What is this blog all about?

The main purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the things I do, in my everyday life, in order to improve my English. Since I am a very lazy person, I mostly read, and watch movies, and do things which make it possible for me to improve my vocabulary, my grammar and my accent without getting bored... So this blog is going to be about the books I read, the movies I watch, and some other things which I find relevant (or not)...

I hope you'll like it! Don't hesitate to leave comments if you have any suggestions concerning what I should write about!!

mardi 28 août 2007

Comme un arbre dans la ville...

I should be writing my report right now. I know I should, but I have been gripped by the procrastination virus again, a particularly baaaad case, since I have to hand the bloody thing on Monday. My internship is not even over yet, but, hell, I still write the report now, you know how deadlines are.

So I've been looking for things to do instead of proof-reading my work of art, and the first one that sprung to my mind was writing a blog article. Besides, I have brought my camera to work, today, in order to put a little color in my report, and I can show you a picutre I took just for you, my beloved reader!! It's of a tree that's growing in a hole in the wall of a building in Asnières, where my sister F lives. I have been seing it on my way to work everyday for 3 summers now, and I think that this little tree is very brave, and likes to live. Isn't it romantic, reader??? Nature fighting to find her way in the city's grey walls? Yeah, I know, how original... I name thee, picture, "Nature fighting to find her way in the city's grey walls". Or maybe "here's what happens when you have no batteries and you flash doesn't work". Or maybe "what a beautiful summer we've had in Paris this year". You can pick the one you like best :)

Anyway. That's pretty much all I had to say this morning (ugh, it's early!! I came in at 8:30 instead of 9 because I wanted to work on my report, but then I thought better of it, and there we are... it's 9 now, officially time to start working seriously again, and I still haven't found the 2000 words I'm looking for... Suggestions, reader? Apart from putting a premature end to my studying language and starting a new carreer in bed-testing?

jeudi 23 août 2007


Hey reader!

I'm kind of bored, because I don't have much to do, but still must stay a little longer, because I'm waiting for an important e-mail, and I can't leave until I get it. I just love feeling useful, once in a while. Especially these days, because I've been working at the customer service this week, and since I am not very experienced, I mostly just say "sorry, wait a minute, I'll ask my colleague", or "I'll see that with the person in charge" and then I wait until the screaming stops. I love customer service. No, honestly, I like it. It's the challenge I like about it. Keep your nerves in check, stay collected, stay composed, always be nice, and stuff. It's just the best way to procede, I think (I'm not a full time customer service girl, so I can't really say, but so far, that's what I've seen.) An it teaches you zen!

Apart from that, I'm afraid there's not much to talk about in my life lately... I'm back to reading Stephen King in English, by the way, but that's just transitory, I'm going back to the German library tonight, and I'll be reding in German again by tomorrow. I just don't know what to buy, that's my main problem.

The last book I read was by Charlotte Link, a German author that was recommended to me by my best friend V, and it was really good, but it's the second I've read, and they're really long, so I'm thinking maybe I should try something else. Then again, I like her style, and the last one was really gripping. Some kind of "Gone with the Wind"-ish novel, but which took place in England under Henry VIII instead of America during the Civil War... So I don't really know what I'm going to do.

I guess I'll just end up with one more Charlott Link. After all, why should I read something else? When you compare it with the ultimately cheap chick lit I used to read before, I guess it's an improvement. I bought the famous one by Patrick Süskind lately, but could not get beyond the first three pages, because it was already too gross and hopeless for me.

I just remember this extremely bad book I threw away straight after reading it, which was about a girl who had to get married (for unknown reasons) to a man who turned out to be the heir of the russian czars. As if that was not cheesy, ridiculous and un-original enough, the girl happened to be able to communicate with tigers because of weird psychic abilities. Yeah, because her new husband, Mr Nikolaï III, owned a circus (all people of Russian origins own travelling shows of some kind, did you not know ?) I don't really remember the story, I was just struck by its stupidity and the absolutely revolting sex scenes that punctuated it. A real work of art.
I don't usually throw books in the bin, by the way, reader, I'm not a criminal, and think it is morally wrong, I guess burning them at least, would be useful, generate some heat, and good looking flames. I just finished the book, stood up, saw the bin, and the temptation was too strong... besides, the whole book was very wrong, trust me. I think it would not have burnt. I think it would have farted instead.

Anyway. My point is, I think Germans should make an effort and write better cheap love books. After all, it is a style in itself. I mean, how could we recognize a good book, if we did not have things which look bad in comparison? And I demand books in German, because what's the point of reading stuff in German if it's a translation, really, I ask you, reader!
I guess I'll just stop complaining now and go make some enquiry about this mail, because I want to go home! I'm kind of tired, I guess it's all those shrill voices in the phone... Besides, it's so rainy outside that it feels like it's been night all day long, so I'm really longing to get into bed!!! (whooohoo, by the way, here comes my mail!)

lundi 20 août 2007

Feel like going insane, got a fire in your brain, and you're thinking of drinking gasoline?

Hello hello!!

I'm back from my cold and rainy Norman week-end, which was very cold, and very rainy, but still nice, because I got to see my friend J, whom I met in Graz last semester. That was definitely cool.

Yesterday, when I came back, I was not in a very good mood, because it was late and I was half frozen to death (yeah, I'm very clever and thought it would be OK to go off to Normandy with no jumper), and I sat down with my sister in front of the TV and watched the last episodes of this season of ER. Adn I decided I could not restrain myself any longer, I have to let it out: I HATE END-OF-SEASON CLIFFHANGERS.

Several reasons to that:

-First of all, I think it is one of those opportunities when directors make wrongful use of the powers invested in them (JJ Abrams has got a peculiar talent for these kinds of things, by the way). I mean, OK, you can make us go crazy for months, but why would you do any such thing?? Besides...

-... if the series is bad, in a year, when the next season starts, I will have forgotten all about the last season and won't give a damn about whether the hero dies or lives, so I won't watch it anyway. If the series is good, on the other hand, I will watch it for sure, because I like to. What's with trying to make us watch things we don't want to watch by putting pressure on our feeble minds? Why not make good series instead, which will keep you interested without having to make you wonder about the drowning/freezing/bleeding to death character?

I know, I know, it would not be fun to watch something where only good things happen to the characters. I know. But if you take the case of ER, for example, they always write things in the scenario which I had rather did not happen (like, lately, cut off both the legs of Ray, the very cool rock star doctor, who was in love with Neela, the very cool Indian-American doctor). There is no need to leave us wondering if so and so is going to die in dreadful sufferings or not, I mean, we are already surprised enough as it is!

Of course, I would, if I could afford it, swear never to watch a cliffhanger type of series ever again. But that would deprive me of Buffy, Lost, ER, Alias, and many others (I so wish I could add Firefly to the list! I'd get over a lot just to watch a second season!) So I won't take any rash decision (I'm sure you're very relieved), but still, people, producers, directors and screenplay writers, if you hear me, just be nice! We like you anyway, we're not going to go away! Don't do it! Besides, if we want to know more about it, it's so easy to go find spoilers, and this (strangely) spoils all the fun and makes me want to not watch the series any more because I already know what's going to happen, and usually I don't think I'll like it.

Anyway. Here we go, reader, it's time for me to get back to work. Good thing today is that I am alone in "my" office, and I can listen to silly Bollywood music on my iPod, nobody cares, and I don't look like a sociopath. But well, it will be over on wednesday, which is just as well, because the sociopath in me would probably awaken if left alone for too long... I can feel her rattling her cage up there where my brain should be :)

Have a nice day!!!

jeudi 16 août 2007

Make your own kind of music

This morning, on my way to the metro, I was listening to the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" soundtrack. And suddenly I thought, Claire, that's what your next post is going to be about: Music and cinema. And music and TV series of course.

I mean, isn't The Music really important, don't you think? Can you imagine a movie without any music? Most of the times, what really gets you crying or worried is the music isn't it? The psycho knocking on a glass with his teaspoon in horror movies, or the guy with the violin in love stories. Or Ewan McGregor and his amazing voice in Moulin Rouge, like (yeah!! here comes a picture of Ewan McGregor!!).

Besides, what do all famous, mythic movies have in common? A famous soundtrack, you name it!! Star Wars (tatatataam taaam tatatataaam tam tatatataam tam...), Indiana Jones, The Godfather, Matrix (wake uuuup!!! Waaaake uuuup)... Same goes of course, for shows (Buffy, the X-Files (piu piu piu piu piiiii piuuuuuuuuu), Dallas...)

I think the composers do not get enough credit for their hard work. John Williams is pretty well known (he's the one who composed the music for all George Lucas's and Steven Spielberg's movies, plus a few Harry Potters I think), and so is Danny Elfman (all Tim Burton's plus The Simpsons), but other cool people like Klaus Badelt (the one who wrote the extremely cool Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack), or Patrick Doyle (Much Ado About Nothing, some of the Harry Potters...), are not very well known at all. (Lord, reader, I hope you follow, my use of brackets is getting eerie...)

I have to say, I am always impressed by the multiplicity of the abilities of these people, but most of all by those of Michael Giacchino. He has invented all kinds of schpounks and bleeps and strange snorting noises for Lost (hey!! :D one more opportunity to stick a picture of Josh Holloway in, reader!!), and yesterday, I went to the cinema with my sister to see Ratatouille (which, by the way, is not as great as it's supposed to be), and who composed the jazzy music, which was very nice?? Michael Giacchino!! Unbelievable, is it not?

Well, anyway, I found it really strange, but reassuring as far as his mental health is concerned. I mean, the poor guy has had to scratch forks against china for years, I guess he can't ever stop shivering, and now, there he goes, an opportunity to put his ears at rest! I'm very happy for you, Michael, if you hear me (yeah, we are very good friends, Michael and me...)

By the way, he also wrote the music for Alias, which is a good opportunity to add a picture of Michael Vartan to this post... I just looooove blogging... :D

Anyway. My chinese lunch is going to be there pretty soon (hmmm.... I've been wanting to order for aaaaages and now it's time at last!!!)) So I guess I'll be leaving it at that...
Have a really nice day, reader!!

lundi 13 août 2007

Dream a little dream of me...

Aaaaah... I'm all requinqued, reader! :D

I have spent the week end in Alsace with my friends and family, I did not sleep much, but I enjoyed it. Now I have some fresh ideas for my blog, parts of which I found in the train...

Don't mistake my puzzlement for ungratefulness, reader, but I thought about some strange particularities of the human brain, lately, which I would like to tell you more about.

First of all, pain. It's all very strange. I mean, our body doesn't usually do stuff which are not useful. But pain?? Why can't we tell our brain to stop aching? I mean, OK, I've been to science classes, just like everyone, but I still don't get it! Nerves, neurones and synapses are trying to make you aware that your body doesn't function propoerly, and it's a signal for you to do something about it, isn't that the idea? (The vicious way your feet choose tell you to "take off these shoes NOW!!").
If that be the case, then why does our teeth keep aching when we have already called the dentist's? Why does our head keep aching for a while after we took some aspirin? I don't get it, and I think it's kind of strange.

Second, what about dreams? How come our brain, which is us, still can surprise us? I mean, it's a very good thing that our brain is able to invent things we did not consciously know were in there (like dreams which make us laugh, frightening nightmares which are frightening because we don't know the end and stuff), but why can't we, once in a while, decide what's going to happen? Like, I remember one day, I dreamt I was meeting Paul Bettany, and he said "wow, you're pretty tall" -which is the lamest thing to say- and then I started growing, growing, and growing some more, until my head was all bent against the roof and he looked like an ant.

Why? Why oh why? Why can't my brain decide that no, this time I will behave rationaly and take advantage of the fact that in my dreams, I am not 6 feet tall, and can have a very interesting conversation about Paul Bettany and why he has played in such bad movies when he's such a great actor?? He'd then say "oh, Claire, now I realise that you're the only one who can ever understand me, please marry me, let's run away". Like that.
I have also been pretty puzzled by the behaviour of one of the girls on "Next", one of the worst TV shows on earth, who said "Who needs to know how to write, when you've got theeeeese" pointing to her breasts. Well. I don't know, indeed, Tina, 19, from Miami, who describes herself as a girl who "burps in the shower"... Maybe it would help you read the "you're going to look like a complete dunce for about 5$, we hope you don't mind" clause... By the way, the reason why I know about Tina from Miami is of course that I am making a survey about the American psyche. I thought watching Next untill my brain bleeds out of my ears would be a good way to do this. (Mr Newman, I'm sure you're very proud...)
Anyway, reader, it's time for me to go home, so I'll just stop there. I'm very puzzled tonight, I guess it must have to do with the fact that I have been on the verge of starvation all day... I'm hungry! I'm soooo hungry!! I'd better go and buy something to eat!

jeudi 9 août 2007

She's like the swallow...

I can't believe it!! It's 13:26 and nobody is eating yet!! They ordered some food, but since it's not coming, they just keep working!! Of course, that's not my style, so I decided I'd come and write a little post now that I have a little time!!
Have you ever felt like you were born in the wrong period, reader? Have you ever felt like the world was becoming kind of too modern for you?? Well, I feel like that pretty often, and my main cause for complaint is blue jeans. What do you mean, I'm very superficial??? I'm not. I just like dresses and long skirts.

Anyway, it makes me depressed to wear jeans and trousers everyday. I just wish we were still in the romantic era, and could wear some clothes with cool names like a crinoline or calico. I'd miss some stuff of course, among which blogging, but I could always write a diary, and then it would be pubilshed and become a bestseller!! (What do you mean, reader, my blog would never become a bestseller?? I don't quite like that tone you're using today, really...). I'd miss rock music and stuff as well, but then again, you can't miss what you don't know, can you? And I'd still have nice folk music at various balls!! Wouldn't it be nice?? I could dance the menuet, and stuff! And speaking French would be considered as very refined! Not just snotty!!
Besides, at the time, it was good to be a little plump, and curly hair was in fashion (just look at the pre-raphaelite paintings -Ha hahaha, I love to pretend I'm very educated- they all have frizzy hair, and nobody makes fun of them!!!) Of course, I also like the idea that staying where I am and having a decent conversation would be sufficient to get a wedding proposal.

Yes, I know, the condition of women was apalling, I would have had to stay home and embroider stuff, ride horses and sneeze endlessly, and would not have had any modern comforts like hot running water, or panadol. But it's not going to happen anyway, I won't be miraculously sent back in time by a malignant spirit, so why shouldn't I pretend it would be all Mr Darcys, flowers and lillies of the valley??
Besides, I just refuse to think that people, and women, were generally less happy at the time. I'm not saying I would have been happier then, it just suits my fantasy to imagine I would have been. It's kind of twisted and doesn't really make sense, but anyway, there it is.
What I really miss today, though, (apart from calico and crinolines), is things that last forever. Of course, I know, nothing lasts for ever, but still, there was a time, when you got married, it meant that you were going to live with your partner for ever. (You'd better pick the right one, really...) Now, when you get married, it doesn't really mean much more than, "I take one more step to prove my love", since you can get a divorce anytime. Same goes for the earth, seasons and nature. Once upon a time, it was all going to last until the end of time, and now, it will just last until we make it so rotten that it stops!

Anyway. This is getting way too far, and I think it's about time for Miss Garteiser to go and eat something... Hmmm... I made a nice sandwich this morning, I can't wait to eat it!! Smoked ham and goats cheese... Wouldn't they eat just that in Bath?? :)

mardi 7 août 2007


Today, reader, I want to tell you about Lost. Therefore, the title of this post is the opening credits' music (I'm sure you had noticed).

Anyway. Lost is a fantastic series, of which I would never miss an episode, which is why I watched all three of them yesterday evening, which is why I turned off my alarm clock this morning in an unconscious attempt to stay in bed and keep dreaming about airplanes full of handsome men crashing down on Paris. It was successful, until I woke up and found out that it was 9.00, which is the time at which I'm supposed to start working.
I just hate sleeping in, reader, I don't know about you, but it makes me crazy. I mean, one minute your head is resting on your pillows, you are swimming in an ocean of bliss, you brain is switched off, and life is beautiful, and the next you are trying to cram yourself into an already packed train, and you have to think, and you have to be polite. It's just too brutal. I hate my alarm clock. I think I might become an ermit, just so I can wake up when I feel like it.

It's just a question of picking the right place! I'd be an ermit on the island where they shot Lost. I'd have the company of the cast and crew once every year, and the rest of the time, I'd just be eating mangoes and roasting seagulls! Wake up late and kill your own food, that's my idea of paradise :) Of course, you don't want to do the same in Alaska, because apparently, their national dish is made of seals' poo and oil. And they don't even have bread to spread it on. I'm not kidding, I saw it on TV, so it must be true. Anyway, this post is getting nowhere, and I think it's time for me to go home, so I'll leave it at that for tonight.

I am translating some newsletter about laws on working conditions in Germany (how to fire people politely, and stuff), and my brain is just about to explode. I uderstand the sentences in German and it seems to magically turn into gibberish as soon as I write it in French. I say the same thing three time, it makes no sense, it's all very confused, and very confusing, and I don't even want to think about the time when I'll have to proof-read the whole thing. The Claire of tomorrow is going to hate my guts...

And no, indeed, this post was absolutely not about Lost, but I thought pretending it is would be a nice justification for me to put nice pictures in and a silly joke at the beginning.

lundi 6 août 2007

I need a hero...

Hey reader!!

I was looking for a good post subject today, (which is kind of difficult, since I decided not to read anything in English or in French before the end of the holidays -I need to keep the work up with my German, I can feel it getting worse and worse, and there's just no way I'll let all the benefit of my stay in Graz waste away before University starts again. After that, OK, I may stop making efforts, but not before :) Anyway... where was I??? Yeah, I was looking for a good post idea, but I did not find any. So instead, I will tell you about my problem with meeting someone famous.

I have met two famous people in my life (well, actually, I have met one -famous only in France-, and I got to say "hi" to the second while being pushed hard in the back by a furious crowd of hysterical fans), and I still have not solved my dilemma: "What would I do if I got to really talk with someone I really like?", and "would I really like to talk to someone I really like?".
I am a big fan of lots of things, and I am prepared to do crazy things to prove it (like queuing for hours, mostly -my biggest record being the U2 concert in Paris and Shahrukh Khan's "appearance" in the biggest Vrigin Megastore in Paris). But then again, when I start thinking about what I would do if actually given a chance to talk to any of those people, I get all weird. What would I actually say? Like, I'm not the hysterical-screams-and-laughter-and-then-pass-out kind of girl (I don't think I am anyway), but then again, if you act like you're all used to it, maybe you might not look enthusiastic enough?

So I was wondering about that from time to time, and then I found Nathan Fillion's blog. Nathan Fillion is a great actor from a great TV Series (i.e. Firefly, I have already written about that). And this got me really frightened!! Nothing seems to be OK! And then again, when I try to imagine that I am Nathan Fillion (hmmm... let me go have a look in the mirror... nope. I'm not), I can understand myself not wanting to be harassed by crazy people who talk about my backside like it's their!

I don't know. I think I'd still like to have a chance to talk to the people I like very much, if you take the "will they find me unbearably stupid and write mean things about me in their diaries" criteria away, be it just to say thank you. Not "Let's go to the caribbean together, Josh Holloway, I'm sure you'll like me once you know me", just "thanks", because I guess that's what would be most important. Well, reader, I hope you liked that very profound thinking, I am now going to go home, and try to uncook my brain, which has apparently been steamed to duh-ness...

Have a nice evening!

jeudi 2 août 2007

You can leave your hat on

Yesterday, I watched "Casino Royale" with my sister F. So I thought I would tell you about the incredibly deep thoughts that came to my mind while I was watching it.

First of all, I need to tell you that I discovered I was allergic to my hair. As soon as let them loose, I start sneezing. I knew I should keep them nicely tied, because of the wind and the fact that not tying them makes me look like a madwoman who just came out of the woods, but I did not think that nature could be so cruel as to make a person allergic to herself. I am allergic to so many stupid things (raw potatoes, among others), but this last one really beats them all... Anyway. I suppose I'm actually allergic to the thing I put in my hair to try to tame it, but it's kind of strange, wouldn't you say?

Second, Daniel Craig looks much better with his clothes on. Why do actors in the world and people in general think that having really big muscles looks good? It's just not true!! Well, I know, his being so muscular is all part of his James-Bond-Acting (as in "I'm not very subtle, but I'm very efficient") but I just can't help complaining. It's not as bad as it is in India, but it's pretty bad already.

Third, I just love that scene in the shower. (Sounds kind of weird, now that it's written down...) Well, Eva Green is traumatized because she just witnessed a double murder (i.e. She just saw Mr Potato kill two evil hitmen) and she sits all dressed in an (incredibly beautiful and slinky) purple dress, under a cold shower. Enters Daniel Craig, and what does he do??? He sits down next to her, without even bothering to take his shoes off. And then he takes her in his arms, and turns the hot water faucet. It's just so cute. I like it anyway. I like Daniel Craig more than any other James Bond ever. I like Daniel Craig very much.

I take this opportunity to make an aside about "what you should take off when in the water". I think that men characters who jump in pools/ponds/the sea in order to save a damsel in distress/fix an electrical equipment, should not bother to take off their shirt, but take off their shoes. Indeed, even though it takes more time, they are more likely to be ruined by the salt, and much more difficult to dry. Hence my message to all: We know that you just wanted to show us you muscles, man, don't even try to hide it by justifying your behaviour ridiculously.

There, reader, I think that's it for today. Now I have to go, because it's time to go home!! I just want to share a thought for my best friend V, who is working her head off at the swimming pool (poor V). May you meet a lot of Daniel Craigs, willing to take off their shoes and shirts and jump to your rescue, V.

mercredi 1 août 2007

Keep myself awake

Urgh, reader! I'm soooo sleeeeeepy!!!
It's nice and cosy in my desk's chair, I'm all tired, I just could fall asleep, but I need to keep on entering answers to questionnaires in the computer, because that's my task today. It's interesting to see the answers, from time to time, but I must say, in the long run, it kinds of get me sleepy. I can feel my heart slowing down, sloooowing down, and then I have to fight to keep my head from dropping, and I can nearly see my EEG getting flatter and flatter... I'll end up brain dead!! I need to go see DrHouse!!

Anyway. I finished proofreading the newsletter about Excel, I hope I didn't do anything wrong, and I hope the writer won't be trying to kill me in my sleep and write "dunce" above my head in my own blood... I just can't seem to get the logic of this programm...

Apart from that, I discovered today that my "itinerary to fame" is ruined!! Someone has already made a remix of "do you love me". It's really not good enough (not nearly as good as my planned version anyway, as I'm sure you've guessed), but I don't want to be accused of plagiarism, so I'll just let it go, I think. I'm sure I'll find some other song. That will be my next mission.
Oh, yeah, and I wanted to tell you, yesterday, after I met my friend M, from Dublin, I went back home, and I took the wrong Metro, and at the station where the lines splits and goes towards two different directions, I had to hurry out of the train, which is not easy, because it was crammed. The driver said "good news, people, we're going to Saint Denis" -which is not where I was going.
Then he saw me hurrying through the crowd thourgh (I guess) his little in-board camera (Big brother's watching you, people of Paris!), and he laughed and said "Yeah, miss!! You need to GET OUT now!! We're NOT going to Asnières!" and then he kept on talking, like "please fasten your seatbelts" and stuff. I guess Mr Driver was in a good mood. It was kind of freaky, but I like it when drivers in Paris make little jokes and stuff. Usually they sound like grumpy bears, and they are absolutely not original, so I figure, a little fun doesn't hurt.

Anyway. Guess what reader?? It's time to go home! I'll leave it at that for today, and tomorrow, I promise, I'll find something even more rivetting to talk about :)

A bientôt!