Saturday, April 28, 2007

And There We Go Again!

And I'm up north, in Matheson, Ontario more precisely, at one of Outland's regional yards for some pre-season work and training, before getting up to our respective camps to get things ready for the planters. So we basically pack trucks up once in a while, watch videos about chainsaw safety and get back to the motel at 5PM for some beer and joints...

Good life, but it'll get busy soon! Here's a few pics I snapped today and yesterday:

Toronto-North Bay: Another ride up north in an old beat up school bus...Hopefully for the last time of the season!

A flat-deck and some Northern Ontario skies

The Matheson yard.

Tila's fetching it...

Packing up a truck for camp set-up.

Deliverers being good at doin' nothin'...I'm also really good

Our classy motel in Matheson: Vi-Mar!

But before getting there, I was in Southern Ontario, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and Toronto, seeing planting buddy Kenny and doing some office training:

The Fort that gave it's name to the city of Fort Erie...Guess where it is located?

A mall in town..

The town from the mall...Kenny admiring.

The Glen: A gorge downstream of the world-famous Niagara Falls. On the other side of the river, the United States.



Me kicking Kenny's ass at climbing the spider rock!

Mah, there's just a lot of water! (It was raining as well)

Niagara Falls has expended quite a lot. Last time I came, when I was about 14 years old, there was only the Minolta Tower standing (the one that looks like a drumstick)!

Kenny with Buffalo in the background. Fort Erie is basically a Canadian suburb of Buffalo.

Some windmills. I love windmills...but mostly testing my camera's zoom!

Time to go share a bed with a dude...

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Here We Go Again...

I usually post treeplanting videos on my planting blog, but this video, shared by an user on's forums is just amazing! Besides, the season is upon us!

I don't know if it's a real trailer, but it's a funny and spectacular video showing the craziness of treeplanting...and treeplanters!

You might wonder why there's some public pool footage. It's simply a popular activity on day-off. The music featured is Clint Mansell's Requiem for a Dream.

The original video can be found on YouTube.

Time to go pack my gear...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Letter I'll Never Send to a Girl I Never Called Back

Hey Kat,

Tonight, while browsing my usual websites and generally wasting my time, I thought of the short time while we did so together.

And in life, there's productive waste of time, and then, there's the "I'd rather be doing anything else, even nothing at all as long as it doesn't involve the other one" waste of time!

It's mean. But that's a thing I understood: There's times in your life when anything you'll do will result in you being an asshole.

One of those moments when nothing worked. While still in the heart of the moment, everything is allright, it'll get better, it's just a rough time. But when it's over, these same things will be the other one's fault.

I'm older than you, I had more experience than you. In the end, it was obvious. I understood the situation a tad earlier...

I was honest when I told you I'd never do that, when you were afraid I'd never call back.

But it freaked me out!

And I called you back.

I really wanted to reassure you when you freaked out because the pot was too strong, getting afraid of basically everything, including my brother!

And you calmed down.

But it freaked me out!

I was really excited when I got in bed with you. It was a little robotic, there was no vibe, no instincts. We were thinking too much.

I calmed down...

And it freaked me out!

I really wanted to get a nice breakfast to take it easy and chat about anything that morning. But I reached the bottom of your well too quickly.

There was no water there.

It really freaked me out!

Then, you called me when I was sick. Really sick! I told you it wasn't the best time to talk. It was completely honest. A few days later, coming back from my Christmas party in Toronto, I got a message from my brother. You called. I didn't call back. I figured I'd call later.

I reported the call until now. Until it wasn't necessary.

You probably thought and told your friends I was one of those jerks who said beautiful things, got what he wanted and dumped the girl.

Besides, you laughed, I was impotent half the time!

And you were completely right.

We didn't fit. To every level. It simply didn't work. So many hints, yet it took me time to realize it. I decided not to call you anymore. It wasn't worth it.

It was so obvious that you didn't call back. I wasn't worth it.

We were right, just not for each other.


Friday, April 13, 2007


For your information, the title is a classic Québec swear...

Yesterday morning, after my night shift, I went to take my Class-4 (taxi and minibus) driving license test, in Laval, a suburb city, as the SAAQ (The government office responsible of everything related to cars...) branch is less busy than the one on the island of Montréal.

So I got there by bus, as my brother needed the car to get to work. I wrote my test, then I anxiously watched the examinator correct it. Let just say I have a tendancy to rely on my intelligence/logic/sheer luck to get away with anything, including University exams, without studying much. This time was no exception as I never read anything about taxi/minibus specifics. It was a mistake.

But I passed nevertheless, and I got my licence! Happily, I got back to the bus stop (three metro stations will desserve Laval soon, opening at the end of the month, including one right in front of where I was) and then learned that the Laval transit employees were on strike (I learned later they went on strike to protest a blown tire)!

You don't want to be stuck in Laval, where parking lots take at least half of the size of the island (Laval, like Montréal is an island), which probably helps you imagine what it looks like...

So a few frustrated users got together and we shared a taxi to the closest Montréal metro station. Our cab driver was a caricature of the typical driver with an opinion on everything but no actual knowledge of what he's talking about. There's a TV show in Québec that plays on the stereotype, I thought it was exagerated...I was wrong! The taxi ride cost me as much as a bus ride, but only half the time.

Back in town, I decided to finally go get my iPod, who has been at the repair shop since I dropped it in the toilet on Halloween night. They didn't have a replacement harddrive for my model and they were apparently really hard to find, and they finally called me last week to tell me it was ready.

So I got there and asked for a rebate, which was abruptly refused. You should see the place, it's a really thin building, so the small piece makes for the whole width of the building. The repairshop is located over the store, so the guy looks down to me from the third floor (I'm on the second, there's an ice cream place on the first) and basically yells at me. I've been in the customer services long enough to know that it should be the other ay around, and despite understanding why I need to pay that much for replacing an 30gb video iPod, the point I was trying to make was that they should have at least called me once in a while to update me on the status (I'm not saying every week, but say, at least every two months!)

He finally relented and gave me an appreciable rebate.

I got home relatively late in the afternoon, which didn't make for a long sleep before work(it didn't improve today, as I did a cleaning contract this morning and I'm still up at 2PM), but a potentially shitty day turned down being quite satisfying!

Time to go get desperately needed sleep!

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Not Happy!

The Montréal Canadiens won't make the playoffs, eliminated by their arch-rivals on the 82nd and last game of the regular season, the damn Toronto Maple Leafs, which prompted me to redisign the Habs(One of many nicknames for the Canadiens) logo:

The good news? Toronto were eliminated after playing their 82 games as the New York Islanders won in overtime against the New Jersey Devils, thus barely making the cut to the 8th position in the Eastern Association!

Karma is a Habs fan...

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Friday, April 06, 2007

International Politics and Climate Change

Apparently, IPCC stands for International Politics and Climate Change.

Well, as long as we keep playing on words, removing statistics and possible outcomes for our own nations, climate changes should remain a problem only on paper:

"According to delegation sources in Brussels, the last-minute obstacles,
which had to be resolved in drafting the final text, came from Saudi

Arabia, China and Russia insisting on a watering-down of the text.

During ongoing negotiations in Brussels, experts from 130 nations had yielded to demands from the United States and China.

The sections removed included one on the expected climate damage in
North America, sources said. The draft had originally said that
tornadoes, drought, flooding and fires would increase as a result of
climate change and was removed at the behest of the US.

During negotiations, China had insisted that one part of a text be
removed according to which damage 'with a very high likelihood' would
occur. Scientists attending the negotiations had then demanded that
this particular part of the text be retained. A compromise was then

At the start of the conference, it became known that at least one-fifth
of animal species and plant species were in danger of extinction. Heat,
smog and malnutrition were making more and more people ill. Floods and
droughts are becoming more frequent.

Here we are again: Assuming our planet follows human rules. Let's count on bureaucrats and diplomats to solve the problem!

Link to article cited above.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) website

"Consensus grows on climate changes", BBC article regarding IPCC's Work Group 1 (WG1) summary release (February 2007)

"Stark picture of a warming world", BBC article regarding IPCC's Work Group 2 (WG2) summary release (April 2007)

WG1 summary for Policy Makers (PDF)
WG2 summary for Policy Makers (PDF)

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

To Spit Or Swallow?

Is there a better way to fill a rainy day than unfilling your stomach in a garbage bin?

I don't think so.

Yep, vomiting bile, feeling like your head is vice-clamped (or vise, but I prefer the british pronunciation for this word, mostly in this context...) and the fun of thinking you are a farmer in a post-nuclear Jericho, Kansas (The fictional town of the eponymous TV show), in some half-awake hungover delirium, are things I should definitely be doing a little more often!

Time to go fill my stomach and unfill the bin...Hmmm, appetizing!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


My grandparents are amazing! You couldn't have more different families than my father's and mother's parents.

My maternal grandmother, Céline, was a high school teacher that went to become, upon her retirement, the mayor of the town of Forestville, in Eastern Québec. Since then, she remained politically involved, being president of her regional SADC (Société d'Aide au Dévelopement de la Collectivité, or Collectivity Development Aid Society) as well as a member of various boards of directors within the North Shore (her home region, the Higher North Shore of the St.Lawrence River, that looks more like a sea than anything back there) health care system and the regional advisory committee for Canada Economic Development, a federal government agency. And when I say "region", it means an area bigger than England!

Until recently, she was regularly playing curling and badminton! Just thinking about all her achievements makes me want to kick my own ass for being such a procrastinator.

Then there's her husband, my grandfather, Guy. Upon retirement from being an executive for a paper company's logging operations, he took upon himself to learn everything about computers. He knows more than anyone in the family, keeps in constant contact with everyone over the web, with audio messenging services and webcams, gives technical advice to his grandkids about softwares and built several websites. There is two computers in their home, forcing me to watch what I write on my MSN Messenger, as there is usually at least on of them online. But they are so busy they aren't actually there most of the time!

An avid gardener during the summer, he spends most of the winter on the wonderful cross-country ski tracks surrounding his hometown.

They had 5 kids, four daughters and one son, raised in comfort, travelling a lot. Both are members of the Federal and Provincial Liberal Parties and are federalists to the core. I had a few heated ideology arguments with them back when I was a teen, but I was quite stupid.

Céline and Guy back then...

...and now (well, about 5 years ago, my most recent pic hadn't many people smiling...), with my brother and I.

And now, my paternal grandparents: A force of nature at 81, grandma Diana, is still volunteering in her community, the beautiful town of Bonaventure, in the Gaspé peninsula (An incredible place where you can fish salmon in great rivers, run in the farm fields, hike in the mountains, take a walk in the woods or swim in the sea within a few kilometers!). She even helps people younger than her at the old age club! She learned how to drive a car in her sixties, and then drove all the way to Montréal(an 11 hours ride)! A strong character, most of her sons, daughters and grandchildren probably inherited their tempers from her. She's been slowed down recently by an ankle injury and I wish her all the best in getting better!

And finally, Gérard, my father's father, also as strong as a rock. I remember when I was a kid, he'd show us his huge biceps (I called them apples), quite surprising for a man who was in his seventies back then. An old lumberjack (funny how both my grandfathers' jobs involved cutting down trees and I'm replanting those...) and farmer, my dad even bought some woodland for his use 15 years ago. I also remember the little house he built for me and my cousins when we were young, with everything to our scale!

Now, he's 90 years old, suffering from a degenarative muscle disease. He should be in his weelchair, but he actually pushes it around, asking anybody if they want a lift, as he's constantly rebuilding his muscle mass by exercising. Possessing incredible insight, he highly impressed my brother a few years ago by the way he correctly gauged him. The same night, at my cousin's wedding, my dad had to take care of his drunken son(not me, I was up north planting trees)...and dad! Apparently not an angel back in his youth, he's now the most serene person I know and he loves to tease his grandchildren. My dad stopped saying it was his father's last Christmas about ten years ago, as he started to sound ridiculous.

They had 11 children, nine sons, two daughters. They had good and bad years, living on farms. Every winter, Grandpa would go away to lumber camps, the sons easily getting into trouble as they were getting older. A sovereignist family, even my Newfoundlander aunt became in favour of Québec's independance, despite years living out west in Québec-hating Alberta (well, not necessarily hating, but at least heavy disliking).

My grandma Diana(right)...

...and grandpa Gérard.

I love my grandparents. Despite not seeing them often, as they live pretty far away, I'm glad and lucky that they are still around. I wish a very long life to every one of them.

Time to go start doing something...