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!!

jeudi 29 novembre 2007

Le plat pays...

This post is in honour of Belgium, because I feel I haven't written enough about Belgium on this blog (by "not enough" I mean "nothing so far"), although I've been there a few times to visit my sister M, and will do so again in the near future (though to an uncertain date) because I love the place (and my sister, of course, that goes without saying).

What prompted this post was the public screening of "Cow Boy", yesterday evening, where I saw a few Belgian celebrities (Benoît Poelvoorde, (pool-vord, he's quite famous in France as well), Benoît Mariage (filmmaker), François Damiens (who's pretty famous here too, but is very well known in Belgium)...) Sadly enough, I must say, it did not quite rise to my expectation (it was actually very very weird, they all looked depressed -which may have been due to their movie). But, well, it doesn't matter, always look on the bright side, I had a nice evening with my friends, and now I have a brand new post idea! How wonderful!!

Besides, you can view this post as my little message of support to the people of Belgium, which still doesn't have a government, which I'm not going to say any more about since I don't know enough about it to justify my giving my opinion. It just makes me feel a little sad, and I do hope they're not going to split.

Soooo, Belgium... as I said, I went there a few times to see my sister, who lives in Brussels. With her, and on some occasions with V as well, I visited quite a lot of Belgian cities, like Brussels, of course, which is really beautiful, but also Anvers and Gand. I liked them all very much, but none as much as Bruges which is really one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen.
It's very watery (by that I mean that it rains a lot, and it's kinda like Venice, with plenty of little canals). I suppose it looks a lot like it did in the 16th century, and it's really worth seeing. What with the rain shouldn't bother you, really because it's all the more reason to get in a café and go drink a hot chocolate (hmmmm, reader, belgian hot chocolates! In Flanders, they give you little biscuits and stuff, so that even if you only order a chocolate, you don't go hungry, and in some cases, they even add a little "real" belgian chocolate praline; I think that's the real meaning of the word "hospitality" XD)
Belgium really is part of those countries that are not so far away from France (and indeed, from anywhere in Europe), but I would probably never have visited had my sister not lived there... Besides we French people have a tendency to make fun of Belgians for being really silly, (I don't actually know why), so it's not a very "glamour" holiday destination, but really, it's worth your while! Go! Go! Go!
Well, I think that's pretty much all I had to say about Belgium (for now), so I'm just going to stop writing now, and get back to learning how to use a translation memory (I looooove translation memories, reader, they are THE FUTURE! :) They make everything easier, and give me a nice, euphoric feeling when they work properly...)

Have a nice day!

dimanche 25 novembre 2007

I'm a new soul...

Salut, reader!

New Claire is talking!! How is it going? Do you love life? Is the sun shining? Are the birds singing? As far as I'm concerned, everything is as cool as it could be, some little details excepted (I'm sick, but it won't last, I'm sure...) I have my pink glasses on today, and I also have.... Guess what????

A STUDENT CARD, A DRIVING LICENCE AND A NEW HAIR COLOR!!! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I feel good tananananananaaaa....

Yeah, so I did get my driving licence (Freed from the driving school forever thanks to my friends and family's good wishes, the complete absence of bicycles on the road, and the rain, which kept me from having to decide to overtake trucks on the highway). Then, I went to the office this morning and got my student card (without any kind of trouble, can you believe it??) and V's expert hands dyed my hair yesterday evening. Well, I went from brownish-red to reddish-brown, it doesn't show too much, but I'm still happy! Yeah yeah yeah... Anyway. Oh, and I also decided I'd put dark nailpolish on from now on, I hope you're glad to be informed, because that, too, is a big change in my life.

But this post is not just about the New Claire, (from now on, Reader, call me Shananka... ^_^) It's mostly supposed to be about Once, the really really really cool Irish musical I saw yesterday at the cinema. V got some kind of flash and said we could go see this one (we saw some other movies recently that weren't quite up to our standards, so we decided we'd take a chance on an unknown one, for a change), because it sounded cool, the reviews were good and we both love musical. So off we went, and I had not enjoyed myself so much in a cinema for a pretty long while (I think the last time I saw a movie that I really liked was when I was still in Austria and saw Music and Lyrics, so it's been a while, now...)

It's about a guy who sings in the street and meets a girl, who sells flowers. It's just about that, and it's simply brilliant, the dialogs are cool, sometimes really funny, always believable, the music is as good as it comes, and it's very original. A new kind of musical, and boy, should they make more of them!!! So go see it, Reader, go see it!! And thanks V, for the really cool evening!

I need to run, now, because I have classes (yeah, yeah, even the New Claire needs to go to the university.... WITH HER BRAND NEW STUDENT ID!!! XD)

Have a really nice day, Reader!! C'est ma tournée!

mercredi 21 novembre 2007

I say a little prayer...

Argh, reader! I'm wallowing in terrible uncertainty. (Wether "wallowing" and "uncertainty" are words is a question, and wether they should be used in this context is another question, same as "why do you use words if you don't know how to, Claire?". If you're not happy, reader, you're out...)
Anyway. I tried to pass my driving licence this morning, (that's me, there, with my instructor...) and I don't know if I have it or not, and it's driving me crazy (note the subtle play-on-words, reader...). The guy was nice, I had the support and wishes of all my friends and family (and even of some totally unknown people whom I stopped in the street to tell them about my exam today), my shakras were wide open, and I hope that my instructor, (who's fed up with my face) will beg him to let me through, but it's no sure thing, so I still worry. I had a blinker problem, and I parked a little too fast, but apart from that, I'd say it went well... Apart from that... Well I'll keep you posted.

Oh, no, apart from that I've seen a movie recently, (The Lakehouse) with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock (I know I should be ashamed, but after all, there's worse). It was pretty good, and I thought I'd tell you, if you want to spend a nice evening, not spraining any neurone, this would be a good pick. I watched it with V, and we both expected it to be cheesy and corny (both), but it ended up being really cute. I can't tell you anything about the scenario, which is kind of original, bacause it would spoil the fun. Don't eat marshmallow while watching, though, you might need insuline...
Well, I'll go now, stress out some other place!! Have a nice day!!

jeudi 15 novembre 2007

On the road again...

Well, well, well... I don't know if you intended to go out with your car any time soon, reader, but if you're French you'd better not. First of all, the roads are packed, because of train strikes, which encourage people to take their car and take their transportation into their own hands. It leads to terrible traffic jams, and is very bad for the environment, but I'll stop complaining right now, because I still need to take the train tonight, and I don't want to be kicked out of it. I'm SURE all SNCF people spend their days at home reading my posts, of course. Hey there Mister Train Ticket!!

Well, anyway, traffic jams and evilness to the environment is not the only reason why you should not drive these days: I'm out on the roads again. Indeed, I'll be trying to get my driving licence on Wednesday next week. So I have to train (as in practice). It's bad enough usually, you never know when or where I'm going to be on the road, but NOW, it happens really often, so STAY AT HOME. Especially on Wednesday. And I'm not saying this so that you won't get an accident because of me, of course, I'm saying this so that you won't bugger me while I'm driving. Indeed, I have a really bad case of "OHMYGODACAR!!! STOPSTOPSTOPSTOP!!!! But didn't you see, Mr. Driving teacher? That crazy man was driving a car!!!"

Or course, driving teachers don't like that too much. Yesterday, for example, during my lesson, I stopped at a greenlight (which was green), because I was afraid a car from the other lanes would not stop. So the teacher told me, "no, girl, you need to go through when the light's green, where did you grow up, in a cave?" I was tempted to answer "no, I was raised by my hero parents, which is why I'm such a balanced person, and don't find it natural to travel at the speed of light in a little tin box". But I did not, because yesterday's driving teacher had apparently been in the army, and besides, he was really cool and I should stop making fun right now. Point of this is, at the next greenlight, which was... well... how should I say... dark orange, I thought, GO! GO! GO! It's like the Pirate's rule, Claire, don't forget... "More actual guidelines"... And I tried to go through (A life lived in fear is a life half lived...)

As I said a little earlier, I'm trying to pass my driver's licence on Wednesday... 5 days or so, to learn that greens means go and red means stop. Do you think I can do it?

Well I think I'm going to need good vibrations, so I thought I'd tell you. Have a really nice day, reader, I need to run now, a greater cause is awaiting!!

mercredi 14 novembre 2007

Lonely, I'm so lonely...

Well, well, well...
I had my first tutoring-session today! It was very interesting and I can't wait for the next one to follow, but I'm a little sad because so few people came!! We were only 4, (me included), which was very disappointing! It looks like I'm the one who's going to have to bring cookies to the students to keep them coming...
Anyway, that's not the main thing I wanted to tell you, reader, what this post really is going to be about is the "tarte aux billes" (I guess "marble-pie" would be the best translation into English...) It's a cool place in Strasbourg where I spent a great evening yesterday with my friends M&M's, A, another A, and V of course, you already know her. Was nice to see them all! We chatted and ate, which is what normal people do in a restaurant, but in this one, you can "rent" some games, which is pretty cool. We played one called "Time's up", where you have to help people guess the names of celebrities. It's a kind of elaborate version of the Post-it game (you know, the game where you have only 10 questions to guess who you are). First, you can talk and give a kind of little "definition" of the person on the cards, then you can only say a word (for the same cards, so it's pretty easy, you just need to have a good memory) and then you can only make an imitation of the person on the card. We had people like Krouchtchev or Edvard Munch, so it's not that easy to mimick.

A gave us a wonderful Oriental-dance lesson (trying to make us guess Lawrence of Arabia -uh... I don't know really... is it Lawrence of Arabia in English?? Or am I sounding really stoopid?), and I imitated a windmill, (I was trying to help people guess the name of a famous French resistant). It's a pretty cool game. Besides, you can eat cool stuff with Nutella on it, and isn't that the main goal of any life-form on the planet?? Of course, V and I, who were just coming out of one more yoga session, were particularly energized and our chakras were wide open, so I guess it helped us exress so many different personalities through our body language. Did you know, reader, that you shouldn't take a shower after a yoga session? It disturbs your energies, and it's not a good idea at all.
Well, I hope you're glad that you learnt so much about yoga and places to hang out in in Strasbourg, I'll go away now, because I need to work a little... Buh... Too much to do! I came back home really late tonight because of silly train-strikes in France, and now I'm completely dis-motivated. Un-motivated. De-motivated. I don't know, but I'm sure you see what I mean... Good night reader!!

lundi 12 novembre 2007

The phaaaaaantom of the Opera....

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! One more musical post! I looove musicals, and I've seen one lately which was pretty good, so I thought I'd tell you a little about it, reader!

I have watched The Phantom of The Opera the other night, and I found it really nice. You might not know about it (as far as I know, it was no box-office hit) but it's really pretty good. Whether you like the music or not, the actors are pretty good, it's funny and entertaining, in a really classic kind of way (not a single pinch of "second degré" as we say in French, the movie could have been made in 1945, which is why it's so original and cool). Besides THEY SING ALL THE TIME which is one of the things that make me like a movie, whatever its other faults may be. (that sentence doesn't make sense, please forgive me, I'm sick).

So, go ahead and watch it, it's pretty good. Besides, you will have an occasion to watch Gerard Butler (you might remember him from 300, another really classical movie which could have been made in 1945, except for the special effects). He plays with his cape every 5 seconds. I don't know, he must have a thing with capes, that man (though in the Phantom of the Opera he has the decency to wear something more than briefs underneath, which is very polite. A shame, but very polite.) If I marry one day, let it be written in stone, the man will have to wear a cape. One more criteria. Like curry, be deaf, wear a cape, be 3 feet tall. If you find anyone matching this description, please, give him my phone number. Oh, yeah, male would matter, and human, as well.

Apart from all that, I am in a bad mood, because, as I said, I'm sick, and besides, I forgot my wallet at home, and now I'm all stressed out. The nice guy from the university's computer room let me use a PC even though I did not have my student ID (he's a hero, please, nice guy, if you hear me, I'm sorry for saying you were a monster a few posts earlier), so it's not as bad as it could be, but still. I don't like not having my wallet, and I'm starving to death. Good thing is, my mother and my best friend V (heroes, the both of them) teamed up so that I could have it back by noon, which should help me be saved from starvation by my credit card (which is, in its way, a hero too. Used and abused, but still a faithful servant...)

Anyway. I have to run (lots of wrk to do)... Have a nice day, reader!!

jeudi 8 novembre 2007

Dans ma classe moi j'étais pas le premier...

Yesterday evening, I had another law class about contracts and work hours. I like law, the teacher is really good, but it's from 6 pm to 8 pm, and I wanted really bad to jump out the window and go home, eventually. But instead, I made a little list in my head of the five things I like to do best when I'm bored in class (aren't you thrilled reader? Is that not part of the things you REALLY wanted to know?)

On the fifth rank comes "thinking about what I'm going to eat next". I love this activity, because you can think about food for ages. The only negative effect is that it makes you very hungry. Besides, if you have, like me, a very talkative stomach, it can lead to embarrassing situations.

Fourth would be drawing little sheep and writing French words in Hindi in the margins. It helps time pass, can help you connect with your immediate neighbour, and you can practice your artistic skills. The main problem with this technique is that it clashes with...

Number three, which would be "get maniac about how my notes are presented". You recognize the courses that most bore me to the nearly worrying quality of the presentation. The margins are equal, titles are numbered and underlined in green AND red in THAT ORDER and there are no orthographic mistakes. If the teacher is slow, you might even find some sheets with no abreviation on them, but that needs to be a very slow and very boring teacher.

Number two, of course, is to make little writing experiments on a free sheet of paper (so as not to dirty the actual notes.) For example, you can spend endless hours trying to write with your left hand, or trying to write backwards or upside down. Good thing about number two is that it takes time, and you still look like you're writing down everything that's being said, and it gives you a very focused air. Just try not to pull your tongue or make faces, which can happen, especially when trying to write with your left hand.

And number one, my beloved reader, is of course to think about my next post. I figured talking with my neighbours wouldn't count, since it is way too obvious and too frequent to enter this top 5!

Have a nice day reader! I need to run and try to write with my left hand in another passionnating course :D

mardi 6 novembre 2007

There's a chair in my head, in which I used to sit...

I'm getting all crazy reader!

I have a very bad case of Blogging schizophrenia! I thought it would be a good idea to create a new blog for my translation group, so that we can all keep up to date, (I am possessed by the spirit of my Grazer english teacher!! Nothing can be achieved without the use of the Internet!!) and now I have TWO blogs on my blogger account, and I'm getting very weird situations I never encountered before (like being able to write an article here and sign it with my other blog's name)...

It's kinda spooky...

I'm spooked. I don't want my blog to get all crazed! I'm going to be very careful from now on.

Anyway. As you might guess from my talking about my translation group, I'm back at the university, which is cool because I like the university this year (No, reader, I don't say it all the time to convince myself, the university really IS cool this year), but not so cool because my siters left again (they were home for the holidays!!), and as you might guess from my being very very confused and writing fuzzily, it's half past midnight, and I'm just coming out of my yoga lesson (during which I fell asleep and slept like a log on the carpet during the whole "relaxation" session... thank God I don't snore). It showed because I did not move as instructed when the teacher told us to open our eyes and sit back up... But no one had to come and shake me...

Still, I'm very sleepy and going to go to bed, but I just wanted to tell you, I'm the new English tutor for the first year LEA students, and I'm so happy!! I do hope things are going to go well and accordingly to plan (what with the students bringing me cookies and things...). That is, provided I can subscribe at my university (I still don't have my student ID, and I can't get the job on long term if I don't.)

Well, reader, I'm going to bed now, so good night, sleep tight, and bis bald!!