Creuset of Ideas
A collection of various ideas

Archives of "Life"


Fresh and tasty

2007-10-10 @ 11:34

A few weeks ago, Stephie and I started receiving weekly fruit and vegetable baskets. They’re organic. It’s actually a bit more expensive; we pay for the convenience: we don’t have to go get the basket somewhere, they’re delivered straight to our door.

We get to try out vegetables we’re less accustomed to, and there’s fresh fruit on our table for the better part of the week. But that’s not the best thing about this. Those fruits and vegetables taste great! I mean, I’ve got nothing against, say, cauliflower, especially in dip or in some Indian dish; but the one we got? Man, you could eat it raw, without anything else. And the red peppers? Wow! Can’t wait to get back home and have some with goat cheese. And don’t get me started on the blueberries or the melons.

I think I know why most people don’t particularly like vegetables. They’re used to crap. Let’s not mince (pun intended) words: most of what you get here at the grocery is pretty bland, if not downright bad. And I think that’s why my 6½-year-old nephew actually eats vegetables: his mom’s been getting fresh-from-the-farm organic produce all his life.

It’s at time like this that I’m glad Stephie’s vegetarian. I tell you, fresh organic is the way to go.


One-question meme

2007-09-18 @ 11:03

This one has only one question: how would you describe you current job (or any past job) to a young child?

Some are pretty easy, others quite tricky; a good example is my nephew’s parents: he works for Purolator, she’s a immigration officer. For him, it’s pretty simple: he’s some sort of mailman. For her, well, she told her kid that she helps nice people to come into the country and bad ones to stay out (or something like that). One of my friend’s kid said that what his dad does, is bring drawing paper home.

Mine is pretty straightforward: I take things written in English and rewrite them in French (or the other way around).

Back in the days I was studying linguistics, I used to answer, to people who were wondering what it was we did, somewhat cryptically: just like biologists study life, we study language…

So what about you: how would you describe you job to a young child?


Patterns of light and darkness, and a drink

2007-08-6 @ 18:18

This month’s SPC theme is “Patterns” and, for me, starting this month, the challenge is not only to do self-portraits, but also, every week, to come up with a story based on other people’s self-portrait. What can I say, I like a challenge.

So this is my first take on the patterns thing.

First off, you have to be pretty quick when you only have a 10-second delay. There was a bunch of people downstairs and when I saw their shadow, I just had to be there. I like the mix of the shadow play and the pattern on the wall.

This reminds me of a picture I took at a bar in Toronto this summer:
and a drink

(Don’t ask me what that drink was, I wasn’t the one drinking it.) That’s a very long exposure, there was almost no light. It would have made a great self-portrait (except for the fact that’s it’s not me) especially since alcool, bars, dating and loneliness are great material for patterns…


Let’s Do Eight (or so)

2007-08-1 @ 18:39

Well, it’s the second time I’ve been tagged for the 8 things meme, so I should be doing it. The first time was by Thinking Girl; this time it’s fellow new contributor to the Self Portrait Challenge blog, Rachel (the Metaphorical Magpie) [notice how I slipped in that I’m now one of the SPC authors]. So, without further Apu ado, here are my eight things about me.

  1. I’m sometimes a bit lazy. No, that’s not what I mean; not lazy. It’s more a question of using shortcuts (like the first five items on the list). It’s got to the point that I can spend more time inventing something to same me time, than doing the thing itself. A matter of interest, I guess; creating the shortcut is often more fun than doing the repetition.
  2. Many people think I’m weird. To me, that’s not an insult; more of a statement of fact. By most standards, I am. (Okay, I work in an office, in an insurance company; t’s not hard to stand out…) Sometimes I’ll say strange things (like “Don’t put down Topher Grace, he’s played in movies with Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis, Andy Garcia, Kirsten Dunst, George Clooney, Carl Reiner, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould”), or quote, without any introduction, from The Simpsons or some song.
  3. I’ve always thought I was a city guy. I love having everything around and not having to drive to go anywhere. Then I discovered that I don’t do much in the city and often want to get out of there. One thing’s for sure tho, I might have been born in the suburbs, that’s not a place for me. Still, just beat my record for the longest time lived in the same city: 12 years and one month. Half of that time at the same address (not bad for someone who used to move every two years).

That being said, stay tuned for my Sunday Story segment on Self Portrait Challenge!


Another morning spc

2007-07-23 @ 17:54

July’s theme, for the self portrait challenge was elements: Water - Air - Earth - Fire (the Chinese would say they forgot Wood, but that’s another story). haven’t the opportunity to participate till now, although I almost reposted this one of me at l’Île-Rousse, in Corsica, before vertigo took over:


(I would so go back there any day) Continue reading »


God complex

2007-07-6 @ 12:55

That was a strange place to have a revelation, but there you have it: it happened in a church. Although it would seem fitting that it was about God, it had more to do with logic than religion. My revelation, which I’m sure others had before me, was that God, if It exists, cannot be both perfect and interventionist. To be more accurate, we cannot have both an interventionist God and a perfect creation.

If creation is perfect, as some would have it, then there is no need for God o meddle with it, unless It’s bored and looking for something to do—but perfect beings don’t get bored. Then again, maybe his interventions are all part of the plan, which ipso facto makes Creation imperfect since it needs interventions.

I can only see three possibilities here (then again, not being perfect, my vision is limited – which is actually nice, since it gives me a good reason to wear kick-ass glasses):

  1. Creation is perfect and God doesn’t interfere
  2. Creation is imperfect and God has to tweak it from time to time
  3. God is part of creation and that’s why It intervenes.

The Evil of Pictionary

2007-06-1 @ 10:23

The other night, we were at a friend’s for a (nice) party and started playing Pictionary. We didn’t use the game, but came up, in two teams, with (sometimes wacky) words and expressions, then went at it. And how. I hadn’t played in a long while, but let me tell you, people get inflamed playing this game. And it’s not just competition.

Take, for example, the Simpsons episode where Milhouse’s parents (Kirk and Luann) split up:

Kirk: Ah, come on Luanne, you know what this is.
Luanne: Kirk, I don’t know what it is.
Kirk: [sighs] It could not be more simple, Luanne. You want me to show this to the cat, and have the cat tell you what it is? ‘Cause the cat’s going to get it.
Luanne: I’m sorry, I’m not as smart as you, Kirk. We didn’t all go to Gudger College.
[timer dings]
Kirk: It’s dignity! Gah! Don’t you even know dignity when you see it?
Luanne: Kirk, you’re spitting.
Kirk: Okay, genius, why don’t you draw dignity.
[she does so]
[everyone gasps in recognition — we can’t see it, however]
Dr. Hibbert: Worthy of Webster’s.

The thing is, Pictionary is one of those rare games where communication is the goal. And two of the thing that irks us most are: not being understood and not understanding. Especially when it comes to that special someone, who usually happens to be on the same team.

As in everyday life, we tend to express ourselves in a way that make sense, from our point of view. The same thing with Pictionary: we tend to draw things that we would understand. And to see the drawing, of course, from our perspective. It takes a conscious effort to work from the other’s point of view. And we tend to think that, if we have a special bond with someone, they’ll share our perspective, at least more than most, and understand us readily. The opposite of which, at least for trivial matters, comes to light through exercises like Pictionary.

And in couples, a lot of the problems have to do with communication, or lack thereof more precisely. Not that all problems are based on a lack of communication, but communication plays an important role in making things better or worst – usually the latter.

Add competition, maybe a bit of alcohol, and the lack of expressive restraint that trivial matters tend to give us, and you have an explosive cocktail.

Fortunately, no one was hurt at that party, although we did discover that one of us was psychic (how do you guess “crack whore” from “woman with penis”?).


Grand Central Station

2007-05-25 @ 13:42



2007-05-15 @ 19:55

A few years (actually, a few lustra) back, a fellow student, who happened to be researching native Quebec languages, was commenting how we Quebecois tend to define ourselves negatively. Not in a sense that we have a bad image of ourselves, but that our identity is made up of nots: we’re not Anglos, we’re not Americans, not Canadians, not Frenchmen, not Natives. Although I think we do have a “positive” identity, there seems to be a once of truth to his statement.

I’ve got this coworker who recently moved from Kitchener, Ontario (which we call, around here, moving up); she’s having a hard time seeing that Quebecois are not like Ontarians. In her mind, we’re all the same: we want to be happy, have a family, a good job, etc. She was quite surprised when I explained how Isabelle, when she went to live in Saskatchewan, had a bigger cultural shock than when she lived in Cameroon. She’s also surprised that a lot of people here can often tell a Frenchy from an Anglo a mile away. I work for a company owned by an Ontario one, and we often have to explain to them that what works there (especially in marketing), doesn’t necessarily work here, which any country-wide ad agency will tell you.

Then it hit me: it has to do with how we construct our identity. I may be wrong, but I get the distinct impression that Ontarians (and maybe other Canadians) tend to see the similarities first and foremost, at least within Canada. Whereas we here tend to focus on the differences; the similarities are not important: in our mind, it’s what makes us different that counts (again, at least between Anglos and Frenchies).


spc: 1984

2007-05-1 @ 7:44

This month’s Self Portrait Challenge theme is On the street. So here goes:

Surveillance picture

Surveillance cameras are everywhere (there’s supposedly 32 CCTV cameras around Orwell’s old London home); I don’t doubt their usefullness in curbing criminality (actually, displacing it and modifying its type), and in criminal investigation (then again, martial law will get those crime numbers down). What I find interesting is people’s reaction, especially the good ol’ “If you don’t do anything wrong, you don’t have to worry about it.”

This always prompts the following responses in me:

  1. we all do things that are not too kosher, or that we’re not proud of;
  2. it’s not so much what you think is wrong that matters, but what any of the people who have access to the footage thinks (just think of demonstrators against government policies);
  3. stop thinking only about yourself.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today.