Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bonne Année !

Je vous souhaite à tous une bonne année et le meilleurs pour 2009. On en aura bien besoin.

I wish you all a happy new year and the best for 2009. We will certainly need it.

Take care.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lame Duck?

Bush may be lame but he still can duck!

And now there's people brandishing shoes in the streets of Bagdad!
Is this the beginning of a new cult? “The shoe! The shoe!”
They want the shoe-thrower, Muntadhar “Brian” al-Zeidi, to be freed.
You really couldn't have a more Pythonesque moment than that!

Images © Associated Press and Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP / Getty Images.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Apparently the guy managing the city's blue collars made the mistake of putting the people who used to take care of the ice rinks in charge of cleaning the sidewalks. Now they are extremely slippery. I know that City Hall talked about cutting cost by stopping cleaning sidewalks, but there's a limit! If I hurt my back once more by slipping I think I'll sue them!

On top of that the landlord didn't repair the front-door stairs and they keep getting dangerously icy and slippery. I am spending a fortune in salt just to increase the chances of NOT breaking my neck each time I'm going out.

Image © Acreage Living.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ANN will stream two anime TV series

Anime News Networks has announced on 2008-12-10 that it will stream two more anime, Girl's High and Ramen Fighter Miki. Starting December 15, both series will be available as free, ad-supported VOD streams, with one new episode being posted every Monday for 12 weeks. The series were licensed from North American anime publisher Media Blasters, and as such will only be available to viewers in North America (US & Canada). Justin Sevakis, ANN director of New Media, has stated that “There's more coming”.

ANN is already streaming the OVA Kite Liberator.

(Source: ANN).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

ANN launches its streaming anime service

Anime News Networks has launched its streaming anime service on Tuesday 2008/12/09 with Kite: Liberator. The OVA, released on DVD by Media Blasters, is streamed (in six parts) in both subbed and dubbed versions, but only for North American viewers (US & Canada).

Give it a look!

(Source: ANN).

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Boxee etc

I have previously mentioned that we now can easily hack the Apple TV with atvusb-creator which install both XMBC and Boxee. Now that Boxee has been updated and that I have finally received an invite for the testing, I would like to talk a little more about it.

Boxee is a social media center based on the popular XBMC. It allows you to play videos, music and pictures from your own computer or from the internet (streaming content from websites like Hulu, CBS, BBC, Comedy Central, and flickr). Its “social” aspect means that you can share with your “friends” whatever media you're listening to or watching and send them your recommandations. So, basically, it is exactly the same type of media entertainment center than XBMC, but with a fancier interface and the social twist.

I like the general look of Boxee, particularly the way you can browse through your media library, but I prefer the XMBC video player which is simpler and seems to provide a better picture. Like XMBC, it is controled through the ATV remote which is too simple to offer a comfortable experience (but apparently you can pair it with a different remote). I particularly like the fact that Boxee offer much more streaming websites and a much easier interface to browse them, but unfortunately many of those websites (like Hulu) have geofilters and can be watched only from the USA. All in all, I prefer XMBC. I don't feel I have any use for Boxee, but I'll continue to play with it once in a while (after all atvusb-creator install both Boxee and XMBC) and it might grow on me. In any cases, I recommand you to try it.

Apple recently updated the AppleTV operating system to version 2.3, which forced me to use the Terminal application for the first time (to send to the ATV commands in Unix source code) in order to prevent my ATV to auto-update until a newer version of atvusb-creator was created. Then I had to send the code to force the ATV to update its OS, before finally installing the new version of atvusb-creator compatible with the new OS. Complicated for someone who's not used to deal with those command codes. But I survived and the ATV is now working again (with XMBC).

I also discovered that atvusb-creator now also install SofwareMenu, an application that facilitate the installation and update of plugins like ATVfiles (a file browser), CouchSurfer (a web browser) and nitoTV (a video player, which would allow to play video without the need of XMBC). Unfortunately, most of those plugins are still not compatible with the ATV OS 2.3 and their installation made the ATV crashed, so I had to use Terminal again to remove them (not without difficulty, but I finally succeeded thanks to the help from atvusb-creator's developpers). Once this problem is fixed, those plugins will be quite useful for sure, but for now I'll be more prudent and avoid install new stuff.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


My latest reading (well, beside the daily newspaper and Time magazine) was pretty funny. It's a daily web comic strip created by Gene Ambaum (writer) and Bill Barnes (co-writer & artist) that I discovered by chance a few years ago. It has been published daily since 2002 and has been compiled, so far, in six volumes (and a seventh should be released in spring 2009). In 2006, I ordered from the publisher, Overdue Media (, the first three compilations: Vol. 1: Unshelved (2003); Vol. 2: What Would Dewey Do? (2004); Vol. 3: Library Mascot Cage Match (2005). I liked it a lot.

Written by a real-life librarian (but Gene Ambaum is not his real name) and illustrated by his friend, Bill Barnes, Unshelved tells the story of the people surrounding the Mallville Public Library. The main character is named Dewey! (for more details see the story primer or the Wikipedia entry). The art is rather simple, but the story is hilarious, educating and profess a great love for books. Despite the humorous situations that develop between the characters, it gives a good idea of the inner workings of a library. It could be a librarian training manual... Unshelved seems pretty popular: over 26,000 email subscribers. It's also published on its own website, as well as on the American Library Association website and CogNotes newspapers. The creators must be quite busy because (beside having day jobs) they tour lots of bookfairs, conferences and conventions!

Last month I found out that three more compilations had been published since I first discovered the series. Here they are:

“What happens in the library stays in the library. But oh, what happens in the library! Dewey has a book club, and you do not talk about Book Club. Colleen has a blog, but she doesn't know everyone can read it. Someone gave vegan Tamara a membership to the ham-of-the-month-club. And Merv reserved every copy of the new Harry Potter for purposes nefarious. This fourth Unshelved collection also features dozens of full-page full-color comic-format book talks, plus a very special storytime zombie nursery rhyme.” (From

This volume includes the usual strips, plus some Library conference tips, but the most interesting feature is the dozens of full-color “Unshelved Book Club” book talks where the library staff introduce on each page a new book. A kind of weekly book review, in color and often hilarious!

Unshelved Vol. 4: Book Club, by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. Overdue Media, 2006. 10.9 x 8.3 in, 120 pgs., $17.95 US / $22.42 CDN. ISBN-13: 978-0974035338.

“The fifth year of strips includes the famous "Pimp My Bookcart" sequence and a year's worth of full-color full-page "Unshelved Book Clubs" featuring the greatest books every written. Plus, never-before published strips and more!” (From

Unshelved Vol. 5: Read Responsibly, by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. Overdue Media, 2007. 10.9 x 8.2 in, 144 pgs., $17.95 US / $22.42 CDN. ISBN-13: 978-0974035345.

“No one gets asked questions more frequently than a librarian, and no librarian answers them with more attitude than Dewey! The latest Unshelved collection features a year's worth of daily comics and Conference Tips, plus the full-color Unshelved Book Club. Also features the Great Plastic Coffee Cup Lid Challenge between Unshelved and Sheldon, refereed by comics journalist Gary Tyrrell.” (From

Unshelved Vol. 6: Frequently Asked Questions, by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. Overdue Media, 2008. 10.9 x 8.2 in, 136 pgs., $17.95 US / $22.42 CDN. ISBN-13: 978-0974035352.

Unshelved © 2002-2008 Overdue Media LLC, all rights reserved.

If you are a fan, you can sign up for “Unshelved Readers,” the Facebook group.

Salon du livre de Montréal

La 31e édition du Salon du Livre de Montréal s'est terminée en début de semaine. Comme à toute les années je suis allé y faire mon tour, histoire de jeter un coup d'oeil sur les nouveautés, y trouver quelques idées de cadeaux pour Noël et renouer contact les gens du milieu de l'édition.

Le vendredi 21 Novembre, j'ai fait un premier survol du salon à l'occasion de la Journée des Professionnels. J'aurais bien aimé ramasser quelques catalogues mais la plupart des éditeurs n'en avaient pas ou plus (c'était pourtant juste la troisième journée du salon et ils auraient dû penser à s'en garder pour les professionnels du milieu de l'édition). Ils y avaient également quelques ateliers et tables rondes (Le feuilletage Numérique et la Recherche en Ligne, Communication-Jeunesse: Des Livres qui ont du Genre, Édition Numérique et Monde du Livre: Entrevoir l'avenir, Les Revues Culturelles à l'Heure du Numérique) aux quelles j'aurais bien assisté si j'avais reçu mon carton d'invitation à temps. Mais bon, j'ai tout de même recueillis de la documentation et quelques catalogues, observé les nouveautés manga, salué quelques amis, découvert une nouvelle collection intéressante et économique, Librio, un magazine manga, Canal BD Manga Mag, ainsi qu'une nouvelle librairie spécialisée en BD, PlaneteBD. Cela valait donc tout de même la peine.

Je suis repassé au salon le lendemain pour deux raisons.

D'abord, pour passer quelques heures au kiosque des Éditions Alire (dont le site internet n'est malheureusement toujours pas équipé pour les commandes en ligne!) et rencontrer quelques-uns des merveilleux auteurs de science-fiction et fantasy Québécoise et Canadienne-Française: Francine Pelletier, Daniel Sernine (qui a d'ailleurs fait l'object d'un récent article dans La Presse), Jean-Louis Trudel, etc. J'ai également pu rencontrer et discuter avec les trois auteurs derrière le blog Fractale Framboise: Éric Gauthier, Christian Sauvé et Laurine Spehner. Vous trouverez quelques photos de mon samedi chez Alire sur ma Gallerie MobileMe.

Ensuite, pour assister à une table ronde organisée par la Librairie Monet, sur “Le livre électronique: L'avenir du livre?” Je dois avouer que la discussion était plutôt rhétorique mais elle a tout de même soulevé le point important que l'édition électronique fait partie de l'évolution inéluctable du livre et qu'elle préoccupe de plus en plus les éditeurs. La preuve en est les nombreux ateliers du salon (et même un récent article du Devoir) consacré à ce sujet. Personnellement, je ne crois pas que le livre imprimé disparaisse de si tôt, mais j'ai la conviction que l'internet et l'édition électronique sont des outils essentiels à la diffusion du livre et des revues culturelles et littéraires. Protoculture Addicts est d'ailleurs disponible en format électronique (eBook en format PDF) depuis de nombreuse années—sur le site de Drive Thru RPG—et nous étudions en ce moment de nouveaux formats possible pour une diffusion plus large. Le kiosque de la Librairie Monet faisait également la démontration de la technologie e-Ink et de plusieurs lecteurs électroniques: le iRex Illiad, Les Echos e-paper, et le (laid mais pourtant si cool) Amazon Kindle—absent de la démontration mais pourtant incontournable, je dois noter le Sony Reader Digital Book et le polyvalent Apple iPod Touch. Vous pouvez visionner la table ronde en son entier (une cinquantaine de minutes) sur ma page Blip.TV:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Emru Townsend dies at 39

Emru Townsend died of leukemia on November 11. He was only 39 years-old.

We have already talked about his diagnosis, his quest for a bone marrow donor and his successful transplant. Unfortunately, his cancer was too aggressive and the leukemia didn't go into remission despite the successful transplant. Many have already written his eulogy and obituary (ANN, The Gazette, PC World), so there's no need for me to write about that. However, I still wanted to say a few words about him.

I didn't know him very well, but I wish we'd stayed more in contact. We worked on a few projects together in the late 80s and early 90s, but recently we were only meeting by chance in conventions and festivals. He started collaborating with Protoculture Addicts with issue #2 (providing ideas, news blurbs and working as proofreader) and we started together the first anime club of the University of Montreal. After a while Emru drifted away to work on his many projects (he always had new ideas and projects) and I took care of the anime club alone. He contributed only a few articles in the magazine (mostly one on Project A-ko in #4 and one on Akira in #7), but his work was excellent and he pitched in many ideas and always provided encouragement.

Quickly after starting working with us, he requested to be made partner. I answered that I would like him to work with us at least a year before considering that. He couldn't wait, so he left and started his own magazine, FPS. I always felt that he never forgave me for that. Later, he heavily criticized the quality of our Anime Guide book, blaming me personally (and my french-canadian origins) for the book's flaws (despite the fact that I only wrote the presentation and supervised the project, hiring instead the best Italian translator and the best English editor that we could afford). It was probably a philosophical difference: I guess Emru was a perfectionist while I am rather a pragmatist (after having worked six years to get that book published I wanted the information—the data—available to anime fans and scholars as soon as possible even if I knew that its form and presentation were quite imperfect). However, despite those differences, I never felt animosity between us and I always admired the quality of his work and dedication.

He was a great guy and he will be sorely missed by all animation fans. I want to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

You can visit Emru's Blog, Facebook group and web hub to learn more about his work.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Life is like a game of chess. To ensure success you have to plan ahead as far and as many eventual outcomes as possible. Only you are not playing against an adversary, but against adversity.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I feel a little SADness. Not that I am really sad (although someone I knew did die last week), but I feel affected by the Seasonal Affective Disorder. Like if I was not depressed enough, now the lack of sunlight is prolonging the misery. It seems that I am trying to compensate by seeking exposure to the tube... I am really watching too much teevee and I should cut back on the series addiction—but it does improve my mood. I feel like I'm sucking up the drama of those characters' very existence to replenish my emotional energy and bring back to life my dried up soul. I still feel tired, physically and mentally weak, but my Qi is slowly coming back.

After constantly beeing on the verge of burn-out for the last few years, I really had to take a month or so of vacation. To recharge my batteries. I fell in a strange torpor, and the world was flashing by me like if it was on fastforward. It was quite strange. It was like if I was waiting for something to happen. Now that I start feeling better (but I still need to really shape up, go out to exercice and see some people) I really have to speed up things and get back on track. The work is pilling up and I am getting way behind schedule. But everything is slowly getting back together now.

I am getting behind even on my blog. I promised myself that I would “review” every book I read and every movie I watch and I did not. Although not everything is worth sharing my opinion, I want to try making short comments (even if only one hundred words) about most of my reading and viewing. Just to keep the mind and the writing skill sharp. So I'll try to slowly catch up.

Winter is really close-by. At the end of October we got our first snow flurries and last night we got snow on the ground for the first time. I like winter. Everything seems to slow down and it all becomes so quiet and beautiful.

To my American friends and readers I would like to wish a nice Thanksgiving. For my part, I am grateful to live in such a great and uneventful country (Canada). I am grateful to my beautiful wife. I am grateful to have always worked in something interesting. Be thankful for what you have, 'cause you never know what could happen. Good night and good luck.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


A few weeks ago my wife bought a cd containing the instrumental version of The Bee Gees' song “Melody Fair” and it reminded her of this movie—which she first saw in Japan a long time ago. She felt like seeing it again, so I tried to locate the movie. It is never easy to find a movie that is more than thirty year-old, but fortunately such research are now made easier with the internet. The movie got only a lukewarm reception when it was released in English-speaking countries, which explains why it was never released on Dvd in North America—but it is still possible to find it on vhs (used copies available on However, there was a dvd release in Japan since the movie was a huge success there (the 2004 release is now sold out, but used copies are still available on The Japanese title was “chiisana koi no merodi” or Small Love Melody.

Set in the early seventies working class London, this slice-of-life and romantic fantasy tells the story of Daniel, a shy young junior high school boy. After befriending Ornshaw, he becomes part of the school's group of little troublemakers. Soon he also meets Melody and both fall in “love” (as any eleven years-old kid could). They tell their parents that they want to get married—now! For them, it only means “to be together”. In face of the adults incomprehension, they elope and organize a mock wedding with the help of their friends. When the adults come to interrupt the “ceremony” they meet an unexpected resistance and all ends in chaos.

It is a cute movie that reminds me a lot of Francois Truffaut's L'argent de Poche (“Small Change”, 1976)—maybe Truffaut inspired himself from Melody or maybe it's because both movies are told from the children point of view. And of course, it is impossible to watch this movie without thinking of Oliver, as both Daniel's and Ornshaw's actors played major parts in this famous 1968 movie. However, what I find the most interesting about Melody is that it is expressing well the era's sentiment of rebellion against the establishment. It is obvious in the fact that, through the entire movie, O'Leary is trying to perfect his bomb-making (no doubt that it refers to the Provisional IRA campaign of violence that started in 1969) and in the final scene where the children literaly attack the adults (and bomb a car)!

Melody. UK, 1971, 103 min.; Dir.: Waris Hussein; Scr.: Alan Parker; Phot.: Peter Suschitzky; Ed.: John Victor-Smith; Art Dir.: Roy Stannard; Cost.: Diane Jones; Music: Richard Hewson, The Bee Gees; Prod.: David Hemmings, David Puttnam; Cast: Mark Lester (Daniel), Tracy Hyde (Melody), Jack Wild (Ornshaw), Colin Barrie (Chambers), Billy Franks (Burgess), Ashley Knight (Stacey), Craig Marriott (Dadds), William Vanderpuye (O'Leary), Peter Walton (Fensham), Camille Davis (Murielle), Dawn Hope (Maureen), Kay Skinner (Peggy), Lesley Roach (Rhoda), James Cossins (Headmaster). Rated G.

Wikipedia notice
A Melody Fan Page

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Apple TV hack

Since the time I have purchased the Apple TV, I have refrained from hacking it. Not that I didn't feel it was necessary — in the contrary, the ATV in itself is rather disappointing, although recent updates made it more interesting by adding the possibility to purchase or rent movies, as well as TV series in HD, access to iTunes radio stations or a “stand-by” option in the menu (you cannot turn ATV off but you can put it to sleep) — but simply because I didn't have much time to consider or perform the complexe hacking procedures.

The first hack that was made available was hardware and required to open the ATV to remove the hard drive. I used to like opening my computers to play with their guts, but lately the innards of electronic devices have become so compact and complicated that I don't want to take that risk anymore — without mentioning that I would rather not void the ATV warranty. After a while someone came up with the clever concept of the “patchstick”, a USB drive that contains the necessary code to enable SSH on the ATV and install plugins & scripts giving the ATV extra functionality. But putting the patchstick together was still a complicated procedure and using it entailed some risks so I decided to wait until I could learn more about it or until someone would come up with a simpler procedure. Later, a pre-installed USB drive was offered on the market, but the company selling it was sued and the product withdrawn. Finally, someone came up with atvusb-creator, an easy-to-use patchstick (well “easy” is all relative since I had a hell lots of trouble getting the app to work on my iMac—since then they released a new version of the app that works better—and I had to try several USB drives before finding one that would work properly on the ATV (a Lexar USB2 SDHC card reader with a cheap Taiwanese Adata 1 Gb card), but after several hours of work I finally succeeded to hack the ATV and can now access it via FTP). It is mostly designed to install Boxee (a media center also working as a social network, but it is still in alpha testing, on invitation only, and I didn't manage to get an invite yet), but it also installs XBMC !

Once the ATV is SSH enabled you can install all sort of scripts or plugins (see AwkwardTV for details), but XBMC is really all I need. It is very similar to the XBMC that I am running on my old Xbox, except that it looks nicer and performs better. With XBMC the ATV can access files on my network drive and it plays about any type of video files (I don't have problems anymore with the Matroska file format or Hi-Def video). That's really cool.

Now, the next step will be to purchase an HDTV... Before Christmas. But that's another story.

Life goes on

I feel so tired, empty, lazy and sleepy that it's difficult to get anything done (and yet I keep looking for more occupations to employ my time!)... I also feel deserted and alone. Where are everyone? It's so depressing... That must be the change of the season. The leafs have started to fall en masse and it's getting colder and colder. It is supposed to freeze for the first time tonight. The flowers that kept blooming all summer will probably die.

Nevertheless, I feel there's some nice change coming soon. Is it just winter or maybe I will really turn a new leaf? I think it's good to keep some positive thinking and assert that “something” nice IS coming. Soon.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


This is the biography of Frida Kahlo, who surmounted her pain and injury to become a world renown artist. The movie covers the main highlights of her life: the accident that crippled her, the tumultuous love relationship with fellow mexican artist Diego Rivera, her involvement with Leon Trotsky, her colorful, naive, symbolist & surrealist artwork (she's particularly known for her self-portraits) and her uncompromising, revolutionary, free thinking.

Frida is a superb movie. It not only tells a compelling and touching story, but it offers rich and inventive visuals as well as a stirring soundtrack that strongly support the storytelling. Salma Hayek really gives life to her character and make us discover an interesting period in Mexican history.

Frida. USA / Canada / Mexico, 2002, 123 min.; Dir.: Julie Taymor; Scr.: Clancy Sigal, Diane Lake, Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas (based on the biography by Hayden Herrera); Phot.: Rodrigo Prieto; Ed.: Francoise Bonnot; Prod. Des.: Felipe Fernandez del Paso; Art Dir.: Bernardo Trujillo; Set Decor.: Hania Robledo; Cost. Des.: Julie Weiss; Music: Elliot Goldenthal; Prod.: Sarah Green, Salma Hayek; Cast: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush, Valeria Golino, Mia Maestro, Roger Rees, Ashley Judd, Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton. Rated R.

Frida © 2003 Miramax Film Corp. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Post-con comments

It's October already. Time goes by so fast... It is also slowly getting colder...

I am so tired... Convention and travelling really seem to drain me lately. It's either because I'm really getting old or I'm really out of shape. I guess I need to get out and exercice more.

After all the LifeCast app is not that good. In a way, it is better to use the browser Safari to edit the blog directly on Blogger. In any case, blogging on the iPod is not easy since we have to deal with the tiny keyboard (but it's way better than sending SMS on a cellphone!).

The iPod was really useful when I was away. And there are so many fun apps (games, eReader, dictionaries, etc., playing music and video) that it's difficult to keep away from the device. But it is mainly useful to keep in touch with the world (internet, emails, weather, stocks, maps, tv schedule, wikipedia, airport info, election polls, etc.) and people (Facebook, AIM, Twitter, blogging, etc.). Now that I have it, I don't know how I could ever live without it. Nevertheless, it's not easy to get a reliable wifi connection even if I paid a $10 monthly subscription to Boingo. There lies the big advantage of the iPhone over the iPod (but at what cost!). However, as I predicted, VOIP apps are starting to appear and, with the release of the earphones with remote and mic later this month, we'll be able to make VOIP calls via wifi! I can't wait to try that.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


After fifteen hours of travelling we finally arrived at West Palm Beach. The temperature was quite hot (about 30' C/86' F) and excessively humid—I don't know how people can live in such a climate (constantly moving from the air-conditioned buildings to the sweltering outside is enough to catch one's death). Jason & Lynn, the Chibi-PA organizers, picked us up at the airport. I was disappointed to learn that the convention's name is not pronounced “PeeHey” (as it could have been an hommage to Protoculture Addicts — J/K) but “Paw” and simply means “small party.” We quickly escaped to our beautiful hotel suite at the Crown Plaza to get some well deserved sleep.

On Saturday, after a quick breakfast at the hotel, we took the shuttle for the convention center located a couple of miles away. Having the convention so far apart of the hotel was not inconvenient because of the shuttle (but it ran only on an hourly schedule and, the convention center not being a regular stop, you had to call to be picked up—but you could always catch the shuttle downtown, just a 5-minute walk from the convention). The first thing I did was to check the convention's layout. It was good as it was all concentrated in the same area of the Convention Center, on two floors (unfortunately neither the floor plans nor the schedule are/were available on Chibi-PA's website). On the first floor, you had the registration, one small dealer room, three video room, one panel room, and a video game room (further away in the convention center there was also a vendor offering some fast food). On the second floor, you had a large dealer room, the main event room and, along the balcony, the artist alley. The dealer rooms were stacked with various nice goodies and the convention was pretty well organized and staffed. I have no complain.

The main guest (beside myself) was Makoto Nagano, the champion of the Japanese obstacle game show Sasuke (known as “Ninja Warrior” in North America) and his Q&A was the first event I attended. He arrived late, but the delay allowed the room to fill up. It was interesting to learn about this guy (I never heard of him before since the show is not broadcast in Canada, and I was more interested in his life as the captain of a fishing boat than in the game show itself), but unfortunately the english pronounciation of the Japanese translator was not very good and it was sometime difficult to get what she was saying. Right after that event, Nagano-san did an autograph session on the second floor balcony and I set up my table right beside his to sell and introduce my magazine to the crowd. At 5 pm we ran a panel where we introduced the magazine, answered questions, did a small focus group to get feedback from the audiance and discussed the anime industry situation. The crowd was good, in fact better than I expected (the room was half full, with about 20-30 people). I gave away copies of the magazine to each participant. I missed the koto and Fushu Daiko concerts (I was busy holding our presentation table and the panel), but attended a very interesting panel following ours, “Kimono Class with Yoshiko Carlton,” where a couple of Japanese ladies explained the intricacies of wearing a kimono. At 7:30 pm we walked to the beautiful CityPlace mall downtown, ate at a mexican restaurant and picked up some snacks at a grocery store before going back to the hotel to rest.

On Sunday, after a quick breakfast at the hotel, we arrived at the convention on time to attend the second of Nagano-san Q&A. After that we walked again around the nice outdoor CityPlace mall to take pictures. Then, while Nagano-san was again signing autograph, I hold the magazine presentation table. At 3 pm we had another panel, but no one came (the crowd was definitely thinner on Sunday). We hung around the convention a little (checking more carefully the dealer room). After that we walked around downtown in search of the beach (it's called West Palm Beach, isn't it?) but it was not within walking distance (we did make it to the “canal”). We finally came back to the hotel to rest before going out to eat with the convention organizers. I wish we could have some time with Nagano-san to discuss and do an interview.

Early Monday morning Jason & Lynn drove us to the Fort Lauderdale airport from where we flew back to Baltimore and then Burlington, where a friend picked us up and drove us back to Montreal. Flying over the trees in Vermont, with all their various fall colors, was beautiful. The trip back took only eleven hours and was a little less tiring, but the whole week-end left me rather exhausted (it must have been due to the heat and flying five planes in four days).

An amusing anecdote: at the same time than Chibi-PA, the Palm Beach County Convention Center was also hosting some Christian group convention on Saturday and some church activities on Sunday. It was funny to see all those people dressed as their best on one side of the convention center and, on the other side, fans dressed as their favorite anime character! At some point Sunday, someone (presumably attending the “other” convention) came nearby the registration area and shout some invectives equating us to the devil. Cool.

Overall Chibi-PA was a nice convention. The Florida convention scene is clearly well organized (although it is knowing the usual occasional feuds among competing organizers), but the demographics of the state (mostly an aging population of retirees who doesn't care much for anime) are condemning the local anime conventions to remains small and barely solvent. However, there is nothing wrong with small conventions. There might not be any industry panels or many big guests, but they are usually the most fun to attend. If Chibi-PA was a small party (I estimated the attendance around 1200) for the fans to congregate and enjoy themselves (I only wish I had more time to enjoy its activities), its most endearing quality was that it extended its focus not only to anime and manga, but also to many related aspects of Japanese culture. If you have the opportunity to attend Chibi-PA in the future, I recommand you to do so. Let's party!

I'll post some pictures and video clips later.

Friday, September 26, 2008

On The Road

I slept for just a few hours before driving to Burlington Airport. We got stuck at the border for one hour because of a "by-the-book" custom officer. The plane from Burlington to Baltimore was small and I almost felt claustrophobic. But I had a window seat and could admire the view... Briefly before we got into the clouds. After a nearly two-hour stop, we left again for Atlanta in a slightly bigger plane. Beautiful clouds. I took some pictures. Now we are waiting for our next flight. Three hours to eat, recharge the iPod and blog. It's tiring but fun. I'm visiting places I've never seen before. More later.

Posted with LifeCast

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


LifeCast, the mobile blogging apps, seems to work fine. I was hoping for a little more fonctionality (like being able to edit a post, adding labels, etc) but we shouldn't ask too much to a free apps. Other apps seem to offer more but they sell for more than I am ready to pay for a iPod apps ($10 !!). We'll hope that future updates of LifeCast will bring more fonctions.

Posted with LifeCast

Mobile Blogging

I have set up the iPod to be able to blog with it. This is my first entry to test it. I'll be attending a convention in Florida next week-end and this could be useful if it works well...

Posted with LifeCast

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gadget Heaven

I always feel cut off from the world whenever I am going out (either simply going downtown to shop and run errands or going out of town for a convention) and I've been looking for a small and cheap internet device / work station for a long time.

First, I've looked at the Palm handhelds / PDAs, but that's a technology that is limited and now getting outdated fast. The best solution is, of course, a laptop but the MacBooks are still expensive (over a 1k $) and with time I stopped believing in all those rumors of a Mac tablet or sub-notebook. So I started to seriously consider a Netbook that would either run Linux or Window instead (sacrilege!) and if the Asus Eee-PC seemed appealing at first, now I would rather favor the Acer Aspire. However, if those make excellent portable work stations and have many advantages (bigger screen, real keyboard), they're not Apple products and therefore offer limited compatibility with the Mac.

So I was back considering a handheld-type device with the new 3G iPhone. This one has the advantage of combining both a phone and a handheld device (offering both Wi-Fi and 3G networks), but it's somewhat expensive (not as much the device itself, but the network subscription), has only a 3.5“ screen, a tiny soft-keyboard and doesn't offer any apps or softwares to actually do some work (like using Word, Excel, PDF files; I thought that I could type text using Google Docs but it doesn't work, leaving only the possibility to type texts as notes or emails). I thought of saving money by getting an old iPhone, but buying second-hand electronic devices on the internet can be risky. For now I opted to try out the concept by purchasing one of the new second-gen iPod Touch. Wow.

The iPod Touch looks exactly like the iPhone, but doesn't make phone calls (although I bet there will be some VOIP apps available soon). It also has the same disadvantages than the iPhone (small screen, tiny soft-keyboard, can read but not modify files), plus the fact that, without the 3G network, it is limited by the Wi-Fi availability.

Despite those serious handicaps, it is a superb internet device. It's the gadget heaven. I can check any web pages, like Wikipedia, YouTube or Google—as well as all my emails—from any room of the house: from the TV room to my bed! There are tons of apps, from the useful programs to the funny games. I can check my calendar or contacts, the weather, the stocks, a Google map, listen to music, to radio stations (through wi-fi), watch a video or look at my photo albums, contact people via AIM, Facebook or Twitter, read eBooks, check the bus schedule, the news, the movie listing, or play a game to kill time. Absolutely amazing.

Of course, it is not perfect. The Mail app doesn't identify and discard spam—like the desktop Mail does—so every hours I have dozens of junk mails to delete from my mail boxes. That's annoying. And Montreal is a city without much Wi-Fi spots, so there's not many places where I can check my emails and roam the web when I am downtown (so far, I have identify the Eaton Center food court as a nice wi-fi spot). Until we get a city-wide network, there are a few Boingo hot spots and a few WiFi directories.

For now it is a very useful device and I am quite happy with it. It offers the Mac's compatibility with synching capability. In order to be able to do some real work when I am away, I am considering to later acquire a Netbook like the Acer Aspire (when I have a little more money).

Emru gets his transplant

Animation and technology writer/blogger Emru Townsend, who was diagnosed with leukemia in late 2007 but found a bone marrow donor match last Summer after a long campaign to encourage donors from ethnic communities, has finally received his transplant this week [hit the links for details]. Now he has to wait two to three weeks to see if the graft takes well on his body. But he is not out of the wood yet, as the first 100 days are crucial since his body has to rebuild its immune system.

Congrats for the transplant, Emru, and we wish you the best for the months to come.

You can visit Emru's Blog, Facebook group and web hub to leave him words of encouragement.

Friday, September 12, 2008


On ANN community forum I found this interesting video:

Duration: 11:34 Recorded: 10 September 2008 Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

A short animated film about the feedback loops likely to lead to catastrophic climate change, by Leo Murray.

The script, with extensive peer-reviewed references and additional information and links, is available at

Someone also suggested this link:

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Blahs

One of my friends, who's going to HK for several months for his job, was throwing a farewell party this week-end. Unfortunately, I was so busy converting PDF files and coding to update the web pages that I totally forgot about it. I really hate myself for that since it would have been a nice occasion to decompress and meet a bunch of old friends... And Buddha knows I need to get out and see more people!

Lately I've been really tired. I've been running around (and round) all summer. And now there's still so many stuff to do that it's rather discouraging. I hate it when all the stuff to do and all the ideas are bumping into each others in my head making me feel so overwhelmed that I tilt like an old pin-ball machine and lie down paralysed, unable to do anything.

Anyway. I guess I'll rest for tonight and try to tackle the tasks one by one...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A blog for the voice of Minmei

Rebecca Forstadt, probably better known for being the voice of Lynn Minmei in Robotech (under the name Reba West)—but she is also credited for over eighty voiceworks on the IMDb, has just started a blog and a Facebook group:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tony Curtis at the World Film Festival

This is the highlights of the Tony Curtis press conference at the Montreal World Film Festival 2008, held on August 24th. With his wife he was introducing their movie “The Jill and Tony Curtis Story.” (19 min. out of a 48 min. conference).

You can also view it on my BlipTV page.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Your Name Here

Since I am pretty busy I usually check only the Japanese films at the Montreal World Film Festival (because I like them and for work). If I have the opportunity, I may--from time to time--screen some Iranian or French movies just for “l'amour de l'art.”

A friend of mine just pointed out to me a USA film in competition that seems to be a weird sci-fi movie based on the life of my fetish & favorite writer, Philip K Dick. It's worth checking:

Your Name Here, directed by Matthew Wilder and starring Bill Pullman, Taryn Manning, Harold Perrineau, Traci Lords (!), M. Emmet Walsh and Ivana Milicevic. “The lines between reality and perception blur in this comic journey into the life and mind of one of science fiction's most brilliant authors” ( IMDb )

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Montreal World Film Festival 2008

Today, in a press conference, the Montreal World Film Festival has announced the program for its 32nd edition. The festival will be held from August 21 to September 1st in four locations (at the Imperial Theatre, Maisonneuve Theatre, Quartier Latin Cinema and Cinema ONF). Tickets are sold for $10, but are available in 10-coupon ($60) or 30-coupon booklets ($150). A Cinephile Pass is also available for $300.

This year the festival will offer 234 feature films (105 of which are world or international premieres), 13 medium-length films and 208 shorts. That includes 32 films in World Competition (20 features, 12 shorts), 17 in the First Films World Competition, 30 Hors-Concours, 192 in the Focus on World Cinema (84 features and 108 shorts), 63 documentaries, 15 tributes movies, 18 in the Cinema Under the Stars, 15 in Our Cinema at Radio-Canada and 73 in the Student Film Festival!

The Festival will offer a posthumous tribute to Mrs Kashiko Kawakita, founder of the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute, for her work promoting Japanese Cinema abroad. To commemorate her 100th anniversary, the festival will be presenting a sampling of significant works by prominent postwar Japanese directors, each a winner of the Kawakita Award:
There will be ten Japanese films shown at the festival. Two are in Official Competition:
  • Okuribito, directed by Yojiro Takita (Onmyoji, Mibu Gishi Den, Ashura). A young cellist who suddenly finds himself out of work when his orchestra disbands, moves back to his hometown and takes a job as an undertaker. It's not a job his wife appreciates, but his daily encounters with death teach him about life. ( IMDb / Official web page )
  • Dare mo Mamotte Kurenai (Nobody To Watch Over Me), directed by Ryoichi Kimizuka (writer for Parasyte Eve and the Odoru Daisosasen TV series & movies). The Funamaras seem a typical suburban family until the police knock on the door one day and arrest their 18-year-old boy for murder. His teenage sister and the cop assign to protect her must hide out from a relentless public braying for blood. ( IMDb / Eiga Wiki / Official web page )

Three in the First Film World Competition:
  • Der Rote Punkt (The Red Spot), directed by Marie Miyayama, is a Germany/Japan co-production. ( IMDb )

One in the Hors-Concours / World Greats category:
  • The Magic Hour, by Koki Mitani (Uchoten Hotel). A gangster having an affair with the wife of his boss is found out, but promises to save face by recruiting a famous hitman. Instead, when he can't find the real thing, he hires an actor to fill the role until he can find a suitable replacement. ( IMDb / Wikipedia / Official web page )

And four in Focus on World Cinema:
  • Yashi (Tears) by Sano Shinju (a Kazakhstan/Japan/Russia co-production).

More details will be added as soon as they are available.

Here's the highlights of the press conference (10 min. out of the 60 min. conference -- in French, sorry):

And a picture of Serge Losique (Festival's president) and Danièle Cauchard (Directeur Général) with this year's poster:

[Updated 2008/08/15]

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Montreal's Apple Store opening friday

Montreal's Apple Store, located at 1321 Ste-Catherine Ouest (just beside the Ogilvy), will open Friday at 5PM. After that the opening hours will be Mon.-Fri.: 9am - 9pm, Sat.: 9am - 5pm and Sun.: noon - 5pm.

Unfortunately, I'll be busy friday so I won't be able to be there for the opening. However, today I was going downtown to check the PO box and run a few errands, so I couldn't resist to go have a look:

Employees were busy putting the final touch to the store for friday's opening:

I was also surprised to discover that Montreal's policemen are not riding segways, but a kind of 3-wheel scooter. Cool:

Please excuse the bad pictures quality. I wasn't carrying my camera so I had to use my cellphone to take those pictures.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More Video Tests

I first tried to embed a Quicktime video on my web page, but for some reason it didn't work. In a way it give more control, better resolution (640x480), but it has the disavantage of taking lots of space on my hosting server. If it works. I'll try to see if I can get it to work in the future, but a video hosting service would probably be better as it doesn't use my server space.

Google Video seemed a good candidate since it has no file size or time limit (contrary to YouTube which has a 1 Gb and 10 min. limit). But the resolution is not better than YouTube (see this blog entry) and the Flash encoding took a long time.

Blip.TV offers an impressive video quality and it can be viewed in a larger window on their web site. There's a 1 Gb limit, but apparently no limit in the length of the video. Unfortunately, the full screen button doesn't seem to work and they won't host “private” video unless you pay for their Pro service... The Flash encoding is average, but you have a progress bar that let you know what's happening.

Another option (that I mentioned before) is to upload it to my .Mac / MobileMe gallery. It's the best quality possible, offer opportunities of editing through iMovie, but it does take some space from my iDisk (a 2 min. clip at 960x540 takes about 55 Mb!)...

I'll keep looking for more options.

(Update 2008/07/12 & 16)

I've found another off-site free option with HD Share. It offers unlimited upload (well, for now the site is still pretty new and the details are sketchy; it seems there's a limit of 4 Gb) and it can take HD quality (1280x720). However, the private video are really private (you need to be a member and a “friend” to see them), people can only stream and not download (although that's fine with me), the source file cannot be .M4V (but it takes .MP4) and their embeding code seems to be screwed up (it doesn't work, even for public video). And so far there's no help support on their site...

So far the best options still seems to be the MobileMe Gallery and Blip.TV.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Video Experimentation

Earlier in May, I got myself a Canon Powershot S5IS as birthday present. It's quite an improvement on my FujiFilm S 3100: I've doubled the zoom (12x) and the megapixels (8), it has face detection and image stabilisation, a bigger & adjustable LCD monitor, lots of shooting mode (including manual) and the flash is a little more powerful -- but the camera also has a hot-shoe to add an external flash when necessary. I'll do a full review when I have a little more time. All I can say for now is that it takes pretty nice pictures. So far, I tried it at one convention, a couple of family events, a walk at the Botanical Garden and I am very satisfied.

The zoom is quite impressive:

It also takes good video (with stereo sound!) which I couldn't do with the Fuji (poor quality video and no sound). I have just started experimenting with video. I still have to try doing some editing and I am looking for the best way to showcase my footage to family and friends. On YouTube? On my .Mac web gallery (with .Mac/MobileMe increasing to 20 Gb of storage that could be a solution)? I'll do some more tests and I'll see.

First, the test on YouTube. The first thing I notice is that the encoding dramatically reduce the resolution. It's rather disappointing. Anyway, judge for yourselves. Here's a family of ducks spotted last friday at the Montreal Botanical Garden (just beside the Japanese Pavillion):

[Updated 2008/08/25 with the zoom pic]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Johanne Pelletier (1954-1983)

Requiem eternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus in Sion
et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam,
ad te omnis caro veniet.

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

                 -Missa pro defunctis

[Caerimonias videtis]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fantasia 2008

Today Fantasia announced its programmation:

The 12th edition of the Fantasia Film Festival, North America's premier genre cinema event, will be held from July 3rd to July 21st, 2008 in three theatres (Hall, J.A. DeSeve and D.B. Clarke) of Montreal's Concordia University. This year it offers more than 100 feature films, over 200 shorts, 7 documentaries and there will be also more than fifty guests present to introduce their movies. The Program Book will be on sale Sunday June 29th at the cost of $5. Tickets will be available from July 3rd for $8.00 or $70 for 10 tickets.

The programming includes 56 Asian movies: 23 from Japan, 1 from China, 10 from Hong Kong, 16 from Korea, 5 from Thailand and 1 from Vietnam.

The selection of anime is rather thin this year: Batman: Gotham Knight (a USA/Japan coproduction that give the Animatrix treatment to Batman with six animated shorts directed by Yasuhiro Aoki, Futoshi Higashide, Toshiyuki Kuboka, Hiroshi Morioka, Shoujirou Nishimi and Nam Jong-sik) and Genius Party (the experimental animated anthology from studio 4'C that we talked about in PA#96).

However, the selection offers more live-action movies based on manga. The most obvious is L: Change the World (Hideo Nakata's [Ring] prequel based on Death Note), but there's also Akanbo Shoujo (directed by Yudai Yamaguchi based on the popular Kazuo Umezu's popular manga), Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (dir. by Takashi Yamazaki and adapted from Yohei Saigan's manga Sanchome no Yuhi: Yuyake no Uta), Be a Man! Samurai School (dir. by Tak Sakaguchi, based on Akira Miyashita's manga Sakigake! Otoko Juku) and Le Grand Chef (a Korean movie dir. by Jeon Yun-su and based on a popular Manhwa).

The festival will also show three Nikkatsu action movies from the 60s: A Colt is my Passport (1967), Gangster VIP (1968), and Velvet Hustler (1967).

The other Japanese movies are: Accuracy of Death, Adrift in Tokyo, Black Belt, Chanbara Beauty, The Chasing World, Gachi Boy: Wresling with a Memory, Machine Girl (a coproduction with the USA), The Most Beautiful Night in the World, Negative Happy Chain Saw Edge, Robo Rock, Sasori (a coproduction with HK), The Shadow Spirit, Shamo (a coproduction with HK), Sukiyaki Western Django (the latest Takashi Miike), Tokyo Gore Police and X-Cross.

Another notable movie is The Midnight Meat Train (a USA movie dir. by Ryuhei Kitamura [Versus, Aragami] and based on a story by Clive Barker).

The Japanese guests will be Tak Sakaguchi (Tokyo Gore Police, Be a Man! Samurai School), Isao Karasawa (Be a Man! Samurai School), Ryuhei Kitamura (Midnight Meat Train), Eihi Shiina (Tokyo Gore Police), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) and we must also mention Mark Schilling (the movie historian, who will present A Colt Is my Passport).

The other Asian movies are: Alone (Thai), Art of the Devil 3 (Thai), The Assembly (China), Beautiful Sunday (Kor), The Butcher (Kor), The Detective (HK), Disciples of the 36th Chamber (HK, a Shaw Brothers movie with Gordon Liu, who will attend the movie presentation), An Emperess & the Warrior (HK/China), Epitaph (Kor), 4bia (Thai), Going by the Book (Kor), Handle Me with Care (Thai), A Love (Kor), Mad Detective (HK), May 18th (Kor), The Moss (HK), Muay Thai Chaiya (Thai), No Mercy for the Rude (Kor), Our Town (Kor), Paradise Murdered (Kor), Punch Lady (Kor), The Pye-Dog (HK), The Rebel (Vietnam), Seven Days (Kor), The Sparrow (HK), A Tale of Legendary Libido (Kor), Triangle (HK/China), Voice of a Murdered (Kor), Who's that Knocking at my Door? (Kor), and Wide Awake (Kor).

Happy Festival!

(See also the ANN news entry)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Fantasia reviews

I've added some live-action reviews from last year's Fantasia Festival on PA's webpage.

There's not many of them so far, but I will add more when I have time (for the moment I am rather swamped in production and July will be a busy month with Fantasia and Otakuthon!).

I Survived a Japanese Game Show!

I usually hate reality TV, but I stumbled upon this one while channel surfing during my lunch break. I watched a few minutes out of curiosity and it was quite hilarious.

The idea behind this show is pretty simple: ten americans have been selected to participate in a reality TV game show -- the funny things is that they have NO idea in which kind of show they are participating -- and are send to Japan to compete in Japanese game shows (and we all know how silly and punishing those can be). All this for a chance to win a mere quarter of million dollars.

I've seen maybe ten minutes of it. It is funny, but not because of the silly game shows (I pity the poor souls who participate in this humiliation). Most of the participants never left the USA (even their State in some cases), so for them Japan is like they landed on Mars! I am not sure I could take more of it. I've recorded it on the PVR to check it later. Just in case!

It runs on ABC Tuesday at 9 PM.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fantasia is coming!

Fantasia is coming soon and its programming will be unveiled at a press conference June 26th. Soon after, it will be available for consultation on their web site:!

They will also launch the program book at a “Fantasia 2008 Preview Night“ hosted at the Centre St-Ambroise (5080 St-Ambroise, in St-Henri, Montreal) Friday June 27th from 9 PM. Come get your copy, watch this year's trailers and drink a nice cold St-Ambroise! Admission is free and the program of this 12th edition of the Fantasia Festival is $5. Spread the word!

I'll give details on the progamming Thursday. Stay tuned!