Écolo Lithium (Green Power HQ)

Une nouvelle monture

Après le début du déconfinement, lorsque j’ai été rappelé au travail, je n’étais pas très à l’aise avec l’idée de devoir prendre l’autobus et le métro. Heureusement mon travail se trouvait à distance de marche ou de vélo. Toutefois je me suis vite rendu compte qu’à mon âge, en pleine canicule, le vélo (et parfois même la marche) c’est plutôt épuisant. C’est alors que je me suis rappelé avoir déjà voulu acquérir un vélo ou une mobylette électrique juste pour le plaisir. Mais c’est tout de même dispendieux et le plaisir seul n’en justifiait pas la dépense. Par contre, dans les circonstances, c’était devenu presqu’une nécessité.

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Le DS1 de Dyad

J’ai donc loué une mobylette électrique pour une semaine (chez Dyad) pour voir si cela en valait la peine, si c’était difficile à conduire et, surtout, si j’aimais ça. J’ai adoré! Après avoir soigneusement étudié les modèles disponibles j’avais choisi de louer un DS1 de Dyad car ils offraient de déduire le coût de location de celui de l’achat si j’étais satisfait et désirais acheter la mobylette chez eux. Le problème c’est qu’après ma semaine de location il ne leur restait plus aucun modèle pour la vente et ils ne prévoyaient pas en recommander cette année! J’ai donc commencé à magasiner ailleurs et à considérer tout les modèles possibles: des modèles similaires au DS1 de Dyad (l’Écolo, le Passeport), des vélos électriques (comme le Banana Boss, le Rad Runner 1, le Maxie Large, ou même le Paris), de plus grosses mobylettes style Vespa (Tao Aquarius, Vienna, Gio Italia, Mignon, UQi Pro, etc.), mais plus personnes n’avait quoique ce soit en stock ! Il faut croire que tout le monde avait eut la même idée que moi en même temps!

J’ai agonisé de longues semaines en soupesant toutes les options possibles mais c’était toujours trop gros, trop cher, pas de siège confortable, pas de place pour un second passager, la boutique est située trop loin, etc., et les fournisseurs me disaient tous qu’ils n’aurait du stock que vers la fin juillet au mieux ou encore à l’automne.

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L’Écolo

J’ai finalement trouvé une boutique (Kolo Scooter) localisée à proximité (dans Hochelaga) qui semblait donner un service de qualité (4.9/5 sur Google), offrait un modèle de mobylette qui correspondait à toutes mes attentes et qui devait en recevoir à la fin juillet. Il ne me restait plus qu’à m’armer de patience… J’ai pu enfin prendre possession de mon scooter de marque Green Power HQ, modèle Écolo version lithium, vendredi le trente-et-un juillet. J’en suis bien satisfait. Voici donc ce que j’en pense en détails… (après le saut de page)

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Status report (early July)

The life in the time of the coronavirus continues… 

This is my fifth status report since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic (the other four were in March, mid-April, the end of April, and in mid-May). It has now been fifteen weeks (or one-hundred and seven days) since it has all begun. It has been forty days since the beginning of the slow re-opening and my return to work (thirteen days since we’ve restart taking the public in the library for a limited offer of service). 

On the domestic side of life, I can say that I feel I have not been doing much in the last month and half… I didn’t do much around the house (it was either too hot or raining). As usual, I probably watch too much television: like rewatching the Ghost in the Shell: Arise series and several movies (also, to fill the time, I started watching again the 2004 series of Battlestar Galactica). However, I have been reading enough to catch up on my tsundoku… (hurray!) and write a little about my readings (dBD #141, La sphère d’Or, Unbeaten tracks in Japan, I’ll never tell, De Gir à Moebius, and several other French comics that I covered in the article “Sherlock Holmes en bande dessinée (2)”).

Weather — The temperature was unusually warm lately (above average) and often quite dry. So much so that the vegetation in the parc often took a yellowish colour. Thankfully, it rained periodically enough to keep everything alive. In the last week or so it has been quite hot and humid. Enough to discourage any sustained outside activities, although we still take our daily walk.

Health — With the confinement (probably because of slightly bigger meal and less activity) I have gained weight. My blood pressure and glucose are also higher (maybe because of an increased stress?). I have also experienced digestive problems, my usual recurring pain at the end of the digestive track as well as some chest and shoulder pain (probably muscular). Overall, I feel in good shape but it could be better. Unfortunately, I know that with age nothing gets better…

Work — All is fine at work. My usual library being still closed for renovation I was assignment to another one. This new place is at a nice location (at walk/bike distance from home) and has a nice team (although, since the people of my library working there are in extra, we perform mostly boring jobs). However, there was one painful incident: a customer refused the answer the covid “questions” and to sanitize his hands upon entrance. As I was insisting (to follow protocol), he became increasingly disagreeable, up to implying that I was doing so because of my ego or because I was racist. I was just trying to do my job. I was putting my health at risk (and the health of my family) in order to give him access to the library and he has shown absolutely no appreciation or gratitude for it. All I ask is some respect. If I was hurt by being called a racist (and I will come back on this subject) what really pissed me off was that my colleagues didn’t show much support when I tried to explain that he refused to follow protocol and insulted me. I don’t know, maybe they just didn’t understand me well: it is hard to express yourself calmly when it’s hot and your are talking through a mask and a face-shield. What happened to “we must absolutely ask ALL the covid questions and not let anyone in that doesn’t answer properly”? And then they told me “you know, we get insulted all the time. You have to get used to it” implying that I was weak to let it get to me. We are supposed to have a policy of not tolerating any disrespect and bullying (no respect, no service) and, yet in the end, that man received the service he came for. If you are tolerating such disrespect OF COURSE people will feel empowered and continue with the same behaviour. It is the wrong attitude. Anyway, that incident bothered me for weeks as I kept thinking about it…

One thing that I spent a lot of time on lately, was shopping for a nice electric bike or scooter. In this epidemic, I want to avoid public transportation (bus & subway) and if my work place for now is at a walking or biking distance, it is quite tiring in the summer heat (and I am closer to sixty than fifty years-old after all). I rented one for a week and I liked it a lot, but when I wanted to purchase one not a single store in the metropolitan area had any in stock. I guess everybody had the same idea at the same time and I was too late. An electric BIKE looks cool (particularly the Banana Boss, the Rad Runner 1, the Maxie Large, or the Paris) but it is quite expensive and a standard bicycle seat is really hard on my backside. Strangely, a scooter is less expensive, as well as being much more confortable and versatile. I’ve been checking several nice models (Écolo, Tao Aquarius, Vienna, Gio Italia, Mignon, UQi Pro, etc.) but now I found a good store and I am just waiting for them to receive some stock later this month…

Many important events happened in the second quarter of 2020 ( the end of May, June and the beginning of July) but I don’t want to spend much time on those current events. However, the world stage was dominated by the three great plagues of the era. First, the coronavirus. So far, the world has suffered over 10 million cases of infection resulting in over half a million deaths! We dealt relatively well with it in Canada, but the U.S. in on the verge of total catastrophe as it reopened too soon and they are now seeing an horrible surge in infection (over fifty-thousand new cases each day!). 

The second plague is Trump. I would think that we would get used to it by now but his mishandling of the coronavirus response (no national coordination, not enough test and PPE, not urging confinement, distanciation, and wearing masks, etc.), his constant lying, and his rhetoric encouraging hate-speech and inciting to violence kept making everything worse. Sometimes, I think he just doing it on purpose. If he is not a Putin agent, he is certainly an agent of chaos. He loves it. I can’t wait until November… 

The final plague is racism. Following the death by police abuse of George Floyd and many other subsequent similar baffling incidents, the American urban areas erupted in spontaneous protests against this pervasive institutional racism that literally plagues the U.S. How did we moved from a pandemic to riots in the streets? (Without much social distancing hence the cases surge) We all hoped that it was getting better but I guess we got negligent — the coronavirus confinement and Trump inducement somehow seem to have put salt on the wound — as it now seems worse than ever. It must be dealt with once and for all. With police reform certainly (defunding, demilitarizing, new structure, call it what you want — I always thought we should have several level of policing: the unarmed street or biking cop, the patrol police answering to theft and hold-up, the inspector, the riot police and now we should have a force of psycho-social worker for domestic violence, teenage trouble, neighbour disputes, etc.), but the disease goes further than that. Social reform and massive investments to reduce inequality (in education, in job opening, in housing, etc.) are necessary. With the recent movements like Me-Too and Black Lifes Matter, I feel that the world is effervescent and on the verge of great changes, just like in ’68. However, we will have to be patient. Real change takes time. But now the seed of change, the idea that it is possible, has been planted in people’s minds. It only remains to take care of it and watch it germinate… But the first step toward that change is for American to go vote in November.

Racism has always bothered me. All my life I tried to treat everybody equally, not letting their opinion, behaviour, the size of their nose, the colour of their eyes, hair or skin (pink, brown, “black”, “red” or “yellow”) distract me from the fact that we were all the same. Human beings. I always tried to be tolerant (sometime failing: for a while I became quite intolerant toward religion, but now the only thing I can’t tolerate is intolerance — and stupidity). When I was a teenager I thought that the best way to solve racism was to intermarry and eventually we would all become of the same skin colour (that’s what I did, unfortunately I never had kids — too much trouble!). However, skin colour is just an excuse for racists: in fact they are just afraid of the difference (people thinking, dressing, talking, etc., differently than they are). There are many culture on this world and, if we just learn about them, we see there is no reason to be afraid. We discover that this difference is beautiful, that it is a wealth. Those people usually are against (or ignorant of) science. Science is telling us that, genetically, we are all the same and that there is only one race: the human race. I always wanted to write about this complex and touchy subject (and someday I will). Unfortunately, whatever you say or write will always receive criticism: you didn’t say this, the way you say that is discriminatory, it is not enough, it is too much, etc., so I am waiting to have the right words. However, if you stay silent,  it is worse because they say that you are complicit, that you are encouraging racism by saying nothing. I prefer to show support by my actions: I won’t protest in the street but I’ll always try to be equitable, unbiased, and just. If I see someone being discriminated (racially or otherwise) I will try to defend them. And I’ll stay silent. If I scold you for doing something wrong (like misbehaving in the library or trying to cut the waiting line to enter the bus) and you answer be accusing me of being racist, I’ll stay silent. But just know that calling me a racist is the worst insult that you could give me…

I feel the end of this year will really be difficult… Take care of yourselves and stay safe !

Also, I found time to stay a little acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window), after the jump.

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Image du mer-fleuri [002.020.183]

alius arcanum planta

[ iPhone 8+ / iPhone 11 Pro, Parc Frédéric-Back, 2019/07/12 & 2020/07/01]

Bon, encore une autre de ces plantes mystérieuses que je n’arrive pas à identifier malgré avoir passé tout l’après-midi à feuilleter mes nombreuses références botaniques. S.V.P., quelqu’un a une idée de ce que cela pourrait être ? Merci !

Well, yet another of these mysterious plants that I cannot identify despite having spent the whole afternoon leafing through my many botanical references. Anyone have any idea what it could be? Thanks !

MISE À JOUR (2020/07/02): Après avoir vérifié plusieurs suggestions (Lavande, Lupin et Liatris spicata) qui offraient quelques ressemblance mais ne correspondaient pas vraiment à la plante mystérieuse, j’ai continué mes recherche sur internet (près de cinq heures au total!) et j’ai finalement trouvé! Il s’agit d’une Dalea purpurea (dalée violette / purple prairie clover), une espèce de légumineuse (comme les pois et les fèves) qui appartient au genre Dalea, à la famille des Fabaceae, et à l’ordre des Fabales. (Sources: Google)

UPDATE (2020/07/02): After checking several suggestions (Lavender, Lupine and Liatris spicata) which offered some resemblance but did not really correspond to the mysterious plant, I continued my research on the internet (almost five hours in total!) And I finally found ! It is a Dalea purpurea (dalée violette / purple prairie clover), a species of Leguminosae (the pea or bean family) which belongs to the genus Dalea, to the family of Fabaceae, and to the order of Fabales. (Sources: Google)

Unbeaten tracks in Japan

41u2qa+Cp-L“The firsthand account of a British adventuress as she treks though the Japanese outback in 1878, traveling alone among “degenerate” Japanese and “savage” Aino, and recording it all for posterity in this book, a classic of its kind.” [Promotional text]

“Isabella L. Bird’s voyage to Japan in the 1870s reveals a country steeped in ancient customs and a rugged landscape of beautiful, flowing hills and country pathways.

As of the first Western women to author a book about the Japanese islands, Isabella Bird was keen to relay her observations as accurately as she could manage. The isolationist policy of Japan, which forbade any foreigners from travelling inland, had only recently been lifted. Bird was thus able to witness the urban culture of Tokyo and the rural areas surrounding it, together with the large, northerly island of Hokkaido.

The author offers her observations of the architecture and customs of the native Japanese, and later the Ainu minority ethnic group. Northern Japan’s rural culture is revealed as being enormously different from the modern society the world knows today. Modern residents or aficionados of Japan will however recognize many surviving hallmarks, such as the supreme hospitality and generally well-mannered behavior of the locals.

Despite hailing from and exhibiting the values of the condescending culture of Victorian England, Bird manages to relay a good impression of Japan prior to its rapid modernization in the 20th century. Her views reflect their time; although she had a Japanese translator and guide as a companion, she was unable to grasp the social graces of the area, and acutely felt herself an outsider. She does not lapse into despondency however; instead, she by turns indulges in good-natured mockery of Japan’s insular society.”  [Text from the back cover of the Pantianos Classics edition]

>> Please, read the warning for possible spoilers <<

I first learn of Isabella Bird when I started reading the manga series by SASSA Taiga dedicated to her traveling in Japan (see my comments). Isabella Bird was a real British adventuress that traveled around the world to relieve her back pain and melancholy as well as to satisfy her curiosity. She first went to the United States in 1854, then in Australia, Hawaii (called at the time Sandwich Islands), and back to the U.S. in Colorado to see the Rocky Mountains in 1872-73. Five years later she went to Asia, travelling through Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. In 1889, she went to China, Persia, Kurdistan and Turkey. In 1897, she went back to China and Korea to travel up the Yangtze and Han rivers. Her last voyage in 1904, at the age of seventy-two year-old, was to Morocco where she wanted to meet the Berbers. 

It is extraordinary enough for a woman to have been travelling so much almost alone but it is even more interesting that she wrote a lot about it as she published around twenty books describing her journeys. It seems that most of her books are the collection of letters that she wrote to her friends and relatives describing in every details everything she saw during her travelling. 

She went to Japan in 1878 (at the age of forty-seven year-old) with the goal to explore Ezo (Hokkaido) and meet the Ainu — she seems to have an interest in learning about the indigenous people of each country she visited. However, she chose to travel from Tokyo not by the easier sea route but by the more difficult inland road, first to Niigata and then Aomori and Hakodate — hence the title Unbeaten Tracks in Japan. It must have been a very difficult journey. Almost every day she wrote to her sister Henrietta back in England, describing to her the Japanese landscape and its vegetation as well as the culture of its people (their houses, clothings and usages). Her observations are particularly interesting because she describes Japan at a time of change, ten years after the Meiji Restoration, witnessing the last remnants of the samurai culture as well as the beginning of the modernization of Japan. The book collecting all those letters was first published in 1880 and an abridged version was published in 1885.

Now that I have read the original words of Isabella Bird I can better appreciate the manga. We can see that, if the anecdotes and the facts told in the manga seem fairly faithful, the character’s open and understanding attitude toward the Japanese people is not entirely truthful. In the manga, she barely makes any negative comments in her description of the Japanese while in her work, Isabella Bird has the condescending, and even sometimes contemptuous, attitude towards the Japanese that one would expect to find in any British aristocrat of the time. And her translator and guide Ito, which is the key to every scenes in the manga, is hardly mentioned in her book (and when she mentions him it is often to mock him; although, she brings the subject of his previous and unfulfilled contract with the botanist Charles Maries).

She describes the Japanese as busy people, talks about their “miserable physique and the national defects of concave chests and bow legs” (p. 9), or being “so lean, so yellow, yet so pleasant-looking, so wanting in colour and effectiveness” (p. 10). She adds “I never saw people take so much delight in their offspring (p. 56) (…) but it is not good for European children to be much with them, as they corrupt their morals, and teach team to tell lies” (p. 87). However, she finds them polite, civil and honest (p. 75). In the deep country, she finds that people are poor, almost naked and quite dirty. She keeps even harsher words for the Ainu. She calls them “magnificent savages” and “children” (p. 175), “a harmless people without the instinct of progress” (p. 168) characterized by their “apathy and want of intelligence” (p. 173). They are often naked, drink too much sake and the Japanese (including Ito) say that they “are just dogs” (p. 181). She says that “They have no history (…) their houses and persons swarm with vermin, they are sunk in the grossest ignorance, they have no letters or any numbers above a thousand, they are clothed in the bark of trees and the untanned skins of beasts, they worship the bear, the sun, moon, fire, water, and I know not what, they are uncivilisable and altogether irreclaimable savages, yet they are attractive, and in some ways fascinating (…)” (p. 184). So, it is not all bad as she even finds them “charming in many ways” (p. 202) and that they are sometimes “superb-looking men, gentle and extremely courteous” (p. 168).

It is a very interesting book but, unfortunately, the epistolary travelog of Isabella Bird in Japan  is a little laborious to read as it is long and consisting mostly of descriptions. I must admit that I kept falling asleep and could read barely a dozen pages every night. Therefore reading this book was quite an enterprise, but all worth the effort because it offers a unique view on the Meiji’s Japan. It is a good reading but mostly for the Japanese history fanatics as well as for those who read the manga and are curious to learn more about Isabella Bird herself.

Unbeaten tracks in Japan: An account of travels in the interior, including visits to the aborigines of Yezo and the shrines of Nikkô and Isé, by Isabella L. Bird. London: John Murray, 1885. 136 pages. The book is available for free download on Amazon Kindle, Google Books and Gutenberg Project. stars-3-0

For more information you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

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Pictorial chronicle [002.020.144]

Happy birthday to moi

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[iPhone 11 Pro, Samsung Q60T, 2002/05/23 ]

This year I gave myself a new TV for my anniversary. With the confinement I was watching more TV so I decided I was deserving an upgrade (my old Sony Bravia 40 in. is still in working condition but it is over ten years old!). I was looking for a recent model of smart 4K TV (UHD HDR LED) 50 or 55 in., with three HDMI input, compatible with Airplay 2 and under $800. The airplay requirement was leaving only four choices: LG (which I don’t like and it would be weird to have a TV of the same brand than my refrigerator), Samsung, Sony (too expensive) and Vizio (not carried by many stores).

I chose the Samsung TU8000 50″ and ordered it from Centre Hi Fi since it was in stock, with reasonable warranty and shipping cost (and they were promising quick delivery). Unfortunately, the salesman called me to tell it was back-order and that it would take several weeks to get it. I was pissed so he offered me instead a Samsung QLED Q60T at a very advantageous price (less than $100 extra). I got it a few days later, just in time for my birthday.

Now I am nearly sixty year-old and quite exhausted, having done a lot of yard and garden work (rising the concrete slabs in the shed to prevent water accumulation and planting an apple tree to replace the white ash that we had to cut down last fall), so I just want to sit down and rest — maybe read a book, write a little about it and watch something on my brand new 4K TV. With all this work I have read and wrote much less than I wanted.

However, the peaceful time I experienced this last two months is coming to an end. I won’t have much time left to do yard work, read or write anymore as I have been recalled to work. I’ll be working outside (for a change!) right in the middle of an heat-wave (one of the earliest the region has ever had)! And then back to the library and all those marvellous books. But I suspect that it will never be the same…

By the way, there are only 2555 days left before my real retirement !

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Status report (mid-May)

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The life in the time of the coronavirus continues… 

This is my fourth status report since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic (the other three were in March, mid-April and the end of April). We have now been in confinement for eight weeks (or fifty-six days).

I have not read or written much in the last couple of weeks. Maybe because I was getting tired of my routine. Also, since I keep myself busy during the day, I read mostly at night. And for now I am still stuck reading the epistolary travelog of Isabella Bird in Japan which is a little laborious to read (lots of descriptions). As I keep falling asleep, I read barely a dozen pages every night, therefore it is a long enterprise. I want to start reading something else during the day (some manga or comics because it is “May, the comics’ month”) but there’s so much work around the house (gardening, painting, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, etc.) and other distractions (shopping online for a new TV, ordering gardening supplies, watching or reading news) that I never get to it. I also undertook tasks that were rather time consuming: editing a video interview with an author, updating the blog indexes and finally putting together the 2019 “notable news”.

Unfortunately, this joyous preview of retirement is coming to an end and I will soon have much less time to read or write. I have been recalled to work… at the community gardens! I chose to work in a library to stay involved with culture and, obviously, there nothing more cultural than to oversee the operations in one of the borough’s community gardens. Considering that we are in one of the boroughs with the worse coronavirus infection rate, within the worse city and the country’s worse province, I was quite reticent to expose myself to possible contamination by going back to work, particularly for a job that I didn’t choose. However, I didn’t have much choice (apparently they don’t give a damn if I bring the virus home and cause the death of my immunosuppressed sibling). To minimize the risk, I opted to work in the closest community garden, avoiding public transportation. And I’ll be very careful in protecting myself. Working outdoor, at walking distance, cannot be so bad (unless the weather doesn’t cooperate)…

I conclude with a list of posts where you will find links and suggestions to fill your confinement and entertain yourselves:

Take care of yourselves and stay safe !

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Status report (mid-April)

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The life in the time of the coronavirus continues… Not much have changed since my first status report at the end of March (I can’t believe it was just two weeks ago!). Since then I kept busy by reading, watching TV and writing on this blog. I wrote a few book comments (Félin pour l’autre vol. 1, Miss Hokusai 2, The Walking Dead vol. 25, The Walking Dead vol. 26, The empire of corpses vol. 1) and some movie comments (Cézanne et moi, Alpha, The chaperone, Crazy Rich Asians, Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran). I also commented on some anime (The garden of words, The empire of corpses), noted a few noteworthy news (Anime & manga news, 43th Japan Academy Prize), talked about Spring (Expression of hope, Un quartier fleuri, Ménage du printemps?) and shared some poetry.

We have been under confinement for a month now. After a while just reading and writing, or watching a little TV and taking a stroll, gets boring. So I change my routine a little. I wrote less and worked in the garden more (cleaning the backyard, preparing the flower/vegetable beds, chipping piece by piece the stubborn tree stump). I also undertook a new project: changing the toilet bowl and sink in the basement washroom. It’s more complicated than I thought (nothing is standard in this damn old house) but it’s getting there. After that I’ll change the sink in the toilet of the first floor… There are plenty of stuff to do to spend time.

I try to avoid the news. It’s too depressing. I think we are dealing with the crisis well, here. However, the U.S. are a real train wreak. That’s what you get when your leader is a moron. Pity. The recovery will be long but we’ll get there.

Stay safe.

Update (04/17): I was plagued for two months and half by a kidney stone. It was quite painful from time to time and was messing with my whole system. It finally passed. Hurray! 

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Image du mer-fleuri [002.020.099]

Un quartier fleuri

[ iPhone 11 Pro, VSPE, 2020/04/08 ]

En se promenant dans la quartier cet après-midi, nous avons constaté qu’en plusieurs endroits des fleurs commencent à percer et à fleurir, mettant un peu de couleurs dans ce printemps triste et sombre… Nous avons ainsi pu observer des violettes (viola), des crocus (crocus en anglais aussi), des jacinthes (Hyacinth) and une jonquille (daffodil). De quoi réchauffer le coeur !

Notre promenade (tout en gardant nos distances) s’est poursuivie dans la parc, où nous avons pu observer encore un couple d’outardes (Bernaches / Branta canadensis / Canada goose) et même des mésanges (poecile atricapillus / Black-capped chickadee)…

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Status report (March)

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The life in the time of the coronavirus continues… I’ve now been in self-isolation for over a week (actually for about ten days) and I am doing well. There are no signs of any symptoms so far and I am in good shape (physically and mentally) — although I still suffers from kidney stones from time to time. I try to stay fit by doing at least an hour of walking (if possible reaching ten thousand steps) and thirty minutes of cardio (by shovelling the backyard or sweeping the driveway) every day — while keeping my distance from people which is really not a problem for me. Unfortunately we had a couple of days of rain and I couldn’t reach my goals during that time. 

I also stay fit mentally by keeping busy with my blog and doing stuff around the house. First, all this reading is a great help in lowering my tsundoku pile. Second, since I am theoretically still working for the library, I try to do some reference work by writing as much reading suggestions and comments as possible. I have everything I need here to keep busy.

The moral is good — despite spending lots of time watching the news, both local and American. I really don’t mind the isolation. Now-a-day — with tons of books & Dvds, the television and the internet to make the mind travel — can we really be isolated anymore? In a way, the only apprehension is about going back to work and ending this very productive streak. However, the way things are going, I don’t think I have to worry about that for a while…

At first I was hoping to read a book and watch a movie every day, but all the walking and doing chores around the house take some time. I have not written as much as I would have liked. So far, I wrote a list of thing to do to keep busy during the isolation, my usual “Natural Friday” entries (about the dodo and the megaladapis), a comment about the second volume of Histoire en manga, a suggestion list for long series of manga in French, and a series of articles about Ghost in the shell Stand Alone Complex (manga, anime TV series, 2nd Gig, Official Log book 1, and movie) as well as the original manga. More (so much more) is in the works.

In the meantime, things are not doing so well around the world. We seem to cope well here in Quebec, but the situation looks dire in Europe and, particularly, in the U.S.. Here are some links to keep yourself informed:

Please, stay put and safe — and keep reading.

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Life at the time of the Corona

Or what to do when you’re stuck at home because of the COVID-19 social distancing mesures. 

There is not much we can do besides sleeping, taking walks in the park (while keeping our distance from other people), reading books, watching TV series or movies, or using the internet to virtually travel elsewhere. We took a little time to gather for you a few suggestions of places where you can find pleasurable distractions. Enjoy !

Reading

All libraries are closed but — if you don’t already have a good book collection at home or a nearby book store — you can always rely on digital books. Beside the obvious commercial options (Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Kobo), here are a few suggestions to find free digital books:

More precisely, if you want to read free manga online (see also a list on epubor), here a few suggestions:

Movies & music

There are plenty of free music streaming sites on the internet (Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, iHeartRadio, etc.) but personally I use mainly Internet Radio, Stingray, and TuneIn. 

However, beyond the commercial streaming sites (Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, etc.), the free movies streaming sites are less well-known. Here are a few suggestions:

Also, if you are interesting in Japan and Japanese culture, I suggest you stream shows from NHK World.

Virtual visits

You can find a lot of places to visit virtually on Google: Art & Culture, but here are a few suggestions:

Museums

Music

Nature

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