August 2007 Archives
Sort of reasserting my presence online tonight, so here is my cubicle. It's picture taken a month ago, and the stuffs on the walls don't belong to me:
Also, a view of the CDI, the "Centre de l'Information", where RDI (CBC Newsworld's French counterpart), Le Téléjournal (R-C's flagship news program) and Montreal CBC News at Six are shot from:
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.
I am sitting on an outdoor terrasse at the Second Cup on the corner of Guy and Ste-Catherine, one of the busiest intersections in the area surrounding Montreal's Concordia University. I am waiting for something to happen, but my batteries will have died out long before anything does.
It is a warm Friday evening of the last day of August. It's a Labor Day long weekend in Canada and the United States, but the air could definitely have a feel of May. Your mind wanders as you think that it just well may be, and, why not, maybe summer could just start all over again?
This is a view of what it'd look like if it was daytime, and in the real midst of summer. Now, everything looks like it's prepping up for fall.
On Madhatters' terrasse, stealing wireless Internet from the Sherazad Cafe next door, and had to fight through three groups of Froshies from McGill to get in.
Since yesterday, I've been encountering problems with "black windows" that occurred months earlier with Beryl. For reasons that I did not explore, Beryl and Compiz would only show a black background, and start painting windows in black when a certain number of windows have been opened (generally expanded to cover 2 or 3 full screens of 1280x800). My graphics card is a NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400, on a Dell XPS m1210.
I remembered that using the beryl-manager icon, we could select the rendering option to AIGLX. There are two GUI for changing the Compiz configuration: CompizConfig Settings Manager (ccsm) and GL Desktop (gnome-compiz-preferences). Neither however provide any means to change it, yet. The former's config seems to be used by the system when firing up the Gnome Windows Manager, although I am not clear as to whether any config file is written in the user's home (I presume that it is done through gconf somehow).
The option to use on the command-line with compiz is "--indirect-rendering", but the simplest way to tell the system to use indirect rendering (ie AIGLX) is to edit the /usr/bin/compiz executable, which is in fact a shell script. Here is my edited copy of the compiz file, where line 55 has been changed from a "no" to a "yes".
On an entirely different register, we went to Chinese restaurant Mr Ma, an expensive joint for business types, on street level of Montreal's business quarter landmark Place Ville-Marie. I've been seeing Mr Ma since forever, but only very recently knew that 1- Mr Ma indeed existed (and he is not an elderly cook, but rather the owner), and that 2- my uncle Bernard worked with him when both were of student age and had part-time jobs at Montreal's only Mr Sub in the late 70s.
I often discarded Mr Ma as being in the same category of Piment Rouge, as Chinese food for White People (namely a fest of General Tao-ish cuisine, and an orgy of sweet and sour flavours, over the more diverse, complex sets of flavours and aromas of Chinese cuisine. Both places happen to serve so-called "Szechuan" cuisine. I am not an expert, but my usual suspiciousness tells me that it is nothing like what's eaten in China's Sichuan province, where food is indeed really spicy, but characterized by the unabashed addition of dried chili pepper, and the use of the numbing type of Sichuan pepper (a flavour called "ma la"), a definitely acquired taste.
It was not wrong to associate Mr Ma with Piment Rouge, since both were formerly acquainted (and I cannot remember whether what I was told was told around the family table, or read in a newspaper). Last week, at Julie and Colin's wedding reception, Piment Rouge did the catering, and I was hugely surprised that they could do good authentic-ish (anything not Soup and Noodles - even if it's ideologically wrong / trashfoodingly good) Chinese food which included a lotus leaf-wrapped chicken with medicinal herbs.
Now for Mr Ma, same biases from a food snob, and cultural imperialist such as myself. But again, I discounted the fact that the chefs, being Chinese, presumably could make Chinese food for Chinese palates. He told us that it was Chinese food with Western influences (therefore, a CBC like myself n'y voit que du feu).
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).
I will write this entry (after this paragraph) in French, because it concerns a French-speaking audience. On Linux, people typically use the mplayer browser plugin to read ASX playlists. Perhaps like other sites, when a playlist is read, the plugin doesn't take into account that it may point to other ASX playlists, thus stopping before it played the media clip of interest. That is the case on Radio-Canada's excellent audio-video zone, which unfortunately makes it virtually unaccessible to Linux users with a standard setup (there must be ways to use other plugins or hack your mplayer to bypass this). In fact, some clips are read correctly since a couple of weeks, because of a change in the syntax of ASX files, and they are the ones with only one ASX under the playlist.
(Cheer Chen - Small Steps Dance)
Notes: I really like 小步舞曲, almost as much as 孩子 (child). While "child" is a happy and cute love song, 小步舞曲 sounds a lot more melancholic. I did not bother finding a translation, even if I should, but according to the title and the music video, it should be about the bittersweet nature of relationships. [Aiya, realism people, realism...]
Seriously, this time it works! You can try authenticating using LJ, Vox, TypeKey or OpenID for comments, and they are posted automatically (when it goes back to the original page, just refresh to see your own comments).
Dorothy Gambrell's Cat and Girl is simply genius, especially the latest.
Well well, it appears that the Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d'accommodements reliées aux différences culturelles (Consultation commission on accommodation practices related to cultural differences) has a website:
The co-presidents had a very moderate, if not appeasing, point of view during this morning's press briefing (In French), in my opinion, and is worth listening if you are interested in this universal problem with a specific manifestation here in Quebec, a French-speaking islet in a English-speaking sea that is Canada (and the US). This topic touches me particularly, even if I don't necessarily need to face its consequences directly on a daily basis, because I am French/English bilingual (with a preference for French), and originate from the Chinese community.
I enabled comments on this site, after upgrading to another release candidate of MT4. Apparently, MT4 now indeed supports authentication schemes other than TypeKey out of the box, meaning that you may supposedly comment using only your Livejournal or Vox.
It has been a long while that I have not written an introspective post in public. I must say that I also took steps to make this blog a little more public than it used to be, when I'd even put up robots to disallow web crawlers to index this site.
If I were to make an assessment of the past year, I must say that I was pretty satisfied with the change that occurred (or that I brought) to my life. Many new opportunities opened from merely getting involved in one's community, and the future might be able to tell if being involved in something that I've always liked would result in success (assuredly, hard/smart work and interest are a feedback loop). Very soon, barring disaster and calamity, I am also going to move out for the very first time. I am also very excited about my new job and the possibilities that it may contain and which I may unlock (as an external observer, I once blogged on how a public broadcaster should have a role as a leader in exploiting new medias - just as it did back in the radio, and then television era).
I thought that it was like when people in ancient times went to church and other religious reunions. Daft Punk are literally like a cult presence - they've influenced so many of today's electronic musicians that I wouldn't know where to start (or how, anyways). Petronia's post.
You wouldn't know how good a Camembert and Ham sandwich can be until you've been to La Croissanterie Figaro. Not typically the type of place I can go to normally, not being a resident of the Mile End, since Figaro is on the corner of Hutchison and Fairmount, actually at Outremont's border. The bread was good, but not so much the butter (which tasted like margarine). Has quite a terrasse, and is pleasant on a mild evening of August, such as tonight. (I'd put it in Metro Boulot Resto, but it's far from any metro, actually)
Hang On The Box is a Beijing-based all-girl punk band. They were in Beijing Bubbles, a movie on bands rocking it up in Beijing, that we caught at Fantasia this year. I recently got a hold on their albums, and love their energetic sound, reminiscent of the Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, one of my favourite bands in 2003.
I find all that I like to be a little odd. It's first of all very eclectic, and some of it doesn't suit me well, I feel. But then, as we conversed yesterday, what is this 'Moi' and is it okay to decide and be a totally different person? In any case, punk muzzak sung in approximate English comes across as cute and gentle and strikes a fiber with me. Band members of HOTB started when they were 15-ish years old and have been rocking it on for almost a decade. They were signed by Victor JVC, according to infos on Last.fm, and perhaps more specifically by label Sister Records, for ref. It sounds like standard girl punk in approximate English, basically, and here are tracks that caught my attention:
Hang On The Box - Now I Wanna Say Apology To You
Hang On The Box - We Don't Need A Sax