November 2008 Archives

Macaroni au fromage (and friends)

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Mac 'n cheese

(The Flickr photo has notes - click on them!)

I made macaroni and cheese several times, and it seems to work the best with older types of cheddar. It's still a more commercial type that I get from my local Metro grocery store, but one day, I should fork out a little more to see if it's really a question of older / better quality cheddar.

In a saucepan, melt the cheese that you previously cut in cubes (for easier melting). Add some butter too. Then add milk and flour to obtain desired consistency. Throw in the cut macaroni.

Also, I made salmon on the BBQ. I let it sit on the counter with lemon juice, salt, fresh ground pepper and olive oil. Then had it on the grill, on one of those aluminium plates to prevent burning and falling in the grill.

Hipsters et fiers de l'être

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Christiane Charette on Radio-Canada's Première chaîne has a piece on hipsters and hipsterism... lol The comments by listeners taking the "phenomenon" seriously are priceless.

Webpage | Audio link

Akoha, quesséça?

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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

Fried baby bok choy

It's a new wave of food obsession which started in Toronto (see these posts). Of course besides the craving for warm food for the weather, like mac 'n cheese - and I'll attempt to be fine bouche in my choice of (Cheddar) cheese, I am also looking at the Chinese dishes that I can make easily and well.

How about a stir-fry to start things up? I have a bag of bamboo shoots, written in Japanese characters all over, but with the noticeable characters for "China". If I get some pork for mincing and throw in some scallions, this would make a delicious stir-fry.

I also have some bok choy left in the back of the fridge from my veggie buying spree (despite that they do not vary much in quality nor price with Montreal's supply). Not the nappa or Shanghai type, but just the bok choy. In fact, the explanation of this nomenclature on Wikipedia is quite priceless. I could fry them with lots and lots of garlic, peanut oil and salt. It's how I like it - pure, with some bak fan (plain rice). If I need a meat dish, I can have the pork that I would use for some Chinese soup mix.

Hm, my grandma also gave me frozen tilapia slices. When she said fish, I thought she meant codfish or haddock. But tilapia is fine too - although the seng mei is more intense / hard to get rid of. Grandma suggested to fry some gai lan (or was it just choy sum?) on the side, and then the fish along with the quintessence of Chinese flavours, green onions and ginger. Adding the corn starch for a sauce.


White cut chicken, which the Hongkongers call bak chit gai, but which we Overseas Chinese rather call bak zam gai, is also a dish that needs salvaging from parents' recipe. It read that you don't actually let the water boil when cooking the chicken, but rather let the residual heat do the job. Well, also, one day I'll be able to make a zui gai (zui ji, drunken chicken) that's acceptably the same thing as the thing they serve you in restaurants. Oh yeah, and maybe a Hainan chicken qui a de l'allure.

Student life at U of T

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Wokking On Wheels

My main purpose in Toronto being the Reel Asian International Film Festival (review on CLC to come), I spent most of my time in downtown Toronto, near the University of Toronto campus, where the fest was held.

The friends who accompanied me happened to be U of T alum or quasi-alum, and brought me to the various eating places, drinking holes scattered around the neighbourhood...

The first picture here above is that of a Chinese food truck regularly parked on St. George, a street that crosses the campus.

Pizza Papa Ceo & Pizza Cora

Following are the two pizza places on Spadina's west side between Harbord and Sussex. I tried Cora's pizza: 4$ for a quarter of a pizza, thus the expected price of 2$ per slice masqueraded as a two for one.

The Green Room

Last but not least, a bar accessible through some back alley that gives on a parking lot named the Green Room, a cousin of its red namesake. Plays quite some generic indie rock music, and is quite your regular student pub.

Queen's Park press scrum

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scrum 1

scrum 2

scrum 3

I'm not sorry, but Toronto might not be the most interesting city for tourism. At least, it does not have the reputation of one.

I made the most of my four days, notably with witnessing a press scrum at Queen's Park, and being in the same breathing space as Dalton McGuinty. Wuzzah.

On this photo, Ontario auto-makers representatives are being sought after by members of the press after a meeting with Premier McGuinty and other people in the government.

Back from Duolunduo

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The CN Tower

Cedric in Mercerland

I'm back from Toronto! I've done everything I wanted to do, and even did more!

Balade à Toronto...

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Jean Leloup - Balade à Toronto

Tant qu'il y aura des étoiles, sur le bord de la route nous pourrons nous arrêter...

I'm going to Toronto for a few days! There will be the Reel Asian film fest, the CBC, some good Chinese food (we hope) and various many other things (we also hope).

Québec méridional - à la dissolution le 5 novembre 2008

Lien ici :

Après la carte des élections fédérales au Canada, voici maintenant la carte des provinciales au Québec à être déclenchées plus tard aujourd'hui.

Les couleurs de celle-ci représentent les partis ayant remporté les dernières élections dans une telle circonscription, que ce soit la dernière générale ou une partielle (aucun gain, donc c'est la même chose - et aussi, on ne tient donc pas compte de la défection des deux adéquistes dans Iberville et Champlain). La profondeur de la couleur indique la marge de victoire (modifiée par une fonction carrée, ensuite ajustée de 15%).

Encore une fois, on obtient les résultats historiques (entre 2003 et 2008) en cliquant sur le graphique circulaire de chaque circonscription (qui représente les derniers résultats). Bon, voici d'autres captures d'écran:

Couronne du 450 de Montréal - À la dissolution le 5 novembre 2008

Île de Montréal et Laval - À la dissolution le 5 novembre 2008

Parlant d'élections, Google a publié une fantastique carte historique (jusqu'au comté près) des résultats de présidentielles américaines de 1980 à 2004. J'imagine que celle de 2008 s'en vient elle aussi. (Lien KMZ)

Welcome back America

L'activité multi-urbaine post-élection présidentielle Welcome Back America organisée par Spacing (pour lequel j'écris dans sa version montréalaise) s'est faufillée comme l'événement à assister pour célébrer l'élection d'Obama. Y'a la télé de Radio-Canada (RDI, on pense) qui en a parlé, ainsi que le journal 24 heures.

J'avais entendu parlé de l'événement, bien sûr, mais comment ça se fait qu'une activité organisée par une publication anglo (avec un blogue bilingue à Montréal) peut attirer l'attention plus qu'une activité organisée dans le Montréal francophone? Peut-être qu'il n'y a par de démarcation franco/anglo pour ces choses. P-ê que le meilleur score Google aura prévalu?

Bon, allez, je vais voir ce que ç'en a d'l'air. Franchement, je suis un snob de la politique, facque moi c'est la politique provinciale qui m'intéresse. :P

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.

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