Monthly notable news (w26-33)

On the domestic front, in the last month or so, the condition were still rather horrible at work: it was way too hot (ventilation is working but there’s absolutely no air conditioning so we regularly work at temperature of 28~33 ℃ including the humidex — 23~25 ℃ with 45%~55% humidity) and we are still running like crazy… Therefore, most of the time, I come back home totally exhausted.

When I was not busy chasing quotes for the balcony and masonry repairs on the duplex, I was taking care of the stray cats, but this year’s cat saga has finally concluded: the two females have been sterilized & released and their kittens have been adopted through a good samaritan shelter. Despite all this (and maybe thanks to the omega 3 supplement I am taking? Nah…) I wrote much more than the previous months (many capsule reviews including commentaries on the Ghost in the Shell and Valerian live-action movies, as well as the superb Pline manga)  and I also started contributing to the Irrésistibles blog (with a version of my commentaries on Animeland #214 & #215, dBD #115, Pline #1, and the movie Silence).

In the news, everything was about the Trump circus. I was literally consumed by the news of this train wreck in the making, like watching an accident where you know you shouldn’t but just can’t turn you gaze from it. So we’ve spent countless hours watching news reports on MSNBC (mainly Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell shows) about the latest trump scandals — and there’s a new one almost every day! It never stops: the Buzzfeed Russian “dossier” (Wikipedia, document), the possible election tempering collusion and financial involvement with Russia, the healthcare repeal & replace disaster, the sabre-rattling with North Korea and, finally, the controversial comments following the Charlottesville violence contributing to inflame the supremacist and racist agenda! When will the republicans realize they have bet on the wrong horse and decide to put him out of his misery? I can’t believe it has gone this far…

I have also watched today’s partial eclipse of the sun (58%) on TV and with my own eyes (using a home-made filter) but, unfortunately, I was not able to take any respectable pictures (by lack of preparation and appropriate equipment). But, at least, the weather was cooperating and I was able to see it. The next opportunities for such event will be June 10 2021 (partial at 85%), October 14 2023 (partial at 29%) and on April 8 2024 (a total solar eclipse!).

As always, I tried to remain acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered oven an hundred notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly separated in a few categories of interest), after the jump.

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How to save the planet

You’re feeling good because you think you are saving the environment by recycling and switching to LED light bulbs? Well, don’t (feel good, I mean). It is totally useless.

Last week-end, I read an interesting article in The Gazette titled “Want to save the planet?” (also from the National Post via PressReader). A study by the University of British Columbia is showing that what we are told to do to reduce climate change is rarely the most effective way.  We’re told that “making a difference doesn’t have to be difficult” when, in truth, making a real impact demands some major sacrifices!

The most interesting part of the article is found in a graphic that was available only in the print version. What high school textbooks suggest students to do for the environment is not very effective: using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones represent only a saving of 0.005 tonne (5 kg) of carbon dioxide per person per year, while upgrading light bulbs saves 0.1 tonne, hanging your laundry to dry in the sun saves 0.21 tonne, recycling saves 0.213 tonne and washing your clothes in cold water saves 0.247 tonne. Small changes.

In opposite, the more effective actions for helping the environment represents only four per cent of the suggestions given to students. The best tactics are eating less meat with a plant-based diet (saving of 0.8 tonne per year), buying green energy (saving 1.5 tonne per year), taking one less transatlantic flight per year (saves 1.6 tonne), and going car-free (saving 2.4 tonne per year — note that switching from an electric car to car-free saves 1.15 tonne per year and buying a more efficient car saves 1.19 tonne per year!). However, the most effective way to be environmentally friendly is to have one less child: you would save 58.6 tonne of CO2 emission per year! I always said that those kids are killing the planet.

I am really happy because I am already doing all those things (switching light bulbs, washing in cold water, hang-drying, using reusable bags, hydro-electricity, having a plant-based diet, no flying, no car, no kid) and I hope you will consider it too. I won’t go as far as some sci-fi shows and suggest, as some sort of Sophie’s Choice, that we should reduce the children population (or even the general population) — it would surely make the environment quieter — but please copulate with moderation (I would say “practice abstinence” but that would be inconsiderate: just don’t have four or five kids and think of it as a planetary-wide one-child policy)! There are already too many people on earth…

That would certainly be a good way to save the planet.

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Lettre à l’arrondissement

Mme la mairesse d’arrondissement
M. le conseiller de Saint-Michel,

J’ai quelques questions que j’espère vous aurez, cette fois, l’obligeance (sinon la décence) de répondre.

En novembre dernier, suite à une annonce dans le journal de St-Michel (“Toujours à l’écoute de vos besoins, nous vous invitons à nous faire part de vos demandes et commentaires”) qui incitait les citoyens à envoyer leur questions par courriel à leurs conseillers (jusqu’alors, quand j’avais un problème, je me déplaçais au bureau de mon conseiller — que je n’ai jamais rencontré par ailleurs mais sa secrétaire à toujours fait en sorte que les problèmes soient réglés de façon satisfaisante), je vous ai écrit au sujet d’un grave problème de gestion animalière dans notre arrondissement (j’ai par la suite publié cette lettre sur mon blogue et ma soeur, co-signataire, vous l’a très récemment envoyé de nouveau). Je n’ai jamais eu de réponse, ni même d’accusé-réception!

Je ne vous répèterai pas ici le contenu de la lettre (pour cela je vous réfère à mon blogue où le sujet est abondamment documenté par des hyper-liens) mais je me permet d’insister sur le fait que, cette année, la situation est pire: une dizaine de chats errants (deux femelles, cinq chatons, un mâle dominant et deux prétendants) font un véritable ravage dans le jardin de ma cour arrière. Non seulement la situation était-elle devenue intolérable mais apparemment les règlements municipaux nous menaces d’amendes si l’on “tolère” des animaux errants dans notre cour (?!).

Je n’ai donc pas eut le choix d’attraper tout ce beau monde (du moins les femelles et les chatons) mais maintenant qu’en faire? Les refuges privés sont toujours bondés (particulièrement à ce temps-ci de l’année où il y a beaucoup d’animaux abandonnés), c’est très difficile de trouver de bons samaritains pour adopter autant de chats et la seule solution officielle offerte est le Berger Blanc, qui a très mauvaise réputation (l’an dernier un employé m’a avoué que 100% des animaux errants y étaient euthanasiés) et que je me refuse à utiliser. J’espère trouver une place pas trop chère pour faire stériliser les deux femelles (et ensuite relâcher au moins la plus vieille des deux, sinon les deux, pour faire un TNR — “trap, neuter & return”) et trouver des gens pour adopter les chatons. Aux États-Unis et aux Canada anglais la plupart des villes ont des programmes subventionnés pour la stérilisation gratuite ou à bas prix ($15-$20) pour les animaux errants mais ici cela va me coûter autour de $60-$80 chacune! Avez-vous des suggestions?

Donc, suite à ce trop long préambule de contexte (je m’en excuse), j’aimerais bien que vous répondiez à ces deux questions:

  1. Comment cela se fait-il que notre arrondissement fasse affaire avec le refuge qui a la pire des réputations, le Berger Blanc, et non avec la SPCA comme beaucoup d’arrondissements environnants (Anjou, Montréal-Nord, Plateau, Rosemont, etc.)? Si VSP faisait affaire avec la SPCA cela serait déjà un peu mieux…
  2. Comment se fait-il que la ville repousse sans cesse la construction de son propre refuge animalier (dans notre arrondissement)? Aux dernières nouvelles il était maintenant annoncé pour 2019 !!!

Tant qu’à vous écrire j’aurais encore quelques questions sur d’autres sujets:

Comme vous le voyez je ne me gène pas pour commenter les absurdités municipales que j’observe que ce soit des problèmes de déneigement ou la politique de contraventions abusives sur Saint-Roch…

Merci de me lire et, surtout cette fois, de répondre à mes questions…

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Monthly notable news (w20-25)

On the domestic front, after much hesitation, the summer has finally arrived. At work, it is crazier than ever with the start of the vacation loan, the TD summer reading club, the twenty-days of amnesty, the summer clean-up and all this often in a sweatshop-like environment (hot and humid, because the ventilation and AC doesn’t work properly). It is so exhausting. I’ve applied for a job with more responsibilities (and pay) but flunked the interview (for the second time!). I am either good for nothing else or there’s something rotten in the HR kingdom.

I felt quite depressed lately. With all the problems with the house and at work, as well as the fact that I have not written or read much in several months, it’s no surprise. I come back from work with all my energy spent. I feel worthless. I feel I give a lot to the people around me and doesn’t get much (attention, respect, gratitude, etc.) in return. I hate it when dark thoughts keep me from enjoying life. But, hey!, it’s summer so lets enjoy the sun, the parks, the museums, the flowers, the cats, the people and particularly the few remaining days of my second ten-day summer vacation. There’s lot to do around the house and so much writing (hopefully) to catch up (I’ll try to go at it with smaller bites)!

In the news, Apple has announced some great software updates (iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4) and some new products (iMac & MacBook Pro, or iPad Pro updates, as well as a new iMac Pro and the HomePod, a speaker that they say will reinvent music at home) and my evenings have been consumed with listening to the latest Trump craziness on MSNBC. Everyday brings a new lie! More on the news in the links bellow…

I have always enjoyed the stray cats in my backyard but this year it is a real infestation: a battered dominant male [Toffee], two females (mother [Grisou] and daughter [Chaussette/Socks], their FIVE kittens and a couple of tomcat challengers. That’s TEN cats! They have laid waste to the backyard garden so I had to do something to control the situation. Unfortunately, the lack of consistent animal management policies in the city (and particularly in this borough, VSP) puts all the burden on the citizen and doesn’t give much help. My only option is to bring them to the Berger Blanc (which has a terrible reputation and an almost all-kill policy — also, for some mysterious reasons [$$?], my borough doesn’t deal with the SPCA) which I refuse to do. So far, I’ve caught all the females and their kittens, and I’ll see what I can do from there (any suggestions?)…

I’ve also started taking some omega-3 supplements, which (according to an NHK World report) is supposed to be good against cholesterol and dementia, amongst other things (like cancer or arthritis). It’s messing up with my digestion, but strangely I feel that my mind is a little clearer. Placebo effect? Anyway, we’ll see…

Strangely, I kept busy during the last month by doing lots of little things (cleaning up the garage, buying a new couch, burying my mother’s ashes, etc. — daily routine stuff) about which there’s little to say (or I just can’t recall some of them). I confess that I also probably watch too much TV. Anyway, that’s about it for now…

Although, as always, I continued to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered nearly a hundred notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly separated in a few categories of interest), after the jump.

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Le suffrage de la marmotte

Une élection partielle s’est tenu aujourd’hui dans le 6e district congressionel de la Géorgie. Les démocrates pensaient bien profiter de la vague d’insatisfaction envers l’administration Trump pour y faire élire leur candidat, Jon Ossoff, et ainsi offrir un excellent présage en prévision des élections de mi-mandat de l’an prochain.

Hélas, ce n’était pas écrit dans les astres, car la marmotte démocrate a eut peur de son ombre. Cela laisse donc présager huit ans de Trump! L’hiver s’en vient et il sera long!

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Promenade au parc

Je prends régulièrement des marches de santé dans le Parc du Complexe Environnemental de Saint-Michel (récemment renommé le Parc Frédéric-Back). J’ai donc pu constater ce printemps le progrès (plutôt lent) dans les différents aménagements des entrées de la nouvelle section (partie sud-est) dont l’ouverture avait été annoncé pour le printemps 2017. Bientôt sûrement (à moins que cela ne soit reporté comme la plupart des grands projets de M. Codère! L’ouverture totale du Parc annoncée pour 2020 est maintenant reporté à 2023!). Voici quelques photographies qui illustre cela:

La promesse

Mise à jour (2017-05-27): J’ai remarqué aujourd’hui que l’on avait ajouté une nouvelle signalisation de sentiers et quelques nouveaux arbres. Bon, ça progresse mais quand cette nouvelle section ouvrira-t-elle au public?!

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Weekly notable news (w17-19)

Another few weeks have passed quickly without anything significant happening: More crazy weeks at works and rainy week-ends where I don’t feel I accomplished anything. I am tired and really need a longer vacation. Next week I’ll start a ten-day holiday where I’ll be able to rest (sleep late!), catch up on stuff (writing, work around the house), travel around (Ottawa’s Tulip’s festival, Quebec City, botanical garden, museums, the libraries book sale, bury my mother’s ashes, etc.) and, above all, completely forget about work for a while. Or so I thought!

In hope for greener pastures, I have applied for a new library job (more responsibilities, further from home, but a greater challenge for my skills and a much better salary). However, after a lengthy processus, they scheduled an interview right in the middle of my vacation and at nine o’clock on the morning of my BIRTHDAY! Not only they made me filled a psychological test online (it’s called “an inventory of personality” and it will probably reveal that I am a total psycho) but they didn’t even bother to reply when I asked if it was possible to reschedule, so I’ll do my best to be there and we’ll see. Que sera, sera.

The weather has really been lousy lately. May is supposed to be the nicest month of all (and not only because it’s my birthday). Overall, it has been cold and rainy. It even snowed a little last week. In may! Hopefully, it will not portend that the summer will be likewise, and it will soon improve (at least for my vacations, please!).

Something strange happened at the beginning of the month: out of the blue, one late afternoon, I started to smell a vague odour of gazoline in the basement. It didn’t come from the obvious source, the garage. Usually, such smell comes from the sewage (through a dried P-trap) or from a dead animal but, in this case, it seemed to come from the pit of the water-pipe entry. I called the city and was told not to worry, it was “probably” not toxic and might have come from some work on the pipes in the neighbourhood (I couldn’t locate any nearby). I cracked open a window and the next morning it was gone. I never knew what it was.

The unlucky streak didn’t stop there. Not only I broke a piece of tooth while eating a granola bar during my lunch break at work (and I am still waiting for the dentist to find some spare time for an appointment), but I also discovered that the damage to the rear balcony of the house is more extensive than I first thought. The supporting posts are not planted deep enough (they rest on concrete supports that are just on the surface while they should be in soil deep enough so it never freezes in winter — who are the morons who built this house?!) so the ground expansion due to the freezing is slowly ripping the balcony off the house. So much that it has now become worrisome. We will have to do the repairs sooner than expected and it will probably be quite costly! What an exciting boring life!

Again, I must remind myself not to let the outside world rattle my core. Carpe diem, my boy, carpe diem!

Finally, I managed to stay acquainted with some of the affairs of the world and gathered notable news & links of interest — which I share with you (in both french or english, and organized into a few basic categories), after the jump.

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Monthly notable news (W12-16)

Another month (or so) has passed at lightning speed. Lots of stuff to do, particularly now that spring has come. We had plenty of rain at first, however now the weather is more enjoyable but still a little chilly. The humidity has made my left knee (and a bit my right ankle) hurt and, for a week, my back pain came back with a vengeance — libraries can be hard work sometimes (and not only for the soul; although it can be amusing too). I also had an episode of high blood glucose and I feared I would become a full-blown diabetic but it returned to my pre-diabetic “normal” after a week. This is no work for old men…

It has been a busy month. We’ve visited the notary twice for mom’s succession paperwork and there was plenty of work around the house particularly for the garden cleaning. I also had to deal with many unexpected problems: some strange Bell bug kept me from my blog for a week and I had some leaky roof, front door handle and water heater issues (the latter two just this weekend). Installing two more Outdoor Nest Cams (as one of my cheap IP cameras died following water damage inside the window) has been a strain on the Bell Wi-Fi causing serious performance problems. I’ll probably solve this issue by going back to Videotron, but only for the internet (I’ll share my sister’s).

A question on FB made me look back at my collection of old books and share my love for them. I also purchased a new Telephoto Mirror Lens for my camera. My TV viewing habits didn’t change much. I still watch too much TV: the new season for old series (When calls the Heart, Into the Badlands, Doctor Who) but two series are particularly worth mentioning for their quality: Anne and The Expense (and its beautiful opening credits with Norwegian vocals — listen on Soundcloud and Youtube). I also wanted to go see Ghost in the Shell in theatre but the reviews were not too good so I decided to wait. However, I’ll definitely won’t miss the Valerian‘s movie when it is released!

I have always considered blogging (and writing in general) as an essential mental exercice (as much as my daily walks) to keep in shape, the mind sharp and age better. However, now I have some doubt. It sometimes feels like a strain since I have less and less time to do it. I have to split my waking hours between my wife-together time, my me-time and work (from which I always come back exhausted). Lately, I had lots of problems with the blog (the Dropbox issue, not being able to log in for an entire week) and it leaves me with the dilema of having to choose between fixing the layout on the old posts or writing new material (or try to do both and be unhappy with the result). I just wonders if it is really worth it.

Maybe I should try less to DO something and just take more time to enjoy life right now (going to movies, to the museums, to the botanical garden, READ more, etc.) without always thinking about sharing it, what I would say about it, which angle I could use to explain the subject better or tell an interesting story about the whole experience. My health won’t improve with the years and I am quite sure that there is less road in front of me than behind, so maybe I should just take the most of it and enjoy the moment. Who’s reading me anyway. Although, I often say that I am writing for myself, so I can read what I wrote one day and remember how it was (particularly when I would not remember it at all). It is just like a journal left adrift in the binary stream of time, to create some sort of posterity.

Both ways seem kind of selfish: if I do write I feel guilty of not doing more of my life and, if I don’t, I feel I am letting myself down. Either way it is a losing battle. •Sigh* It’s the age-old depressing philosophical question: Did I ever really lived and did it really matter? I can only press on and hope for the best.

Finally, I nevertheless managed to stay acquainted with the (ever so depressing) affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly divided into a few thematics), after the jump.

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Monthly notable news (W53-03)

The Holidays and the couple of weeks that followed were rather quiet. Thankfully, I had to deal with much less craziness at work. But that was only the eye of the storm and those depressing days (scientifically certified as such since Blue Monday fell on January 16th this year) are coming to an end. The days are getting longer and more shit will soon hit the fan. Of course, there’s also this endless American nightmare with everything Trump. I wish I could forget about all that and never hear about it again, but unfortunately that’s what the world has become now.

I am already getting behind in my writings, but I caught up a little with my TV and movie watching. Besides the restarting new seasons (mostly Call The Midwife, Colony, Endeavour, Father Brown, Homeland), the notable new additions are Victoria and Dark Angel (although those two have already ended) as well as the weird Young Pope (a young and reckless leader is unexpectedly elected to head the Church — a little reminescent of the whole “orange is the new black” American electoral fiasco — but it’s directed by Paolo Sorrentino, who gave us La grande bellezza) and the quite interesting Mercy Street, a medical period drama set at the Mansion House Hospital during the American Civil War.

I’ll try to reinvent myself this year (so much to do) and push forward even harder on the path to improve my temperament and expend my knowledge. That’s the only purpose one can have.

Despite everything, I tried to stay acquainted (a bit) with the affairs of the world. Here’s a “few” notable news & links that I came across this month and that I’d like to share with you, after the jump (in no particular order, in both french and english): Continue reading