Archive for January, 2006

Discussion Group

I am a Concordia student in my last semester. I have to do a project which is called Fieldwork Practice. I have to set up a discussion group, have meetings for 8 weeks, plan everything we’ll do in the group (activities, etc) with my classmate Reem. We’ve come up with an interesting group and are looking for participants! So here’s the information below…

Quebec 101, welcome to “la belle province!”

A discussion group for people newly arrived in Quebec!

Mondays, 7-9pm, from February 6th to March 27th.

Downtown YMCA, 1440 Stanley Street

Preview of activities:
Discussions on education, employment, Quebec’s culture, learning French, a movie, a group outing, an international dinner, etc.

It’s a great chance to meet people, create friendships and learn more about your new environment! So sign up now (it’s free)! Or tell your friends! Only 12 places! You can also contact us for more information.

Facilitators: Christelle and Reem

Global Warming Is Scary

Two news stories today point out the need for us all to take off the blinkers and start working together on the global warming problem.

One story concerns the apparent efforts of the Bush Administration to keep bad news under wraps. The New York Times headlined it, “Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him“.

Then a BBC story suggests the picture is much worse than most people realize. The headline there is “Stark warning over climate change“. If we all don’t do something now, this is going to be even tougher for our grandchildren to live with. Some of the harmful changes may already be irreversible.

Cirque du Soleil Delirium

Cirque du Soleil is awesome. This time again they have brought a new kind of show to us with great success! Less circus, more music experience. Music, dancing, lights, projections on huge screens, circus acts, etc. Wow. My seat was awesome! I was smack in the middle, about 15 rows up. Great overview but still not too far away. On each side of the arena were 2 huge giant screens. Plus sometimes there also was a big curtain covering the arena’s width, the whole lenght of the stage. On these screens projections: old woman, old man, young girl, fat man, and so forth going in and out of doors… flowers and birds… geometrical shapes… etc. Really interesting multimedia work! Then the dancers… They were energetic! The musicians were incorporated into the show… Not like at a usual Cirque show where they are hidden… Now they were a part of the Cirque universe. The acts were amazing from a hoolahoop girl to 4 very muscular pyramid guys. The theatrical side of the Cirque was also present with a long-legged man and a hot air balloon guy linking the different numbers. The finale with Alegria where everyone in the arena stood up, clapping, dancing was great! Delirium really lives up to it’s name. It’s a “delire” this show!

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil

Photos (c) Christelle

Getting Your Internet Fix

If you don’t get enough of the Internet by sitting in front of that eye-stressing screen, there are other ways to get your fix. Visit Cinéma du Parc this evening to see a film on 24 Hours on Craigslist. I’m not sure you’ll get to meet the folk on Craigslist in Montreal, but the Internet is global after all.

Another item that’s about to appear is a quarterly magazine about Search Marketing. It’s called the Search Marketing Standard. It will be a regular, glossy magazine with ads and hopefully insightful articles that will help you make your website more visible with the search engines. Somewhat surprising to see a print magazine for such a topic, but there’s all sorts of folk out there. If you live in the US, you can get a free one-year subscription provided you sign up on the website before February 28. For the rest of us, a one-year subscription costs $ 20 US.

Cirquie du Soleil

Delirium is cirque du soleil’s first attempt at compensating their style in order to compete against their other international counter parts. The show is a bit confusing and dazzling at the beginning with a lot of special FX lightings that contain images. Not only do you have to watch the show, you also have to look everywhere.

People get used to it after a while and just concentrate on the main attraction. I find the balance of “real” circus show and singing a good one that kept me alert and amazed. Although the singing got too loud at one time and the speakers saturated.

My main focus for this show was on the background dancers. I wondered what requirements they needed as I see a lot of people from different dance backgrounds. There are even a few with really stiff bodies who made me wonder why they are there. But that’s beside the point. Of the good ones, 2 of them in particular stood out from the rest. One with long blond hair and the other with long red hair. There are times when they are free to do what they want and you can obviously see that they have a natural stage presence and they danced with the beat.

If you go tonight or tomorrow, see if you can pick out the two I was talking about. For those of you who went, do you think they are overdoing it with the stage props?

Snow Removal in Montreal

One of my “raison d’etre” in the blog world was to relay back home some of the new things that I have experienced in our new life here in Montreal. Probably the most fascinating aspect is the fact that the city carts away the snow. This being my first winter as a blogger, it became my perogative to post on it. There are a few articles on the internet that describe the process, but I have added photos to give a better sense of what happens. The post is photo-heavy so I have left it on my personal blog. I have also contrasted it with what we do in Chicago. Enjoy.


So what are you celebrating today?

If you’re a politician you may be celebrating and you may not. In all cases, you’ll have something to learn from the results of the Federal Election. It’s always good to get a reality check. Indeed today is the birthday of a poet who made that point among many others. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. The gentleman’s name is Robert Burns.

If you were in Vancouver, you could be attending the Burns Supper for the Burns Club of Vancouver this evening according to someone who is sometimes known by the alias of Toddish McWong. If you’re wanting to celebrate here, then you’ve missed it. According to their website, the St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal held their Burns’ NIcht Supper on Friday, January 20, 2006. Ah well.

If you’re wondering about the reality check, then here’s a short section of a poem by Robert Burns:

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel’s as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
And foolish notion.

That’s from a poem, “To a Louse”. You can find many other quotations and other links on this Robert Burns Links web page.

If you want to know exactly what it means then ask your nearest friendly Scots person. It links in with a phrase I’ve often quoted, We never know what others see. I guess there are many politicians who are saying that today.

My experience as a Poll Clerk

Well yesterday for the elections I was working at a poll station as poll clerk! It was a quite nice experience! I got to see the inside of the electoral process.

In the Outremont area I was teamed up with a man (not too young, not too old) and we got along great! I had the task of keeping the electoral lists up to date, crossing out names of voters as they came. My teammate handled the long ballot papers with the 11 candidate names (a national record…). During the day we chatted also with the Liberal party representative that was sitting at our table. I was happy to see the amount of people who came out to vote! Young first time voters (or new Canadian citizens voting here for the first time), students, adults, grannies and grandpas, people in wheelchairs, someone with a Mira dog for the blind, 1 Dutch person with whom I got to exchange a few Dutch words, etc. And that everyone seemed in a good mood, no one were rude/in a real hurry to vote/annoyed. Also during the day I met two of the candidates in the Outremont riding, François Pilon of the Green Party as well as Daniel Fournier of the Conservatives. I was surprised how strong and energetic Fournier’s handshake was! Ouch! My hand felt squished even a few seconds after the handshake! Counting at the end was quick, once again my teammate and I were very effective! And we were the first to leave after getting all the paperwork done! So the results are in for Outremont… Jean-C. Lapierre of the Liberal Party re-elected. What’s funny is that my box gave a totally different result! But it’s combining all the boxes of that area that give the final result. I got home at 23h30 and couldn’t go to bed right away. I needed some time to clear my mind from that long day of work! Otherwise I would have be dreaming about ballots, Lauzon, electoral lists, Léonard, etc.

I’m glad I got to participate in our electoral process. It’s neat that it’s real citizens that handle everything. And not machines or even worse people put in place by parties…

Random thoughts in a post-electoral morning

Five channels showing election results and not one of them had the idea of using small colored maps to educate us on the location of all of these ridings with the strange names.

Now that the Conservatives are in (a little bit of) power, does it mean that we can now turn right on red lights?

Even though the federalist vote was extremely divided, the Bloc has managed to lose five (?) ridings. There is a lesson in there for somebody.

The most annoying misrepresentation that is coming out of the American media is that Canadian voters have moved to the right. There is a lot of things that can explain yesterday’s results but a new-found love for right-wing ideology certainly isn’t one of them.

Random thoughts from the Montreal Auto Show


There is a lot of very nice automobiles being exhibited at the Convention Center this week. Unfortunately we had to move around a lot of our fellow Montrealers for the privilege of sitting in the front seat of cars that we will never be able to afford.

The expensive cars weren’t the only ones getting attention, there was actually a line to get into those small Smart mini-cars. They are much roomier than we expected.

Somewhere in the design studios of large companies, there is an engineer whose only job is to make sure that touching a new automobile makes you want to buy it.

Of course, some automobiles are too good for the unwashed masses. The Bentleys and DB9 could only be admired from afar.

Am I the only one with the opinion the concept cars are the automobile equivalent of a circus freak show? I’ll return to my images 5 years from now to see how many of them actually made it to market.

I was dissapointed to see that the bikini-clab car groupies have been replaced by Windex-carrying teenagers.

Unfortunately the photography was not as good as I had hoped, bad lighting, lots of reflections and way too many people.

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