January 2006 Archives


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I've slowly reinstated Google search over my blog. I had to stay clear from being listed last month, b/c all the hits on my picture pages were killing my bandwidth. So is the life of living on the edge. I am a resister - of easy, convenient weblog services - just b/c. One likes to have his own unique domain, and somewhat peculiar blogging software. The template is bland (it's the default, blah), but nowadays, it's the RSS feed that counts (and besides, I've lost the touch, or will, to design my own layouts - although I like that black one with a deformed car lights pic, or the white flowers one, or even the Chihiro one. I think that one really gets the win by matching the right color, the right font, with the dominant figure of the layout... Well, blogs have changed, and so did I.

When my brother said the Habs were losing 8-2, I thought it was a joke.

I went out to see Aimee. For the first time in three months. A pleasant hang-out like in the summertime. We've never hung out in the winter, for the three years I've known her. Winter has not been our season of predilection - or one might say, just bad timing. Tonight was snow that gets in your face, as opposed to snow that settles down, stays at home. A rebellious type of snow that rapidly gets on your nerves, if you didn't have a conversation to eat time away. Yeah, with a conversation going, like on Friday two weeks ago with gg, I could walk from Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue to Pointe-aux-Trembles (but then, only on a lazy summer day of August - and then I picture end-of-Augusts in the Japanese countryside with the numbing sound of crickets below the snoozing sun).

Coffee Yoghurt

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If ever you were hungry past 11PM.

- 'firm' yoghurt (versus the usual stirred kinds). A few large spoonfuls.
- one teaspoon of sugar
- a drop of vanilla extract
- half a teaspoon of freshly ground espresso coffee

Mix well. Enjoy.

Cannoli from Patisserie Roma

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They are death on a deep-fried pastry... If you've never had one, it's like a cannelloni, but with a dessert twist. Typically, they look like on this entry of Answers.com, and are a deep-fried pastry tube, filled with a mixture of fresh cream and ricotta cheese. It is very good, especially when you've just filled for yourself a giant *mug* of espresso coffee with foamed up half&half. Along with the cheese, bourguignonne and chocolate fondue I had for my parent's belated Christmas gift yesterday, I can say I deserve to die (of a horrible cardio-vascular accident).

Those cannoli were bought by my aunt and uncle Jean and Bernard, upon recommendation from my aunt's Italian girl friend. They would be Montreal's best cannoli, but I wouldn't know, from a pastry shop called "Roma", in Little Italy, 6776 St-Laurent.

Re:Music blogs

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Now that's a discovery, The Hype Machine, a freakin' music blog aggregator (and you understand why I don't want to link to it directly XD).

A tuque

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Not only should I try to find myself a hat (with the salary that arrived in my bank account, it should help), but I should also try to find myself a tuque, for this upcoming event. Hot wine is a concept I've had knowledge of before, but not something I've experienced.

Matcha milk

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In the green scheme of things: a glass of hot milk, with a generous spoonful of matcha. The mix could use some sugar, I think, to bring out the tea flavour. It reminds me of the pistachio cake I once had: a bright green colour, reminiscent of the first springtime leaves, at places least expected (namely food, that isn't a green salad or a spinach creme). I'm fabulating.

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.

Canadian elections results

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Well, that's it, I guess. In Quebec, I overestimated the Bloc's ability to hold on to the protest votes 'gainst the Libs in the region of Quebec, and east of it. I underestimated the NDP and Liberals, and overestimated the Conservatives. Current scores, at 11PM:

  • Cons: 123
  • Libs: 101
  • BQ: 50
  • NDP: 32
  • Ind: 1
  • Total: 307 (+1)

The independent one is a well-known (to French-speaking Quebecers, and soon, the rest of Canadians) and extremely controversial/virulent radio talk show host. If the numbers stay as they are, the NDP are going to hold the "balance of power", which is, in a parliamentary system, nb of seats to give the leading party a majority to do what they want to do in the House... Potential pairings, threesomes... I wonder if people fanfic about these things. More exciting in Canada than the US, for sure.

(Tony Valeri, and Anne McLellan lose, so I win!)

Edit: here are the final results throughout Canada:

  • Cons: 124
  • Libs: 103
  • BQ: 51
  • NDP: 29
  • Ind: 1
  • Total: 308

The most surprising result of the night, in Quebec, was probably how well the Conservatives fared. Based on the good opinion polls since New Year, most analysts agreed on the four main star candidates getting in (Verner, Cannon, Bernier and Blackburn), but then, 6 more in the area of Quebec City? Final results for the province of Quebec:

  • BQ: 51
  • Libs: 13
  • Cons: 10
  • Ind: 1
  • Total: 75

A few numbers

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  • BQ: 56
  • Libs: 14
  • Cons: 4
  • Ind: 1
  • Total: 75

Canada (incl. Qc)

  • Cons: 145
  • Libs: 82
  • BQ: 56
  • NDP: 25
  • Total: 308


  • Out is Anne McLennan in Edmonton Centre.
  • I'd venture to say that a few ministers in Ontario would be out too, such as Tony Valeri, and a few I don't know of in the Toronto area...
  • gg thinks that Goodale should be safe in Regina Wascana, but w/o the prospect of a ministerial status, would he be as safe?
  • Consequently, the prospect of a Conservative win, could make it a domino effect, to make the Liberal lose in a way worse than expected (choosing star candidates with chances of being in the cabinet, ousting cabinet members, and the usual if-my-neighbor-does-it). In any case, people are begging for a minority, so that's the suspense, very obviously from all the media).
  • wtf, hockey night in Canada host and commentator duo Ron McLean and Don Cherry are going to be on the CBC coverage of the election? I kid you not!

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).

Of what I've been listening to

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I've been listening to a lot of radio, which is at times music, and also public affairs shows. As for music, this means moving from the usual Asian pop, or less pop, to music that would be, not necessarily more "mainstream", but certainly more North American. And whatever "mainstream" means, when one of your favourite podcast reached 1 million downloads. I guess it's a pleasant thought to think of oneself as indie. And then I think that this sort of music, selected by this kind of people (a relative small group of people working within a national govt-funded broadcasting corporation - in French, and English) should tasteful. Anyways, i was trying to find arguments, but I suppose it's music for the musically undecisive.

Arcade Fire - Une Année Sans Lumière - I've been shuffling some stuff around. The Arcade Fire, b/c I didn't catch the fever last year, for having been too 'asianated' at that time. The first "Neighborhood" tracks clearly sound to me as a walk in Montreal. "Une Année Sans Lumière" is the long walk I would've had on Wednesday or Thursday night, b/c of its wet-pavement-after-the-passing-rain feel. Slightly like Friday's walk, finalement. (Some lyrics are sung in French, but it wasn't really apparent in the first place, coming from someone who doesn't "fully perceive" lyrics in languages other than French. So the song was originally taken as randomized vocals...)

Mara Tremblay - Les démons - If the acoustic guitar reminds me of Brokeback Mountain, it's just per my lack of Country references. XD I bought the album ("Les Premières Lunes") a week or so ago, and have been playing it over and over again. It's a lovely album full of love (I was going to say, a pot of love you spread on your toast in the morning - but that sounds a tad denigrating wrt album - which is one I like, or else I wouldn't have purchased it!). It came to my attention that the artist is happily married to another somewhat-known Quebec artist (Daniel Grenier, formerly of humour band, The Chick'n Swell), and that they've kids. It's been commented that she was in love, even if many people, who happen to be artists, can be in love, and you probably wouldn't know just by listening to their music! But I paid attention to this album, and it makes your experience fuller. You know, like the love of your kids, that you put into this world with the one you love; that's in it. XD; I've chosen "Les démons", b/c like anyone, I have demons, *g*, and instead of being fiery and violent like a usual demon, this song is soft and plentiful of hope.

Jean Leloup - Ballade à Toronto - Another French song, please bear with me. A more personal song. I caught myself humming this uncontrollably coming out from my January 1st electronica night experience. It is also the first track of the album that represents to me strolling in the countryside of a wet tropical country. XD The title rather suggests a road trip to Toronto with frequent stops on the side of Lake Ontario... It is not a road trip I did myself, even if I've been to Toronto by road most of the times I've gone there - b/c one doesn't see Lake Ontario, unless you take small roads. (Tant qu'il y aura des étoiles, nous devrons nous arrêter / As long as there'll be stars, we'll have to stop by)

YUKI - Stand Up! Sister - The first dir on my player plays automatically whenever the machine resets b/c of static, or when I run a bit too violently after the bus. :P And Yuki's 2003 album, Commune, has been in first position since the month after Labour Day (incidently, I started listening to Commune on my last trip to Toronto on Labour Day). And overall, this album is simply superior to her previous ("PRISMIC" - too eclectic) and her latest one ("JOY" - too pop), with its "70s feel", and per the quality of the visual work surrounding the album (single covers, music videos) as well. The singles from that album are the what I imagine as the middle of a baseball lineup, even if it's not really it, 'cause they're tracks 6-7-8, although it's one of those albums that are good from one end to another. In fact, it felt so homogeneous that I could hardly tell tracks apart on the first few times I've listened to Commune (especially b/c the track names were in Japanese characters :P). The video of "Stand Up! Sister" has Yuki drooling around and making every reborn with her salive... ... oh well, a song on the theme of rebirth?

(I would also put something in Chinese, but really hasn't been anything that I liked lately which wasn't, like, The Pancakes or My Little Airport... The Sun Yanzi, or Faye Wong..., not really at this moment. I think it'd be nice to discover new Chinese bands/artists, not just from the PRC, but from across the 'Chinese nation', but that hasn't come up, and it's too much effort... So yeah, there's always a comment box! :D)

Jewels on the French radio

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Once in a while, interesting documentaries. But this must be the most interesting new radio concept to me: famous Quebec personalities interviewing each other. Already, this is the second series of interviews (last summer, you had, like, Pierre Foglia vs. Pierre Falardeau). The link to the first series was deleted or edited over, that's not very professional. :/

Club Espagnol restaurant

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Hung out with governorgeneral, who was in town for his interview today. And as the weather allowed (Montreal was melting, even though ice and the gravel left from Wednesday's disastrous weather remained dominant), we walked all the way from the Duff, on the McGill campus, to the restaurant, which is located in the upper St-Laurent (4388), 'tween Marie-Anne and Mont-Royal (and to digest - walked from there, back to ... Lionel-Groulx).

The restaurant is the Club Espagnol. The Club Espagnol is the restaurant. Perhaps it is what it is: a social club for Spanish people, with one giant screen, and at least three TVs, showing futbol, but also has the RDS feed, with sangria being the standard group drink (which, 10 years ago when I came with family, we had, I recall). But certainly they have a very good paella. I had the one with squid ink, which is a standard paella - shellfish, chicken, peppers, rice in olive oil, first cooked on the fire for 5 mins, and I believe 5-10 more minutes in the oven - and squid ink to give the resulting dish its grey tinge. An extremely tasty meal, and more than enough, especially with fried ika, I mean, calamari, as an entree/tapas. A full array of tapas, but we stayed put, and what a chance. The squid ink paella was 20$, and the fried calamari, 7-8$, with taxes included (which makes it not that bad after all - remember it is seafood at a restaurant, that you are eating!).

The Club Espagnol was featured on last week's edition of Radio-Canada's darling epicurean affairs show, L'Épicerie.

The Super Bowl is on Monday

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Well well. I have meant to throw in some election predictions. Earlier this week, I commented this: 10 Liberals, 5 Cons, the rest of it, Bloc.

Now, I do not have my electoral map in front of me (for some reason, the Javascript is screwy on my machine...). I am guessing that the Libs are going to make huge losses, but will conserve most of its English-speaking Montreal ridings, including the one I'm living in, Lac-Saint-Louis. A few elections ago, when Brian Mulroney was PM, we were part of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, with a Conservative MP I believe (who was even a cabinet minister). This riding went to the Liberals, after 1993, and was a surprise loss in 2004, to the Bloc. Would it fall back to the Conservatives? I have not heard of the regional polls, and it's a race to follow, with former astronaut Marc Garneau as the running Liberal (and who campaigned with politically weird declarations à l'emporte-pièce).

Liza Frulla's Jeanne-Le-Ber could be a Liberal loss, in the popular district of Pointe-Saint-Charles. Idem for a bunch of ministers, like Pierre Pettigrew's Papineau. Stéphane Dion's Saint-Laurent-Cartierville is safe, so is Lucienne Robillard's Westmount. (It seems that every downtown Montreal riding is either a minister or PM) Some far-fetched reports are saying that Paul Martin could lose Lasalle-Ville-Émard, but if it were to happen, that would be, plainly said, vraiment poche.

It would be a night full of surprises, and that is enough thrills for an end-of-January political faceoff. Love the blood.

A Conservative minority, short of a few from majority. Landslide Annie, hold on tight! Anything like the 1993 debacle would be a surprise, perhaps not a pleasant one.

Odaki sushi (on St-Laurent)

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Another one of those sushi buffets, at 20$ a head, and of course owned by Chinese. ^^ Nicely decorated, and located on St-Laurent a bit pass Schwartz, I think it fell flat on the nigiri (too much vinegar, perhaps, but I just think the rice was cold and too hard to be considered good for sushi). The makis were okay - what one would expect from any sushi place. No sashimi, and the entrees were *not* unlimited (unlike Kanda of across Concordia - but they increased their prices I've heard). Japanese food is a depressing scene in Montreal. And as Wee puts it, Montreal is a continental city, so what would you expect, really?

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.


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Into my sleep-late pattern again. Jamais deux sans trois.

And in the case of politics, well... Least to say that on January 23rd, it is expected that no other occupants of my house will be watching the elections with a bottle of coke and a bag of chips. It'll be nonetheless the most exciting election night since 1993.

Bande à part is currently feeding some pretty nice electronica music by a Montreal DJ invited to the show, Eloi Brunelle, the man behind netlabel Epsilon Lab, plus some more very good stuff from the same label (Dublee - and surprise! is Japanese! and is going to release something with Ada and Superpitcher!). teh hip. *makes devil hand sign* The former performs at Stereo in two Fridays.

Such an incoherent post. Ok, here's the new (and free) album by Dublee. So, hope I caught your attention.

negative campaign ads

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Turns out that on the radio, the Liberals use either 1- modern/deconstructive music or 2- military music with soldiers footsteps and regiment drums, in their ads to discredit the Conservative Party. I think it's going to be all blue (Bloc and Cons) in Ottawa next Monday.

A house party (at my house, no doubt) with conversations stretching into the night, guests drinking red wine, and Cantopop - 'best of' CD of all four Gods of Cantopop in shuffle mode.

I was dropped off at around 4:45 near Metro Atwater, and spent the next hour and a half waiting in the cold or taking various methods of transport. Two musical notes, that kept me warm: Mara Tremblay's extremely mellow acoustic folk album of 2005, and the first three, four or five (actually 7-8) songs of the CBC Podcast #34 (includes tunes by Raised By Swans, The Arcade Fire, Metric, and the rest of it).

I guess that Canada is like a forced marriage, or marriage of convenience, some might say, but you gotta think of the children.

I (guess I) would've liked sharing the time spent walking on the sidewalk of Atwater Street under highway 720. I also guess that hanging out at the coffeeshop is a cool thing to do, especially on a Saturday evening, with two sofa chairs facing towards the full height windowed corner of the coffee shop, which gives on one of the busiest street intersection of the whole city. So many 'nice' moments alone like this, which would of course just remind me of the sways of solitary adventure in the urban jungle of Hong Kong. And how much I wanted "her" to be there with me, how infinitely etherical such wish (dream) is. In the end, you contemplate morbid ideas, such as seeing an expo on melancholy (and vanitas) in a city like Paris.

Forecast for tomorrow and this week: skies clearing up, temperatures are expected to drop to -17C. By mid-week, it's supposed to go back up to a whooping 10C.

The lesson is that this is a narcissistic generation, and if we;re not finding each other, it's b/c we're still only looking at ourselves.

Les yeux dans la graisse de bines

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(An expression from the lands up here, basically translating to "eyes in beans fat", and referring to the state you're in when waking up from a very long slumber - or appearing slumbering to the people around you.)

I probably slept a good 10 hours, with the final dream portion where I'd be practicing field hockey drills in a gym (a mixture of all the school gyms I've used in my life) for a whole boring 5 to 10 minutes (taking shots, going around, taking more shots, looking at my opponents sitting over at the bench, looking towards the door - ouh, isn't that a certain girl?..., keep running from one end to the other believing I'm Kovalev, and finally realizing there's a way -technique- to keep the ball on one's stick, despite having short arms and a short stick - so freudian.

In any cases, after a few moments semi-waked up, my brother bursts into my room to tell me that the Habs' coach has been fired. And GM Bob Gainey brings back to Montreal formerly disgraced Habs teammate-come-ass'coach Guy Carbonneau from Dallas, where both of them won the Stanley Cup. That's the shit - when are we going to see Larry Robinson too?

I felt for some Air-ish music this morning. This sort of planing electro music, b/c of the temperature: gray, warm, and everything around melting so that one could believe it is springtime soon. Also maybe because I spent the night before doing shit-all (like finally beating the Noble difficulty level on Civ4 - but on a smaller map, which is the trick - human players can't multi-task like AIs :P) and felt like human trash. Yeah, paranoia, like what it would feel like in the morning after a night of drugs, sex and rock 'n roll.

But in any case, I wanted to get that Mara Tremblay album some time ago already, since listening to the first two tracks, which have been playing in the radio recently (and probably for a while before I came back, as the album was released March or May of this year). The first track is a Asian-sounding instrumental piece, called "Le Voyage" - a pleasant piece of Eastern fusion catering to Westerners (like Memoirs of a Geisha). The second one is "Grande est la vie" ("Great is life"), one song that I probably would've wanted to have in my player this morning. It's a piece of peace and serenity and hope on a grey suburb morning.

Mara Tremblay - Le voyage

Brillent nos enfants, cadeaux dans le firmament
Échos de nos coeurs battant tous ensemble, grandissant
Vivre pleinement la chaleur du présent
Magiquement, nos enfants sont les plus grands

Mara Tremblay - Grande est la vie

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.

Green-glow pigs

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Sure, I can sort of see the scientific benefit of it, but green-glowing pigs is simply the most hilarious four-legged idea (and reality) I've heard in a while. :D

random childhood memory

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Here's a random childhood memory I just had during the previous minute:

It is that of a certain Astro Boy feature movie (I wasn't sure if it's related to the series - and I'm not in the mood of googling), where the characters are in despair in front of a toxic "cloud" (my first interpretation of a black hole) roaming in space, and which suddenly decided to take over Earth. Eventually the Earth was saved, but then, morbid thought, what would happen if some unknown hidden astrophysical event was to destroy the Earth in the next hour, or the next minute? (Or what if, before I can even save this entry, I'm decapitated by a meteor?!)

(So much speculation. And just a slice of late night musings...)


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At first, we wanted to go to a certain Pho place nearby Metro Place-Saint-Henri, ended up walking the block around the Polyvalente without finding any trace of it. And as Plan B, expecting the expectable, was thinking that Quatre Saisons Korean place, also near the metro, but it was closed (temporily, permanently, dunno). Then took on to walk on Notre-Dame (perhaps to try a grease pit?), all the way to Lionel-Groulx... and with Korean food in mind, decided to go to the Concordia ghetto, to that Arirang restaurant on Ste-Cath.

I had the beef bibim bap, rice with beef and lots of veggies in a sort of stone-heated pot. No MSG, as advertised, and extremely tasty (I am a sucker for pot-bottom crunchy rice). A Korean pancake, reminiscent of Okonomiyaki, in entree.

Nervous tic

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Quite a mundane thing to blog about, but I think I've developed a nervous tic (a facial grimace) which I seem to express, hopefully, only when I am by myself. Also, the propensity to bang my desk and randomly yell (again, when people nearby are busy with other things) has also increased in the past months. Intriguing behaviour...

Things to do in the coming year:
- Eat out somewhere nice for breakfast.
- Spend a night on Mount Royal (but not within the next three months :P).
- Take bunch of friends to an unusual group activity (like play frisbee in the park, have a few games of Laser Quest, Victorian 'cosplay' for the O-hanabi, go on a fishing trip).
- Oh yeah, build a snow fort in a cemetary (but apparently, that's been done last year).
- [More to be added as ideas come by]


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Exercising will be a useless thing if I keep on going to places serving cheese fondue. It was too pricey, and too loud. I suppose you would like it if you were 40 or above, and seeking quality time in couple after leaving the kids at your parents' home. But I guess I'm still not quite passed the age of feeling young and invincible. Piano and candlelights and Swiss chalet setting... I need some excitement! Some Mexican food! Carribean food! Middle Eastern food! Sunshine, not snow. Alpenhaus, still a fine (but overly pricey) place to eat Winter food, in a hidden caveau, on St-Marc, corner Ste-Cath, nearby the Concordia ghetto and its cheap Chinese eateries.

(On the other hand, per curiousity, I picked up a New Yorker (the Xmas issue) the day I went to see Brokeback Mountain, and have been keeping it in my strap bag ever since. Took it out tonight, and read the passage of the short story on a "B" character with his father in Acapulco, chilling, going to the beach, hanging out in bars - all to keep my mind warm, while freezing the exterior of my head waiting for the bus.)

Belle and Sebastian in Montreal

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The B&S are in Montreal, as reported here, and are to tour with The New Pornographers. Finally a band I'm following that is coming to Mtl.


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I'd like to go to Ticino, mostly b/c my computer at work is named "ticino" (our lab's computers are named after Swiss cities and resorts - while one of the other labs in the same centre has theirs named after LoTR characters - 'cause their supervisor is a Newzealander) and Switzerland sounds like a good place to go to if one's going to tread on Europe next summer. It is very probable that I travel to Europe next summer, per the fact that my cousin is getting church-married in Paris, or her hometown of Toulouse. In either case, if I'm not constrained by work, I'll take the opportunity to visit Europe, and not just France + Barcelona, like in 1992). The wedding's going to be September 2nd...

My January 1st morning

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How do you actually describe it coherently. I left downtown Montreal soon after the metro opened, at 6 something AM. Already a number of people were lining up at the bus stop for the 211, probably people partying all night, or perhaps working all night. I don't know. But it was very cold outside. The night before was a cold one - not as cold as it gets late January, February, but certainly colder than what we're experiencing today and yesterday.

I slept on the bus soon after it got on the expressway. I almost slept passed my bus stop, 30 minutes later, woke up right on time, just as the bus dropped the only other passenger to be dropped. Of course, there is no other bus to bring me home from that stop (b/c they start at 9:15AM on Sundays, and it was 7:15). So I started walking (b/c I'd freeze to death otherwise - even the McDonalds on the corner was not going to open before several hours), and walked 200m towards the train station, hoping that they kept it unlocked during the night (what folly).

I remember standing motionless for a bit. What a beautiful morning it was. Totally white from the snow that fell the night before, a bit of sunshine filtering between the clouds (but still a mainly cloudy and grey morning), the nostril-freezing cold. The pores on my face were reservoirs of cigarette smoke gathered the night before. It would still stink, even after taking a shower.

For a while, I just stopped thinking about the cold, and started thinking about survival, or, what if I wasn't going to find a warm place to stay and just freeze to death, and then I thought of the homeless people who go through not wearing anything nearly as warm as what I was wearing (a long black coat, with a thick wool scarf). I wasn't going to die, but it'd be a long two-hours - if a taxi didn't drive by just 5 minutes of waiting on the side of the boulevard.

Intimacy (L'intimité)

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I've been listening to all sorts of things on the radio. Whereas some people listen to the equivalent TV shows (excellent ones on RDI, every day), I do it on the radio, b/c I need to hear something when I work. Or I need to keep the background of my mind busy, while the foreground does grunt work. I don't know. But what I know is that the French Radio One is having a series of documentaries on the theme of intimacy. Intimacy in couplehood, but also intimacy online, in reality tv and the likes. One of the people on yesterday's show was quoting Freud, who was saying how guilt burdened people at the turn of the century, a hundred years ago - while now, it's probably narcissism. Something like that - the idea of feeling important online.

Some teenagers act in surprise when they learn their parents might read their blogs. My parents won't, unless I'm on a trip at the other end of the world. Similarly for close real-life friends ("It's boring/depressing that you talk about Montreal"). I can, or should, take down certain old sites, but to me, it's lost in cyberspace, and it is as public as those pre-1960s scientific magazines "in storage" at some unknown location, b/c the library can't keep them all on shelf. Yeah, so I'm not taking down my old sites. And with a morbid twist, you don't know when you are going to dissapear, so what if you want to leave something behind; wouldn't a blog (no matter how self-censored it is) be the best everyman's autobiography.

(Sure, unless you become an important figure of History, your descendents will be the only ones to remember you a few generations down the road. I sometimes think about my ancestors, and actively try to know the people up the generational tree who have the ... luck, of still being around. My mom has a cousin in the Taiwan mafia. My great-grand-father (her grandpa) was humiliated by the Communists in Guangdong province, before going to HK. My dad's grandpa was a funny man who taught him to smoke. My father's father had only one sibling, an elder brother (so it wasn't a very fecund generation, but then both my grandpa and great-uncle then each had 5-6 kids). There are all sorts of unheard of relatives who aren't so far genetically, just so very far physically, and probably culturally. Like the second-degree cousins I found out I had in HK. Or that second-degree cousin who was a child actor, lives in Vancouver, is in Montreal for university. It's absolutely funky stuff...)

Blah blah blah, I can't believe my mind travelled from "intimacy" to "family tree".

Félix was in Rodrigues Island, 500 km east of Mauritius, before the Holidays, and a postcard just arrived in the mail, amidst a snowy white day. .. Yeah, A new range of Apple laptops is coming out. I could go write my programs anywhere in the World. Not as if they cared about my existence in Montreal every week. XD

This was excellent, and in fact in some other CDs S gave me, there was the stuff I'm looking for right now (Annie, The Arcade Fire - not that they're very similar in style). Music CDs are like wine, it seems...

Memorable music from the trip was Yuki's Joy, and Supercar's B-sides. The first was bought in a music store in the shopping mall within Hiroshima train station. The second was bought at the HMV in Shibuya, same one where I spent hours in 2002 looking for a bunch of CDs for friends to buy. There is always memorable music to memorable events, let them be extended as trips, or punctual as parties. What are your memorable albums, songs?

(On that particular mix, I thought there was some amount of familiar-sounding indiepop... Anyways, b/c I never actually gave my impressions in person ('cause I wasn't in person for 5 months!), tracks 3, 6, 8, 10, 16 and 18 were really fresh-sounding - not stuff I listened to, or am listening to right now, but which if I knew how to find, would definitely like. The girl on the escalator - so many girls on the escalator indeed...

This documentary (originally aired July 1st, 2005) is really really good. I don't know if it's good, as in "quality good" - it talks about a familiar place. Probably good, like congee (or a dong qwa tong) one's mom makes when one's sick.

The girl at the end says, "we are free to speak our minds, but there isn't lot to speak out about". Democracy in Asia. Democracy as a policy choice, rather than universally good political system. Hmm.

Yearning for a motherland, or not yearning for it. Rhaaaa. Like a lot of Hongkongers, I like being "Chinese", but there is another level of cool, that of being overseas Chinese. Hmmm.

Grandma's cake recipe

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Not her recipe per se, as she recounts how she learnt it from the baker's wife, she being the grocer's wife, back in Madagascar where my grandparents emigrated to (alike other territories in the Indian Ocean, popular places for coastal Chinese to emigrate to). The cakes are shaped like muffins, with a bit more butter/fat in them, and one can change the flavour as he wishes - my grandma puts vanilla tips, fruits confits, raisins, and/or roasted almonds in them (I will probably try with rhum...). There are two versions to the recipe, with the "western" one using butter, and the "chinese" one using vegetable oil. Both can apparently be steam-cooked, but that's the first time I hear you can make cakes like Chinese buns...

Style Occidental
- Butter (100g to 120g)
- Sugar (200g)
- Eggs (4x)
- Flour (250g)
- Milk (180ml)
- Baker's yeast (3tsp)

Separate the yolks. Put the yeast with the flour. Mix the butter, add in the sugar, then the yolks, and the flour, and the milk, and then the white (uniformize at eachstep before adding the next ingredient). Add whatever "filler" you want. Pour it in. Bake it (and actually, I need to call my grandma up - she didn't say how long, and what temp!).

Style "Chinois"
- Vegetable oil (120ml)
- Sugar (180g)
- Eggs (3x)
- Flour (240g)
- Milk (180ml)
- Baker's yeast (3tsp)

Same procedure as the western one. Eventually will try them out, distribute them to family, friends and whoever.

The next Joe Clark

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If I weren't living in Quebec, I'd hold my breath and go with the momentum to oust the Libs (and vote for the Conservatives). I do remember voting for Joe Clark (not based on his policies, more per his positive image versus Jean Chrétien), when he peeked back on the federal scene two elections ago, but voting the Cons this time is not like voting for the Progressive-Conservatives back then. It's a party purged from all the (mostly) urban social values, and voting for that is like voting for the Devil (in a very ironic sense). So yeah, with the latest polls in, the Conservatives in front by a point, and even two in Ontario only, there might be a chance for a minority Conservative government. And on next election, we go back to our wife.

Immaculate Machine - Phone No.

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From the end-of-year CBC Radio 3 podcast, is one song by Immaculate Machine entitled "Phone #" catching my attention. Looked the band up, and found out that their website's music section has a full-length copy of said song (and another one of their song called "broken ship"). Fast-paced music with a tad of melancholy and underlying rage (and it sounds "Canadian", but why?).

I can't put myself to write anything coherent. But here are things I've thought about in the past few minutes:

- Jean Leloup's La Vallée des Réputations.
- Brokeback Mountain.
- Vanitas, but more precisely this exhibit at Paris' Grand Palais.

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