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Bourget, The New Decarie!

I Like Beer
Uh, there was a traffic jam on my small street today when I left for work?!? Complete with no less than two city buses, trying to work around the cranes and other construction equipment currently cluttering the street... Weird.

Oh, man, I've been meaning to post for exactly two weeks, yet didn't. I did this thing where I thought about hypothetical posts that I'd be writing while on the metro and biking, then forgot to actually post it.

It helps that there has been a fair deal of biking going on, beginning with what I called the Weekend of Doomed Awesomeness for a bit (if only in my head). This started by going to Mutek's Nocturne 3 with tygrbabe on the Friday. Then, went to the Mondial de la bière with azrhey in the afternoon, after which tygrbabe joined us to go to Mutek's Nocturne 4. How to follow this best? Sunday, I showed up at cpirate's place almost in time (9am-ish, after going to bed at 5am!) for, you know, a little Tour de l'Île (with scjody as well), after which we stopped for well-deserved poutine at La Banquise (and a coffee, so I could stay conscious). Then (the same day!), azrhey and I met with rezendi for a quick pint before catching Le Salaire de la peur at Cinéma du Parc. In case I might have survived, tygrbabe invited me to see She Wants Revenge for my birthday (got me brownies too, woot!), on the Monday evening (we were joined by fuzzyilla too, ahoy!).

While I thought Nocturne 3 was quite excellent (Millimetrik and Modeselektor were awesome, Kid Koala very good, although I've seen better sets from him, and the other bands were quite fun too), Nocturne 4 let me a little bit down. Most of the bands didn't "click" with me much, and the whole programme was running late, which combined with the act I wanted to see most (Deadbeat, was excellent!) played last, made for leaving the place extremely late. Still, it was nice too, I just wish I could have slept in the next day!

I'll have to agree with tygrbabe, She Wants Revenge was good, but they'd have to put out a killer album for me to go to their next show. Some of their opening bands were really wacky and not all that good either, including a "punk" band that sounded like Avril Lavigne on speed.

So after that, I, uh, didn't do much for the two last weeks, as you might have guessed. I did bike to work a lot (for which there was tremendously good weather!), played with my own early birthday gift to myself (a new top-end 24" iMac, Core 2 Duo 3.06 GHz and GeForce 8800 GS, smokin'!) and coded (mostly on Quadra, more than 20 commits just this weekend!). There was a visit from musicdieu and cpirate, watching of Euro Cup games, and Munchkins.

azrhey and I went out on the city last Saturday, was quite nice, and I got myself a nice watch (Danish design and titanium? sign me up!). We ended up going to the cinema and watching You Don't Mess with the Zohan. Yes, I know, I know, but it's actually pretty funny, mostly due to the weird cultural references (fizzy bubbles and hummus, baby!), and was saved because I have a small idea of what's going on in that culture, and would probably have been even funnier if I was actually part of it. I don't really expect it to do well, although there's a fair share of stuff that a lot of North American would find funny (silly fight scenes, sexual jokes), but I laughed really hard at the hacky sack, fish and hummus jokes, myself.

On a closing note, I've had a weird email recently from OkCupid (which I do find entertaining, for various reasons). I often get the "come back to our site so you can see and click ads" emails, but this one was different, telling me that there was one particular user I should message where there was some sort of category 5 crazy outlier match. Apparently, the love of my life is in New York state, which is too bad, because I'm not, ha! It then showed the usual "you might be interested in those people" bunch of people, but as opposed to the usual, this morning it was a bunch of my friends, so, well, I guess it sorts of works? I do like my friends, they're nice and everything. :-P

Where I exhibit restraint

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It was extremely brief, and you had to pay very close attention, but the sugar season's passed now, and thankfully, azrhey and I managed to catch some sugar shack action, thanks to my dad inviting us over to his annual thing (which went better than the last time, as I wasn't dying this time!). It was what, azrhey's third time in a sugar shack in her life? How do they manage over there? ;-)

I went for a lightning trip to New York City, where I thought it'd be a good idea to get a room at the Hotel Chelsea, since, you know, the office is in Chelsea, that'd be convenient, no? I did listen to punk music, but I don't remember stabbing anyone. I didn't write a novel either, but I did write a small piece of code, related to my most recent ranting, where my hack gets similar latency on event handling as busy waiting on the event queue, while using less CPU (and much lower latency, by multiple frames!) than SDL's built-in SDL_WaitEvent.

This last item results in myself restraining myself very hard from going off and making a high-performance game library. Add it to the list of things I could do very well, but that I shouldn't be doing because it's useless. Argh.

azrhey and I went to see Iron Man, which was pretty damned good, I think. I think that it was a good introduction, although the battle at the end was a bit contrived and short on time. I think Justin Hammer might have been a better choice, with multiple supporting bad guys, but Iron Monger does make for big badaboom. I liked the hints at War Machine, and the small (in that movie, at least) involvement of S.H.I.E.L.D..

I'm now about to register for the Bike Fest, which inconveniently overlaps with MUTEK. The day ride doesn't pose a problem, but I really like the night ride, and that will obviously mean that I'll be missing out on something else... We'll see.

Of Bunnies And Chocolate

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So, Sunday was Stuff Your Face With Chocolate Day, so we did. There was rabbit for dinner, appropriately, and I discovered that adding Frangelico to chocolate mousse turns it into a very tasty, yet boozy version of Nutella.

On Monday evening, I headed out to see (well, listen, really) to tygrbabe's set at the Katacombes. But before doing so, azrhey and I (well, mostly me, really), in the interest of saving ourselves from the dangers of the eggs in the mousse going bad, dived into the mousse leftover. Tasty! Once there, I was surprised at the amount of computer geekery going on, between a sticker on the toilet stating that "Your Computer Suck", and meeting crybetty, whose dream is to own a Macintosh LC 475 once again and obskura exclaiming that she's surrounded by engineers or something. That's kind of weird.

But it was an especially nice outing for me, because it has been almost two years that I haven't been able to do this kind of thing, going out on a week night, having a few drinks and a bunch of fun. So it's all special and awesome, yay for that!

After going back home, I finished the rest of the chocolate mousse.

The next morning, I learned that it is apparently possible to have a chocolate mousse hangover.

After some more wackiness, I'm finally on the couch watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off with azrhey. Pretty awesome, all in all!

Very Big Place

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Explored New York a bit yesterday with some of my hosts, which was pretty cool and impressive. Already, from the apartment, there is a view on the Manhattan skyline, and getting there, there's a definite feeling of being in a Big Place. That's why I took my 14mm/f2.8 super-wide-angle lens as my only lens, which was a bit of a weird choice. I was glad I had it for some stuff, but other times, the thing I wanted to photography as so small and far away! A cool lens, but I'll need to get used to it, for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good thing that we did some good walking yesterday, because this morning, the weather is pretty crappy (rainy).

New York, New York

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Despite many adventures (including one that, weirdly enough, fixed my shoulder blade, which had been in pain for the last few days, more time in bus and taxi than airplane and involving no less than four separate flights), I'm safe and sound in New-York. Since I'm staying at the place of well-known madmen, this might not last. In any case, heading back Monday evening.

Oh, and in other news, gregorama is clearly a highly-skilled assassin, azrhey and I have seen the proof. But he's not too handy around women. Be careful.

Control And A Chicken On The Head

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Tuesday, I had dinner at Soup and Noodles after work with liberation_now and tygrbabe, and went to see Control, where we were joined by nevergirl and another one of their friends.

The movie was quite good. Sam Riley did a fantastic job of portraying a troubled Ian Curtis, who can be quite the jerkface at times, without falling into a caricature. This applies to the rest of the cast as well, with people being people, which is amazingly rare in movies these days. The music was of course excellent, including the surprising inclusion of Kraftwerk's Autobahn (not in its entirety, of course!). We all knew how the story ended, of course, and it unfurled slowly before our eyes, but it still was surprising, somehow, and had me biting my lips.

Yesterday, it was a more-or-less annual "stuff the sps" kind of evening, where we hit up swestrup and taxlady's place, ate good food, had plenty of wine, ate some more food, a fair amount of coffee, and played a pretty mean game of Munchkin, which I had to drop out of, due to excessive tiredness, unfortunately. I wasn't doing so good, anyway, although I did give some people enough trouble.

Tonight, party at jul3z! Whee!

Random Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seems one of my ideas has been picked up by some people in Waterloo, in the form of AideRSS. Now, I want an "Edit" button in the Firefox toolbar that would use AtomPub, okay?

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Under the sky of Toulouse

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Ah, catching up! On the 5th, I went to a show, Razorlight (with The Tatianas). There was a strange event, where a girl from Toulouse found out I was going to that show through last.fm, and asked me to go with her, but she ended up sick and unable to go anyway. This would have been the closest to an Internet date I would have been, which is pretty weird, particularly as it was completely out of the blue for me.

The show itself was fun, but left me unconvinced of buying their album. There's a bit between Franz Ferdinand and The Hives, and they had some pretty good songs, but others were rather weak. But they were still entertaining (with the singer climbing to the mezzanine via the stacks of speakers at one point, for example), though, and I had a good time. I only caught the last part of The Tatianas, and in a way, they were better, catchier songs, but they were not really my style.

Going there and back was an adventure in itself, actually. I was initially hesitating to go, because it's about 7-8 kilometres away, and I had to bike there in the dark, on the bike path along the Canal du Midi. It went okay on the way there, despite missing a small bridge that would have kept me on pavement rather than hard-pack (which isn't too bad, but remember I'm on a road bike, for all intents and purpose!). When I came out of the show, though, it was raining. Not too hard, but 7-8 kilometres later, I was pretty completely drenched. Biking in the dark on a narrow bike bike right next to water (no handrails there!) when it's raining and slightly slippery, it's good for your heart. ;-)

On the 9th, azrhey and I went to the Toulouse Carnets, a gathering of Toulouse bloggers, and had much fun. There was pondering of going to a bar downtown after, but we decided on going to the Dubliner, the other Irish pub close by our place. The place turns out to be super-friendly, reminding me a bit of the Mad Hatter back in Montreal. There was a bunch of people, probably students, where the guys were cross-dressing, in that "ha-ha, I'm dressed like a girl" way, and seemed to be enjoying themselves a great deal (I got several offers for sex!). At some point, two girls arrived, seemingly the only ones also cross-dressing, but they didn't go at it the "ha-ha" way. They had quite nice suits, one of them especially tack-sharp (in that cross-dressing 1920's pimp kind of way). I'd say something about how I like butch girls (not that this generally works out, ha!), but azrhey would quickly correct me and say that I like girls with a pulse. Heh.

On the 14th, I took azrhey out for BURGER. Except it was crappy Quick burger, which is a kind of Belgian McDonald. I kept seeing them and wondering about them, maybe they were something that could be like a Arby's to me, but no, turns out it's just awful. Seems like it's really hard to get decent, tasty burgers around here, say, like we had at the Old Dublin or something...

Last Wednesday, we went to see Taxi 4, along with muadda. That was pretty funny, as far as the Taxi movies go. It featured the marina of Monaco, where I expressed the idea of, one day, going in a rowboat. That would be awesome. :-)

And finally, last Sunday we had two co-workers over to introduce them to the spirit of Montréal, through watching Bon Cop, Bad Cop, followed by a dinner laid out by azrhey. There was salmon with olives on it and stuff, so you can guess that I didn't have much to do with the food!

Once in a while...

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Yeah, a meme... I know, I know...

Two for the price of one!Collapse )

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Now THAT's culture!

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The lady azrhey and I watched Bon Cop, Bad Cop yesterday. It was hilarious, but so specifically Canadian (and possibly even a Montreal-Toronto thing), that getting it requires so much background, it's ridiculous. First, it's about hockey, which is oh so appropriate, from the get-go, but requires not only hockey historical background (such as references to the Lindros drafting in the NHL), with names carefully changed (to protect the innocent?), but of plain old history, going back to the end of the American Revolutionary War (with the Toronto team being named the Loyalists, and the Montreal team being named the Patriotes). Another example is an American using "misunderestimate". Some I didn't even pick-up, like the very brief reference to the "A-ha!" Familiprix ads.

Apparently, it claims to be Canada's first bilingual feature film, and lives up to good Montreal mannerisms. You know you're the real deal when you can watch this movie without any subtitles (you can get subtitles for either language). Most people here in France would quite simply need both sets of subtitles, and even then, the movie would probably remain mysterious and obscure.

In short, it's great, but recommending it is tricky, depending on the cultural background of the audience... Ah, shuck it, just check it out, it's sure to at least leave you nicely bewildered.

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