ni vu ni connu
Bilingual blog from Montréal.

vendredi, mai 31, 2002  

Après moi, le déluge !

12h11. I get out of an apartment I was visiting on Berri St. and meet the real estate agent on the front steps to talk about the building inspection. Bad timing. The wind suddenly picks up and this massive amount of water comes crashing down on us. In a second, the water is up to the level of the sidewalk, flowing madly towards St-Joseph blvd. We are under cover but it doesn't matter with that kind of wind. A neighbor offers us shelter. It's too late. We are drenched. Then a huge piece from the roof of the house in front of us falls down on the street. Garbage, leaves and dust twirl around, weightless. The real estate agent runs to his car. I just walk away slowly, making my way against the stream, my water-resistant wind breaker sticking to my skin.

I take shelter with a dozen wet people in the Caisse Populaire on Mont-Royal and watch the scene with them, laughing and shaking my head. A woman crosses the street with her shoes in her hands and a very young puppy on a leash. The dog almost has to swim to make it across Mont-Royal. A big metallic manhole cover is lifted up and down from the pressure of the water under it, looking like a huge kettle. I feel like I am in one of those catastrophe movies, but no one really panics. Hey, it's Friday after all.

The rain stops 15 minutes later. I walk home to change my clothes. The sun comes out. I get on my bike to run some errands. I get caught in the rain again. Second change of clothes in one day. And then I remember that it was snowing only two weeks ago...

I think I'm going to make I survived Montreal's mood swings t-shirts and start selling them on the street.

posted by Martine | 16:04 |

jeudi, mai 30, 2002  

Le "get-together" du 15 juin prochain a maintenant plus de détails sur son site, ConstellationW3, de même qu'un groupe de discussion/blogue.

Ça dit: Aucune association. Aucun financement gouvernemental. ConstellationW3 est un pôle de réflexion, de discussion et de réalisation de projets pour tous. Des conférences sur le thème de « Le web de 3ème génération, ou l'internet post-bulle ». Discuter, s'amuser, réfléchir, rencontrer des gens intéressants, sortir des sentiers battus, être audacieux, réunir plusieurs communautés d’intérêts ensemble pour qu’elles puissent former un tout, dépasser le stade des discussions pour en arriver à faire des projets concrets. C’est le temps de FAIRE quelque chose. ConstellationW3 peut devenir le « hub » sur lequel vous pouvez raccrocher vos idées, vos projets.

posted by Martine | 08:30 |

mercredi, mai 29, 2002  

Martine au travail.

C'est la rentrée en plein mois de mai! Eh oui, après de longues semaines de piges irrégulières, voilà que j'ai décroché un contrat de réalisation pour la télé qui me tiendra bien occupée pendant un certain temps. C'est un beau défi d'avoir toute une émission à réaliser! Aujourd'hui c'était ma première journée dans mes nouvelles fonctions et comme la petite Martine des livres de mon enfance, j'ai dû sortir la langue une ou deux fois pour bien marquer l'effort et la concentration!

E. savait que j'étais un peu nerveuse d'abandonner cette belle liberté de pigiste qui m'était devenue si précieuse, alors hier, profitant du beau temps, il s'est sauvé du boulot et on a fait un pique-nique sur le Mont-Royal, question de célébrer cette dernière journée d'oisiveté. C'était bon d'être là au soleil, à bouffer et à boire tout en contemplant les édifices du centre-ville remplis de gens d'affaires qui bossent fort... Rien de trop beau pour la classe ouvrière!

posted by Martine | 17:10 |

mardi, mai 28, 2002  

I love the Web (no, I'm not being sarcastic). The other day I was thinking that I needed to find a way to get the Montreal subway map into my Palm M100, instead of constantly pulling out that old beaten up paper map I have. While reading Michel's blog last night, I found exactly the application I needed, with a lot more functions than I had imagined. It's called Métro and it's a subway and public transportation guide for about 200 cities around the world, including Montreal. Pick your departure and arrival points, the time and day of the week when you want to get around the city, and it will give you an itinerary. There are a few more features that I am only starting to discover now. You can download the application for free, along with the subway guide for the cities of your choice.

This cool application is available for Palm based PDAs or Pocket PCs, as well as on the Web and WAP cell phones, and the city maps are updated on a regular basis (at least that's what the software makers claim). Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE? Bravo à Patrice et Frank pour ce beau projet collectif !

posted by Martine | 16:34 |

lundi, mai 27, 2002  

The theme for today is: The Telephone.

The Telephone Test: Does he give good phone?
Let's face it, how a guy acts on the phone can say a lot about his personality, especially at the beginning of a relationship when you're dealing with so many unknowns. Take this quiz and find out if you should put a new guy on your speed dial -- or on hold.

Did the test. Got a good score. Must be a bad test. I want to rewrite those questions...

posted by Martine | 20:35 |

Allo, c'est toi?
La joue droite s'incline à peine vers l'épaule. C'est drôle. C'est un geste qu'on voyait faire en couple, avant, quand l'un semblait réclamer quelque chose sans les mots, une caresse, un baiser, l'enveloppement par le bras de l'autre. Un geste comme de lassitude et d'abandon, d'imperceptible bouderie mais de tristesse aussi, l'inclinaison légère de la nuque voulait dire tout ça. Et maintenant, voilà qu'on fait ce geste seul, au milieu d'une place, au hasard d'un trottoir, en marchant plus lentement mais sans s'arrêter de marcher, ou bien assis sur une plage, à la terrasse d'un café, partout. Partout cet aveu de faiblesse, ce besoin d'une voix, d'une présence qu'on n'a pas.

Extrait de La sieste assassinée, de Philippe Delerm.

posted by Martine | 18:40 |

vendredi, mai 24, 2002  

Québec bloggers and blog readers, mark your calendars. Réservez votre 15 juin!

Conférence, get together, rassemblement, discussions, party, grass roots, etc. Sylvain, the famous frog in the valley, is looking for interested and interesting people for a Montreal version of SXSW, which will take place on Saturday, June 15th, at l'Université du Québec à Montréal. You'll find some basic info here (with more details to come soon). Basically, this will be a day for alpha geeks, fascinated newbies and good old creative types to meet informally, participate in panels and... PARTY! I'm not sure if the event will be bilingual (the info available now is in French) but if there is an interest, who knows?

These guys are looking for help with the planning of the event (help them find a name for it!) so join in on the fun!

posted by Martine | 21:12 |

Messieurs, nous sommes à un cheveu du progrès.

Les recherches sur de nouveaux traitements contre la malaria, la tuberculose, la leishmaniose, la maladie du sommeil ne bénéficient pas des investissements nécessaires. Seulement 383 millions de dollars ont été investis en 2000 dans la recherche contre ces quatre maladies, contre des dizaines de milliards pour les maladies des pays riches souvent marginales, comme la calvitie.

(Lu dans le quotidien suisse Le Temps)

posted by Martine | 07:31 |

jeudi, mai 23, 2002  

Happiness is... (part two)

For Bill, it’s the little details, like a window in the sun or oily sausages. Pour Nadia, c’est de défier les statistiques concernant les femmes et le célibat et de trouver l’amour véritable en plus de survivre au terrorisme. For Ed B., it’s that incredible feeling when you walk out of an exam having gone much better than you were expecting, and the tingling warmth from the sound of the voice of the woman you love. Pour Karl, c’est de vivre irrésolu et sans contrainte, en sachant qu’il a tout son temps. For tbit, it could be buying a lottery ticket, and realizing that winning enough money to see all the movies on his list would be satisfactory. Pour plusieurs de mes proches, c’est la fin d’un long lock-out. Pour Jérôme, c'est la lecture d'une lettre accompagnée d'une vraie tasse de thé. For Lisa, it’s a very flexible and very cool new job. Pour Darnziak, c’est une overdose de temples et de sanctuaires au Japon. For Blork, it’s blogging from Mexico in February, with a banana smoothie in his hands and quite a few days of vacation left, unaware that he's about to meet some girl. Pour moi, c’est beaucoup de choses, mais c'est aussi et surtout un petit signe de la part d’un être cher que je ne côtoie plus et qui me manque.

posted by Martine | 08:11 |

mardi, mai 21, 2002  

The truth is, tv can break your heart, in more than one way.

Have you ever finished a novel and felt a little depressed because you knew this meant the end of the existence of characters you felt you really got to know, like family members or friends? Sometimes a well written tv show can bring the same sense of grief when it ends. I have gone through this experience three times in the last month. First it was the end of La vie la vie, a Radio-Canada series which made me get home early on Mondays so that I could watch it live at 19h30. This well written and directed show ended after a very short life and every Monday night now I feel like something is missing.

Then they killed Dr. Greene on ER. I was a huge fan of ER when I lived in the US but somehow lost my interest in the show when I moved back to Quebec and didn’t start watching it again until about two years ago, when I was surprised to see that the show was back on its captivating story-line, even though I still didn’t care much for all the medical information. The camera work was awesome, the writing extremely sharp and the acting better than what you find in most mainstream movies. But Anthony Edwards, who played Dr. Greene for 8 seasons, wanted to move on. Since ER knows how to take its time and develop a character, they dedicated a whole episode to the death of Dr. Greene, who died by the sea in Hawaii. The very last sequence, with the wind blowing on the white curtains, and a sweet version of Somewhere over the rainbow playing as the soundtrack for Greene’s goodbyes, managed to be very touching without overdoing it. Not an easy task.

And THEN this weekend marked the very last episode of the X-Files. Oh boy... I learned to appreciate that show through the eyes of a friend who was a huge fan, and who managed to explain all the confusing plot lines to me. Like this reporter from Salon magazine who reminisces about the show, I had stopped watching the series in the last year or so because it got all over the place and my friend wasn’t around to help me make sense of it. It wasn’t the fault of the two new agents, who did an amazing job at taking the place of Scully and Mulder. But the writing just wasn’t what it used to be and the final two-hour episode was terrible. How could they forget their wit, sarcasm and sense of humour? Except for an hilarious line from Mulder, stolen from The Silence of the Lambs, those two hours made you wish the tapes for the last broadcast had been abducted before they could air. The characters were just empty containers, Scully followed Mulder around without any resistance, like a teenager drooling with love, and Doggett and Reyes didn’t get the farewell they deserved.

There was a whole scene with Mulder and Scully where they mumbled so much you couldn’t understand a word of their conversation. It was as if the actors were so ashamed of the script that they had decided to speed their way through it, breathing heavily from the effort. And that final conversation... The X-Files always had something interesting to say about faith and hope, and managed to do it without sounding preachy or religious. But that last rant on Sunday night about beliefs and faith, with Scully’s gold cross shining in the spotlight, was too much. Yes, it was cool to see them kiss, but the truth is, we’ve been let down. I don’t think I'll hold my breath until I can see what happens on that dreaded December 22nd, 2012.

posted by Martine | 09:59 |

jeudi, mai 16, 2002  

Bilan d'anniversaire et de la visite guidée:

Quand il fait froid à Québec, il fait vraiment vraiment froid.
Mon copain Alex (le visiteur san franciscain) attire la mauvaise température.
Les Expos ont battu les Giants 4 à 2. Le stade olympique est un lieu très déprimant.
Manger un smoke meat et une poutine dans la même semaine, c'est vraiment trop.
L'appel que j'attendais pour un nouvel emploi est venu, mais l'emploi n'était pas celui attendu. La vie est coquine, mais pas mesquine. C'est déjà ça de gagné.
Au lieu de la Mini Austin, j'ai eu droit à un PT Cruiser, quand le gars au bureau de location d'auto s'est rendu compte que c'était mon anniversaire. Il m'avait offert une décapotable, mais comme il neigeait à Québec...
Le dernier numéro du plus récent spectacle du Cirque du Soleil (cadeau d'anniversaire) est spectaculaire.

Merci à tous ceux qui ont pris le temps de m'offrir leurs voeux! Mes cheveux blancs et moi sommes très touchés (et retouchés!).

posted by Martine | 22:33 |

mardi, mai 14, 2002  

Happy wet, cold, snowy birthday to moi.

Aujourd'hui c'est mon anniversaire. Au programme: un road trip à Québec pour faire visiter ma ville natale à mon ami san franciscain en visite à Montréal ces jours-ci. Je jouerai les taureaux coquets et je ne vous dirai pas mon âge exact, mais disons que je suis assez vieille pour faire des bilans. Voici une courte liste de ce que j'ai et de ce que je désirerais avoir, au cas où certains d'entre vous auriez envie de me faire des cadeaux.

Ce que j'ai:
Une tempête de neige inattendue pour un 14 mai (celle-là, je ne la trouve pas drôle).
Des cheveux blancs de plus en plus difficiles à cacher.
Un frère, deux soeurs, une nièce et deux neveux que j'adore.
Pas d'enfant.
La santé et la capacité de dormir 10 heures par jour si je le souhaite. (Est-ce relié avec le point précédent?)
You, new hiking shoes and a ridiculous amount of Mason jars.
Une vie beaucoup plus riche que ce que j'avais imaginé quand j'étais enfant.

Ce que j'aimerais avoir ou recevoir:
L'appel que j'attends d'un jour à l'autre et qui m'annoncera peut-être que j'ai l'emploi que je désire.
Une souris sans fil.
Que Yves Rocher se remettre à produire mon parfum préféré à la réglisse (fin de série).
Une Vespa.
Une mini Austin coordonnée avec chacun de mes t-shirts.
Une caméra numérique.
Long exciting hikes and lots of soupers champêtres with you.
Revoir très bientôt mon amie australienne Jackie.
Mon propre nom de domaine.

posted by Martine | 06:37 |

vendredi, mai 10, 2002  

That funky Segway scooter claims its first casualty. (linked via Good Morning Silicon Valley).
The heralded Segway has claimed its first Atlanta victim. A member of the Central Atlanta Progress Ambassador Force toppled from one of the personal scooters on Cone Street near Luckie Street about 8:40 p.m. Thursday. The officer, whose name was not released, injured his knee going up a driveway onto the sidewalk.

I want to see that Segway in action on a frozen sidewalk in Québec!

posted by Martine | 14:10 |

jeudi, mai 09, 2002  

My friend Alex, a true San Francisco boy, is arriving Saturday for a 5 day visit to Montréal. I've been telling him about how great this city is in the spring, but aside from
(1) taking him to the terrace of a café on St-Denis so that he can watch the girls walk by,
(2) taking him to the Expos vs Giants game on Sunday (he made me promise),
(3) walk to the top of Mont-Royal again,
(4) go eat a poutine at Patati-Patata on St-Laurent,
I'm out of original ideas for things to do in this city. Any suggestions for only in Montreal experiences? What do you do with your out of town friends when they come and visit you for a few days?

posted by Martine | 22:32 |

mardi, mai 07, 2002  

Triste histoire, belle fin, bel exemple de solidarité. Depuis le début du lock-out à Radio-Canada, mon copain Jean-Hugues maintient un blogue très populaire sur le conflit, blogue qu’il agrémente de photos prises avec son joujou favori: son appareil photo numérique. Il a d’ailleurs pris la plus belle photo du conflit, selon moi, avec cet appareil.

Mais voilà, comble de malheur, Jean-Hugues s’est fait piquer son appareil il y a une dizaine de jours (son deuxième vol en quelques mois). Touchés, ses collègues en lock-out ont organisé une collecte et en quelques jours, les 650$ nécessaires étaient réunis. Fidèle à son sens de l’éthique hors du commun, Jean-Hugues a insisté pour payer la moitié de sa caméra lui-même et remettre le reste de la collecte au comité d’entraide pour les cadenassés.

Voilà donc Hugo-reporter avec un nouvel appareil photo entre les mains. Aye Jean-Hugues, peut-être que Radio-Canada pourrait te fournir un cadenas pour prévenir un autre vol!

posted by Martine | 22:44 |

I have had the same e-mail address for years, when the guys who started Hotmail were not millionaires yet and had to share a booth at Comdex in Las Vegas with the magazine I was working for. It was a slow morning on the show floor, I was taking care of the booth and chatting with the Hotmail guys. “Won’t you get an address with us?”, they asked pretty sweetly. “I guess I could, but I already have an e-mail address at my job”. “But you can access this one from anywhere and you get to keep it when you change jobs”. I thought these guys needed a little encouragement, so I registered with Hotmail.

About 6 or 7 years later, I’m still using that e-mail and boy, do I get junk mail now! The Hotmail guys never warned me about that! Since the filter I have set up is becoming less and less efficient, I actually have to read through the titles of the mail I get to make sure I’m not throwing away any good stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I hate junk mail and spam as much as everybody else does, but I have to admit that some of these people have a lot of imagination (or at least a lot of guts). Here are some of my “favorite” subject lines, from fresh junk mail arrivals:

Proven Penis growth product! Add 4 inches overnight! (Does it work for girls too?)
My lover never says no! Ask me why. (How funny! My lover never says no either!)
Be PROUD in the change room! (I did get a nice pedicure just for that.)
Be the Biggest Man You Can Be. (That might look funny on my small frame.)
Never ever pay for sex again! (Really? Oh great! I can start putting some money in my RRSP savings now!)
Hi, Frank, Here is my personal information. (Am I really supposed to get intrigued here?)
The Unhuman Perversions! (These girls are so bad, they forget about their grammar!)
Martyne You've WON a chance! (Great! I could use a little luck for the next contest you’ll enter me in.)
Furry naked barnyard friends!!!! (Does this have anything to do with being a Babe?)
Watch as me and the wife double team the family doberman. (This one actually came with photos in the e-mail.)

posted by Martine | 09:25 |

lundi, mai 06, 2002  

After watching the towers collapse on September 11th, F. got out the photos of our last trip to New York and we started looking at them once again, with very different eyes. I don't like heights, but he had convinced me to spend a couple of hours at the World Trade Center so that he could take a bunch of photos in the late afternoon light. He took photos from all angles (top and ground) and as I was waiting for him to be done, I tried to look up and observe the towers against the sky. I had to stop after a few seconds because it made me feel too dizzy. "Madness", I remember thinking. "Who could ever dream of building something like that?".

One of the photos F. took is now part of a new gallery at the Mirror Project, with Jish Mukerji (a Montreal expat) as a guest curator. I look at our smiling faces. I think of a place and a relationship that will never be the same anymore. Even with the best intentions, our plans and dreams can collapse. And sometimes the wisest choice is to rebuild on different grounds.

posted by Martine | 08:11 |

vendredi, mai 03, 2002  

Tiens, mes ancêtres ont un site Web, celui de l'Association des Pagé d'Amérique. (Non, ce n'est pas moi, la Martine Pagé sur la photo.) La famille Pagé serait une des familles fondatrices de la Nouvelle-France puisque le premier Pagé, Raymond, serait arrivé ici avec sa petite famille vers 1647. Une des hypothèses veut que ces ancêtres venaient de la région française du Quercy, dans le sud-ouest de la France (d'où notre nom d'origine, Pagé de Quercy). Je suis passée très rapidement dans cette belle région l'an dernier et je compte bien explorer le coin plus longuement un jour. À défaut de mieux, je peux quand même dire que j'ai visité à plusieurs reprises les voûtes de la maison Pagé-Quercy qui sont intégrées à même le Musée de la Civilisation, à Québec. Une erreur de construction aurait empêché le gouvernement de conserver la maison en entier...

Il me semble qu'en tant que descendante, je me serais bâti une belle cave à vin dans ces voûtes, moi. Ben quoi? Si je compte bien, je serais la 13 ou 14ième génération de Pagé en Amérique. Ça s'arrose, non?

posted by Martine | 21:46 |

jeudi, mai 02, 2002  

It's official. There's never been a better time to be a single man. (...) Certainly statistics suggest that single life gets less enjoyable once you're staring 40 in the face. According to Mintel, unpartnered men enjoy greater life satisfaction up until their late-thirties. But from then on in, it's the settled and sorted with the smiles on their faces.

But the big new idea in this area is that it may be that when men do become part of a relationship, they don't so much stop being single as become less single. And the irony in all of this is that the men who really enjoy 'singlehood' are those who have given it up.

This long and interesting article on the new single man from the Gardian (linked via Pelican) was inspired by the upcoming movie About a boy, adapted from Nick Hornby's hilarious novel. It's good to read about singlehood from the other side of the fence.

Got a call today from a single girlfriend who lives in San Francisco. She was one of my many fantastic girlfriends who just couldn't meet an interesting guy in California. Now that I live in Québec, there seems to be a shortage of great available women, while I have a lot of fantastic male friends who would love to meet someone. I should start a coast to coast dating service... In the meantime, I might start writing profiles of some of those available friends of mine. Single women, stay tuned!

posted by Martine | 17:15 |

mercredi, mai 01, 2002  

In an e-mail, my sweet E. told me: I like it when my life is like a novel!

Which got me thinking... If my life were a book, where would they put it in a bookstore? Biographies and Memoirs? Computers & Internet? Entertainment? Mind & Body? Travel? Religion & Spirituality? Reference? (not!) Fantasy? Fiction? History? Horror? (eeek!) Or, gasp... Large print?

If I were the one to chose, I would put it in Essays. But I'm thinking about it in the sense of the French verb essayer. Damn it, it's my life, probably my only one, and I'm trying really really hard!

If you were a book, which shelf would you be sitting on at the bookstore? On le classerait où, le livre qui décrirait l'histoire de votre vie?

posted by Martine | 16:33 |
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