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Monthly Archives: May 2013

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It has been raining every other day or so here in Montréal which, along with the colder temperatures, meant I was back in layers and rain boots. I was walking home in the evening last night after a day of rain, and the drizzle had stopped by the time I came out of metro. I live next to a beautiful park and as I was walking past the greenery I thought the effects of the fog corralled in the air made for a dreamy scenery. I do not carry fancy camera equipment so I attempted to capture the night with my iPhone. I cannot wait for sun and the summer season to start in the city.

Happy Birthday, Miles Davis!

The notable jazz musician died in 1991 but if he were alive today he would have turned 87 years old. The song in the video, Jeru, appears in Davis’ classic album, Birth of Cool. Birth of Cool, first issued in 1957, was one of the first jazz albums that I purchased and listened to in its entirety, introducing me beyond vocal jazz masters such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, whom I already loved.

The trumpet player and composer was prolific during the fifty or so years he was active and continues to influence musicians today. Click on the above video for a mellow and easy going tune for a Sunday afternoon.

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Did you know that May is Asian Heritage Month here in Canada?

I did, but it took forever for me to write a post about this month despite the fact that I am Canadian and Asian. But here is a music video worth sharing by a Korean rock band called Jan Kiha and the Faces for their song, That Sucks. Though I am ethnically Korean, I have never heard of the band — I do not follow any Korean musicians except for Psy, but this is not exactly extraordinary since everyone knows of Psy! Also, I cannot decipher what exactly the band is singing about, but nevermind the lyrics (though the tune is catchy). Look at the food porn!

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Everyone is talking about Daft Punk’s newly released album, Random Access Memories, which came out just three days ago. I still have not gotten around to listening to the new album but I did read snippets of press about the band and their current initiatives, including this interesting article from The New York Times last week. (The Parisian duo own a home in California and speak accent-less English?) What was also in recent news was that the singer of the above classic, One More Time, Romanthony, who was an influential house producer and singer in his right, passed away at the young age of 45 earlier this month. I love this song and even though it is from Daft Punk’s early work, their second album in 2001, Discovery, I consider it a quintessential Daft Punk song — pounding house beats, glamorous upbeat vocals, and 80’s nostalgia. And of course, the awesome animated video makes this video worth revisiting. This will definitely tide me over until I finally get a listen to their new album.

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Welcome to Part Two of recommended restaurants for bachelor and bachelorette party planning here in Montréal. Part One, the previous post on bachelor/bachelorette party planning in the city, recommended high-end and moderately priced restaurants, which you can access by clicking here. Today’s post lists wine bars, apportez votre vin (bring your own wine) restaurants, vegetarian-friendly establishments, and cheap alternatives for those on a budget.

This list is also applicable for both visitors and locals to the city who are planning a festive group dinner event. However, as I wrote in the previous post, the kinds of restaurants that I am recommending is really geared towards visitors to the city. I field a lot of questions from friends, family and acquaintances who are visiting Montréal about where to go and what to eat, and also about pre-wedding party planning. I often steer the visitors toward the kinds of places that are unique to Québec; that is, restaurants and foods that are hard to find in Toronto, New York City, or other places of origin.

Montréal does food very well, and in my opinion as Toronto transplant who has lived here for several years, the city excels at French, Québécois, and certain European and Arab cuisines. Also, I will emphasize this again, but Montréal is not vegetarian friendly. Most menus are in English, but download a Google Translate app into your smartphone before getting here as many specials of the day, charted on the chalkboard on the wall, may not be in English. And a final and important note: Reserve early. Especially if you are vying for the more high-end and popular restaurants, such as those posted in Part One of this restaurant guide. The restaurants I am suggesting in this series all take reservations unless otherwise stated, and hence are appropriate for booking group dinners. So in addition to the high-end and moderately-priced restaurants in Part One, here are more dinner spot recommendations for the last of this Restaurant series.

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It was around midnight when I saw The New York Times’ Twitter feed linked to an article on its opinion page about Angelina Jolie. It read: “Angelina Jolie on why she had a double mastectomy, and how it could save lives.” I clicked on the link.

Reading Jolie’s explanation of her recent decision to undergo a double mastectomy — as a preventative measure against breast cancer — was fuzzy late at night. I had been engrossed in my school work and holding late night vigils in the glow of my laptop, eyes at half mast but open from the effects of too much coffee. Jolie wrote about how, in 2007, her mother died of cancer after a ten-year battle. Jolie had then decided to become tested for the genetic mutation that substantially increases the risk of the carrier of developing breast cancer. The tests confirmed that she did indeed carry a gene mutation and in her case, she had approximately 87% chance of developing the disease. She completed her series of preventative medical procedures and surgeries in April.

Well, both myself and the rest of the world had not been privy to Jolie’s health circumstances until the publishing of her article. For a Hollywood actress and paparazzi magnet such as Jolie, her private life and medical decision had been very carefully under wraps. But she chose to write a public and very moving account of her medical counselling and surgery through her own words and terms. Her article is clear in that her motives are not to broadcast circumstances of her non-acting life to the world but to spark a discussion on women’s health, breast cancer, and cancer prevention.

Jolie’s article comes two days after Mother’s Day was celebrated here in Canada and many other nations abroad. I had sent a message to a friend now living in Hong Kong to wish her a happy first Mother’s Day, then enquired about whether Mother’s Day is actually celebrated in that part of the world. It was, in fact, and her husband took her and their infant son to Hong Kong Disneyland. I laughed at the photo she sent to me of her and her family posing with Mickey Mouse.

On Sunday I was and still am away from my family in Toronto, and spent the day here in Montréal with my head in my books. But I thought about my mother who passed away when I was twenty years old after battling cancer for eleven years. It also happened that I saw a breast cancer surgeon a few days earlier because, as I explained to my boyfriend, it was time again to have old doctor hands feel my boobs in ways no one else has ever felt my boobs.

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