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!!

lundi 25 février 2008

La vie en rose

Oui, reader, today is the day to get patriotic again. Cause I'm French. You know what they say about the French. They are rude, and they smell like garlic. But mostly, they are very proud. I don't think I'm too rude, and I sure hope I don't smell like garlic, but I am a little proud, I must say. Opportunistic would be more like it. And today, Reader, Marion Cotillard, (she's French) won the Oscar for Best Actress.

Hell, I don't even think I've ever seen a movie whith Marion Cotillard in it (well, yeah, I have seen Taxi...), but hey, she's French! So I'm very proud. Besides, she was so happy, I just wanted to say I was happy for her too. So thank you Marion Cotillard, for giving me a reason to show off (ha ha, I'd use any reason to show off, it's like a profession...), for making me happy, and for making the cutest acceptance speech ever.

Other than that, I must say I don't have much to say, maybe because I've been on holidays this past week, and I haven't done much, apart from working and working and sleeping and hanging around at home. Not much to blog about.

But I also have a thank you note to pass to radio presenters... I just wanted to thank them, especially local ones, because they are always so nice. Not the ones who speak all the time and mostly make stupid jokes, but the one who just present songs. Because mostly, they only ever say nice things and wish us well, and tell us to be careful on the road, they never ever complain, and no one ever sees their face. They are the closest you come to angels, in the media. Apart from health journalists in Belgium of course, but they are a special breed ;)

Anyway. I'm going to go now, and eat something, because I'm really really hungry. So have a nice evening, reader, and a good week, too, while I'm at it. And be careful on the road!!

dimanche 17 février 2008

Coculine, quand tu pars en voyage, Coculine, dans les virages y'a toujours Coculine...

Yeah, reader, as you might have guessed, I went to the movies again yesterday, and saw "Cloverfield".

Anyway. Cloverfield is a very brave movie, to be watched only by people who are not prone to car-sickness. Indeed, the main idea of the movie, in case you did not know (which I doubt, because everybody's heard about Cloverfield), is that what you're watching the result of what a guy filmed during a whole night. Night during which Godzilla attacked New York. So basically, put a camera, Godzilla, three people, the American armed forces and some blood in a salad spinner, and make it go round and round as fast as you can. Then, take out the camera, pick out the corpses, and Ta-DAAA!! You're JJ Abrams!!

Well, apart from the fact I (really) had to stay very focused and keep my head back in order not to puke on my neighbour (whose technique against pukiness was to breathe extremely slowly and loudly. Like that better than getting puked on myself, but honestly, I whish he had found something else...), I think it was a pretty good movie. Not amazingly good, or anything, as I said, it was very difficult to watch, what with the camera moving all the time... but the characters were pretty good, you end up liking them, and they did not take too many stupid decisions, just so that the scenario would be more interesting.

The only stupid decision they took, actually, was to cling to the bloody camera, instead of running for their lives and having real conversations with one another. But then again, if they had dropped the ting (which has outstanding batteries, honestly... Amazing... It can light a whole tunnel, fall down, be half eaten by a monster, and still keep running for about 12 hours... I need to figure out what model that was...), there would have been no movie...

Anyway. I'm going to go have dinner now, and enjoy the stableness of my everyday life... If you feel like going to see Cloverfield, reader, go ahead, it's interesting...

dimanche 10 février 2008

Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs...

Today, big news, reader, I have things to tell you. Scoops, really. I bet, like me, you didn't know. Things about Ireland, mostly...

Indeed, I went to the movies yesterday and watched "P.S. I love you", in an attempt to wash away all these clever particles left in my brain by "Arizona Dream". I needed a movie where people have rational behaviours and explain everything they do. And I needed to see if Gerard Butler really was as charismatic as I remembered him from 300 and the Phantom of the Opera. Well, he wasn't really but he was still good (maybe it was because he was dead, it might not help... Or maybe it was due to his neck having disappeared...). Anyway, as I said, the movie had great didactic virtues. Here are a few things I learnt yesterday evening.

-All Irish men are good looking, muscular and tanned (HA HA HA!! A TANNED IRISHMAN!!! I bet he must have spent some time under the sun of Sparta, that guy... Cause in Dublin, he would have gotten that nice, ashy complexion which you can only get if you spend more than 2 hours a week under bus shelters, hoping naively that the Dublin Bus company actually exists)... Where was I? Oh, yeah, Irishmen... They have tattoos and wear all kinds of weird bracelets and necklaces. In general, they all look like a sexy mixture of a strong and handsome peasant, and a strong and handsome rocker. Ah, yeah, because they all sing, and they have a great voice.

-As for the weather, don't be silly, don't believe the terrible rumors spread by jealous people over the world: it is not crappy!! It is actually sunny all the time, and it only rains at night, or when people go indoors.

-There are absolutely no cars wherever, and everything is green. You can go from Dun Laoghaire, in Dublin, to the Wicklow Montains (a national park) on foot in just two hours. Pity I didn't know that when I was there, I could have gone for nice walks! But then again, Ireland is only 15 km², so I should have known and tried my luck. Ah, yeah, and the people there, they all know each other and play in bands together, when they are not ploughing.

But I also learnt things about people. In general, they are perfect, and beautiful, and very clever. Oh, and they are genius planners and probably psychic, too, especially when they have great backsides. And once again, let's not forget their vocal talents. They sing brilliantly. And nothing ever happens to them, except for what you want to see. Like for example, they go to Ireland and meet a cool peasant/rocker guy, who takes a sudden liking to them. After sending away two skimpily dressed young creatures. Right. Sure.

I also discovered that Buffy's Spike actually can look good with brown hair, even though it takes a lot of getting used to, and he's got big white teeth when he smiles, that wasn't a vampirey special effect in Buffy. And Hillary Swank really acts well, it wasn't just a "Clint Eastwood would make anyone talented" thing.

In a word, PS I Love you is a love movie for girly girls. It's difficult to do worse, and it's very difficult to do better. I cried for a good 3/4 of the movie (as soon as those -very believable- Irishmen started singing, I was doomed), and got out in a pretty good mood. I'm pretty sure the book must be un-readable though. But if you have the time and feel like going to the movies tonight, you can go see this. As for me, I might go see Cloverfield today. Big change in atmosphere... Probably not much cleverer, but this time at least, I don't run the risk of having my brain replaced by marshmallow. Which is nice, once in a while... But still...

Have a nice day!

PS : I love you so much that I'm going to tell you to run as fast as you can once the end credit appears, because James Blunt is going to start singing any minute, and you're going to have his song stuck in your head for days.

mardi 5 février 2008

Not scared, terrified...

Hey reader...

Well, today, I sent the result of a really big German translation to be read and proof read. I'm very very stressed about the whole thing, so I thought I was going to try and concentrate on something else, which is the reason why I am writing this post. Please don't laugh. Indeed, today, I am going to try writing something about the Kusturica movie I saw last night, even though I can't even spell his name properly.

Yes, reader, I watched Arizona Dream yesterday. Yes, reader, i only watched it because Johnny Depp's in it. I know, that's not particularly clever, I should have been to the cinema to watch Kusturica movies every week since I turned 16. But, well, "kya tumhari chacha-chachi mere chacha chachi nahi", as they say in Hindi. (It's got nothing to do with anything, but I thought dropping nice little sayings in weird languages in the middle of my post might make it look more clever)
I did not really like that movie. It was a really really good movie, and some moments were actually brilliant. But not the whole lot of it. I think he's a little too crazy for me, that Kusturica guy. I loved the calmer moments, the characters, the poetic side to the movie, the actors were all brilliant, and of course, that famous song on the soundtrack was great... But all those crazy scenes with the young girl trying to hang herself with her stockings? I don't know, it kind of kept me from really getting into the whole story.

Well, basically, that's all I had to say about Arizona Dream. And yes, this post was only written to tell you that sometimes watch something else than musicals and silly Bollywood movies. But only if Johnny Depp's in it. Lätt som i plätt, as they say in Swedish. Tough it doesn't, it might very well mean I'm really sorry. Now I'm still worried, and also I'm ashamed of my poor tastes in cinema. I wish you a very nice evening, though. Watch something clever for me!

dimanche 3 février 2008

Place des grands hommes...

I was watching some YouTube videos about David Tennant, the guy from Dr Who, and I was thinking that every country has got some people like that: He's mostly well known in Britain (or so he was until the new series of Dr Who got really successful), but there, everybody knows him. And they're lucky. I found some people like that in France, but you couldn't always say we are lucky to know them. For example Johnny Hallyday, a really really successful American-rocker-wannabe. (I've never been able to figure out wether he was French or Belgian by the way. I think he's a bit of both, but I remember hearing him say he never had the Belgian nationality. I don't really know. And I don't really care). I could live without Johnny Hallyday. Wouldn't be too bad.
But on the other hand, we also have people that are only well known in France, and that's a pity for you guys who do not have the pleasure of being French :D So here you go, reader... I made another top 5... (Oh, yeah, and this time, there's not classification whatsoever. I just wrote things in the order they came up...)
1. Michel Denisot. The best talk show host in the world, if you ask me. Which you didn't. I don't care, I'm still telling you. He's brilliant, he's got opinions, but do not impose them on the people he's talking to, he asks honest questions you'd like to have the answer too, without trying to make people say what he wants to hear. He's brilliant, and so is his show. (Le Grand Journal de Canal+). I'm afraid Michel Denisot doesn't really qualify to enter this top 5, because he's not quite famous enough but he's so good that I couldn't not put him in.
2. Jean Jacques Goldman. He's the ultimate French singer. He's writing nice lyrics, maybe not overly original, but very rarely silly, and he looks so nice you wish he were your friend. I think Germans have their own Jean Jacques Goldman, named "Herbert Grönemeyer". But I'm not sure, because I think Grönemeyer might have a little more rocky touch, whereas Goldman... Well what Goldman does can only be described as "Frech variety"...
3. Jean Rochefort. He's fun, he's old, and yet he's not annoying, he played in good movies, and he still does, he doesn't constantly name drop (Ah, "I remember when Gabin told me that", or "Romy Schneider was such a sweety". Mostly with people who can't come and say "I might have been a sweety, but you were the most dreadful, self-loving bore I ever got to meet".) He's not afraid of playing in some weird new-wave movies, and he's very funny.
4. Phew this is getting tough... At this point the people I would like to put in are either not well known enough, or simply already well known abroad... Getting a little difficult, really... Well, I guess this is just going to be a top three then... No, no, I guess I should be writing Jael Debouze down. He's fun, he's brilliant, and he is a reference. The funny little guy from the suburb. And yet he does get a message through, about the French society and all. Yeah, Jamel would be in ther. Funny how I haven't found any women I could write down... I'm sure there must be at least one...

5. Well then OK, Christine Ockrent. She's a journalist too. She's really good. She's funny, but always serious, she's intelligent and intellactual, but without being incomprehensible, and she often deals with interesting issues. She's very much pro-Europe, and she's extremely well known (she hosted the daily news for quite a while.)
Well, here you go, reader, my so-so-list-of-the-5-French-people-they-would-be-sorry-not-to-have,-abroad,-if-they-only-knew-they-existed. Any suggestions from the French people here?

Working class hero...

Today, reader, is the day of deep questionning about my future. (No, don't worry, it's not going to be long, I have a lot of work to do...)

I am tired of hearing people say the French youth are depressed, depressing and hopeless. I'm not saying that it isn't true. OK, we are depressed, depressing, and we complain all the time, but are not very often willing to do what's necessary for things to change. Fair enough.

But here I am, at the university. I know, French universities are free, the teachers at mine are really good, I love what I do, and really, I am grateful for the chances that are being given to me now.
But we keep hearing people telling us that there are no jobs in our line of work, hearing people who tell us that no matter what we do, we're not going to get very far in this society (which is terrible, by the way, that should not be forgotten either). Diplomas won't save you from unemployment, you fool! Universities are perfectly pointless, as well as obviously too expensive for all other citizens. People get out of them with no job, no knowledge, and no motivation. Students stay in them forever, like parasites, fed by the system.

I don't quite disagree with that, I never really worked and all my expenses have always been paid for me, by my parents mainly, or by the State. I don't think it's something I should be proud of, but it enabled me to go on studying, and I like to think that education is important for me as a person, and for my future job.

But I don't understand why people AT THE UNIVERSITY tell us that? Why didn't they tell us BEFORE ?? and why do they bother coming to classes to say that, since we are a hopeless bunch of failures? (OK, I'm exagerating a little, now). More to the point, how surprinsing that we don't want to leave the university, and that we're absolutely not motivated, really! Turning us into sociopaths and making us fear the time when we're going to have to get a job is not really a solution. And we might be more motivated for the courses we take if they actually mattered as such, if having a strike at the university and only 4 months classes a year made a difference.
As it is, it doesn't. You just have less classes, but in the end, you finish your year as if nothing had happened. It's just as well, of course, since I would hate it to have consequences, it would have driven me mad, but still, what does it mean? It means that your end-of-the-year exam doesn't certify that you have reached a certain level, but that you have come to the university like a good girl. It's not very rewarding. I would even say that it's kind of meaningless.

And then we're told that we're not working for ourselves but for our grades... It's a little hard for me to understand... Grades are, indeed, the only thing we're told has a little value...