Category Archives: Fun

MP3 experiment on Wednesday

Depending on how many people show up, it could be pretty awesome: A Montreal edition of Improv Everywhere’s MP3 Experiment is set for Wednesday at 5:17pm.

Instructions are here and there’s a Facebook page. No RSVP required, just show up wearing red, yellow, blue or green and carrying an uninflated red or green balloon to a retail store on Ste. Catherine St. between St. Alexandre and St. Laurent.

Improv Everywhere’s MP3 experiments are explained here, but in short they involve a large group of people downloading an MP3 audio file, then playing it on headphones at exactly the same time. To the outside world, it just looks like a bunch of people wearing headphones, but who suddenly all start doing the same random things together.

Montreal had a similar thing in 2009 that I participated in, and although there were some glitches it was a lot of fun for those involved.

The weather forecast is for light showers with a high of 17 degrees.

UPDATE: Just For Laughs has an announcement set for 5:30pm. Since JFL is organizing the MP3 experiment as well, I’m guessing the timing is related.

UPDATE (May 11): The event went well, with just about every radio and TV station sending people (for both the JFL lineup announcement and the MP3 experiment). It beat the rain by about an hour.

Just For Laughs has compiled a short video, which you can see above. Here are some more, combining video with audio from the MP3 experiment track, which was 42 minutes total. (via Dominic Arpin)

Scavenge: Impossible

I like scavenger hunts. I’ve participated in one or two, and provided the items on the list don’t involve doing anything illegal, too embarrassing or too impossible (University of Chicago, I’m looking at you), I look forward to participating in future ones.

I missed one last weekend, the Impossible Montreal scavenger hunt, which was actually far from it.

Three teams participated, making videos and taking pictures to complete their tasks. As an example, here are each of the three groups performing their own haka:

There were other fun things, like doing a Rick Mercer-style rant about Rick Mercer or eating as many steamies as possible. Another one was Peter Mansbridge/Wendy Mesley slash fiction, that’s just too good an idea not to link to, so here they are: The Sub-Librarians, The Flying Feltchions, #swag (bonus pointless references to Mutsumi Takahashi, Debra Arbec and Lori Graham in the latter).

The full list is here (PDF, after some humourously-crafted rules). Each of the participating teams used Tumblr accounts to upload pictures, video and text of their exploits, which you can find here:

  1. First place: The Sub-Librarians
  2. Second place: The Flying Feltchions
  3. Third place: #swag (pronounced “hashtag-swag”)

My first Just for Laughs gala

Just for Laughs stage at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier

It’s one of those things I wanted to do for so long. I’ve lived in this city my entire life, watched countless performances by stand-up comics (in both languages) on the Just for Laughs stage at Théâtre Saint-Denis, and wanted to go myself. But for various reasons (mainly a lack of availability combined with a fear of the price tag), I never saw one of its famous galas in person. I’ve been to outdoor events (much of which isn’t exactly funny, the giant screen showing Gags reruns notwithstanding), but never bought a ticket to watch an indoor show.

Last Saturday, I finally did. It was the only night I was really free to see anything. I went down to Place des Arts and decided I would plan my night based on what cheap last-minute tickets were available. I was actually a bit surprised when I found out that a 7pm show on a Saturday featuring Craig Ferguson still had seats available (singles, for the most part, mind you) that they were willing to give me for a significant last-minute discount. I picked it up, paying less than $40 in cash.

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Water gun fight at city hall Saturday

After a successful event last year, the group Les Évenements T’es po game is organizing a second water gun fight around the fountain outside Montreal city hall this Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Facebook page shows more than 200 set to attend, though experience has shown that number to be as much as 10 times the eventual actual turnout. Last year about 100 said they would attend, and about 50 did, so that bodes well for this year.

The weather forecast for Saturday shows sunny, low chance of precipitation and a high of around 30 degrees. Also a good sign.

The event isn’t organized in any official way with the city, and participants are reminded to follow rules of common sense – particularly not to target people who are not participating in the fight.

Pillow fight this Saturday

Pillow fight at Phillips Square in 2009

Saturday, April 2 is International Pillow Fight Day, an event coordinated by the Urban Playground Movement, which includes Toronto-based Newmindspace.

Among the more than 100 locations around the world participating is Montreal. Its pillow fight is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Phillips Square, where a similar activity was held (in the rain) in 2009 and again in 2010.

The Facebook event for the Montreal pillow fight has an astonishing 800 planning to attend, plus 400 maybes. Even applying the usual 10:1 ratio of those who say they’ll come to a Facebook event and those who actually show up, it’s still quite a large number of people.

Other Canadian locations are Calgary, Kingston, London, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo, with varying levels of planned attendance.

Third Montreal Underground City Scavenger Hunt

Alex and Kristin check their lists during the first scavenger hunt in 2008

It’s been a while since the last one, but a third Montreal Underground City scavenger hunt is being planned for next Saturday afternoon.

The idea is pretty simple: A scavenger hunt (relatively tame – no stealing stuff or doing anything illegal) whose items can all be found within the confines of Montreal’s underground city. Players are forbidden from leaving the underground city or taking the metro.

Participants are to meet at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5, at the food court at Central Station. More details at the website or Facebook page, or the Gazette article I wrote about the first hunt in 2008.

Water gun fight this Saturday

If you’re not doing anything on Saturday afternoon, a water gun fight is being planned for outside city hall.

About 100 people have confirmed their presence on Facebook (which usually means about 10 people will show up).

It’s at the fountain at Place Vauquelin, which is just outside city hall on Notre Dame St. at Place Jacques Cartier (Champs de Mars metro), at 2pm.

Weather so far calls for sunny sky and 25 degrees.

UPDATE: Turnout was better than I expected, a good 50 or so. My pictures are below in a slideshow or on Flickr.

There are also photos on Facebook.

Happy World Cup, everyone

A huge crowd of France supporters flood St. Denis St. after World Cup semifinal win on July 5, 2006.

I love the World Cup.

After a month of the most important sporting tournament on Earth, I still think watching soccer on television is incredibly boring compared to other sports. And it shows no evidence of supplanting hockey as the No. 1 sport in this city. The game is badly officiated, mostly because its governing body doesn’t want to enter the 20th century, much less the 21st. And many of the players are overpaid whiners whose sole purpose, it sometimes seems, is to turn the most incidental contact with an opposing player into a theatrical death scene.

And I still think soccer’s offside rule is stupid.

But there’s something about the way the World Cup takes over Montreal’s fans. Because Canada isn’t nearly good enough to make it to the final tournament, there is no home team, and everyone is free to choose sides. Many go with countries of origin, or maybe the team of their favourite player, or the country they once lived in.

No matter what country wins a game, whether it’s a big player like Brazil or Germany, or a tiny speck on the globe like Uruguay or Ghana, there’s always a parade of elated fans, honking their horns and waving their flags like they just had sex with a supermodel and realized they won the lottery.

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Bored this weekend? Get your geek on at the Geek Fest

It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the anglophone community (I guess that’s my fault?), but geeks from around town are converging this weekend for LAN parties, code fests, role-playing games and all sorts of other stuff at the Montreal Geek Festival.

Tickets are $12 for the weekend or $8 a day. The fun is at 752 Sherbrooke W.

And if you’re into board games and other non-computerized geekiness, there’s also the monthly Geek Outs at Burritoville on Bishop St. The next one is March 20 at 2pm. Attendance is free.

Christmas hugs

On Wednesday, two days before Christmas (and as I was rushing to get the last of my shopping done before a shift at work), I passed by this trio of happiness-peddlers at the McGill metro station, advertising free hugs for everyone who passed by.

Though their signs were in English only (one can only imagine what the OQLF would have done), the oral pitches were bilingual. In fact, they didn’t even speak English all that well. Or French. But all they needed was “Free hugs! Câlins gratuits!” and some outstretched arms to get their message across.

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Montreal SantaCon 2009

Robin Friedman and Jody McIntyre have been organizing a lot of fun activities around town over the past few years. Metro parties, underground city scavenger hunts, pillow fights, no-pants subway rides, bubble battles, and, when the original organizers couldn’t do it anymore, manhunt.

Friedman has logically decided to formalize this in the creation of Red Zebra Labs, which will announce future events on its website.

The first one coming up is SantaCon, Saturday the 12th, starting at 4pm at McKibbin’s Irish Pub on Bishop St. (See the Facebook event page).

It’s basically a pub crawl with everyone dressed as Santa. Wikipedia explains more.

Not yet convinced how fun this could be? You can see photos from the 2007 and 2008 events on Flickr.

All you need is fun

Your humble correspondent dances disco-style at the beginning of the Love Mob

Your humble correspondent dances disco-style at the beginning of the Love Mob (photo from the Facebook group)

I do like fun. And as long as an event has that as its primary goal, I’m all for it. Even if it’s a tired formula like a choreographed dance or a lip dub.

On Sunday, I played hookey from PodCamp to participate in an event called “Love Mob Montreal“. Not crazy about the name, but maybe that’s just because I’m not in touch with my emotional side. As I mentioned in the previous post, it was an MP3 experiment that made sense to everyone with headphones but no sense to all the bystanders without.

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Montreal’s MP3 experiment

UPDATE: Read about how this event went.

It’s called “Love Mob Montreal“, which sounds kind of weird, but it’s actually a Montreal version of Improv Everywhere’s famous MP3 Experiments (Improv Everywhere prefers people not use their names for independently-organized events, to avoid confusion).

The idea is that all the participants download an MP3 audio file to their iPod or other portable media player. They gather in a common place, and at a specified time they all press play simultaneously. The audio file contains instructions for what the participants should do. Since bystanders can’t hear the audio, the experiment gives a sort of surreal image of a bunch of people doing crazy things in unison.

The Montreal event, organized by a “flash mob” group with some pretty poor web design skills, takes place today (Sunday) at Place des Arts, at what appears to be 3:30pm (the event lists the time as 3:30pm in English and “13h30” in French, but it had previously been established as 3:30/15h30).

Unfortunately, that puts it squarely in conflict with the Day 2 afternoon sessions of PodCamp Montreal. At first I figured the events would be related because they were on the same weekend and I had heard about the Love Mob from someone involved with both. But that’s not the case, and I’ll have to ditch at least two PodCamp seminars in order to participate.

The MP3 files themselves have just been put online: English, French (UPDATE: Links fixed, sorry). Participants are asked not to listen to them before the event. Instead, remember to bring a watch or other timing device that’s accurate to the second, a media player with the MP3 loaded, and a white, red or pink T-shirt, and be at Place des Arts for 3:15pm.

Facebook has over 400 people “confirmed”, which means about 40-50 will actually show up, give or take 200.