pphaneuf: (Default)

Tour de Fat
Originally uploaded by Pierre Phaneuf.
After my recent trip to San Francisco, which included attending Tour de Fat (I won't say "participate", because neither [livejournal.com profile] morethanreal or I could wake up early enough for the ride proper), I've been re-energized about cycling. Going up the Wiggle in the middle of a foggy night, and still having other people riding the same route, seeing all of those fixies and also the pretty city bikes, it's quite the sight.

So when I came back, I decided to reconfigure my bike slightly, to make it more practical. I got safety skewers to replace the quick-release ones, so that I wouldn't have to disassemble my bike anymore, got myself a mini U-lock that is just enough, small enough to easily fit in my bag, and lighter than my big one. I want to get fenders, but apparently, that's rather tricky for my bike. In any case, the point is that I want to remove any friction to my bike being a day-to-day vehicle. And I think it's going well.

I did get a flat by accidentally riding on broken glass on Ste-Catherine Friday, which I got fixed at Belleville Cycle Co-op, and after getting that fixed, I figured that I'd go check out Revolution Montréal. On my way there, on Maisonneuve at the corner of Aylmer, a mother and her daughter were crossing on a red, not paying attention to either cars nor bikes, while I was going on a streak of green lights at 40 kph. I braked hard enough that my rear brake cable snapped (I think it was iffy already), after having left a good deal of rubber on the pavement already. Stopping about six inches from the daughter, the only casualties were thankfully only my right ring finger and the cable, of course.

I should get myself a cycling icon... :-)

And, finally but not least, we celebrated [livejournal.com profile] ayria's birthday and triumphant return to Montreal! It was quite fun, although it is weird observing my own behaviour. I seem to be much less expressive about my feelings (not just with [livejournal.com profile] ayria, but in general) than I used to be. I think I might have said this before, but being away for a while seems to have hardened me in a way that I don't really like. Maybe I was too expressive before, I don't know, but this is certainly too much the other way. In any case, I did enjoy myself a great deal, even if someone's definition of "footsie" seems to be "stomping on my toes vigorously"!
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: (Enlightened)
We moved into our new office this week (photos courtesy of MAD, thanks!), and it's pretty damned awesome! Considering the small size of the office (in number of people), it is extremely nice, the food is great, and so is the view (we had a nice view from the 24th floor, but now we're more "in the action", I like that better). Plus, we can easily reach the wifi from the pub nearby, hehe!

While the move was ongoing, we had an off-site activity on Île-Ste-Hélène that was pretty cool, involving, among other things, geo-caching, which I had never done before and is a lot of fun. It can be surprisingly difficult to find a small item, even when given the location within 10 feet! I bike there from home, and it was particularly nice, hitting 40 kph for fairly long stretches and all. On the return trip I was pretty confident that I'd get to the dinner's location first, but when I found out that the likely reason for my swift arrival was a wicked strong headwind, I wasn't so confident anymore. I did arrive first anyway, but I'm told they took a brief detour in a sketchy St-Henri bar first. Crazy people!

Today, we also obtained a vacuum cleaner at home. You're probably thinking that this doesn't really sound all that exciting, and normally, I'd agree with you, but that was before I met the Dyson DC20. As far as box-opening experience goes, relatively speaking (let's face it, it's still just a vacuum cleaner), they're taking lessons from Apple, it looks like. One of the selling points is how it can fit into a small space, and when I got the box, I was a bit worried that it'd be missing, you know, maybe the whole thing?!? But no, it was all in there, and even when assembled, it packs into almost no space, and is very cleverly engineered.

Tomorrow, a rather late in the making haircut.
pphaneuf: (Default)
My Sunday in New York was fine. It was rainy, but I had excellent coffee (Gimme! Coffee, and also accidentally tasted someone else's coffee, oops!), excellent pizza, played games all afternoon (Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is fun, I was hilariously bad at Guitar Hero), and had most excellent italian food at Pô (white bean ravioli in a butter balsamic sauce, yum!)) in the evening.

But the return... Oh, the return. I couldn't get any taxi that wanted me for a JFK ride (there was a smell of rush hour coming up), so I decided to be brave (the risk here being getting lost) and take the train. That worked out all right, thanks to another passenger who made me realize I was on the wrong train, which I could fix before it became too annoying.

Arriving at Terminal 2, the check-in hall I was directed to was so amazingly full of people, it was ridiculous. Thankfully, I arrived plenty early, because the place was packed with people queuing for whatever reason, and it was just pandemonium (when I left the place, the queues were extending outside, and this building isn't exactly small!). There, I was told that the booking for my return flight had been cancelled when there was some issues with my first flight. But I'm in New York, not Montreal, get me home!

I ended up on standby for the flight I was supposed to be booked on, and after some delays, didn't make it. They actually called my name by mistake, as the attendant thought there was one more seat, so it was a pretty close call. In fact, it was so close that my checked-in luggage was in the plane, and I couldn't get it back!

So I ended up in an hotel in Jamaica, because, you know, that'd be cool. Jamaica is colder than I thought it'd be. Big thanks to [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe entertaining me, so that the accidental murdering rampage didn't happen (this would have hindered my return trip even further, I suspect). The hotel was just about full, and I got an "Elite" room or something, which was pretty cool, and I slept very well, strangely enough.

That next flight went just fine, no delay, my luggage was given to me quickly, there was very few people at the security check lines. Whew.

Thanks to my hosts, [livejournal.com profile] andukar, [livejournal.com profile] a_chatterbox and [livejournal.com profile] dreamage for having me over! Also, some photos from the Saturday.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Explored New York a bit yesterday with some of my hosts, which was pretty cool and impressive. Already, from the apartment, there is a view on the Manhattan skyline, and getting there, there's a definite feeling of being in a Big Place. That's why I took my 14mm/f2.8 super-wide-angle lens as my only lens, which was a bit of a weird choice. I was glad I had it for some stuff, but other times, the thing I wanted to photography as so small and far away! A cool lens, but I'll need to get used to it, for sure.

[livejournal.com profile] andukar and [livejournal.com profile] a_chatterbox took me out for a late breakfast first, at Max Brenner on 2nd Avenue (they wanted to take me to some other place, but it was full). They're pretty serious about their chocolate, and while the breakfast was nothing too special, the included cappuccino was actually pretty good, while they didn't let me upgrade to a mocha, it came with two small chunks of chocolate, which I promptly threw in the coffee. Tasty!

We then headed to the Grand Central Terminal, where some photos were taken, and the acoustics of the archway next to the lower concourse was tried out.

We walked up 5th Avenue, seeing a vast penny collection set up at the Rockefeller Center, onward to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store. While the store itself is nothing all that special (it's just larger than the one I had seen before, but not huge either), the architecture of it is indeed pretty damned cool. I took advantage of the almost-collapsing US economy to buy a few items, saving something like 30% over the price in Canada. Haha, chumps!

We then walked through Central Park for a bit. This is such a great idea, dropping a huge park in the centre of a city! Definitely the hallmark of an awesome city (check!).

After a while there, [livejournal.com profile] a_chatterbox announced that hot chocolate was called for, as it was a bit chilly, which I could only concur with. So we headed to the Chocolate Bar, where I had a nice hazelnut-flavoured hot chocolate with a chipotle/cinnamon brownie to go with it. Oh yeah.

After a quick visit to the Google office (I walked in front of [livejournal.com profile] ze_dinosaur's office, heh!) to figure out where we'd eat, we set our (metro) sails for Times Square. Wow! The people! The lights! At that point, I was glad I had my super-wide-angle lens, because this place is very big. Like, a lot. And there are people. And lights.

Dinner time being the time, we went to a Thai place not very far from their apartment, where we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] caffeinemonkey, for maximum classiness (first question to him: "was it you or mrwise who pooped in the shower?"). Had some pretty good garlic and pepper beef, with a good helping of wine (especially as I had uncovered a plot to get me drunk the following night!).

We went back and watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which was quite hilarious. I had never even heard of it, but I definitely recommend it!

Good thing that we did some good walking yesterday, because this morning, the weather is pretty crappy (rainy).
pphaneuf: (Default)
I'm in a weird headspace these days. This is the first time I'm unemployed in, what, ten years? Totalling about four jobless months since I dropped out of school (which was no big loss!), and it was willingly both times, once again to move to Montreal. I'm being a bit of a homebody, which is not that different from my year in France (yes, I'd go to work, but that'd be almost all I'd go out for), but this time I'm not depressed, I'm just, you know, at home. Rather relaxing, I must admit, but better not over-extend this!

I went out photo-walking with [livejournal.com profile] jul3z last Saturday, which was quite nice. I had nearly zero inspiration for photos for a long time now, and coming back to Montreal, I've had it coming back to me, but seems like I was never carrying my camera at the right times (despite carrying it around a good deal, doh!). We went along the Lachine Canal toward the Old Port, and while it was a good time chatting along with her, mid-day sun and my self-imposed restricting myself to my 28mm/f1.8 didn't make for anything great, I feel, but it was nice pushing myself a bit, and I did spot a few places that could make very interesting photos with better light (by the way, [livejournal.com profile] jul3z, here's that chain that's gone missing!).

We then watched Stranger Than Fiction, which I had seen bits and pieces of on the flight from Casablanca to Montreal. To start off, it has a nice casting, with Will Ferrell (but it's not a Will Ferrell movie at all), Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and they did great job of giving some texture to the characters without being too blatant about it. For example, tiny details like Hoffman's character pouring himself some coffee at the start of a conversation, then as it ends, pouring back the content of his mug back into the coffee pot just had be imagine the lifecycle of his coffee, and what it must taste like at the end of the day. The subject is also one that I like, that of finding purpose and meaning in life, but it wasn't some overly cheesy grand meaning either, it was just the same kind of "ordinary" meaningfulness that I experience often, of appreciating what you have and being happy.

[livejournal.com profile] gregorama is right, girls in Montreal are a severe whiplash hazard! (hey, the subject says "random item", you were warned!)

The geeky type can find some dynamic language humour (Perl hackers know that there is indeed such a thing!) involving the Visigoths (that, the Perl hackers might not have known, but they probably suspected) here.

I boggle at how much attention to details Apple has sometimes, and how they manage to instil this attitude to their developer community. While I had previously noticed that, for some reason, moving around word by word in the location bar of my browser using the Control and arrow keys worked in a nicer way in Camino than it did in Firefox, where they use a slightly different set of delimiter characters, and they put the cursor in a different place depending on the direction you're going, avoiding the cases where you get just one character off of where you want to go (say, over a dot or a slash). But I just noticed that while double-clicking on a word selects that word, if you hit the Delete key, it deletes the word and the preceding space. Selecting character by character doesn't "discover" that you stopped at word boundaries, though. Oh well, for all I know, it's going to be in Leopard.

I'm probably one of very few people to be excited by what's coming in C++0x, especially as my top peeve about C++ templates seems to be fixed. One of my big use for template-based meta-programming was to detect errors at compile-time, but providing readable compile-time error messages is currently impossible (my error "messages" are often things like "variable YOU_FORGOT_TO_DO_THIS_THING does not exist", surrounded by a huge chunk of useless, unrelated context). Of course, actual lambda (even though Boost has a really neat hack to do it now) and type inference are very nice to have too. The latter will certainly help cut down on the amount of "foo<bar, baz>::const_iterator it = bob.begin()" typing I'll be doing, as it will now just be "auto it = bob.begin()"! My wrists thank the C++ language committee.

It seems one of my ideas has been picked up by some people in Waterloo, in the form of AideRSS. Now, I want an "Edit" button in the Firefox toolbar that would use AtomPub, okay?
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Je suis allé aux feux d'artifice du Canada hier, à l'International des Feux. À part une ratée qui a interrompu les feux, c'était pas mal! Après un moment sans feux, j'ai démonté mon trépied, mais j'aurais dû écouter la Grande Roue (qui éteint ses lumières pendant les feux, mais ne s'était pas ré-illuminée). Oh well.

Vue d'un quai du Vieux-Port

Mais ce billet n'est pas à propos des feux.

Je n'avais jamais réalisée combien la ligne d'horizon de Montréal m'était familière et précieuse. J'aime bien marcher sous le Pont Jacques-Cartier et être recouvert d'un "ciel" d'acier et de béton. C'est gros, c'est certain, mais ce n'est pas trop gros, c'est juste assez. Je suis allé à Chicago, l'échelle impossible de la Sears Tower par exemple, auquel la plus haute tour dans la photo ci-dessus ferait figure de naine. À Toulouse, il n'y avait que St-Sernin, quelques autres clochers et ces grues de construction, qui n'ont rien du 1000 De La Gauchetière ou du 1250 René-Lévesque.

C'est clair, j'y ai habité longtemps, mais il n'y a pas que ça. Je me rappelle de la première fois que je suis allé sur la rue St-Denis (pour aller au Valet d'Coeur, ça doit bien faire quinze ans!), et que je m'y était senti chez moi immédiatement.

C'est la deuxième ville francophone au monde après Paris, mais la plupart des gens que j'ai connus qui ont habité à Paris sont contents de ne plus y habiter. C'est sûr, il y en a quelques uns qui aiment, mais ouf, certain de mes anciens collègues changeaient de couleur juste à évoquer le sujet! Dans le cas de Montréal, ceux qui n'y sont plus regrettent de ne plus y être, et beaucoup de mes anciens collègues de travail qui y sont venus parce pour y faire un stage en sont tombé en amour. Il fallait qu'ils habitent à Montréal, c'était comme ça, c'est tout!

Toulouse a ses attraits, définitivement, mais Montréal m'émerveille toujours, après tout ce temps, comment une si grande ville arrive à faire sentir à ses habitants une telle appartenance, qui fait penser aux habitants d'une petite commune. C'est plus comme un grand village, avec des gratte-ciels...
pphaneuf: (Default)

We're at the right place
Originally uploaded by Pierre Phaneuf.
After a smooth flight, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I arrived in Copenhagen Wednesday evening, greeted by [livejournal.com profile] skjalm, who's kindly keeping us safe from the elements, even kicking himself out of his own bed! Not to mention use and abuse of his Internet, booze, food, and what-not! He made us a very nice dinner of home-made lasagna, accompanied with some of the tasty mead that he's made himself. And a solid eggs and bacon breakfast the next morning.

Read more... )

Photos from that trip can be found here.
pphaneuf: (Shy)

For a brief moment, I thought there were Disney brand condoms in France, and I was rather disturbed.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Saturday evening, [livejournal.com profile] dcoombs landed in Toulouse, and took his chance with us. He proved to be suitably not dead on his arrival, which is a good thing. Still, we didn't do much other than eat some of [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's food and chat on the first night.

dcoombs shooting me
Originally uploaded by pphaneuf.
On Sunday, there was some walking around in Toulouse, taking some pictures and such. We had some coffee and cake at a tea house, after finding that one of our preferred café was closed (as is most of France on a Sunday). We then caught some apéro at Le Cardinal, having manly margarita, good caipirinha and decent mojito. I had been wanting to try a mojito for a little while, but while I find it ok, I'm not much of a rum person, it would seem. We followed up with dinner at Le May, which was quite nice, although unlike the last time [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I went, we didn't see any fun being made of would-be customers who did not have a reservation (we had one!). We then went back home, watched some porn, looks at photos and stuff.

Monday was more of a staying at home, playing some Apples to Apples and chatting. His laptop can compile Quadra four times faster than mine. *sigh*

It was interesting to note how he apparently doesn't like a great many things about Québec, and how these things he doesn't like, I don't mind or even actually like, but they map to how I'm feeling both about France and Ontario (probably the rest of Anglo-Saxon North America, really), putting Québec (and particularly Montréal) in the middle of it all.

Tuesday after work, I went to the train station and picked up [livejournal.com profile] phrawzty and [livejournal.com profile] jenever, who stayed with us for a few days. We went out for pizza and had a wonderful time, if slightly fuzzy with wine, vodka and more wine. It was one of those evenings where we didn't feel drunk or anything, it was just well-sustained enough that we did wake up with a hangover. Nothing too nasty, but my getting up and going to work wasn't exactly enthusiastic. The stupidest thing is that while I had everything under control, turns out that the train I was aiming to try (the last until some times past noon) was cancelled for the "vacances scolaires". I had forgotten both my cellphone and my metro/bus pass, so I had to walk back home, but I pondered things (there's no bus in Colomiers anymore at that time, I would have had to walk or bike, and it was raining) and decided I'd just write off the day. But damn, I was actually there, at the train station (early, even!) and everything! I could have used skipping off work properly and staying in bed, say! Oh well.

[livejournal.com profile] phrawzty and I managed, after some scholarly studies of bas-relief at St-Sernin, that not only did they have pizza back in the medieval times, but that Domino's was already around (although it was called "Dominvs", latin and all).

There were some being lost downtown, some drinks, some beer, and finally a stop at Chez Pierre, where they could see the awesome waiter à l'œuvre. Then, more or less bedtime.

Weirdly tiring, having people over like that. It feels like there's some obligation to show off the cool stuff, and make sure we have a good time, because the time is limited. I try to fight this, and just let things be, but it creeps back, quietly.
pphaneuf: (Photo)
Apparently, one of my photos is going to be on the print poster for a conference happening in Montreal, the 3rd Canada-America-Mexico Graduate Student Physics Conference!

Montreal Skyline (original)
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Oh boy. That was something. And somehow, I feel like I haven't made the most of it, but New Year's Eve in Barcelona is still something, nevertheless.

Wasn't too hungover, despite the ingestion of various types of alcohols, some of which of rather dubious origins. I think it's more the bus ride back and the crazy non-sleep schedule that got me.

I've got some pictures, um, blurrier than I'd like, I'll be uploading them tonight and posting a more detailed account, because it certainly was an adventure! In the meantime, I'll, uh, work or something...

I brought my ergonomic keyboard and my headphones home from work for the holidays, and I forgot to take them this morning. So I stole a normal keyboard (thankfully, my coworkers are French, so half of them aren't there), and I don't have music today. *pouts*
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
On the train back from Lyon, this time on a fancier two-stories TGV, and being in the daylight, I can actually see outside. No snow in the Alps for Christmas, which is pretty strange, but being at a bit of an altitude, there was frost everywhere like I've never seen before, it was quite beautiful with the late morning sun.

Nantua Lakefront Frosted Over

I didn't call anyone or put out any "merry Christmas" messages, though. I feel right at the edge, being okay, but not having anything left for what's not here and now. It doesn't seem like I can code, yet.

But still, while it might be a bit late, happy celebrations to everyone. Well, actually, you know what? Just be happy in general, and that'd be quite okay, I'd say.
pphaneuf: (Default)
We're in Montréal-La Cluse for Christmas.

Got here after a ride on the TGV that turned out to be somewhat disappointing, since there was some cancellations and our train was over capacity. They were also old cars, since it's a peak traffic time of the year, so they're not as cool as the fancy two-stories TGV cars.

Once getting to Lyon, we got picked up by [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's aunt and cousin, but were still in for some adventures as we got lost and drove in circles for a bit. I ended up taking the wheel, which was nice, as the last time I did was last July. It was also sort of cool, since even though it was at night, the highway leads into the beginning of the Alps, having to go up a pass. It was my first time driving a diesel car, which was quite nice for the mountain driving: while it doesn't really pick up at all, it would just climb without complaining at all, barely ever changing gears. Sure was easy on my left foot!

Took a few photos, even though it's not the best time (just after noon!). I'll try again in the morning, should be quite nice.
pphaneuf: (Default)
I went to see Nouvelle Vague (with Mansfield Tya as the opening act) last Wednesday, in Tournefeuille.

In traditional [livejournal.com profile] pphaneuf style, I had barely any plan on how I'd get there or back. I biked from work to there, and figured I'd have dinner there. Turns out Tournefeuille is confusingly small village, with nary a café or small restaurant. I managed to get a sandwich from a bakery. After this happened for the second time in two shows, I'm now getting the message: the hour listed on tickets here is not the time the show starts, but the time doors open. They, of course, start the show whenever they feel like it, in classic French style.

The show was pretty damned good, including the opening act, which kicked some vigourous dike ass (seriously, when one of the three girls in front of me turned around to the other two and made a "OMG, she's so hot!", I literally laughed out loud, it was so cute!). They did a duo "chanson française" type of show, with one of them singing, playing guitars, piano, portable organ (!!!) and drums, and the other playing violin, piano and the portable organ. They had some wonderful stage presence, with the singer coming right at the front of the stage and singing without the microphone, still managing to be heard well. I'd certainly look forward to picking up a CD from them.

Since I'm silly like that, I own Nouvelle Vague's newest album, "Bande à part", but still haven't opened it. So I had surprises at the show, which is nice, when they're good surprises. And they were! For example, their take of Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead", with appropriate scene theatrical, of course. But I'm afraid Nouvelle Vague might be a once, and maybe twice kind of thing, not an ongoing thing. In that sense, the opening act did a better job of seducing me, getting me to think about what else they have done, having a future. Oh well. I had a good time, that's what counts.

I returned home thanks to bumming a ride with a guy I chatted with at the show, leaving my bike in Tournefeuille. I was a bit worried for a while, but was relieved to find my bike still there and in one piece on Friday, when I returned to pick it up (I attempted on Thursday, but failed due to the lateness and darkness).

In other news, we received the visit of Pat this week (our first guest!), as he was in Toulouse for some business. We went to the Qjelt, chatted, drank szarlotka (was the first time I tried that, it's quite nice!), walked around Toulouse, visited a museum (where there were pieces from the Romans living in Toulouse two thousand years ago), took nice photos, and other such things.

I hear the couch is decently comfortable. I might just try it tonight.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Last Tuesday, I went to see iLiKETRAiNS (took some photos as well), which my source tell me is a "post-rock" band, whatever that is. It reminded me a bit of Interpol, and they had pretty interesting stage projections, where one of the band members would manipulate old-school slides and 16mm film projector, slowing them down, projecting one on top of the other and other manipulations like that. The venue itself was pretty interesting, being a barge moored on the Canal going through the city. It was, um, small, but turned out to be pretty well-suited to the kind of crowd. Acoustics weren't the greatest, and the volume was limited, but it was nice. The barman was extremely friendly, where he decided he'd speak in faux-english, since they had an English band coming that night, hehe! I picked up a CD, didn't listen to it yet (I need to sort out my insane music library issues first!), which was a bit funny, since I was asking for it in English, with the guy making an effort to reply in broken French. For some reason, my English just crashed to bits when I got to talk with the singer of the band (who was talking with a guy I met), but hey, I'm shy.

Thursday, the replacement battery for my laptop finally arrived, letting me write this on the train. Once more, the UPS delivery man, who's job, if it's not clear enough, is to deliver things to places, which often involves finding and ringing on doorbells, couldn't find my doorbell, much less ring on it. Getting stuff delivered to our place is kind of annoying. If there's going to be people visiting us, there's going to be pick-ups at other places, because we'll lose friends in Toulouse otherwise! Oh well, at least the pizza dude knows the place...

But finally, the "boring ride to work" in the train is turning into "too short ride to work, I was doing something cool", which is nice. :-)


Sep. 22nd, 2006 10:27 am
pphaneuf: (Default)
It's odd how the climate difference surprised me in a way this morning. I woke up, and it was almost dark outside. But it's also still warm. The oceanic climate makes for a more uniform weather than in Montreal, but the reality is inescapable, the days are getting shorter: it's fall.

Didn't take my bike to work for the first time since we moved into our apartment, taking the bus to the train station instead. It's a gloomy, overcast day, with light rain, definitely gives a "fall" kind of vibe. Took my camera and decided to take some photos, I'll be putting some up.

I'm getting rather annoyed at my lack of non-exploding battery for my laptop, as it would be perfect to read my mail and feeds, update my journal and such. I read instead, but I'm in a moment where I'm full of ideas, theories and plans, and I want to try them out, talk about them, discuss them. I will probably mention some of them very soon, actually.

In other news, some stuff is just horribly bad. I really wonder how an entity manages to pull that off. It's a wonderful world indeed, just not always the way Louis Armstrong meant it.
pphaneuf: (Default)
I was sleeping so well tonight, huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, who has the unenviable task of waking me up. I'm feeling like a burden at times, but really, it should be my own burden, having to get up at such inane time in the morning. I remember being sitting in the bed, eating my cereals, drinking my coffee and staring at the digital clock on my computer, and I could have swore the minutes went by more than one at a time, the time shifting from 8:02 to 8:07 in a single jump, seemingly... I feel I rely too much on coffee, these days, I'd like to have it for its taste, rather than because I'm a useless zombie.

I was biking to the train station, crossing the St-Michel bridge, and the Garonne was quite full, with the dam having water rushing over it and ducks frolicking in the shallow water over the lawn just upstream from the small locks. I keep thinking that I should take my camera more, and I keep forgetting (just like I keep forgetting to inflate my bike's tires, as well).

I think it's time I develop some sort of social life. I've been rather lucky with the people I hung out with in Montreal, being with the like of published fiction authors, craft artists, scientists in a few different fields, musicians, singers, photographers, entrepreneurs, accountants, DJs, comedians, actors, playwrights, parents, politicians, philosophers, tattoo artists, and who knows what else, coming from all sorts of countries, many of them well-traveled and worldly, a significant number of them having alternative lifestyles, many different religions, etc...

February 2016

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