pphaneuf: (Default)
Ok, so I've got this bunch of shows I want to go to, but going all by myself is kind of sad (although I've done that a few times in Toulouse, and it was the source of just about an equal number of crazy adventures!)... Anyone care to join me (or is already going) to any of those? The links are to the Last.fm event page, with samples of the music and further details:


I'm sure there's already people intending to do the Nuit Blanche, I'm just hoping to slip in a visit to the Metropolis in there. I'm also rather keen on the Trail of Dead show, since it's at La Sala Rossa, and I've been missing that venue something fierce.

Finally, if there are other suggestions or things I've missed, do recommend!

Edit: Added Peter Bjorn and John, as well as Animal Collective, as per [livejournal.com profile] cpirate's suggestion. The full list is the authoritative source for this, feel free to check it out (and I welcome the use of Last.fm's "suggest this event", as well).
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
Damn! I wanted to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, coming to the Metropolis in October, but it's sold out! Oh well, I'll be trying to go to more small shows, I think. It's been too long I have been to La Sala Rossa, for example, and places like Zoobizarre merit being visited again. Oh, and going to see Miss Kittin & The Hacker on the 27th at SAT! Awesome!

All those shows, I'd like to bike to them, but I've been finding my quest for fenders to put on my bike rather frustrating. It's a weird bike, rather easy to ride with its straight handlebars, but the rest is done in a racing style. Which means that there's basically no clearance anywhere between the tires, the frame, the fork, and the brakes, not a lug in sight for anything (well, except water bottles), and so on...

I'm also pondering a winter bike, as I'd like to try (to some degree, I always have my CAM in my bag!) to ride for at least part of the winter. I'm pondering what to do, as there are many parameters...

I'd like to have a city bike, that would fill in the role a car does for most people. It would have to be practical, something I'd be able to ride day in and day out. It shouldn't be a hassle to ride all the time. I do not want to be hardcore. I'd like to just dress normally, as if I had a car, and arrive maybe a bit rained on at best, as if I was parked a bit far, but not drenched, and no wet line along my back! It could be aluminium, to keep the weight (and the rust) down, but it wouldn't try to be super-light. I think an internal hub might be good, to minimize maintenance as much as possible. Chain cover, to protect my pants. Everything bolted on, so that locking it is easy and quick. Lights, possibly with a generator (but it shouldn't be awful like those against-the-wheel generators).

One of the problems I'm having in this quest is that most bikes fulfilling these criteria (that I can find here) tend to go for a vintage look and have some of the features I listed only because most bikes in the fifties had them, not because they're sensible bikes. One bike having all those items also had things like a seat with big springs (heavy if it useful, sure, but those are heavy and useless!), and a back wheel cover (so that my longcoat doesn't get stuck in the spokes). Stylish, yes, but practical? I live just at the foot of the hill between René-Levesque and St-Antoine, if my first experience when I take out the bike is consistently having this feeling that I'm going to die, well, uh, I don't think that'll be encouraging!

Batavus seems to have some interesting models, and while I haven't seen much of them in Montreal, they have a Canadian site, and there are some resellers in Montreal (I've been there before, but I don't remember seeing them, I guess they can order them, in the worst case). Some details are a bit off still, like the integrated horseshoe locks, which are pretty nice, but require replacing all the inhabitants of Montreal with Danish people first, so it's a bit impractical.

Another thing that's causing me some grief is the parking space. I don't think I want to give up my fast FCR for this hypothetical new bike, you see? On nice days, I don't see why I would deprive myself from the fun of zipping down Ste-Catherine at almost 40 kph! But at the moment, my spot in the basement is just big enough for one bike, maybe two if I could hang then (but it's a temporary setup, and I can't). And maybe I'll be wanting a crappier bike for the winter. And after trying out phython's fixie, I'm still longing for one myself (soooo smooooth!). Where am I going to put all of this bikery? I have my eyes on the mezzanine at home, but it's not very practical, so it might be good to put the winter bike in the summer and vice-versa, but getting stuff up and down there is rather annoying.

Ah, what to do, what to do...


I think I'll deal with the winter first, and get myself one of those cheap-ish Marin hybrid/commuter bikes...
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
So I went for a weekend in San Francisco... I was planning on that already, so I had packed a light raincoat and a few long-sleeved shirts, so I wouldn't look like a tourist, but as it turned out, I forgot them in Mountain View and looked like a tourist anyway! After obtaining a lender bike for the weekend (thanks Noé!) and deciding to leave my laptop at the office so I could travel light, I hopped on the Google shuttle and managed to get the wireless Internet they have onboard working on my iPod touch. This was already kind of cool, but I was totally amazed when I thought I would consult the map and I pressed the "go to my location" button, just for the heck of it, and it actually got it! I was then further amazed at how it seemed to do a kind of pseudo-tracking, updating my position every ten seconds or so... So I didn't feel quite as lost as I did the last time.

After getting together with [livejournal.com profile] morethanreal, dropping off my stuff at her place and inflating the bike's tires (I quickly found out that the brakes were not working well at all either, which was a bit worrying, considering how hilly San Francisco is!), we headed to some show she had heard was recommended that night. It was in a small but pretty cool art gallery, where they had a good number (maybe a hundred or so?) of speakers embedded in wooden sculptures, hanging by wires from the ceiling. The curator later told us that this is an art installation and that they are actually operational, seemed like this could be pretty cool in itself, but as it turns out, the main attraction of the night was a DJ. He was pretty competent, I have to say, and enjoyed his set, despite the fact that we had just missed a part of his performance where he donned a dinosaur suit and hugged everyone in the audience, I was a bit disappointed having missed that! It's funny how people recognize my accent, including in particular the bartender, whom I was asking for a beer. He pointed me at the menu with just two beers available (this was a temporary setup), and I told him that, well, I had no idea what either of those were. So he apologized quickly, asked me if I knew about Unibroue, to which I responded in the affirmative, and he then told me that I would find the first one horrible, and that the other one, well, wasn't nearly as good as Unibroue, but would probably not offend me too much. Heh!

After getting back to [livejournal.com profile] morethanreal's place, there was some inevitable discussion about music, of course, and I introduced her to the new Apple Remote application for her iPhone. She fell in love at first sight, it would seem, she even moved her iPhone dock to put it beside her bed! We were pretty tired, but she had put on Black Eyes's eponymous album, and it is quite good, we just had to finish it before going to sleep.


Tour de Fat
Originally uploaded by Pierre Phaneuf.
The next day, I wasn't feeling too sore from sleeping her couch, which was good, because we were heading out to Tour de Fat! There was a brief stop for chocolatines and cappuccinos, of course, it wouldn't have been civilized otherwise. There were crazy bikes, crazy bands, and crazy beer! Much fun was had, including bouncing around with (very) limited success on a pogo-stick. I then accompanied [livejournal.com profile] morethanreal to a tattooing session (hers, not mine!), which was pretty cool, including a pretty classic Californian laid back surfer artist. I then headed back with her to pick up my stuff, had some (spicy!) burrito on 16th, then headed to [livejournal.com profile] jbdeboer's place, where I elected to stay that night (thanks, by the way!). That place is up. Very, very up. Like, on top. Yowzer. I had some idea of taking a cab from there to the DNA Lounge, but I was too wiped and gave up (fail!).

On the upside of being at the top is the good view (hmm, there's the view to Lafayette Park, which can be interesting according to the "near here" feature of some random iPod Flickr app!), although it was a bit cloudy. Biking down Gough was mental, though! I realized at some point that with the intersections being flat, that I couldn't see past them! All of that while going upward of 40 kph, of course. That led me eventually to a nice breakfast at Cafe Petra, since there was too many people at Ritual (and I don't think they have food either). I biked around the Mission, dropped by Good Vibrations (got myself a book), then back up around Market and Stockton, where I resisted the siren call of the Apple Store. I managed to get some excellent coffee at Bluebottle Coffee, once more, and then eventually got lost in the Tenderloin without realizing it, while I was taking photos. It was very sketchy, especially with my big SLR camera hanging from my neck.

Monday, the excitement level was much lower as I went to Barefoot Coffee Roasters with a team-mate who is a fan of good coffee. It is also very good, although I preferred Bluebottle's. As it is customary in Mountain View, we were back home before 10pm.

The next day, we went for dinner on Castro (in Mountain View) at an Italian restaurant with a very colourful owner, who seems to be a big George Michael fan. Excellent service, though, setting up a table just for us (my other team-mates are known there, it would seem), and of course, singing at the table by the owner. There was some ice cream after, and some of us were rebellious and went home past 11pm!

Now, I'm about to be taken out to In-N-Out, which I'm told I just have to go to. Sounds questionable, but hey, I've done worse.
pphaneuf: (I Like Beer)
So I went for a ride last Sunday with [livejournal.com profile] cpirate and [livejournal.com profile] dfcarney. I'm not sure fate didn't really want me too, with a series of bad lucks that culminating with the aluminium sole of one of my biking shoes to let go. But it was fun, ice cream was had, and it all ended up on the roof terrasse with a beer. :-)

Monday, as it was my birthday, the lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey took me out to PortusCalle, which was quite nice! There was some white Port, some rosé, fine food, lovely fondant au chocolat, and, of course, a nice espresso. We then headed down to the Katacombes for a few drinks with [livejournal.com profile] liberation_now and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe.

Wednesday, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, [livejournal.com profile] slajoie and I went to play some pools at iStori, followed by a demonstration of my awfulness at Rock Band. At least, I didn't sing, or else we'd have been in trouble with the police, I think.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] slajoie and [livejournal.com profile] fuzzyila joined me to attend Nista and The Human Kind, at Zoobizarre, which is a pretty cool venue (it's kind of weird, a stone cellar on a second floor?!?). The bands were pretty good, I think, worth getting the CDs for, although Nista doesn't have a CD at the moment. There were a few of my co-workers (and their friends) there, as Nista's guitarist is also a Montreal Googler. There was a song about angst at the supermarket, allegedly inspired by the Super-C near my place, heh!

Tonight, the grand celebration for my birthday! There's a number of people who have been making special efforts in order to be there, so I'm quite flattered! It should be awesome. :-)
pphaneuf: (I Like Beer)
Uh, there was a traffic jam on my small street today when I left for work?!? Complete with no less than two city buses, trying to work around the cranes and other construction equipment currently cluttering the street... Weird.

Oh, man, I've been meaning to post for exactly two weeks, yet didn't. I did this thing where I thought about hypothetical posts that I'd be writing while on the metro and biking, then forgot to actually post it.

It helps that there has been a fair deal of biking going on, beginning with what I called the Weekend of Doomed Awesomeness for a bit (if only in my head). This started by going to Mutek's Nocturne 3 with [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe on the Friday. Then, went to the Mondial de la bière with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey in the afternoon, after which [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe joined us to go to Mutek's Nocturne 4. How to follow this best? Sunday, I showed up at [livejournal.com profile] cpirate's place almost in time (9am-ish, after going to bed at 5am!) for, you know, a little Tour de l'Île (with [livejournal.com profile] scjody as well), after which we stopped for well-deserved poutine at La Banquise (and a coffee, so I could stay conscious). Then (the same day!), [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I met with [livejournal.com profile] rezendi for a quick pint before catching Le Salaire de la peur at Cinéma du Parc. In case I might have survived, [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe invited me to see She Wants Revenge for my birthday (got me brownies too, woot!), on the Monday evening (we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] fuzzyilla too, ahoy!).

While I thought Nocturne 3 was quite excellent (Millimetrik and Modeselektor were awesome, Kid Koala very good, although I've seen better sets from him, and the other bands were quite fun too), Nocturne 4 let me a little bit down. Most of the bands didn't "click" with me much, and the whole programme was running late, which combined with the act I wanted to see most (Deadbeat, was excellent!) played last, made for leaving the place extremely late. Still, it was nice too, I just wish I could have slept in the next day!

I'll have to agree with [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe, She Wants Revenge was good, but they'd have to put out a killer album for me to go to their next show. Some of their opening bands were really wacky and not all that good either, including a "punk" band that sounded like Avril Lavigne on speed.

So after that, I, uh, didn't do much for the two last weeks, as you might have guessed. I did bike to work a lot (for which there was tremendously good weather!), played with my own early birthday gift to myself (a new top-end 24" iMac, Core 2 Duo 3.06 GHz and GeForce 8800 GS, smokin'!) and coded (mostly on Quadra, more than 20 commits just this weekend!). There was a visit from [livejournal.com profile] musicdieu and [livejournal.com profile] cpirate, watching of Euro Cup games, and Munchkins.

[livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I went out on the city last Saturday, was quite nice, and I got myself a nice watch (Danish design and titanium? sign me up!). We ended up going to the cinema and watching You Don't Mess with the Zohan. Yes, I know, I know, but it's actually pretty funny, mostly due to the weird cultural references (fizzy bubbles and hummus, baby!), and was saved because I have a small idea of what's going on in that culture, and would probably have been even funnier if I was actually part of it. I don't really expect it to do well, although there's a fair share of stuff that a lot of North American would find funny (silly fight scenes, sexual jokes), but I laughed really hard at the hacky sack, fish and hummus jokes, myself.

On a closing note, I've had a weird email recently from OkCupid (which I do find entertaining, for various reasons). I often get the "come back to our site so you can see and click ads" emails, but this one was different, telling me that there was one particular user I should message where there was some sort of category 5 crazy outlier match. Apparently, the love of my life is in New York state, which is too bad, because I'm not, ha! It then showed the usual "you might be interested in those people" bunch of people, but as opposed to the usual, this morning it was a bunch of my friends, so, well, I guess it sorts of works? I do like my friends, they're nice and everything. :-P

Packed!

May. 26th, 2008 05:05 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
Ok, so after going to Festival Kinetik last week (where I nearly snapped my neck ogling!), I booked up this weekend pretty solid: going to Mutek Nocturne 3 and 4 (Friday and Saturday), the Beer Fest on Saturday, the Tour de l'île on Sunday and She Wants Revenge on Monday. It will be both intense and awesome, I think!

Gifted myself with an iMac 24" this weekend (the big one with the GeForce!), ostensibly for my birthday, and managed to play some Battlefield 2142, for, uh, "testing". The testing is pretty conclusive, and it's quite awesome. And, oh, so silent, yet so powerful! I will also be looking forward faster compiling on my old laptop through Xgrid.

I've also come up with a design in my head for doing zero-overdraw overlapping windows with support for alpha transparency. I'm dreaming of a "Quadra HD", and while I don't really know what it'd look like, I know that according to historical figures for development speed, we should release that around 2012 or so! I also got a "pre-opened" gamepad last week, which will allow for adding support for it in Quadra, which has been requested since more or less forever. That could be here as soon as 2009! ;-)
pphaneuf: (Default)
It was extremely brief, and you had to pay very close attention, but the sugar season's passed now, and thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I managed to catch some sugar shack action, thanks to my dad inviting us over to his annual thing (which went better than the last time, as I wasn't dying this time!). It was what, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's third time in a sugar shack in her life? How do they manage over there? ;-)

I went for a lightning trip to New York City, where I thought it'd be a good idea to get a room at the Hotel Chelsea, since, you know, the office is in Chelsea, that'd be convenient, no? I did listen to punk music, but I don't remember stabbing anyone. I didn't write a novel either, but I did write a small piece of code, related to my most recent ranting, where my hack gets similar latency on event handling as busy waiting on the event queue, while using less CPU (and much lower latency, by multiple frames!) than SDL's built-in SDL_WaitEvent.

This last item results in myself restraining myself very hard from going off and making a high-performance game library. Add it to the list of things I could do very well, but that I shouldn't be doing because it's useless. Argh.

[livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I went to see Iron Man, which was pretty damned good, I think. I think that it was a good introduction, although the battle at the end was a bit contrived and short on time. I think Justin Hammer might have been a better choice, with multiple supporting bad guys, but Iron Monger does make for big badaboom. I liked the hints at War Machine, and the small (in that movie, at least) involvement of S.H.I.E.L.D..

I'm now about to register for the Bike Fest, which inconveniently overlaps with MUTEK. The day ride doesn't pose a problem, but I really like the night ride, and that will obviously mean that I'll be missing out on something else... We'll see.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Saturday, while shopping around for a better piece of furniture to hold our nice new television, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I drove in front of the Club Soda, I saw that there was Autechre on the headline there... For the next day! A bit later that evening, [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe poked me about it too, but I was still unsure.

Finally decided to go, accompanied by [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and joining with [livejournal.com profile] crybetty, [livejournal.com profile] m3lang3 and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe (also saw [livejournal.com profile] phreedum there), and it was very good! I didn't like Massonix too much, and Autechre's set was a bit short (an acceptable hour, but could have used more). Rob Hall was pretty good as well, but while it was something I'd find mind-blowing in a club, for a show it was merely okay, IMHO. All in all, quite enjoyable.

I was surprised to learn today that iLike thinks that Joy Division, somehow, is related to Aphex Twin?!? Uh, ok...
pphaneuf: (Default)
So, Sunday was Stuff Your Face With Chocolate Day, so we did. There was rabbit for dinner, appropriately, and I discovered that adding Frangelico to chocolate mousse turns it into a very tasty, yet boozy version of Nutella.

On Monday evening, I headed out to see (well, listen, really) to [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe's set at the Katacombes. But before doing so, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I (well, mostly me, really), in the interest of saving ourselves from the dangers of the eggs in the mousse going bad, dived into the mousse leftover. Tasty! Once there, I was surprised at the amount of computer geekery going on, between a sticker on the toilet stating that "Your Computer Suck", and meeting [livejournal.com profile] crybetty, whose dream is to own a Macintosh LC 475 once again and [livejournal.com profile] obskura exclaiming that she's surrounded by engineers or something. That's kind of weird.

But it was an especially nice outing for me, because it has been almost two years that I haven't been able to do this kind of thing, going out on a week night, having a few drinks and a bunch of fun. So it's all special and awesome, yay for that!

After going back home, I finished the rest of the chocolate mousse.

The next morning, I learned that it is apparently possible to have a chocolate mousse hangover.

After some more wackiness, I'm finally on the couch watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey. Pretty awesome, all in all!
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
A little while ago (okay, okay, that was in November!), I went to see Me, Mom & Morgentaler at the Club Soda with [livejournal.com profile] gregorama and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe. Oh my goodness, the energy! They did pretty well, for a bunch of fat people in their fourties. ;-)

On top of the sheer awesomeness of it, this was a rather significant event for me on so many fronts. To this day, I still remember parts of an evening I spent in St-Hyacinthe's downtown, on the sidewalk in front of one of the venues there, where I watched this band of insane people jumping around on the stage, being so completely and madly happy. That was sixteen years ago, and since then, lots happened, of course, and I didn't really expect to see them.

In fact, I didn't really even expect as much as to be able to pick up their CD, until that evening where [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe and I wandered from one used records store to the next (and to the next, and to the next, etc!), and we found it! Actually, she had found it, and managed to snatch it away in front of my eyes, but it turned out all right, as she gave it to me as a farewell gift, before I left for France. That was eighteen months ago, and since then, well, lots happened (ok, well, not nearly as much as in the sixteen years before, but still!)...

Among other things, we broke up, and frankly, while I try to see the nuances and not think in terms of black and white, a pretty ridiculously significant share of this disaster was on my shoulders. People weren't around to see it, but it was a massive breakdown, including talks of breaking up with [livejournal.com profile] azhrey as well, for a bit. I've come out of this rather scarred and traumatized, and I'm surprised I didn't just lose it (or maybe I did?). After this, I was still thinking that non-exclusive relationships could work, but I was seriously questioning my ability to do it myself, and considering how much happier my life has been since I accepted this aspect of myself, this was some hard core introspection. Let's just say that the daily ride on the commuter train was sometimes very thoughtful. I have been, and still am, to a degree, ashamed of the all pain I've caused to the people who I wanted to hurt the least.

I finally figured that maybe I wasn't doomed to failure, if only I could manage to learn from my mistakes.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Tuesday, I had dinner at Soup and Noodles after work with [livejournal.com profile] liberation_now and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe, and went to see Control, where we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] nevergirl and another one of their friends.

The movie was quite good. Sam Riley did a fantastic job of portraying a troubled Ian Curtis, who can be quite the jerkface at times, without falling into a caricature. This applies to the rest of the cast as well, with people being people, which is amazingly rare in movies these days. The music was of course excellent, including the surprising inclusion of Kraftwerk's Autobahn (not in its entirety, of course!). We all knew how the story ended, of course, and it unfurled slowly before our eyes, but it still was surprising, somehow, and had me biting my lips.

Yesterday, it was a more-or-less annual "stuff the [livejournal.com profile] sps" kind of evening, where we hit up [livejournal.com profile] swestrup and [livejournal.com profile] taxlady's place, ate good food, had plenty of wine, ate some more food, a fair amount of coffee, and played a pretty mean game of Munchkin, which I had to drop out of, due to excessive tiredness, unfortunately. I wasn't doing so good, anyway, although I did give some people enough trouble.

Tonight, party at [livejournal.com profile] jul3z! Whee!
pphaneuf: (Default)
I've been lagging behind in a lot of things (sorry if you've sent me mail and are still waiting for a reply!), but I think it's been good for me.

The day after we arrived, I managed to catch [livejournal.com profile] serendipity_wpg's last show on the Fringe, where I met [livejournal.com profile] wlach, [livejournal.com profile] cpirate and [livejournal.com profile] scjody, without anything being scheduled. After a choriço poutine at Mondo Fritz, I even crossed pzion on the way home. This was pretty cool, for a first day out, having such nice random encounters even in a city of three million people!

After getting all my money turned into Canadian currency, I tried to pick myself a nice Linksys WRTSL54GS, to hook ourselves up with some wireless Internet (with some hackability in mind!), to no avail. I ran into the WRT350N the next day, which seems to be the replacement model (had some issues with it at first, but it works perfectly for me once I restricted it to "b" and "g" wireless).

I also went for a drink with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, [livejournal.com profile] cpirate, [livejournal.com profile] liberation_now and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe, which had me somewhat fiddly, but (of course!) proved to be quite enjoyable.

There was a visit by [livejournal.com profile] sps, [livejournal.com profile] swestrup and [livejournal.com profile] taxlady, where Settlers of Catan was played and I was soundly beaten to a pulp. I had cheese curds to console myself, which I was missing terribly!

I saw some of my old gang from cégep, where Mare Nostrum was played and I almost won, but Brain won finally. The usual...

I got myself some new shoes, which I find pretty nifty, but I then had the very silly idea of going for a walk before going to lab-synthèse-01. Going for a walk with new shoes, gah. I had soft ice cream to console myself. I had to leave before [livejournal.com profile] lautreamax got on, due to logistical constraints (also known as "living way the hell over there"), but I did catch (and enjoy!) his co-conspirator's set. More electronic music, more!

And today, we went downtown where I chatted with people for a bit while sipping coffee, walked around lazily and managed to randomly catch a 60% off deal on memory for my laptop at Compusmart's closing sale. Now writing this sitting on the lawn of the Place-des-Arts, from a spot in the shade, taking it easy with the Jazz Fest in the background... Nice!
pphaneuf: (Shades)
Today, we went out shopping a bit, to spend some of my truck wages (pretty popular in France, where apparently, as long as it doesn't say "euro", it hardly is taxable) before we leave. Got myself the new Arcade Fire album, a one of those fast CompactFlash, a shirt and a chocolate recipe book.

Not covered by my truck wages is a titanium watch from a collection I saw during our visit in February 2006 (where I almost bought one!). I have a strange relationship with watches, as I don't like timekeeping very much (I'd like to keep it simple, for example), but due to my snob, yuppie side (also expressed in my taste for expensive sunglasses, argh), I like nicely designed watches, probably as the only kind of jewelry I seem to tolerate on myself. Since I'm a snobbish bastard, I never found a watch that I'd like to wear, and I'd certainly not get a "normal utilitarian watch". In fact, I think I haven't owned a watch since, well, something like 1994 or 1995! So, after twelve years or so, I finally found something classy, made out of one of my favourite materials, and for a reaonable price, a nice souvenir.

To compensate for the classiness of that watch, I had some Kraft Dinner for, well, dinner. At about that time, the Toulouse Football Club beat the team from Bordeaux, thus qualifying them for the Champions League next year.

This, of course, leads to a bunch of people having apparently decided to blow up parts of Toulouse. Ah, the French...
pphaneuf: (Default)
Much happened. There was (and still is, to some degree) blahness, so in my usual not so good way, I didn't write. But now, that was just too much of an action-packed week-end (relatively speaking, for my sorry little expat ass, as this is merely "the usual" for those of you still reading this in Montreal, I'm sure!).

I decided Friday that I'd go out. Not content with that, I also decided that I'd do it in my own particular fashion of completely disorganized randomness, going with the spur of the moment.

Read more... )

Here are some of the things I learned that weekend:

  • Vodka-tonics are nice.
  • Leffe, while good, doesn't really do it when you're in the mood for Guinness.
  • When following random people, sometimes they're just going home.
  • I should get a lighter.

Also, on another note, it's off to Pamplona, Spain by train with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey tomorrow morning, to meet with apenwarr. And at the end of April, it'll be off to Copenhagen, Denmark to visit [livejournal.com profile] skjalm, and have even more adventures!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Ah, catching up! On the 5th, I went to a show, Razorlight (with The Tatianas). There was a strange event, where a girl from Toulouse found out I was going to that show through last.fm, and asked me to go with her, but she ended up sick and unable to go anyway. This would have been the closest to an Internet date I would have been, which is pretty weird, particularly as it was completely out of the blue for me.

The show itself was fun, but left me unconvinced of buying their album. There's a bit between Franz Ferdinand and The Hives, and they had some pretty good songs, but others were rather weak. But they were still entertaining (with the singer climbing to the mezzanine via the stacks of speakers at one point, for example), though, and I had a good time. I only caught the last part of The Tatianas, and in a way, they were better, catchier songs, but they were not really my style.

Going there and back was an adventure in itself, actually. I was initially hesitating to go, because it's about 7-8 kilometres away, and I had to bike there in the dark, on the bike path along the Canal du Midi. It went okay on the way there, despite missing a small bridge that would have kept me on pavement rather than hard-pack (which isn't too bad, but remember I'm on a road bike, for all intents and purpose!). When I came out of the show, though, it was raining. Not too hard, but 7-8 kilometres later, I was pretty completely drenched. Biking in the dark on a narrow bike bike right next to water (no handrails there!) when it's raining and slightly slippery, it's good for your heart. ;-)

On the 9th, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I went to the Toulouse Carnets, a gathering of Toulouse bloggers, and had much fun. There was pondering of going to a bar downtown after, but we decided on going to the Dubliner, the other Irish pub close by our place. The place turns out to be super-friendly, reminding me a bit of the Mad Hatter back in Montreal. There was a bunch of people, probably students, where the guys were cross-dressing, in that "ha-ha, I'm dressed like a girl" way, and seemed to be enjoying themselves a great deal (I got several offers for sex!). At some point, two girls arrived, seemingly the only ones also cross-dressing, but they didn't go at it the "ha-ha" way. They had quite nice suits, one of them especially tack-sharp (in that cross-dressing 1920's pimp kind of way). I'd say something about how I like butch girls (not that this generally works out, ha!), but [livejournal.com profile] azrhey would quickly correct me and say that I like girls with a pulse. Heh.

On the 14th, I took [livejournal.com profile] azrhey out for BURGER. Except it was crappy Quick burger, which is a kind of Belgian McDonald. I kept seeing them and wondering about them, maybe they were something that could be like a Arby's to me, but no, turns out it's just awful. Seems like it's really hard to get decent, tasty burgers around here, say, like we had at the Old Dublin or something...

Last Wednesday, we went to see Taxi 4, along with [livejournal.com profile] muadda. That was pretty funny, as far as the Taxi movies go. It featured the marina of Monaco, where I expressed the idea of, one day, going in a rowboat. That would be awesome. :-)

And finally, last Sunday we had two co-workers over to introduce them to the spirit of Montréal, through watching Bon Cop, Bad Cop, followed by a dinner laid out by [livejournal.com profile] azrhey. There was salmon with olives on it and stuff, so you can guess that I didn't have much to do with the food!
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
If, like me, you're kind of a nutcase when it comes to your music's meta-data, then, for goodness sake, steer clear of baroque and classical music!

I've been in the process of ripping Bach's Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244), on and off, for most of the day, typing such things as "Petrus aber saß draußen im Palast" and "Aria with Chorus (Soprano, Alto)", wondering about such thing as whether "Ripieno-Sopran" was missing a trailing "o" or not (it's German, it takes it in Italian and English)...

I also suspect some jazz could pose similar problems. Some electronic music also has plenty of complications, some tracks being remixes of other artist's work (I broke down and individually attributed each tracks of Aphex Twin's "26 Mixes for Cash", turning it into a compilation, which still seems odd to me), or in the easier cases, a track having multiple mixes.
pphaneuf: (Geeky)
Ok, so I in my last post, I was saying that software patents aren't too evil, that DRM still is quite evil (here a related link to Tim Bray, who's talking about the famous Linn company putting out DRM-free, higher-than-CD-quality music, props to them!), and so that I am switching to MP3.

I had been doing some research, so I figured I'd share some of my resources, while I'm there.

I found a ton of great information on the HydrogenAudio knowledge base, about which encoders are best, the pros and cons of various lossless formats (those harder to find CDs I also ripped to FLAC, for archival), and such things. For example, whether there was any issues with FLAC (apparently, the biggest thing is that you can't put RIFF chunks in them, but I don't think that should be an issue), or whether Ogg FLAC was it now (not really, only for streaming and other special cases, and you can convert from one to another very quickly). Seems like LAME is pretty much the state of the art for MP3 encoding, and that even the latest version of ID3 tags still kind of suck compared to Ogg Vorbis comments (thankfully, my ripping software, Max, keeps a full superset of all the meta-data in its own files).

Speaking of which, I have to recommend Max, it's a great piece of free software, very flexible and with a number of useful abilities, such as encoding to multiple formats in parallel from a single rip (I did some comparison testing between FLAC, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis on some difficult tracks, to test my encoder settings).

I also encountered one of the more practical annoyances with MP3 already, where (with XMMS, at least) seeking isn't accurate. If you hear a specific bit at the 2 minute mark, restart the song and seek back to the "same place", I often found that the time display is off and that when I reach the same bit, the player says I'm 10 seconds or so past the place I was the previous time. Oh well, I don't seek too often, thankfully, but it certainly made that side-by-side testing I was doing rather annoying.
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
Okay, so I'm not writing a music player (yet). One could say my "faith" has weakened, where I am taking the opportunity of a re-ripping of my music library to switch from Ogg Vorbis to MP3. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm a terrible human being, my soul will burn and everything.

A quick reminder on why MP3 is evil and how Ogg Vorbis will save your eternal soul: Thomson holds some patents on key technologies involved in the MP3 format, those technologies being in the form of mathematical concepts. Some people find the patenting of such intangible things to be stifling innovation, that many these concepts are inherent in nature, and that as such, anyone should be free to use them (some comparing this to patenting something like the Pythagorean theorem, as an algorithm to find the length of the hypothenuse of a right triangle).

After some soul searching, I feel that while this is true to some degree, it is not the most evil aspect of software patents. My issues with software patents are two-fold.

First, the way the process of obtaining those patents seems rather sketchy at best, quite regularly granting completely frivolous patents. Upon application, those often get overturned, but still, this costs money, and if I were to be sued over one, I would most likely be in deep financial trouble, no matter how frivolous the patent. In the case of MP3, I do not feel this is one of those, the thing being filled with psychoaccoustics, modified cosine transforms, polyphase quadrature filter, alias reduction formulas, and other such things guaranteed to give me a headache. These guys are no fly-by-night lawyers trying to make a quick buck, from what I can see.

Second, the duration of patents, for a low cost/revenue ratio industry (like software, as opposed to cars, which are expensive to manufacture) anyway, is quite excessive, in these days of rapid technological advances. Maybe that, yes, Pythagoras should have been granted a patent for his theorem, but the question is how soon should it have expired? Again, in the case of MP3, the oldest reference to those technologies I could find (didn't check very thoroughly!) was around 1986, which isn't shockingly old, but in terms of technology, is starting to get a little dated. I'd say that a 15-20 years expiration on that kind of patent wouldn't be too ridiculous either way, and I'm sure smart inventors would manage to make quite a bit of money in even less time.

So, in short, I'm not technically against software patents, but more against the way they are implemented right now. I suppose I also dislike the way some patent holders keep quiet about their portfolio, until everyone is using the technology, at which point they helpfully point out that every bloody living organism owes them money. Those make me angry.

In any case, for most users, patents are a bit immaterial, it's mostly for developers (especially of free software). It inflates the cost of their iPod by a few dollars, but they can't really tell the difference between that and the rest of the cost.

What's material to people right now, though is DRM, the so-called "digital rights management". Ensuring your rights are properly limited and constrained, that the rights of the poor media corporations aren't being trampled on by nasty people that want to listen or watch the content they lawfully paid for (pesky, those people!).

It's too bad this isn't being done with the arguably superior Ogg Vorbis, but compared to many of the other choices, MP3 is the choice with more freedom, compared to the PlaysForSure and FairPlays of the world. Pirates aren't being stopped, honest people get screwed and I forgot my point.
pphaneuf: (Angry Tongue)
So I updated my version of Max (an excellent CD ripping application for Mac OS X) and tackled my music collection, which has been in a bit of disarray for far too long. No wonder I've been listening to so much Einstürzende Neubauten, all their tracks were there at least twice (because of the umlaut in the band name, plus possibly more copies in the song names themselves).

After some ponderings, I decided that I'd switch to a folder per album, without an intermediate folder for the artist. I'm still not sure about that, but that's probably the easiest to mess with.

The new version of Max, among other things, added support for album cover art. I thought "hey, why not? iTunes 7's cover art browser is pretty swanky, I like swanky", which proved to be a rather frustrating train of thoughts, when all was said and done. Bloody iTunes. Bloody Ogg Vorbis. Bloody everything.

While Ogg Vorbis does support embedding cover art, Max didn't do it. Not that it would have helped with iTunes, this probably not being part of the standard QuickTime meta-data (not that iTunes was worth ass at using QuickTime meta-data properly). But iTunes has its own database to index meta-data, including a folder where it caches cover art. I figured that I could just manually set the cover art in iTunes, and that it'd go there (don't worry, I wouldn't have done that by hand for my whole collection, iTunes can be scripted very easily, thankfully).

But no. It see QuickTime content, thinks "hey, I don't support cover art for those!", and just ignores any cover art you set (even though it let you set it in the "edit meta-data" dialog!). Bastards.

But I'm not completely pissed at iTunes (yet), since it still seems to be working better than Rhythmbox (which I use at work)! I deleted my existing music from the library, meaning only to remove it from the Rhythmbox database. Surely, it would ask my opinion before doing something that cannot be undone, right? iTunes does, so, I'm good, right? Nope, everything gets thrown in the wastebin, which didn't seem to offer an obvious enough "restore" option (but I've been known to miss obvious buttons before, so maybe I'm just cranky). Yeah, sure, the files aren't lost, but they're all together in a gigantic mess. Great.

Okay, so after having given up on that anyway, I looked again in the music directory, to find that it had left some files behind? That's kind of shoddy, isn't it? There's two explanations, and neither put Rhythmbox in good light: either it "missed them" while deleting them, or, more likely, didn't import them in the library in the first place.

The latter being especially fun, as the process to import music in Rhythmbox is as follow: use the "import folder" option, look at the number of songs in the status bar, use the "import folder" again, look at the number of songs again, repeat until the number stabilizes. Wow. Just think if find (or your backup system!) was this unreliable. I'm not worrying too much, this is only my music player, but still, that's pretty craptastic.

Not to mention that the "automatically import music in a certain folder" option in the preferences doesn't seem to do anything? Or anything noticeable anyway...

On top of this, for all iTunes' pre-Mac OS X suckiness in the plugins department (you can only make visualization plugins for it, period), Rhythmbox somehow manages to do worse, by not having plugins at all, and being only barely scriptable (as opposed to iTunes, that can be 100% controlled via AppleScript). Thankfully, they have incorporated Audioscrobbler support, because I'd have would have had to stab myself (by which I mean use XMMS, which is just about equivalent).

Bloody hell, welcome to the motherfuckin' 21st century...

Damn!

Jan. 18th, 2007 10:31 am
pphaneuf: (Angry Tongue)
The other day, walking to work, I saw a poster advertising Misstress Barbara. Naturally, I got interested, so I took a photo of it, to have the date, venue and other info.

I just looked it up now, turns out it's in bloody Girona (Spain), four hours away by car! Argh. This is even worse than stupid Tournefeuille!

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