Notable News (w32-w41)

Since our previous status report, nearly three months ago, a lot has happened. On the domestic front, I am happy to say that I have felt improvement at work. I guess I found better ways to deal with all the irritant “mammoths” (a plethora of usual absurdities, incompetence, and running arounds that made me crazy and drained my energy). However, following the “heat episode” I mentioned earlier, I complained to the union. The union director for the borough came to the workplace and said he could not do anything. A few weeks later he submitted his report to the employers. His conclusion? The section head and the three employees who left early because the excessive heat made them sick … should have stayed at work to show solidarity with their colleagues! Who needs a heartless employer when you have a union of traitors and assholes like that! A real nest of collusion. Madness!

As I keep saying, library work can be quite physical and exhausting (who knew!). I remember someone saying that, at my age, “if you don’t feel pain somewhere when you get up in the morning, it means that you’re dead!” Well, I can say that I feel quite alive. Pain is good. It certainly makes me feel I am there.

What has probably helped is that it has been a very good time for writing. My mind felt clear, I’ve been producing a lot, and everything was doing so well that I could only fear that it would all crash down soon. Maybe it’s the Algernon’s syndrome  or, to paraphrase Nelligan, “I am happy, so happy, that I am afraid to burst into tears!” Hopefully not… It is true that I wrote a lot, mostly about movies (Winchester, The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Isle of Dogs, Ready Player One, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library), particularly with the coverage of the World Film Festival (list of Japanese films, red carpet, Samurai’s Promise, Zone Out, Life in overtime, Think again, Junpei, The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, wrap-up). After a while I had enough of movies and it felt like I should go back to comment on books and manga—which I did with The Ghost in the Shell 1.5: [Human Error Processer], Un siècle d’Animation Japonaise, Souvenirs d’Emanon, Le Guide du Mauvais Père 4 and The Little Broomstick. I also wrote a suggestion list of adult manga. With all this the blog’s stats have soared!

I kept busy. I took walks in the park or visited the museum, a farm fair or the Italian week. I also reflected on the electoral conundrum (before accomplishing my citizen’s duty —in anticipation— with disappointing results), against Facebook, about writing (1, 2, 3) and about reading (or not). 

Eventually, by mid-September, everything started to slow down again and I wrote less. So many things to do. I feel that I cannot accomplish anything. What I need is more time! Time… Time is the enemy. We fight it to do more. We fight it hoping not to get old too fast and still have a little time left to do more. I wrote a haiku.

I started writing in a new notebook. The thirty-fifth. Some could be surprised that, in this digital age, one would still use a paper notebook. However, I find this physical form strangely reassuring. After all, electronic information can be so vulnerable. The good old notebook doesn’t need any batteries and fears only fire and water. Its sequential way of working—to write, read (or re-read)—is so much more appropriate for the human brain capacity. It is easier to get an overview of the text, to positioned yourself in the three dimensions of the writing. It’s more confortable for me. Of course, most of the time, it is just a glorified to-do or grocery list, but it serves as backup for my capricious memory. That way, in a few scribbles, I can preserves ideas that would otherwise be too fleeting to be useful. It is also the witness of my daily life.

I’ve watched a few interesting TV series. First, The Miniaturist mini-series. It is good and yet disappointing. It looks similar to the Girl with a Pearl Earring. It’s another show about the powerlessness of women in the end of the Middle Age (or early Enlightment). It concludes with an open-ending. “I can do this”, she says… I also binge-watched the first season of the Jack Ryan TV series on Amazon Prime (a thriller similar to 24), the new seasons of Walking Dead, Doctor Who and also the very good Press TV series. 

Apple has announced new products (iPhone and watch) and released new operating systems. How come, when you do a software upgrade, you always loose something you like? Why is removing something cool and useful is considered an upgrade? New operating systems always offer a basket of frustration…

I am trying to improve my reading habits by reading more, more often and better literature than just manga. I started with The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart and I am currently reading the first novel of the Poldark series by Winston Graham. But it is hard. In the olden days, I could read about sixty pages in an hour. Now, I read only a few hours per week, before going to bed, and barely thirty pages per hour. After two or three days of starting a new book, I am barely at page fifty! What’s happened to me? Fortunately, as I go forward, it is starting to get better… However, manga are pilling up on my nightstand, so I will soon have to pay attention to them…

“Summer is officially dead. It smells like Fall outside and I heard a flight of geese passing over the house”. Then, Fall officially came. It got colder and rainy. We even had some light snow. It became a little warmer for a while, but now we can feel that Winter is around the corner. Flowers and plants are shrivelling, twisting and taking the brownish colour of death. Winter is coming…

The lights have started to flicker again. Same time than last year…

On the world stage, we find the usual disasters (increasing numbers of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and volcanoes) but my attention had been particularly focused on the trumpian saga of corruption scandals (Stormy Daniels, the Mueller’s investigation, of course, but particularly the Kavanaugh confirmation) growing in a crescendo as the midterm elections are closing by. Such craziness! (For all the details see the 2018 events for the months of August, September and October as well as the links bellow).

Despite all this, I surprisingly succeeded to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered over two-hundred notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order; please note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual) after the jump.

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Sunset & moonrise in the park

Coucher de soleil et lever de lune dans le parc

[ iPhone 8+, Parc Frédéric-Back, 2018/10/20 ]

I stopped by the park on my way back from work to witness the change of the guard. Note that everything has been cut down in preparation for winter. Gone are the flowers before the frost. It’s all look like a cared lawn…

Je me suis arrêté au parc en revenant du travail pour assister au changement de la garde. Notez que toute la végétation a été coupé en prévision de l’hiver. Parties sont les fleurs avant le gel. Tout cela ressemble maintenant à une pelouse bien soignée …

Japanese Film Festival

The 35th edition of the Montreal Japanese Film Festival will be held on Friday November 30th and Saturday December 1st at the Cinémathèque québécoise (web). There will be three Japanese films screened for free. The event is presented by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal. The films are in Japanese with English subtitles. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations is required but you’ll need to take a ticket at the box-office.

Karera_ga_Honki_de_Amu_Toki_wa-tpClose-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは、/ Karera ga honki de amu toki wa / lit. “When they seriously knit”): Japan, drama, 2017, 127 mins; Dir.: Naoko Ogigami.

After being abandoned by her mother, 11-year-old Tomo is taken in by her uncle and his transgender girlfriend. Close-knit offers a heart-warming reflection on discrimination and ignorance and, more importantly, on the true meaning of family.

Screening on November 30 at 18:30.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / JMDB / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

Chihayafuru_Part_3-p001Chihayafuru: Musubi (ちはやふるー結びー / Chihayafuru – knot) : Japan, Youth drama, 2018, 127 min.; Dir.: Norihiro Koizumi.

The young members of a competitive karuta (classic Japanese playing cards) team stand together against the odds and the emotional turmoil they face, seeking to capture and hold on to a treasured moment forever. Can they overcome their opponents?

Screening on December 1 at 13:00.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

La_La_La_At_Rock_Bottom-p02La La La at Rock Bottom (味園ユニバース / Misono Yunibasu) : Japan, Drama, 2015, 103 min.; Dir.: Nobuhiro Yamashita.

Redemption is key in this humorous story about an amnesiac thug turned singer. A powerful and moving tale that reveals human complexity, baring charms and faults alike, and will make anyone want to believe in second chances. Added bonus: great musical moments!

Screening on December 1 at 15:15.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

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Colours of Fall

In order to appreciate the splendid colours of the foliage in this time of the year — which make Quebec famous around the world — we went to the Mount Royal in two separate occasions.

Around Summit Woods, October 8th

For our first visit, on October 8th, we went to the Summit Wood area, up the Belveder Rd and behind the Saint-Joseph Oratory. The colours of the foliage was disappointing but it gave us the opportunity to view the city from the Summit Circle Look Out and to admire the eccentric houses of this area of Westmount.

Mount Royal Park, October 16th

The following week-end, on October 16th, we went to the other side of the mountain, to the Mount Royal Park. It was getting a little late in the season, but the foliage was still beautiful, although not at its peek. We went up to Remembrance Road, then around the Beaver Lake, then to the Mt Royal Chalet to admire the view from the Belvédère Kondiaronk. Finally we went down the Olmsted Trail to Cedar Ave, then Pine Ave to the Percy Walters Park and finally Redpath Street to the Museum of Fine Arts.

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Press Ep. 1

tv-55-8-lawson-press-rileyI just watched yesterday the first episode of Press, a six-part British TV series that aired on BBC One between September 6th and October 11th 2018. It is written by playwright Michael Bartlett (Doctor Foster, King Charles III), directed by Tom Vaughan (Endeavour, Victoria) and starring Charlotte Riley (portrayed on the left), Ben Chaplin (World Without End), Priyanga BurfordPaapa Essiedu (The Miniaturist) and David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot). It is set in the world of newspapers in England, showing the work, life and career anxiety of the staff from two very different (and fictional) newspapers: The Herald and The Post. It’s apparently inspired by The Guardian and The Mirror, two newspapers with opposite journalistic philosophies: one is more of an investigative newspaper and the other more of a tabloid (or “Red Tops” as they say in the U.K.).

It is a very good TV series. The acting is excellent and it is quite well-written — it is not as good and clever as Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom (which was about the daily operation and trials of a cable news TV station) but it is still interesting and well worth watching (like most British TV series). Of course, despite the creator’s best efforts, the show was criticized for not portraying accurately the journalistic and editorial work, but all fiction need to take same artistic license to make the subject interesting. However, the writer of the series thought it was important to base the story on some real aspects of the journalists’ work (even if the details is sometimes wrong) in order to express the essence of journalism to the viewers. And I think it succeeded pretty well.

It’s a mini-series, so I have only five more episodes to watch… That’s what I like with British TV: it is usually short and sweet, all the goodness being concentrated in just a few episodes. No car chases or explosions with special effects, but just excellent writing and storytelling. That’s all a good show needs.

Press will air in North America on PBS’ Masterpiece following the UK broadcast, probably in early 2019. I recommend that you watch it if you can… stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ BBCGoogleIMDbPBSWikipediaYoutube ]

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