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)
Bon, il ne reste même pas une semaine avant notre départ! Et il y a un peu plus d'une semaine, je quittait mon travail.

Quelques jours après, mes collègues m'ont invité à un BBQ, et j'y suis donc allé, pour me faire dire qu'ils étaient surpris que je suis venu, parce qu'il paraît, "je ne viens jamais". Euh, c'est le deuxième BBQ qu'ils organisent dans l'année que j'ai passé là! Et effectivement, je n'était pas allé à l'autre, mais bon... On a fait voler les bouchons des bouteilles de cidre, littéralement, mangé des saucisses et des brochettes, c'était excellent. J'ai compris pourquoi les français mangeait les cuisses de grenouille, il y en a plein et c'est très bruyant!

Vendredi, on est allé assister à notre dernier Toulouse Carnet, exceptionnellement au Carson City. Beaucoup de nourriture, la "Arizona potato" était très bien, mais le chili con carne était d'une tristesse... La disposition des tables laissait un peu à désirer, mais on s'est ensuite déplacé à la Prairie des Filtres pour s'installer plus à notre aise, et ainsi discuter de bières possible et autres sujets hautement intellectuels, éclairés par la lueur des flashs photo. Oui, j'ai plus de sacs que [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, c'est vrai...

Dimanche, nous sommes allé souper avec un de mes ex-collègues. Je voulais aller à la "pizza des fous" (aussi connu sous le nom de La Pastasciutta), mais comme c'était fermé (comme la plupart des fois où j'ai tenté d'y aller, donc j'ai l'habitude), nous somme allés à un autre resto pas trop loin, d'où nous avons pû observer l'averse diluvienne, juste au bord de la fenêtre ouverte (sous l'auvent, tout va bien!).

Ça tout contrairement à Alban, qui avait laissé son Velux ouvert, ce qui ne nous a pas empêché de prendre une petite bière mardi, tout de même, mais bon, dehors, hein? ;-)
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: (Sleepy Head)
Well, no only did it snow yesterday afternoon (which didn't stay on the ground for long), but seems like it snowed again during the night, and there's a (very thin!) layer of snow over Toulouse this morning. It was cloudy earlier, but now the sun is trying to make an appearance, which will probably put an end to this, but still, was nice to see this morning.

But I totally picked the wrong shoes, for the second day in a row. Damn, I miss my boots. I should try to obtain a pair this weekend, maybe I'll finally go for the synthetic micro-fiber stuff that everyone seems to be swearing on these days. Pfft, progress! And then what, computers that work?

OMG! OMG!

Jan. 23rd, 2007 01:44 pm
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
It's snowing here.

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!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Yesterday afternoon, I found out about something called English in Toulouse, and made a little evening on the town with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, going to the Crêperie du Taur downtown (yeah, I had the "Montréal" crêpe once more, but hey, it's tasty!), and then headed over to their meet-up. Was a nice and decently diverse crowd, except for the trend of couples where one of the two works at Airbus, which isn't really surprising.

Oh my goodness, Mononc' Serge is on tour in France (with his "Sarge Jazz Band"), and is making a stop at a bar near my place! I am so going!

There's also LCD Soundsystem coming nearby, which I'd really love to go see, but is at the same location I went to for Nouvelle Vague and Mansfield Tya, in Tournefeuille, which makes it a bit sketchy. It was a nice venue, but the whole bumming out a ride from strangers is quite random. I don't know, I might do it anyway, but I'll skip the bike, since I managed to somewhat figure out the bus from work to there.

Fog

Dec. 15th, 2006 01:42 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
As a proof that I'm not just blindly pissed off at the whole of France, I'd like to mention that I totally love how there's fog more often here, in the morning. Particularly yesterday morning, where I was riding the train, and temperature was just at the freezing point, so there was all these little crystals on the grass, making it seem as if somebody grabbed the saturation dial for the world and turned down. Might seem gloomy to some, but I like it muchly. There's a kind of old manor that I can see between trees and building from my desk, and when there's a fog, it makes for just its ghostly tower barely making it, it's very nice.

Seems official that the lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I will be taking a 24 hour blitz-trip to Barcelona for the New Year. Wondering whether I should bring my camera or not, since it might be a little crazy, but still, should be quite cool.

I have to make pictures for my work. I find it odd, because the person who asked for it is generally literate, but I just fail to see the need myself. I don't know, I might just be easily tickled these days, wouldn't surprise me.

I have an evaluation interview later this afternoon, which I have mixed feelings over, since I know very well I've been doing a rather poor job, but I'm also having a hard time caring. I've been late to work a few times recently, and I'd ask for (actual) flexible hours, but I realized that even if I get them, it wouldn't be that helpful, since I'm still bound by the bloody train schedule.

Meh.

Very much looking forward to the weekend.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Went to Mulligan's yesterday with the lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, hoping to play their quiz. Turns out that it starts at 23:00 (otherwise known as my bloody bed time, these days), and that [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's Black Velvet was all mixed. Oh well, it was otherwise nice, but I'm left to wonder how are people expected to stay up that late on week nights? A nap after dinner and head over there sometimes between 22:00 and 23:00? Hmm, maybe a plan...

While I like it, I find that I like more the atmosphere of the rue Pargaminières, around the Place St-Pierre and such. It reminds me a bit of the terrasses on St-Denis, or of Grumpy's. Which reminds me how much I miss meeting and hanging out with people. Where are my gay friends, those with otherwise odd lifestyles, the novelists, the playwrights, the artists, the hackers?

I have this weird situation where I'd like to hack very much, but when I get in front of my computer, I just flounder. I have a technical post in process on my laptop that's been going on for almost a week (it's not even that long!), and a corresponding bit of C++ that should be quite small, but seems like I just watch television instead.

At least, it's Torchwood, which I find cool. Rather different in flavour from Doctor Who, but it's got the quite hot Captain Jack Harkness as the main character, which I find very interesting. He's flexible.

I found a scheme for varying the music I'm listening to without doing so at the total exclusion of some of my favourites. I simply make a smart playlist that omits the artists listed in the top 10 of my weekly top artists. I might tweak this, but the idea is that I have too much of some bands in my list, so statistically, I end up listening to more of those, while I actually listen to individual tracks pretty evenly.

It's just striking me that I when I bought an album of the Colocs, I was remembering cheerful music, but I picked up their more critically successful final album, from just before Dédé Fortin committed suicide. Not exactly it. :-P

Bleh. Entertain me.
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)
Yesterday, there was a shirt-less guy just outside my apartment playing the accordion, and another guy wearing one of those black and white striped shirts dancing. For a moment, I thought I was on drugs or something, but apparently, I'm just in France. Move along, nothing to see here... ;-)

More feeling odd about the fall here. I wake up in the dark, leaves are yellow and falling, but I've barely had to put on a sweater on some colder days. Even when I have to, it's often just cool mornings, it warms up during the day. I had a long-sleeve shirt on the other day, and as I was walking back from the train station, thinking about how that was a poor choice, and how I should have put on a t-shirt or something, I saw a guy walking in the other direction with a jacket and scarf. Heh.

Waking up early really isn't my thing. Feels like I fell asleep for half a second in the kitchen, just as I was grabbing the Nutella container from the shelves, I dropped it right at my feet, where it shattered. It was rather odd, as I had adrenalin kicking in, and it was barely enough for me to make it back to the bedroom and sit, it didn't even wake me up good.

There's a bunch of interesting concerts coming up in the area, such as iLiKETRAiNS (which I never heard of, but has inspirations of Ian Curtis and Nick Cave, should be right up my alley), Amon Tobin and Nouvelle Vague. Man, I still don't have any New Order, this is nuts!

If people have recommendations of a particular album, or other music I should get, go right ahead, they're welcome!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Tomorrow morning, I'll be having my three-month interview, for the end of my probation period. I do feel a bit insecure about that.

I've been applied on projects that aren't exactly my forte, but where I think I still did adequately, just because I rock so damned much (but there's severe wastage!). I've "suffered" from what apenwarr called the pphaneuf syndrome, where it looks like I'm doing nothing and really, I'm figuring hardcore stuff out, and at the end, the solution is so simple that people are tempted to think I'm a slacker (but if they had tried the same, they'd know I'm not). At NITI, I'd do a lot of code cleanups, where there wasn't too much of a scheduled attached to it, so that I'd be doing something useful with that idle time, or I'd be doing project management, which sucks in lots of time, but isn't too brain-intensive that I can "think in the background". Also, I've been missing all the clever task management tools we had at NITI.

At lunch, there was something I found curious, where during conversation, the prettiness of girls in some place came upon the subject, and at which point I mentioned that Toulouse wasn't treating us too badly in that regard, people looked at me and I was reminded of "having a, uh, roommate". Uh, never mind this being me and my "funny things", I'm just talking about having pretty girls to look at? I've heard comments like this before, but I found it very surprising coming from French people.

Oh well.
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Ahem, having to catch up a bit! I don't know if I'd say that I'm being lazy, but I'm not writing much, anyway...

Monday morning, I dropped the Linux Mobile at the garage for regular maintenance and changing the tires. Although I'm rather happy to have the grippier four-season tires on, there was a bunch of tiny details that made this a rather expensive visit. Nothing bad, but it was time for one of those more thorough inspections, supposed to change the brake fluid at 50,000 kilometers, and so on... When the guy at the garage called me to tell me what needed to be done and how much it'd cost, he almost forgot to mention that the rear-window wiper was worn out. Worth $12, at that point, it didn't really matter. :-)

Monday evening, [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe had the genius idea of taking a laptop and an Invader Zim DVD, and go watch it in a park. We stopped by Pho Lien on Côte-des-Neiges and Côte-Ste-Catherine for some food first, which sort of pointed us at the goodness of the Mount-Royal Park as our selection. As we were cuddling near the Beaver Lake, bats were swooshing above us and we had a very nice sunset, as we were laughing our asses off. The deep blue of the sky outlined the building on the edge of the lake very nicely, as it has bright orange panels, would have made a very nice photo. The ducks quacked at us a bit, and we told them... MONKEYS!

Tuesday, I had the lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey over. We were supposed to look for apartments, but it seemed like our willpower was all but exhausted. We watched Kinsey instead, which was rather funny. It was rather funny that the very stuck-up Thurman Rice character was played by Tim Curry (who, of course, is remembered as having played Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away), or Clyde asking Mac whether she'd like to have sex with him (and then Kinsey calling out for her while she's in bed because they're going to be late for a dinner with a guy from the Rockefeller Foundation). Some of the things people asked were quite hilarious, but at the same time, it's amazing how badly America was in a kind of sexual dark ages (some would argue they still kind of are, but really, that's nothing). Watching that movie was a lot of fun, in any case. Maybe I should buy it.

Yesterday, I fixed a really subtle bug in a quite wonderful way, at work, I was rather proud! [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I finally did some apartment searching, and we did find a place that has a number of temporary apartments for rent that seems very nice (rooms and studios), I hope they'll have something for us. Watched some "CSI: NY" and cuddled. Cuddling is good. I like cuddling with the lady.
pphaneuf: (Shy)
In Toulouse, there was coin-operated condom dispensers all over the place.
pphaneuf: (Shades)
A few days after arriving here, hunting for wireless access nearby, and not having too much success, I thought it was pretty ridiculous that there was all these neat little cafés, but there was Internet access nowhere to be seen. When I did find some, it was rather poorly, with a WPA password that the Internet café attendant (because I had to go to an actual Internet café, rather than just the corner café) typed into my computer (and I hit "save this password", of course). Or the completely widely open access point that seems to be running not too far from the apartment we're at and seems to work (most of the time). No easy to use "captive access point", or anything like that.

But really, it's pretty simple. They just don't care. Nothing more to it. They go to the café to enjoy a beer or a coffee with their friends, and chat. Taking your laptop there would be quite silly! So there's just no demand for it. There goes [livejournal.com profile] sfllaw's ubiquitous wireless access (yes, there is 3G coverage, but it's kind of tricky, and confused the hell out of two of the three cellphone salesperson I talked to up to now).

And peach-scented toilet paper, now, that's just totally retarded. No excuse for it.
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)

Pardon the lack of proper white-balance or anything artsy, but this is especially for [livejournal.com profile] gregorama!
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Here are a few pictures of the "stairs of death" I have mentioned to a few people...

See the photos )
pphaneuf: (Default)
Whoa. Big chunks of phlegm coming out of me this morning. Almost slept past meeting a local of Toulouse for lunch ("déjeuner", not to be confused with breakfast, silly me!). Got a walking tour of downtown Toulouse, including a weird assymetrical cathedral.

If I was responsible of an office space decoration, I'd have something like this done to it. Very cool stuff! The second-to-last one, in particular, through the windows, amazing!

Walkabout

Feb. 8th, 2006 01:46 pm
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Got up a bit late, but went around the block for some thing sandwich on baguette with a croissant and café au lait. Tasty!

I realize now why people are complaining about the cold so much: everything here is mainly designed for the warmer temperatures. For example, the café we had our lunch at just had a huge roll-up door in front, no separate door or anything. And while there was a few seats inside, they weren't exactly well-heated, and some places just don't have seating inside, you have to stand or use the tables on the terrasse. Which in any other season than outright winter, should be absolutely divine.

Being winter mainly means having to wear a jacket (I'm told the winter is especially fierce this year, other years just a big sweater can be sufficient most of the time), and that it's cloudy a lot. I'm mostly disappointed about the latter, since the first is already an upgrade from Montréal, and the clouds mean photos are a bit dull.

Took the metro and bus to Colomiers, where I'm having an interview Friday. The metro is interesting, as it is quite short (just one car!), but fully automated and very frequent, so they still carry a fair bunch of people around, and you don't wait long. They also have doors on the platform, much like elevators.

Colomiers is nice, but is a bit farther out of town, so much quieter. I'd be all right living there, but maybe some compromise in between downtown and there. The whole area is eminently bikeable, with the public transport service even having a bike rental service (you can exchange two tickets for a day-long bike rental, for example), so I'll definitely be doing that. Also, it's bikeable all year round here, so that's quite a plus!

Trying to gather some people to have a drink with, maybe play some foosball, but the wireless I was using at the apartment stopped working (I get the network, but there's no Internet connection), so it's rather difficult to organize... Oh well!

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