December 2007 Archives
Last few hours of 2007, and I am launching "Comme les Chinois", a blog on Chinese-Canadianess/Quebecness in this country's both official languages.
I feel the need to repost this interesting article about a Chinese MMORPG called ZT Online (article translated by the excellent Danwei), originally published by Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly, a newspaper known for its remarkable journalism (no matter what is said on freedom of speech in China, it is at times indistinguishable from Western liberal democracies).
It is a fairly long article. Unlike WoW, ZT Online does not require you to pay to play. In fact, for playing a certain amount of hours (120 per month, as reported in the article), you even get 100RMB! But unlike WoW, too, you must buy your way up in the levelling hierarchy, as monsters don't drop items, and you must buy materials to make the equipment.
I wanted to find inspiration for a layout for a new project that I am preparing, and stumbled upon my old blog layouts. They were extremely simple, even cheap (monochromatic, reusing colours from the header image), yet made me so very nostalgic that I posted them on Flickr.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/smurfmatic/sets/72157603575270385/ (friends-only set)
Because it's the Holidays, one has the tendency to do stuff that he might not be doing during the rest of the year. In previous years, I've done such things as play video games 24/7, or install Linux for the first time while skipping a family dinner. This year is no different, and I've been passing my old 2002 pictures of my first trip to Asia, specifically Hong Kong, Tokyo, the Shanghai region and Beijing (pics not up yet). I've been playing with levels in photo editor software, which is Gimp, in my case, and it has been doing marvels to make my pictures more colourful.
Yesterday on Spacing Montreal, I reported that the McDonald's at the corner of Park and Mont-Royal was closing down for good. It happened so very suddenly, and I am pretty sure that the sign had been put up only a couple of days before the actual closing. On the second morning after, I saw the restaurant's staff packing office equipment away, and before Friday, tall sheets of brown paper was covering its windows.
I suspect that it had something to do with the neighbourhood's gentrification. Maybe this piece of land can be better developed - but what can be built there instead? A restaurant - but Dusty's is right nextdoor, and the actual space is a mere strip that could hardly accommodate more than a counter. So, a phone shop? A bakery? Not a cosmetics shop I hope!
A belated post, that is...
Flickr set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/smurfmatic/sets/72157603496736040/
Au Québec et en Ontario, les accumulations seront en moyenne de 20 à 30 centimètres de neige d'ici lundi. Certaines régions pourraient toutefois recevoir plus de 50 centimètres de neige. Le tout est accompagné de fortes rafales. (Radio-Canada)
A massive blizzard that slammed into Ontario and Quebec, dumping mounds of snow, disrupting air travel and causing treacherous driving conditions, was expected to hit the Atlantic provinces next. [...] The storm left up to 30 centimetres of snow in parts of Ontario and 60 centimetres in some parts of Quebec. (CBC)
Flickr set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/smurfmatic/sets/72157603478579441/ (path)
Le Souk à la Société des Arts Technologiques de Montréal.
A new building revealed itself to dwellers of Montreal's Chinatown over the past week, on the corner of De La Gauchetière and St-Urbain, where a Chinese emporium and post office once had pignon sur rue. It had been hidden behind wooden planks for about a year, or perhaps more, with no signs of what was being developed.
The second floor of the building is occupied by the Montreal Chinese Chamber of Commerce, while a side door adorning a renewed sign also leads to some Chinese Christian organization. We speculated that it could look like a bank, but is not plausible since all major Canadian banks (and HSBC) have locations within a block or two from there. A clothing store would be neat, but to whom would it cater? If it were a restaurant or eatery of some sort, wouldn't they be hiring personnel weeks before opening, as it was the case with Xiao Fei Yang in February 2007?
Or, a simpler explanation, it could well be just the former owners of the Chinese emporium expanding to larger and newer premises.
Yesterday, Yahoo! finally decided to release a statistics page for Flickr pro users. If you want your stats for Flickr, you must go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/USERNAME/stats/ in order to activate them. It must be a very tough job, computationally-speaking, to keep track of all clicks for every single one of your thousands of photos - even YouTube keeps only a minimal trace of how users get to a video page... But seriously, as the ad says, I am thrilled, because I can now determine how people find my photos. :)
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.
The "City of New York" pole marks where reality starts and ends
Flickr set https://www.flickr.com/photos/smurfmatic/sets/72157603446335603/
On that day, I went out and took pictures, on a relatively cold, but sunny Saturday of December. Then, we met at the march for Kyoto, bought a Nintendo DS, went home and made orange/lemon chicken.
3-4 servings. First, get a pouch of LLK's "Lemon chicken" blend from any regular Chinese grocery store (it's appx $1.50), five pieces of boneless chicken thighs, one orange, one egg and some corn starch. Follow the instructions on the pouch, and add half-slices of an orange to the stir-fry.
Radio-Canada's Espace Musique (French equivalent of CBC Radio 2) is launching today a second version of its classical music webradio. Espace Classique 2.0 is debuting with three different playlists (ambiances) called "Zen", "Vitamine" and "Noël", as well as a continuous webradio that seems to play music from a selected pool of tracks.
The retail price for the Nintendo DS Lite at various locations in downtown Montreal was always $140 (no game included). If you get the Zelda Edition, however, they will throw in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass with your gold colour DS for only $150.
After registering my product online, I was very surprised to found out that my new web account was merged (thanks to my postal address, I guess) with the information they kept from orders that I made in 1993 when I was still a very young teenager, such as the Super Mario Adventures comic book, or the Mario Paint game guide (!). But then, no, I am not surprised, in the age of information.
I also bought FFXII: Revenant Wings, which had rather disappointing gameplay. It was a lot too slow and is sort of "flaky", in the sense that you could not feel the same level of control over your characters' location, which enemies they are fighting as you might in FF Tactics or even the original FFXII.
Therefore, after the 200$ challenge, it is now the 70$ challenge for the next two weeks.
Quand? Samedi 15 décembre 2007
Où? * Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal, 987 Rue Côté, 4e étage
Qui? Ouvert à tous, bien sûr. Organisé par le groupe multiculturel du SFCGM.
When? Saturday, December 15th, 2007
Where? Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal, 987 Rue Côté, 4th floor
How much? Free!
Who? Open to everyone. Organized by the CFSGM multicultural group.
A NFB documentary by Yung Chang, 2003, 41 minutes.
An hour and a half east of Toronto lies a farm like few others in Canada. The 80 acres at Wing Fong Farm (the name means Forever Bountiful) are planted with crops like gai lan, go lai choy and gau choy - succulent Asian vegetables destined for Chinese markets and restaurants. It is here, near the small town of Newcastle, that Lau King-Fai (known simply as Ma) has come to join her son and spend the rest of her days. It's a long way from her native Hunan Province, but after a tumultuous life in China, she has made this place her home: caring for the young shoots, working side by side with migrant Mexican workers and preparing meals in the farmhouse. https://www.nfb.ca/collection/films/fiche/?id=51108
Un documentaire de l'ONF par Yung Chang, 2003, 41 minutes
Des champs, au marché, à la table : des fermiers chinois de première génération vivant à Newcastle en Ontario portent un regard original sur le travail de la ferme. C'est à Robin Yeung Kwan et à sa mère, «Ma» Lau King-Fai qu'appartient la Everfresh Greenhouse, ferme de 150 acres, où sont cultivées plus de dix espèces de légumes chinois. Ces produits frais sont expédiés aux différents marchés asiatiques d'Amérique du Nord. Cette famille qui parle à peine l'anglais et encore moins l'espagnol, se fie néanmoins à des travailleurs itinérants mexicains pour la récolte. Une expérience complexe de cultures croisées qui, étonnamment, fonctionne. En anglais avec sous-titres français. https://www.onf.ca/collection/films/fiche/?id=51272
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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.
|Cars parked, rue Villeneuve, near Avenue du Parc, looking west (map)
|Rue Villeneuve, closer to Parc, looking west (map)
|Hour, Mirror, Postes Canada, corner of Villeneuve and Du Parc
|Runners on Villeneuve on Jeanne-Mance (map)
|An alleyway off Jeanne-Mance, between Villeneuve and St-Joseph (map)
|Boulevard St-Joseph and Rue Jeanne-Mance (map)
This article was originally published in French on Spacing Montréal, a magazine on urban public space.
A fabulous concert by Montreal's very own Stars (I am almost sure that they live like a couple of blocks from here), which, I did not know, were marking the end of their three-month long North American "In Our Bedroom after the War" tour. It also had the longest encore that I ever witnessed, with five songs! I bought a poster of tonight's show at the very end of the evening (a first very cold one in Montreal this season), and had the young lady performing the pre-show, Jade McNelis, autograph it (who unfortunately got her name on it teared apart in the poster as "MacNells").
Your Ex-Lover is Dead:
This Thursday, Friday and Saturday was Input II at Radio-Canada, an event that captures the best of the great pilgrimage of public television, Input (in Lugano, Switzerland, this year), and retransmits it to its Montreal-based artisans. One of the sessions on Friday was on fiction, and the meat of it was a 77" piece by John Hsu, that was originally aired by the Taiwan Public Television Service (English site). It is called "Real Online" or 請登入線實 in Chinese.
Real Online would probably sell better to a Fantasia 2008 audience than one of television buffs, but provided fodder to an animated post-screening discussion. Real Online introduces us to a cast of six main characters who lead real lives in Taipei, Taiwan, and online lives in the "Real Online" game (or 理想Online, which translates literally instead to "Wishes Online").
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.