Rhapsody in GNU

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Saturday, April 7 2012

Rêves de Patagonie

It wasn't easy but I've finally completed my "folio" project, 10 prints encased in a hard paper cover.

Patagonia folio

You can find more info about it, including a short video that will give you a better idea of what it really looks like, on my Google+ stream. See you there!

Wednesday, March 28 2012



If you're reading this, you're probably not aware I've moved most of my activity over to Google+. I'm not sure what will happen with this blog. I might start using it again later on, but for the time being you'll find all of my recent photography over there. Don't worry, you don't have to create an account to see my work.

Walking on Perito Moreno

Wednesday, September 21 2011

Hospitality Club founder's reaction to Couchsurfing's raising of VC money

Here is an interesting read from the founder of Hospitality Club about Couchsurfing's recent raising of VC money.

I do wonder how CS intends on making enough money to please its investors.

Saturday, August 20 2011

Google+ has killed me.

Now, that's not quite true, Google+ hasn't killed me. But it has killed my involvement in this blog, however. Since I've joined Google+, I have found it that much easier to only post there. Part of the reason is how easy it is to post there, but it's almost as easy here. More important is the fact that there I don't feel like I have to write a long post, a couple of lines are enough. So, while I've posted quite a few images to my Google+ stream, I haven't written anything for this blog in ages :(

What should I do? Is it enough for you to read me on Google+? Or should I keep on writing posts here as well?

In the meantime, you can see the images I've posted there on my Google+ albums and follow my (short ;) writings there in my Google+ stream.

I've even set a short url to get to my Google+ profile: http://mercen.org/+

Monday, July 18 2011

Photographing strangers

About a week ago, some friends and I went picnicking by the Seine in a very popular area, the kind of which quickly gets crowded. Parisians may have a reputation for not being friendly, but they're really not that bad ;) And in these kind of situations, where people are so close to one another, it's not uncommon for them to start chatting with strangers. Actually, that's even one of the reasons why so many of them go there: to meet new people.

Seine by night

Continue reading...

Wednesday, July 6 2011

Learn a language for free

I often hear people say that to learn a foreign language, you need to immerse into the culture, to live in the country. The idea is that you would need to be somewhere where people speak the language to learn it. Well, my personal experience kinda contradicts this popular wisdom as my English was good long before I ever left France. But I do think there is some truth to it. However, I believe it's not so much about being with people who speak the language as it is about actively using the language. You see, my English is what it is because I started reading books and articles in English soon after I started learning the language. Then came movies and finally occasions to chat in English, mostly on the web. I could also tell you about this friend who's greatly improved his understanding of spoken English by watching TV series.

Why the sudden rambling about this? Because I've just watched a presentation by a guy who may have invented a great way to get people to learn a language by practice. As I understand it, it's limited to reading and writing but that would already be a lot more than not knowing the language at all. So, if you'd like to know about this potentially great idea, here is the presentation: Duolingo

Sunday, April 24 2011


As promised a few days ago (what do you mean, more than a few?), we're now going to Patagonia!

You might know Helsingfors as the Swedish name of the current capital city of Finland and consequently might be surprised to hear it was our first stop in Patagonia, but that would be because it's also the name of an estancia/hotel. But before we get there, we've got a bit of driving to do.

Continue reading...

Saturday, April 2 2011

Eric Whitacre on the distributed choir

About a year ago, I mentioned the astonishing distributed choir. Well, Eric Whitacre, the composer and director behind it, talks about the whole experience in a TED talk titled "A virtual choir 2000 voices strong". A recommended watch if you liked the choir.

Monday, March 28 2011

Lentils salad with spring onions, nori and apple

Long time since I've last told you about food. Because I wouldn't like you to believe I don't eat anymore, here is what I had for lunch today, a simple yet tasty lentils salad:


I'm sure I don't need to tell you how I made it, but here it is anyway: I cooked the lentils for 20 minutes in boiling water then got rid of the extra water and added chopped spring onions, fresh nori and apple. All that was left was to mix it all, with a little bit of balsamic vinegar to add a little bit of bite to it. Voila! Served with hazelnuts bread, it made for a quick, simple, tasty and probably healthy lunch.

I'm still working on the pictures from Patagonia but should have the first ones online very soon.

Thursday, March 24 2011

Still in Buenos Aires

I'm not in Buenos Aires anymore, of course, but this post is another one of shots of Buenos Aires. This time we'll be visiting La Boca, a very colourful neighbourhood 20101228_153715.jpg

and Recoleta, an old cemetary with the tombs of once powerful people.


The latter reminded me of Cimetière du Père Lachaise, in Paris, albeit smaller and looking less like a city park than Paris' famous cemetary does.

Next stop will be in Patagonia.

Saturday, March 5 2011

Buenos Aires

I've been back from my trip to Patagonia for over a month now and I'm finally about ready to start publishing the pictures I took there. I think you'll quite like some of them. But let's start with the beginnings. On Christmas Day last year, I flew to Buenos Aires, where I was to meet the group for the photography workshop. I spent a couple of days there, certainly not enough to get a good sense of the city, but what very little I did manage to see looked very interesting.

Continue reading...

Monday, December 6 2010

Matcha and berries

Long time no see but I've been pretty busy with work and preparations for the photography workshop in Patagonia. Until I have more time for the blog, here is something I expect will whet your appetite: matcha_berries.jpg

Wednesday, September 22 2010

This little piggy

Did you know that bread wasn't necessarily vegetarian? That's one of the things I learned watching this TED presentation about How pig parts make the world turn.

Thursday, September 16 2010

Aurora Borealis

I was writing on Tuesday about my hope to go and photograph the Northern Lights this winter. Well, I don't think I can do better than this shot of the Aurora Borealis.

Of course, that doesn't mean I shouldn't try ;)

Tuesday, September 14 2010

The universe is telling me something

As some of you know, I had to cancel several of my planned trips to Finland lately. Well, it so happens that I've heard about Finland in several ways these past few days, when I usually seldom hear about it. All these mentions of Finland or of things Finnish must be the way the universe has found to tell me I should be there. Considering next year is supposed to be one of high solar activity, I must now seriously consider all the options to finally succeed in going to Lapland in the winter to watch (and photograph) the Northern Lights. I just need to find the way...

But that's not all the universe has been telling me (it's been more vocal than usual lately). I've already mentioned my future trip to Patagonia. Well, I was considering my options for when the workshop is over. After all, there's no reason why I should come back to France right after leaving the group. So I was looking for possible destinations from Punta Arenas, where the workshop ends. One obvious option is Tierra del Fuego, just a bit further South. Well, believe it or not, Tierra del Fuego happened to be the topic of one of the podcasts I was listening to on the way back from work tonight! Actually, a program from Radio France about an explorer who traveled to uncharted areas there. I didn't even know there was any uncharted place left on Earth. The guy (more or less my age... gosh did I waste time with that computer engineering thing), named Christian Clot, wrote a book about the experience, which I think I'll add to my (already far too long) list of books to read.

What about you? What has the universe told you lately?

Thursday, September 9 2010

Another day, another stir fry

Stir fries are probably my most basic recipe for bentō. Easy and fast to make and easy to change in a thousand different ways, everything about them is just about perfect. This time, I used green and red bell peppers, carrot, minced meat and apple, cooked in sesame oil with a bit of soy sauce and coriander seeds. Here are the ingredients, ready to be put into the wok:


And to make the bentō even more colourful, I added some curry powder to the cooking water for the rice. Here is the result:


What about you? What did you put in your bentō?

Thursday, September 2 2010

Home Sweet Home

I've been thinking, for a couple of months now, of refurnishing my place so that it feels more like, you know, home. If you know me, you won't be surprised to learn it's been a difficult process. Fortunately, I've now made (almost) all the necessary decisions, in part thanks to a nifty piece of software I've recently found: Sweet Home 3D. Using it, it was very easy to create a model of my room, filled with all the furniture I was interested in and then move it around to see how well it would work that way. The design is done in 2D: you draw the walls, create rooms, add furniture with specific dimensions (and possibly a colour or texture). From that design, Sweet Home 3D is able to generate a 3D view that's most helpful when trying to visualise the result. In two words: highly recommended.

Monday, August 16 2010

Carrot cake

My first ever carrot cake: carrot_cake_1.jpg carrot_cake_2.jpg

Edit: Here is the carrot cake recipe (fr) I used.

Sunday, August 15 2010

Ginger pork

Another Sunday, another cooking session for my bentō.


This time, I made some ginger-marinated pork (fr): 20100815_192712.jpg

and, as I often do, a vegetable stir fry. This time with carrots, red bell pepper and the green parts of green onions: 20100815_192737.jpg

Wednesday, August 11 2010

Caramelised fish

I've been experimenting with a new recipe for my bentō this week: caramelised fish.

First I marinate it in a mix of shoyu, mirin, sugar and sesame seeds: 20100811_194043.thumb.jpg

Then I cook it on a very hot pan: 20100811_200735.thumb.jpg

Makes for a very tasty source of proteins for my lunch. The idea comes from a book I bought recently, the excellent "mes petits bento (fr)" from the talented Laure Kié.

And once the fish is done, I mix the marinade with two eggs and make a very tasty omelette, which will be my source of proteins the following day :) Simple and tasty recipes for a bentō, what more could I ask for?

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