Friday, March 31, 2006

It was 21 degrees in Montreal today, March 31, 2006. A little taste of the summer to come, I hope, and not a moment too soon. I actually managed to get some work done this morning, but this afternoon, I said "fuck it" and went for a bike ride.

When S. came home from work, I drove down to the grocery story to get some ground beef and we had hamburgers on the BBQ for supper. The patio door was open, and it didn't get really dark till about 7.

The main indication that it isn't summer was that our pool looked like this:

I fear the next few months are going to be long. S. is talking about getting a solar heater for the pool, which means if we're lucky, we could be swimming by mid-May. What do you think; am I dreaming in colour?

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, March 20, 2006

Second FreeMacWare contest entry

As many FFTMC readers will know, I love my Mac and run a separate blog for my Mac- and Internet-related blogging. But the lure of filthy lucre has made me cross the line this one time. A great website I frequent called FreeMacWare is running a contest in which entrants post five pieces of freeware they use on their Macs. The winner gets a $100 iTunes gift certificate. Now the site is offering a free iTunes song for every entry, and since the contest allows separate entries for separate blogs, I'll take this opportunity to mention some less sexy--but no less useful--Mac freeware. Just so you know, I feel no shame in inflicting this on my non-geek readers. Suckers for punishment can see my first entry here. The theme for this second entry is apps that do one thing but do it well (DOTBDIW--just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?).

  • First up is Monolingual: a DOTBDIW application that every Mac user, especially those on older machines or with smaller hard drives, will find useful. It removes the OS X language localizations you don't need, thereby saving approximately 2 Gb of disc space. If your HD is 40 Gb or less, that means a significant increase in space.
  • Another DOTBDIW app is CoconutBattery. It lets you know how well (or poorly) your laptop battery is aging. Simple but effective, and attractive too.
  • If you've ever had a hard disc fail, then you are probably already worrying about the next failure (and if you've never had one, don't kid yourself--it WILL happen some day). This is where SMART reporter comes in. It launches when you log in and monitors your hard drive for imminent failure. The little green hard drive image in your menu bar means everything is reassuringly fine (for now). If it goes red, back up your critical files immediately. (You do back up all your non-critical files on a regular basis, right?)
  • Sticking with the DOTBDIW theme, Address Book Exporter does one thing. Can you guess what it is? If you want to import your Address Book entries to Gmail or Yahoo Mail, or to any number of other services, then you will need this application first.
  • And finally, MacStumbler is a great little app that scans for wireless networks within range of your AirPort card. It even tells you if the network is open or protected. Invaluable for those long road trips when getting on-line is essential.

    And there you have it. Rest assured that I'll try to resist the evil power of contests in future (not that it will do me any good).

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, March 17, 2006

The low-brass story of the decade

I'm linking to an AP article posted on Newsvine about the first female tuba player to win a job with a top-five US orchestra. Carol Jantsch is only 21 and not even out of college. Unbelievable. Here's another article from (with one of the best headlines I've seen in a long time), which also includes a link to a sample of her playing... Astonishing!

As a trombonist who has witnessed my fair share of discrimination against female tuba players, including the girl who played in my brass quintet at McGill--one of the most musical brass players in the faculty at the time--I get a real kick out of this. You go girl indeed!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The dogfart trombone


I recently learned about an alternative to the stunningly useful Web 2.0 resource that is Wikipedia. It's called Uncyclopedia, and it's basically a take-off of Wikipedia, with satirical and parody articles on everything from politics to music.

I'm not sure what I expected when I searched for "trombone" (regular FFTMC readers will recall that the names you can call the author of this blog include "trombonist"). So I was pleasantly and hilariously surprised to find this article describing a heretofore little-known (and I dare say under-appreciated) instrument called the dogfart trombone.

I won't spoil the ending; I'd rather let you discover all the marvelous details for yourself. You can thank me later.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Memoires vives

Feuilles mortes qui tombent
mais ne touchent jamais
le sol, ces souvenirs jaunes novembre
pétillent autour de moi, me rendant ainsi
un faucon taciturne et sans ailes.

Partir? Je ne veux pas. Comment tourner
le dos aux eaux vives du Saint-Laurent
coulant vers l’est? Louis Cyr saurait peut-être
comment le détourner à l’ouest, mais comme toi
il n’est plus là.

C’est pour moi donc cette grande plaine d’Alberta,
vaste inconnu sans fleuve, sans feuille,
sans même un arbre solitaire veillant sur une butte.
Ce sont pour moi ces longues hivers noirs au grands vents
où je vais prier—oui, je te prierai—
qu’un jour l’un de ces feuilles remonte le courant
du passé et redonne à ma vie un brin de couleur.

Mais pas tout de suite. Il faut que je t’oublie un peu
pour mieux un jour me souvenir de toi.

Technorati Tags: ,