Weekly notable news (W10-11)

The last couple of weeks were so busy that it felt like months.

Strangely, after getting temperatures up to 10? in February, we had nearly -20? in March! And, as it warmed up a little and all the snow we had received during the winter had almost melted, we got hit by the biggest snowstorm of the year! This mid-march wallop left us with almost two feet (sixty centimeters) of snow in one night and one day! It felt like January again! Today, Spring has officially arrived and it is above zero again, but I have the feeling that this roller-coaster is not over. There’s really no seasons anymore…

It was the sixth anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami disaster (as well as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster), but lately the news were dominated by the various scandals rocking the Trump Presidency, mostly the Russia Dossier and allegations of Russian interference during the electoral process. Despite Trump doing his best to distract our attention from it, it become increasingly clear that his campaign has had contacts and possibly collusion with Russian interests. We can only wonder how much his Presidency is politically and financially compromised by this. Lately, I’ve started watching MSNBC and it is fascinating. It gives me a brand new perspective. Now, considering that it took only ONE blow-job to put Clinton on the impeachment path and that Trump has been plagued already with numerous questionable business deals and sexual misconduct allegations, I am wondering how much more it will take to remove this evil clown from office !!!

Another notable event was the fact that my Jawbone fitness band broke and that I replaced it with a Fitbit. It’s my third Jawbone fitness band that breaks (first a UP24, then a UP2 and finally a UP3 and in all cases it was the rubber of the band that broke apart) so, that’s it, I’ve decided to never use that company again (too bad, I really liked their app). Considering the reviews and quality/price ratio, I chose to replace it with a Fitbit Flex 2 band. Since I already have an Apple Watch, I decided to go with a simpler model and I was impressed with Fitbit’s clever concept of the device itself being separated from the band so you can switch band at will for fashion reasons or if it breaks. I am a little disappointed with the app but I am sure I’ll get used to it. So far, it is working quite well.

I also discovered that I had been screwed by Dropbox — which I used to host all the images for this blog. They changed their policy and now all the image links are irreparably broken. I’ve already taken temporarily measures to keep the most recent or important entries of the blog illustrated, but I am considering to eventually switch to a WordPress blog (with the same web hosting service that was used for the magazine). The transition will probably be slow and incremental since it is a lot of work.

However, the last couple of weeks were mostly dedicated to preparing for my mother’s funerals. I took a week off from work not only to help my sister preparing the funeral (book the hall, choose and order the buffet, shop all the stuff that was needed, contact people, make appointments, fill paperwork, plan the ceremony, etc.) but mainly to prepare the music medley and produce a commemorative video that would pay hommage to my mother’s memory (it is now available in two slightly different versions, on both this blog and my Vimeo page). Strangely, the funerals for the father of one of my dear friends were on the same day…

I was hoping to take advantage of this little time off also to catch up on my reading and writing, maybe go see a movie and visit a museum, but it was so busy that I couldn’t do anything. I even got behind in my TV shows watching.

Unfortunately, I also barely managed to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered only a few notable news & links — which I share with you nevertheless (in both french or english, and in no particular order), after the jump.

[ Traduire ]

Continue reading

Monthly notable news (W53-03)

The Holidays and the couple of weeks that followed were rather quiet. Thankfully, I had to deal with much less craziness at work. But that was only the eye of the storm and those depressing days (scientifically certified as such since Blue Monday fell on January 16th this year) are coming to an end. The days are getting longer and more shit will soon hit the fan. Of course, there’s also this endless American nightmare with everything Trump. I wish I could forget about all that and never hear about it again, but unfortunately that’s what the world has become now.

I am already getting behind in my writings, but I caught up a little with my TV and movie watching. Besides the restarting new seasons (mostly Call The Midwife, Colony, Endeavour, Father Brown, Homeland), the notable new additions are Victoria and Dark Angel (although those two have already ended) as well as the weird Young Pope (a young and reckless leader is unexpectedly elected to head the Church — a little reminescent of the whole “orange is the new black” American electoral fiasco — but it’s directed by Paolo Sorrentino, who gave us La grande bellezza) and the quite interesting Mercy Street, a medical period drama set at the Mansion House Hospital during the American Civil War.

I’ll try to reinvent myself this year (so much to do) and push forward even harder on the path to improve my temperament and expend my knowledge. That’s the only purpose one can have.

Despite everything, I tried to stay acquainted (a bit) with the affairs of the world. Here’s a “few” notable news & links that I came across this month and that I’d like to share with you, after the jump (in no particular order, in both french and english): Continue reading

Weekly notable news (W40-41)

In the last couple of weeks I felt deprived of all my energy. I couldn’t do or write much. All I did was updating my “Anime & manga bibliography” (and it’s far from finished). Depressingly, the news were dominated by the US election mud slinging. However, I discovered by chance a new french pop singer named Zaz (iTunes, Wikipedia, Youtube) — a great scratchy voice — and, with my wife, I’ve finished watching the fourth season of Mr. Selfridge as well as the mini-series And Then There Were None (a recent British-american adaptation of the famous Agatha Christie’s novel).

If the crazy pace at work (btw, only 553 weeks left!) can sometimes break my spirit (or, like now, my back!), there’s always something to rejuvenate my soul. Earlier today I took, with my wife, a long walk through the park of the Île-de-la-Visitation, observing the nature, the river, the automnal colours, and visiting the Sault-au-Récollet mill as well as the maison du pressoir. It was beautiful. I took several nice pictures.

Finally, of course, I still found a little time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across lately (in no particular order):



Between friends: Monday, May 30, 2016

Non Sequitur: Monday, May 30, 2016

Between friends: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dilbert: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

[ Traduire ]

Weekly notable news (W39)

Another busy week spent brooding about the craziness at work (still 555 weeks before retirement), going to the hospital for another CT enterography for my wife and backing-up my computers to install macOS 10.12 Sierra on both my iMac and Mac Mini. Didn't have much else on my mind.

To relax we finished watching Dancing on the edge (Brit period drama about a black jazz band, part mystery and part social commentary on racism), the first episode of Maigret (Brit adaptation of Georges Simenon's police drama set in the '50s Paris with Rowan Atkinson in the title role!!! It's quite good once you've passed seeing Mr. Bean face. Now I understand why he never speaks in his sketches: he has a really serious, deep voice!) as well as the first two episodes of the second season of Poldark (yes, another Brit period drama).

And, of course, I still found a little time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across this week (in no particular order):


Pearl Before Swine: Friday, May 27, 2016

[Reminds me of someone…]
Ben: Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

[ Traduire ]

Weekly notable news (W37-38)

The first two weeks of September proved to be rather challenging. First, I was trying to see as many of the Japanese movies shown at the Montreal World Films Festival as I could despite the troubles that the festival was experiencing and the fact that the schedule was constantly changing. Then, my wife woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating abdominal pain and we ended up at the hospital's emergency ward. They kept her for five days and performed several tests without being sure of the nature or cause of the problems. They found some sort of enteritis to the small intestine and a gastritis. She feels well now, but it is a worrying situation since we're still waiting for the result of the biopsy and more tests are scheduled. She survived cancer once ten years ago, so we are waiting the results with apprehension.

It was tiring for me during that time because I had to shuttle back and forth between work (a.k.a the madhouse), the hospital and (once) the film festival. But the beginning of September also brought a few good news: Apple announced some new products as well as released updates, and I got a well over-due pay raise! Unfortunately, there's still five-hundred-and-fifty-seven weeks left before I can retire from work and dedicate my entire time to my personal projects (like writing).

Despite all this, I found time to watch a few dvds at home with my wife. First, we watch Belle et Sébastien 2: L'Aventure continue. It's a cute adventure dog movie, full of improbabilities but it also reminded me of the TV series I was watching when I was a kid. Then I watched Gods of Egypt (by myself because my wife doesn't like sci-fi stuff), which tells — super-heroes style — the founding myth of Egypt where Horus must fight his uncle Set who killed his father Osiris in order to reign over Earth. Horus is helped by the thief Bek, who just want to save his lover Zaya. If you would removed the specials effects from this movie, it would have nothing left of interest…

Finally, I watch Hail, Caesar. It's a star-laden film by the Coen brothers which poke fun of the Hollywood film industry in the 1950s while managing to recreate several of its archetypes: the peblum movies, the synchronized swimming and tap dancing movies, stunt-filled westerns, etc. The film follow studio manager Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) trying to hold production together while unmarried actress DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) becomes pregnant and big star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is abducted by a conspiration of communists! Hilarious, beautifully written and an interesting window on the era.

As always I did my best to keep myself acquainted with the affairs of the world. So, let me share with you a few notable news & links that I came across in the last few weeks (in no particular order):

Apple new products


Dilbert: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / “Boss Figures Out A System”

[A-Ah! That's what they are doing!]

Between Friends: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

[ Traduire ]

Strange things

Some days you see the strangest things.

Yesterday, after coming out from the metro station on my way to work, I saw a guy riding a bicycle while carrying on his gloved hand an hawk (or a falcon). Usually, falconry is practiced on horseback, but I guess you have to go with the mean you have…

A few minutes later, I saw two F-18 fighter-jets crossing the sky from left to right. I wondered if it was a good omen or a bad one. I don't really remember how it works; my old roman (or wasn't it etruscan?) art of divination skill is rather rusty.

Weekly notable news (week 32)

First, on a personal note: the last few months have been quite trying for me (the summer has zipped past in no time). On top of having to adapt to a new job at an even crazier library, I undertook some (expensive) renovations at home and managing the various team of workers was quite a challenge. And not only I sprained my ankle (with a small fracture) so I had to wear a pneumatic cast for over a month (still do) but I also had to suffer another painful medical problem (won a free game in our pinball's medical system). And I broke my glasses this morning. It seems that I am in for another anus horribilis. All this left me exhausted physically, mentally and morally. I lost all patience I had left to deal with (stupid) people and the world (tired of Trump and all this violence). To quote Indiana Jones, I am really getting too old for this shit. Therefore, I didn't write much lately. Sorry.

However, all is not lost. The weather has been beautiful in the last few days and I am starting to feel better (hopefully it will keep improving; think positive: life is good). In the last week or so, I've been trying to remedy to this unfortunate neglect in my blogger's duty. And, since the film festivals season is at our doors, I am starting to put online my movie comments from last year's MWFF, in order to build up the interest and anticipation (whether the festival happens or not). I hope it's working.

As always, I also keep myself acquainted with the affairs of the world. So, here are a few notable news & links that I came across this week (in no particular order):

And some Funnies…

Between Friends: Saturday, April 2, 2016

Rhyme with Orange: Monday, April 4, 2016

Ben: Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dilbert: Sunday, April 17, 2016

[ Traduire ]

Funnies forever

Funnies forever

Here (after the break) are a few notably funny comic strips that I found in the last few months…

Starting with Unshelved, the web comics about the staff (and patrons) of a rather dysfunctional library. I caught up on several months of strips to realize that artist Bill Barnes decided to take a break and was replaced by occasional contributor Chris Hallbeck. It doesn’t change anything. Here are a few of my favourites (believe it or not I’ve experienced many of those situations):

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday, March 28, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

And now a few more of various kind (I’m slowly catching up on my pile of funnies):

Between Friends: September 1, 2015 (I feels like that often)

Dilbert: Wednesday October 07, 2015: Computers Program Humans (It’s so dickian !)

Dilbert: Thursday October 15, 2015: Visualize Your Contribution To Society (Ah! Work !)

Rhymes with orange: Monday November 02, 2015 (the litany against idiocy)

Dog Eat Doug: Sunday January 03, 2016 (magical libraries)

Dilbert: Monday January 11, 2016: How Work Is Going (no comment…)

Bizarro: Saturday January 16, 2016 (historical truth)

Dilbert: Monday January 25, 2016: Doubling Percieved Lifespan (…)

Bizarro: Thursday February 11, 2016 (reminds me of “Vacances de Jésus & Bouddha” manga)

Stone Soup: Sunday February 14, 2016: (Thanks to my wife!)

La sous-traitance au travail

Lundi dernier je me lève et constate que mon bac de recyclage a disparu! J’arpente la rue de haut en bas dans l’espoir de le retrouver (des fois que les employés du recyclage l’ai laissé plutôt en face de chez les voisins ou que des jeunes espiègles soient parti avec pour faire une blague ou qu’un automobiliste mécontent qu’il ait été laissé dans le milieu du chemin l’ait poussé plus loin). Toutefois, je n'en ai trouvé aucune trace.

Ce n'est qu'après avoir visionné l'enregistrement vidéo des caméras de sécurité que j'ai compris ce qui s'était passé : l'employé de la firme de recyclage a secoué le bac un peu trop violemment et le couvercle s'est arraché. Faisant ni un ni deux, l'employé dissimule son méfait en embarquant simplement le bac et l'écrasant dans le broyeur de son camion! La preuve en est cette séquence d'une minute de la caméra de sécurité que j'ai mise disponible sur Vimeo:

Lire la suite après le saut de page >>

Ce qui m'embête c'est que l'employé a fait ça tout naturellement et n'a laissé aucune indication de l'incident. Si je n'avais pas eu de caméra de sécurité (et une voisine fouinarde), je n'aurais jamais su ce qui s'était passé.

Et quel gaspillage! Même endommagé il aurait pu me laisser le bac pour que j'ai de quoi accumuler mon recyclage en attendant d'en obtenir un nouveau. Un couvercle ça peut toujours se réparer (ne serait-ce que temporairement), non?

J'ai vraiment besoin d'avoir un bac de recyclage car c'est justement le temps du ménage du printemps (d'autant plus que je me prépare à faire quelques petites rénovations et il me faut faire du ménage pour faire de la place)! Dans ces circonstances, nos deux unités de logement produisent beaucoup de recyclage et je ne tiens pas à m'enterrer dans les sacs transparents — que je déteste d'ailleurs car, comme je demeure près du parc, ceux-ci sont souvent pris à parti par tout les ratons-laveurs, moufettes, écureuils, chats et chiens du quartier, sans oublier les humains en quête de contenants consignés. Les sacs ainsi éventrés répandent alors leur contenu aux quatre vents!

Bien entendu, j'ai appelé l'arrondissement, d'une part, pour me plaindre du méfait de l'employé et, d'autre part, pour obtenir un bac de remplacement le plus vite possible. Malheureusement, la ville semble peu se soucier du comportement de ses sous-traitants. Et les bacs sont présentement en rupture de stock, alors je n'aurai pas de bac de remplacement avant un mois ou deux! Et on ne pouvait même pas me fournir des sacs transparents pour le recyclage: je dois les acheter moi-même!

Je me retrouve dans cette situation par aucune faute de ma part alors je crois que l'arrondissement devrait faire un effort pour me fournir un bac rapidement! Que l'on me donne celui du maire, ou du pauvre gars qui a bousillé le mien ou, encore mieux, l'un des démonstrateurs qui ne foutent rien dans le halle du bureau Accès-Montréal!

Ce genre d'incident démontre encore une fois l'ineptie de la sous-traitance à outrance (Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension semble être des champions dans ce domaine) et le fait que la ville se souci peu d'offrir un bon service à ses citoyens. Les exemples de négligences sont nombreux. Un caniveau près de l'arrêt de l'autobus 67-nord de la station Saint-Michel est enfoncé et bouché ce qui fait que lorsqu'il y a accumulation d'eau l'autobus éclabousse inévitablement les usagers qui attendent et cela depuis près d'un an! Sur ma rue il y a au moins deux bornes fontaines qui sont hors d'usage depuis plusieurs années! Ce genre de situation devrait être inacceptable. Et pourtant… Où vont donc nos taxes?

[ Translate ]

Le printemps

Le printemps

Malgré les températures bien en-dessous de la moyenne de ces dernière semaines, la nature, telle Perséphone, se réveille finalement de son long sommeil.

Le printemps est arrivé !
(iPhone 6s, Parc du CESM, 2016-05-09)

Butterfly Butterfly
(iPhone 6s / Nikon D3300, 2016-05-09)
Pas facile d'identifier ces petites bêtes quand on est pas un expert. C'est définitivement une créature de la classe des insectes, de l'ordre des lépidoptères, sous-ordre des Macrolepidoptera, super-famille des Papilionoidea, et de la famille des Piéride. Là, ça se complique un peu.

Ça ressemble beaucoup à un Piéride de la moutarde (Leptidea sinapis, sous-famille des Dismorphiinae) mais il ne serait pas présent en Amériques… Alors j'ai tout de suite pensé à la Piéride du chou (Pieris brassicae, sous-famille des Pierinae) mais il est caractérisé par un point noir qui n'est pas présent sur le spécimen représenté ci-haut. C'est plus probablement son cousin, le Piéride de la rave (Pieris rapae, même sous-famille) aux caractéristiques similaires, mais plus petit. Toutefois, on dit que les individus “issus de la première génération de l'année ont des marques sombres moins importantes que ceux des autres générations”. Bingo!

Du point de vue photographique, on note la différence entre la gestion de la balance des blancs de l'iPhone (à gauche, presqu'aucune correction) et celle de la Nikon (à droite, qui la corrige automatiquement). Le cliché du iPhone 6s donne l'équivalent d'un ISO 25, DF 4.15mm, 0 ev, ƒ/2.2 et 1/493 alors que le cliché de la Nikon D3300 a été pris (en auto, je l'avoue) avec l'objectif Tamron (zoom/macro AF 70-300 mm F4-5.6) et un filtre UV FotodioX : ISO 720, DF 300mm, 0 ev, ƒ/5.6 et 1/1000. Il me reste encore beaucoup à apprendre sur l'utilisation efficace d'une DSLR car, malgré que le zoom digital du iPhone diminue de beaucoup la qualité, je préfère ici le résultat obtenu avec l'iPhone sur celui de la Nikon. Mmm…

[ Translate ]