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!!

vendredi 28 septembre 2007

Mr Brightside

***Warning: here be spoilers. If you reaaaaally want to go see "28 weeks later" (don't, reader! Don't!! It's a trap!) then do NOT read this post***

What a bloody disappointment! I am so disappointed! Very very unhappy! I don't know if you've seen "28 days later", Danny Boyle's great zombie movie (well, the bad guys are not really zombies, but I guess that's still the category it would fall under...) but if you have, like me, watched it and liked it, then do not go see the second episode!!

In the first movie, which, as I said, was great, a crazy english guinea monkey infected by "rage" after watching too much TV (I simplify...) had contaminated PETA activists, who in turn turned into crazy flesh eating monsters.

I had followed the wanderings of Cillian Murphy through an empty and devastated London, seen him meet and mourn some other survivors, seen a pretty clever idea of what people would do in such a desperate situation, and the whole lot was very believable and very interesting. As well as freaky. And funny sometimes. I remember a scene when the hero and his crew are trying to get out of London and into Manchester, and they have a choice between going through a tunnel or staying on the road. They go through the tunnel, and you, as a watcher, think "What a stupid idea, NO ONE would ever actually choose this option". And at exactly the same time, Cillian Murphy starts screaming that it's an obviously bad idea, and there you go! you laugh it off, Danny Boyle's need to get a blood-filled and terrifying scene because the rythm was getting too slow is forgiven and forgotten.

That's exactly what was missing in the new movie. First of all, it was absolutely not original. It was a little slow to start, and the scenario was full of holes (for one thing, they said men could no be contaminated by animals, which is obviously not true, since the infection started by a monkey biting a man ; the army left an infected woman alone and unattended in a room, of which her husband had the key, I mean, come on, Mr Filmmaker, what do you think we are, dumb or somthing?) But apart from that, it was just people being killed, burnt to death, killed by the insertion of thumbs in the brain through the eye-sockets, I mean, it was just blood, and unjustified violence which made me pukey. Not even interested, just pukey.

It was a little bit like in the Stephen King books when he starts describing bone pieces and wounds and stuff, and it's just so gross you don't even notice it anymore. I just watched the whole movie, and did not notice how disgusting it was. The only thing that reminded me of it was that I was faintly sick coming out of the cinema.

Besides, the one good thing about bad movies usually, is that they make me laugh a little (as in Underworld, for example. Veeery bad, but pretty funny, if you take the whole thing as not really serious). But this one was just cruel. Cruel to the characters, which, even if they are really stupid, make you feel for them a little, cruel to my stomach (ugh, all those people vomiting blood all over the place), cruel to my bank account (I need those 5 € to pay for my lunch, Mr Filmmaker)... It was not funny. In a word, don't go see it. Ah, the music was good, though, but it was the same one as in episode 1, so you'd better watch this one again, really
Apart from that, well, not much to say lately, I have to admit... The university homecoming blues has gone away (we went to a great party with my friends yesterday evening, it was really cool), I met some nice new people I did not know, and I'm getting ahead with the Project. Might involve wine, as it turns out... I'm finding this Project thing more and more interesting. Oh, and my yoga lesson was cancelled, it doesn't start before next week actually... Well, I'd better go, because I have to go the the university tomorrow, though it's saturday, because they got maniac and want us to sit exams AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, DURING THE WEEK-END!!! I do think that they're trying to kill us. That they hate us is pretty clear, already, but come on! Courses from 9 to 16 on a saturday!!!

Good night reader! Don't go to the cinema!!

lundi 24 septembre 2007

Had a bad day...

Hey reader...
Today was my first day at the university, back in Strasbourg! I was amazed at the little number of people who go on with their language studies! Many of my friends have changed tracks and decided to become teachers in primary schools, some others just decided they'd take a year off to decide what they want to do later on (some have decided they wanted to study chinese)...

As for me, I am preparing to find an idea for my "Project". I will henceforth refer to The Project as The Project. Please, do not ask any questions, as The Project is a very special and secret endeavour. It is a plan, made by the French government, to make all students crazy. All I know about The Project, is its name. The Project can only be done by people who have already done it before. The Project is the purpose of all life on this planet, and it is required of all sudents to make plans and outlines and schemes for the development of The Project. For these schemes, they shall not be helped. Giving indications is a weakness, as well as a restriction of their creativity.

Besides, The People in charge of The Project shall not be named, and shall remain extremely mysterious. No impious person such as thyself, reader, shall ever get a chance to utter their sacred names, and no regular students either, of course. Only The People can name each other. They will otherwise be refered to as "The People" or "The Jury". Thou might want to call them "The Dark Lords, Masters of the Supreme Project", but it's kind of longish. Anyway.

If you have any idea (at all) concerning what my Project should be about, please do not hesitate (I do not know anything more about The Project than you do, so please, I am open to your suggestions!)

Apart from that, I got a fine in the train this morning, because a maniac ticket-man decided to check my ticket two minute before the train arrived. I am not used to not paying my tickets and I stayed awake on purpose, so that when ticket-man would come, I'd be awake to tell him how sorry I am, and how I arrived late at the station cause I had to wake up early, and please let me pay the ticket, but not the fine. But he had decided to be cruel (maybe he thought I was The Beaver From Hell, come to end all things, and he thought he was saving the world by making me blue, I don't know... I sure did look like The Beaver From Hell... Red eyes, a murderous glint in my pupils, white teeth protruding out of purplish-blue lips, green skin and nuclear hair... I would have done the same, I guess... Ticket-man, if you read me, you're forgiven. You're still a super-hero, and you were awake even before me... I should never have cursed you and your offsprings on seven generations. I take it back.)

I guess I'll go take a shower now, reader, and then get into bed, tomorrow is my first Yoga lesson, and I want to be fit for it! I'll let you know how it went, because I'm sure you're extremly interested. See you soon!! Good night!!

vendredi 21 septembre 2007


Puuuuuush!!! Puuuuuush hhhhh fffff hhhhh ffffffffff... PUUUUUUUUUSH!!!!!

No, reader, I am not writing a post about pregnancy and deliveries, I just decided to say a little something about rugby tonight. Thought it would be a nice change after so much saree testing and stuff... :) Indeed, the rugby world cup is taking place in France this year, and it's a whole lot of fun. First good thing about rugby is, you get to see very subtle supporters everywhere in Paris, and listen to their new-age interpretation of the English national anthem at the Gare du Nord. I just love it. I bet you 5 English rugby supporters make more noise than the whole Manchester United fan-club put together. I suppose you might even detect sismic activity near the Stade de France on game evenings... I guess that's what I love about rugby : The subtelty. And the suspense as well.
They look so big and tough, it looks like a comic show to me. And they are not taking themselves too seriously, which is great as well. It's all burlesque and stuff, they roll in the mud, scream and stomp and push and beat and bleed and suffer, it's kind of barbaric, without being cruel. All the good sides of being a brute. We've got that "bourin" word in French, I don't realy know how to translate it in English. I must say however, that I don't know much about rugby, and one of the things that I know is that you need quite a brain to play it properly. I don't think the rules are as weird as those of cricket (even after a 3 hour long crash course in Lagaan, I still don't understand the rules of this one), but they are still pretty puzzling...

I think maybe it's an English thing. I mean, it's pretty cruel to create a game where the players can only pass the ball to people backwards... it's a little as if they had to run two steps forward, one step backward... Maybe I should invent my own game, now that I come to think of it... Three steps forward, one step backward, two balls and four teams. You can only pass the ball to the people behind you, and can shoot into any goal but your own, of course, except if you're really thick. Besides, if you kick the ball out of the field, you have to go get it back yourself, and run around the field three times, before the guy with the bat catches you. The guy with the bat (I take this opportunity to introduce him), is independant. He is not part of any team, and only plays for his own glory. I think it's exciting. I name thee, game, the Claire-Ball. Oh, and you're allowed to use your teeth, in case of emergency...
Anyway. I've been watching the whole rugby match tonight, and now I'm all cheered up. My animal instinct taking over, I guess... :)

I had to fight against the said animal instict earlier today, by the way... I watch my licence getting further and further away as days go by, because of silly paperwork problems and stuff... I just hate the French obsession with administrative annoyingness. It's like a national sport here (decribed by Peter Mayle in his Year in Provence book... I did not like the book, but can only agree with him as far as administrative annoyingness goes...). The problem is that I have handed in a list of the subjects I took in Graz (its sole utility is to keep a record of the subjects I took, and check that I have been studying useful things for my French diploma -Watching Dr House episodes till 4 a.m. on my computer does not qualify as an activity which gives you credits for you erasmus semester. I tried, and they said no. life's unfair.) This list is, alas, not written on the RIGHT PAPER!! The paper is written in ENGLISH and it should be written in FRENCH. I mean, honestly, what's the big deal with the paper? As long as the list is in French and OK?
Problem is, really no one is to blame (I'm not being ironic here, reader, no one is to blame but the general organisation, so I don't actually resent anyone...) I just hope that I won't have to repeat a whole year although I passed in all my subjects, just because a bloody PAPER was not in the right language. But I've been a good girl, and did not loose my temper. Beware of the dark side... Anger, fear, agression... Those will lead you back into bloody year three!! And you do NOT want this to happen!! I'm on my way to being a real Skywalker pretty soon, reader, I hope you're impressed. I have a green laser pocket knife, as for now. My nice blue sword will come later I guess. Hope I won't have to fight Dark Vador on the way. Oooh, but now that I come to think of it... A new way to be introduced to Ewan McGregor!! Yeah! Yeah!! Anyway. I'm drifting again...
Well, reader, I'll go to bed, now, I guess... Or maybe eat a piece of raw meat, I don't know. Hope I'll write again soon, I have been away for a few days, my friends V and M have offered me hospitality for two nights last week, so I did not have too much time left over to blog... Too busy drinking and eating and talking... I guess I'll start being more regular again as soon as the university starts. Light a candle for my diploma, reader!

mercredi 12 septembre 2007

Chan chanananan

Hi Reader!

After days of maniac saree testing and results ranging from catastrophic to pretty cool, I'm back to normal life. I've bought matching earrings which make me look like a christmas tree, but now, I say, it's time to stop being obsessive. It had been a long, long time since anything I bought had made me so happy. I have a cool petticoat as well, from F, and I just love having a petticoat!! I did not even know what the word meant until then! Such a cool word, isn't it reader? Petticoat? Very cute. I'm feeling like I did when I was a kid and did not want to let go of my christmas present and took them to bed with me so that I could look at them again as soon as I woke up. Anyway. Yeah. Let's not talk about sarees today, what do you say, Reader? Did I mention I loved my... OK. Ok. ok.

The problem is that apart from being a complete monomaniac, I lack inspiration. I don't have much to talk about today, since I don't have anything interesting to do. My internship is drawing to an end, and I'll be going back to the university pretty soon, but in the meantime, my boss is in Germany, and I don't have anything left to do. I try very hard to look busy, but I keep straying and going on this or that website, and I'm sure one of my colleagues will notice, and it's going to be a dreadful shame. So instead, from time to time, I stare blankly at leo.org and daydream about going to India and getting cast for a movie. Of course, I become a star, and everybody makes jokes about how tall I am, which gets me slightly annoyed, but helps me land a leading role as Abhishek Bachchan's bride. Then I remember my dance lessons in Austria, and my dance teacher, who said "of course not, Claire you dance very well *giggle*. There's just a little problem with your feet *giggle*. And your legs *giggle giggle* and your bust, and your arms **hysterical laughter**" and I get back to my translation.

Actually I do have some funky news to tell you, yesterday, for the first time in my life, I met someone whom I had first met on the Internet!! Isn't it amazing? Well, I met S, who's writing a blog about Bollywood (did I tell you I bought a s... crap. Can't say it. Can't say it.). She had written a particularly cool article, and her blog was nice and not "crazy fan"-like (meaning she did not post glittering pink hearts all over her webside, nor scream Shahhh ruuuuuukh and get trolled by horrible Salman Khan fans) so I left a com, and she answered, and we became kind of friends over the Internet, and since she is in Paris now, we got to meet! She's really nice, and so is her twin sister! Her blog is in my blog-roll by the way! If anyone is interested, go check it out!

Anyway. We went to some kind of Indian sweet-shop (sweet not sweat) and bought some barfi and other pastries with exotic and/or disgusting names (that with the Barfi is not a joke, by the way. It is a white sweet made with milk and sugar, and "barf" means snow. Stop laughing, reader, you are so narrow minded. Hindi is a beautiful language). Now I have half a ton of yucky indian pastries which I'll never eat, because they are very nice, but only in extremely small portions. Besides, if I eat too many of them, I won't fit in my s... jeans anymore.

Well, reader, it's the end of my lunch break, so I guess I'll just stop here and go do something useful instead of writing silliness on my poor blog... Have a nice day! Have a nice day!

lundi 10 septembre 2007

Maahi Ve

I DID IT!! I DID IT!! I'm so happy!! I bought a saree!! Yeah, I know what you're thinking, reader, I shouldn't have, I'll never have any occasion to wear it somewhere else than home, but it was part of what I really wanted to do, once in my lifetime: try a saree, see if it fits. And it does! I'm so happy! Besides, honestly, it wasn't all that expensive.
It's part of those things you'd like to know. I mean, "how would I look like in a saree"? Is that not a question anyone would like to answer? Ok maybe not the French rugby team members, but then again, you NEVER know what secret dreams people entertain, deep inside... Double good thing about my saree is that if I get tired of wearing it, I can still pin it on my wall, because it looks very nice. You can't make curtains with all pieces of clothing, but a saree is very easy to recycle. It's very fun to put on, as well, provided that you're not alone... It's just a huge piece of cloth (aproximately 6.30m) and you have to wrap yourself in it, tuck it here and there, fold it nicely, and then poof! Magic! You have a dress! Well it takes an average of 30 minutes, but as I said, hours of fun with the saree, provided there is someone patient to read the instructions out loud to you and detect the mushy places in you wrapping.

I had tried that "let's see how it looks like" experience once before, with my hair... It did not have quite the same positive effect on my mood. For one thing, hair you can't take off before going out. So if it doesn't work, you have to wait until you can wash them and dry them before you get back to being your normal self again. As you might have noticed from my photo up there, my hair is very curly and, well, what can I say... It doesn't seem to obey the same physical laws as the rest of the universe. The concept of gravity is completely unknown to my hair. It has a life of its own, takes its own decisions, and its dearest wish would be to fly to the moon. I wish they had more 'down to earth' wishes. Like gold mining or something. Entomology maybe. Something that would keep them pointing to the ground, in a word. Actually I guess they must be dead interested in stocks, because what they do is more one day up, one day down. Actually, I wish they were less interested in gold mining, maybe that's what makes them go up, up, up :).
Anyway. I decided to go to the hairdresser one day and find out what kind of a face I would have with straight hair. Baaaad idea. I looked like a mix between Gollum (long, dark, dead-looking tufts hanging from my head), and an afghan hound. A purple one. I don't blame the hairdresser, she was lovely and afraid of burning my skull, so she did not go too far towards it with her iron, but then the roots were curly and poofed-up, and everything else was flat and dry, and it was terrible. Good thing is, I complain twice less about my hair since the experience. Now I Know.

My sari however, makes me even more decided to marry Shahrukh Khan. Unlikely. Well, Abhishek Bachchan. No, taken as well (me vs Aiswharya Rai, the odds are of 1 to 18 billion). Well, I don't know who I'm going to marry yet, but he'll have to manage me looking like a sushi, to like indian music and chicken palake. Apart from that, he does whatever he likes, I'll even deal with see-through shirts once in a while if he really can't live without. Here I am making private jokes again, so I guess I'd better just stop writing... I have a terrible migraine coming up as well, so please forgive any typo and my crappy style, for once, I have an actual excuse!

Oh, and by the way, congratulations to my sister M who passed all her exams! And good luck for your thesis!

Have a very nice evening, I'm going home to my sister, my bed and an aspirin (I like that plan!!)

jeudi 6 septembre 2007

Creeping Death

Rrrrrrrr Reader, will that Chinese guy EVER arrive with my fried noodles? I'm starving to death, right now, this is likely to be my very last message. If (when) I die, please tell my family and friends that I love them, and spread my ashes somewhere nice. Not in the Gange, because it's too polluted... I don't know. In the Lauch in my hometown. That's romantic. "Spread my ashes in the Lauch" said Claire, and with a last, angry growl from her stomach, she passed away". Yeah. I kind of like the idea.

The Chinese guy did arrive, however, and now I am bound to postpone my beautiful death scene to some other day (probably tomorrow, I guess, at around 12.59...)

Anyway. The reason why I am writing this post, reader, is to tell you about my last "English speaking experience", because I went to the movies with V, as she was in Paris, and we saw "Premonition" the latest Sandra Bullock movie. We knew it was risky business, what with Sandra Bullock not exactly being the ultimate guarantee for a good movie (but well, who would that be anyway... Paul Bettany made Dogville, Johnny Depp made some dreary stuff I don't even feel like watching, Ewan McGregor made the new Star Wars, not to mention Shahrukh Khan, who was in some of the worst crap I ever saw on DVD...) Anyway, we went, because nothing else inspired us, and after getting robbed by the cashier (are they CRAZY or what in Paris???? 9€90 for a ticket?? Who are they kidding?), we landed in our seats without really knowing why.
The movie was actually quite good, and it got me thinking, afterwards. It was not very clever, and the characters sometimes acted irrationally for screenplay purposes, which irritates me (like "Darling, how about you go check the cellar, I'll go in the attic, and the first one of us who finds the gross intestine-spitting ghost with two mouths and a heart of stone wins the right to scream like hell and be gutted, wouldn't that be a fun game?"). There were quite big holes in the said screenplay as well, but, however, it was really nice. It had a message and stuff, though it was marketed as a horror movie. I mean, it was more like Dark Water: freaky, but not just freaky. Not "Silent-Hill"-freaky. More like destiny-does-weird-things-to-make-you-understand-the-meaning-of-life-freaky

I didn't like Silent Hill. It was very freaky, disgusting to the point of being sickening (here I think about that scene where they burn a woman alive, thank you, Mr Filmmaker), and it did not have any kind of ending. Like in the X-Files episodes, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. They tell you more and more about that creature that lives in the sewers and can come up in your toilets, they terrorize you so much that you can't stay in the toilet while it flushes, and then in the end they just put up the credits and it's up to you to figure out what happened, or if we'll ever see the said butt-biting creature again, like. Silent Hill was the same. They struggle to escape some kind of dream-land of horror (nightmare-land is more like it, but it doesn't sound good), and in the end, you don't know if they did or not. Escape I mean. I need to take a "How to use brackets properly"-course next year...

Maybe I just did not understand the ending though, but in any case, I really don't like it when I feel like I'm stupid while watching a movie. Like in the second Matrix during the 5 hour long speech of the Architect. After a while, you start wondering if it makes any sense at all to anybody, (screenwriter included). I choose to doubt it, but then again, it's a matter of self-esteem.

Anyway. Premonition had an ending, not too many passages which got you angry at your own/the filmmaker's lack of brains, and it was really entertaining, though a bit long. So if you don't know what to do on Sunday evening, you can go see that. Backside-wise, Julian MacMahon is in it (the guy from Nip/Tuck), but he's not my favourite, honestly. They should have given his part to Clive Owen...
Anyway. I have to go now, because it's time for me to go back home (yeah, I only write during my lunch break and after work, which is why I skipped directly from the Chinese delivery to going back home...) The empty place where my brain should be is boiling and steaming after one more afternoon of Excel-testing... The journalist actually had to tell me how to copy and paste something... I guess I must be overtired, the poor man needs quite a lot of patience with me! Anyway. I'll go home, now, it's curry night tonight, and Naveen Andrews is waiting for me in the kitchen... Wouldn't want to make him wait!

lundi 3 septembre 2007

Et vice Versailles...

Good evening, Reader!

I'm extremely tired, I can feel every bone in my body aching mercilessly (particularly my back), and I feel like my eyelids weigh a ton each, but I'm very happy, because I had a very very nice week-end. A particularly long one as well, since I took two days off... It was really cool, my friend V came over to visit me, and we went together to the Château de Versailles, Louis XIV's huge palace near Paris. It was very beautiful, and we were quite lucky with the weather. By "lucky with the weather", I mean that it did not rain at all, which is already something.

I liked the palace very much. It's part of these monuments where you think it's going to be tacky and overdone, interesting mostly because it's impressive, but it was actually very beautiful. Except for the fountains which did not quite convince me (more particularly a huge golden guy in the process of being burried alive, which supposedly vomited a 3m high geyser of water. I avoided the spot while the fountain was on, did not want to have any nightmares.)
I remembered some stuff from the last time I had come to the Palace (I must have been around 7), and it's funny how my tastes changed in the meantime: I had been very disappointed by the tarnished mirrors of the "Galerie des Glaces", and very impressed by the chapel, I remembered a very dark place with a huge golden altar. Coming back to the same place, I must say I agree with basically everyone else: the "Galerie des Glaces" is by far the prettiest room in the Palace, and the chapel was nice, sure enough, but not as amazing as I remembered it. Maybe it's my size which changed things, I don't know. I must have gained 70cm since then, I guess maybe it changes the perspective.
Oh, and I nearly fell into the big canal in the garden... We were peacefully eating our sandwiches with V, and I took off my shoes because I did not want them to fall into the water (they are kind of loose...). I was swaying my (nearly) bare feet, 2 cm above the water when sudenly a HUGE and very very ugly fish came up from under me. My first impulse, of course, was to leap to my feet, which could have caused me to fall into the water, had my thighs not been too weary for me to actually stand up without first crawling on my knees for a few hundred meters. It did not jump, but I am quite sure that it aimed at eating my big toe. I don't know what kind of fish they were (yeah, because there was not just one, more like 12 or 15), but they were really big, and ate some of the pieces of bread we gave to the ducks. Just to give you an idea of the size... They were actually probably bigger than most of the ducks... The fantom fish of Versailles... Our monarchic version of the Loch Ness Monster. But this one you can hand feed and see very easily, which is probably why it's not as famous. Apart from the fact that you can probably fish this one out and fry it in a pan, which is unlikely to happen to Nessie.

Apart from that, we met an annoying Spaniard, loads and loads of italian tourists, saw a lot of beautiful things and had a lot of fun, which is great, because now I feel as if I had been on holiday for a week even though it's not true. In a word, life is beautiful. Thanks for coming, V! And thanks for bringing your camera! :)
I tried to resist until now, reader, but I have to seize the occasion to tell you a little bit about the "Sun King" musical, which is one of the (shameful, shaaaaameful) reasons why I landed in Versailles at all, despite my heroic attempts to make things look like a very cultural expedition. You know feather-brain-Claire, she can't do anything which has nothing to do with something silly. Anyway, here we go, the musical is really nice, I like the music, in spite of the lyrics, which are, honestly, as bad as they get. Well, now that I said it in public, I guess I might as well say a word about the eyes of the main singer, since my honour is now officially lost forever... Big and blue, like the sea before a storm, as Buttercup would put it... *sigh*

Well, I guess it's time for me to go home now, my back has not moved for too long, and I am afraid that if I stay a minute longer on that chair, it's going to be stuck forever... I already walk like an 80-year-old penguin (so glamorous, reader!), so I'll try not to make things too much worse! Besides, my brain is boiling after too much Excel Testing, and I am meeting my sister F, we're having a little party for her birthday tonight! Happy birthday, F! Good evening reader!!