Color of Time – Holi in July in Montreal

The Color of Time by Artonik, a holi inspired performance and parade, on Ste-Catherine near Berri-UQAM metro.
By Artonik (group from France), performing in Montreal as part of the à nous la rue and vive 375 (the street is ours and alive 375) celebrations.

“Rhythmic beats, hypnotic choreographies and colourful powders filling the air…” along with major audience participation.

2017 July 22 & 23, 4 PM
Parade started on Ste-Catherine St at Beaudry Metro, then paused on St-Timothe intersection for a performance, and then moved on to the main show on Saint-Catherine Street between Berri & Saint-Hubert.

Inspired by the Hindu celebration of Holi, it is a parade with music and dance for around 40 minutes, and then 20 minutes of intense blowout fun when the performers and the audience indulge in a shower of colorful powders!

4PM at Beaudry Metro, was hot! And crowded, so could not really see anything. But, just enjoy the music and walk along with the performers. They hung out around Rue Saint-Timothée for around 20 minutes of dancing and drawing with colors on the street.

Then around 4:40PM they reached the raised stage on Saint-Catherine Street between Berri & Saint-Hubert, across from Place Émilie-Gamelin. This is where the fun ramped up! Could see the performance, and hear the music too. And the colors really filled the air.
Event volunteers were handing out plastic sachets of colored powder to the spectators, and with so many kids and fun-loving adults, the air was filled with the colors.

Color of time pictures – July 22, 2017 on Ste Catherine, between Beaudry and Berri-UQAM.
Color of time – Videos: the finale, with colors filling the air
At the middle of the parade, dance performance while coloring the street.

The colors were all powder only, which was great, all of it will easily wash off. The street painting was done with edible colors, at least dogs eating it suggested that was so.

Color of Time à nous la rue program website.

Montreal Jazz Festival 2017

Photos are part of this album: Montreal Summer 2017 [July and August, around 5 weeks]

The music always entertains, and even after years of visiting this show, it still amazes.

Some of the shows
The Excitements – July 7 – Club Jazz Casino, small separate stage at corner of De Bleury and René Lévesque
https://youtu.be/mnM–5Bh-IQ https://youtu.be/vQm1xN7ouFY
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipNda2j1LssKUsn9GBinVQeOFGJFQ-TUUmvklonu
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipN_fa82ITEGZZDpEBcSIwFRKw3YX8SizVhLxZaz

New photo by Avinash Chopde / Google Photos

Meryem Saci, soul and R&B – July 7 – Jazzy Stage
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPfj55HLkMiTPNTdtWJKmrzVNKAf_Hk_T78Fp3y
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipNkC2gom8pcwiZ1Z1vI_fnaDxk9emS3sCPKxQYp

The Brooks – Main Stage – July 6, 9PM – https://youtu.be/zCmOnj8g5Qs
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMmCvWlrfa5tj763J-y7RJpfzZ0NZRL_hh4rGba

Renee Wilkin – Jazzy Stage – July 6, 8PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMrXJEFDzHrWQqQ5bClDSSNBr-LCeOtrVreJyGn

New photo by Avinash Chopde / Google Photos

Jack Broadbent – Blues Stage – July 6, 7PM – https://youtu.be/59QsShu7u3Q

Pokey LaFarge – Main Stage – July 5, 9PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOmhTsVUP-45r8OiECf8fKckW4sTvuox_CckvVL

Lips! https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOCeenzjaGSFs4WIYb0Lgn7u5at0b2P34NHagn0

Brisa Roché – Jazzy stage – Juyly 5, 8PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOclVnNatZlN7bGgReA6BCGIbOtx_eVn-scYdRn

Walk Off The Earth – Main Stage and Overflow at Jazzy Stage – July 4 9:30PM
Overflow stage, used for the main events since even a whole block is not enough!
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMDxloeNswEfcsFJAREP5zPStoGxVoyZfJjDIya

A-Wa – Groove Stage – July 3 10PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipNXlcn1wwvW6qRBTidCks0DpdYvjtNFHshrr-II

Godboogie – Blues Stage July 3 9PM – https://youtu.be/RA5nNNQRE3I
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMPv-3VM-YX6ZbOVy8g37b7muuHfdBLKJoZmGM-
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPZ0JLQHlaP4WUNcfIlfX8Af_ObsbENp5cIZvR5
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPvhFVMAl3jBN87o4j-w2Z8CdUlEIQbqeHBX6uI

Gabocho Maroc – Groove stage – July 3, 8PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPuIg5Tc9jDgGB40fS4z_BPOgJacAqQH_UWP-rC

Jim Zeller’s Extreme Blues Review – Blues stage – July 2, 11PM and 9PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPw_iAFUP1KO1xTdqwFxig1-qsfTvsgoyc9dvAZ
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipO2LXjImAqu6hY89Rx0cpMS7Rdyy7CvpaLgmNkK
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipP6S2cLMEDNPWCdv8NPNH-ARaQ4IVzBMxbe9GWM

Fwonte – Groove stage – July 2, 10PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipN2CR_3VAsPSNMcaOIYbXoK7bAYmEjon0x1hEII

Polly Gibbons – Jazzy stage – July 2, 8PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPmhluNAgAkQUThrRNeRtCANgg48ubNRozWqR6v

Youngstown (Country music) – Small stage, Place Heineken – Kuly 2, 7PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipORG4GDqr6wwwgsnqnB5DGB3HlTKeGna3chml7i
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOJ2QDJpP5g5Ep8Ojxy_LKZzSzcwttIwl_s91a5

Nomad D’Stones – July 1, 8PM
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPDZ60H8UxDd-9e_8zPmnXkcoBf8PNvpbkt4A9v

Saturday, July 1

Discothèque blowout Saturday, July 1 at 9:30 p.m. at Place des Festivals.

The whole Place des Festivals block was full. A bit surprising, given the weather forecast of thunderstorms at that same time. So I came prepared with rain jacket and pants. Very few others seemed prepared though, looks like they were planning on following the kids who enjoy getting wet playing around in the fountains at the festival.

And new twists this year! Looks like every year the Montreal Jazz Fest organizers add interesting twists. This year, they had dancers on lighted pedestals spaced along the entire length of the crowd, so being at the back does not seen so far way from the scene. And of course, for years now they have had big screens at the back showing the action on the main stage. This main discothèque show used two stages – Men without Hats played on a small side stage.

Have to stand for 90+ minutes for these shows, but I can still do it!

Lineup:
Carly Rae Jepsen of Call Me Maybe fame, Montreal electro-pop new-wavers Men Without Hats, Acadian hip-hop/etc. band Radio Radio, pioneering Quebec rap ensemble Muzion, aboriginal singer-percussionists the Buffalo Hat Singers and DJ Champion.
Songs I recognized with YouTube links:
Informer – Snow
Safety Dance – Men without Hats and many of their other songs
And even the new-ish: Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

All Jazz Fest photos are part of this album: Montreal Summer 2017 [July and August, around 5 weeks]

Copacabana Brazilian Grill and Buffet

Best way to eat Brazilian food.
They have the famous grilled meats, churrascaria style.
And a buffet of hot food and cold salads.

Rice, beans, and a sample of the meats, and it is a wonderful dinner.
Place is self-service for both takeout and dining-in.
ood is great.
Especially the grilled beef sirloin sliced on order.
They have both regular grilled meats and blood varieties too.
Stick to chicken and the sirloin steak for normal American tastes.
They will explain and describe all the skewers, just ask.

Astoria location pictures:

80-26 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights location pictures:

This place is so much better than many Brazilian restaurants in the US that only serve all-you-can-eat type of meals. Here, get as little or as much you wish without the pressure of trying to gorge excessively:-)

The name of this place is Copacabana Pizza and Grill, but that is just a name and there is no pizza available here!

May 2017: A second location has opened up in Jackson Heights, nice!
80-26 Roosevelt Ave, 82nd St station on #7 train. This one has the correct name: Copacabana Brazilian Buffet and Grill.
The first location is in Astoria: Near N, W trains 36th Ave subway station. Corner of 32nd St.

New Year’s Eve Montreal

2016-12-31 New Year’s Eve at the Village Mammouth, Montreal Olympic Stadium.

DJ, Music, Skating Rink, Food Truck, Beer, Rum.

Much better than Old Montreal since the Stadium is much easier to get to using the Metro, just off Pie-IX metro station.

And while it was cold, they had a number of heated areas that provided the hand-warming when needed.
Not to mention the no-lines at the port-a-potty cabins!

Kids to adults, all can have fun. Highly recommended over the crowded and inaccessible (but more popular) Old Montreal spots.

Video: https://goo.gl/photos/g6xEsnJbd3CVzxATA

Eggplant Bhaji

vaa.ngyaachii bhaajii (वांग्याची भाजी)

Serve with rice and varan (yellow lentil soup), or with chappati.

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Eggplant – 1 large, to fill 10″ saute pan (but use larger pot for cooking)
Chop into small pieces (0.5-1″ cubes)
Black Mustard Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
Green Chilies – chopped, as needed
Garlic – chopped, if needed
Salt
Water – 1/2 cup
Oil for frying

Heat oil
Add Mohri (black mustard seeds), when pops, add Jeera (cumin seeds)
Add chopped green chilies, to taste – should be hot/spicy
Cook for a minute or so, then added chopped eggplant, with turmeric.
Coat eggplant well with the cooking oil, and then add water – half a cup
or less, cover and let it cook – 10-15 minutes.
Add more water if needed, then add salt to taste.

Sabudana Khichdi

saabudaaNaa khichaDii (साबुदाणा खिचडी)

Comfort food: Sabudana Khichdi

In Marathi: साबुदाणा खिचडी

Time: 30-60 minutes (4-8 hour including soaking time)
Serves: 3-6

Sabudana (pearl sago) – 1 pound (around 2 cups)
Peanuts – 1/2 pound
Cumin Seeds – 1 tablespoon
Green Chilles – chopped, as needed
Boiled potatoes – chopped in small cubes, two large
Curry Leaves (kadi patta) – 2 to 4
Salt to taste

Wash sabudana in water for a minute, drain nearly all of the water, level should just cover the sabudana, and leave in covered vessel for half-hour. Then drain all water, and leave covered for 4 hours or overnight. When done soaking, no liquid should be left, and all the grains should be soft but not mushed together – pressing between fingers should find no hard material in the middle, should be soft all the way.

Toast the raw peanuts in a pan, and then let them cool down. Then coarsely grind the peanuts in a blender or mixer or similar.

Heat oil, add curry leaves, cumin seeds, green chilles, fry for a minute or so. Add cubed potatos, cook until brown, around 5-10 minutes.

Add the sabudana and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the color turns from solid white to more of a translucent color, stirring frequently to prevent clumping.
Mix peanuts into the sabudana, cook for 5-10 minutes more, until color turns light-brown.

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve with plain yoghurt.

Another recipe, external link: Aayi’s recipes

Sambar Recipe

Sambar Recipe (सांबर)

Turned out great. Quantity overshot a lot, did not need that much!

Probably cooked around 16 cups (4 quarts in a 5-qt pot), needed only around 6-10 cups of sambar.

This was very easy to cook using prepared sambar powder. Only thing is that it needs a number of ingredients.
Sambar is great in that one can add any vegetables. For me, drumsticks are a must. For fun and because I like the texture, I also added Woodear mushrooms from the local Korean shop!
Serve sambar with rice or dosa or idli.

The tricky thing here is how much hot red chilli to add. Chillies or chilli powder can’t be added as salt can, it requires cooking, so difficult to adjust it while cooking. I added 4 chillies, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, along with the 2 tablespoons of sambar powder (which also has the chilli spices), and it turned out a bit on the hot/spicy side. So for the recipe below, I removed the 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, though if you like things hot, feel free to add it.

Time: 60-90 minutes
Serves: 10-16 (makes around 4 quarts or 16 cups)

Toor dal – 1/3 cup
Masoor dal – 1/3 cup
Wash dals, soak in cold water for around 30 minutes.
Then add 3-5 cups water as needed, boil it, lower to simmer and cook until they almost dissolve. No need to mash it, just fine with boiling. Takes around 30-40 minutes.

Tamarind – soak 1-2 tablespoons in 3/4 cup warm water for 30 minutes then filter it out to get tamarind juice. Or use 1 tablespoon tamarind paste and add it while cooking.

In parallel, cook the sambar. Some recipes call for just boiling all the vegetables with the spices, while some saute vegetables and then proceed to boiling. I prefer the latter, though I’m told it probably makes no difference in the final taste.

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Cumin Seeds – 2 teaspoons
Curry Leaves (kadi patta) – 10-12
Dry red whole chillies – 3-5
Oil – 2-4 tablespoons
Onion (1 large – 1-1.5 cups), chopped into around 1 inch squares, or any way you wish, just keep the pieces large or long.
Asafoetida (hing – 1/4 teaspoon)
Urad dal (white, husked, 1 teaspoon)
Fenugreek seeds (1 teaspoon)
Cumin powder (1 teaspoon, optional)
Coriander powder (1 teaspoon, optional)

Add oil to a pot, covering the bottom of the pan.
Add red chillies and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, urad dal, fenugreek seeds. The urad dal will turn a bit darker in a few seconds, add asafoetida, coriander powder, cumin powder, stir a few times, then add the onions.

Cook the onions for 2-4 minutes, until they become a bit soft.

Sambar powder – 2 tablespoons (I used MTR Brand)
Drumsticks – handful (1-1.5 cups)
Got the frozen variety, only one available in most parts of the US, I bet. Cut into 3 inch/finger length pieces if not already sliced. Thaw them for cooking (run them through cool tap water for quicker thawing).

Eggplant (1-2 small – 1-1.5 cups when cut into cubes)
US grocery stores have humongous eggplants, only used a quarter of one large eggplant for this.

Okra – (0.5 pounds, around 1-1.5 cups).
Cut into 1-2 inch pieces. Cut and discard small sections at the top and bottom of each okra.

Woodear mushroom (7-9 pieces, optional – any vegetables you want can be added to sambar!)

Salt to taste

Add all the other vegetables you want with the sambar powder and cook for 5-7 minutes.
Important to add salt along with the vegetables. 1-2 teaspoon at this time, and then later can add more to taste.

Tomatoes (1 large or 2-3 small, around 1-1.5 cups)
Jaggery (gur) – 1-2 tablespoon

Add tomatoes, tamarind juice and jaggery and cook for 5-7 minutes more.

Then add 1-2 cups of water, bring to boil, and then cover pot and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. After this, vegetables should be soft and nearly cooked.

Then add the cooked dals and sufficient amount of water to get the consistency you want. Add more salt and jaggery as needed at this point too.
Cook on low heat for another 10-20 minutes, and it is done.

Sprinkle chopped green cilantro on top, and it is now ready to serve.

Sambar tastes good even after refrigerating it and cooking it on day two and day three and so on. Vegetables taste more flavorful after soaking in the sambar spices.

BIXI Montreal Key and Dock

How to use the BIXI Montréal system with a subscription key.

The key is shown on the left top of the picture.

Insert the key into the key slot. The LED indicators will start blinking orange and then turn green on a successful unlock and then the bike can be removed from the dock.

Be sure to remember to take the key with you! It is very easy to forget it, and that could turn out to be a very expensive $1000+ mistake if someone uses the key to “permanently borrow” a bike

If the LED indicators turn red instead, as happened to me a many times, just remove the key from that dock and try another one.

And on returning the bike make sure the LED turns green before you leave the dock.

The BIXI smartphone app is also an essential tool, so set that up beforehand. It shows a map with available docks and bikes on a map and can also be used to keep track of all your trips in real-time so can be used to check the start time of the current bike rental.

Drupal to WordPress

This site is now using WordPress and no longer using the old Drupal 6 system.

It was not an easy process to maintain the old content! Took many iterations, trying it out a couple of times a year starting in 2014!
Creating a static drupal site.

Then in WordPress, created a plugin to customize the plugins being used and for general WordPress customization.
For example: hook into WP action to trap all 404s.
add_action('wp', 'redirect_all_404s');
This was preferable to a .htaccess redirect since I wanted to first have WordPress check whether it had a link and then look into checking if the link was a file in the archived Drupal subfolder.

It is all done now, so migration is finally complete in December 2016.