Friday, 31 July 2015

Blue Moon

So July is ending tonight on a full moon, its second one. Which means that we have a blue moon. As I had mentioned at the beginning of the month. Of course, the term blue moon always reminds me of this scene from An American Werewolf in London. I have to say, the movie never scared me much, but I loved it all the same. It is an amazing transformation scene and the special effects still hold up to today's standards. Tonight, I intend to read a few scary stories, maybe some about werewolves even, as I take this blue moon as the beginning of my officious countdown to Halloween. If you remember, I said to a child at the beginning of the month that I was myself a werewolf. And she believed me, sort of. My wife is spending time with her and her mum this evening. When I was on the phone with her, I told her to tell the child that I might turn into one again tonight, the girl replied, adamant, that werewolves don't exist. Not sure if I should be happy that she does not believe in them anymore, so won't be scared of me, or disappointed that she lost her illusions in the matter. Now she might not hesitate out of fear to tickle me. Oh well, we'll see. Anyway, happy blue moon everyone.

Question existentielle (266)

C'est vendredi, alors je vais poser une question existentielle inspirée de La fin du monde est à 7 heures. Pour ceux qui se rappellent de l'émission et de ce qu'il y avait le vendredi, ça ne vous étonnera pas, mais enfin bref la voici:

-Quoi ne pas faire en fin de semaine?

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The feline dilemma

I recently blogged about this new cat who shows up in the communal garden. There has been some development about him and it created a bit of a dilemma. First, he has become more and more accustomed to the people living around here. Some of them in particular: a middle aged woman and her young niece (who is spending summer here with her aunt), an old lady living alone, who apparently lets him in her flat, and well, my wife and I. We have decided to name him Domino, after hesitating between Guinness, Oreo, Prospero (very Shakespearean I know), Freya (if it was a female cat that would have been her name). As Domino has been very eager to walk in the flat, we agreed to let him in sometimes, when the weather was bad. Because of what happened to Odin, we don't want him to cross the street and get run over.

So we invited him in, or rather he did, I mean before we could say yes (well, as far as we can talk to a cat) he had ran in when we opened the door. And since then we do let him in from time to time. Domino settled in easily, too easily I might add. Odin did too, but at least we had the blessing of his owners. Domino's owners, with whom we spoke three minutes all in all, only told us that "he's very independent". We don't even know his real name. Or theirs. And for the record, before we even allowed their cat in, we tried to give him back to his owners, but nobody was there when we knocked. And we know others, at least two, have let him in their apartment from time to time and fed him. Even if Domino's true owners say he is very independent, their cat keeps asking for attention the moment we go out. So... We are in a bit of dilemma. I don't want to be labeled a catnapper. And he is no Odin, who was a true independent (if demanding), cat: Domino is far less aloof, far needier and far more vocal. All the same, it feels good to have him around and to see him wolf down the treats we give him. And he is happy around us and here. Especially since that when he is not here, he is in the garden, spending his days sitting in the mud until somebody comes to him and cuddles him. But he is not our cat. And I do not want him to develop a dependence on us that could be dangerous for him when we go away. Not to mention that we do not have the right to own a cat. I couldn't care less when I had Odin, but these are different circumstances. So this is our feline dilemma.

L'humiliation de Gérald Tremblay

Je sais que ce n'est pas vraiment une justice pleine et entière. En fait, ce n'est peut-être même pas un début de justice. Je crois que ça n'arrivera que lorsque l'ancien maire sera traduit en justice. Cela dit, quand j'ai lu hier que l'UPAC avait perquisitionné chez Gérald Tremblay, ça m'a fait comme une petite joie féroce. Ca ne sera jamais comme s'il avait été battu aux élections comme il l'aurait mérité. Mais au moins, le fieffé imbécile creatard qui croyait au Déluge et à l'Arche de Noé se fera fouiller comme un vulgaire bandit de bas étage. Ah, schandenfreude! Bien fait pour sa gueule, quand même.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Signs of the coming autumn?

I know, I know, it is a strange title to have when July is not even over yet. But it is ending. And I cannot help but see and feel the signs in the air. I might be wrong. I am no sibyl or oracle. And I know I am pushing it as I usually blog about the signs of autumn coming in August, not July. So I hesitated a lot before blogging about them. But here they are. At least I think so. Maybe it is wishful thinking, you tell me:

-The temperature has gone down. Considerably for a month of July. Even when it is sunny, it is not hot. It is warm at best. I need to wear warmer clothes. Not heavy ones, but still.
-There is often a gentle breeze, not a warm one but a cool one, that can be actually surprisingly stingy. I only have the experience of this sort of breeze when autumn is coming.
-In the evenings, the temperature goes down a lot more.
-Talking of evening, the sun goes down earlier and earlier. Of course, this would be true anyway after the solstice, but when it gets cloudy, you can feel the evening falling far more. With the temperature cooling down and the wind, it really feels like autumn.

So there you have it. Maybe wishful thinking. August months, even September sometimes, have been hotter than July. All the same, I enjoy the cooler days and the signs, whether they are red herrings or genuine.

Une co(q)uille

Ceci un billet sur les petites trouvailles que l'on découvre de temps en temps dans notre quotidien. Je veux parler de celle-ci: une coquille d'oeuf, enfin une moitié de coquille d'oeuf, prise dans le jardin. Ca a l'air d'une coquille en tout cas. Je ne sais pas de quel oiseau il s'agit. je me demande s'il y a eu un nid dans le jardin. Si c'était le cas, la coquille de l'oeuf éclos serait arrivée bien tard dans le jardin. Elle y est toujours. Petite anecdote linguistique puisqu'on parle de coquilles: en fraçais, on dit qu'une faute de frappe est une coquille. Cela vient bien entendu d'une faute de frappe sur le mot: si on n'enlève le q de coquille, alors ça devient tout autre chose et ça prend un tout autre sens. Alors voilà, coquille est notre mot du jour.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Stories of the Supernatural (an anecdote)

I blogged two days ago about my recent visit to Wallingford. It was too short a time really. I did however made time to visit their independent bookshop. As usual, I bought a few books there, as I always find treasures. I also saw a booklet called Oxfordshire Stories of the Supernatural, with a sticker saying "Only £3.95" (which makes it cheaper than online, believe it or not). The cover looked very exciting and I knew it was some stupid book of cheap thrills and "real" ghost stories, but at this price I thought I might as well purchase it. I have a thing for local folklore and legends and however silly these stories are they make for great Halloween reads.

Except that I did not purchase it. Because however I love that cover, I thought it looked awfully familiar. I thought I might already have purchased it, maybe in this very independent bookshop. So I decided not to. Buying the same book a second time is always too expensive, when you can use this money to purchase a new book you never read. And I already had made a few purchases. And it's not like my collection of scary stories is lacking, in fact I am quite proud of it, what I truly lack is time to read them. So I pondered about buying it and then giving it to someone who loves scary stories (say Buffy's owner), but then decided not to purchase. At home, I discovered my mistake: I had bought during my time in Devon its own regional Stories of the Supernatural. It had the exact same cover. Only the colours surrounding the spooky image are a bit different. So that means I will have to go back to Wallingford and its bookshop, hoping nobody will have snatched it before. Oh well, it's an excuse like any other.

Un travail de moine...

J'ai sans aucune gêne volé cette photo de la page Facebook de la Chocolaterie des Pères trappistes. Je sais, je suis un impie sans foi ni loi. ce qui est vrai: je n'aime guère l'Église et ses prêtres, je suis un apostat qui assume pleinement son anticléricalisme, sauf que je me permets d'avoir un peu d'affection pour les moines, surtout lorsqu'ils font oeuvre utile en préparant pareils délices. Car c'est difficile à battre comme dessert. Alors je leur fais de la publicité: leurs chocolats aux bleuets sont maintenant disponibles. Vous trouverez leurs points de vente ici. Je devrais dire leurs bleuets enrobés de chocolat, car c'est plus exact. Ce qui fait la différence, c'est le bleuet sauvage. Et j'imagine que ça doit être un travail délicat d'enrober tout ça de chocolat noir. Un travail de moine, en quelque sorte.

Monday, 27 July 2015

The old coat is back

As you might have known from my Friday post, I need a new coat, because my usual one leaves me soaked when it rains a lot. Well, this weekend I washed this stupid coat and as it was still drying yesterday I used my old coat. It is a coat I bought at a ridiculously cheap price back in 2009, lean, worn out, very old. Black, but that kind of pale black that is getting dangerously close to charcoal colour. I had to sew one of its pocket back because I had accidentally tear it when sitting on a chair where the pocket had caught an arm rest. So it is scarred too. You know, it's an old thing. I had replaced it with the rubbish coat I want to replace. My old coat was getting temperamental when zipping and, well, it looked very old. But I had kept it. And I thus wore it as a temporary coat yesterday and today. And... And it was fine. It is more practical than the rubbish one, as it has more pockets. It has a better hood that stays on your head. It does not leave me soaked. And the temperamental zipper seemed to be working just fine. It also looks better on me (or I look better in it). So I wonder why I wanted to get rid of it in the first place, apart from its age.

La chauve-souris se meurt au Québec

Le titre n'est pas de moi mais de La Presse Sciences. Lors de ma pause du midi, j'ai lu cet article déprimant (désespérant même) sur la chauve-souris québécoise, dont la population serait décimée par le syndrome du museau blanc (SMB). Cinq espèces seraient menacées. Ca aura un effet malsain sur l'écosystème, car les chauves-souris sont insectivores (les québécoises en tout cas). Et puis, toutes raisons environnementales mises à part, moi j'aime les chauves-souris. Je ne les ai guère vues au Qébec (ici c'est le contraire, elles sont assez nombreuses), mais je me rappelle du jardin de la famille d'un ami où elles volaient souvent le soir. Enfin, pour mes lecteurs vivants au Québec, le gouvernement sollicite des informations de la population pour répertorier les colonies de chauves-souris. Veuillez consulter pour plus d'infos. Bon voilà, j'aurai fait au moins une bonne action aujourd'hui.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The cream tea and Bean & Brew in Wallingford

As this is (still) the weekend and as a weekend tradition on Vraie Fiction I am plugging a meal from a restaurant. This is the new discovery I made yesterday in Wallingford: Bean & Brew, an independent coffee house. For the record, Wallingford is one of my favorite English towns and one of its appeals is its independent businesses, like this one. And because it is such a pretty town. So I had this classic delicious cream tea yesterday afternoon, with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The tea was from lose leafs, not teabags, from Tea People, a company Bean & Brew advertise a lot. It is the first time I've heard of them, but I will learn more, because this was one of the best teas I had in ages. That means it was the best cream tea I had in ages too, because it needs to start with a good tea. But the food was delicious too. I could have eaten more, greedy as I was. So I intend to go back to Wallingford as soon as possible to enjoy the town and this new place.

À la Sainte-Anne...

A la Sainte-Anne les bleuets sont mûrs. C'est le raisin de chez-nous, fils du feu; du sol humble et pierreux c'est l'offrande; c'est le miel des crans sauvages, le frère des éricales dans le royaume infini des sphaignes et des tourbières.

 Menaud maître-draveur, Félix-Antoine Savard

Je le cite chaque année, la même citation. Mais le chez-nous de la citation, c'est le Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. Bon, je sais, dans le roman c'est Charlevoix, mais c'est le fruit emblématique de ma région, alors je peux dire que le bleuet c'est mon raisin. Et aujourd'hui, c'est le temps de le récolter.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Irish teddy bear

You remember that I blogged about this plush toy before. It is a lovely looking teddy bear with a shamrock on his tummy that is one of the decorations and emblematic elements of the local Irish pub. i wanted to mention him again to correct a mistake I made in my first post. And also because he looks really cool. Anyway, I thought at first that he was a Care Bear, to be more precise Good Luck Bear. And, while I loved the bear, I have to confess I don't care one bit about the sickeningly sweet Care Bears. But then my brother PJ made a very accute remark in a comment: the shamrock does not have four leafs, unlike Good Luck Bear's. There are other differences, important ones, which I then noticed. Care Bears had a lot of heart shaped elements in their design: their paws, their nose and, in Good Luck Bear's case, the (four) leafs of his shamrock. This is obviously not the case here. In fact, a quick look at the Care Bear on Amazon makes you realize that the design of the bear of the Irish pub is far simpler. So this bear is either an imitation, as my brother thinks, or his resemblance to the 80s brand of plush toys and cartoon is merely coincidental.

Either way, I am very glad, because as I said I don't care about Care Bears. And imitation or coincidence, this means that this bear stand on his own, does not belong to a stupid brand which had no place in an Irish pub. Can you imagine a Care Bear drinking alcohol? Or even condoning the consumption of alcohol? Which is ironic, because some bears have been known to be drinkers. No, this bear is now truly Irish (wherever he was made). He is green and white, he has a shamrock on his tummy, he truly belongs to this pub. And I am sure he brings the luck of the Irish far better than the other one. All he needs now is a name. I might baptize him Shamrock.

Les huevos rancheros d'Aux Vivres

Je l'avoue, ceci est un pur billet de food porn et désolé si vous vivez le Supplice de Tantale en regardant ça. Mais je le subis aussi: si j'ai déjà fait la découverte des huevos rancheros, je n'ai jamais mangé la version d'Aux Vivres. Comme la plupart des photos de leurs mets végétaliens, je les ai prises... de leur page Facebook. Ces huevos rancheros s'ajoute à la longue liste de ces mets que je devrai découvrir ou redécouvrir lors de mon retour à Montréal. Petite note: bien entendu, Aux Vivres étant végétalien, ce ne sont même pas de vrais oeufs. Qu'importe, je veux essayer ça au moins une fois comme déjeuner.

Friday, 24 July 2015

I need a new coat

After more than a month or so of dry weather, it has started raining today. Pouring, in fact. I went to buy my usual sandwich treat and had to get through torrential rain. And... And I was soaked, to there and back. Because I discovered that my cheap light coat/jacket, which I bought even cheaper on a sale at some cheap shop, about two years ago. I thought that with the hood, it would be suitable enough for rainy days. Mistake, big mistake. I had already discovered this coat was not much of a raincoat at all, but today I truly felt it. I might as well have been wearing a jacket made of sponge. So the moral of the story is: I need a new coat. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to tell me.

Les Bleu Poudre et Jean Coutu pour vendredi

C'est vendredi, alors je télécharge pour célébrer et vous faire rire un peu (voire beaucoup) ce sketch de 100 Limite, avec Jean Coutu qui est en mode autoparodique et autodérision, absolument génial. Un grand acteur qui a le sens de l'humour. Pour la petite histoire, l'émission a été mon émission québécoise préférée pendant un temps et la cassette/le disque À Vendre, je l'ai écouté jusqu'à l'usure.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Planning the holiday reads

As I am planning my holidays to York, which are not for soon but still these needs to be prepared, I am also preparing my reading list for then. I do the same for every holiday: I make myself a list of a few holiday books that I try to make as much as possible relevant to the place. You might remember what I did last year for my time in Devon, which I think was a pure stroke of genius. York proved to be slightly trickier. Then I decided that I will read Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. I will rediscover a crime writer I know fairly little about, discover the source material of a classic movie I have yet to watch and more importantly... I have a book that fits thematically with the long train journey ahead. I think I am absolutely brilliant (I say it with all humility). It will be the topic of another post, but I have good reasons to believe that our time in Yorkshire will be another railway-themed holiday.

And also, as I did last year in Devon, I will also bring a book of scary stories (I don't know which one yet, I have a rather good collection, if I may say so myself). There are two reasons for it. The first one is that Yorkshire, like many great English places, seems to be full of atmosphere and character, the kind you would need to fully appreciate a scary story. The second one is, as fellow blogger Jaz from October Farm reminded me yesterday in a post, there are less than a hundred days until Halloween.That might sound silly, but that means Halloween is slowly but surely getting there. And I start reading horror stories to get myself in the mood as early as August now. First mixed with other reads, then gradually full on. But first, I will enjoy a good old crime thriller. And you, what do you read on holidays?

Sentier chicoutimien

C'est un ami à moi qui a pris cette photo, publiée sur Facebook. Un sentier de marche près de son centre-ville, à Chicoutimi, il a ajouté dans son explication sur la photo "ancienne voie ferrée". je ne sais pas si ça veut dire que ce sentier est l'ancienne voie ferrée, ou s'il est près de l'ancienne voie ferrée. J'ai décidé de la lui prendre, avec sa permission, et de la publier ici. Parce que c'est un aspect de ma ville d'origine et du Saguenay que j'aime beaucoup: la proximité avec la nature. Il suffit parfois de traverser deux ou trois rues et on se ramasse dans le bois. Enfin bref, j'irais bien me promener dans ce sentier ou dans un autre à Chicoutimi.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The name is Spectre

Ohhhh, goodie, goodie, goodie! The Bond fan in me was happy today: the new, full, full blown and fully glorious trailer of Spectre was released this morning, at 8:00AM  BST. I know I am that precise, because I watched it first thing in the morning on my phone, as soon as it was released. I was not merely happy, or excited, I was bleeding ecstatic. This may actually be the Bond movie I have been dreaming about, but never daring to hope, let alone expect, to see one day. Bond's nemesis Blofeld is most likely back, with the face of Christoph Waltz. This is a lovely throwback not only to the old days, but also to the novels. I don't want to dwell on it like I did for the previous teaser and the first one. So I am leaving the trailer below for you to enjoy and please feel free to comment on it. Am I the only one to be excited about this movie? I don't think so. And by the way, the acrylic painting on this post was done by local (I think) artist Teresa Illman, based on a scene from Skyfall. I thought I would put it here to give this post a personal touch.

Le sandwich à la crème glacée gentrifié

Petit billet de gastronomie estivale, doublé de nostalgie. Nous sommes le temps de la crème glacée et qui dit crème glacée dit sandwiches à la crème glacée. Vous en mangez encore, vous? Je me rappelle que c'était, avec le sundae, l'un de mes desserts glacés préférés quand j'étais enfant. C'était un truc souvent collant, enfin la tranche du sandwich, un biscuit au chocolat, était mou, collant et il me restait sur les doigts. On va se dire les choses franchement: c'était un dessert cheap. Mais c'était bon! Et puis je me rappelle qu'il y en a eu de meilleure qualité quand j'étais plus vieux, qui ne collaient pas autant aux doigts, tout aussi bons, mais ils avaient perdu un certain charme désuet. La dernière fois que je me rappelle avoir mangé des sandwiches glacés, c'était en 2000. Ca date. Je m'en rappelle parce que mon petit cousin de quatre ans alors s'était bourré la fraise desdits sandwiches pas longtemps avant souper lors d'un séjour chez nous. Ma mère l'a gâté pas mal plus qu'elle l'a fait avec ses propres enfants, quand on avait son âge.

Alors et enfin bref, je suis tombé sur un article de La Presse/Le Soleil en ligne titré Fondre pour le sandwich glacé. On y apprend qu'il s'est sophistiqué et en fait passablement gentrifié. Et je ne suis pas certain que ce soit une fabuleuse idée. Parce que pour moi, un sandwich glacé c'est un dessert simple, voire un peu bête, donc complètement dénué de snobisme. Et donc le grans sparage pour transformer ce dessert bête en un truc haut de gamme, je trouve ça un peu contre nature. Bon, cela dit, je suis gourmand et j'ai une dent sucrée, alors je ne bouderai pas mon plaisir si jamais j'ai l'occasion de manger un sandwich au gelato italien, ou peu importe comment il sera réinventé lors de sa gentrification. Mais j'en achèterais bien un dans un dépanneur, là, que je mangerais avec autant de plaisir.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Shady characters

It happens sometimes, mostly in the evenings or at night. My wife and I take an evening walk, or I walk back after doing some shopping, or after she walks home from her orchestra practise. There is a car parked somewhere, in the parking of this block of flats or another, or on the side of the street. And there is someone in it. Usually just one person, sometimes two. When we can see more than their silhouette in the shadows, they are people we have never seen before (and never see after), just waiting in their car, waiting for what we don't know and it is always a strange time and place to wait for whatever they are waiting. Have anyone of you ever had these types of encounters? Maybe I read too much crime fiction and I know I have a wild imagination at any time, but my imagination is really fired up and set free when I see them: I always find these people highly suspicious, if not downright sinister. I mean, we live in a small, quiet English town. A place where nothing or very little happens. Then again, I know there is crime here, like everywhere else, and sometimes violent crimes too (I might blog more about it one day). So there are these moments when I wonder if I am not witnessing something taken directly from fiction, when a hitman or a criminal of some sort is spying on his future victims. It is like walking by a crime drama about to happen. In any case, because of the circumstances of their sighting, these are truly shady characters.

Le jardin familial cet été

Mon plus jeune frère Andrew est allé passer quelques jours chez mes parents pendant les vacances. Il a pris des photos du jardin familial, notamment des clématites qui sont en fleurs, par esprit de fierté filiale. Mes frères et moi ne sommes pas le moins du monde jardiniers, mais en ce qui concerne mon père, c'est une autre paire de manches. Je n'ai pas vu la maison familiale en été, le vrai été tel qu'il l'est en juillet, depuis 2006. Et comme chaque été, il y a un moment où ça me manque. J'ai blogué sur le sujet l'année dernière. Et encore une fois je sens que quelques jours d'été chez mes parents me manquent. Et puis bon, aussi beaucoup par fierté filiale, j'ai décidé de publier une des photos des clématites contre le solarium prises par mon frère.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Shark Attack!

Here is a bit of news coming from South Africa, which you probably heard about already, because it is this kind of news. It fascinated me, as such news always do: a surfer narrowly escaped a shark attack in South Africa. Tragedy was averted, but this is nevertheless dramatic news and dwell into our most primal fears. I don't want to make fun of an event that could have ended up with the death of a man, but seeing the fins moving towards the surfer and the attack was breathtaking, because it was so genuine. It is kind of fitting that it happens in the same year Jaws is celebrating his 40th anniversary. Every time there is a shark attack, people mention the movie, I guess I just wrote something very banal here. But I consider real life events regarding sharks and documentaries about them far more interesting than any work of fiction, however entertaining. I have to confess, I find sharks as fascinating as they are scary.

L'allégorie de la taverne

J'ai lu aujourd'hui cet article dans La grosse Presse en ligne, à propos des défuntes ou quasi-défuntes tavernes, lesquelles ont été mythifiées par la pièce Broue. J'ai honte de l'admettre: je ne l'ai jamais vue. Je ne suis pas certain que je sois allé au Québec dans une taverne en bonne et due forme, moi je fréquentais les bars, mais j'ai bien dû aller dans des bars qui portaient dans leur nom le mot "taverne", même si le terme n'était peut-être pas exact. Mais qu'est-ce qui définit une taverne, au fait? Au sens propre, je veux dire. Qu'est-ce qui fait qu'un pub ou un bar est une taverne? La localité, la proximité avec sa demeure, la familiarité avec le personnel et les autres clients, peut-être? Il faudra que je pose la question en question existentielle, sans doute. Ce qui semble certain, c'est que l'époque bénie des tavernes est révolue au Québec et que c'est donc dommage.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A time for flying kites?

They were forecasting heavy rains at some point today, but it never came. It was/it is sunny and windy, sunny enough to be warm, but not to the point of making the temperature unbearable. Especially with the breeze, which made it all the more enjoyable to be outside. Sometimes it might even have been windy enough to fly a kite. When I was a child, my father used to fly a kite with us on a windy days. He had two kites actually. One was big and heavy for a kite, with a thick, massive wire, that was just flying up, not doing much but that, and another one with two wires, smaller, more manoeuvrable, able to move in different positions and do acrobatics. I loved both in different ways. On windy days, I often miss the kites and wish I had one to fly.

BIXI londoniens

Vous voyez dans cette photo que j'ai prise hier à Londres les BIXI (Bixis?). Des bicyclettes de location venant de Montréal. Ici ils ont été  rebaptisés Santander Cycles et plus familièrement Boris Bikes. À Montréal, j'avoue que je n'ai jamais su quoi penser des BIXI (Bixis?). Le cyclisme ne m'a jamais beaucoup attiré, celui de location encore moins, mais je comprends que c'est écologique en plus d'être santé. Sauf que les points de distribution de BIXI, je trouve qu'ils jurent un peu dans le paysage d'une ville. Cela dit, c'est quand même une invention montréalaise, alors de les voir alignés comme ça à Londres, ça me remplit de fierté. Je sais, c'est bête.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

What to do with bucatini?

There was an offer on Italian pasta in Marks&Spencer recently and out of pure curiosity I bought bucatini. I never had these sort of pasta before, but I was intrigued by these thick spaghetti shaped noodles with holes in them. I love thick pasta, so I thought it would make for a good dish... but I don't know how to prepare bucatini. I asked on Facebook to my Italian friends for suggestions, one of them said she did not like bucatini because she found them too thick, but that I could make the traditional bucatini all'amatriciana. The problem is that I don't like pork much, especially ham which I hate, so I would need to create/find a variation. the Wikipedia entry mentions guanciale and my friend says it is done with pancetta, but in both case, it is far too close to ham for my liking. I might just go for Bolognese sauce. But whatever I make, I am really looking forward to try them. Because, as my Italian friends taught me, there is no such thing as plain pasta. So the bucatini should be a treat.

Félix Leclerc chante Cadet Rousselle

Ce billet fait partie de la vaste catégorie des trésors que l'on trouve sur YouTube. Car récemment, en farfouillant sur YouTube, je suis tombé sur cette version de Cadet Rousselle, chanson traditionnelle française datant de la Révolution, chantée par nul autre que Félix Leclerc. Pour la petite histoire, je partage le même prénom que le personnage qui a inspiré la chanson. Je me rappelle avoir bien aimé cette chanson étant enfant, mais c'est l'interprétation de Félix qui me l'a fait redécouvrir.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Hamlet in a nutshell

I found this little comic strip on TV Tropes, on the Kill 'em All entry. I often waste time on this website, I find it both funny and insightful. I have no idea if it is from another source or an original creation, but it is a brilliant summary of Hamlet. In literally three panels (four if you count the title one), it pretty much tells the whole story and thematic of Shakespeare's tragedy. Which lasts usually what? Three, four hours, if played in its integrity? For the record, it used to be my favourite of all the plays of the Bard. Now I am not so sure. But anyway, I love this cartoon. And I hope I didn't spoil Hamlet for everyone.

La série noire du bleuet

Très mauvaise nouvelle pour les amateurs québécois de bleuets, dont je suis, et encore plus mauvaise nouvelle pour les Saguenéens et Jeannois, dont je suis encore (Saguenéen): on annonce une saison noire pour les récoltes de 2015. Le gel, l'absence de neige, tout ça augure des pertes importantes cette année et une récolte de 50% moins importante que d'habitude. Autrement dit, c'est catastrophique. Pire, c'est une tragédie. J'ai beau vivre loin, je me sens très saguenéen aujourd'hui et je suis solidaire de mes compatriotes dans leur malheur.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

London soon

There is a bit of variety coming in the monotony of everyday life: we will soon spend a day in London, with friends of ours and their family. I have ambivalent feelings about London. As a child and a tourist, going there for the first time in 1988, it was the first foreign city I visited and I fell in love with it. For me, it was the epitome of English civilization. As an adult living in England, I visited it more often, especially when I was unemployed in 2008 (going for job interviews or to register with job agencies) and I grew seriously tired of it and saw London as a dirty, stinky, smoky, busy megalopolis, peopled with drones and rotten to the chore. I blogged about it fairly often. I love some places in London, but not the whole city. And every time I go there I try to make peace with it. I will try again. If everything, it will be excuse for a longish train journey and I love traveling by train. Even though coming to London by Paddington Station is not a pretty sight. And our friends have young children, some of whom have never seen London before. It will fun to rediscover London with them. In any case, it will be a nice change of pace.

Question existentielle (265)

Mon billet de lundi m'a inspiré cette question existentielle:

-Qu'est-ce qui cause la mélancolie lorsque l'été bat son plein?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Getting stronger (through bruises and pain)

As usual, I had my Krav Maga course tonight. In the next two weeks, the course takes a break. I'm going to miss it. Tonight's class was fun, relatively relaxing I thought, maybe because it was the last one for two weeks. Or maybe I am getting stronger. We had many newbies tonight, the class is getting larger and larger. It is strange for me not to be a newcomer anymore. So anyway, I learned a few new tricks and earned a few more bruises. Maybe I am kidding myself entirely, but I do think I am getting stronger. Training is painful, but not nearly as exhausting as it was the first time. And I can take the pain now, I even welcome it. It may sound masochistic, but I know what comes with it: knowledge, reflexes, skills. After each class, I have the Rocky theme song in my head. Not much of a song really, more like a simple melody with a few words here and there. But it is one that expresses my state of mind perfectly, as well as I am sure the state of mind of many people learning a martial art. So I decided to upload it here.

Créatif à la maison (la photo du mois)

Le thème, choisi par Fanfan Raccoone, fut une vraie torture. Bon, j'ai une mansarde pour tout logement (comme le chantait Brassens), mais j'ai déjà blogué là dessus avec photo en 2008. Alors je ne voulais pas recycler, surtout que le thème demandait d'être créatif. Parfois, on a de bonnes idées trop tôt. Par conséquent au lieu de ça, j'ai décidé de prendre en photo le voile qui couvre la fenêtre de ma chambre. La fenêtre fait face à l'Est, voyez-vous, et les rideaux sont couleur crème. Alors j'ai acheté ce voile afin de couvrir la fenêtre et ainsi m'éviter de monumentales insomnies ou des réveils trop matinaux. Pas une très grande photo, mais ce fut certainement l'une de mes meilleures idées et l'un des achats les plus judicieux que j'aie fait de ma vie. Et je crois que ça compte comme gage de créativité.

Pour voir la créativité des autres, c'est par là:

A chaque jour sa photo, A'icha, Akaieric, Alban, Alexinparis, Arwen, Aude, Autour de Cia, BiGBuGS, Blogoth67, Blue Edel, Calamonique, Canaghanette, Cara, Carole en Australie, Champagne, Chat bleu, Christophe, Cocazzz, Cricriyom from Paris, CécileP, Céline in Paris, Dame Skarlette, DelphineF, Dom-Aufildesvues, Dr. CaSo, El Padawan, Estelle, Eva INside-EXpat, Fanfan Raccoon, François le Niçois, Frédéric, Félicie, Galéa, Gilsoub, Giselle 43, Guillaume, Homeos-tasie, Iris, Isaquarel, J'habite à Waterford, Josette, Julia, KK-huète En Bretannie, Koalisa, Krn, La Fille de l'Air, Lau* des montagnes, Laulinea, Laurent Nicolas, Lavandine, Lavandine83, Lecturissime, Les bonheurs d'Anne & Alex, Les Filles du Web, Loqman, Loulou, Luckasetmoi, Lyonelk, magda627, Mamysoren, MauriceMonAmour, Memories from anywhere, Morgane Byloos Photography, Nanouk, Nicky, Noz & 'Lo, Philae, Philisine Cave, Pilisi, Pixeline, princesse Emalia, ratonreal, Renepaulhenry, Rosa, Rythme Indigo, Sinuaisons, Suki, Tambour Major, Testinaute, Thalie, Tuxana, Un jour, une vie, Utopique-Lily, Woocares, Xelou, Xoliv'.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Keep the ban on fox hunting!

As people living here in the UK know, there will soon be a Parliamentary vote to relax the ban on fox hunting. You know with the title of this post where I stand on this issue: fox hunting is a cruel, barbaric, backward pseudo-sport enjoyed by cruel, barbaric, backward people who hide their uncivilized, crass, vulgar nature behind family wealth and often titles. Like Prince Charles, a prime example of the rich and thick, who threatened to leave the country if the ban was maintained. Please do, Charles! Foxes are part of British wildlife and far more useful to its ecosystem than that parasitic, inbred family of yours. In any case, they are not for your sadistic enjoyment, or your dogs. You little, little man. And Mr Cameron, you are a coward by pandering to those brainless, bloodthirsty idiots.

And don't get me wrong: I am not against hunting per se. I am a meat eater. But I find it pointless to hunt for something you would not eat. It is also cruel and unfair to the animal to go after him riding horses and with hounds to shred the prey to pieces. A prey that as I said has its place in the ecosystem and one of the most beautiful animals of Great Britain. And let's not forget that it is British wildlife that makes this island great in the first place. And the British love of their animals, domestic or wild, is one of their most admirable traits as a people. I felt very proud of my adopted country and its people when I saw these citizens wearing fox masks protesting against fox hunting by the Parliament. One of the most passionate and moving plea for keeping the ban comes from Chris Packham (of Springwatch/Autumnwatch fame) which you can find on YouTube here. I admit I borrowed a lot from him to write this post. Tell it like it is Chris!

La Bastille

Nous sommes le 14 juillet, Jour de la Bastille, fête nationale française, le coup d'envoi de la Révolution française, mais également et plus encore (pour moi en tout cas), fête républicaine. Pour un Québécois, je ne suis pas particulièrement francophile (sans être non plus francophobe). Mais cet aspect de la culture française, celui de s'être débarrassé de la monarchieje l'admire énormément. Il va sans dire que je me devais commémorer sur Vraie Fiction. Je commémore tout d'abord avec cette photo du Tricolore, prise lors du marché français en mai.

Ensuite par cette citation de Danton, que j'ai déjà utilisée en 2011. Parce que, bon an mal an, c'est en ça que la Révolution française a été... révolutionnaire. Et c'est pourquoi je la trouve admirable:

"Nous avons brisé la tyrannie des privilèges en abolissant ces pouvoirs auxquels n'avait droit aucun homme. Nous avons mis fin au monopole de la naissance et de la fortune dans tous ces grands offices de l'état, dans nos églises, dans nos armées, dans toutes les parties de ce grand corps magnifique de la France.

Nous avons déclaré que l'homme le plus humble de ce pays est l'égal des plus grands. Cette liberté que nous avons acquise pour nous-mêmes nous l'avons affectée aux esclaves et nous confions au monde la mission de bâtir l'avenir sur l'espoir que nous avons fait naître.

C'est plus qu'une victoire dans une bataille, plus que les épées et les canons et toutes les cavaleries de l'Europe et cette inspiration, ce souffle pour tous les hommes, partout en tout lieu, cet appétit, cette soif de liberté jamais personne ne pourra l'étouffer

Monday, 13 July 2015

Cthulhu rising

 I found this picture on Facebook. Apparently it is a fake, from what I gathered from my researches on the internet. All the same, I had to upload it here. Faked or not, it is an amazing one. The Lovecraft aficionados like myself will easily recognize Cthulhu. It reminds me of the time when I used to play Call of Cthulhu, actually around this time of year. I kind of miss the rainy afternoons when we played it. I sometimes get in the mood for cosmic horror. Since I saw this picture, this is one of those times.

Monotonie estivale

Cette photo a été prise vendredi dernier. C'est l'ancienne mairie de la petite ville où j'habite. Je la publie ici ce soir parce que j'ai utilisé une photo du même endroit en 2009 pour illustrer assez arbitrairement le sujet du billet. Trouvez-vous que c'est une photo jolie mais monotone? Parce que c'est exactement ce qui semble se produire dans la psychée des gens ces temps-ci: tout le monde a l'air morose. Bon, le dimanche et le lundi, ça peut avoir une explication, mais la mélancolie semblait déjà installée vendredi et dans une moindre mesure samedi. Et ça n'a rien à voir avec la température, bien que ce soit moins visible lorsque le soleil est là. C'est quelque chose de quasiment imperceptible, mais ça se devine par la mine basse, le ton de voix, le maintient, la façon qu'ont les gens de marcher. Il y a comme un manque d'enthousiasme généralisé. Et bien entendu, je le ressens aussi. Je crois que nous avons tous besoin de vacances. Mais outre cela, je me demande bien ce qui rend parfois le coeur de l'été monotone comme maintenant.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The Chinese gods of the elements

 You might remember that I blogged earlier in the year about this book, from which I took this image. I am reading it at the moment, so I might blog about it in the future. It is overcast today and it reminded me of this image. This represents the gods of the elements: the lady in the center is the Lightning God (goddess), projecting beams of lights from the mirror she is holding. On the left you see the Thunder God, ugly and rather scary looking with his beak, clawed feet and bat wings and on the right you have the Wind God, barely less nasty looking. For some reason, completing the picture are two beautiful Chinese dragons. Apparently, the Thunder God was the most featured in legends and he looked far more threatening than he was, in fact he was known to help humans from time to time. So here it is. I thought the image looked quite nice and deserved to be shared on Vraie Fiction.

Dinosaures technologiques

Je suis allé hier au soixantième anniversaire de l'école où travaille ma femme. On y présentait des artefacts de l'ancien temps, une caisse enregistreuse notamment, et des téléphones cellulaires, dont ces cossins. Celui dans la photo du haut est un téléphone cellulaire pas très cellulaire, plutôt un dinosaure, en taille et en conception, aussi gros ou à peu près qu'un combiné de téléphone de la même époque. Selon mes recherches et le design, je dirais que celui-ci date des années 70. C'est quand même un vrai de vrai dinosaure.

Celui-ci ressemble plus aux téléphones cellulaires que j'ai vus pour la première fois. Il date je pense du début des années 90, peut-être fin 80. Plus petit, mais tout de même un dinosauréen. La première fois que je me rappelle avoir vu un téléphone cellulaire, lequel ressemblait pas mal plus à celui-là, c'était Chez Georges à Chicoutimi. Il y avait un homme en costard qui l'utilisait avec ostentation, en conversation d'affaires, ignorant son compagnon de table. Je me rappelle que ma mère avait trouvé ça vraiment impoli. Et maintenant tout le monde en a et que ça n'impressionne plus personne. On se plaint souvent que les nouvelles technologies envahissent nos vies, mais je ne pourrais m'imaginer sans cellulaire maintenant. Et d'un certain côté, leur taille comme leur omniprésence les a rendus plus discrets. Maintenant, l'utilisateur de cellulaire n'impressionne plus personne. Du temps que les dinosaures technologies faisaient leurs apparitions, ils étaient plus visibles.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Summer crimes

"The car rolled north on Wisconsin beneath a blazing white sun. The men inside wore long-sleeved shirts, tails out. Their shirtfronts were spotted with sweat and their backs were slick with it. The black vinyl on which they sat was hot to the touch. From the passenger seat, Frank Farrow studied the street. The sidewalks were empty. Foreign-made automobiles moved along quietly, their occupants cool and cocooned. Heat mirages shimmered up off asphalt. The city was narcotized - it was that kind of summer day."

Shame the Devil, George Pelecanos

As people following this blog know, I am a seasonal reader: I read certain books according to seasons as much as possible. I read crime fiction all the time, every time of the year. But there is something about reading a crime book during summertime, especially when the story is set during summertime, even more so when the weather matches the one in the book. It is the case right now. Well, I should say it was. I read the first chapter of Shame the Devil, which is set in July 1995, on a hot summer day. Then the action moves to January 1998. But hey, no matter, it is a great crime novel (can Pelecanos write anything lesser than great?) and the beginning shows summer in such a sinister, ominous glory, I had to share it on this blog.

J'essaie d'être créatif à la maison...

Ca commence vraiment à me taper sur les nerfs: je cherche une photo pour La photo du mois, dont le thème est "Soyez créatifs à la maison". Quid? Explication de Fanfan Racoon qui a choisi le thème: "Le challenge sera de nous faire découvrir notre chez nous sous un angle insolite, un cadrage inattendu, une lumière imprévue. Alors déambulez à la maison votre appareil photo à la main, laissez entrer la lumière et soyez créatifs." Or, je vis dans un trois et demie assez grand, trop bordélique et trop cher, mais dans une ville charmante. Ah, mais je vis dans un grenier, ce qui est créatif... sauf que j'ai déjà blogué là-dessus en 2008. Alors bon voilà, j'ai quatre jours pour être créatif et je bloque.

Werewolves and a child's imagination

Last week, my wife and I spent Saturday afternoon (as we often do) with her friend's family, including her daughter and her daughter's friend (the ticklers). They were playing in a small children swimming pool, playing as being sharks (but I digress, this is for another topic). Anyway, I told them about the last full moon and that the next one would be a blue moon. Then I said, joking, that I turned into a werewolf that night. They seemed skeptical. The daughter said: "No, really?" I said, yes really, and I had grown fangs and claws and fur. She then asked if I grew a tail. I didn't know how to answer that. If I had grown full wolf, I guess so. But half wolf half man, maybe not. Her friend said, kind of mockingly: "Surely you cannot grow any hairier than you are." And that is a new great unknown line. The daughter kept questioning me, then my wife, who corroborated my story telling them she woke up in the night and I was gone.

I thought they had just played along, but my wife told me later that the daughter, who is nine, seemed to be of two minds about it. She once said she thought werewolves were cute, but my wife told me she looked a bit scared at some point. Which made me feel really bad. They both love horror and have a fascination for Halloween (by the way wouldn't this have been a great countdown to Halloween post?), one of the reasons why we bound so well (the daughter even said recently that I am just like her). But I never thought they, or at least one of them, would ponder over the possibility that I am a werewolf. I really thought they were simply playing along.

Les hot dogs (gastronomie estivale)

Je m'excuse pour écrire un deuxième billet de suite sur la nourrite et sur le côté purement food porn de celui-ci. J'ai téléchargé cette photo sur la page Facebook d'Aux Vivres. Je la télécharge aujourd'hui parce que ma femme et moi allons aujourd'hui à un barbecue donné par son école. Il y aura notamment des hot dogs. Viandeux, bien entendu. Il y aura peut-être une option végétarienne, mais sans doute pas de la qualité de celle-ci. C'est que je me suis découvert une préférence pour les hot dogs végés depuis un certain temps. Je n'ai toujours pas mangé ceux d'Aux Vivres, même si je les ai déjà plogués sans vergogne. Cela dit, je trouve les hot dogs végés plus santés. Alors ceux d'Aux Vivres, accompagnés d'une salade comme sur cette photo, imaginez...

Mais enfin bref, les hot dogs. Avec les burgers (et des fois les plats mexicains), c'est pour moi la quintessence de la gastronomie estivale. Il n'y a rien qui goûte l'été comme un hot dog, rien qui sente l'été comme un barbecue. Ceux-ci, des tempeh dogs, sont un peu pâlottes, mais avec la salade et les oignons crus, ils font très très été. Et je commence drôlement à obséder à propos d'eux.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Friday (Subway) sandwich treat

After a hard week, I thought I deserved a Friday treat for tonight's dinner. And this was my treat: a disgusting, decadent Subway sandwich. Hearty Italian (?) bread, steak, melted cheese (spicy cheese, whatever that is), olives, pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, sweet pepper, hot pepper, Deli mustard, barbecue sauce and I think that is all. The secret for a good sub sandwich if you have steak as your main filling is the olives and the mustard I think. And something spicy for good measure. It looks disgusting, but it is actually delicious, even though I am sure I will regret taking such a high amount of calories in one go.

We can say whatever we want about Subway, but the local one is actually a little gem in its own way. It is by far the best every Subway I ever been to. I was going for Subway food in two occasions when I was living in Québec: 1)I was starving and desperate for food and 2)I was drunk at the end of a night out and needed something to sponge the beer. For me, Subway serves food for the drunks. The local one, interestingly enough, closes at 9:00PM, which for me is the strangest thing. Maybe that's why it's such a good one: their clientele is not mainly composed of drunkards. What makes the big difference here is the staff: they are friendly, warm, even helpful. As far as submarine sandwiches go, the staff is enthusiastic even sometimes about them. Far from the bored drones we usually have in ours (I mentioned them here), who do the absolute minimum. The guy at the counter even made me taste a slice of pickle to make sure I'd like it! Just for the customer experience, I feel less guilty about eating that disgusting, greasy, yet delicious sandwich.

Quoi ne pas faire en fin de semaine

C'est vendredi, alors j'ai décidé de me taper et de vous faire apprécier un peu de nostalgie, avec un extrait de La fin du monde est à 7 heures. C'est bien entendu la chronique Quoi ne pas faire en fin de semaine de Bruno Blanchet. Ca valait la peine de regarder l'émission le vendredi juste pour ça. Je ne rappelais pas de cette chronique en particulier, alors c'est une heureuse redécouverte. Blanchet est vraiment maître dans l'humour absurde: on commence sans trop savoir où il veut en venir, les premiers gags tombent volontairement à plat, puis l'absurde se produit et c'est tordant.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

I want my travel mug

I took this picture from David's Tea's Facebook page. I already blogged about their travel mugs.  Now David's Tea taunts me with a Tea Travels Contest. And I don't have/use Instagram. They also wrote a blog post explaining which is the best travel mug to take when you go on holiday. So I want one even more now. I don't know which one in their range yet I will buy, but I will buy one next time I am in Montreal. Probably one of the carry travel mugs, like the one you see on the picture. It would be perfect for long train journeys.  What do you think? I am terrible: I don't have one yet and I am already looking forward to use it.

Un gag de Mafalda

Je sais que c'est un billet court, mais c'était sur Mafalda que j'avais envie de bloguer ce soir. J,ai eu une journée épuisante et j'ai le cerveau ramolli un tantinet, alors je ne bloguerai rien de trop profond pour le moment. Mais Mafalda est profonde, même quand elle est ironique comme ici.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Return of the Wednesday Warrior

I was really anxious after last week to go to my Krav Maga course tonight, as there will soon be a two weeks break. So I managed to get there tonight, if a few minutes late (but I was not the latest, which I found quite funny). And it was like I had never missed a class, or it felt like it anyway. It was a bit more difficult doing push ups at the end, I think I was out of shape (I mean more than how I usually am), but I could still throw a few good punches and did pretty well with all the exercises. The class lasted two hours this time, which is exactly what I needed, after the disappointment of last week. Even the pain felt good. It was nice spending energy like this anyway, learning something useful at the same time. Okay, so I am not exactly the great Israeli army close combat expert, but I am turning into a decent Wednesday Warrior.

Le milieu de l'été

Petite observation bête que j'ai faite aujourd'hui: nous sommes en plein milieu de l'été. Enfin, pas tout à fait, j'imagine que le vrai milieu de l'été est le 15 juillet, mais grosso modo, lorsque juillet est entamé, on est dans le milieu de l'été. En Angleterre, ça ne veut pas dire grand-chose: les vacances scolaires ne sont même pas commencées. C'est une absurdité du système scolaire anglais: l'année scolaire n'en finit plus de finir. Les vacances sont trop courtes. Au Québec, les enfants sont en vacances. Ce qui est bien avec le mois de juillet, un mois qu'en général je n'aime guère, c'est qu'on ne souffre pas de mélancolie de fin de vacances, ce qui me prend dès le mois d'août. Que je sois en vacances ou non. C'est un truc ancré dans la psychée je crois. Je regrette parfois de ne plus prendre de vacances de juillet, mais c'est que je n'aime plus autant la saison qu'avant.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The fruits for July

Today was/is the first Tuesday of the month. This means that the fruit baskets were back at work. I am really getting fond of this monthly ritual, which started in February. It gives me much needed fruits to make my breakfast complete and it brightens my day. Anecdote: I just discovered (by actually paying attention to the label on the basket) that the company that provided the fruit is Fruitful Office. For July we did not have pears, but there were nectarines and clementines added to the usual bananas and apples mix. I didn't have clementines because I find it too out of season in July (I start eating them on November). I took a green apple and a banana, ate the green apple and brought the banana home. The banana is a bit raw still, but I will have it tonight. And I am already looking forward to next month.

Le maire Tremblay: bien fait pour sa gueule!

Oh la bonne nouvelle que je lis aujourd'hui! Le maire de Saguenay Jean Tremblay a une fois de plus perdu un procès, cette fois contre l'opposition, à qui il avait tenté de couper les vivres, dans une entourloupe antidémocratique dont le mollah Tremblay a le secret. Maintenant il devra non seulement donner les budgets à l'opposition auxquels elle a droit, mais en plus il devra le faire rétroactivement. Bien fait pour sa gueule! Vous ai-je dit tout le mépris que j'ai pour cet homme? Le Saguenéen expatrié que je suis commence quand même à aimer ce qui se passe dans sa région et sa ville: à chaque fois que Jean Tremblay va en procès, il le perd. Heureusement qu'il n'est pas avocat (et je ne voudrais pas être le sien).

Monday, 6 July 2015

Farewell to Nova Scotia

No, no, I am not leaving Nova Scotia, I actually never been there. But my brother PJ went to Halifax recently, discovered this song and shared it with me, suggesting I'd put it on the blog when I'd feel like it. I loved it and decided that I would upload it tonight, sung by the Irish Rovers. They have perfect voice for this kind of song.

I do have a bit of history with Nova Scotia, even if I never went there. My great-grandfather was born there. His father was a sailor man, his wife had died in childbirth. He gave the baby in adoption/foster care to a family in Quebec City. So the baby grew up there. He kept his family name of Archibald, saw his father only once in a while, then he married a Quebec girl who gave birth to many little Archibalds, including my grandfather (the father of my mum). This family ancestry may explain why so many of us, my grandfather and myself included, became so Anglophile. Anyway, I often wonder about this Archibald sailor, and this song makes me think of me. It could have been written for him.

Une limonade

J'écris encore sur des breuvages, j'espère qu'on me pardonne. Et j'écris encore sur l'été, en plus. Je suis un blogueur saisonnier. Mais enfin bref, c'est une autre petite tradition estivale que j'aime bien respecter: au moins une fois dans l'été, je prends une limonade. Celle-ci a été prise dimanche au centre d'achat, après que j'aie magasiné mes nouvelles chaussures. Comme je déteste le magasinage, il fallait bien me récompenser un peu. C'était dans un café spécialisé dans les muffins, un de ces coins sans âmes et pas foudroyants (comme dirait ma mère). La limonade était fraîchement pressée, paraît-il. Permettez-moi d'en douter. Cela dit, sans être foudroyante, elle était buvable et bon, difficile de trouver plus estival comme boisson non alcoolisée que la limonade. En plus celle-ci était joliment présentée, avec les feuilles de menthe, le citron et la paille rayée verte. Enfant, c'était ce que je préférais boire l'été. Je ne connaissais pas encore la bière et puis mes parents ne nous permettaient pas de boire des colas souvent. Alors bon, c'était la limonade les journées chaudes.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A new cat in the neighbourhood

This is the new cat that has been dwelling recently in the block's garden. He's been coming to the garden a lot during the evenings. The first time I saw this cat, he was meowing in the bush where my cat Odin used to dwell. Since Odin died tragically, I add an odd feeling of déjà vu. This cat was at first both cuddly and sometimes a bit scared, but he warmed up to us quickly. Like Odin, he gained the affection of the residents here. He is very affectionate himself, running against me, standing on my legs when I bend down to stroke him, he even touched my face with his nose, a sign of trust, if what I read is correct. I But I will not adopt this one: I know he has owners and that he's not a stray cat. I saw him once by the door of a nearby home. An evening when the cat was in the communal garden, I knocked at the door of these neighbours and asked if he was their cat. They confirmed it was theirs. And that he was a boy. I didn't ask what was his name. Maybe I should have had. I guess I will need to give him one.

Le magasinage du dimanche

J'ai fait quelque chose que je déteste faire aujourd'hui: du magasinage dans la ville voisine. Pire, j'ai fait ça un dimanche. Je n'aime guère le dimanche en général, je l'aime un peu moins quand je dois magasiner. Mais enfin bref, mes souliers étaient sur le point de rendre l'âme et comme Clarks a fermé récemment ici et qu'il n'y a pas d'autres boutiques de souliers abordables ici, j'ai dû acheter mes nouveaux souliers dans le plus proche magasin Clarks. Résultat: j'ai de nouvelles chouclaques (littéralement) et je n'ai pas vu mon dimanche passer. Pour le meilleur et pour le pire.

First Stormy Night?

I think we might have had our first storm of the summer last Friday. As I was falling asleep, I could hear the storm coming. At first it was lightning and thunder from far away, then I could see and hear it closer and closer. When it was over the town, it kept me awake a few minutes. Then I fell back asleep. I guess storms are relaxing. I hope we have another one soon, when I can be fully awake. I love summer storms. All storms really, but there is something about summer storms that is absolutely magnificent.

Le temps de boire des pommes

C'est mon deuxième billet de suite sur un produit alcoolique, j'imagine que ça doit être de saison. Photo prise à Totnes, dans le Devon, dans ce restaurant. J'utilise la photo sans vergogne afin d'illustrer mon propos. Pour la petite histoire, ce cidre organique cuvée 2013 d'Ashridge était délicieux. Enfin bref, l'un de nos pubs locaux a un festival du cidre en fin de semaine. Je doute qu'ils aient un produit de qualité comme celui que j'ai bu à Totnes, en fait je crois que ce sera des grandes marques populaires, mais je vais faire un tour juste pour voir et parce que je boirais bien un peu de cidre s'il y en avait de qualité. Le cidre anglais est capable du pire et du meilleur, il faut savoir séparer le bon grain de... non, plutôt les bonnes et mauvaises pommes.

Encore une autre anecdote pour la petite histoire: l'expression "boire une pomme" vient de mon frère PJ. Il s'applique d'abord au jus de pommes, mais aussi le cidre. Ca veut dire boire un produit de la pommes qui goûte vraiment le fruit d'où il vient.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dizzy Blonde

This post is sort of related to the American Independence Day, because the beer I am going to blog about was inspired by American beers. So I found this blonde beer at a local pub, it is from Robinsons Brewery. At first I thought it was called Ditzy Blonde, as in, you know, the archetype (or maybe I should say stereotype). But no, actually it is Dizzy like I am feeling dizzy. And like a short name, Dizzy being the blonde on the label. I guess dizzy sounds more fitting than ditzy: the image of the blonde on the tap (I know the picture is not great) does not look that stupid and when you drink, although you can become kind of a ditz, you have more chances to be dizzy. Anyway, because of the silly yet clever name name, I thought I would try it, even though I usually don't go for blondes. I am still talking about beers.

So what did I think of it? First let me say that, while I admire the United States, I was rarely impressed by their beers, although I did enjoy the products of their microbreweries. And one thing to say about blondes in general (blonde beers, I am talking of beers) is that they tend IMO to be as vapid as the stereotype. Easy enough to drink, quickly drunk too, but you quickly forget about them because they often lack character and they are not as good as... Well, you quickly forget about them. I do, anyway, unless it is a much darker blonde. So I go for blonde... beers, when it is nice outside and I want to drink something easy. Which was the case that day. And to be very honest, I cannot remember much how Dizzy tasted like.

Question existentielle (264)

J'ai écrit ce billet il y a deux jours, sur la lecture au Parc Lafontaine. Ainsi que promis, je pose une question existentielle sur le même sujet:

-Quoi lire au Parc Lafontaine?

Friday, 3 July 2015

"What's the blandest thing on the menu?"

It's Friday, so I thought I would upload here a sketch from Goodness Gracious Me. I know very little about them, but I know this sketch, which is hilarious. If you ever witnessed the less than savory behaviour of some intoxicated English people drunken on a Friday night, more particularly in Indian restaurants, something that shocked me when I first came here, you can see how authentic this is. In a reverse way, of course.

Le Festival de théâtre d'Avignon

Pour les chanceux qui vivent en France ou qui peuvent y aller ces temps-ci: j'apprends dans La Presse que le Festival de théâtre d'Avignon commence demain. J'ai déjà visité Avignon une fois dans ma vie, en 2001, j'ai trouvé l'endroit vraiment charmant. Mais c'était en avril, alors que la ville était passablement tranquille. Parce que je suis un amoureux du théâtre, c'est vraiment à ce moment-là que je voudrais être à Avignon. Et cette année en plus, ils montent Le Roi Lear. J'ai souvent lu sur les productions du festival, depuis ma visite en 2001. Ce n'est pas ce qui m'a donné la piqûre des planches, j'avais joué dans des pièces depuis l'année d'avant, mais comme je caressais un peu le désir de devenir acteur, disons que l'évènement me faisait rêver. C'est donc sur ma liste des choses à faire: aller à Avignon pendant son festival.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The first full moon

A quick reminder to my readership: tonight is the full moon, in case you didn't know. And exceptionally, July this year will have two full moons. So it means that the second moon of July will be a blue moon. If you believe in werewolves, that means this month will be swarming with them. Unfortunately, I don't. And I don't turn into one either. According to Québec's folklore, I would be the perfect candidate to become a werewolf (as I haven't been to confession for a very long time). So every night of full moon, I am disappointed because I don't get any hairier and don't grow fangs or claws. But anyway, if you love full moons like I do, you will be served this month.

Lire au Parc Lafontaine...

J'ai récemment vu cette vidéo dans La grosse Presse en ligne, sur ce que les gens lisent au Parc Lafontaine. Et en la regardant, ça m'est venu à l'esprit: malgré avoir vécu sur le Plateau Mont-Royal pendant des années, même si j'étais à une distance de marche du Parc Lafontaine, je n'y ai jamais lu quoi que ce soit, sauf les piédestaux des monuments. J'ai lu dans bien d'autres parcs, sauf celui-là. Pourtant, avec l'été qui est arrivé et comme j'adore lire dehors, ça aurait été une idée inspirée. Mais bon, je pourrai bien me rattraper lors de ma prochaine visite à Montréal, pourvu qu'il ne fasse ni trop froid, ni trop mauvais temps. Quant à savoir quoi lire, j'en ferai peut-être une question existentielle. D'ici là, j'ai découvert une autre raison pour m'ennuyer de Montréal et du Plateau.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Summertime is Hell

Let it be known. It is hell. It was the first day of a heatwave today and because of this many trains got cancelled. And delayed. And delayed then cancelled. This evening after work, I waited for more than an hour for the train home to arrive, only to have it stop at the station before my stop... to go back to where it started. Something to do with the railway that could not come with the heat. Well, neither did I. In the end, taxis were called, we were six commuters crammed in one of these large ones that don't feel so big when you are crammed in them, to take the final journey home. And we were given one bottle of water. One small bottle of water. The train drivers were embarrassed and very apologetic. But if I could have had a few words with the decision makers who mismanaged the situation. Heatwaves annot be avoided, but you can and should manage them when they come.

Needless to say, I missed Krav Maga tonight. The one thing I was looking forward all week, in the middle of an exhausting week at work. In fact, looking forward is an understatement: I could barely wait for tonight, I needed the exercise, bugger the heatwave, I needed to feel exhausted and in pain in a pleasant way, feeling like I was accomplishing something. I am not merely angry, I am bloody outraged. Because that stupid train made me waste my evening.

Jour du Déménagement 2015

J'utilise la même photo que l'année dernière pour illustrer l'arrivée du 1er juillet. C'est l'ancien appart qu'on avait sur le Plateau. Car qui dit premier juillet au Québec dit... Oui! Nous sommes en effet le Jour du Déménagement. Je me demande bien pourquoi d'ailleurs, je veux dire pourquoi on s'est passé le mot pour déménager le 1er juillet, en plein été, avec la canicule qui peut nous tomber dessus et tout. Le Jour du Déménagement, donc, qu'ossa donne? L'avez-vous vécu aujourd'hui? Avez-vous déménagé un 1er juillet dans votre vie? Si oui, comment c'était?