Recently in Real-life blues Category

Flying away

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Probably one of the most improbable flights I've done (aside from HKG-CAI) that I'll be doing tonight.

I don't know. Maybe this break from my life in HK will do much much good. Living on Lamma is already a daily break, but perhaps the general breathing space of North America will also do good.

I'm also only gone for a week -- just enough to adjust to jet lag (will be v. happy to pop the melatonin pills).

Did I pack too much? Probably.

I'm a little nervous -- have no specific idea why.

Flight's at 22:45. Will arrive at 20:30 in SFO. Will have traveled 2 hours in the past. Yay!


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Once in a while, it's good to put down an assessment of things of the moment.

So, this week marks pretty much the seventh month I am in Hong Kong, and not sixth month as I thought. For some reason, it doesn't seem that long, but seven months is a long long time. You do a lot of things in seven month. Two more months and it's as long as it takes to carry a baby!

The weather's getting really humid. I've lived on my island for a little more than six months, and it's still rather enjoyable. The ferry, however, makes my social life less prone to late-night improvisations. Weekends on the island feel like being in a resort town: the calm and quiet, birds chirping, dogs barking, and of course, tourists bustling.

Work is about what I am expecting, at times very intense, and at times a little less intense. Getting the impression that I am doing something important, which I've always wanted to do; and of being at the right place, at the right time. Enjoying my time there as well.

How has my life changed from September 2009 until today? I have a mobile phone with broadband Internet access. I take the ferry and minibus every day, rather than use my legs to propel myself (on a bike). I feel that 18 Celsius degrees is cold weather. Everyone is Chinese and speaks Chinese. :O I think that hk$100 (ca$14) is overly expensive for dinner at the restaurant. And a bunch of other things.

There is more subtle stuff, I'm sure, but that'll be for another day...

I guess that my interests have changed too, and things that I thought were important or which had a particular interest to me (Chinese indie music) has been evened out by different factors.

I don't think I'll elaborate too much on people, but the people I've met have been great in general. People relationships, but also institutions, groups, whatnot, also seem to be of a different ballgame altogether, because of volume and amplitude. Montreal is just not an international city, while Hong Kong is. Because of that, I often feel like here, right now, is the real thing. It's the major league, to follow the sports metaphor.

I wonder how you would feel or felt about moving to a different city for the first time?

Enfin de retour à Hong Kong

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Woaw, les deux dernières semaines. J'ai passé du franchement bon temps avec la famille et les amis à Montréal. J'ai fait de petits paquets avec ma vie montréalaise, tant au sens figuré qu'au sens propre, et j'ai dit au revoir à à peu près tout le monde en ville. On a bien mangé, et j'en ai même rapporté ici.

Ici, c'est Hong Kong. Malgré un attentat déjoué dans les airs la semaine dernière, les choses sont revenues à peu près à la normale -- en tout cas pour mes vols. Pas de fouille supplémentaire, pis ça a pris à peu près le même temps pour tout passer ce que j'avais passé en septembre dernier lors de mon départ initial de Montréal. -- À peu près à la normale, vu qu'à cause d'un problème de papiers, nous disait le pilote, le vol CO99 entre Newark et Hong Kong a quand même été retardé d'au moins deux heures et demie, mais on est quand même arrivé en retard juste par 1h30. J'ai pris le Airport Express -- ce que je ne fais pas d'habitude -- et je suis arrivé à Hong Kong Station à Central vers 23h30. J'ai eu le bonheur ensuite d'assister au décompte du nouvel an en face de mon quai du traversier pour l'Île de Lamma. Ça fait du bien de savoir qu'on sera bientôt à la maison -- du moins ma seconde maison.

On passe maintenant devant Aberdeen et Ap Lei Chau sur le ferry.

À Montréal, je me suis débarassé de pas mal de choses. J'ai développé une certaine « haine » des choses matérielles, en particulier du papier. Pourquoi promener tant de papier, quand l'essentiel est en fait ce qui est écrit dessus? Alors pourquoi pas tout digitaliser et le traîner dans le nuage? Ma vie en ce moment est un peu comme l'état de mes choses : dans un nuage, qui virevolte, disparait, et réapparait à des endroits différents du monde.

Je m'installe à Hong Kong : peut-être pour quelques mois, peut-être pour quelques années. Le reste de mes jours? Bon, on verra pour ça...

Une chose est sûre, je ne m'ennuierai pas des hivers canadiens. Depuis l'adolescence, j'ai cessé d'apprécier la neige et le blizzard. Ok, peut-être qu'il y a encore un peu d'amour, mais c'est seulement pour le hockey et les soirées passées au chaud à l'intérieur avec ceux qu'on aime et qu'on aimait.

Il doit faire 16-17 degrés maintenant, nuit du Nouvel An à Hong Kong. Tout à fait dans les normales saisonnières et très agréable. Bon, la cloche qui indique qu'on est presque arrivé vient de sonner! 15 minutes de marche avec mes bagages: on est capable!

At least it was just the front wheel

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At least it was just the front wheel

The first move

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My first move was to take down the After This Our Exile poster from the wall on the left side behind my bed. Unwittingly, it might have had a negative effect on my mood for all these months living here...

On the other hand, I've now placed two new posters, including that of the "spankin'" rock show at 2 kolegas (because of that tag, that picture, which I linked to here, is by far my Flickr's account most popular, despite it being added less than a month ago - bunch of hypocrites :D).

New posters in my room

New posters in my room

The other poster is one of Cheer Chen on her scooter. <3

Taking pictures with a regular point-and-shoot, after about two months on a SLR (Pentax K10D), is a very big downer. Why is there no need to look in the viewfinder anymore? Where's my extraordinarily short depth of field?

Anyways, my next camera will be a SLR, that's for sure.

I feel like living somewhere else. Montreal is kind of like the woman who will always be there for you. Aren't we always attracted by that which is not here?

Seriously multitasking

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Cedric SAM

Just finished writing the last Q&A, and already at least one scheduled within two weeks. Three stories sitting on the back-burner for both sorta-work blogs. One real-work website to be launched next week... Still have time to upload my old pics and take new ones?

How did this cat get into our house?

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Lost cat

Neither of my roommates actually has an idea of where this cat came from. This photo was actually taken on the last occasion (January 13th) that it just appeared in our house. There are no obviously holes in our house, and I find it hard to believe that it could just crawl into our flat like this!

But hey, cats are adorable. They purr inconsequentially, roll on their backs carelessly. Even with all these signs of ingénue charm, cats are a potent source of allergic reactions for yours truly.


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Just quack it.


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.

The Stars are coming to Montreal, if you have been reading free weeklies, which I have not been doing. In fact, I heard from it through Facebook, as it is slowly crawling into our lives. Flavour of the month or next Google? I know that people in the mainstream are taking it seriously..

I am writing this entry for a change in mood, because reading a language that people don't understand (maybe I assume too much of my audience, too, if there is such a thing) is always really boring. Not only is this entry different, but I am not even using my own pics! It was taken by petronia on the first day of this year's Osheaga, the one that I did not attend.

Stars at the National (across from Metro Beaudry) on Nov 30th and Dec 1st.


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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.

Purchase list for the new flat

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  • Rice cooker
  • Spatula set
  • Strainer
  • Coat hanger
  • Extra chair
  • Wok
  • Book holder
  • Alarm clock
  • Salt/pepper dispensers
  • Better laundry soap

Moving into our new flat

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Moving from the West Island to where I am, literally the heart of Montreal, a block away from Parc Jeanne-Mance (otherwise known as the "Tam-Tams"), at the confluence of at least five bus lines, must definitely be a life-changing experience.

I slept my first night last Friday, slightly tipsy from the white beer that I had with friends nearby. To tell the truth, I'm still a little bit dizzy since then (and fighting a cold too). The owners of the flat were moving out during the weekend, while we, myself and two marvelous roommates, were slowly, but surely, moving in. It's a wonder that none of our boxes got mixed up.

Finally, on Monday, we had our first "alone night". Naturally, I spent all my time on finding a place for the home server which, among other things, allows to run. I also biked to work on that day. Easy in the morning, hell on wheels in the evening (it's probably much easier without a laptop and half a sack of groceries from Chinatown).

Tonight, I setup a computer for the closet. It's just kinda awesome, I think, to be able to plant a working computer into a closet. Other than that, I lived urban life to the fullest, and went, on the same nocturnal bike ride at around 10PM, to 1- pick up stuff at the pharmacy, 2- pick tickets from tomorrow's Sala Rossa concert, 3- get money from the bank, 4- drop by a Starbucks to see if they sell water bottles, and 5- buy St-Viateur bagels for breakfast. This absolutely summarizes how good fortune can shine upon you.

A blue jay picking on a wasp nest

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As we went out, we noticed a blue jay in the maple tree in front of our house. It was hammering on something, and it took us a bit to realize that it was in fact picking on a wasp nest, no less! My mother had been wondering where those wasps came from - we had infestations below the front porch, and even once, between the ceiling and 2nd floor right under my father's bedside table (where they indeed did quite some damage, leaving a mark on the wood, which we saw firsthand last year, as we were renovating).

Blue jay guarding its lunch, on our frontyard

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.

Cat and Girl

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Dorothy Gambrell's Cat and Girl is simply genius, especially the latest.

The long road beyond

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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).

Today, in a couple of separate events, I have somehow been put in contact with at least (b/c the day isn't done yet) with eight other people who've graduated with me in biochem in 2002. Except for Wee, they're people that I never ever see, even if I still hangout around McGill (for the gym). I am freaked out.

Springtime, baby

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It has arrived in Montreal! The time change also makes it feel like spring a couple of weeks in advance. Everyone is in such a good mood today. My mother even let me drive with her!

The McDonald's folks even made a fresh batch of French fries specially for me, and then filled me up with a bagful.

And it smells like dog shit outside! So it must be Spring!

In no particular order. I was just told that Van Roy's famously greasy pork chops (included in tonight's Szechuan combo) negates the effect of two days of working out. I don't like to think of working out as a way to burn fat, but more for activating one's body and feeling healthier in general. So, I don't.

In some disturbing news, I will attempt to pass my driving school's test next Tuesday. It is but a question of confidence, b/c noone ever has a slight idea of what a "hand-over-hand" or "checking one's blind angle" really means.

On Friday, we went Piknic Electronik, with unspecified friends. The weather was clement (-10C, with high winds), and we witnessed a fire in Chinatown destroying the building that used to house the corner grocery store (declining for a few years already, and it's not a bad thing that they think of building something new on that corner).

And, plans to go to 纽约市, as a shameless occasion to stock up at the UniQlo in SoHo. But seriously, museums, restaurants, and the richest city in the world? Who'd say no to this, even if it's going to be in the midst of the deadly month of February? It would be improvised, at best, and mayhaps in train through the snowy Adirondacks, if I mind myself to go through with this extravagance. Cheers.

The lost tapes

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Also, one of the music tapes my father recovered was taped over with a minute and a half of a conversation we had while playing mini-golf, with grandma. Either me or my brother spoke exquisitely cute baby Cantonese, minus the twenty years of acculturation from today. With the "wor" and "ma", we sounded like genuine Cantonese, not this distorted chimera of Chinese, English, French mix. My father sounds a lot like me, his voice clearer and a lot less mature. My mother sounds like her youngest sister. My grandma, well, sounds like my grandma. :D

It's ironic that the song being taped over is some patriotic song in Cantonese called "Ngor hei chung kwok yan" (I am Chinese). It's interesting to know that we were so frighteningly Chinese in the language we spoke, and lets me think that something from my early childhood makes me fond of hearing Cantonese sounds (I have the vocabulary of a 8 years old'er, and none of the colloquial).

My foot back in Kansas

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I am so weak. I just came back from the Best Buy, with a PS2 (there were also at least ten units of PS3 on the nearby fenced shelf), a memory card, and of course, ffxii. :D The opening video on my parents' home theatre system is making me cream my pants.

Life is a game of Texas Hold'em

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Well hey, I got a real introduction to the game tonight (after a one-game stint last week hanging out at Magic Idea), and it is really underlining the need to read other people's minds, play a deceptive game, and especially bluff at any suited moment. I can't think of anything better to say.

The dinner was grandiose as usual. We have 20-something guests at my grandma's house (which is really my uncle's, since grandma + grandpa are currently enjoying 30 degrees plus weather somewhere in South China), as the Christmas party this year reunited both my aunt's family (second-removed cousins by alliance from Toronto) and ours (a bunch of cousins, aunts/uncles too). I made baked pitas, with either a tomatoes/parsley/garlic/onions or a labneh dip; one of my aunts got the "usual" cantaloup/prosciutto and smoked salmon/capers doused with olive oil; my aunt's mother made a Chinese-style broth with, I think, shark's fin and swallow's nest (!) blended together; my aunt made a gigantic rosemary and celery powder flavoured turkey ("sandwiches for the week to come"), as well as meatballs; and my father did a water-based curry "lotte" (or burbot, says the French-English dicto) with curry powder from the Seychelles, which is super hot - texture, not taste, sort of reminiscent of what we may've had at Delices de l'Ile Maurice - I mean, the idea of stewed fish that doesn't just melt into a semi-solid paste.

Then, we had a variety of drinks, and when you have a full stomach, anything goes without affecting you too much. For me: red wine, and more red wine, some sort of whiskey, a brandy cream, and some of that Remy-something cognac.

Among Christmas gifts gotten (to tell the truth, I am a real shame as far as giving is concerned), two Canadiens-themed ones, like a tick in the Reds, and a home game jersey. Also, err, a couch (for lounging after work with laptop).

That's about it. After staying in the last three alive in the first of round of poker, I was the first or one of the first to be killed in the following games. There's the interesting aspect of caring about other people's reactions and behaviour that would do some good to my game. I mean, it is probably the single point of personality that is a parent of many of my character flaws which I can think of. Also, I don't think that being a big mouth (like my brother) suits me well, despite trying (with mixed success) to be one on certain (usually free-flowing) occasions. Whereas, being like my father, who is a respected man, but who rarely takes the initiative at family gatherings, is probably a better model to follow. Somehow, I've vented my year-head resolutions to a friend last week, and they vaguely still make sense.

Predictably enough

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Getting myself a laptop has had the opposite of the desired effect, in that instead of taking it out with me for work, I've been stranding myself even more with it, this being the third weekend in a row that I stay in bed with it. Lesson learned: It's not technology that improves your life, it is yourself who improves it.

And again, in other early New Year resolutions: Practice driving and be good enough for the exam to pass it (before the end of the snowing season). Because, ironically, I have a car (Toyota Corolla 1993, my parents' old car, which became my brother's last year, until he got himself a new one), but can't drive it. >_> Then, when I manage to, will it also have secondary side effects? Like, thinking that Fairview Pointe-Claire shopping mall is Montreal's focal hang-out place or even, shudders, drive around the block to get to the supermarket when I could've walked and gotten there quicker and slightly healthier?

Youngest and oldest plants

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African violet
This is an African Violet that I bought last week. It's the first plant that I keep in my room since 6 or 7 years. My parents have been purchasing a lot of indoor plants in the past few years, in particular my father's orchids, to my mother's dismay. African violets are easy to manage, so long as you don't drop water on its leaves or flowers (they rot, as a consequence). There's even an African Violet Society of Canada!

Fir tree
On that freezing rain and raging winds showcase on Friday, a large section of this fir tree fell down on the driveway. Hopefully, it happened during the day, when all of the cars were either in the garage or gone. My father recalls a picture of me and my brother standing next to it as very young children of 3 and 1 year old. It's slated for dismissal sometime this week.

The first sunny morning after the time change never ceases to amaze me and always bring fond memories from childhood (not unlike Christmas, actually). An extra hour given to you, for the cost of an hour in the springtime, to admire the morning shine you could be missing b/c of school or work. But soon enough, you understand why that hour was given to you...

(Hm, isn't it this year that we start changing the time a week or two early?)

Live from the Nation's Capital

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Nation's Capital, depending for whom. In French, the Nation's Capital is Quebec City, whereas the place where I am is indeed "La Capitale Federale", but the Nation's Capital.

Ottawa is grey, and grey. I missed my bus stop upon arriving, thinking that the city's central bus station was downtown. It was a kilometer of walk from downtown, maybe 1.5 from Parliament Hill (which I'm going to take a look at in a minute). It was not a very long day, from 9:30 to 4, with long breaks. Our company is attending a trade show here, and my first ever as exhibitor. Lots of flier-folding and folder-assembling during the few days running up to the show, some running around for equipment forgotten (like, the lady at the Rideau Centre Sears says they *always* run out of glass bowls on conference/expo weeks, for some reason XD).

Later on, am supposed to meet up with Felix, who has a passion for public servantship, and has found himself a sweet position in Transports Canada.

I arrived at the bus station at 8:30, but it took only 20-something minutes to walk across downtown up to Centre Rideau, adjacent to the Ottawa Congress Centre. It is such a small city. You notice all sorts of small differences, like the local grocery chains (even if they're probably owned by the same conglomerate), the color and configuration of the circulation lights (yellow, suspended above streets); and the similarities, like the street names (so, Canadian cities only have a limited list of possible Politicians to name streets - and our uptown commercial street within a largely residential area Laurier street becomes Ottawa's main downtown commercial artery - but Metcalfe stays the relatively same north-south downtownish street, whoever this "Metcalfe" dude was).

Probably going to hit the Starbucks afterwards. I've been reading Murakami's short stories collection, which is an easy read. It is as light and fluffy as usual. What I'd like to find is the Yasutaka Tsutsui short stories collection that was recently translated to English (only work of his that was). He was the author of the book that inspired the Kon Satoshi movie Paprika.

It may or may not not have been the first dip below zero of the season. It will be a beautiful sunny weekend nonetheless, just a terribly cold (3C now at 8AM) one come nightfall and early in the morning. Could it be one of those years where the Été Indien gets skipped?

Birthday dinner party

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For some reason, have failed to blog about the birthday dinner of last week. I am turning 26, phew, so decided to have my friends over, for a dinner format that has actually not been done yet among ourselves (b/c we either have potluck + dancing parties at Tania's, or party's at Ced's with way too many people such that the host doesn't even know all guests beforehand!).

We took a lot of pictures with my camera, not of which came from my initiative. Sabina and Tania brought wine, Talal, chocolates (truffles, did not dare touch them yet), Alex, DVDs (did not end up watching), and Sayena + boyfriend Nick, wine from the Greek island of Cephalonia/Kefalonia from which Nick's family comes from. The place where we usually get our smoked salmon (cut in front of you from the fish! which is stored in a smoking cabin in the backstore!), on Victoria close to Van Horne, steps from Metro Plamondon, was closed due to Jewish holiday (but aren't the owners Greek? Greek Jews perhaps?), so I instead got "old-fashioned" smoked cooked salmon for my guests, from Délices de la Mer at Marché Jean-Talon, where my brother's childhood friend Mathieu works. I made my tomato & chick pea salad. The labneh mix with oven-baked pita bread slices was a hit, although Talal pointed out rightly that the proper way of doing it would've been with crushed dried mint, rather than fresh shredded mint.

Main dish was a leg of lamb, perfectly garlicky. To prepare it, I made slits in the meat, where I inserted whole branches of rosemary with crushed garlic. I bypassed the wine or beef broth. I added coarse salt to cover the fatty surface of the piece of meat. Cooked it for 30 minutes at 425C, and another hour for 375C. Microwaved veggies for decoration, and the health factor.

Any hope of healthiness would be destroyed by the time of the cheese platter. That day, I went to Fromagerie Hamel at Jean-Talon, and got a couple of cheese. I took a St-Agur (for Wee, his favourite), a goat crottin made in France but aged here in Quebec, a Maître Jules, and a 4-year old Cheddar. My father got a Spanish cheese from the Pyrenees that is made of ewe's milk, I think, but we forgot to open it.

Of course, the best was saved for the end, a delicious strawberry shortcake made with the freshest Chantilly cream. I don't know if it's just canned cream (I guess they would not dare do this), but it wasn't the same as the over-sweet creams of wedding cakes I promptly discard. No, it was light as a cloud, and had just a hint of sweetness.

The good kind of exhaustion

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I invited a few friends over, and we had my birthday dinner. Too exhausted to talk about it, but my friends took rounds with the camera.

Perfect Autumnal Saturday

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Twenty-four degrees Celsius, and methinks it's going to be fine enough to go out in shorts.

Would line up in front of the Bell Centre for Habs ticks at around noon/one pee-em, depending on my queue position. Then, getting lunch somewhere downtown. Then, moving on to places unknown. Been wanting to do that field trip for food around Montreal; otherwise, staying indoors with tomorrow's weather forecast (sunshine all over the roof) should be deemed illegal. ;p

The night of weird patterns

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All my friends are firstborn. And I don't just mean close friends, but perhaps 10-15 friends/acquaintances, barring one or two exceptions. Most often of a pair of siblings (as it seems to be the favoured complement of offspring for most couples), but sometimes out of more than two.

My mother is the first of seven; my father is the second of five (and first boy). And I have a younger brother.

Woaw, holy crap, I'm not getting over this!

I'm reading the Coupland novel. I now want to make omelette for tomorrow's lunch.

Garlic and stuff

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I have trouble getting a calm night of sleep whenever garlic is aplenty in the evening meal, especially when I haven't had enough time to digest. Garlic, but also onionlikes. This is based on empirical facts. I think it may be particular spices too.

I despair when I hear news like this. I never thought they could push the escalation to the point of kidnapping the government of a rival/enemy state like they just did. So much passion.

After dragon boat (less deadly, but I was still totally hurting from Monday), we went for simple Chinese food at that Ravioli de Manchuria place. Not as good as it used to be, but it's still quite unique for the homemade Northern-style dumplings (pork & chives, fried). Also, when one doesn't have a full-power cooking oven at home (certainly I'll try to get an oven that works with gas and throws fire when I get my own house), then stir-fried veggies - any sort, but preferably mini SH Bok Choy - are a must-order, even if it's like 10$ for just choy. And we had mutton skewers (less meat, drier, and now with sesame seeds to cover up the scarcity of substance) and a somewhat good sliced fat pork stir-fry (not as thin as it can be, but not bad for Montreal standards).

While eating, the telly, tuned in to a HK-based all-news channel in Mandarin called Phoenix, threw long minutes of some economic forum anniversary happening in HK with a familiar-looking Communist Party big wig, and Donald Tsang, his Macau counterpart and that photogenic Henry Tang from the central bank of HK or something (not sure of the title, but he was often in the SCMP). Nonetheless, I soon recognized that they were talking about the World Cup when I heard "Yi-Ta-Li" (approx pinyin), but Wee pointed out they weren't talking about Italy's upcoming match against Ukraine or their victory over Australia, but more precisely about the CCTV commentator who was openly and aggressively taking for the Italian side. And indeed, after getting back my connection to the world, I noticed it was indeed reported on in the Western press.

Requiem for my great-aunt

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My great-aunt in Macau passed away. At first, we didn't quite believe it, b/c the news came from my cousin over MSN, and my father spoke to my grandmother just this morning (he remembered that his sister's mother-in-law, the one in North Point, also passed away earlier this week).

But my cousin assures me that her mother did have a conversation with a nephew or relative-by-marriage of my great-aunt.

I'm not sure what to think. It's the first time since my grandfather (my father's dad) or my great-grandmother (my mother's granny) died, and I can never remember which first b/c I was 13-14 back then and wasn't exactly emotionally mature enough to have remembered how I felt - but I do remember the faces of my relatives, especially those who were the closest to the deceased - my grandmother, my father, aunts and uncles; my mother, aunts and uncles.

Today, I helped with assembling the Ikea furniture. Four very very large closets that literally dwarved my parents on the picture I took afterwards. It's hard to explain in words, but now they are against the walls, and we're going to put planks of wood to give the impression that they are closets-in-the-wall. (Man, I re-read some of my recent entries, and I feel as if my English is really sub-par...)

My hands are full of some sort of heavy-duty glue we used to stick the hind plate for the closets. It's Ikea stuff alright, and glue is just for being overly careful that the pieces we put together, stay together. The problem with Ikea is that it's cheap cheap cheap quality. I can't stress it too much. But for someone like me, who has never bought furniture, it is also the only place I would go to if I ever needed to buy anything that's home furniture (and my parents buy a majority of their stuff there too). So, the glue. My hands are slightly dark, as if I played with a too fat of a pencil, and the texture of my skin rippled like if I took an hour-long dip at the swimming pool. I just found a blood bubble on my left hand thumb, that might've been caused by the glue-thing asphyxiating my skin until I have to have my hands chopped off.

I slept 11 hours, depite going to bed relatively early (because on Saturday, I had a less-than-acceptable amount of sleep). Now it's shock-therapy, I'm going to try a nap until 7AM, and take my father's lift downtown, and see if tomorrow night I'll sleep at some more decent time. *g*

[music: The Pancakes - Arcturus]

I'm painting with something that's called primer. You put it on drywall so that later you can paint real paint on top of, and certainly with the mess I've managed to do (jeans, t-shirt with stripes of white - which is kinda bum-chic, shoes I've thought were forever-damages - but in fact the promise that "primer" is water-based fulfilled itself, and water from washing the painting equipment - err, brushes, paint tray - soaked the Ikea boxes in the garage thanks to my legendary lack of planification), we will delegate the painting to experts...

As for my room, I am torn between Vancouver Canucks mahogany-like (it's too strong of a color, say my parents - and if I know myself well-enough, it's probably as extreme as choosing yellow seven years ago, and surely to be an eye sore within a few months) and something light suggested by my parents to be something like what I would describe best as Blue Smurf. They are probably thinking a blue like the one from the "Random Pictures" icon at the top of the sidelinks. Maybe beige. Hmm.

(Why Blue Smurf? Because they are choosing some sort of beige, and so to balance things out with the color configuration of the bathroom -blue-, another bedroom needs to be blue. My brother's room is apple green, and he has no interest in changing the color.)

Whoo, signed up

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In another one of those lifetime firsts, I signed up with a dragonboat team! :D Now, something to burn all those zhong I consumed during the past week...

Full bloom (Sunday, May 14th)
Indeed this year is a bad bad year for o-hanami. The only time we could sit under the flowering trees with pleasant weather was about the end of last week, and it wasn't so warm at all. If the tree on our front lawn is an indicator for the state of other trees of the sort, then congrats to my lack-of-planning, just missed the o-hanami season. In any case, there will be other flowers (roses in June - perhaps I will make an attempt this year), and other reasons to take a walk at the Botanical Garden.

Il Modo Italiano at Montreal Fine Arts Museum
I went to see Il Modo Italiano at the MBAM. It's really really interesting and eye-flashing. Makes me want to decorate my room with various mid-Century Italian-designed objects (like, 1' by 3' numerical clock, Olivetti typewriters, and the walking Org table) and is just about the right amount of designey input I need for deciding on a color for my room. I was thinking that in the breadth of modern-themed exhibits, there ought to be something on video games art, or digital art (or, throw in mix, Japanese post-WWII design).

Edit: a mix of sun and clouds being forecast for Sunday.


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Early bloom in Montreal. Seven degrees above average forecast for this summer in southern Ontario/Quebec. The crabapple flowers are losing their petals already - I'm probably going to pick the next insanely beautiful day to take my stroll at the Botanical Garden. Screw the akkido demo and o-bento for $20.

(SCIM is so complex to use. wth with these 100-something input methods? With none of which being plain old hanyu pinyin? OTOH, anthy:わたしわセデリクです.)

Oh, now I get it. List of IME engines indicates that scim-pinyin is the package, and smart pinyin, the engine to use. While labelled as for inputting simplified, also does traditional (just like MS Input Method Editor).


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For Mother's Day, we went to this restaurant called "Tratorria Mundo" in the middle of the Pierrefonds-Kirkland residential area. When I mean residential, I really mean residential as the restaurant in question is located in a tiny out-of-place shopping mall, with only a gas station, a depanneur, a dry cleaner, drowned in a forest of upper-middle class residential houses. As its name implies, it's an Italian restaurant - one that is chic, yet homely (with decorative bags of fresh vegetables dangling from counters, portraits of stern Italian men in post-modern style, candle-lighted ambiance). I had the cheapest thing on the menu, b/c not feeling fancy at all, and it was a spaghetti bolognese. My brother took the same thing. It would've been better made if I made it myself. The pasta was supposed to be fresh...

On the bright side, my parents and grandparents took much fancier stuff (which is not fancy at all, considering the simplicity and availability of the ingredients) like porcini risotto, veal parmigiana, and a linguine sauteed with porcini and dried tomatoes and perhaps eggplants and usual veggie fillers. All and for all, it was alright, but totally stuff that I can make at home for 1/10 of the cost! Such is the drama with Italian food in general: won't find something really out of the ordinary unless you go to Italy.

(I do want to go to Italy. If my schedule allows - if I remain a freelance - I will travel to France for my cousin's wedding, first to Paris to join her and fiance up, and then to Toulouse where my aunt resides. And probably from there, travel to Barcelona or La Côte-d'Azur, Milano and Turino.)

The interesting plus is that one of the waiters is an (amateur?) opera singer, and did a performance for many tables (it also seemed like everyone except us was Italian-Canadian) in guise of happy birthday or singing performance to commemorate Mama's Day.

Today, for lunch, we went to Kam Fung for yum cha. I ate three of those fresh-out-the-oven egg tarts and indiscriminately stuffed my face with other very usual dim sum. I need to be impressed - and thus on top of Europe, I crave for a trip to HK (and China - this time, I will have my train trip to SH). However, I will wait for my gramps to go, next winter. Actually, they are juggling with the idea to go back to live in HK...

Wireless life take two

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Currently hanging out at the Cafe Imagination on Sherbrooke and Du Parc. A bit very trendy, like a Starbucks, or a Second Cup. Nice couches, lounge music, overpriced desserts, warm colors, wireless Internet. But I don't know how it would be otherwise.

First got a few books out from the library - some academic volumes on video games and Japanese post-modern society. As I walk on the Redpath promenade, I recognize Chanimal, Tenzin, the gang with whom I played ultimate frisbee two summers ago. Ultimate is an accident-prone sport, if you are me - when I was on the CS intramural team, I bumped a girl in mid-air trying to catch a frisbee - an ambulance was called, w/o anyone hurt, hopefully, and a year later, with these guys, I ran head-on with Jason, and we both had to go to the RVH emergency for stitches. Joined them for a friendly four-on-four for thirty mins, probably the last time or one of the last times before they graduate (we used to play some wild fifteen-on-fifteens!).

After that, swung by the lab, and then went to the swimming pool. Then went to see my grandmother, who's doing fine as ever (since a long pneumonia five years ago, her health has been relatively good), but a bit lonely because my father has been so busy supervising the renovation work. Then I walked on St-Laurent in search of dinner. At first, wanted to finally try that El Corridor Jamaican place, but at the last minute, I decided to stop by Salaison Slovenia to get some sausages. At the same time, I got a semi-dinner in that slovenian sausage sandwich for $3.00 ($2.50 plus $0.50 for the sauerkraut topping). And then at El Corridor, I grabbed just a beef jamaican patty (the chicken jerk is apparently their speciality, which I should try next time around). As summer approaches, I also want to go for pupusas, which are sold in restaurants and grocery stores up there in hispanophone St-Laurent...

Allergies delightfully killing me. My eyes are blood-injected and my nose, constantly stuck.

Edit: woaw, and the European server that provides my hosting service is so much more responsive.

Allergies blues

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Just took a pill of Claritin, which, besides helping for the sneezing, itching, and secreting, ahem, is probably the cause of my sudden vertigo.

Was previously downtown with absolutely no plan at all. Just that, seeing that there wasn't a cloud in the sky (at least when I woke up), and that the temperature was decent for wearing shorts, I decided to take the next bus downtown-bound.

I had a short break at the swimming pool, swam less than ten lengths in a medley of styles (including the N00b's Breaststroke) b/c I've already been for longer stretches this week. Have never felt as healthy and physically strong in my whole life.

Then I visited my grandma, who hasn't been visited by a family member for about a month (since we really started renovating). She usually cooks for my father for lunch, but he is now spending all his free times worrying about how the house should be rebuilt. I helped granny with the census, chatted with her, listened to her laugh out loud like never does (I guess she has this same shroud of occasional shyness/antisocial-people-hating I have, but can be a very lively talkative person when un-inhibited) and had her take out her photo album with black and white snapshots of a different era (woaw do you preserve some things down the generations, like a gaze).

Then took the 55 down to Chinatown, but revised myself (as I wouldn't be making rice dumplings tonight, or be asked to get take-out char siu at that time) and got off at Place-des-Arts and took the metro for Guy-Concordia. Got a plate of pan-fried bai cai jiaozi at the usual place. There was a feature in the Mirror on the Asian Heritage Month across Canada, and was reminded about the Pony Up! CD launch next Thursday. Then had a craving for something sweet - and w/o a decent ice cream parlour in sight, went for a bag of dried apricot from the nuts counter.


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Habless (adj):

1. Luckless; unfortunate.

2. Team captain gets hit in the eye by opponent's stick during game 3 of a best-of-seven series and is out for at least the series (potentially career-threatening). Team goes on to lose that game, and the next, such that that the series is now tied after winning two first games away.

3. :(


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Hmmm. (A pensive "Hmmm", that is).

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. :\

Manual work chronicles

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My dad strongly insisted that I pass the spray on the cars, and help with a bit of the construction work at home. What do I want to say... Car-washing is an interesting activity. It's basically taking care of something very very expensive completely surrendering itself to you. Hum. And you wash: throw some soap water with a slow spray, on the windshield, the sides, the top, the behind; and rinse.

Also manipulated a mechanical screwdriver for the first time. Emm, the satisfaction of piercing through a resilient chunk of wood serving to hold planks together and reduce the cracking noise of floor surfaces.

So many unobvious psychoanalytical inferences.

Anyways, we're also changing the carpet for all of the second floor, except in my room and my brother's. But I might do it too, if I decide to repaint my room, and don't move out this summer. I wanted sunshine yellow, but b/c of the lighting, it always came out as lemon yellow. I definitely need something warm, to get me through these winters.

Not evocative of SARS, *at all*. Demolition stage well underway. Apparently, there will be walls to hammer down tonight or tomorrow, so, avis aux intéressés.

Re: Home demolition

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A video of our semi-demolished home (QuickTime, 4.4Mb), after day three.

Home demolition

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Wall is gone
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.

I realized that in fact getting half the upper floor of our house destroyed is not a mild thing, even if it wasn't my room, or even parts of the house where I spent a lot of time in.

I am guessing that my parents must feel it too, more intensely than me (it was their room after all), although it probably came as less of of a shock, because they had weeks to prepare for it by tearing the house down and rebuilding it again on paper make-believes (my contribution had been limited to choosing, not the tile motif, but rather just the *color* of the tiles to use in our bathroom).

To me, everything had been more than a little sudden. I spent the evening before putting things in boxes to lessen the effects of the unavoidable dust-fest. After waking to hear the initial probing hits, I only heard the rest of the demolition work *during* the rest of my morning sleep (as I clung to my pillow, my head well into my down blanket) and by the time I woke up a few hours later, half of our house had already been literally gouged out.

The wall that used to separate the reading room from my parents' bedroom (usually connected by a sort of open round ark) was no more. The carpet has been skinned from the wooden floors, and the skeleton of the house, exposed where used to stand junctions of wall portions. The job was done so quickly that it felt as if some sort of wormhole teared up the fabric of space and swallowed the contents of the whole room.

Within two weeks time, both my parents' bathroom and the one I share with Bro-Dave, and then the wall facing out to the main entrance hall will go as well. Already, our bathroom has been stripped of its contents that usually bloats the noise you make and sounds "empty" like how it probably sounded like 28 years ago, when my parents bought this house.

The good thing is that despite all this 'house drama" (perhaps used differently by my brother), something really good (beautiful too, I trust, with the number of hours my parents put into this), something definitely new, will come out of all this self-destruction.


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SO IT'S STARTED. HOME RENOVATIONS. (War-like volumes from 7 to 5 every day, for three weeks, weekends included >_>)

About to bloom

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When you go to the CBC Radio 3 page, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the whole background image before the content loads.

[music: The Stars - Heart]

A Saturday Night on Earth

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I felt it sounded like an interesting blog entry title. but I am not sure what I want to say in it. It's Saturday night - my parents have been arguing about the layout to adopt for our house renovations. It's beautiful to see then weigh the pros and cons, agree to a consensus. The process has been draining my parents, but I do find it a remarkable mid-life project to take on and admire the effort they're making to improve our house. My father agrees with me that the bathroom that my brother and I use should be baby blue with mosaic-size tiles - it's retro cool.

I had two mezzo latte at Starbucks on Ste-Cath near Guy this afternoon. One iced, the second one hot. By chance, the original activity my brother planned with my cousins and friends was cancelled and I took the chance to meet up with T. The buzz is still on, as if my body was always two steps ahead of me. Temperatures would hint that snow is never going to show up again for 8 months. The sun shone timidly, a haze of dust surrounded the city. Toronto Maple Leafs fans proudly expressing their preference for tonight's game (which Montreal's team eventually won).

it didn't take us very long to walk from the Concordia area back to Westmount. We each remembered our experiences of Greene street, whose portion between Ste-Cath and Sherbrooke is a microcosm of posh shops - straight out from an old British tale come the time of Christmas. For me, it was strolling, feet in slush, a dark evening of January, from Metro Atwater with my date to her friend's place in order to get a pair of shoes for the evening. I thought the path lost its significance after walking it casually for the next few years - but it barely did.

I feel young in the track pants I'm wearing now. They remind me of someone I've decided to lose a long time ago. They are black, with white stripes on the side - some fake Adidas my grandparents bought a few years ago, in Shenzhen, I guess - and has a slight tear over the right knee, from sliding to catch a frisbee at ultimate in the October mud.

The music currently playing is from SS Cardiacs.


Springtime, baby

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It's spring! Officially it is, and also it's been feeling like it alright, especially when you don't have to go out in full winter gear. The scarf, yes, but it's only ornamental.

On Thursday, as the first of at least a few days of temperatures above 4C, I went out for a walk in suburbia. Got myself a sandwich at Dagwood's, and then looked for a cafe to finish my book (the one I remembered being close to home seems to have closed down sometime in the past few months and replaced with a dollar shop...) but instead found that the seasonally open ice cream shop was now open, and has also replaced its Nestle ice cream counter with a real selection of gelato made in the shop! I usually choose not to mix fruity flavours with creamy ones, so went with a triple selection of amaretto, cream cappucino, and white chocolate (with the chocolate not exactly homogeneous with the ice base of the gelato).


It smells like spring. Last year, today in fact, I left for Japan and skipped the transition from winter to spring. It has its experimental value, I guess, although I can't really put it in words. When I came back from Asia, it was already summertime. I will always remember walking between the small houses on the hillsides of Nagasaki, at the exact moment when summery spring stroke (when you actually don't need a coat, think you're better off in t-shirt, and are starting to look for your sunglass clips). In the morning of that same day, I was travelling in Kyushu on the rapid train from Fukuoka, and passed fresh green rice fields. The only picture I thought of taking was on the way back - a blurry pic at sunset which gave the same rice fields a sort of cold blueish tinge.

In the name of randomity...

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... petronia and I were invited to a housewarming party at sfllaw, at his new appartment superbly located right across from Parc Jeanne-Mance, otherwise known as the park where the peeps play volleyball across from the park where people play tam-tams on summery Saturdays. Noteworthy, guests prepared food, as it was a potluck, such as cakes, muffins, cookies, a salad that combines salty, sweet, bitter and sour, and a dish with sweet potatos and chicken. We have no merit, and brought sesame balls, bbq pork buns and soya chicken. Gosh it's good to be drunk enough without actually feeling sick. I was even reading pages 80-something of the Murakami book I bought last year while bussing home! Now it's getting late, and I gotta wake up at stupid eight-thirty in the morning. -_-

I should change this MT category from "RL Blues" to "RL Extravaganza" or something.

(Randomness, 'cuz Simon is the dude we met at the Kobayashi show! And his bunch of friends are majoritarily IT professionals! All LJ-equipped! ...)

It was still a gibbous moon tonight. Tomorrow's a full moon I've heard but it's not, since full moon was Wed. But the mood downtown was on the weird side, people were on the streets despite the fact that it was still freezing -10C above ground up here. No incident to report, except that it was St.Patrick's. an exciting evening - after the Piton de la Fournaise, I joined my group of friends at McLean's, a random Irish Pub on Peel Street, and drank two pseudo-pints of Irish beer. $18 not well-spent, as I will try to do better tomorrow. A live band kept chanting Irish hymns, other patrons created atmosphere on the dance floor, and that was well-enough compensating.

Sleep notes

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I should keep sleeping notes. With dreams and stuff. In the more practical, perhaps the number of hours, and between what times. It's been very normal for the past two days (inclusive). I'm basically falling dead tired at 11-12, and then waking peacefully at 6-7? That's like how it replaced itself the last time (December) I had the Tokyo time zone in the body. I don't understand.

We have a sliced galette at home. Will it be butter + pate, or nutella + banana?

I get this impression that time passes way quicker now than when I was a teenager, or even an university student. Probably would guess that it is an effect of no longer having the school year to regulate the flow of time. Remember when you were in high school and had two to three months vacation from May-June to September (or not, depending on whether your parents sent you to bootcamp)? Fair enough, now there's work, and depending on where you work, there will be milestones to achieve - but by no means is it as regular as the immuability of the school year. Unless you were educated at home, or took a sabbatical at some stage in your education (but even so, is just a sabbatical).

To me, it sounds disorienting to think in terms of "how long ago has this-that been". It has been one year and three-quarters that I'm out of university. But it has been three summers ago that I had 30 people over at my house. It has also been a remarquable six months (celebrated today!) since my plane landed in Montreal, ending an almost 5-month trip on the other face of the world. What kind of man would I be at the end of another year and three-quarters, three summers, or six months?


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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).


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

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]

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.

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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Well, that'll teach me...



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[music: Jean Leloup - Johnny Go (remix)]

In 1999, I remember liking a song by Bran Van 3000 (a Montreal-based band that knew fame around the world?) called "Drinking in LA". There's a music video of Johnny Go, featuring the BV3000, on that DVD with the Jean Leloup anthology "Je joue de la guitare". I tried remembering the tune, but all I could remember was them mumbling some stuff at the beginning of the song (well, it's sort of rap - the best description I could give to it).

In 1999, I remember it was my last cegep year. When I look at youths who are my age back then, I can't forget how socially inept I was. Perhaps the best mood-heightener would be, as one friend served me (as I recalled 1999 last year or so), that while the people your age could have been so socially advanced, perhaps you self-improved in other domains (like at some of those skills at putting together a student newspaper). But I don't often appear my age. Even my first name, Cedric, is a popular name, not in my generation, but of people 5-10, or even 15 years younger than me.

In other news, I've discovered reflection, a property of certain computing languages to reflect upon themselves at runtime.

Maybe I give too much credit to other people... Coming of age is a gradual thing. One doesn't wake up an adult the next morning (except in Big, perhaps :D). When you reach a certain "adult age", would seem that everyone else doesn't look as impressive as they would've looked like. La vie devant soi. I curse the people who plan for retirement at 17. :P

Sunday Night Medley

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1- First, hi to the few people who may've added me to their blogroll in the past week or month. I used to have the habit of sticking up a few blogs on the sidebar too, but the turnover's been so great that I gave up I'm really a lazy person. Maybe some time again soon. I think it's nice to have at least a few infos about the owner of the blog. Project for the Holidays: embellish the contents of this blog. It's like getting a new haircut, buying new shiny clothes. (I syndicate my blog on Livejournal - this too I will add to the sidebar, eventually)

2- After pondering about Windows/Mac/Linux the other night, I decided to submit the question to the g33k list. Besides what I anticipated to be the next great things to come to the world of home computing, I also asked, well, if Apple is switching to Intel chips, would it mean the same Intel chips used by Windows computers (ie x86/AMD64)? The expectation was that, yes, this is probable, while possibly Intel could still develop a different architecture to fit in the new Macs. If yes, I wondered, wouldn't I just be able to build myself a computer with cheap parts and run a MacOS X deemed superior to Windows, thus save from giving extra bucks that I would have to fork out on an Apple-manufactured machine? Then Rob points out, maybe not, b/c of Trusted Platform Module. In other words, while potentially running on the same sort of chips as any Windows computer runs on, I still wouldn't be able to, b/c of some sophisticated mechanism that locks me out during the installation/running process. This is very evil. In some sense, Apple is even more "evil" than Microsoft, b/c it doesn't just control the software, but also the hardware! (which is not news, and not threatening/considered evil, while Apple's still the underdog)

3- Genies en Herbe trivia compete today. 4 wins, 2 losses (we did not win last year - but then we merged my duo with Felix, with Nicolas', acquaintance from way-back-then cegep, but most importantly top-scorer in combined GeH leagues for several years I believe). My average score has plumetted, as a result of Nic's contribution to the team. But it is to point out we never won before (20 something losses, one tie game last year).

4- My grandparents are leaving for HK next Saturday (and will be coming back right when the snow starts melting). I don't know how to say this. I've taken conscience in the past years about my mortality and realize how little time there is to see/talk with those we love, and even to live our own life the fullest? There are many periods of relaxation, but too many of them to my own taste. Since the August to September two-month hiatus after coming back, I've been thinking that what I would really long for is work hard, party hard - along those lines. Surely have freedom as an inspiration. Work, is what you give to society. And money, is a way for society to say, gee, thanks for being useful! I am drugged up from the lack of sleep of yesterday night from the irregular sleeping times, and having to wake at 9PM for item #3. I like to speak with old people - and I enjoy speaking with family members, b/c I know they won't be there forever. I often wonder why I am not extending this to friends, or even strangers. Setting social barriers to not be overwhelmed?

5- One former co-worker invited a few of us (myself, other former co-workers I know, have seen around - who aren't so "former", b/c I work in the same old moldy building, just on different floors) over to her flat for a home-cooking night. Maggie is Shanghainese, and so cooked a few local dishes, like "Shanghainese salad" (potatoes, ham bits, green peas, carrots, with mayo sauce - which actually reminds me of a salad I was served at another home-cooking happening they had at Uri's Japanese teacher's home when I went over to that fishing town where he teaches English - maybe it's just b/c we don't make cold dishes with mayo/peas/carrots/potatoes), fish pieces sauteed with Chinese 'shrooms/fungi, or one more Sichuanese-style stir-fried chili chicken with cashews. We then sipped some oolong, plus the jasmine and "one-leaf" tea.

6- Canada's going to election! And we'll get yet another Liberal minority! This country is in an impasse. It will probably never go for the Conservatives, still painted as red necks from the West by the media (I need to read more about their platform). In any case, due to Canada's political system, my vote will not count as my riding has been Red Liberal, like, forever. The Conservatives will never carry a majority, simply b/c they are the incarnate devil in Quebec (while the Libs can at least expect to get a few ridings in Qc, mostly in the Montreal area and other urban zones). The Bloc has Quebec, the Liberals, Ontario, and the Conservatives, the West; and fill in the blanks with Orange NDP.

7- My father loves Jewel In the Palace, but even my mother, his inseparable dramas-watching partner, finds it totally cheesy.

I hunger for a bowl of noodles with two pieces of bok choi. I would also want to cook some congee like I like it. There are a number of things that I would like. This is a sort of expression of your freedom thing.

The Habs top the Eastern Conference again with yet another win they shouldn't have had. The Habs are not the best team in the league. Truthfully, it's a team of scrubs, with some very fine players, but a lot of non-star players too. They play good as a team, one would say. And we still love them for who they are (Montreal's team). The Ottawa Senators, on the other hand, rock the hockey world. 8-0 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, and 10-4 'gainst the Sabres on Wednesday night... With three players scoring four goals in a game...

The other thing is that I've been bored the hell out of me with the music I currently have, so instead turned to the FM tuner capabilities of my portable sound device. I've been exclusively tuning in to La Première Chaîne of Radio-Canada. Interesting anecdotes, news from around the World, all sorts of goodies I want to hear.

My grandparents are leaving for HK within a few weeks to spend the winter away, and so my grandmother is having all of us over for shark's fin on Saturday... After the Disneyland drama, and HKU ban on shark's fin, I could be more consequent and just refuse the thing, which doesn't represent much to me (and if you didn't tell me, I'd think that's a rather crunchy variety of fermented beans!). But still, getting to see my aging grandparents is priceless. HK is surely a second home - a rather hypothetical / dreamlike one (I want it just like how people attempt to be what they cannot be, but in an un-serious, half-dreaming way). HK is in fact the second place in this World where I've spent the most time in my life! But it's foreign: I cannot meld in, not with my limited Cantonese speech, not with my westernized manners. But I am a fine Canadian Chinese, it's been many years before I realized, but it's an identity I can live with, finally.

I suppose Brazil was weirder and destroyed more carton board sets than Time Bandits did. I was going to say it's the stuff my dreams are made of. Not the substance of it, just the feeling of it (the claustrophobicity), dark interiors, and that feeling of being trapped in an industrial expanse. Not quite. I wanted Brazil to end, b/c the popcorn felt cold, dry and bland, and b/c noone likes to be reminded of what the land of their bad dreams is made of.

I'm not sure whether it helped to destroy a perfectly going day, but was there too much msg soya sauce in that 干炒牛河 ("gon chao ngau ho" - beef noodles stir-fry)? A place in Chinatown II near Concordia, opened by one of the waiters from that 京都 ("Beijing", although it's "capital city" if translated properly) restaurant we used to go to a lot, and who saw me and my brother grow old. To be fair, the seafood udon soup seemed quite fine, even with perfectly green baby bok choi cut in quarters, and a variety of other things in it.

I have the Winamp on shuffle (like the Habs' lines when things aren't working). So I hit this Macross Christmas song from someone's Xmas mix...

Out the airplane window

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The current look of my dual monitor system. My favourite clouds picture so far.

It was my first real day at work today. Not the most productive one yet I think, but it's about long as I wished them to be (9 to 7, and I've actually been downtown for 11 hours!). I've been given sudo root, and access to all the code. I can really work now.

[music: Superpitcher - Happiness (M Mayer Mix)]

Got my workspace back (bis)

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This is an old picture taken in August, but I've moved back to that same bg image (and my camera broke - and my mom took back her camera). A gray ceiling, puffy clouds, and a great blue sea, taken in the half-hour after leaving HK for Tokyo. Beauty, harmony, serenity. And I cannot write full sentences tonight / this morning.

Imagine your food

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In an effort to stir things up, I cooked Brussels sprouts. Must've been the first time I cook Brussels sprouts, for sure, and a while we had some on the dinner table. There was also a chicken stir-fry with yellow and red peppers and onions (with a sip of sesame oil and sesame seeds to top it off). Fantastic, and my mother yells to me that we have this hugeass cauliflower to finish by tomorrow. >_>

What an uneventful weekend plein de merde. The weather was prettier within the confines of my room. 70% cocoa chocolate is really the shit. And I <3 Struts. I hope work can me make forget about the things of life. And I hope the Ottawa Senators win the Battle of Ontario. And I want to watch the game tomorrow night...

[music: Belle and Sebastian - Belle & Sebastian] (huh? an eponymous song title? wtf)

To Kill Time

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To kill time, what I'd do would be to go to a local supermarket - they are themselves one of the deepest symbols of "everyday life". If one was a tourist like me, supermarkets had to be made sights of interest. Park N' Shop, Cold Storage, the unknown big Japanese supermarket chain (Jusco could sort of count).

(So I'm going to the supermarket)

[music: Yuki - JOY]

Got my workspace back

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Night Out, It's Friday After All

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It was the tenth anniversary of CTF. Nothing fancy. After they had the tea party without me (the "30-people" cake lasted about 30 minutes), we met at 6-ish, and went for cheap Arabic food, and headed for the drinking hole, the Brutopia, on Crescent, a nice pub with live band on Friday night (playing the latest Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, or the oldest Radiohead (I heard Airbag)), and home-brewed beer. I had a half pint of a "condensed something-something" beer named the "Rocket Fuel". A few others, Rye Beer, Indian Pale Ale, and a Stout. All extremely fabulous stuff, in good company. Conversations ranging from mindless drunken exclamations from my part (and Nic's), or Martin going on about how Python sucks, or how Vista is such a stupid name for an OS, pff. We teased him about the German election too.

I'm still more or less disabled, although in my infinite good-typing style, I prevent myself from making spelling mistakes. jasdioasdioa sidaocnuahoasndlc nzdclas. Indeed.

[music: Maggie Gyllenhaal - Just the way you are]

Random Picture Spam Post

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It's summer! One more tropical day, is for tomorrow...

Japanese brand of hair products, Gatsby, and this marvelous styling wax that's supposed to make you look like that.

Spreadable! Doesn't it look like spreadable butter?

And result is this. Hair is incredibly sticky and... flexible.

My messy desk - left side. The Economist opened at page 11, editorial on the post-Katrina fiasco "The Shaming of America". A plastic box sitting on the platform, containing a few things, which included Hello Kitty tissues from 2002?, two stacks of DVDs and/or CDs stacked on top of each other, belonging to my brother or father; sake glasses, both in plastic, one as a free gift with the Hakutsuru served on the plane from HKG and NAR, and the other purchased during the drinking/sakura viewing party (with no sakura unfortunately) on the Himeji castle grounds; on the desk itself are some some pencil boxes, including one "Chung Hwa" Mainland Chinese vintage style purchased at the HKU student store (I have this article in HK Magazine about Communist Cool - therefore bought hand-tailored zhongshan suit upon reading it ^^); the Xylitol chewing gum bottle for when I'm stressed (like now - *glomps*); a few DD glasses from the time my mother owned and worked at one or many shops downtown Montreal (and they typically litter my desk a few days after liquid has been consumed).

My messy desk - right side. A 2046 DVD I fetched out to hand it to a friend on Friday sitting on stack of "men" magazines from around Asia; that bioinfo manual; a stack of books I haven't started or finished, including Murakami's collection of testimonies by victims of the Tokyo subway attacks of 1995 (I figured while in Japan that I was there just the week after the 10th anniversary of it); a pair of scissors.

"Where were you the night of September 14th 2005!!"

Not so subtle

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(I should go to bed, blargh. Because it's still super-dooper weather tomorrow, and I'm not going to sleep past it. -_-;; SimCity, so teh addictive.

[music: Stereolab - Canned Candies])
Cloudy South China Sea skies, but still better skies to be under

Lots are now indeed happening, or being said. To elaborate a plan, I cannot be alone to do it. It came crashing (?) that I liked go-carting and whatever feeling of control and speed which came with it. The feeling is also analogous to which I lived in Saigon, riding that bike in the midst of that river of motorcycles at rush hour (with a lesser amount of being in "full control" than an actual car in a (muddy) river of other cars, at rush hour). The conclusion being, why is it so hard to walk down the street to the driving school? (Is it the prospect to selling your soul to North American Lifestyle?)

Periods of shattered-dreams-ness are just periods, and the dreams were pretty shallow. Maybe it's like the guest said on that noon-time popular debate show (on whether men are irresponsible in love), that we live in a remote control era, that if something doesn't work, just sit there and change it by the press of a button. I'm not making a honest effort, even if so far so good, and I am squandering my luck. I guess there's an amount of "talent" (as a raw array of pseudo-inate skills), and the optimistic thing is that it's never too late to make good use of it.

[じてんしゃ! I want to ride a bike! Whee!]


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(Let's try out some Chinese to see whether it still works...)




(Edit: 我弟弟說我像香港子...^_^)

(This is basically straight from translating my approximate English. It's like Chinese people trying to speak English - or worse)

[在腦上的音樂: Belle and Sebastian - I'm A Cuckoo]

Et pis, j'ai la flegme

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Et pour un moment, j'ai perdu l'envie d'partir. C'est des choses qui arrivent, dit-on. Maybe it has something to do with the work I need to finish. I keep on pressing my students to hand in their thing on time, but I'm the one with the pile of project papers, untouched, and who wasted his weekend on his Linux setup. There's also the "other" job on the side which I need to seriously figure out. I need to stick to the library tomorrow. Faut que j'y mette les bouchées doubles.

I've cold sores popping out in my mouth. Rarely have any, only when I'm "stressed" (whatever that means to me - am always in denial). Reasonably I know I want to go, and will be going, but I think it's my defense mechanism kicking in, telling me that I should stay where it's comfortable. And reasonably, there's nothing to worry about. It's not like if I'm going to die. And besides, I have money sitting in my bank: I'm not going to let it waste in savings I will never use. C'est comme un double ou quitte que j'ai devant moi là.

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