Montreal Category Archive

Kyoto Jazz Massive

Shuya Okino of Kyoto Jazz Massive is playing Montreal tomorrow night:

Shuya Okino of Kyoto Jazz Massive fame as he embarks on a North American tour supporting his latest United Legends EP. This stop in montreal is going down at Acadamy with support from Moonstarr and guests on the decks. Expect to dance to the sounds of dancefloor jazz, broken beat and deep house vibes. Starts at 10pm. Admission is $8.

Some tracks to sample.

It blows my mind they've booked Academy, which is a tango-or-salsa-or-whatever school by day... seems to be a rash of piss-poor bookings of world-class acts around here lately... Hello! Joakim at Main Hall?! WTF?

Anyways, for a good time... go. :)

Pecha Kucha Night Montréal

 Pecha Kucha Montreal

James and I are putting on Pecha Kucha Night Montreal at the S.A.T. on June 14th. Doors open at 7:30 and attendance is free.


Sometime while I was away this winter, IleSansFil, the Montreal free community wifi service, crippled all their hotspots, by disallowing any and all traffic without login. (Or so it seems, I've only tried at 4 or 5)

The ISF service requires web/browser based authentication before they let any traffic through from your *device* to --or from-- the network.

Previously, they allowed email to pass through without authentication. This is no longer the case. I have gotten no clear reason for this, or any clear indication of at what level this was done. I've heard wishywashy mealy-mouthed eyes averted mumblings about "precluding the sending of spam email".

For me personally, this renders the ISF service totally useless, as I relied on it to be able to do data transactions on my mobile device. Authenticating via a web browser in this context is a non-realistic and non-surmountable barrier to use.

Their argument might be "well our whole purpose for creating the ISF network was not to blanket the city in WiFi but rather to provide community web portals." That's all fine and dandy, and when I am sitting with my laptop, that's great, really. But ISF just silenced my mobile capacity to express myself and stay in touch with my FTIC. And it hurts. Badly. Especially with the extortionate cellular data rates in this country.

Isn't ISF's tagline "free | wireless | internet"?

In any case, I'd like a clear statement as to what happened and why. And who I can talk to figure out a better solution than treating every Montrealer as a criminal.


Aaron is homesick too

Me too, oh man, me too.
(Today was such a total clusterfuck, I'm crying listing to this.)


A dirt poor article written about the "top 11 subway systems n the world". Montreal is 8:

Highlights: Diverse, beautiful architecture and unique station art (each station is designed by a different architect). Pleasant riding experience (smooth rides: the trains run on a rubber surface to reduce the screech of train cars). Trains are frequent and fairly comfortable.

(I've been on 6 of them--London, Paris, Tokyo, NYC, Montreal and Hong Kong--not counting the ultra new, clean and expensive one in Delhi, and the disappointing BART in San Francisco. Worth mentioning that Singapore's and Hong Kong's could be twins.)

Also, the write-up of the Tokyo system is totally ridiculous. Instead of mentioning that the system is made up of both extensive underground lines and above ground lines, and that the entire system is not run by some transit authority but rather a handful of *totally separate* corporations... they mention the Ueno Zoo Monorail?! WTF?
(AND the second picture is of a Shinkansen bullet train, not a subway train. Baka.)

Bleh, why did I bother writing this? ;)

Only Jo

Jo - Thailand

Travel update from someone else.
Jo was a waiter at Laïka. For years. The others referred to him as "Uncle Jo".
Jo left for a long trip of discovery about two weeks before I headed out in mid december on my current expedition. He languished in Ireland through December and January.

He's in Thailand now and, well, in his own words:

Je suis supposé retourner en Europe le 10 Mars mais je crois que je ne partirai pas. Je suis trop bien ici et qui sais... je serai peut-être prof d'anglais bientôt.

("I'm supposed to go back to Europe on the 10th of March but I don't think I'll leave. I'm too well here and who knows... maybe I'll be an english teacher soon.")

This, of course, does not surprise me. Haha. :)

Cya around Jo. Be well.

MacBook Pro Theft

Before I left Montreal, I gave my friend Shawna a set of keys to the office for her to use while I am way, to help her set up her media/design company for non-profits/non commercial endeavors.

I just found out that yesterday afternoon, as she quickly went to the washroom down the hall, someone opened the door to the office and stole her MacBook Pro.

(Considering the layout of the floor we're on and how many keys it takes just to get there, this theft is really an enigma, but whatever; not the issue now.)

If anyone comes across any shady second-hand MacBook Pros advertised, please get in touch.
The Macbook Pro in question has a serial number of W86151SDVJ1.

Also would appreciate, if you are Montreal local, if you could mention it on your weblogs and spread the word. Shawna was just getting started with her business, had client work lined up (some started and on the hard drive)... and can't really afford to replace the machine so easily.

Stunned. Cannot figure out how this could happen. :(

Morning dose

business idea

the product:
freshly pressed fruit juices and smoothies, in two size formats each, coming in a handful of standard combinations (based on price of raw materials and, you know, what tastes good and sells).
at order time, buyer has choice from handful of "doses" of healthy and/or stimulating adds:
- gurana
- ginko biloba
- panax ginseng
- echinacea
- vitamin D
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
(premium... expensive stuff)

Offer dose bundles, with silly names:
- "northern lights - to get you through the winter: vitamin D, ginseng, panax, enchinacea, vitamin C"
- "smart and beautiful - leader of the pack: premium dose, everything!"

yada yada

Young urban professionals with disposable income who are performance, appearance and pseudo health obsessed, of course!

distribution strategy:
identify key metro stations in both peripheral and core urban areas, so as to target the major young urban professional nexuses. mouahaha
(local examples: Laurier, Mont-Royal, Sherbrooke, All the university/downtown stations, Vendome...)

I'm putting this out there cause obviously it's not something I can do myself. Lots of research required for a basic business plan (cost of drink ingredients, availability and cost of dose ingredients, cost of containers, juicers, dispensers, cost and availability of booth-like location(s) (I'd put the first at Mont-Royal). If I were 22 I'd be out there right now doing this though. ;)

All the lonely people

I'm over at my mobile carrier, Fido, 's website. Was gonna see if I can login somewhere and manage my services. Time to get rid of voicemail as, well, I just don't ever check it. Been over a year.

I decide to poke around a bit and check out their "Promotions."

Fido's main marketing schtick is dogs. Everything has to do with dogs.
Back when Fido first launched, then-roomate Jonathan M. and I were assigned a location scouting job for their teaser series of TV commercials. The scene where the guy is perched up on the outer wall of St-Joseph Oratory calling out "Fiiiidoooo!"... that was my idea. ;p

So, yeah, I'm looking at their current "promotions and new stuff"...

First up: "Fido presents Lavalife's "Click at a Flick"

Fido FlickLavalife, Fido and Cineplex are hosting great events called Click at a Flick at a Cineplex movie theatre near you.

For the price of a movie ticket, you can go to a Click at a Flick pre-show party every other Wednesday and hang out with 100s of friendly singles before you watch a new movie together at a Cineplex theatre. Who knows, maybe you'll even connect with someone before the lights go down.


Ok, it gets better...

New service! *28! An automated call service that allows you to easily... pay us!! haha!!
Nice little badge of a dutiful dog sitting attentively, mouth-breathing. Fan.Tas.Tic.

Here comes the best one: "New! Romance services"

Want to talk with other singles in your area or connect with people from all over the world? Now’s your chance with Fido’s new Romance services.

Ok. Are you ready? Here's the visual for this hot new service:

Fido Romance

Way. To . Go.

Find teh kittens!

From a list of undergraduate projects available at the Center for Intelligent machines at McGill, "Content-Based Image Retrieval":

2. Finding Animals in Internet Imagery Using Learning Methods

This project, based on a recently published paper, involves finding images on the Internet that contain animals. Recently Viola et al. have introduced a rapid object detection scheme based on a boosted cascade of simple feature classifiers. In a more current paper, two extensions to their approach were introduced: Firstly, a novel set of rotated Haar-like features was proposed. These features significantly enrich the original simple features and can also be calculated efficiently. Secondly, based on a thorough analysis of different boosting algorithms (namely, Discrete, Real and Gentle Adaboost), it was found that the Gentle Adaboost learning method was the superior training approach. The complete object detection training and detection system is available in the Open Computer Vision Library Therefore, the primary objective of this project is to use this software to implement the search for animals.

Far less funny are numbers 1 ("Keeping Track of Humans and Objects in Videos for Surveillance Applications") and 3 ("Detecting Moving Objects on the Street Using a Color Video Surveillance Camera"), which are basically top-down surveillance research. Shame on you Mr. Levine.

In any case, I am a little surprised to realize this stuff is going on here. I'm especially intrigued by the "Shared Reality Environment" Lab. Where do these people hang out and socialize? ;)

Municipal silliness

Seems our local municipal "government" is high on something.

Nevermind the fact that they are driving landowners to pave over small parks because the local police can't handle a couple of drunk teenagers, now they are fining a mother of 13 (!!) for selling flowers outside her dépanneur (ergh, that's québecois for "convenience store or konbini ;). Local residents are of course outraged. She's been out there for 15 years and now you wanna extract $6000 from her children's mouthes for "security and maintenance concerns"?

Please, Mr. Michel Tangeay and Ms. Helen Fotopulos, that's insulting to the community... the community you supposedly represent.

Petition time!!!

Considering how well the "No to renaming Parc Avenue "Bourrassa"" one went... well...

"No to Parc Avenue renaming" petition

If you haven't already, and you agree it's a ridiculous waste of money, not to mention cultural travesty, please do sign the petition at

Bang bang

Not to be flippant about the Columbine-style shooting that just happened at Dawson college in Montreal, but this quote from a 19 year old student got my rant on:

"I'm only 19 and to have flashes of your life and the people that you love going by you, it should not be allowed. It was highly traumatizing."

Perhaps oddly, I am of the opinion it should be mandatory. I'd even say that if the gunman in this case had had a bit of previous real near-death experience (as opposed to mediatized death-desensitization), he wouldn't be running around killing people.

So I am just looking back into this story and am intrigued by the velocity of spread of information, and misinformation, and then the catchup.

The final report has a single 25 year old male walking into the Dawson cafeteria around 12:41pm where he opened fire. Within three minutes he was shot dead by police (Good job) and a single victim casualty (over a dozen injured).

I first heard of this sometime shortly after 1pm when Pat, sitting next to me at the bar having lunch at Laika, got an IM from someone. By this time, the gunman was already dead, but all the media was reporting that the situation was ongoing. Obviously mass pandemonium in the area, but as late as 4pm I was still hearing about 3 possible gunmen, one having committed suicide, the second having been shot and the possible third still "out there"; not to mention 6+ victim deaths...

All I'm saying is it's interesting. I've never been in quite such a situation, though I have been in "high panic" situations and I can easily see how fast and utterly communication and reliable information become scarce.

Words fall away fast.

Update 2:
The same 19 year old student quoted earlier seems to be a boundless fountain of fascinating quotes, not to mention the CBC's favorite interviewee:

"The adrenaline was rushing. It was like something from a movie. It was completely unbelievable and incredible."

The gunman, of course, had an "online journal", hosted on a goth/vampire enthusiast site (if it's not satanists, it's vampires), and, of course, referred to himself as "the angel of death." The cliché factor here is very high. This boy lived in a completely manufactured entertainment-sourced reality.

p.s.: yes the word "pandemonium" is very apt to such situations. When noise outstrips signal, the tower of Babel collapses.

p.p.s.: Umberto Eco's "Travels in Hyperreality" provides a very nice framework for media (and "reality") analysis.


I've been back from Tokyo for 2 months now. Funny, it feels far far longer than that; more like 6 months.
I've eaten japanese-style food once. (it was my favorite place. I was so disappointed.)
I've not watched a single japanese movie. (if you knew my movie diet of the last few years, you'd know how odd that is)
I've not listened to any japanese music. (at least not consciously)
I've not spent any time with any japanese friends here. (sorry Tigre!)

and I am miserable.

and I didn't realize it until I walked into my neighborhood patisserie where the theme from Lady Snow Blood was playing.

"I know this. I recognize the words. It's that other world... what are you doing here?"

I've set my player to feed me tracks by artists similar to Towa Tei, Cornelius, DJ Krush, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Yellow Magic Orchestra... Pizzicato Five... ahhhh... a bit of happy. I'm going to go eat some fish tonight, and dream... and scheme. Ceci ne durera pas!

To save Bethune

Bethune and the gull
EastSouthWestNorth: Extraordinary Chinese Sayings, 1840-1999 - Part 1:

When the Chinese Communist leaders found out that Dr. Bethune was ill, they ordered a full-scale effort to save him. Zhou Enlai issued a secret order to the party underground in Shanghai to obtain penicillin and other essential medicines not available in the interior. The party underground leader had no choice but to look up Shanghai's big triad boss Du Yuesheng (杜月笙) for help. Du stared at the shopping list and did not say anything for a while. The party underground leader got anxious and slowly articulated one word at a time: "If Mr. Du can help, we promise that we will always remember this." Du Yuesheng sighed and said: "This list of medicine will be difficult to procure. This is a lot harder than the little things that I have helped you on previously. But if a foreigner was willing to risk his life to come here to help us Chinese fight the little Japanese ghouls, what can we Chinese say? Please proceed to the Huangpo River tomorrow night to pick up the material. Let us say that all related expenses will be donated by me."

(photo by Ella)

Location Portals

Michael finally went and got himself a "this is not personal!" weblog where he will talk about something that is central to everything he hopes and dreams about (in a non personal way! hehe).

If you're interested in location based, locative media, especially how it relates to community and all that (I'm drunk, bear with me), please visit, and subscribe to Location Portals. Having conversed with Michael over the years many times about all this, I assure you he has some terrific insights, not to mention in depth experience, and wishes to share that, and build on it.

Go go go!

Pine Exchange: still under construction

Pine Echange video

They tore down the last of the old overpasses and Parc is now a straight line through. Either side though are still pits where the fancifully graffitied underpasses once glowed.

See for yourself. (Mainly for the expats ;)

No guilt

It's a beautiful sunday afternoon in Montreal, and no goddammit I do not feel like going out and enjoying the sun and getting some exercise today.

I will NOT feel guilty for spending my afternoon on the computer in the back room at Laïka. I'm not here because I have to be. I am here because this is what I feel like doing. Nyah. Yes.

Damn it's hot in here... maybe I should go outside...

Odd thematic concurrence

From the Montreal Craigslist "Pets" listing:

- Pet caretaker for hire (Plateau)
- 2 cats for adoption - moving out of country, please help (montreal)
- BEWARE: A cat killer/torturer is loose in Montreal! (Montreal)
- Sweet cat about 2 year old needs a home (Montreal Downtown)


Emma's ad would have to read:
"Psychotic clawed feline with experience hurting people, looking for cat killer/torturer: bring it on!"


How multicultural is YOUR city?

We have 6 processions of honking cars a day during World Cup here. How about you?
(Could also be titled "How many World Cup monkey fans live in your city?")

Insight in hindsight

Ed Bilodeau mentioned he just missed his 8th anniversary of "personal publishing on the web".

An excerpt from his first post, dated March 12th, 1998 (notice the dated space URI):

Spend any time at all surfing the Net, and you quickly discover that there are alot of people who spend alot of time and effort publishing information on subjects that interest them. Whether it's a father putting up pictures of his family, a student building a shrine to her cat, a teenager listing the titles in his video game and music collection, or a young lawyer designing a site dedicated to her favorite Californian wines, they a ll have some things in common. They all feel passionately about something, and they all want to share their passions with others.

Here's to at least 8 more years sir. And it'd be great to see you sometime. :)

Ice sailing downtown


The sidewalks are slicker than skating rinks.
The wind is gusting up to 78km/hr (50 miles an hour).

Unless you weight upwards of 120lbs and have spikes on your shoes, stay home.

Or, go the other extreme, rig up a sail of some sort (an open jacket will do) and have some fun...

Stupid smoker

Listen, it's bad enough that you are smoking in here (even though legally for the moment you are still allowed), but the fact that you are one of these idiots who leaves his cigarette burning in the ashtray is beyond excuse.

A lit cigarette left to burn without being hauled on and/or ashed for more than 60 seconds begins to stink several orders of magnitude more than one that is being smoked. I know this from having been a smoker for 10 years, having lived with forgetful smokers for a number of those years... and from having a fucking brain connected to my nose.

It's one of the most painful odors, in my esteem. It viscerally contorts me, immediately burning the walls of my nostrils and making me nauseously ill. I am not a violent person but OMG do I want to come over there and put that thing out on your forehead. Perhaps that will wake you up out of your stupor.

I cannot believe this. The asshole lit another one and is just sitting there with his hands behind his head...

New île sans fil logo

Mike linked to the announcement of the new ISF logo.

Here's what they unveiled:

Isf Logo

Here's my suggested fix:


Basically, I lined things up, centered the text-mark, instilled some harmony by adjusting the kerning a bit better, got rid of the little green blurry nugget (I know it's supposed to be the "accent circonflexe" from île, but I think the waves can cover that duty themsleves) and changed the font of the URL.

Can you tell this isn't my forte? The edges of the radio waves aren't rounded and I totally not happy with the kerning and alignment here but I'm tired... ;)

Anyways. I stop here. The original's a pretty good idea and start to a logo... I just felt like tweaking it a bit to fit into the grid I see in my head. ;)

Local Government Organizations (LGOs)

ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiative) - Local Governments for Sustainability

We provide technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.

UCLG - United Cities and Local Governments

United Cities and Local Governments is a new world organisation dedicated to promoting the values, objectives and interests of cities and local governments across the globe. It is the largest local government organisation in the world, with a diverse membership that includes both individual cities and national associations of local governments.

United Cities and Local Governments is the global voice of cities and the main local government partner of the United Nations. It promotes the policies and experiences of local governments in key areas such as poverty, sustainable development and social inclusion.

Urban Ecology Center

The goal of the Urban Ecology Centre is to build and share expertise concerning the most viable approaches to sustainable urban development and how they may best be implemented in our neighbourhoods and city.

A funny thing happened on my way to...

I did a lot of walking yesterday.

At 1:15 I visited the apartment I mentioned here previously. Arriving at the address, one of my suspicions was confirmed: it was indeed the same building that an english professor of mine from over 10 years ago lives in. Matthew von Baeyer taught a course on essay writing at John Abbott College; I was not actually enrolled in the course but I became friends with him and sat in a few times. When I visited his apartment all those years ago, he showed me his grandfather's Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1905), which he had been awarded for synthesizing the color indigo for use in commercial dyes. He also showed me the small book of poetry he had self-published, all about indigo.

So I visit the place; classic Montreal apartment layout: off from the entrance are two large rooms with no wall between them (making it one big room but still considered separate), a central living room area (which is not much more than a widening or an outgrowth of the hallway, much the same way Lake St-Louis is just a widening of the St-Lawrence River), a tight washroom, a small kitchen (the stove was in a closet...) and a back room. It was... "ok". I went through the motions, filled out the application form, buying time to think about it.

This is where I spare you details about going back home and then returning to bring the landlord some contact info.

After dropping off the envelope with said details, I turn around, snap this pic, and head back home. Crossing Marie-Anne Street, I see a "À LOUER" ("FOR RENT") sign. I get closer to see the details. In shakey hand, a name (George), phone number and "4 1/2") are written lightly.

"What the heck", I think as I key in the number.

A cheerful, elderly woman's voice, heavy with foreign accent answers.
- "Oh you want to see? Come, come see!"
- "Yes, thank you. I am outside! Which apartment is it?"
- "Oh you are outside?! I come out. It is upstairs!"

Upstairs, I meet George. Mid to late 60's greek man. If it weren't so close to Christmas, I wouldn't hesitate to say he was jolly (I find out later what makes him so jolly and his nose so red... deadly homemade greek wine! hah!)

I am showed into the apartent, I remove my shoes and... I look down the hallway... and it seems to stretch from here to Papineau! "Jeebus, how big is this place?" I think to myself.

The first room, off to the left (they are all on the left), is e-nor-mous. Thanks to a large window (sadly all the windows face Marie-Anne and not the Mountain... small price), it is very bright. The following room is a bit smaller but also larger than I oculd hope for and bright. "Bedroom!" I immediately think. ;)

The third room is a tad smaller again, and it connects to a perfectly respectable kitchen, which opens out to the balcony, which runs the length of the apartment. Oh and the ceilings are all about 14". Oh and the floors have just finished drying after being sanded and re-finished. Oh and the previous tenant stripped and sanded all the moldings down to bare wood, including the antique cupboards in the kitchen which have glass doors and little latches. What a treat.

I could live without the stucco in the hallway but eh. C'est la vie.

"Dammit, let's do this." I say to myself.
"What do you need from me to make this mine?" I ask George.
"Ohhh, a small deposit, maybe $100, just to say, and come back tomorrow to meet my son who will take care of the paper stuff."
I had shown up at the first apartment with $400 cash in my pocket in case I needed to grease a palm. But I had since gone back home and left the money on my shelf. Drat I hafta go back!

So back I go, and back I drive (getting tired here...). I ring the doorbell, George greets me, I quickly try to spit out the "thank you very much" in greek my mother had just taught me over the phone from Florida. (something something para poly... :p ) Come in! Have a glass of wine with me! Let's talk a bit!


Plate of smoked pork, some bread, olives... and a glass of 1 year old home made greek red turpentine, I mean wine!

This all goes very well. Everyone is jovial everyone is happy, I am just the kind of guy they are lookign for as a tenant; I know it and they know it. The question of money and where and how I get it barely comes up.
- "Where do you work? What do you do?"
- "I work for myself, at home mostly. Iiiiiii... um... computars!"
- "Ah! Ok! ... I come here in 1954 with five dollars and not speak english!"

(Forgive me if that sounded bad. I in no way intend to portray George in any kind of joking or deprecating or disrespectful way. It was really that kind of heartwarming conversation.)

- "Ah! My father too! He came from germany. He told me that for the first month he ate apple pie everyday at the same diner because he couldn't read the menu and would just point at the pie in the glass dome on the counter..."

After having brunch (our last Sunday brunch together for probably a long time), I returned to see George and meet his son, Spiro; a hip and with it and super nice guy. They had me fill out an application form quickly, a formality.

- "Great, just come back on Tuesday, is Tuesday ok?, I'll give you the keys!"
- "And I guess I'll sign the lease then and give you first month's rent..."
- "Yeah, heh, that too."

Here I am. :D

Getting my hopes up

On saturday early afternoon I have an appointment to visit what could very well be my dream apartment.

I was not actively searching for a new place, but I came across its listing online and though "this I cannot not pursue!" I hesitate to give to much details here now, lest somehow someone beats me to it because my mentioning it here, but yeah... 5 1/2 (Montreal real-estate-speak for 4 rooms, kitchen and washroom), balconies front and back, second floor, on my dream street facing a huge park and The Mountain.

I'm worried about getting my hopes up for a number of reasons: at the price they are asking, it may possibly be a dump, which would really be a shame because it is where I want to be, but no way am I living in a dump. Then again, the price may be low because who the hell wants to move in the winter. Also, I am "scheduled" to visit. This means there's a queue of people before me and after me. It is entirely possible that anyone of the people scheduled before me hands the landlord a roll of bills (as I plan to do if the place is choice) and then I am shit out of luck (as will be the people after me if the place is choice... ;)

In any event, it is entirely possible that Saturday afternoon I have the keys to the ultimate dream Montreal apartment, further reinforcing what seems to be the fact that I am one of the luckiest bastards alive.

That or I will be inconsolably pissed.

Local Montreal bands fundraising for Pakistan (South Asia) relief

We are a group of friends organizing a benefit concert on Nov. 11th for the victims of the Pakistan quake.

The benefit event will take place at Sala Rosa (4848 St. Laurent). Danette Mac Kay, best known for her performances at Kiss My Cabaret, will be hosting the concert. The evening will be musically versatile with jazz, funk, rock and alternative bands. The performing bands in order of appearance, will be Vox Crosby, Tempus Fugit, Heavy Traffic and Creature. DJ Guylicious and DJ Steve Lalla will also be playing their mixes throughout the evening and into the late hours of the night.

This benefit is affiliated with Oxfam, with 100% of the proceeds going to their South Asia earthquake relief efforts.

With best regards,
Asma Khan

Safe travels gaucho

So, Steven's probably sitting on the tarmac at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport right now, beginning a 2 month trip to Cuba and, I suspect, to the core of himself.

No, he's not going to go sit on the beach. He's brought with him his bicycle, his Powerbook, his dSLR... and all his knowledge and experience in IT, networking, web communication. Not to mention a desire to do some good.

Over dimsum yesterday, I asked Steven exactly what his plan is. At least, where is going to start, what's he going to do.

Well, first he's meeting with a leading cuban paediatrician in hopes to have cuban participation in, an international research networking project Steven undertook for the Pasteur Institute.

He's also going to go visit the Linux user group at the Universidad de La Habana. They have an Ubuntu-based Linux distro, which apparently comes bundled with pre-configured Jabber client and RSS aggregator. I have a feeling he'll be dropping some of his ace WiFi-fu on them, having established his own community WiFi network in his hometown.

And then he's off to cycle all over the island, staying with families in their homes along the way. Apparently Cuba is extremely well suited to such cycling trips, with excellent roads and government subsidized rooming houses all over.

I made him promise to blog and photolog as much as he possibly can.

Bonne route mon ami. Be safe.

Be careful what you ...

I'm somewhat late delivering a project. I'm workin workin workin to get it done. The plan was to wrap it up tonight and start migrating parts before morning. I've been pulling all nighters for the last 2 months so it's normal for me now.

About an hour ago I got hungry so I ran out to get a shish taouk a few blocks away. On my way back I noticed a Hydro truck pull up. For no particular reason, a thought shot through my mind: "heeey, you could just ditch work and relax for once... say there was a power failure!"


20 minutes later I am bathed in darkness. This is NOT funny. I immediately ran dow to that Hydro truck, where I found the two technicians just about to roll away. "Can we help you?" "Um, yeah! The whole block is out up there!" "Yup, we're doing major network upgrades. It'll take all night. Weren't you warned?" ... Grrrrrrrr ...

So here I am at Laïka, the hip café-turned-bar-at-night, sitting in the corner while semi-decent house music is being spun. I've got my computer, my mouse, my external hard drive, all here. Needless to say, progress will be hindered without my second monitor.

The worst part is that Karl was here all night and I told him I couldn't hang with him because of my work, but I saw he got home just before my wifi died. Bleh.

Local Google Map "Point of Interest"

In Tagzania I found the (so-far) only Montreal tagged Google Map point.

This particular spot is pointed out as showing 3 seasons in one spot. The spot in question is just after the north bound access ramp to Highway 13, a place I know very well as it was the highway I took many many many times when I was a kid. It's the highway that led to (what used to be) Mirabel International Airport and the Laurentians where I skied and snowboarded for the first 20 years of my life.

If you drag the map and follow the 13 up, you'll find both. Or if you drag the map west to the tip of Ile Bizard , you'll find the house I grew up in.
(Yes, I grew up on a street called Monk's Point, in a place called Bizard Island. That's not quite as odd as my father's being born just outside Transylvania.)

Yes, we have no bananas

There are NO air conditioning units left to be had (from the "big box" style retailers) anywhere on the Island Of Montreal.

On the other hand, I now have THREE bicycles sitting in my living room. All of them more or less useless as it is too damn hot to move.



Damn... I'm on the verge of popping a reblog feed of Andrew's blog in my sidebar...

The Karl Rove situation is a litmus test for just how far the Bush administration is willing to go to cling to power and lie to the American people, and just how Bushwhipped the mainstream media has become. Bush should have already been impeached over the Downing Street Memo. If he attempts to gloss over this with self-righteous rhetoric, y’all need to take to the streets.
You should read the whole thing.

Equally stinging is Steven's remix of the US Department of State's "Consular Information Sheet" on Cuba.

Zingers, gentlemen, zingers!

Free Montreal WiFi Google mapped

Michael barked at me that "it's in WifiDOG CVS now!" the other night and I guess it's cause I haven't sparked my aggregator in a week that I missed it but...

Here's a standalone GoogleMap of all Ile Sans Fil free community WiFi hotspots in Montreal. Very cool. Even cooler is that "it's in CVS", which means any of the other community wireless projects around the world who have started using ISF's "WiFiDOG" software, can have this feature too. :)

Also a bicycling weekend...

Basically the last 4 days have been wake up, code code code, eat, code code design code, bicycle bicycle eat, design design code, sleep.

Most excellent Michael Lenczner has lent me a most craptasic 15 year old stolen-and-repainted-numerous-times mountain bike with shot front air shocks. I am having a totally wikkid awesome time riding around The Plateau and Mile End, going for coffees, drinks, breakfast, getting sun, breathing night air... all between mad frenzies of hours and hours of work, and totally wearing myself out.
It's sunday night, I have a deadline to launch a major site tomorrow, I have to practice my Hiragana... and all I want to do is collapse in bed.

Hehehehehe. Feels damn good.
Thank you Michael!

Mappin my route

Too cool.
My jogging route. 4km each way. 4km uphill, 4km down. Be sure to check out the satellite view too (eventhough there are dang clouds in the way).

(PDF for posterity)

Sophisticated krishnas

The Hare Krishnas from down the street just went by. They seem to have hired a new arranger cause instead of just chanting, they had an accordion and some real bongos and were doing the traditional "hare hare krishna krishna" thing in a very ... moderne arab/parisian/world style. Sort of a mashup of the original chant, Yann Tiersen ("Amerlie" soundtrack), Manu Chao/Mano Negra and Les Negresses Vertes.

Pretty catchy... ramaaa ramaaa... *snaps fingers*...

Andrew emailed shortly after my posting this to say:

The head Krishna also appeared to be wearing a headset of some kind. To coordinate what, I don't know."

Hiiiihihihihihiii. Their ascension to the big love-in the sky of course! (Yes yes I know, Krishna have nothing to do with love-ins etc... it's funny to me tho :p

Slow motion cold

I've had a raw sore throat for well over two weeks now, and horking up small wads of mucous from the back of my throat. At first it was just annoying and, in typical fashion, I just bore it and grinned.
It got more pronounced and more annoying over the last 4-5 days.
This morning I woke up with a full-blown chest cold.

Some things that are mystifying me:
1- Why am I seemingly getting sick so often lately? My diet and health are otherwise really good. I exercise, and eat well etc...
2- I quit smoking 3 months ago. I haven't felt any kind of physical change since, other than I don't stink and I have somewhat more energy. If anything, I have felt more sickly since quitting. Oh and I gained 5-10lbs unceremoniously. :p

The worst part is, I don't have the time to be sick. I don't have the time to spend nursing myself, nor do I have the time to wait for 4 hours at the local CLSC for a doctor to sit me down for 5 minutes and write me a prescription for antibiotics without looking me in the eyes. I don't think I even want to then be told "take this poison for 2 weeks and then you'll be fine." I want to be fine NOW, and I want to STAY fine, dammit. hehehehe

I just spoke to my mechanic (hah! no no, my car's been sick too and IT'S gotten the attention it needs) and mentioned how I was feeling and he said he's had a sore throat for a week too... is this going 'round? A slow motion cold virus?

This has been an entry titled "Whining out loud."

Well said.

Andrew continues to make me cheer with his canadian political commentary. His take on bill C-38, "C-38 is a uniter, not a divider", is well worth a read. (Bill C-38 is same-sex marriage legislation that just got passed in Canada.)

I especially like the zinger of a conclusion:

Tell me this: is Quebec's cultural distinction better protected when flanked by the US and a separate Conservative Canada, or when it's playing a major role in making Canada a just society that protects minority rights and upholds real freedoms?


Oh and Steven shares this little gem. :)


Mainly because this is teh funniest promo copy I have ever seen for a bar night... Kudos Murad.



selections by the dj fighters
chaperoned by murad




It's damn hot

So Karl and I moved from the sweatlodge-like Laika to the air conditioned Java-U on St-Denis where Oblivia was.

Logging into the free wifi network I spot something familiar in the URL. "Helloooo... what's this..."


I made this! A long long time ago.

Related: sometime last week, Barlow appeared in my buddy list with the status line "wifi on a Lufthansa 747!". There too he would have seen my handiwork, as the APs I worked on are OEMed to the company that provides Boeing with in-cabin WiFi. So, if you find yourself on a Boeing with WiFi, spark up your web browser, surf over to and think of me... ;)
(And flickr it!! yeah!)

Parking meter hack challenge

Steven launches a challenge to local hackers and their friends: Hack the new Linux-running, GPRS-networked parking meters.

1- Show that it can be done
2- Perhaps help improve the system
3- Perhaps send a message up: "hey, we KNOW you're screwing us"
4- because it's there... ;)

Michael, wanna help plug this? Put it out there see what happens...

Two very useful things I'd like to see come of this:
1- a java-based mobile app that would allow me to see which spots still "have time".
2- a web-based app that could remotely tell me the same (so I can be sitting in a meeting and check if my meter is up yet...)

Linux + GPRS in parking meters


Steven gives us the lowdown on the fancy-pantsy new high-tech networked evil machi... er I mean parking meters in Montreal.

Men's roooooom

photo-852 07May05
Originally uploaded by sylvaincarle.

Sylvain moblogged this quite funny "men's room" symbol.

C'tait où, man?

The keitais are coming!

Slowly over the past year I've noticed a subtle transition in the mobile phone handsets that have been available here in my home market. But today it really struck me as apparent: the keitais are coming.

Not in features or cultural influence so much mind you; merely in form factor, but this in itself is indicative.

Accessing the "available handsets" sections of the three mobile service providers here in Montreal, a year ago you'd find mostly the small Nokia-style handsets. Today, Fido (5 clam vs 8 puck), Rogers (11 clam vs 7 puck) and Bell (10 clam vs 5 puck) all exhibit predominantly* clamshell models.

* After actually counting, Fido still has more "pucks" than clamshells, the funny thing being that it was while visiting Fido that the increased number of clamshells available struck me.

I find this very odd since that form factor is closely tied to the handset's usage, which is hard to explain to someone who's never seen it "in action". Think of it literally as your own little network access device, which you hold up as if checking your makeup in you pocket mirror - heh - and thumbing your way through the UI using a scroller, and typing kanji using the keypad. We don't have immersive information services, nor do we have a text-based mobile communication culture, so we don't use the like that.

I wonder why *this* shift. Why the skin and not the guts?

Also funny to notice them now finally hawking "we have cameraphones!". A year ago it was still "we have faceplates and ringtones!" ;)

Mismanagement in Montreal

It is raining outside. It has been raining heavily all day.
A street cleaner just went by... TWICE.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but... it is 10:00 pm, nowhere near the 9:00-to-10:00 am time slot where they are supposed to clean my street 4 days a week, forcing all car owning residents to not park on alternating sides of street. Failure to do so results in a $42 parking ticket. The fines alone must finance the street cleaners. Clever system, that.

Parking signs

Meanwhile, we have the worst roads of any major city in the developed world. [not quite a] fact.

Télé Sans Frontières

I was handed a small flyer by a street kid for a showing of Télé Sans Frontières short films.

From their statement:

Amener des jeunes à dire vrai et à porter leurs propos afin qu'ils se construisent, se réalisent et se révèlent, c'est avant tout les accompagner dans cette démarche d'expression et de création.

Filmer, cela s'écrit, cela se réfléchit. Travailler à la va-vite tel un voleur d'images pointant son objectif sur le corps encore chaud de l'enfant étranglé par le soldat, non merci! Filmer nécessite un travail préparatoire, un travail de recherche. Filmer appelle un processus d'écriture, une réflexion propre à chacun, le choix d'un angle. Filmer ne se conçoit pas sans curiosité, respect de l'autre et mesure.

Une caméra est une arme, elle est porteuse du droit d'expression, elle inspire et nécessite un devoir de réserve, un devoir de responsabilité. En ce sens on ne donne pas de caméra, on ne prête pas cette arme sans en donner le manuel d'instruction, tant technique qu'éthique!

And the program:

en primeur : amour et sexualité + actualités
- confidences d’un pédophile ou comment mal aimer.
- poésie alternative ou comment parler d’amour.
- actualité : vidéo-poker dans les bars ou comment se faire lessiver par les machines à sous.
- actualité : construction de condos à Verdun ou comment couper dans les aides aux familles défavorisées.

en reprise : politique
- Être en équilibre : portrait de l’activiste écologiste, Mickaël Rioux, qui en campant dans les airs, sauva une rivière.
- l’X, une salle underground, forcée de déménager, symptôme de la gentrification du centre-ville de Montréal.
- le citoyen moderne n’est-il qu’un consomm-acteur?
- Dans l’Tapis, ou le char –modifié- est passion plutôt que moyen de transport.

mercredi 20 avril
20 heures
au Divan Orange
4234 St-Laurent
(coin Rachel)

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Another clever local

Welcome to Andrew Rose and his "the mass is secretly obsessed with nipple dream" weblog.

Curling trumps Pope - Apparently CBC actually stands for 'Curling Before Christ'. Every channel I get (that's about 4) has coverage of the Pope's death—save the CBC, which is showing curling. Now I care about as much about the Pope Passing as I do about Hurrying Hard, but you have to think there's something wrong with this picture. I imagine Peter Mansbridge & Co. are busy preparing their broadcast (and I could have missed a brief breaking-news announcement), but I mean come on. Are there that many people who give a shit about rocks and brooms on ice?

A choice quote.
I don't know Andrew very well - he's a good friend of my good friend Mike - but so far he is off to a great start, I think, with no-holds-barred "nerdy enthusiasm" (as opposed to "informed criticism", as he puts it).

Andrew, I think it's cool... in fact in most cases, I prefer it. ;)

If anyone makes an attempt to keep the ailing Pope alive against his wishes, because, you know, we have to 'err on the side of life' ... we can be pretty sure Judgement Day is coming. And all the better. I can't wait for the 'Rapture' to take away all these poor deluded souls who wouldn't know what 'life' was if it slipped a finger in their ass. Then we can go on living in the sweet sweet pits of Hell without them trying to limit our inalienable rights to liberty...

(Sorry, Pope intensive, but these were too good... ;)

Purple Cross

There is a small mountain in the center of the island of Montreal called Mount Royal. At the top sits a lighted cross. It is visible from most of downtown and the east.

Last night...

Uploaded to flickr by Pumpkin Patch

the lights are set to turn purple when the pope dies, which they did.

Also Aaron mentions it and Kate has another photo. Some thoughts on "the media pope" from Joi and friends and Mark Federman.

Mike Durcak Photographs

Quick plug for my good friend Mike Durcak's photography exhibit "vernissage" this evening at Blizz.

Mike converted my apartment into a studio (and presumably a party central ;), while I was away last month, in preparation for this show. I will, of course, be there. (But come for the pics!)

Tokyo > Montreal in under a second

I'm sitting in the Good Day Café, just off Aoyma Itchome/Omotesando (search me how the street names work in this place...) in Harajuku, Tokyo.

I spark my NewsReader, go to my folder of Montreal RSS subscriptions... and I am 100% back in Montreal. I read about an impromptu YULBlog (Montreal bloggers) night out on the town, I am transported back 2 weeks as slowly other locals blog about the Open Da Nite fire.

I break my reading, look up, and am shocked by my environment: a café packed with japanese ladies chit chatting. “Ahhh so so so so so... Hontoni? Sugoi da neeeehhh!”

Now if only I could do the same and “inject myself” into a quiet and comfortable work space... :p

The films of Arthur Lipsett

Lipsett Poster

I think it may be some sort of meta-cinema-type-thing where the audience will be filmed watching films...

Devices of Design

I attended the "Devices of Design" symposium, hosted by the CCA (Canadian Center for Architecture) and the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology (Daniel Langlois was the founder of Softimage).

Devices of Design, a collaboration between the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) and the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, was initiated in response to the increasingly widespread use of digital media and software technologies in architectural design as well as in the domain of construction. A colloquium and a subsequent roundtable discussion will address both the consequences that this shift implies for contemporary architectural theory and practice, and the urgent need for better understanding of the archival and conservation issues that such new media and technology raise for research institutions worldwide.

The general question I gather they were tackling was "now that our work, the endeavors of architecture, is virtually totally digital, what do we archive for posterity?". This got sidetracked almost immediately to "what is virtual? what is a document, as opposed to a scribble? what is memory?".

[This event was VERY densely packed with great presentations and thought provoking materials. Therefore, not only am I having a heck of time writing it all down here, time wise, but also it makes for a VERY long entry... one which I will have to come back to and add to for a little while yet...]


Just came back from a fun Dim Sum lunch organised bySébastien Paquet, where I met, amongst others, the co-founders, Evan & Michele, of Wikitravel, the Wikipedia of travel.

I don't need to explain the concept do I? ;)



Just received the above in a group email with the subject "Best night of your life". Amazingly it made it past my spam filters. Not that it is spam - I know the senders - just... you know...

The best part is this note:

To be removed from this mailing list, please come to the green room on wednesday and tell us in person.
Sabrina and Sefi

Yeah right. Sabrina and Sefi are two astonishingly beautiful girls. If you can actually look them in the eyes and ask them to be removed from their mailing list... well... you know...

Montreal Metroblog

I want ten Montreal-area webloggers to join me in making up our local Metroblog.

English and french posts that somehow have something to do with Montreal, and share whatever bits of this great city. :)

Here are some of the other cities in the Metroblog network, to give you an idea:

Email me or comment here if you are interested! No contracts, no pressure! All fun. ;)

[this is aaron]

Because, while I can respect it, Aaron's quiet, "I'll be over here" demeanor drives me batty sometimes, I am going to take license and point out his freshly published résumé.

While I'd love to expound on how he's actually publishing his résumé, via XML and all sortsa crazy parsing voodoo, I'm afraid I haven't the slightest clue. So I'll just point you to his CPAN profile.

I'd *really* like to go on with some real "Happy-Happy Joy-Joy boosterism" of Aaron, but I'm not sure how much he'd let me get away with. ;)

Someone give this supremely intelligent and gifted man some work, lest I start a company just for him!

Hrm. ;)

Some of my favorite geeks

... have been mightily busy!

Aaron finally fixed his "I-roll-my-own-thank-you-very-much" weblog and immediately posted about some of the wikkedly neat stuff he's been toying with over the summer. widgets, SVG maps, RDF, let's-see-what-happens-when-I-hook-this-up-to-this data combinatorial wackiness.

Dav hacked up a J2ME bluetooth gps mo-pho-weblogging doodad so he can track Mie... hehehehehe ;)
(Speaking of J2ME... Aaron mentioned something about a J2ME-Atom implementation... hmmmm.)

Francis and I just "got the keys" to our new very own super duper 1U rackserver running Whitebox Linux. w007! I have some plans for that baby that I have yet to nag him with, which I am sure is fine cause he's got some of his own. Aside from becoming an email ninja, setting up and installing the email system for some University in Ohio over the summer, and doing various contract programming jobs, the chicgeek also created Spamity, an online webtool for checking stats on your server-installed anti-email-spam systems (such as SpamAssasin, AMaViS, RBL, RHSBL).

Ado is working so hard that I can't spark up ecto to post a blog entry here without having to download an update. Annoying? Sure. Appreciated? definitely! (As Ado himself... hehehehee) He's also been working on APIs for some folks, but I'm not sure I can mention that here...

Michael and his group at Ile Sans Fil cranked out "Wifi Dog", a "complete and embeddable captive portal solution for wireless community groups or individuals who wish to open a free HotSpot" which, combined with location-specific and community-wide media servers is finally making sense to me as a truly awesome idea. Making locally created (CC-licensed?) content easily available on WiFi hotspots makes alot of sense. Mike's also turned me on to TikiWiki (try the demo) (hate to nutshell it as such, but think Drupal + wiki + steroids), and is gearing up to provide implementation services to academia. (Hats off to you my friend.)

Guys, big "thumbs up" to all of you! :)

International video and electronic art manifestation


True to its in situ diffusion approach, it is under the theme of the DESERT that Champ Libre presents its 6th edition of the Manifestation Internationale Vidéo et Art √âlectronique, Montréal which will take place in an urban and industrial site currently under transformation. The site chosen for the upcoming Manifestation is the inspiring des Carrières incinerator situated in the Rosemont-Petite Patrie borough of Montreal. The site will be occupied and set up to receive an interdisciplinary program and multi-network presentation drawing from the fields of video, architecture, urbanism, literature and electronic arts.

I can't make the vernissage, but I hope to catch this before it packs up.

Too much music

Pop Montreal starts next week.

Looking at the schedule and the roster of musicians, I am paralyzed. Recognizing maybe 4 names, I'd be hard pressed to pick something to go see...

... other than the sold out Franz Ferdinand show ...

I think I shall have to ask some advice, or just let myself be led astray by those who know better. :)

(Seven words - Nardwuar the Human Serviette punks out musically... Nardwuar is the dude who when he asked then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien about protesters getting pepper sprayed got the classic reply: "For me, pepper, I put that on my plate.")

C. difficile

Microbe blamed for 100 deaths at Quebec hospital

A bacterial agent commonly found in health-care settings has
been blamed for the deaths of 100 patients in the last 18 months in a
single Quebec hospital, says an infectious disease expert at the
facility, who is calling for government action to forestall more
outbreaks across the country.

Dr. Jacques Pepin says cases of Clostridium difficile at University
Hospital in Sherbrooke have been steadily increasing. And the incidence
among those most vulnerable to the disease " patients aged 65 and older
" jumped 10-fold between 1991 and the end of 2003.

The infection has been blamed for killing 54 patients in 2003 and
another 46 in the first six months of this year at the 683-bed hospital,
said Dr. Pepin, lead author of a study in the Canadian Medical
Association Journal.

Using patient records, the University of Sherbrooke researchers compiled
cases of C. difficile and deaths from the infection over the last 14
years. They found the proportion of patients who died within 30 days of
diagnosis soared to almost 14 per cent in 2001 from less than 5 per cent
in 1991.

Obvious french pun aside ("C'est difficile" means "it is difficult"... which I imagine going into plummeting blood-pressure shock due to severe diarrhea must be...), I have to wonder a few things here:

  1. Our much vaunted healthcare system is going down the tubes, isn't it?
  2. 54 deaths in one hospital in one year from one bacterium?! HELLO?!
  3. Where's my facemask? ;)

Ok, I posted that purely for the morbid poo-poo joke.

Scratch The Aprils

They canceled the rest of the tour. So no party tonight. Dang.

More info on Aprils show

Ok, got the info straight.

The Aprils will be performing as part of the "Club Par Avion" Summer 2004 tour at Saphir (next door to 4 Brothers grocery store) on St-laurent on Wednesday July 7th at 10pm.

For an idea of what they sound like/look like, see this clip I took when I saw them in Shibuya.

From the promoters:

Club Par Avion is a dance craze of sensational and entirely seductive Global Indie Clubpop, Indiepop, Cutepop, 60's Twist and yé-yé! from Japan, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, Germany, China and Bollywood, conductive to dancefloor exuberance and flirtacious alcoholic consumption.

Club Par Avion:
The Aprils:

I am so there. :)

If you are not in Montreal, check the tour dates... Seems they are in San Francisco this friday... (Dav... hint hint... ;)

St-Jean on St-Viateur

So the rumor was true. There will be no official St-Jean Baptiste celebrations on St-Viateur this year. THAT... is a travesty. A crime even, I'd say.

Then again, it's not like the Mile Enders need an excuse to hang around and loiter on St-Viateur all day... hehehehe.

Apparently there is whisperings of unofficially "brownbagging" the afternoon of the 24th on the street anyways. Maybe a ghetto blaster (inside pun intended) would not be out of place...

This just in from... someone who shall remain anonymous:

hello everybody,
IMPORTANT LATE-BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!! Please forward to all fellow citizens, party-goers, st-jean lovers, mile-end badasses, cuties, patooties... THIS EMAIL CONTAINS INFORMATION THAT MAY JUST SAVE THE NEIGHBOURHOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

following the very sad news that St. Viateur St.'s annual St-Jean blowout has been cancelled this year, we have arranged a back-up plan...:

It's St-Jean, Shut Up and Dance!... (C'est la St-Jean, ferme ta yeule pis danse!)... Thurs., June 24, 9 p.m. at the Main Hall of the Mile End Cultural Centre (upstairs from the Green Room), 5390 St-Laurent.
Admission is FREE.

the party will go down in the tradition of the St-Jean block party that took place on Kilo-Prix corner, i.e. massive, eclectic DJ jam session, crazy dancing and neighbourly socializing.

many friendly neighbourhood dj's will be in the mix. here are some that may appear (i.e. not all confirmed, so no complaints about false advertising and/or libel suits, please).

Andy Williams, Scott C, Soundbwoy, Bliss, Crystelle, Keisuke, Sixtoo, P-Love, T'Cha, the Pony Up DJ Posse, Don Ray and Guapo (who will be holding it down downstairs at the Green Room)

merci, et joyeuse St-Jean!...
p.s. for those jonesin' for a little fresh air, there's apparently some kinda outdoor St-Jean thing from 6-9 p.m. at the corner of St. Viateur and de Gaspe.. and a few people have expressed interest in brown-bagging it and hanging out along st-viateur anyway on thursday afternoon, which sounds like a fine idea... and again, s'il vous plait... PASS IT ON!...

(St-Jean Baptiste is the official "national holiday" of Quebec... in so far as a province, not a nation, can have a national holiday... ahem... and have it named after a christian character who got his head lobbed off for the entertainment of a princess... ahem... hehehe I jest I jest... ;)

In Memoriam

With heavy heart, I sent the following email to some of my fellow YULBloggers (Montreal Webloggers):

Last fall we had the pleasure of being introduced to Andrea "Space Cadet / Piglet Posts" who had joined our little community of Montreal bloggers. I had met her through some friends the previous summer and had encouraged her to start a blog. She did so, but graced our monthly get-together only twice as an active blogger, having stopped due to the burdens of school and work. She had promised to come back, and even stopped by La Cabane last May at the urging of some of us who had befriended her... and missed her.

It is with great sadness that I must tell you that Andrea lost her life in a tragic automobile accident this past Friday night, while vacationing in the south of France.

A shy yet brightly radiant young person, to be remembered.

I suggest a toast and a moment of silence in her honor at our next first-wednesday.


I didn't know her all that well. Barely a year. We had a few laughs, some good times, and all too few conversations. However between the first time I met her - sitting in a booth at Blizzarts with Keith and Ari after a Bar-B-Q at Keith's - and the last time we chatted in line waiting for our café au lait at Open Da Nite, I did notice that she had a renewed spark in her eyes and spring in her step. She seemed happy and had found some direction. It made me so happy.

While the pain and disbelief, shock and anger, are still fresh, in the face of so senseless a loss of life, I entreat us all to remember this:

Our time here is not only short but in no way guaranteed. One of us is next. It may be you and it may be me. Just as Andrea was just beginning to start her new life, so must we all make sure to get up tomorrow and continue, or begin ours. Let no moment pass where we are at least content, and working towards reaching our hopes and dreams.

Otherwise, all really is without meaning.

Some others who took a moment to remember Andrea in their webogs:

Nika Vee

Also, a snapshot of Andrea's Friendster profile. (~250k JPEG)

Ile Sans Fil WiFi at Laïka


Mike, of Ile Sans Fil, grinning as we test out their newly activated free hotspot at the trendy Laïka Café/Bar.



Shows aside, apparently there are some interesting panels and workshops. Sadly though, the whole site is in flash, the schedule all done in little flash modules, making it nigh impossible to get a clear overview of what's what.

Shame. Hope I remember to check it out.

Don't you hate it when people who should know better still don't. Sigh.

The Ville de Montréal is screwing with my jogging route

I'm somewhat a creature of habit, I suppose, and as such, little changes to things I take for granted sometimes leave me... rather pissed off.

Since last fall, the Ville de Montréal seems to have taken two very annoying actions, in the name of security, both of which seriously screw with my exercise regimen.

So, first of all, they have completely dismantled the 212 step monster staircase which leads to the summit. This staircase is a KEY element of my workout. Running up that thing is both the worst and best part of my run.

Now granted, it was in really bad shape, what with 250lb musclemen trampling up and down it everyday for their cardio as well... every week or so another wooden stair would be busted and in need of replacing. By last fall they had tried barricading the stairs but obviously I am not alone in my workout use of it: despite signs and chains and gates, we were always 3 or 4 pounding our way up it.

So, now, it is gone. replaces by a sign saying they'll try to have it rebuilt by the end of the summer. Which is of course, really really really frustrating to me. Not only because of the lost "extra workout punch" but also because it led to the summit park, where I would sit in the sun, tanning and reading. These are very important to me! Now I have to run around the west side of the mountain to get to the summit, effectively doubling my course! Argh!!

Probably for the best I guess. Bastards.

The other thing they did is half-assedly block the median opening at the corner of Parc Ave. and Duluth, where I usually cross to enter the park. Granted it WAS dangerous running across a six lane high traffic street before, but it is even more so now that I have to jump a median!! And I refuse to run up a block and cross at the lighted intersection in front of the statue.



Today I took some drastic first steps.

Today, I switched from Bell Sympatico DSL to Videotron Cable Internet access. So far, the speed increase is, to put it mildly, reality-bending. I also switched from crappy old normal cable TV to digital with a selection of some fine fine "stations".
Tomorrow I will deactivate my Bell Sympatico DSL account.
Sometime in the coming week or two I will give in and buy a highfalutin' expensive cellphone (Nokia 6600 is the current favorite), switch cellphone providers and kill my Bell landline.

Believe it or not, aside from the expensive cellphone, this move will save me approximately $20-30 a month.

So, why is this drastic? I know a few people who have done exactly this same thing. Well, my intent is somewhat different. I am not doing this merely to save a few bucks on a redundant (and not used) landline. Nor do I intend to use the cellphone so much for voice calls...

First of all, the increased Internet access will finally allow me to set up a full local network, corporate services stylee. Dynamic DNS, VPN server, local mail and maybe Jabber server, internal DNS for development work, etc...

Having a cellphone platform as feature rich as the Nokia 6600's Symbian OS6 will allow me not only to synch contacts and calendars (like I use calendars sheesh... yet!) via Bluetooth locally, but with approriate client software (and server software on my home network) I can use it as well as my main communication gateway AND availability manager. Yes folks, soon you will be able to IM me on my phone, if I want you to, and if need be call me. If you don't see me in IM, there's only a slim chance I'll answer your phonecall... ;)

(that's just one example...)

Moblogging is just the beginning.

Euro Deli WiFi Update

About three weeks ago I blogged about EuroDeli getting WiFi.

Well, Mike from IleSansFil told me that the WiFi should be up, on probationary basis, in November.

What this means, of course, is that we must ALL go to Euro Deli at least once (a week ;), have some pasta, a coffee and a canolli... Hang out for at least 30 minutes (and not too long...), to show the management it's a welcome addition to their space...


p.s.: I just TrackBacked to one of my own entries. Let's see what happens...

Euro Deli WiFi

I just stopped by Euro Deli on St-Laurent for an after dinner allongé & dessert canolli. I had my iBook out (yeah I got one...), writing up a blog entry about the jaunt to Toronto this past weekend, when an employee approached me and asked if I had a WiFi card.

Mike proceeded to tell me that in a week or two he and some friends will have set up a free WiFi hotspot there as part of their "IleSansFil" project.

Way cool. Though I must say I am surprised that the Twins are going for this. No matter. I'll be there more often again now. Maybe.

Wanted: Peking Duck

I haven't had Peking Duck in well over 10 years. It had completely slipped my mind as a dish I very much enjoy.

Can anybody recommend a good place to have Peking Duck in Montreal? Please? I don't think I'll last much longer...