Saturday, 28 March 2015

A murder of crows in the branches

I took this picture today, which was a dark and gloomy March day. This is maybe the most beautiful tree in town. It is big, old, tall (very tall in fact). About five years ago, I took a picture of it in May, which I blogged about here. It might be a beech tree. It is difficult to say for me, I know zilch about trees and this one is bare. When I first took picture of him, I had been impressed with the display of lights and shadows. Now, with the bare branches, it was mainly shadows, a tall dark blotch of ink on a grey sky. But like last time I took a picture of the tree and blogged about it, what also and especially made a strong impression on me were the crows cawing in its branches.

A gathering of crows is commonly called a congregation of crows, which has a rather austere and religious overtone, or a murder of crows, which has a rather sinister one. even though crows have an undeserved bad reputation, I prefer the sinister name. It just sounds better. And I always found the cry of crows to be sinister. It does have a kind of sharp beauty to it. And I do love to see and hear crows in branches like this.

Le problème du chandail avec des renards

Ceci est un petit billet vestimentaire et trivial. J'ai reçu ce cadeau de ma femme il y a deux ou trois ans environ. Un t-shirt avec des motifs de renards dessus. Un chandail à manches courtes, donc qui est plus approprié pour les temps doux, cela dit les renards imprimés et la couleur brun verdâtre en fait un chandail franchement automnal. Sauf qu'il est un peu trop léger pour l'automne. Alors je me demande comment résoudre cette situaiton épineuse. C'est un chandail à motifs, il faut les voir. Si je le couvre, c'est donc le rendre inutile. Je n'aime pas le porter l'été. Au printemps, ça peut encore passer, s'il fait juste assez doux. Enfin, je crois. Ca peut aussi être un chandail printanier. J'imagine qu'il va me falloir me trouver quelque chose à mettre quand je le porte, une chemise ou un gilet. Je peux aussi le porter quand il fait doux en automne.

Rising Spectre

Oh, goodie, goodie, goodie! The geek in me is so happy today! The James Bond fan, a thousand times more. If it is even possible. Because the Spectre teaser trailer was finally released. What can I say? First, as you can see, I love it. I love how the story will tie in with the previous three Craig Bond movies. I love that at least a good deal of the plot seems to be based on the short story Octopussy. Also, Eyes Wide Shut, one of Kubrick's most underrated masterpiece, seems to have inspired the meeting scene, down to the use of the James Bond theme. There is a neat little nod at ornithology, which gave Ian Fleming his inspiration for the name of James Bond, when you see Bond walking in the old house and the crows flying by him. Maybe I am reading too much about it, but I don't think so: Sam Mendes is good with making these kind of references.

 And of course there is Blofeld, the character I was looking forward to meet (again). Because I think it is fairly sure now that Christoph Waltz will be Blofeld, as I was expecting/hoping when we learned he was cast. Here, if he is not Blofeld, he seems to have the same function as him in the organization: chairman of the board, leader, literally the enemy in the shadow, the affable villain whose veneer of amiability does not hide his ruthless and cruel nature. If Waltz is indeed Blofeld, he is devoid of all the parodied elements of a certain spoof I will not dignify to name here. He is back to its roots. Anyway, here is the trailer for you to enjoy, if you have not done so. And tell me what you think.

Pâques s'en vient

Cette (très mauvaise) photo a été prise au Marks & Spencer local. La section chocolats de Pâques: oeufs, lapins, d'autres trucs mais surtout des lapins et des oeufs. M&S fait du bon chocolat, mais c'est le design de leurs animaux que j'aime moins: trop cartoon, pas assez réaliste. Je viens d'un endroit où on les faisait très réalistes, en fait ils ressemblaient tellement aux vrais animaux, surtout les lapins, qu'ils auraient pu courir et que ça n'aurait étonné personne. Mais bon, je ferai avec ce qu'on peut trouver cette année. Cela dit, je blogue surtout parce que ce sera Pâques dans une semaine et un jour, ce que j'ai tendance à oublier si les allées des magasins ne me le rappelaient pas. Pâques n'arrive pas particulièrement tôt cette année, pourtant, je veux dire pas assez pour que ça prenne par surprise.Et il faudrait bien un peu que je blogue sur le sujet et télécharge quelques photos de circonstances.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Odin, Buffy and other feline home dwellers

Well, I am writing the outcome and conclusion of Buffy's visit here far sooner than I expected. Her owners were meant to go on holidays, some issues with the tickets and the schedule made them miss their flight. So they got Buffy back this evening. I have a confession to make: I am glad it was shortened like this. Because Buffy did not settle well here. In fact, she did not settle at all. She whined a lot, was restless and jumping nervously everywhere and at any time. When she was calm, she spent time underneath the table or behind the washing machine. When she was calm. if not, she was meowing plaintively. We went to bed early and she woke us in the middle of the night. She did ask for cuddles and attentions, but overall she was restless and far too nervous.

I can't help but compare her first (and most likely last) time here with Odin's.  It took him about five minutes to be settled. He had a walk around the flat, sniffed here and there, curious but not afraid one bit, then he just found his favourite spot (the place on the sofa where I usually sit) and just sat down there. And that was it. He meowed for cuddles, food and to go outside sometimes, but he was never spooked here. I am not blaming Buffy: she was brought up differently, in one family, she has  always been not only a house cat, but a one house cat. Odin had ever been the wanderer, moving from Florida to here, then adopting us. He chose to move here, he asked for it. All the same, even though I love all cats, I do think that we are meant for certain cats more than others. And, while I enjoyed sometimes Buffy's presence, it made me miss my little boy more. I decided to show one of the few pics I haven't published yet of him. You can see him lying down next to me, taking as much space as he could and clawing me a bit so I would give him a bit of my seat for his legs. Odin's presence can still be felt in the house: Buffy was sniffing the bit of the floor where he used to lie down.

St-Néant de Pérusse

Rien que parce que ça fait longtemps que je n'ai pas mis de François Pérusse ici et parce que bon, c'est peut-être l'une de ses chansons les moins connues, voici St-Néant. Qui pourrait être bien l'hymne de bien des petites et moyennes municipalités québécoises. Ou même ici. Quand j'étais au chômage et que je m'ennuyais ici, je l'avais souvent en tête.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A feline guest

This is Buffy, the cat of the daughter of a friend of my wife. I blogged about her before, because apparently I have the same eyes as hers. Who is currently our host for a week, because her owners are going away on holidays. We accepted not only to be helpful, but because we thought it would be nice to have a cat in the house again. That said, I am not sure we should have said yes. Buffy is cute, but she is no Odin. And I don't think she is enjoying it here very much. She whined a lot when her owners left and she discovered that she was going to be here for a while, now she is just lying down behind the washing machine. But what saddened us the more was to see the daughter crying non stop when she had to leave her cat. We are trying to help them, yet we feel guilty about it. The girl also left us some very strict rules, which I wanted to write down here, because they are so darn cute:

"Rulse for Buff

1.She needs to be played with once a day in the afternoon.
2.You can't pick her up or she will scrach.
3.She is not alouwd to lay down on boys as shes a girl.
4.She needs to be fed 3 times a day biscits in the marnin, biscits in the evning and meat in the afternoon.
5.Her litter bax neds to be cleand out after she poops.
6.Only let her go in the kitchen and living room Do Not let her in eny bathrooms or bed rooms if you do I Will be very angry.

Thank for readin the Rulse of Buff"

Cute isn't it? She does not want Buffy to get too attached and wanting to stay here. I don't think there is any danger for us to keep Buffy anyway. I love all cats, but some cats more than others and I do think there are cats that are meant for us and cats that are not. I still hope she will warm up to us.

Galettes aux raisins

J'ai récemment fait des galettes aux raisins, parce que j'avais du temps. Je pensais faire des galettes aux bananes, mais j'ai finalement opté pour celles aux raisins. C'est une recette de ma grand-mère du côté de mon père. C'est donc également une recette de mon enfance. Ce ne fut pas une grande réussite, j'en ai vu qui avaient plus d'allure mais au moins ce n'est pas une catastrophe comme j'en fait trop souvent lorsque je cuisine des desserts. Et ça goûte ce que ça devrait goûter. Ce sont des galettes pour collation plus que pour dessert et elles se prennent bien les journées froides. Je publierai peut-être la recette un de ces quatre.

Champagne vs Prosecco

There are so many marginally useful yet interesting things one finds on Facebook. I found this little bit of article, about the differences between Champagne and Prosecco. Basically, it all goes down to pricing, at least for the Philistine like me, who does not drink wine very often and bubbly wine even less. Good to know. Okay, so it is not quite the same, they don't go with the same food, but fizzy is fizzy. And Prosecco is less pretentious.

Poisson, cryptozoologie et calembour

Je sais, je blogue beaucoup à propos des monstres en général et des monstres marins, enfin des monstres lacustres en particulier, depuis un certain temps. Vous risquez de me lire encore sur le sujet. Mais bon, ce blogue s'appelle Vraie Fiction, alors autant faire dans la cryptozoologie. L'ami d'un ami a réagi à l'article dont je parlais hier, sur Nessie qui serait réapparu, ainsi qu'à cet article sur les monstres des lacs du Québec, dont celui du lac Memphrémagog en Estrie. Le dernier article date un peu. Enfin, commentant sur l'hypothèse du plésiosaure, il a prononcé ce calembour atroce: "Est-ce un plésiosaure, ou estturgeon?" Le jeu de mots étant épouvantable, je me devais de le bloguer. C'est vraiment un calembour atroce.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Updates about the Loch Ness Monster

Little bit of cryptozoological news: it appears that Nessie, aka the Loch Ness Monster, has been seen and apparently caught on camera. Again. As you may have guessed, I am skeptical about this claim. Very much so. In fact, I am disappointing such news happen when I am a grown up and not into cryptozoology anymore. I visited the Loch Ness when I was a child. I didn't see any sign of Nessie. Back then, there had been no sight of him for about twenty years, if my memory is correct. The Loch Ness is a beautiful, beyond picturesque place in Scotland. It is a shame I did not appreciate my time as much as I should have had as I was too busy hoping to see its darn monster. Nessie was one of my obsessions at the time. I often debated with a friend, not whether or not the monster existed, but what was his nature. I blogged about our debates before. All this to say that I would have become really excited about this news story more than 25 years ago.

Cossin (le mot du jour)

Voici un nouveau mot du jour, très familier pour mon lectorat québécois, parce que comme de raison c'est un québécisme: cossin. Ce qui veut dire un objet quelconque, en général de peu d'intérêt ou d'utilité.

Krav Maga

I was walking on the town's main street this weekend when I saw a banner advertising Krav Maga classes. Krav Maga is a Israeli martial art, which has been featured in many action movies in recent years. I have seen it also in a few crime novels. I have developed an interest about it, because it is unlike other martial arts: it is devoid of rituals, its aim is strictly utilitarian, thus it is not a sport and while it is meant to be used in the hardest real-life circumstances, the training itself is "soft". I am not into sport and I do very little physical activities. Not enough, in fact. I don't walk as much as I should, I don't do ice skating anymore because there are no arena nearby and I haven't been in a swimming pool since a very long time. I am dangerously close to a couch potato, far too close to my liking. Therefore, I am tempted to give a try to Krav Maga. I am not much of a fighter, in fact I am probably a terrible wuss, but I did a little bit of karate back in cégep and I thought it was an enjoyable experience. It will also give me something to do in the evenings. Sure, it is not a natural territory as acting was, but it would still be better than nothing. Now that I can take classes a few minutes walk away from home, I have no excuse.

Chicoutimi autrefois

J'ai chipé sans honte cette image d'un billet du blogue (sans activité depuis 2012) de la librairie Les Bouquinistes. J'avais fait la même chose en octobre 2013.  Cette peinture représente la rue Racine dans les années 40. Je me demande si c'était aussi propre et coloré, dans la vraie vie. Les images des Bouquinistes sur la rue Racine d'hier m'intéressent beaucoup, parce qu'elles me font voir des espaces familiers de manière sous une perspective totalement différente. Je m'imaginais mal Chicoutimi "autrefois". Enfin si, durant le défunt Carnaval-Souvenir, mais même là c'était une image vague. Celle-ci est vraiment concrète, même si je comprends qu'elle puisse être fantasmée. L'édifice au coin de Labrecque et Racine, devant lequel j'ai souvent marché, m'a particulièrement frappé dans cette image. L'Amérique est un continent jeune, on oublie parfois qu'il a une histoire et de l'histoire. Et j'ai pensé à ça en regardant cette image.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Rediscovering Corto Maltese

I discovered Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt when I was ten or so, in Pif Gadget, one of the French comic magazines my uncles on my mother's side used to read. It was one of the stories from The Celts, featuring the Red Baron, when Corto is merely an observer. I was blown away all the same. I then read other stories featuring him. Years later, in my early twenties, I bought my own albums and I rediscovered him. I have decided to do it again this year. Corto Maltese is an archetypal laconic rogue hero, a gentleman of fortune. His adventures are set during/around World War 1. While some are straight pulp adventures, others have elements of supernatural in it, even sometimes psychedelic.

His stories were originally published in black and white. It has since been coloured, but the original black and white graphic novels remain the best. The colours just denature the work of Pratt. I have gathered many titles in French, I thought I would buy some in English here to complete my collection, although I am also tempted to purchase some in Italian, just to try my luck with the language.

Le lac au Sorcier(?)

J'ai vu sur le site de La Presse ce titre, qui a attiré mon attention: "La magie du lac au Sorcier". Comme je suis grand amateur de mythes et légendes, de folklore et autres, j'ai donc lu avec intérêt... L'article est pour moi une grosse déception: il parle d'un lac de la Mauricie, au nord de Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, dans la réserve faunique de Mastigouche. Ce sont de biens jolis noms chantants, mais l'article parle de pêche à la ouananiche (autre joli nom chantant qui désigne une espèce de saumon), une activité qui m'indiffère totalement. Bon, avec un titre pareil et avec un patronyme pareil, j'aurais espéré que l'article soit à propos d'un monstre marin ou du fameux sorcier. Il semblerait que le nom vienne d'une vieille légende amérindienne et qu'un sorcier hanterait l'île. Il serait maintenant un fantôme, donc. S'ils décident de faire autre chose que de la pêche touristique dans le coin, je pense bien que j'irai faire un tour un jour.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

First Sunday of Spring

In case you did not notice, we are the first Sunday of Spring. The first official Sunday of Spring anyway. It did look like Spring outside too, even though it was not very warm. At least it was sunny. And I have a few more days of holidays before I go back to work. That said, I can't help but I am still feeling the Sunday blues this evening. It is as if melancholia is a conditioned reflex which comes every Sunday. Am I the only one feeling like this, even when Spring is blossoming? How is/was your first Sunday of Spring?

Un pas boeuf bourguignon

J'ai trouvé cette photo sur la page Facebook d'Aux Vivres, il y a quelques temps déjà. J'ai pensé bloguer à ce sujet ce soir, puisque j'y pensais. Comme le titre de mon billet l'indique, c'est une version végétalienne du boeuf bourguignon, un tempeh bourguignon. Je ne l'ai jamais mangé moi même, alors ceci n'est pas une plogue, plus un billet sur quelque chose que je veux essayer si possible lors de ma prochaine visite à leur restaurant. Je ne sais pas quand je serai de retour à Montréal, mais quand ça arrivera, j'espère qu'il y en aura à un moment donné au menu. Quand on mange à Aux Vivres, c'est rare qu'on s'ennuie de la viande. En fait, ça ne m'est jamais arrivé.

THE Irish stew

I mentioned a few days ago that I would blog again on my Saint Patrick's Day. This is probably going to be my last post about it until next year. A small, anecdotal post, but I needed to mention it. I had this Irish stew, which you can see on the picture, at the local Irish pub where I spent the evening of Saint Paddy's. It was in a plastic bowl, eaten with a plastic spoon, but nevertheless it was delicious. It is one of the day's special traditions which I don't miss since the pub first opened, unless they don't serve it (last year they didn't make any and I was sorely disappointed). One year they even offered it on Easter Sunday, in a very nice mug, accompanied by a mash. You can see the (far better) picture here. The presentation was far less elegant this time, but it is still a delicious dish. I sometimes tried to make Irish stew, but it was not nearly as nice as this one. I don't know why this stew is so good, but it is. For me it is THE Irish stew. And given for free on St-Patrick's Day. Which means, unfortunately, that you can't have seconds. I know, I tried. I might one day ask for the recipe. If it is not a family secret, I might get lucky.

Ce que c'est

Le thème de la photo du mois de mars était "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" J,ai donc publié ma photo il y a une semaine, un papillon sur un fond bleu. Le papillon était un visiteur inattendu, ce que je photographiais vraiment c'était le fond. Je ne savais pas combien de temps exactement je ferais durer le suspense, mais comme l'achalandage dans mon billet du 15 semble avoir été relativement modeste, neuf commentaires au moment où j'écris ces lignes (ce n'est pas le plus modeste, mais j'en ai déjà eu beaucoup plus), j'ai décidé de montrer ce que c'est maintenant. une oeuvre d'art représentant une robe (enfin je crois), que j'ai prise dans le Derbyshire. Malheureusement, je ne sais pas qui a créé cette oeuvre, je vais devoir faire des recherches à ce sujet. Cela dit, si vous vous demandiez ce que c'était, vous pouvez le voir maintenant. C'est ça.