Saturday, 30 November 2013

A Eulogy for Odin

I don't know when exactly there will be funeral for Odin, but I know it will be fairly soon, and I have decided to write a eulogy for him. A eulogy for my feline friend, the cat that I loved so much. I am still shaken by his death and I was not sure if I should write it now, but I think I need to find some closure to finally stop grieving and I also strongly believe he needs a proper homage. So people might say he was just a cat, but I never ever thought there was such a cat that was "just" a cat. Cats are unique, cats are superior creatures, cats are wonderful and Odin was the most feline cat I have ever met.

So where do I start? I first met him when I was coming home with a bag full of fish and chips and I already and quickly bonded with him. There was his rough demeanor, the blind left eye, his numerous scars and fight marks, but also a natural way Odin had to attract compassion and love. He was a moggy street cat through and through, always coming out of his bush full of twigs, which he wore with feline elegance. In spite of his bad eye, he proved himself to be a capable hunter. I still remember that day when he went off his bush with a mouse in his mouth, the ironic look he gave me with his eyes, his expression, that seemed to say: "No need to be scared you wuss, I already killed it. I can have it all if you don't like it."  And after the kill and his feast, he was ever the sweet, loving cat needing attention.

Odin could be a bit of a joker, he certainly knew, in any cases, that humans were suckers and that he could manipulate them to do his bidding. I rarely refused him anything, and when I did it was never for long. But he was not just any cat. He came to this place because he wanted exclusivity. His owners said he was their favorite cat, but Odin wanted exclusivity. Exclusivity of love, attention, care. He was not faithful himself, but expected faithfulness from the primates that served him. There was something aristocratic about him, no wonder I gave him the name Odin. Of course he had many names, but Odin fitted him the most: he was a wanderer, someone who in spite of his rough external appearance never lost his feline grace and elegance. And his looks had improved too: lots of TLC, proper feeding (and more!) made him gain weight and made his fur silkier. Always silent, except when he was asking for something, then he could meow relentlessly until you had given in. A curious cat, eager to explore the world. Too eager maybe, that ended up being his undoing, in a night too dark for his own good, him who was at night a silent, moving, silky shadow. Always the wanderer. But also eager to lie next to you and do nothing else than nap at your side and receive strokes and cuddles, or kisses even, all the time looking at you with satisfied eyes. He was a feline who wanted time with hominids on his own terms. He was cremated this week. With his ashes, a bit of his fur, came a word, a sort of poema bit nauseating for the unbeliever I am, who mentioned a rainbow bridge when loved pets end up, until you join them. It reminded me of Bifrost. However nauseating, the poem was somewhat fitting. But in any case, godly or not, Odin was a wonderful cat.

Chauds les glaçons

J'emprunte le titre de ce billet de la traduction initiale du titre du roman de Fleming Diamonds Are Forever. Le titre original est meilleur, mais j'aimais bien celui de la traduction et je voulais depuis un bout de temps l'utiliser comme titre d'un billet de blogue. Mon père m'a envoté une photo du solarium prise aujourd'hui. Je voulais avoir une dernière photo pour illustrer novembre et l'hiver qui est arrivé, du moins dans certaines parties du monde. Je vais bientôt publier un autre billet en anglais, avec une autre photo, mais c'est celle-ci que je voulais mettre pour résumer le mois. Je sais que je fais beaucoup dans la photo hivernale ces temps-ci, mais j'essaie de me convaincre que c'est l'hiver.

Saint Andrew's Day

The Google Doodle reminded me: today not only the last day of November, it is Saint Andrew's Day, among other things it is Scotland's national day. I have some Scottish blood from my mother's side and I always had a particular fondness with the Scottish people, so I wanted to mention it on Vraie Fiction. Happy Saint Andrew's Day everyone and to my Scottish readers especially, if there are any.

L'angoisse du magasinage des Fêtes

Bon, c'est le début de l'Avent demain et je dois faire un constat accablant: je n'ai pas encore trouvé un seul cadeau pour Noël. Comme je vais fêter en Angleterre cette année, je veux envoyer mes cadeaux par la poste, c'est en général rapide. Encore faut-il que j'en aie à envoyer. C'est toujours plus difficile lorsqu'on doit voyager ou qu'on doit envoyer les cadeaux: ils ne doivent pas être trop lourds, trop volumineux, ni fragiles... Comme tous les cadeaux, ils doivent plaire et être autant que possible originaux. Et je me demande si c'est encore possible de faire des cadeaux qui ont toutes ces vertus. Suis-je seul à angoisser?

Friday, 29 November 2013

The King in the North!

As I recently mentioned on this post, I became (to my surprise) quite addicted to Game of Thrones, which kind of calms my other addiction to D&Dr. Sadly, I cannot buy the third season yet.I will not surprised anyone that I root for the House Stark. Yes, they are the stereotypical good guys, but while I love to root for the villains sometimes and find them fascinating, I relate a lot more to the Starks. They are Northerners, they have a dire wolf as a sigil and their motto is "Winter is coming". So I relate to them a lot. And, well, talking of D&Dr, my character is a ranger, who has wolves as follower animals, so this is another reason I relate to them more. And there are scenes like this one I have decided to upload, that really get me. (Spoiler alert for those who haven't seen it, don't read any further). This is where Robb Stark, freshly new leader of his House after his father's execution, an execution that lead him to the path of war, is hailed by his men King in the North. However manipulative, it is a powerful scene.

Hiver saguenéen

Mon père m'a envoyé de nouvelles photos de l'hiver saguenéen depuis hier. Comme l'a dit mon petit frère sur Facebook, alors qu'il partageait cette photo que j'avais publiée: "Pendant ce temps, dans le vra nord". Le i manque à dessein: petit frère l'a écrit avec l'accent saguenéen. Parce que le Saguenay, c'est le vrai nord, en tout cas le vrai nord habité. Ici, il fait frais sans faire froid, il fait humide et j'attends désespérément la neige. En passant, si vous répondez à la question existentielle 2011, essayez de faire comme si je ne vous ai pas soufflé la réponse.

The burgers of GBK

Well, I survived Black Friday. Who would have thought? And as I do NOT want to talk of Black Friday or frantic consumerism, I will carry on my Friday or weekend tradition on this blog of plugging a restaurant or a pub's menu. This time, it is the menu of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, or what I know of it anyway. I LOVE hamburgers. Of course these particular burgers are from a chain, not from a little known pub or restaurant. They are standardized and somewhat manufactured. They are not the best burgers I ever ate, no burger ever is here in the UK, this honor goes to many of the American diners from Montreal, this one for instance. But they are quality ones nevertheless and they are still my favourite this side of the Atlantic. And they also have a decent choice of mayonnaise varieties to go with their chips and fries, which is also a plus in my book. I wouldn't be able to tell which one of their beef burgers I prefer. And I haven't tried them all. But I can tell you that so far, they are worth the meal.

Question existentielle (211)

Une question existentielle qui est également une citation de Villon. Elle n'est donc pas de moi, mais elle mérite d'être homologuée comme question existentielle:

-"Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?"

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thor fights the giant Hrungnir

I know that for my American friends, we are Thanksgiving. But for me it is merely Thursday. Which means the day of Thor. I am referring to the Viking god of course. So I decided to commemorate this Thursday with an image from this book. It represents the story of Thor fighting the giant Hrungnir. You can read tellings of of the story here and here. But I much, much prefer the version of Gods & Heroes from Viking Mythology. It was simply more dramatic, made you feel like you were there, watching the fight. The impressive drawings of Giovanni Caselli did help the narrative. It is one of my favourite stories from Norse mythology. I was so impressed by it that in high school, I made an oral presentation on it that bored stiff the class and my teacher. We were supposed to do an oral on an adventure story, the teacher was strongly recommending to take one of those real life stories from the Reader's (In)Digest. I thought what is more of an  adventure than a duel to the death with a giant. After the oral presentation, my teacher had said, with a condescending smile: "Well, it's complicated, your story." Idiot. I had a good mark, but I thought it was a way for him to make sure I'd stay off his back. Moral of the story (mine, not the Viking one): school often sucks big time and does not care one bit about education.

Le bon vieux vin nouveau

Je sais, je sais, ce que j'ai choisi comme titre, c'est de l'humour atroce. J'avais fait un calembour du genre l'année dernière. Tout ça pour dire que j'ai acheté cette semaine ma première (ma seule?) bouteille de Beaujolais nouveau cuvée 2013. Je me suis laissé dire par un ami qu'on n'est pas connaisseur si on aime le vin nouveau. Je ne sais pas si ça fait de moi un philistin, mais qu'importe, je suis philistin dans bien des domaines. Comme mon magasin de vins et d'alcools avait décidé de ne pas en faire venir cette année, sous prétexte qu'il s'était vendu mal l'année dernière, j'ai dû me rabattre sur celui qu'offrait Waitrose. Je préfèrerais encourager les commerces locaux mais tant pis. Je me rattraperai durant les Fêtes en me tinquant chez eux. Et là, je sirote mon premier verre avant de souper.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Santa Claus is a bank robber

The title is freely inspired from the title of this French movie, which ironically enough I haven't seen. Anyway, it is Christmas in less than a month, so I decided to blog on a little anecdote about Montreal's crime history I read recently in Montreal's Irish Mafia. I mentioned the book here, but only started reading it this month. And it reads like a crime fiction. A fascinating, epic, sinister crime novel. But it is history. There are a few chapters on bank robberies, as Montreal was considered once the bank robbery capital of North America, no less. You probably have seen this scene in many movies and TV series, where a man disguised as Santa Claus, or a bunch of them, armed with machine guns and other heavy firearms and rob a bank. Well, between 1961 and 1962, there was a real bank robber using this very modus operandi. His name was Georges Marcotte and he used to walk in banks wearing his Santa Claus disguise, being all cheerful like a real Santa impersonator would be, using this apparently harmless persona to surprise both clients and personnel and do his evil deed. His bank robberies sadly ended up in blood, as he murdered two police officers. I found very little baout him on Google, except this article. I thought about him as Christmas is coming and because the evil Santa is now almost a cliché in action, horror or comedy movies set during Christmastime. Well, my city had a real one once.


Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo, parmi d'autres que je vais essayer de bloguer bientôt, de la neige tombée en poudrerie sur Chicoutimi.
J'aime bien ce québécisme: poudrerie. Ca sonne mieux que blizzard, dans le sens de plus amical, presque chaleureux, et c'est plus descriptif. Là bas, dans mon Québec natal et dans la ville de mon enfance, l'hiver semble bien installé. Ailleurs, on ne fait pas l'hiver comme au Saguenay.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Earl Grey anecdote

I have mentioned here how important my morning dose of tea is for me to get through a working day. Last week at work, there was no more of Twining's Earl Grey in stock. Instead I had to take PG Tips. I hate PG Tips. I only take it when I need a quick tea fix. So when one of my German colleagues asked me how I was this morning, I answered: "Terrible, there is no more Earl Grey." She replied: "You are thinking like an Englishman." Shock horror. She was true of course. And this deserves to be a great unknown line. I said: "Now my day is taking a turn for the worse". This does deserve to be another great unknown line. The tragic irony is that my day did get worse. Nevertheless, it was a funny moment, if unsettling.

Légendes du Québec racontées par Félix Leclerc

Je le dis parfois, je le répète ce soir: Ah! Les trésors que l'on peut trouver sur YouTube! Ou, dans ce cas précis, retrouver. J'ai vu ça il y a des siècles, enfin des décennies, je devais avoir une dizaine d'années. Je connaissais déjà Félix Leclerc, je connaissais déjà bien des contes québécois, mais c'était là une révélation. Un film d'animation avec les légendes du Québec, notamment celle du Bonhomme Sept-heures, celle de la Chasse-Gallerie, du fantôme de l'avare, j'en passe et des meilleures, avec l'omniprésence du Diable, Satan qui effrayait et fascinait à la fois, racontées par la voix grave et tellement évocatrice de Félix, qui les rend vivantes. Et avec juste ce qu'il faut de nostalgie. Légendes du Québec est un trésor caché et peu connu. Je ne sais pas si on peut l'acheter quelque part de nos jours, alors je le télécharge sur Vraie Fiction sans remords.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Winter trains

This picture was taken a while ago in my local DIY store, which is incidentally one of my favourite shops here, because of the model train they have. I barely bought anything there, but I love it all the same because of the model trains and station and station hotel. The miniature anyway. You can find the other two pictures here and here. I am blogging about it for two reasons: I kind of miss the electric train my family has and my train journeys going to and back from work have been longer these days. Or rather, the waiting time for the trains to arrive is always longer. The train seems to be always late these days, only of a few minutes, nothing to notice, but still. It seems that there are always some people working on the railway, as if the sudden drop of temperature and beginning of winter (an English winter, which means it can be cold, but mostly devoid of snow) had made the tracks tricky and the trains less reliable.

I love train journeys, big and small. I can get impatient when I am tired, want them to end soon, but I rarely ever got bored by them. It is maybe the best mean of transport to enjoy the scenery. And as it is looking more and more like winter, it makes the scenery even more beautiful. Even English winters have charm. They lack snow. they can nevertheless get frosty. The delays themselves are not entirely devoid of charm, as they are short enough. I bond with the cold temperature, remember that I come from a country and a culture that knows far worse colds than here and when the train finally arrives, I enjoy its warmth even more.

C'est la Sainte-Catherine

Pour ceux qui ne le savent pas, c'est la Sainte-Catherine aujourd'hui. Et puis c'est ça qui est ça. Je le souligne cette année, je le souligne parfois sur ce blogue, mais je ne la célèbre pas. Enfant je le célébrais, un peu, des fois. On mangeait de la tire et on lisait sur Marguerite Bourgeoys, qui avait inventé la tire, il semblerait, elle l'avait en tout cas popularisée au Québec. Marguerite Bourgeoys était plus populaire que la sainte qui avait donné le nom à la journée de novembre. J'aimais bien manger de la tire, ça me faisait oublier qu'on était novembre. Mais la Sainte-Catherine, c'est surtout pour moi ce conte, que je lirai ce soir encore une fois et que je vous encourage à lire. Petit bijou d'angoisse québécoise.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday miseries (and some solace)

Today was, is a Sunday like I hate them: firstly, it is grey and dark. It felt very much like doom and gloom. And then it happened: the washing/drying machine broke down, just when there was a gigantic pile of laundry to be done. So the Sunday afternoon was spent going to the launderette. I thought I could read there, but try to read in a launderette. It is uncomfortable, noisy, and such an ugly place. I feel sorry for the person who has to work there on Sunday. Anyway, what a rubbish way to end the weekend! Now I am having an afternoon cup of tea, so I can forget my ordeal. One needs a bit of solace after such ordeal.

Ballade des dames du temps jadis (et cette question sur les neiges d'antan)

Je sais, je sais, j'ai blogué sur le sujet souvent et j'ai déjà téléchargé la chanson il y a six ans. Je sais aussi que la balade de Villon, mise en musique par le père Georges (qui d'autre), ne parle pas de neige tant que d'une époque révolue, mais c'est quand même la chanson qui me vient en tête à chaque fois que je vois la température dehors et qu'il ne neige pas encore. Mon père m'a dit qu'il neige au Québec et que l'hiver semble bien installé. Ici, les météorologues la promettent ou la craignent, mais la neige ne vient pas. Pas encore. Je n'ai pas encore de photo récente de l'hiver, mais j'ai trouvé celle-ci dans un courriel qui date de décembre 2006.Je crois qu'elle accompagnera bien la chanson.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A Christmas tree

I took this picture last Sunday, it is the town's official Christmas tree. It is now full of lights. I am uploading the picture now because I actually like the look of a bare pine tree, without decorations, and also because it shows how quietly the atmosphere of the Christmas season has been settling in here. Often and in many places, it is quick and aggressive, so come December I am already a bit blasé. Too many lights, too many decorations, too much music, etc. But here, this year especially, it is quiet. The Christmas tree was put up at some point this month, the lights last Thursday, the spirit of the season is settling in around and I am slowly getting into it myself. Now if only there was snow...

L'ancêtre (gentrifié) du pouding chômeur?

Ceci est une photo d'un toffee pudding, en fait plus précisément et plus proprement appelé sticky toffee pudding, que j'ai mangé comme dessert dans un pub britannique. On était en août, il commençait à faire frais et juste c'était le bon temps pour manger quelque chose de plus consistant. Et puis en le mangeant ça m'a comme frappé: le sticky toffee pudding, c'est une forme de pouding chômeur (sur lequel j'ai blogué récemment). La différence étant les dattes dans le toffee pudding, qui changent le goût de façon marquée, mais à part ça, bien c'est à peu près la même chose. Le pouding chômeur est tout de même plus simple, dans le sens de plus prolétaire. Quoique la version sur la photo venant d'un pub haut de gamme, elle est une version gentrifiée du sticky toffee pudding. Ce qui me fait me questionner sur l'origine de notre pouding chômeur: le doit-on aux Anglais? Ce ne serait pas la première fois qu'on ait adapté leur cuisine...

Friday, 22 November 2013

A Viking's funeral for Odin

Since the recent and tragic death of my beloved feline friend Odin, I have been organizing his funerals with his owners. I cannot really get over it yet and I discovered that grieving is a long and rather demanding process. The saga of Odin as I called it, which I started without knowing back in May, took a lot of my time and thoughts, and even though its hero is now gone, I cannot bring myself to finish it. I guess sagas end in tragedies and funerals, Norse ones do anyway, with warriors going to Valhalla. They are pleasant reads, but this one came to an end too early, while there was still so much to write about. I will blog more about my friend, although now it will be painful.

So anyway, we have decided that Odin (or Homer as his owners call him) will be cremated by himself. Because we didn't want him to be mixed with other cats, as he always wanted exclusive attention in his life. This is partially why he left his owners' home for this garden, because everybody around here was ready to give him plenty of attention, cuddles, food and well love. Odin didn't have to share. So he will be cremated, then his ashes will be scattered over the bush he loved so much. In a way, it is a funeral for a Viking. Somehow, preparing his funerals reminded me of the movie The Vikings, this particular scene (spoiler alert: don't watch or read further if you haven't seen the film), when Erik played by Tony Curtis tells the other Vikings to prepare a funeral for his half-brother Einar, played by Kirk Douglas. "Prepare a funeral for a Viking." Erik said, after Einar died holding his sword, crying "Odin!" as his last fierce cry. I find Einar to be the true hero of the movie, even though he is evil. And like my Odin, he had a wounded left eye, all white. But Odin was not evil. He was the sweetest, most loving feline. I will write a eulogy here. It may sound silly, but he deserved nothing less. And he also deserve a Viking's funeral.

Quoi ne pas faire en fin de semaine

Ppour ce vendredi, je mets ici un petit extrait de La fin du monde est à 7 heures, la rubrique Quoi ne pas faire en fin de semaine avec Bruno Blanchet. La fois du gars pas là. Classique instantané qui n'a pas vieilli.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Will Blofeld return?

I find it difficult to blog since the tragedy of Tuesday, but I need to keep my mind busy and do something else than grieving. I am not ready yet to write about Odin, although my post tonight is about a character whose image in the general public is one of a cat-stroking villain. I am talking of course about Ernst Stavro Blofeld, whom I blogged about before. Blofeld is a wonderfully evil villain, maybe the greatest that ever came from Ian Fleming's imagination and of course the nemesis of James Bond. He was sadly turned into a pantomime villain as the movies went on and I don't think a true, complete and definitive interpretation was ever done in the movies. Of course, Blofeld was quickly spoofed to death, turning into Dr Evil. And he disappeared from the franchise itself, because of a legal battle over the rights of Thunderball (to make a long story short). And, I learned recently that this legal battle was finally over and that the Bond producers finally have the right over the character. Since Casino Royale was a reboot, it means that Blofeld could be back, or rather reintroduced. It is very early to tell, but I do hope we see Blofeld return and that he will be more akin to the novel's Blofeld, a puritan, ruthless criminal with a work ethic that can only be qualified as fanatical. A villain who has more in common with Moriarty and Dracula than his many caricatures. So the Bond fan I am can barely wait to see what the producers have up their sleeve.

Une pensée sur le Moyen Âge

Bon an, mal an, malgré la petite tragédie qui s'est produite mardi, il me faut bien écrire un peu et faire parfois autre chose qu'un deuil. Merci pour les bons mots et les conseils. Enfin bref, le billet de ce soir. Je me suis rappelé, je ne sais pas trop pourquoi, une phrase d'un professeur de littérature, je ne me rappelle plus lequel, lors d'un cours sur l'histoire de la littérature. Il avait commencé ainsi: "Il y a deux sortes de perceptions du Moyen Âge chez les gens: le Moyen Âge médiéval et le moyen âge moyen âgeux." Le premier étant vu sous un angle plus positif et nuancé et l'autre comme une caricature d'une époque barbare et obscurantiste. Pour la petite histoire, je suis devenu médiéviste par la suite, alors il va sans dire que je n'ai jamais eu cette image caricaturale du Moyen Âge. Mais cette phrase m'a marqué.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


English below...

Il y a des soirées comme ça qui te bouleversent. Odin s'est fait frapper plus tôt en soirée, juste après souper, et est mort sur le coup. Je suis sous le choc. Je vais essayer de reprendre mes sens un peu et je rebloguerai plus tard cette semaine, peut-être. Ce billet est cathartique. Je vais plus tard, quand je m'en sentirai capable, tenter de lui rendre hommage proprement. C'était un merveilleux ami. Si vous avez des conseils pour vivre un deuil animal, j'aimerais le savoir. D'ici là, c'est la fin de la saga d'Odin.


Evenings like this. I wanted to blog about plenty of things, but not about this. Never ever about this. Odin was hit by a car tonight right after supper and died on the spot. I am writing this as catharsis, because the cat had become such important part of my life. I may not blog for a little bit, but when I feel ready to blog about him I will write a proper homage. He was a wonderful feline and the best friend one can ever hope to have. If you have any advice about grieving an animal, I would like to know. Until then, I guess it is now the end of the Odin saga.

Monday, 18 November 2013


Anybody in the mood for some post about Viking mythology? I know it is not Tyr's Day, or Odin's Day or Thor's Day, that said I have not properly blogged about Viking mythology in a long while, so now is as good a time as any. This picture was taken from this book, my reference when it comes to Viking mythology and the drawing is from Giovanni Caselli. It represents of course the Valhalla, the hall where the brave warriors who fell in battle go in the afterlife to prepare for Ragnarok. The image is a bit heavy on pink to my liking, otherwise it is beautiful and as spectacular and richly detailed as the other images from Caselli. You can see Odin's eagle towering over the fortress, which is made of shields and weapons, a wolf's head over the gate and on the roof the cock Gullinkambi, who will crow only once, on the morning of Ragnarok. All of it surrounded by otherworldly fog. Pink otherwordly fog. All the same, it is still an amazing picture. I thought about this morning, as it was misty outside and cool, and it gave the whole surroundings an eerie feel, and I thought of this image of Valhalla.

Une cabane en forêt

Photo prise sur le lot de mes oncles par je ne sais pas qui, peut-être ma cousine Amy ou mon père (qui me l'a envoyée il y a quelques années). Une cabane montée sur piloris en forêt. Il y en avait une quand mes frères et moi y allions avec mon père, mais c'était alors, en tout cas dans mon souvenir, une cabane plus proche du sol. C'est bien entendu utilisé pour la chasse. Le confort doit y être minimal. Tout de même, bien que je sois de nature assez douillette, j'aimerais bien passer un peu de temps dans cette cabane. La vue doit y être belle, surtout en automne, comme c'est le cas sur la photo. Je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais je trouve ce genre de cabanes surveillant les alentours au milieu d'une forêt dense particulièrement pittoresque.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Preti (Priests)

My Italian friend from my years in uni sent me this via Facebook, an Italian animated series of short films about an aspiring young priest learning the tricks of the trade, so to speak, from an older one. The young priest asks lots of very relevant questions and the old one just answers with dogmas, always stupidly, but with the blind strength of his blind faith. My friend sent it to me to help me learn Italian, but also because I am a Godless heathen like her. I still need to follow the subtitle, but I can grasp quite a few sentences. I LOVE it. Because it is Italian and poking fun at the Catholic Church. I mean just because of it, it is worth watching. Anyway, here is episode 2. I will show more on this blog in the future.

Question existentielle (210)

Une question existentielle à portée philosophique et paradoxale:

-Que faire quand on veut vivre longtemps, mais qu'on ne veut pas mourir vieux?

The 15 minutes blackout

This morning, as I had started writing my earlier post, the electricity just went off. It lasted about fifteen minutes, but in fifteen minutes it managed to interrupt my blogging and put me off the internet. It is good to get off the internet from time to time, so that may not have been such a bad thing. That said, moments like this remind me how dependent I am with internet nowadays.

Les origines du Petit Chaperon Rouge

"On voit ici que de jeunes enfants, Surtout de jeunes filles Belles, bien faites, et gentilles, Font très mal d'écouter toute sorte de gens, Et que ce n'est pas chose étrange, S'il en est tant que le Loup mange.
Je dis le Loup, car tous les Loups ne sont pas de la même sorte ; Il en est d'une humeur accorte, Sans bruit, sans fiel et sans courroux, Qui privés, complaisants et doux, Suivent les jeunes Demoiselles jusque dans les maisons, jusque dans les ruelles ; Mais hélas ! qui ne sait que ces loups doucereux, De tous les loups sont les plus dangereux.
Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, Charles Perrault

Mon père m'a fait parvenir cet article de Cyberpresse, sur les origines du Petit Chaperon Rouge. Ca m'a rappelé mes études en littérature. Je n'ai jamais beaucoup fait dans la génétique, mais c'est un champ fascinant de la littérature, surtout dans le cas des contes et des légendes, alors qu'on peut, comme c'est le cas ici, appliquer l'évolutionisme à un phénomène non biologique. On fait cela souvent en linguistique, d'ailleurs. Le Petit Chaperon Rouge est sans doute mon conte préféré, incidemment. Enfin bref, il y a des moments ou je regrette de ne plus être universitaire.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Elven Crystals

The Elven Crystals is a book I read in my early teenage. A book my brothers and I bought I don't know for why exactly really. Because it is in fact an adventure from the role playing game Dragon Warriors. A Dungeons & Dragons wannabe role-playing game, which made the mistake of giving its rules into different books, so you needed to buy a few of them before being able to even start playing. We had not even started playing D&Dr when we bought this one. We had started playing RPGs and were curious about this one, I think attracted to it because of two classes: the assassin and the knight. And we bought this book because of the cover, which I always found beautiful and atmospheric.

So why am I plugging this book tonight? I never played the RPG or the module. But the content matched the cover fairly well actually, when it came to beauty and atmosphere anyway. As an adventure, for any RPG, it was very flawed: too many great mages that had lived in such a small place, there was no links between the different modules and very little sense of conclusion, for instance. But the atmosphere, the descriptions, the whole setting (minus a few places) were simply amazing. Here is the story, as described on its Amazon page: 
"The Elven Crystals is a short campaign of four linked adventures: a quest across the kingdom of Ereworn to find four shards of an ancient crystal that forms a gateway to another world. But were they originally split up to stop anyone leaving this world... or to prevent something from getting in? Along the way they will find themselves searching for a kidnapped girl in a forest populated by dark and supernatural beings; hunting a corrupted nobleman through his terrifying castle; a desperate chase through a coastal village where a recent shipwreck has brought an ancient cult to light; and a battle to halt the invasion of a force of darkness and shadow."
 The first part, set in a forest during the beginning of autumn, is by far the best one. It starts in the inn of a poor village, by a sinister forest. You have to fight plenty of monsters, a witch, black knights (who are in fact supernatural creatures), ghosts, ghouls and even a mad hermit. And in the dark forest, you find plenty of interesting places: bridges, ruined manors, abandoned towers, etc. It is just such a rich adventure setting. My brother PJ was heavily inspired by it when he wrote our first D&Dr adventure. Every time I go home, I read at least a few pages, especially when I want to get myself into a gaming mood.

La photo du mois et moi

Coup de théâtre aujourd'hui sur la page Facebook de la photo du mois: je suis désigné pour choisir le thème du mois de janvier. Si. Moi, moi-même, choisirai le thème de janvier. Je ne sais pas trop comment fonctionne le système de points, mais enfin bref je suis arrivé ex aequo avec René Paul Henry et finalement j'ai gagné suite à un tirage à pile ou face. Alors voilà, merci, c'est trop d'honneurs et je dois trouver un thème d'ici trente jours. Les thèmes me donnant souvent des crises d'inspiration angoissantes, le choisir risque d'être intéressant rien que pour ça. J'ai déjà quelques idées, mais si vous pouvez y aller de vos suggestions.

Friday, 15 November 2013

The menu of The Ferry in Cookham

This is this time of the week again, when I plug a meal or a pub or a restaurant to celebrate Friday. This time, it is The Ferry in Cookham. It is a pub I visited fairly often at work, when I had Friday lunches there anyway. I also had dinner there with my parents, and I ate there a few other times. Nothing on the menu is outstanding, but I was never disappointed by what I ate. And the venue is quite nice, right by the river Thames, which makes every visit an experience in itself. I first ate a hamburger there that was delicious. With my parents it was some pasta and salmon. I also once had a Sunday roast. Every time, I was full. Meals in The Ferry are very filling. And they have decent beers too. In any case, with the setting, I always had a pleasant time eating there.

Ensemble (la photo du mois)

C'est encore le moment de la photo du mois, ayant pour thème "Ensemble", choisi par Ava. J'ai souffert pour en trouver une, au point de songer à me désister ce mois-ci. Mais bon, je me suis finalement résigné è publier celle-ci. C'est un mur couvert par des plantes grimpantes (des clématites?). Un mur montréalais en automne. C'est ensemble de plusieurs façons: un ensemble de briques rouge qui tient le tout, un ensemble de feuilles, un ensemble des deux, mur et feuillage, le second dépendant du premier. Alors voilà.

Vous pouvez voir les ensembles des autres aux liens suivants:

A'icha, Agathe, Agnès, Akaieric, Alban, Alexinparis, Alice Wonderland, Angélique, Ann, Anne, Anne Laure T, Anne-Laure, Arwen, AurélieM, Ava, Béa, Bestofava, BiGBuGS, Blogoth67, Calamonique, Cara, Caterine, Cathy, Cécile - Une quadra, Cekoline, Céline in Paris, CetO, Champagne, Chat bleu, Cherrybee, Chloé, Christophe, Claire's Blog, Cocosophie, Dame Skarlette, DelphineF, Djoul, Dr. CaSo, dreamtravelshoot, E, El Padawan, Elodie, Eurydice, Fanfan Raccoon, Filamots, François le Niçois, Frédéric, Galinette, Gilsoub, Giselle 43, Gizeh, Guillaume, hibiscus, Homeos-tasie, Hypeandcie, InGrenoble, Isa de fromSide2Side, Isa ToutSimplement, Isaquarel, J'adore j'adhère, Joane, Josiane, Julie, KK-huète En Bretannie, Krn, La Dum, La Fille de l'Air, La Messine, La Nantaise à Paris, La voyageuse comtoise, Lau* des montagnes, Laulinea, Laurent Nicolas, Lavandine, Lavandine83, Les bonheurs d'Anne & Alex, Les voyages de Lucy, Leviacarmina, LisaDeParis, Louisianne, Lucile et Rod, Lyonelk, magda627, Mamysoren, Maria Graphia, Marie, Marie-Charlotte, Marmotte, Mathilde, MauriceMonAmour, Mes ptits plats, Mimireliton, MissCarole, Morgane Byloos Photography, Nicky, Photo Tuto, Pilisi, Piolo, Pixeline, Pomme d'Happy, Renepaulhenry, Rythme Indigo, scarolles-and-co, SecretAiko, Sephiraph, Shoesforgirls, Sinuaisons, Tambour Major, Testinaute, Thalie, The Parisienne, The Singapore Miminews, Thib, Ti' Piment, Tuxana, Un jour, une vie, Une niçoise, Violette, Viviane, Wolverine, Woocares, Xoliv', Zaza

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Winter is Coming

Well, it certainly feels like it. I have heard it is snowing in Québec, but not here sadly. That said, here it is cold. It goes below zero in the night and although mornings can get mild, temperatures go down in the afternoon very quickly. So I am getting in a winter mood (which means I long for snow, but I am not thinking too much of Christmas yet). I discovered recently, thanks to a colleague to whom I borrowed the first two seasons in exchange of season 2 of The Wire, the TV series Game of Thrones. And thus I discovered the motto of House Stark, which is "Winter is Coming". I am well into the second season now, I find it quite addictive. And I find it fitting in many ways to watch this when winter is indeed coming. It also sort of makes me miss a bit less playing Dungeons & Dragons, something I used to do a lot in winter. In a way, Games of Thrones is the kind of TV series I wished existed when I was younger, it has enough drama, action and larger than life characters AND a medieval fantasy setting on top of that to make me survive winter. And inspired me for D&Dr. So anyway here is the opening credits, which I uploaded here just for kicks.

Question existentielle (209)

J'ai déjà travaillé dans un travail horrible pour une compagnie de coupe-gorges sans scrupules (je pèse mes mots), mais qui tenait enseigne dans une ancienne brasserie. Le lieu de travail était superbe, malgré le travail, les collègues, enfin bref tout le reste. En y repensant aujourd'hui, il m'est venu en tête cette question existentielle:

-Sans tenir compte de la nature du travail lui-même, quel est le lieu de travail idéal?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A femme fatale

This is this time again for my monthly tradition, when I upload a cover from the pulp magazine Detective Tales. This time, it is the cover from November 1949. I usually title the post: The Detective Cover for (insert month here), but this time I simply titled it after the character on the cover. You see a femme fatale delicately pouring explosive in a lighter. She is blonde, her face which takes most of the space on the center of the is angelic, yet she is pouring bleeding nitroglycerin in a lighter. Bombing is a brutal way of killing, her method of assassination is both subdued and nasty. And she has red gloves, which makes it all the more sinister. Once I saw it, the cover was so easy to choose. I find femmes fatales fascinating villains (villainesses?), but they are difficult to do right. I don't know how this story went, obviously, if the character was well written or not, but this is a magnificent portrait of a femme fatale in action.

Un jardin de givre

"Ah, comme la neige a neigé!
Ma vitre est un jardin de givre"

Soir d'hiver, Émile Nelligan

Je cite Nelligan, et les deux premiers vers de son poème sont suffisants pour le sujet de ce billet. Petite confession sur Nelligan (que j'ai déjà faite): je trouve Nelligan plutôt mineur. La neige n'a pas neigé, même si je l'attends avec impatience et que j'apprends avec envie que ça a tombé au Québec. Cela dit, petit signe, bien modeste, que l'hiver approche: il fait en dessous de zéro le matin. ca veut dire que ça givre un peu le matin. Alors je marche le matin dans un jardin de givre en me rendant au travail. Ce n'est pas aussi givré que sur cette photo, prise il y a un an en décembre, à la gare de la petite ville.En fait, les vitres givrent le matin, le sol aussi, je fais de la boucane et c'est à peu près tout. Mais je trouve quand même de quoi me réjouir. Si le givre vient, la neige viendra sans doute aussi. Enfin je l'espère.

Monday, 11 November 2013

A hole in a wall

Sometimes the most trivial things get stuck in your mind. I took this picture in Montreal, from the apartment of my family. I obsessed about what I saw there, this is why I took a picture: there is a hole in this brick wall, right beneath the bottom of the window frame. I thought it was only a broken brick at first but it is really a hole: I saw birds coming in and out of it. Maybe they have a nest there. That is my hypothesis anyway. Back when I was living in Liverpool, or to be more precise when I was working in Liverpool and living in a small suburban town near Liverpool, I was renting a room in a Victorian house. It was an old house that needed serious refurbishing, but it never happened. But I loved it all the same. And there was a hole in the wall, by the bathroom. So sometimes, birds flew in it. This hole in the wall reminds me of that time. Otherwise, it beats the hell out of me, but I literally obsessed about this hole and the birds going in and out.

Taquinons la planète

Petit vidéo et billet humoristique pour faire rire et oublier que c'est lundi. Vous vous souvenez des Bleu Poudre? Ils ont fait les beaux temps de 100 Limite d'abord, puis de Taquinons la planète. Cette dernière passait le lundi à Radio-Can. Bien entendu, on retrouve des extraits sur YouTube. J'ai décidé de mettre ici les débuts de Dave Ash joué par Ghislain Taschereau. Je ne suis pas sûr si c'est le tout début du personnage de Dave Ash, mais c'était en tout cas à peu près quand il a commencé. Anecdote: Taschereau était le propriétaire de l'appart à Montréal à côté du nôtre. Je ne l'ai malheureusement jamais rencontré. Il était et demeure un grand humoriste. Et Dave Ash n'a pas vieilli non plus.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Signs of Christmas

I guess it is no news for anyone and it is nothing special to blog about, but anyway I keep seeing signs of Christmas. Some decorations are already showing up. Not Christmas lights yet in town, but every business already has something festive on the windows. Of course, they also advertise for Christmas offers and sell Christmas items. We are early November, which is a bit early for these sort of things I guess, however as it looks grey and dreary like November usually looks, even when it is sunny, I don't mind. I have heard no Christmas music yet, thankfully. That would be too much, too soon.

Souvenir d'un dimanche après-midi

Ceci est un billet dominical, car bien entendu alors que j'écris ces lignes, nous sommes le dimanche après-midi. J'écris ça en premier lieu parce que, ben, c'est plate un dimanche après-midi. Bon, je ne m'ennuie pas en ce moment, je me tiens occupé de diverses façons (lecture, regarder des DVDs en boucle, etc.), mais pour une raison quelconque j'ai pensé aux dimanches après-midi de mon enfance. Ceux monotones sans fête familiale, sans évènement spécial à célébrer. Ce qui voulait dire: un dimanche après-midi à jouer à Clue/Cluedo ou à un autre jeu de société, mais c'était la plupart du temps Cluedo. Plusieurs parties en boucles. J'y jouais le colonel Mustard, j'ai expliqué pourquoi ici. Et je me demande si ce n'étaient pas les meilleurs dimanches après-midis que j'aie passés. Avant de jouer à D&Dr, bien entendu. Une question comme ça: quelqu'un a-t-il joué à Clue en suivant les règles avec rigueur? Parce que j'ai souvent remarqué qu'elles ne le sont pas. On ne les suivait pas exactement à l'époque, mais je crois que mes frères et moi on les connaissait mieux que les autres.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Brushing up my Italian

This evening, I am supposed to have dinner with my friend, Italian and former colleague, and her boyfriend, who is visiting her from Italy. Little detail of some importance: the man speaks very little English. So I need to brush up my Italian. I am glad. I will have a good occasion to practice and to improve. Of course, I haven't studied it in a long while, but nothing like immersion to get better. Well, immersion, it will be one to one immersion, not exactly like being in Italy with monolingual people, but still.

Premières clémentines

C'est le troisième billet que j'écris sur la gastronomie, enfin la nourriture, j'espère qu'on ne trouvera pas que je manque d'inspiration. Enfin bref, depuis le début de novembre, j'ai fait le plein de clémentines. Pas comme à Montréal quand j'achetais un cabas complet qui me durait pour... pour quelques semaines. Il n'y a rien qui batte les quantités de clémentines que l'on peut acheter à Montréal. Cela dit, j'ai acheté quelques sacs, à Marks & Spencer parce que je crois que ce sont là qu'ils vendent les meilleures. Les clémentines sont nécessaire à ma survie en novembre. Un signe que l'hiver arrive, mais aussi que Noël n'est pas aussi loin qu'on le croit, même si novembre est gris. Et novembre est moins gris avec les clémentines. Elles amènent de la couleur au mois. Et des parfums aussi, cette odeur d'agrumes. Et bon, ça me donne aussi une nécessaire dose de vitaimne C. Il faut deux clémentines par jours pour faire une portion de fruits et légumes, mais j'en mange plus.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Veneziana of Pizza Express

Remember when, a long while ago, I had decided to start a new tradition here on Vraie Fiction, of plugging a menu or a meal from a restaurant or a pub every Friday or Saturday (or even Sunday sometimes)? Last time I did it was on August 30th. So it is a long, long lost tradition, or a long interrupted one. But I am starting it again. I might not be very original, as tonight I am plugging a pizza from a British pizza chain, Pizza Express. Not exactly the Crown in Cookham from my first post. That said, I have found my pizza, in fact my favorite pizza in the UK and the one I eat pretty much every time I go to Pizza Express. And it is not only for the taste, it is for what it does. The pizza is called the Veneziana and you can see a picture of it on the left.

So why do I love it so much? Well, there is of course the taste: olives and capers are always a big winner for me, and the Veneziana has plenty of black olives and capers. it also has red onions a plenty and sultanas, which gives a bit of distinctive sweetness to the savoury whole. I'd love it no matter what would come next, but something comes next: when I order it, I also give money to charity. Because every time you do, a discretionary 25p goes to the Venice in Peril Fund. I have never seen Venice, but I do want to see it, preferably before it drowns. If we could avoid letting drown, I would be even happier. And I know it is very modest a contribution, but I love to contribute to it all the same, 25p at a time. According to Wikipedia, the Veneziana was introduced to the menu in 1977. I have only discovered Pizza Express a few years ago, but I have been eating Veneziana ever since, pretty much every time I go there. My way of connecting to Italian culture.

Le Caribou Café à Poitiers?

Je ne dirais pas que c'est une plogue, parce que je n'ai jamais mis les pieds ni à Poitiers, bien que j'aie un ami qui vienne de là, ni donc et par conséquent dans aucun des établissements de Poitiers, mais j'ai appris totalement par hasard qu'il y a un restaurant-bar qui s'appelle le Caribou Café. Logo à droite, c'est une vraie horreur, je me demande pourquoi je le télécharge ici d'ailleurs. Je suis très, très, très sceptique, voire même profondément méfiant, disons-le franchement, pour l'engouement souvent quétaine des Français envers la gastronomie québécoise. Lire ce billet sur un autre restaurant pseudo-québécois en sol gaulois qui a tout de pseudo et rien de québécois. Le menu de Caribou Café a l'air tout ce que ça a de plus quétaine. Lire: ils mettent des produits de l'érable partout, ciboire! Seul truc rassurant: il y a des produits McAuslan dans les bières, dont la Griffon (La Griffon rousse est ma petite bière préférée). Au moins, si je me ramasse à Poitiers, je sais ou aller boire. Mais j'irai manger ailleurs. Et je vais parler anglais toute la soirée ou j'écumerais le Caribou Café.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Skyfall and life imitating art

Last year, about the same time, I went to see Skyfall in cinema. I loved the movie. Those who watched it remember that there was a scene in it, when M played by Judi Dench, is taken to a public parliamentary hearing about the events of the movie. Well, it appears that life imitates art, as the head of SIS aka MI6 (who is called in real life C and not M, and yes I know why and it is very sad that I do) among other important figures of UK intelligence and counterintelligence is summoned to a parliamentary hearing, in order "to provide greater transparency about their work", says the BBC article. It is not as dramatic, in fact it looks like and sound just as tedious as a parliamentary committee hearing does, nevertheless I find it fascinating. Because it gives insights to a secret world, because it is always interesting to see the reality that inspired fiction.

La boucane (signe hivernal)

Anecdote sans importance, ou presque, de début novembre: ce soir en marchant, j'ai vu que la boucane me sortait de la bouche. Ce n'est que de la condensation, me direz-vous, mais je ne me rappelle pas qu'il y en avait hier, ni même les semaines d'avant. C'est un signe de l'hiver qui s'en vient, la fumée qui sort de la bouche. Novembre, de toutes façons, c'est déjà un peu l'hiver.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Odin the shadowy cat

Last time I blogged about Odin was a little more than a month ago. This has been way too long. I have been blogging about cats inbetween and recently, but it is about time I give my readership a bit of news about my feline friend. And it is Wednesday, the day of his namesake. Not that there is all that much to say about Odin. He enjoys the bush as much as usual. He keeps being fed by the people here and he did gain a few pounds. Which is a very good thing: he was very skinny when I first met him. He is more fussy with food than when I met him: he does not eat as hungrily all the time and sometimes blatantly ignores the part of the dish he does not care about (usually wet food). But he prefers to be around here where he has exclusivity of love and cuddles (and food) than with his owners.Who actually don't mind. I had a drink with them (in the local Irish pub) and they are very friendly. They also had a talk with the evil witch that is the downstairs neighbour, the cat-hating witch and they calmed her worries, telling her a fib about Odin being home most of the time. The witch herself has been more discreet. She is still harboring malevolent ideas and wants to get rid of "that bloody cat", but she tired up every single resident here with her crusade (witch hunt?) and the temperature having dramatically dropped, she spends most of her time indoors, weekdays and weekends. I intend to have a talk to her, if she ever thinks about bullying Odin again, or those who love him.

So Odin is not bothered by her, but I am a bit worried because it is now darker outside earlier and much longer. he is after all a black cat, so easy to miss. But that makes him also easy to hide from preying eyes (I mean witch's eyes). And I keep in mind that he is used to live outside. There is the cold temperature too, but he does not seem to mind either. Not when he is in the shrubs anyway. Even the rain does not bother him there. And the twigs he gets on seem to be a sort of fashion statement, or a social one about his wild nature. Odin in many ways reminds me of the song Moon Shadow by Cat Stevens. He is nocturnal, he is shadowy, he leaps and he hops, he follows you and is barely perceptible. And even though his fur is like a shadow, when he shows up I always think of the lyrics about the faithful light who found me. A song sung by an artist aptly named Cat Stevens. Now every time I listen to the song, I think of him. I know I uploaded Moon Shadow on Vraie Fiction before, but that was a while ago, and tonight I wanted to upload it again as an homage to Odin. I know it sounds really silly. An homage to a cat who has no knowledge whatsoever of homage, and sees me at best as one of his servants. Nevertheless, here it is:

Un pouding chômeur

Lors de mon dernier séjour à Montréal, je me suis tapé un repas nostalgique (un entre autres): j'ai mangé à la Binerie Mont-Royal, comme dans le temps de mes études à l'U de M, quand je me tapais un dîner complet à la Binerie à chaque vendredi. Dîner complet veut dire: soupe, repas principal, dessert. Souvent le repas principal c'était du ragoût de boulettes, ou alors des vols-au-vent au saumon ou une sorte de poisson. Lors de ma toute dernière visite, j'ai décidé de me faire plaisir et j'ai pris un spécial du jour, un ragoût de patte et boulettes un peu trop décadent. J'en ai mangé la moitié et j'ai ramené le reste à la maison (on m'a même rajouté de la sauce). Et je me suis gardé de la faim pour le dessert: le pouding chômeur que vous voyez à gauche.

Ah, le pouding chômeur de la Binerie! Je le mangeais souvent dans une bagatelle (pouding, confiture crème), mais c'est quand même le pouding chômeur qui est je crois LE dessert de la Binerie Mont-Royal. En fait, c'est une version québécoise du toffee pudding anglais. Comme bien des mets québécois, bien entendu. Mais le manger avec un thé cheap un midi d'automne, c'est dur à battre comme plaisir culinaire. Bon, on ne m'appelle plus jeune homme quand j'y vais, mais c'est quand même une expérience.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Smoke and Bonfire

"Remember, remember, the fifth of November", yadda, yadda, yadda, you know the rest. We are Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night, the quintessential British November celebration. A celebration I don't really celebrate, for all the years I have been here. Like last year, I did not go and see the fireworks. I saw some fireworks, they were bursting here and there as soon as the sun fell down, loud and shiny and smelling of smoke. I saw them at the train stations, I saw them walking home. I heard them even more. But what strikes me every time is the smell of smoke. It is also what I prefer of Bonfire Night: the smell of smoke in the cold November night. I don't know why.

Question existentielle (208)

C'est la Guy Fawkes, il y a, a eu, des feux d'artifice toute la soirée, je me pose donc cette question existentielle:

-Quel est votre sorte de feux d'artifice préféré?

Monday, 4 November 2013

The cat and the turtle dove

My father sent me this picture a few months ago, when I started feeding Odin and blogging about him. (And by the way, I know I haven't blogged about Odin since very early October, I promise to make amend soon). This was taken in my parents' back garden, this is the apple tree that for some reason is considered "my" tree (each brother has his tree in the garden) and you see this tabby cat working very hard to hunt a turtle dove, oblivious to the danger. Dad never told me if the tabby cat got it or not in the end. My father loves birds, different ones, he loves to feed them, he loves to have them in the family garden. So he does not like cats. Not one little bit. I know this picture might upset some people, as it shows a side of the felines that are less pleasant to some: their hunting instinct. I should say their killer instinct. 

That said, I love the picture. I find it quite artsy, with the cat blending very well with the background. I find his perseverance commendable. However cruel it may seem, I find the image actually suspenseful. And I don't find it so cruel, to be honest. I don't mind that cats are hunters and follow their instinct. I cannot blame the cat for wanting to hunt a bird. I would rather have him hunt mice, but it is because I don't like mice. And I find it always fascinating, how such a beautiful creature can be so ruthless. Like my brother PJ once said on Facebook, about one of the cats that had turned his own garden into a hunting ground: "Cats are killers, but they are so darn cute." It explains them in a nutshell, I think. I don't know if I blogged this line before, but it deserves to be a great unknown line. And I guess that's why I wanted to upload this picture and blog about it. The moral of the story of the cat and the turtle dove, which the end is unknown to me, is that cats are killers, but they are really cute nevertheless.

Morosité municipale

Un court billet pour saigner une certaine amertume, j'ai l'humeur morose. Denis Coderre est élu comme maire à Montréal. Le démagogue qui a repris l'équipe de Gérald Tremblay, le pantin déchu qui servait de maire il n'y a pas si longtemps. La même équipe qui a laissé la corruption fleurir à Montréal. Et le mollah Jean Tremblay est réélu à Saguenay. On sait tout le mal que je pense de l'homme. Je me console: seulement une fraction de Montréal a voté pour Coderre et Tremblay a eu une majorité réduite. Ils feront tous deux face à une opposition plus forte qu'auparavant. C'est au moins ça de pris.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A chocolate owl

This is a chocolate owl (well, duh!), the one mentioned in the title (re-duh!).It is from Chocolats Privilège in Montreal, it was among their Halloween specials. My dad bought it as a gift for me, I did not have time to eat it there so brought it here, surprisingly it survived the trip unbroken. I wanted to blog it about it during the countdown to Halloween, but in the end I did not have time for that either. And I thought it would work just as well now. We are still in autumn, after all, and this picture I took in the apartment in Montreal, with the owl on the mat with autumnal motives, fit the time perfectly. I am not certain if I ever ate something from Chocolats Privilège, but knowing my parents knowledge of the good places in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec for everything sweet related, I trust it it is going to be delicious. So it is my dessert tonight.

La panne?

Bon, ça devait arriver, je le craignais d'ailleurs: depuis le début de novembre, mon inspiration pour bloguer se tarit. Moi qui essaie de bloguer régulièrement, en raison de deux billets par jour environ, un en français, un en anglais, bien là je suis à court d'idées et les billets que j'ai écrits sont courts (ce qui n'est pas nécessairement un mal) et pas très intéressants. Ma mère m'a récemment dit de faire de Vraie Fiction un blogue plus littéraire, je suis mal parti... Qualité vaut mieux que quantité, mais quand les idées ne viennent pas... Suis-je le seul, ou novembre fait ça à tous?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Rambling about an olive green sweater

I am not particularly a fashion slave, I mean some of the clothes I wear are at least fifteen years old, but on my last trip to Quebec, when I was at Heathrow in the duty free section, I found this sweater in the Harrods shop. An outdoor sweater from Ralph Lauren. Olive green (or at least this is how I remember it, it looks more grey on the website, but it says olive on the Ralph Lauren one), military looking (except when wore by a gay looking model like on the RL website), patches on the shoulders and elbows. I really loved it when I saw it. I think I know why: it is a perfect sweater for a cold autumn or winter day. And it is kind of old-fashioned without looking too old. The saleswoman saw how eager I was and tried her best: it's the last one, it is pure cashmere, etc. But I didn't buy it. Not at this price. I actually tried not to laugh when she gave the price to me. Which makes me wonder: who can afford this stuff?

Première photo de novembre

Je viens de me faire pleuvoir dessus après être brièvement sorti à l'épicerie. Novembre, il frappe souvent en pleine gueule comme ça. Mais enfin bref... Je cherchais désespérément une photo pour commémorer le début du mois et le représenter depuis ce matin. Or, ma cousine Amy, sans même que je lui aie demandé, m'a envoyé celle-ci. Elle est photographe, elle est aussi un peu télépathe je crois. Prise il y a quelques semaines m'a-t-elle dit, elle est quand même appropriée pour ce début de novembre. En noir et blanc en plus, comme souvent le mois semble l'être. Novembre, c'est l'automne qui devient de plus en plus gris. Je dis ça, pourtant lorsque le soleil sort, la lumière est vraiment superbe.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Post-Halloween blues

Well, we are All Saint's Day. The day that failed to beat Halloween and the beginning of November. But that means that we are pass the Halloween season and that I have officially the Halloween blues. On this blog, I didn't write half as many Halloween-related posts as I was inspired to, even thoughI had started as early as August. And that means I might not be as inspired this month. Anyway, I thought I would share the pain.

La Toussaint

Aujourd'hui, c'est la Toussaint. En Europe (je veux dire sur le continent, pas sur l'île que j'habite et qui n'est pas l'Europe), dans les pays de tradition catholique, c'est un jour férié. Un vendredi, ce ne serait pas si mal. Surtout que le lendemain de l'Halloween, j'aurais pu veiller très tard hier. Mais pour moi, c'est d'abord et avant tout le début de novembre et pour faire une histoire courte c'est ça qui est ça.