Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fat City no more for the raccoons

So the city or the park administration finally took the feeding of the raccoons at the belvedere on Mont Royal seriously and put up some permanent signs.

The situation was out of control, with people bringing bags of cat food and dumping them on the ground.  According to the local group Les Amis de la Montagne there was something like twice the amount of raccoons on Mont-Royal than the land could actually support.  I always wondered what happened to them in the winter.  Did people still come by and feed them?  Did the fat they had built up all summer help them make it through?  Or did a bunch die off every winter?  If the signs work and people really do stop feeding them, than I guess we will have a bunch of dead raccoons over the next year.  What happens to their bodies?

Maybe the raccoons who are so used to humans doing their bidding will get aggressive now that the food is not forthcoming.  It will start off small, with them approaching people, tugging on their pant leg.  Then one day one of them will climb up some little girl and yank her ice cream sandwich from her hands.  Then they'll start ganging up, pulling down small children and frail older people.  Or maybe they get sneaky, chewing brake lines on people's parked cars as they roll a joint or make out at night then following the car down Camillien-Houde until it crashes where they jump in and feast on the bodies before the ambulance arrives.

That fine has some teeth.  How will it be enforced, though?
I also like the "Je suis porteur de maladies" line.  It's basically untrue, at least to the extent that anybody would ever get sick from feeding a raccoon.  Obviously, it could happen, but the rate would be so minimal that there would be no real social cost.  It's just that our society has become so obsessed with health and safety (and our own individual well-being of course), that that simple line will probably be incredibly effective.  All the ignorant people who are only capable of thinking of their own pleasure will get that message quite quickly, especially the freaked-out parents of today.  Really, it's quite clever.

Next time I see somebody from Les Amis de la Montagne, I'll ask them about the story behind the sign.  The last time I talked to them, they lamented about how hard a time they were having educating people about not feeding the raccoons and how they had put signs up only to have them all torn down.  I'm curious how they got real action to be taken and how effective it actually is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Indie hip-hop video being filmed downtown

Behind St-Cats and St-Elizabeth.  Some sweet graffiti back there.  These guys were rapping over a boombox of their own tracks while two others filmed them with what looked like a smartphone and a digital point-and-shoot camera.  That's some indie shit.  If anybody recognizes them, let me know their name so I can see if I can find their music anywhere.  Their delivery showed promise.

A near-perfect walk

We've had a beautiful Autumn here this year and I have taken advantage of it.  The weekend before last, when the leaves changing was at its apex and the weather was unseasonably warm, I did the "summit" of Mont Royal on both Saturday and Sunday.  On Saturday I did it with the sunset and on Sunday, I went up in the late morning/early afternoon.  Below are my pictures from the Sunday trip.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The mountain

It's probably going to be crowded, but if you have the opportunity to go up Mont-Royal today, I strongly recommend that you do so.  I had a nice long evening walk yesterday and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thursday, November 03, 2011


The widest bulldog ever.  When he has some energy, he is actually quite playful.  His neighbours have a hard time taking him for a walk in public because everybody wants to pet him.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Mile End Photoshoot

Spotted late summer coming out of the alley.  That car has been sitting there for a while.  Glad somebody made use of it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Apples

Got these at the farmer's market on St-Dominique between St-Joseph and Laurier.  That (and the closing down of the street that allowed it to exist) have turned out to be a real boon.  I'll miss it when they close for the winter.

But what's the story with the local apple trees.  I passed several in the alleys of Mile End and they all have this diseased look.  The owners let them fall and rot, so I imagine they aren't edible.  Does anybody know what the story is?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Hank Williams Scandal: Bad Logic and Butthurt

Are you ready for some butthurt!
The whole Hank Williams "scandal" perfectly encapsulates everything that is wrong with American political culture and the media that amplifies it.  In a nutshell, Americans want to be offended, they want to be outraged.  They are constantly looking for fuel to feed their baseless resentment.  And the media is constantly providing.

After saying he wouldn't support any of the Republican party candidates for president, non-celebrity, non-pundit, non-talented Hank Williams Jr. complained about Obama and Boehner (Safari spellcheck suggests "Boner" here) playing golf together.  He then made the simile that them doing was would be like Netanyahu and Hitler playing golf together.

Cue the butthurt.  Get ready for the outrage.  We're all so offended that he would dare to "compare Obama to Hitler".  The announcers kept probing to make absolutely sure that he was aware that he had dared to use the word Hitler.  The next few days there is a wave of media reaction.  Monday Night Football ends their contract with him (his song "Are you Ready for some Football!" has been the opening theme since 1989).

Who is angry? What is your reasoning for being offended?  There is none.  These words did not offend the people who are freaking out.  They are already offended.  Their whole lives are consciously or sub-consciously dedicated to seeking out reasons to get into an uproar.  This is our puritan culture, the same one that freaked out about comic books or Dungeons & Dragons or Janet's nipple slip.

The righteousness and the vigilance has always been there.  The new element is the personal affront.  Now it's not just morally offensive, it's actually a personal attack against you somehow.  Everything is about you now.  Right or left. It's like a competition between two drama queens about who can be the most personally damaged by somebody else's words.  Nobody gives a shit about Hank Williams Jr., particularly on the left (most people on the left had probably never even heard of him) and now all of a sudden his words are so powerful and dangerous that he must be forced to apologize and his music must not be allowed to be heard!

Bad Logic
The thing that is so insane about all this is that he did not even compare Obama to Hitler.  He compared the association of Boehner and Obama, two people who are supposed to be enemies, to the leader of the Jewish state and the leader of the state that wanted to kill all the Jews, clearly enemies.  Logically, it's the same  as saying "Boehner and Obama playing golf together is like a cat and dog going for a walk together."  He wasn't comparing Hitler to anyone.  But the use of that word is a trigger for the perpetually butthurt.  So all logic is thrown out the window.  The need for the emotional release trumps rationality and clear thought.  This is why America is doomed.  We're stupid and emotional.

Now to really trigger the butthurt
This same phenomenon is what made 9/11 so awesome for most Americans (minus the ones who actually lost somebody).  It was the butthurt they had all been waiting for for so long.  The real shock the followed the attacks was not that somebody had actually dared to attack America.  Americans had been behaving as if they were under attack for a decade already.  The shock was the incredible scale of it.  But the fact of it played right into everyone's desire to be angry and righteous.

And then look at the most famous flawed logic of the 21st century that followed 9/11: the costly, wasteful, politically ineffective invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan which resulted in a stronger, crazier form of Islamic Extremism and an acceleration of America's economic collapse.

The choice that Americans were given was: 1) indulge in your most satisfying, childish emotions of righteous anger or 2) suck it up and make rational decisions about your country's future.  They chose the first option and they are still choosing it.  The media and the politicians are all banking on that choice and that is probably the road we are going to ride right into oblivion.

So keep an eye out for future media-fueled butthurt incidents.  Ask yourself if what was said is truly offensive.  Check the logic of the arguments.  And even if you do find solid logic and a reason to be offended, look deep inside yourself.  Are you really offended?  Or was that emotion already there?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Just have to join the cavalcade of reaction to Steve Jobs' death.  While I am generally very much against this weird public mourning that our society seems to feel it has to do every time somebody famous dies, I do appreciate the recognition that society is giving to Steve Jobs' impact on our society.

We got our first computer in 1984 and it was a Mac.  My dad was a longtime computer hobbyist, but highly critical of the mainstream trends of computing and it was a running joke in our family about how my dad kept putting off buying a computer.  The whole family stood around the kitchen table as we opened the box and took out all the smaller boxes.  Looking back on it now, I realize that it was one of the earliest times that I would see a product where the packaging was all part of a total product experience.  Not sure if that is such a good thing, but it is certainly ubiquitous today (though still nobody is able to do it as well as Apple).

Man, did I ever get into that thing.  Happily, the computer was kept in the guest room right across from my bedroom.  I used to spend hours with MacPaint, playing Infocom games, just monkeying around.  I still find it a bit hard to believe that you used to have to actually load the programs into RAM via the disk drive.  I got amazingly fast at swapping 3.5" floppies in and out.  The joke (that I only learned about during the best man speech at my wedding) was that when I invited people over to come play with our Mac, it meant inviting people over to come and watch me play with the Mac. Sorry guys!  For my sister's birthday,  I made a birthday card with MacPaint and signed it "From the family and Macie" and then I had the voice synthesizer say happy birthday to her.

I got way out of computers when I went to college (even though, Ironically, I went to Reed, whose computer lab was one of the first all Mac college labs in the country).  I sort of regret that, as I lost some learning.  When I did get into the workforce, my first corporate job was in a Mac environment and all of a sudden I was the only guy who knew how to really make them sing.  From then on in, in my varied career, my computer skills have always been a fundamental part of whatever job I've been doing.  I actually went back to school a few years ago and got a diploma in Computer Science.  I just didn't have the focus or the nerdy patience to tinker with UNIX when I was a kid.  The interface of the Mac stimulated my imagination and got me into computers.  Today, I'm working in a mostly Windows office  and have made my peace with that ugly but functional OS.  It helps that I don't have to live in fear of never using a decent interface again.  Thanks to Apple (and Google and a lot of other factors), competition is fierce in the computer market.

Today, the Apple haters are in the minority and on the run.  And even they have to recognize Apple's impact on technology.  But it didn't used to be like that.  Back in the day, Mac users were a real minority, sneered at and dismissed by more "serious" computer users.  I can't tell you how many times I had to listen to people argue with this sort of pedantic, superior tone about how Macs weren't a real business computer, how it was totally correct for game companies to not design games for them, how you couldn't actually control them (yeah, like DOS was somehow really getting at the guts of the system).  Where are those sysadmins and businessmen today?  Desperately waiting in line for their iPhone 4S, that's where.  Suck it bitches!  Sorry, I know that's petty during this sad time, but I just can't help myself.  You were wrong and I was right.

Oh yes, and a special shout-out to all you losers who used the Macs are too expensive argument.  Yes, for a certain percentage of the North American population, a Mac is out of their price range and they can get a fine Windows laptop for a lot cheaper.  But the ones who were making that argument were also usually owners of tricked out 6K gaming boxes who would run out to line up and buy the latest videogame at $100 a pop every month.

I have many criticisms with Apple as a company and the direction they are taking their software, but I am so grateful that Apple exists.  Can you imagine a world where Microsoft was the only interface?  Where Blackberry dominated the cell phone market?  We got pretty close, and it was freaking scary.  Today, it's a truism that the user experience is the most important factor in selling computers to people.  That is thanks to Steve Jobs and all the people behind the Macintosh.  We are going to hell in handbasket, destroying our planet and letting the fascists back into power, but at least we have some awesome technology to play with while it all goes down.  Oh yeah, and good animated movies as well.  Thanks Steve and rest in peace.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

On the other hand...

In counterpoint to my rant the other day,where I added my voice to the collective outburst of the entire province against the corruption in our government and contractors, I have had the exact opposite experience with renovators at the private, entrepreneurial level here in Quebec.  At my job, I am currently overseeing a fairly significant renovation project.  Thanks to a happy confluence of timing, real estate and budget, we have been available to invest a bit of money into our office space, which I have mentioned before is a 100-year old presbytère.  We've got a bunch of people fixing doors and windows, redoing the kitchen, painting, re-doing the floors and doing a general energy efficiency overhaul.  It's an old, long-neglected building and while we are only doing a fraction of what should be done to return this piece of Montreal history to its proper state (and to simply protect it).

This project has brought me in contact with a bunch of different people whose career is in renovation: contractors, painters, carpenters, general handymen, window experts, locksmiths, restoration experts, energy efficiency engineers, designers.  There are anglophones, francophones and allophones.  Some are old and have been doing this for decades.  Some are brand new and even still in school for their trade.  It's early days still and there is still room for a minor disaster.  But so far I have been uniformly impressed with the quality and integrity of the work of every one of them.  

They have come in on time, done a thorough analysis and provided me with what so far appears to be fairly accurate estimates.  Once the work has started, they have been more than on-time (getting to the job site so early that I am the one who has to be changing my schedule), hard-working, flexible (and with this old building, my vacillation and a not entirely traditional work environment, they've had to be flexible) and just pleasant, interesting people to be around.  Their costs are reasonable.  None of them is making a huge margin on these jobs and in several cases they have given us a break, recognizing that we are a non-profit and that our landlord (the church) would be otherwise leaving this beautiful building to rot.

And they are skilled.  There have been some serious challenges already, such as the sill under the front door being completely rotted away and no real floor joists left to properly support it.  After a few minutes of standing around and looking and discussion, the guy went out that day, got some quick-drying concrete, built a mini-form and just filled the gap in with a little foundation that will support the sill.  The guys doing the floors discovered that the old substrate plywood under the floor went underneath all the radiators and he couldn't just tear it out without them losing their level and possibly damaging the pipes.  So he hand-fashioned little wooden shims and went around under each foot of each radiator and tapped them in.

It's just been a joy to be a part of a process where old, quality work is being restored and brought back to its original quality with a minimum of waste and with long-term durability in mind rather than they typical short-term "get it done so we can sell it" mentality.  I have seen so much shit "renovation" work done here in Montreal, where they just go in, tear everything out, put up aluminum studs and gyproc walls and paint everything white.  My sister lives in Brooklyn and it seems impossible to find anybody competent with any skill or care for the job.  Just that fucking dull-faced, semi-tough guy contractor attitude, where they are utterly inflexible and tell you how the job is supposed to go.  Have any of you dealt with that?  I have seen so many of those guys in my life and I haven't even met one so far in this project.  If I did, he would be out the door, that's for sure.  Being able to say that is a result of the surplus of skilled, conscientious craftsmen on the market here and it is something to celebrate.

If only this were the same for the development industry and the government workers here in Quebec.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The change has come...

My God, I'm starting to become a real Quebecker, a real Canadian.  I'm starting to complain all the time!  But holy christ, the level of lies and corruption and dissimulation that goes on here, coupled with growing wreck that is our civil infrastructure, it's hard not to complain.  The Montreal region is literally falling apart.  I'm sure you've heard about report after report of crumbling bridges and overpasses, huge chunks of concrete falling on people, rebar sticking out, endless public construction jobs.  On top of it all, we pay the most taxes in North America.  I am fine with paying taxes.  I believe strongly in paying taxes.  Hell, I don't even mind some inefficiency in the distribution of that money throughout the social services.  I recognize that when a system gets that large it is going to be far from perfect.

But what is going on in Quebec today and has been going on for decades goes far beyond simple inefficiency.  It is straight out crime.  Theft.  Corruption.  Government officials, both in the bureaucracy and in the elected classes collude with organized crime contractors to siphon massive amounts of taxpayer money for public projects that go into their own pockets and into party coffers.  This goes on at every level, municipal and provincial and is massive.  This is the reason Quebec is the most expensive province in Canada and the worst when it comes to construction efficiency.  It is a joke.  I mean I used to think that road work in New York City was embarrassing, but wow Quebec makes NYC look like Abu Dhabi.

And we've had empty reports and government investigations going on for years with no results at all.  So finally, we get some teeny bit of real information from the rapport de l'unité d'anticollusion, led by ex-cop Jacques Duchesneau, which basically confirms everything I said above.  And guess what the minister of transport, Pierre Moreau, says.  That basically it's a few bad apples, that we shouldn't have a public inquiry, that it's exaggerated and that we should just let the police get on with their business.

Holy shit. That just shows first how deep the corruption goes and second how little anyone involved in it really believes they will ever get busted for it.  At the very least, we could expect a strongly worded, righteous response about how this will be dealt with.  But here their arrogance is so vast that they don't even bother giving the people that rhetoric.  They basically are telling us that there is nothing we can do about it and if there is, they sure aren't going to be ones to do it.  Does anybody remember what happened to the federal Liberals when they took this same attitude when it came to the sponsorship scandal?  At this point, I don't even care about other political issues at the provincial level.  Let's just turf these fuckers out right now.  They are vampires sucking the life of the province away.  Fat and bloated, they want power for power's sake and do not give a shit about the people of Quebec.  Let's get rid of Tremblay here in Montreal as well.   And when the new government comes in, we need a serious  purge of the bureaucracy and sub-ministries as well as the big contracting and architecture firms.  Line them up in the Olympic Stadium in their underwear for all to see and then send them off to clear the streets of snow by hand for the rest of their lives.  Scumbags.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hey Plateau-ites, you're really not helping yourselves

So this happened today.  Several organizations are moving out of the building where I work.  It's on Laurier, facing the awesome new two-way bike path and new one-way only Laurier.  The moving truck came to deliver a bunch of empty plastic moving boxes to the tenants to start packing.

I come downstairs around eleven to check on something else and one of my colleagues who was outside having a cigarette points out this doofus on a Bixi.  He's berating the moving men for parking their van in the bike path.  I didn't get involved, but lurked while the conversation went on for literally almost 20 minutes.  It went from the guy spazzing out to him calming down and trying to have a "reasonable" conversation with him where he tried to argue that they were somehow doing something terribly wrong.  Even though there is nowhere else for them to park and he could have quite easily just gone around as it was late morning and there was practically no traffic on Laurier.  He claimed that he worked for the city, but when pressed about exactly what it was he did, he remained vague.  He was wearing a relaxed grey blazer and looked every bit the stereotypical Plateau yuppy.  He finally rode off.  The moving guys were far from impressed.  10 minutes later a cop showed up.  Because the moving dudes were finishing up their job, I went and talked to him.  He was reasonable and when I told them they would be done in 10 minutes, he let them finish their work and go.  When I asked if he had just driven by or if there was a complaint, he said he had received many complaints.

I mean what the fuck?  Look I am pretty fascistically pro-bike.  If I had my way, cars would simply be outlawed and anyone owning an SUV sent to intensive work re-education camps.  But for fuck's sake, be reasonable!  People have to move.  Movers have to park to put people's stuff in the truck.  What are they supposed to do?  Find a parking spot around the block and walk the furniture back and forth to the truck so you don't have to deviate from your straight line Bixi ride to the coffee shop where you are going to rail against people who have jobs on your laptop?

Here's the problem with grey blazer fuckstick.  He doesn't understand about work.  He has clearly never done a real job in his life.  These are the kind of people that everybody hates about the Plateau.  Their selfish, spoiled, ignorant behaviour completely undermines any rational argument for bikes and improved, less-polluting systems of transportation.  How are those movers going to vote when they see someone stumping for more public transport and better bike lanes now?

The world is getting more crowded.  There are more cars in cities than ever before and more bikes.  Everybody is going to have to be a little flexible and try extra hard to be mindful of others.  So when bikes make a strong political victory, just like anytime you win, you should be gracious and generous about it.  You should not be a righteous cockface and get all up in a couple of dudes grills who are simply doing their job, especially when nothing they are doing is bothering anyone at all.

And Ferrandez and company, I don't know how much of it is true, but I am starting to hear more and more complaints and frustration from Plateau citizens about the utter inflexibility of your laws.  Maybe this is a perception problem, maybe it's real, but it is growing.  If you are going to make a real, lasting impact for the good, you need to get buy-in from all the parties.  Making draconian, inflexible laws that don't take into account the reality of day-to-day life and work in our community (such as not allowing delivery men to stop for 10 minutes in a bike path), is going to alienate a lot of potential voters.  This is especially the case when the changes you are making are radical ones.  And to car addicts, anything that restricts them is radical.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stormchasing with Briques du Neige: Memories of Irene

Despite the great pleasure I take in mocking the media overreaction to Tropical Storm (née Hurricane) Irene, especially when it comes to New York City, I have to say that I do quite enjoy following the storm itself.  It's really quite impressive!  I feel quite privileged being here in Montreal, as I got to get a nice taste of the storm without having to suffer any of its damage.

Though I knew I had to do go for a walk in the storm, I did have an internal debate early this afternoon and got out later than I wanted to.  As it turned out, it was probably for the best, as the majority of the branches that were going to fall had fallen.  There was quite a bit of damage.  I would not have felt comfortable being in the forest in the first couple hours of the storm.  As it was, I felt pretty tense for a lot of the trip.  You can't really relax when the wind is moving like that, even if you know the odds of something happening to be pretty low.  Up on the top, on the south-facing side, the wind was really ferocious.  It came in big, long gusts that drove the rain to the horizontal.  At one point, when I was just before an exposed gap on the trail, it got so loud that I felt the surging seed of panic in my breast.  I suppressed it and calmed myself down, but it was interesting to see how your physiology reacts to environmental stress.  It wasn't going so fast that I felt nervous about losing my footing, but I had to take care.  Maybe getting close to 40 km/h at the highest?  (hmm, the weather site is telling me the gusts can be getting up to 69 km/h!  I feel manly!)

Overall, it was an amazing walk.  Super intense.  The pictures don't capture what it was like to be in it and this is really pretty mild compared to what the people down south got (south of New York, I mean) and along the coasts got, but it still felt amazingly powerful and vast.  I really got a sense that I was hanging out on the fringes of a major weather system that had travelled up the continent to get to me.
Here's a pretty big tree that came down up near the Grandeur Nature field

This guy was up on the battlefield plateau, just next to the field itself and—I kid you not—he was wearing a wizard cape and appeared to be performing magical ceremonies.  After I took this picture, he sprang up and the ground where he'd been leaning was smoking.  Later, I heard a loud bang coming from the direction of the battlefield.

These are the rock stairs behind the sloping field looking down across the main path towards the medieval battlefield.  This picture isn't great, but you can see the water streaming down either side.  Later, as you will see below, the stairs themselves became a waterfall.

The summit!

The wrath of the gods

and here it is live!

Looks like the Tower of Orthanc.  

Some other hearty souls.

Didn't stand a chance.

Here are the same stairs, but seen from above.  I went around.

Charlie oblivious to the carnage in her obsessive hunt for squirrels.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Looking for like-minded Google Plus'ers

Hey, I'm over at Google+ and I'm looking for people who are interested in discussing the kinds of movies we see at Fantasia as well as the topics of Canada and Montreal that get bandied about here.  I'm sure they are out there and it would be fun to have the kind of short-term discussions and sharing of neat stuff that goes on on G+ with them.  So if you are on google+, find me at Olman Feelyus and add me to your book circles or whatever.  If you want to be on, let me know in the comments and I'll try and send you an invite.

It's weird, because I already have lots of people I already know as well as tons of people from the tabletop RPG community in my circles.  But I can't figure out a way to search people by interest and thus find discussions about other subjects (mainly books and movies) that I am interested in.

(I've posted this same thing over at Olman's Fifty, but about books.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rant: l'affaire Turmel

Canadians are fucking stupid and the fucking media is largely responsible for this.  How the fuck is it a news story that the interim leader of the NDP once was a member of the Bloc.  This is like the Red Scare.  How did it end up that our media just entirely bought into the Conservative propaganda line which effectively undermines any serious opposition to their power?

What's even more maddening than the retarded reporters and their scumbag editors who are pushing this story to the top of the headlines, are the retarded anglophone Canadians who are on the left who actually consider this an issue.  Check this quote from user "retardo" on the CBC website:

This is really sad for the Federal NDP. They made such gains in the last election, and actually could have formed a govt in 4 years (Providing that Canadians are upset with the Conservatives and the Liberals are still picking bad leaders) This Woman has just destroyed the NDP. They now stand no chance of making any gains outside of Quebec in the next election. They had an opportunity to become a national contender in the next federal election, now they will simply become the regional party of Quebec.
What was the NDP caucus thinking? If Jack does not miraculously heal in the next week they will lose every seat outside of Quebec in the next election.

You really believe this shit?  Seriously?  How fucking stupid and ignorant are my fellow anglophone Canadians?

Here, I am going to spell it out for you.

Quebec separating is not "destroying Canada"
If this worst-case scenario were to actually happen (which it won't), so what?  The only people who will suffer are the federalists in Quebec and they are already so put upon, I can't see how much worse it could be for them.  Otherwise, Canada is still Canada, just minus a big province.  If you cut off my arm, it will hurt like hell, but I'll live and still be me (and I'll still kick your ass).  This "having anything to do with the Bloc" = "wanting to destroy Canada" is simply a logical fallacy and must be eliminated from our national discourse.  It exists because as long as the Bloc is demonized, the left can never unite against Harper and his neo-cons. They know this and that is why they are very happy right now.  I'm not speaking to fans of Harper and his cronies here.  I'm speaking to you fuckstick anglophones on the left who do not know shit about Quebec but are somehow weirdly fearful and angry that there is a political movement here that wants independence.  YOU ARE WRONG.

Quebec won't separate
It's just not a practical reality.  That's why the NDP did so well in Quebec.  So even if you disagree with my logic above, it doesn't matter.  It's simply never going to happen.  Francophone Quebeckers already get the social and cultural benefits they demanded for in la Revolution Tranquille and tons of economic benefits.  The only people who are still complaining are those for whom it is an emotional issue and they are dying off and selling out (cough Jaques Parizeau cough) or remain a small minority too distracted with Turcotte to care.  So stop worrying about it.  It's not going to happen.

Political reality on the ground in Quebec has almost nothing to do with sovereignty
Sovereignty is pretty low down on practical political issues that drive people to vote here (and drive politicians to choose parties).  The economy, the environment and myriad local issues.  The Bloc and Quebec Solidaire never talk about separation these days.  It's just sort of a baseline that you have to say to be a legit party here in Quebec.

I have to cut this short, because I have to get to a Fantasia screening (enfin!), but I think you get my point. Dear anglo leftie who thinks that it is an issue that Turmel was a member of the Bloc: you are an idiot.  Fuck, it was 20 years ago!  Dear CBC: @#@Q#%#$^@#$^ (sorry, I can't even express myself).

Monday, July 11, 2011

So Fantasia

As some of you have already seen in the comments, I am unfortunately going to be going on vacation for the first two and a half weeks of Fantasia this year.  While I am very excited about my vacation (to the Maritimes), I am bummed about not being able to dive into the awesome madness that is the world's best film festival.  It's even more of a disappointment because I built up a lot of momentum last year blogging about the movies (and possibly even got a few regular readers).  On the other hand, this will be a test of my maturity.  I am going to get the program and read it on my vacation and there will be lots of wailing and gnashing of the teeth (already missing both The Robot and the latest Ip Man installment), but when we come back, I will be psyched to dive in and take in what awesome movies are left.

Part of the reason I started blogging last year was because I found a big drop-off in the quantity of coverage from the english blogosphere last year.  So in my absence, I hope that people who lost some of their energy, find it again and give us the awesome in-depth reports as well as reviews.  I won't be online too much, but I hope to come back to an internet about to burst with Fantasia news, reviews, stories and opinions.

Go explode your cinematic awesomeness all over Montreal and the world, Fantasia.  I feel that this year is going to rock even harder. I can already here the CJLO DJs crushing it.
Seriously.  I'm not playing.

Also, PLEASE DO NOT TEXT DURING THE MOVIES.  NOT EVEN DURING THE TRAILERS!  If basic civil decency and thoughtfulness is not enough to convince you to turn your phone off as soon as the lights dim, I will warn you now that you have a two-week window to be an asshole.  Because when I get back, I am going after with extreme prejudice anybody who texts in my vicinity during the movie.  You will receive a stern warning.  You will receive a second warning.  Third time I am going after your phone.  I WILL go there.

Finally, are any of you movie nerds on Google+?  I never did the Facebook, but am on the Plus and would like to get a movie circle going.  If you are, you can find me at Olman Feelyus.

Bon festival!  Keep the seat warm for me. 

Portuguese Scaffolding

This is the kind of project that makes me happy to live where I live:

Man working

Seen on aqueduct replacement site on Laurier, east of St-Denis.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A message is sent

When you don't live in a neighbourhood and you see a sign like this, it is of passing interest and perhaps a gentle reminder to not litter.  But when you live here, you realize that there is a rich and ongoing story behind such a sign, a history of neighbours, conflicting use of space and cultural and demographic assumptions.  Though I usually fall on the fascistically clean side in these kinds of arguments, I am sort of on the fence here.  On one side, we have a residential building that is used as a commercial garage.  I'm pretty sure it is them who tend to leave fairly large piles of junk (though strangely, it's rarely automotive stuff) in this section of the alley, which then becomes a magnet for other junk leavers (including me on occasion).  I am pretty sure what you are supposed to do is leave the big junk in the front of the street where it will get picked up.  I don't like all the garbage in the alleys, but on the other hand, sometimes you do have a ton of clippings that need to get put out.  And when the alley is full of stuff, it blocks people from driving through, and I'm always in favour of blocking cars.  My larger concern about too much fussiness around the alleys is it starts to get close to restricting people's ability to do projects in their yards.  Too much officiousness back here and we could end up like Vancouver where you aren't allowed to have a clothesline.  It's a balance.

ruelle Saint-Louis du Ha ha

Here is a sweet alley.  I forget exactly where it is, one of those T-alley intersections south of Laurier, east of St-Hubert.  Anyways, I applaud it.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Clark & Villeneuve, Friday evening, summer

Interestingly, I learned from a neighbour who lives across the street from this building and has been there since the 60s that this grey apartment building sits on the site of what was a Jewish school. It was affiliated with the synagogue across the street (directly behind where I, as photographer, am standing) which is now a Jehovah's Witness church.  I would love to find some pictures of that building when it was a synagogue as well as the old school that was here.  I guess it was a vacant lot for quite a while before these condos were put up.