Sunday, March 25, 2007

Could Montreal Learn?

Paris has decided to develop an extensive network of bike stations, where it would be almost free for someone to rent a bike. The plan calls for a bike station about every 250 yards. There are similar systems set up in Lyon as the article mentions, and i'm pretty sure Copenhagen has one as well (which works on a refundable deposit). Considering it is being done in Paris, where the terrain is not always flat (think Montmartre), could this be done in Montreal? The Montreal mayor last year was revelling at how modern Paris' new tramway was, and quickly claimed he would do the same in Montreal. Is this bike-lending network likely to be the next 'victim who never had a chance'?

Of course in our city, avoiding hills is not exactly the easiest. Kristian at Coolopolis has suggested that Montreal can benefit from a Trampe. A bike lift that can transport lazy bikers up hills. I would suggest that anybody who doesn't want to bike up a hill shouldn't be on a bike, but it this device could surely help bring biking into the mainstream.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flesh vs Aluminium: at War with the Automobile #1

Every tuesday and thursday this semester i walk to school and back, about 25-30 minutes each way. I do this not only because it's good exercise, but also to assert my rights as a pedestrian. Also because the 24 bus is fucking packed in the morning, as is the metro.

I think a lot of Montrealers can agree that drivers are pretty aggressive in this city, and i think it's time for pedestrians to be just as aggressive. I don't know how many times i've been cut off by a car and always thought after the fact that i should have hit the car. The most i've ever done it sarcastically put out my arm to let the car pass while i give a very cruel face. But, this all changed the other day. Walking along Park with my friend Brad, i lunged toward a car and hit it as it cut us off. I know i know. If i had lunged, then maybe it wasn't really that closely cutting me off... and yes, i was a little too eager to hit it. That's besides the point.

I love walking slowing through intersections when i can see (through the corner of my eye) that a car is trying to turn left from a lane over. I love even more when a car turns left, not realising there is a pedestrian (me) and has to wait for them (me) to pass. OHHH, i take my time. It makes me smile when the oncoming traffic backs up and people start honking at him/her for blocking traffic.

'fuck you asshole, maybe you should check for pedestrians before you turn!!' I want to say with my extended middle finger. But i don't, I innocently keep walking slowly acting oblivious. Passive Aggressive Pedestrian Activism, i'll call it! Or PAPA for short.

And i ask all of you to join in!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Green News Galore

There seems to be a lot of 'green news' today...

It turns out that Quebecers are the greenest of them all. Polls show that we are the most environmentally conscious.

Somewhat linked to the fact that Toronto has received more autonomy, the city has unveiled a long-term plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions. This is an actual plan that targets all sectors involved in the city, in contrast to Montreal's plan which only involves the cities operations.

And this is old news (okay, 5 days old), but the conservative budget that came out last week not only created a rebate programme for efficient cars, but also a 'green tax' on gas-guzzlers. By the way, according this article i read last week, the opposite of a gas-guzzler is a 'gas sipper.'

In a complete reversal, Stephan Harper apparently plans to invest in climate change initiatives overseas. I don't think there was anything in the recent budget for it, but i guess it could count in foreign aid spending.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Are You Carbon Neutral?

The Globe and Mail has an interesting article on the growing trend of being carbon neutral. The article profiles a handful of companies that are providing this 'service.' It's interesting to note that Green My Flight is the only such programme that is certified by Environment Canada's Environmental Choice Programme.

I bought some 'credits' for Jeannette for her last birthday, having just found out about it a week before. She would often drive up from Massachusetts to visit me, and i often felt a little guilty. I still sort of see this whole trend as just a way to assuage guilt, but i have to admit it's pretty effective! Even though i read through every bit of the website, it still didn't make very much sense. All i knew was that i was somehow funding a wind energy project.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Art Review #2

As with the first 'Art Review' this pièce d'oeuvre is displayed in Guy-Concordia metro. It is unquestionably about how the internet has negatively affected society post-September 11th. This type of post-structuralist (though undeniably pre-neoplatonist) social commentary has become popular as of late, attaining popularity than can only be compared to the ranks of tucking one's jeans into one's boots.

This piece effectively translates the visual dialogue between neo-technological anti-humanism and pre-technological artisanism. For those not familiar with these terms, it basically shows the way in which spellcheck and word processing has degraded handwriting. This degrading of handwriting is evident in the illegible 'scribbles' that not only lack readable orthography, but are often not following the western convention of writing from left to right. Human 's have just forgotten how to write by hand.

Friday, March 16, 2007

CSA Season

It's that season again. The season where it's not considered unreasonable to fantasize about summer. If you want to think about your organic food needs, you'll need to soon sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programme. Equiterre has just updated their database for the 2007 season (you can get to the directory directly here). For two years, Andre Samson was my farmer. After taking a year off and delving into community gardening (a disaster i wish never to speak of) i think i will change this year to Les Jardins du Petit Tremble. Andre was into squash and herbs a little too much, and i ended up accumulating to many unidentified dried herbs and squashes that i ended up giving away (luckily i found someone who loved them).
Here's an interesting tidbit: according to Equiterre, its CSA is the most popular in the world. I can't seem to find the page where i read that, so i can't link to it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

UFOs and Climate Change: Who Would've Thunk?

I'm not sure if this is old news, as i've been out of the loop for a couple days, but a former Defence Minister says that UFOs could hold the answer to stopping climate change. I wonder if he also supports the legalisation of recreational drugs. God i love Canadian politics, although this is just as loopy as many things coming out of American politics (just more fun and less fear).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Farewell Montreal Gazette

I've done it. I've cancelled my subscription to The Gazette. For the last 4 years i have done nothing else after waking up but reading the latest edition of the Gazette with a cup of coffee. This habit has not been completely static:
In 2005 I switched to the digital edition. This allowed The Gazette to penetrate anywhere there is an internet connection, even my vacations (Toronto, Vancouver, Moncton, Paris, Amsterdam, etc.).
In 2006 cigarettes no longer were part of the equation (i only lit up the first cigarette once i had sat down in front of the paper).
In 2007 I got a cappuccino machine, and filtered coffee was ancient history.

Though the nature of the ritual has changed over the years, The Gazette has remained there. My boyfriend (If it were a gender it would definitely be a middle-aged man from Beaconsfield), if you will, who i would wake up to.

I don't know what I'm going to do now. I feel a little lost. This is almost worse than quitting smoking, and i just cancelled the membership an hour ago. The Globe and Mail is just too nationally-focused and expensive (35$/month does not justify reading news mostly about the ROC, Rest Of Canada). I've already gone through the 2-week trial of Lapresse in order to have a smooth transition, but i found out that reading French in the morning is equivalent to eating a poutine for breakfast.

Why, one may ask, am i doing this? Well, many would agree that The Gazette mostly consists of a club of West-Islanders. I've felt for a long time that it is a bit too conservative, but it's hard to give up on habits. Especially when it involves someone (me) who many (Jeannette) believe may be a little (or very much) OCD.
All i ask is for your patience in dealing with this. And if you have suggestions of where else i can get some local news, please let me know.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Québec Votes

It's strange how this commercial encouraging people to vote has a 'green' image to it. Considering this is supposed to be from the non-partisan Directeur Général des Élections du Québec. You know the Charest administration had nothing to do with it considering they are not 'green' (although they love to think so).
I can't imagine the farmer (i'm assuming he is part of that 3%) voting for Charest unless he wanted highway 30 cutting through his land.

It just makes me want to vote green.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Nuit Blanche 2007: Fait Accompli

So the Nuit Blanche was a success... Though i only lasted until about 3 am. The Chai tea, though incredibly delicious, was less effective than i thought. Here are some photos.

brooms brushes and such. unfortunately they had already given out the 1000 brooms

this goes out to Liz

these last photos remind me of nightmares i used to have as a little kid

they were in tiny little boxes with windows

a modern day sweatshop?

i love the little Kraft peanut butter jar