sorts of diff stuff... Here, what I meant by being a meter away from the lead singer is not that it's cool by itself (following crowd for low-fives), but rather that it was where the mosh pit energy waves came crashing on. Try to keep yourself steady among rowdy teenagers twice your size.]

Tonight, was with Jae from NYC and Ess, dancing away to local electronica DJs at the Parc Jean-Drapeau. Activity in question was Piknic Electronik des Neiges, the cold version of the summerly weekly event under the sculpture in Jean-Drapeau going by L'Homme. After an hour skating with Wee around temporary skating *tracks*, went to dance the cold off for a couple of hours, armed with some brandy brought along, complemented with hot wine 'n caribou purchased from makeshift bar. Can now mark off "dancing in snow and on ice" below "dancing during summer rain".

Afterwards hung out at Andrew-the-conteur-extraordinaire's for a compressed beer and a cuppa tea and a discussion on the gayness of a certain shounen series -like Naruto if you are anime-adverse/illiterate- called "Bleach", with a roomate playing Heroes IV making impromptu comments-as-if-across-hallway. I made it home at 3AM, exactly an hour after getting the 382 night bus at Metro Côte-Vertu. Dropped off in the middle of nowhere - Pierrefonds-St-Charles intersection, and walked a good 20 minutes in some -7000°C cold listening to a certain angsty teen rock band... I'm going to check in on Flickr...

Piknic Electronik des Neiges

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P1060253
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.
The city is melting, and the Picnik Electronik is really a part of the festivities surrounding Montreal's "Fête des Neiges" (whose activities were cancelled for all of today's); and that could explain it. Nevertheless, posted new pics on Flickr from tonight's stroll in a wet & rainy (& pellet-y, at some point) city. Although there are news as to which the organizers would be trying to bring the event for next week instead. Under the same monument from outer space.

"Gah! I'm melting!"

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Montreal has been unusually warm in January, with three separate days (and maybe one before or after each of them) with the thermometer exploding above the 0C mark. Now we're in February, and story repeats. That is quite pleasant, except for snow festivals and casual outdoor hockey players.

The Martians took over Schwartz!

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There are rumours going on (started by my friend's Jewish acquaintance) that Schwartz's smoked meat wasn't owned by Jewish people anymore (and for several years, perhaps decades). Which, to me, sounds like, a Chinese restaurant not owned by Chinese (Japanese is another story) - cuz smoked meat is a Eastern European meal brought to Montreal by Jewish immigrants of the... beginning of the century? Or was it the WWII period - I forgot, b/c it's a fact all attentive Montrealer should know.

No, that's not what I wanted to blog about. What I wanted to blog about is, godammit, they remade the walls and ceiling at Schwartz! Now it's got the same ceiling as in schools built in the 1980-90s! You know, that generically rectangular-shaped pieces of pressed carton held back with a white-painted aluminium grid? Yeah. At least, you don't see the tubes, and Schwartz's looks ... un-ancient.

The smoked meat is as greasy as last time; as I collapse a heart attack, a rigidification of my blood vessels, and diabetes (from the cherry pop). R.I.P.

Only in Montreal

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Indoor marathon (map - PDF alert), presented during this year's Montréal en Lumière festival (which brought us, in past years, outdoor dance floor, open-air gazebos with heat dishes, and downtown street closed for giant snow-built slides).

What bad weather?

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I had people all across blogland-Montreal and Montreal cursing at the weather outside. But whoever is in charge of keeping things running did a great job. As I testify:

1- I took the 12:15 bus, and still got to work before 13:30, which is an average-to-good amount of time.

2- Mini and semi-broken umbrella did keep me and my winter coat dry. Minor wetness at the base of my pants, per flick-flacking of the boot strings.

3- I did not fall, or lose my balance.

Jardin d'hiver

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Currently listening to Bia's Jardin d'Hiver (in Portuguese), b/c the people in the radio box thought it went well with the temperature outside (7 celcius). One older version (in French) I have, is Henri Salvador's.

The weather for tonight is snow and cold. The snow part is really fine with me, 'cause I'm not going anywhere on the road. But... the cold is a different story.

Dare to Care

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Heh, Felix passed on this article written on one of our highschool classmates (if it is who we think it is - also notorious for being the class' big mouth :D) who founded his own indie record label. Interesting, I'm going to fetch some of the audio samples on its site... (an eclectic lineup, says the Mirror article)

Coin du Mexique

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Laurent's girlfriend took us there last winter when he came back from China for a month or so (b/c he couldn't just have Tianjin winters, he had to have Montreal winters, *in January*!), and I decided it was the first restaurant on the ethnic cuisine trail I had to have since getting my regular income again. It was featured in a Mirror article, so I thought the place was unusually-packed and I could get away with it tonight without making a reservation...

The "Coin du Mexique" (Corner of Mexico) is not your usual Mexican restaurant. Or at least, not your usual in-downtown Three Amigos, or Carlos & Pepes resto-bars. Tacos, there were, but not served the way you'd imagine it. Rather, you have the crunchy tortilla lying on a small plate, with the stuff on it - meat, cheese and lettuce. We had a cactus salad (cactus tastes like pickles?) and I had one fine Mexican equivalent of your Chinese peanut-butter dumplings, a spicy chocolate-sauced enchilada (it's called mole sauce). It can be pricey for what seem like small plates (the salad and enchiladas were about 10$ each!), but it's satisfyingly filling. S had the spiciest of all enchiladas on our table. Something with beans and lots of chili on it. I'm surely up for more Central American food.

I forgot the address as I went there tonight, but it was clearly as I remembered it, right across the street of Metro D'Iberville on the blue line, and no matter from which metro exit you come out from.

Yellow

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Uighur Restaurant

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There's a Uighur restaurant in Montreal that opened October 15th, in case you're fed up with Cantonese and "Szechuan" Chinese cuisine when dining in Chinatown. It's on East side of St-Laurent, slightly south of De La Gauchetière, where there used to be "Asie Moderne", and which was a prosperous dim sum / Cantonese 酒樓, of what I gather from my child memories.

In a nutshell, for those who never had Uighur food, it's the perfect fusion of Chinese and Arabic cuisine. The menu will have fried Shanghai noodles, or mutton and bok choi stir fry; but as well as fried kebab. Wee also points out that as a Japanese restaurant will serve seafood in everything, at the Uighur restaurant, you better be a fan of mutton. Had that cabbage & mutton stir-fry, mutton skewers (giant, compared with those at the dumplings place), a Shanghai noodles (拉麵) fried Uighur-style (with bits of mutton), and dumplings with cumin-seasoned meat (which I could almost bet is, or has a bit of mutton).

Probably the harshest party that I've been to (I was going to say "for the knees", but somehow it just wouldn't sound right...). Currently at the Café Dépôt on Ste-Cath, Sabs napping in the sofa-chair nearby. I just had an apple-cranberries cider.

Six hours of moving to the rhythm of something that I like. Besides the fact that there are no Asian pop stars giving shows in this city, I am quite satisfied with the variety of musical night life in Montreal. The venue was not filled to capacity - this Salle S.A.T. (for Society for Arts and Technology - which is rather "Society for Technological Arts" in French) was previously a supermarket, if my memories are correct (and they shall be), and you can tell, as it is a large open area with high ceilings and white-painted walls. There's a clock on the wall, but it goes backwards at an accelerated rate. We stood right in front of the stage, two metres away from the performers.

I think I like partying. I have not historically been a party-goer, nor do I make a fine client of parties (therefore the dwindling - or rather constant low - rate of party-going). I do hold parties at home; but it doesn't quite reach my ideal of a fine party... Ok, there are probably two types of parties I'd still like to have. I had garden parties, and cooking parties - usually annual feats at the Sam's domain. But others would be the "fancy-themed" party, and the "lounging-until-dawn" party. Fancy-themed: the tea party or the wine and cheese party. Lounging-etc-etc: have people bring in their MP3s, and plug them in my hypothetical then-Powerbook (equipped w/ then-Intel chip).

Gosh, I'm feeling teh tired. My knees are really indeed hurting...

Dino bones in Montreal

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I haven't seen dinosaur fossils since I was a kid, and probably in Ottawa or Toronto, b/c I don't think we have a permanent dino expo going on here in this city. But then, there was this exhibit in the Old Port, in the Parc des Écluses running since June for until October 31st. They're fossils excavated from China, and the exhibit is organized by the Dalian Museum of Natural History, if I can recall what was written on the board, and certainly the same one that organized that dino bones exhibit in Taikoo Shing in Hong Kong, which people raved about in the press while I was there (I might be getting my numbers mixed up, but I thought I read a report saying there were going to be 4 million people visiting the exhibit in HK by the end of it - which is like half of HK population ^^;). But when we went, it was totally empty (a Tuesday evening, albeit warm for October)...

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It's like the Pyramids, but all lot different category of old. Wut, these shapes existed 65 million years old? ... So much infinity, cannot grasp...

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The neat thing were the pinyin names of the dinosaurs excavated in China (the mixture of English, and "Chinese" is bloody amusing).

Season of Rain (bis)

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Completing on yesterday's post. Umm, my mind wanders around. Cannot make a coherent post on a particular topic without diverging. Here we go, already I'm thinking of speeding on a 90 degrees turn.

I guess I haven't had a chance in real-life to discuss anecdotes, just because I haven't really done anything that wasn't logged and subsequently read by the friends I've seen and talked with (there are a number of people I have as friends who I didn't see yet in a conversation-enabled situation). Well, it happened last week, with old Taskforce colleagues, where I probably spoke non-stop about bits of my trip for 10 minutes. For the record, did not re-read my travel blog yet (you can though, see links on the right-hand side bar). Don't feel like having a conversation with the self of two to seven months ago, yet.

I had my churrascaria meal yesterday, and it was gruesome. With the income, I guess I'm once again up for travelling around the world on a stomach...

[music: Franz Ferdinand - Walk Away]

Summer in the middle of October

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And it's called L'Été des Indiens (Or Été Indien - Indian Summer). XD It's a climatic phenomenon affecting Northeastern North America every year except for once every four-five years or so, whereas, at varying intensity, after weeks of constant cooling off during September (not really this year), a sudden streak of hot days swings along so that one can mend broken hearts with beloved summer before it departs for good, FOREVER (until May, and June on some sucky years). Might be 26ºC tomorrow, and forecast to be 23ºC and then 26ºC again on the following days, but it's going DOWN to 14ºC on Friday and we're dying at 2ºC on Sunday. T_T

Pictures, while it lasts (requires Flickr registration for some pics). (First it was me hanging out by myself, downtown and McGill campus. Meeting S on St-Laurent at 5:30, then E at Metro Sherbrooke at 6:30, and T at 7. We had some Chinese Eatery food in Chinatown, and moved on for random fun at the Palais des Congrès, of all places, that esthetically drool-inducing retro-futuristic monster they built within these past five years. Finished it off at that fire-blowing water fountain / art object designed by Québec artist JP Riopelle).

(cut for pics)

(Artificially created a LJ-cut thingy... which isn't really one, 'cause the pics will be at the end. :P Wish they're going to implement some LJ features to MT)

The first time I go out to the city for a week and a half. It's been also a week and a half that I've been sleeping at around 5AM (if not later) and then waking in the middle of the afternoon. I wish for a job (all of this is wishful thinking - nothing falls from the skies, especially if one means quite definite stuff such as a career-grade job). So in the meanwhile, je vis la vie bohemienne, as my dad likes to taunt me with. ^^; My parents know I like a bit of parental pressure, b/c they just do it mildly, having other things to worry about. I think eventually it will break, and I'll be caught in some sort of job. Like falling in love (even if one's realistic enough to stop counting on love at first sight - well, really, I should stop thinking about finding that love at the first sight job).

Montreal is a boring city, but only if you compare it with Hong Kong or Tokyo, say. I'm sure living in a city like Morioka (or take any mid-size Chinese or Japanese cities) has its boring contents. In cities like HK, you feel as if every day is a party in the streets in Lan Kwai Fong. Can't party all the time, and it's hard working in HK. :/ So Montreal? What's great about Montreal? Well, having been three days in Toronto, you immediately think of the European-ish style of life (while suburban Toronto is no different from an US city it seems). I've seen downtown Toronto: it's cool, the area around the old Chinatown, Eaton Centre, ... but it's not Montreal? It's not really home. Really, I've spent all that time in Asia, and it was only wheezing through Toronto that I really felt Montreal was like home. Go figure.

Montreal has a nightlife. I want my gallon of sake for 20$. WHERE ARE YOU?! Has a nightlife, but like other things, seems like it's only when I'm on vacation that I discover what a nightlife is. Hmmm. I dislike how I was so free and independent when in vacation, and so the contrary when back home. It's a cycle I try to break.

Cedric yells: "Can you imagine we're already in September of 2005, and I'm going to be a quarter century old in less than three weeks?!".

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