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!!

dimanche 19 décembre 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like christmas

When it's the 19th of December, you're alone and far from home, and yet you feel a sudden urge to turn on all the lights, light all the candles, grin like a looney and call everyone you know to tell them you love them, I think it's a sure sign.

Christmas is coming.


vendredi 17 décembre 2010

Living in a Winter Wonderland

Oh man. I'm slowly defrosting on my bed, and my fingers are still numb from the coldness outside. I did nothing at all yesterday, so today I figured, it doesn't matter if it snows, I'm going into town. I'm a tough polar bear. I'm so hot I never get cold. Something like that. Didn't quite work out, and I ended up in Starbucks, hugging my white chocolate mocha as if it were my true love come back from the war. Now that I come to think of it, it is very possible that white chocolate mocha's my true love. Anyway.

I did nothing at all yesterday, except for chatting with my sisters on Skype (I love Skype. I love Skype and white chocolate mochas) and I talked to them about my new appartment, and my sister F said that sharing a flat was often awkward. You can count on my sister F to find the exact, perfect word. AWKWARD is what it is. And fun. But also awkward. So here are my top 5 awkward things about the first days you spend in a new flat. May not be the most christmas-y or the most refined and ladylike post ever, but hell.

1. Food. It's awkward having everyone know what you eat. I decided this time I would only ever eat my meals in the kitchen, because I need to socialize, and because it's going to help me not gain 10 pounds (because when in the kitchen, I tend to get nervous and think things like "I'm sure they think I eat all the time. I'm sure they noticed the lack of greens in my diet, I'm sure they JUDGE me. Because obviously, my flatmates have nothing better to do with their time than watch my diet)... But the amount of question it raises is staggering. Do I cook just for me, do I make enough for the others as well, even though we're not eating together, do I knock on their door and tell them I've made some food, or do I leave people alone? Awkward.

2. Laundry. Now, here, in this appartment, the wire-thingy on which you hang your clothes to dry is located in the kitchen. This is a problem for underwear-wearing people, like me. I generally solve this problem by hanging things in my closet, except, obviously, I don't have a closet, because my room contains... well a bed, and nothing else. So I opened up a cardboard box, and made a nice little underwear tree, that I hid behind my bedroom door. It looked comical. And slightly embarrassing. But it's already disappeared, as if nothing had ever been there.

3. The passive-agressive quality of washing the dishes. Because I'm fine with washing the dishes in the sink when I wash my own dishes. I don't think my roommates are sloppy, and I'm very happy for them to leave a few plates in the sink. I'm no clean freak (understatement of the century), and it's all perfectly OK. However, I have noticed in the past, that people tend to understand you washing their dishes as a message to wash their own dishes in the future. It's a little bit awkward.

4. Getting up late in the morning. Getting up at all. In fact, my problem, I think, is that I'm always trying to pretend I'm a pretty princess that doesn't ever sleep and that looks fresh as a rose at all times. And eats healthy food and gets up at 6 every morning to go jogging in the snow. So when I open my left eye at 11:30, and figure it's time to roll off my bed, looking like I've been trampled by a horse, you better hope there's no one in the kitchen. Worse of all is when there's someone LURKING in the kitchen (like I do), sitting at the table and silently drinking some silent coffee. Awkward.

5. Music. Ok, in our case here, it seems pretty straightforward. I know what they like and don't like, they know I'm the folk/pop kind of person. BUT: can I play a CD in the kitchen while making cookies? Do they hear my music when I play it in my room? More importantly, do they hear me laughing out loud when watching Craig Ferguson alone in my room? Awkward again.

Anyway. Here you are. Ever experienced flat-sharing awkwardness yourself, reader? By the way, I hope you like the pictures in this post, absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I took them here over the last few days, so I figured I might as well post them.

lundi 13 décembre 2010

It's a kind of magic

Something happened today. It was amazing. You know how you always wish your life could be a musical? You don't? You know who else doesn't like musicals? TERRORISTS!

Sorry. Didn't mean that. Anyway. You know how I always wish my life were a musical? Well, today, I walked into an English bookshop in Cologne, feeling a little lonely and frozen to the bone, and the guy told me "can I help you" and I said "yes, I'm looking for some Victorian poetry". (Now, I don't really know why I said that, probably related to so much Charlotte Brontë over the last few weeks).

The man at the counter proceeded to take me on a tour of his whole bookshop, looking for something that might be relevant, and told me about his favourite poet. He asked why I was so interested in Victorian poetry and I said, well, I don't really read poetry, and I figured maybe I should try to broaden my landscape a little bit. Then we started talking about English Folk music, because I had seen a Laura Marling album on one of his shelves, and he told me to sit down, and some of his Scottish friends came over, and he started playing folk tunes on his guitar* and it was all very lovely.

I did ask if I could possibly move in, but his answer being noncommittal, I decided I'd better get a move on, and went away. It was all very romantic, and it involved a Scottish couple. I no longer feel lonely, and I'm pretty sure the cold part can be arranged with the help of a nice bowl of tomato soup.

So, here's to the awesome English bookshop in Cologne.

* It was actually a ukulele. But somehow, it doesn't quite fit. The word "Ukulele" in itself is enough to destroy the whole romanticism of this whole story. Still, I had to set the record straight. Please, note that I have no personal romantic interest in the guy from the English bookshop, who is married to a Russian woman.

samedi 11 décembre 2010

So many possibilities

I'm in Cologne, reader! For real! I moved in! \o/

So here are 5 things that I love about my new appartment, and 5 things that slightly worry, or worried me.

1. Worrying: my roommate's e-mail the day before I arrived, suitcase already packed and all: "You are aware, of course that the room is not furnished?!" I wasn't.

1. Cool: my roommates (N and I) are very helpful and provided a blanket and a matress for my hopeless self. (Yes, for my hopeless self. I played it Jane Eyre style the whole week through. I read Jane Eyre again, and it's still as good as ever. I especially enjoyed the part where she said mother nature would have to provide her with lodging free of charge. I could rely... ok, right, I'm overdoing it again, now...)

2. Worrying: The heater doesn't really work, and I'm freezing... my... bottom... off. (Actually, apparently, it's not that the heater doesn't work, but that there is, litterally, no isolation whatsoever.)

2. Cool: I'm actually OK since yesterday's trip to Ikea. I bought a nice warm blanket and I slept much better last night. I nearly never came out of the Ikea Köln alive, reader. I might have died in there. I went back in to eat köttbullar once I had paid for everything, and I had my blanket with me, and I figured, of course, I can get to the exit directly through the restaurant. I couldn't, and had to go back to the checkout counter. I ran through the whole Ikea again, explained my situation to the security manager, and looked absolutely ridiculous (and like an evil blanket-thief, as well. Blanket-thieves are the worst kind there is. Despicable really). BUT I did manage to get out, with my blanket and all, and now I have a nice cozy room, with a bed and curtains, and life is beautiful.

3. Worrying: There's a cow's head on a stick in the garden. One of them skeleton heads. And its horns are painted bright orange. I am slightly worried by this. I think anyone would be, really. It is a slightly worring fact, by all accounts.

3. I haven't found the bright side to having a dead cow's head on a stick in your backyard, but I'll keep you informed. Meanwhile, let me mention my cool roommates again (I cooked for all of us yesterday evening (ha ha. I the roomate. Not I me. Ok, for the sake of clarity, we'll call him Ing)... where was I? Yes : Ing cooked for all of us yesterday, and we all seem to be getting along really well). Also worth mentioning in the cool category : though really cold, my room is very pretty, with little golden things painted in the corners, and real floorboards. I love my room.

4. Worrying: My roommates asked me yesterday if I had any plans for the evening. I did not. I do not have plans. They have an actual word for it in German, "Planlos" (Planless, obviously, though I never heard it used in English and they use it a lot in German. Mostly in my presence. Somehow).

4. Cool: No plans = an infinite choice of possibilities. So I'll just be not lazy for once, and maybe go for a drink and have a look at the christmas markets (and eat apple-sauce and drink some glühwein), and then maybe I'll go to the movies. I'd like to see Tangled, and I figure it's OK to watch animation in something else than the original version.

5. Worrying: I'm a little roommate-shy. I'm catching myself not getting out of my room when there's someone in the kitchen, and I keep checking everything I say twice before saying it out loud, and end up staying silent.

5. Cool: I know I am roommmate-shy, it's OK to be like that for the first two day, so I'll just get used to things and remember that if anything I want to say does not bear to be thought about twice (that's not English, I know, but you get my meaning anyway), I'd actually better stay silent. Maybe I should do that more often even in French... And as for roommate shyness, I just now went to the kitchen to have a coffee, and my problem is nearly solved. Life's schön.

So basically : some freaky points, but the cool side is winning by far, and I can't wait to know a little more about the city and to go have one more look around this afternoon. I think maybe I'll go take a walk along the Rhein as well, though I have no idea if it's more a "take a walk along the Rhein and be a pretty princess" area or rather a "take a walk in the industrial port and get murdered" area. I'll keep you informed.

jeudi 18 novembre 2010

It makes me smile...

Now, I know this is pathetic, I put it on Facebook already and all, but I'm sorry, any pink truck called tro-con deserves a bit more advertisement. For any non-French-speaking reader I may have: it means "totally stupid" in French, or something close. Makes me happy. One of these schadenfreude things...

lundi 15 novembre 2010

Too cool for school

Hej reader.
I'm in Köln again, looking for a flat, and I couldn't resist the impulse to come over here and blog a little bit, to fight off the panic attack.

I HATE looking for flats. I'm no good at looking cool. Especially not at looking cool on purpose. I have three visits planned so far, and they all seem like nice people, but I always go giggly and daft when I meet potential roommates (or, more generally, people) for the first time, and then I panick, and it makes everything worse. I have terrible, terrible giggly-issues.
So here I am, the incarnation of misery, lying on my hostel bed, trembling and lightly drooling, saucepan-eyed and looking like someone who's in the queue to see Saw 3D. I mean, honestly, who wants to see Saw 3D?

Anyway... I don't really look like the incarnation of misery, tough, I look more like Frankenstein's bride, because I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show yesterday, and it made me want to wear bright red lipstick, which is a weird idea, especially when you're me. But I figured, bright red lipstick is cool, a little bit like me, Claire, the Ideal Flatmate. I'm FlatGirl, the superhero who's great at sharing flats. Actually, I might stick to that name. I'm FLATWOMAN!! BOW TO ME!!

See? See what room hunting's done to me? I'm losing it!! Losing my last marbles!

Anyway. Apart from that, everything's fine, and be sure that I'll keep you posted on my flat-hunt. Who knows what I'll find this time! Probably a Plutonian or something. At least one of the flats I am going to visit already told me they were "alternative" and the kitchen was "somewhat less than perfectly equipped". I bet this is the one...

Anyway, sorry for being all crazy, I thought maybe a non-top-five post would do me good, and I do feel a little better now. Less panicky. More professional. I'm like a bounty hunter. I'm like Trinity, only cooler... My my... This is going to be fun...

samedi 30 octobre 2010

It's just a thought...


I'm back home, and what a week (or a couple of weeks) it's been. I've been to Lyon, Paris, Limoges, Metz, Chalons en Champagne, Troyes, then back home for a night, then Cologne, then Lille, then back home, where I am right now, sitting on my parent's couch, as usual. It's been crazy and exciting and cool, and I wish I had that much to do more often. Maybe not all the time, but it definitely was cool. Maybe all the time would be ok once I get used to the rythm.

Anyway. What I wanted to tell you about today, reader, is Cologne. I don't know if I already told you this, but I intend to go there for a while. As in I don't really know how long. Maybe a few months, maybe a year, maybe less, maybe more, in any case, I want to go there for a while.

Might never even happen, who knows, but it's the plan. And here's why. It's going to be a long post, but there's very little to read. I'm very sorry about the quality, all pictures were taken from my iPhone, and I'm not quite used to it yet. By the way: Thanks go to my best friend V for giving me her iPhone, it's so cool to have an internet access all the time! I love it.

There. Is it not nice? The Rhein, the big bridge and the Cathedral? I like it. The light was a little strange, half grey, half twilight, half sunset (Ok, that would be thirds, then, but you see what I mean). There was a big crowd there, and everyone was rushing back to the city and trying to see the view at the same time, and for a second, I had a weird feeling that all these people, coming directly from the Koelnmesse, men in suits and women in high heels, were about to jump in the river like lemmings. They did not. Anticlimax of the century.

There seems to be quite a lot of things going on as well. Ok, Kylie Minogue and Wir sind Helden may not be my all time favourites, but still. Plenty of concerts. And Charlie Winston was there just yesterday. Besides, I don't really know Wir sind Helden that well, and I'm ready to believe they really are heroes. Who knows.

Also, Cologne is apparently in Mordor. And if that's true, then Aragorn can't be far. And that's good, isn't it?

They are not completely barbaric. They know how to live (that's a Comptoir des Cotonniers shop and an "elsässisch" restaurant in case you can't read. It really is very blurry, but it makes me very self conscious to take photographs of ridiculous things when I'm on my own, so I did not take more than one shot.)

My sister M, who likes this kind of things, will have reason to come and visit me. Is this big guy not awesome? I find him awesome.

And also, also :

Need I say more? If I ever go, I will come back a different woman. As in 80 pounds heavier.

I have to show you this however. I am sorry, but I have to. Germans will be Germans...

Several things spring to mind when seeing something like this. Things like, "oh Lord, that laughing piglet wants my soul". Things like "A bag full of lard? Really, Deutschland? Is that a marketing concept?". And in case you were wondering, I did buy the bag. I could not bring myself to take a picture of such a ludicrous thing in the shop. So I spent good money on it. Then I figured, hell, it's just marshmallow, and I opened it. And I ate it all. I am full of shame and fake lard.

Have a nice day, now, reader.

lundi 27 septembre 2010


Today, in order to fight boredom and try and have an adventure, I comandeered my father's car and set off to the wonderful, amazing, dazzling and sexy town of Breisach am Rhein. It was a weird idea, one which I do not, however, regret, insofar as I got myself a nice piece of blackberry pie in the bargain. Oh, and I bought a book, which doesn't seem to be as bad as the previous 13 I bought in Germany. I also figured out a new list, while I was there, looking around and wondering: the top 3 weird things that puzzle me about Germany.

1. What is with Germany and weird shops that sell things that have nothing to do with one another? I don't mean a regular kind of general store. I mean plain weird things. Today, I got into one shop that sold clothes and pans. PANS. What do PANS have to do in a clothes shop? What do clothes have to do in a pan shop? They also sold vases (!) and socks, but mostly clothes, and pans. They did not sell other kitchen equipment. Just pans, and clothes. Flabbergasting. I know that's not a verb, but you get my meaning. Why?

2. They seem to take the law of comparative advantages reaaaaaally seriouly. Ok, this is not just about Germany, it also includes the majestic city of Graz, where I started this blog. I'd like to know why there are about 90 opticians in Saarbrücken (can't even type that name without starting to shake again), 500 pharmacies in Breisach, and why one shop in two in Graz, Austria, is actually selling carpets. Do they have like a weird rate of eye diseases in Saarbrücken? Are all Graz-ians yogis? Oh, and also ice-cream shops in Baden-Baden, and bookstores in Stuttgart. Why, reader, WHY??

3. When you go to Germany, people are dressed pretty much like we are in France. Maybe a little bit more gothic people, maybe (probably) a higher rate of tattooed people, but still... it's pretty much the same all over. HOWEVER, when you go into German clothes shops, (except for Freiburg and Berlin) it looks a lot like a Damart catalogue. Weird dresses that would look good in an episode of Murder, she wrote* and that are altogether unsightly, leopard-print scarves, extremely strange shoes (and when I say strange, I do mean ugly) can be found in shops, but nowhere on the streets. This might be just Western Germany, though, I haven't noticed the same in Berlin. Puzzlement ensues.

So here I am, puzzled and with no hope of ever finding an answer. I will, however, continue this list once I find more information. I intend to set off for Köln soon, and continue my inquiries. I will keep you posted.
*Has there been a murder ?

jeudi 23 septembre 2010

Almost happy

I went to the movies yesterday, reader. I had a feeling I was not going to like it, but I still went, because I really like Julia Roberts, and because there's been NOTHING interesting at all to see over the last few weeks, so I was kind of desperate. So there we go, I saw Eat Pray Love. I didn't like it. It was not completely crap, I admit. Julia Roberts is a good actress, it was good quality, the music was great and all...

But sometimes I figured, oh, come on. She's got a cool husband, and a great job, she creates problems where there aren't any, and then she tells us all how to live our lives... Go pray in India, wear a perfectly folded sari, go eat pizza in Italy and gain about a pound (because, I mean, Julia Roberts? Telling us it's OK to be a little chubby and you should just enjoy life, one spaghetti at a time?)... Oh! And go fall in love with a sexy brazilian guy in Bali, people! What are you waiting for? It's not that tough! All you need is to have 50.000$ handy, don't be chicken!

Ok, I might be a little intolerant, because I know you're not always happy even though you supposedly have everything it takes. Happiness is not a recipe and stuff, the right ingredients do not always amount to a big pink happiness cake, but still. In this precise case, it was all a little bit too much.

I know it's supposed to be a true story and all, but come on. She goes to Italy (first problem THERE, mate, if you want to go eat some place, go to France, who are you kidding?). There, she meets a cool swedish girl, and her super-sexy friend, and then they have great fun, the sun shines all the time, and it's all either quaint or perfect and funny, then she goes to India, and things go great and she doesn't get stomach flu but she's invited to a wedding, and then she goes to Bali, and she meets Javier Bloody Bardem.

On that note, though, I have to say, the Brazilian accent of Javier Bardem's French voice made me shiver. Not in a good way. Everytime he appeared on screen, an alarm sounded in my head : "He's going to talk! He's going to talk! Please, make him not talk! Maybe he's got a flu today! Maybe a vesicular pharyngitis!" but he never did. I suppose he was dubbed by a real brazilian, but somehow, it sounded like he came from Marseille and had a giant tongue or something...

Anyway. I did not like it very much, though the soundtrack was really good (so many movies saved from total wreckage by their soundtracks, when you think about it...) and the actors all played well, I was really moved sometimes. Richard Jenkins was in it. I haven't seen him in many movies, but he really is a good actor. If I were to shoot my bollywood-style musical about Scottish and English victorian vampires wearing capes, he'd be in it. It's really just a matter of time, really, and of me finding Spielberg's phone number...

mardi 7 septembre 2010

Over the hillside, and over the sea

My big sisters are sad today.

Sometimes, there's just nothing you can say that will make things any better, because everything is just plain unfair and terrible. But when there's that much love around someone, I really believe that things are bound to turn out all right in the end.

Please, please know I'm here if you need me, like you always are.

vendredi 3 septembre 2010

Transylvanian concubine

Well, reader, I've been watching True Blood. A lot. I don't really really like it, but like many series, I find it weirdly addictive. And it features vampires. I can't resist vampires, shame on me. And I liked the book. Why am I looking for excuses? I just watch True Blood. And then I saw some top 10 list from the Rolling Stones magazine, about their top 10 best and worst vampires.
So I figured, go ahead, write your own top 10. And then I figured I couldn't, because I don't know that many vampires at all. But here's a top 5 list, anyway. And if you think I missed out on some great vampires, please do not hesitate to tell me. Aaaaah, vampires.

1. Spike. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I blame my love of anything vampirey, Twilight included, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm still looking for something as great as Buffy, and though I know it will come from Joss Whedon (as soon as he gets the chance to shoot more than two seasons of one of his AWESOME series...), I can't help but check on vampire stuff as well. Anyway. Yeah. Spike. My favourite vampire ever (though maybe he has too much of a sense of humour to actually be a proper vampire), and in fact, one of my favourite characters ever. EVEN THOUGH he has bleached hair, which is saying something.

2. Vampire Eric from the True Blood books. I couldn't figure out why everyone was so crazy about Alexander Skarsgaard in season 1 of True Blood, but he gets more interesting in season 2, I must say. Still, in the books, he's really great. He's got blond hair, and he's sarcastic. See a pattern emerging here? I think I just like sarcastic blonds, whatever their eating habits...

3. The one from Neil Gaiman's short story "Snow, glass and apple". I loved it. And it was terriffying. Some would argue that's how a vampire should be. Terrifying, not sarcastic. I fully understand this point of view, and would endorse it too if only I didn't love the two previous items on this top 5 so much...
4. Dracula. I read it when I was in Ireland a while back, and though I really, really did not like the ending (am I the only one who thinks that Bram Stoker just got bored halfway through? Am I criticizing a major literary work although I mostly read chick lit? I think I am. Sorry about that.)I found the vampire himself amazing. It is one of the... well actually it is the only book I ever read that literally kept me from turning the lights out at night. It may have had something to do with my flatmates at the time... And with the fact that I was probably (and inadvertently) responsible for the death of their son's pet gerbil and was afraid it was going to come back and nibble at my toes. "Whyyyyyy did you give me hobnobs, you crazy lady? Eeeeeek! Eeeeeeeek!" Just thinking about it gives me the creeps.

5. Edward Rochester's wife in Jane Eyre. Now I know she's not a vampire. But I can't help it. She'll always be a vampire to me. And she is compared with one at one point of the novel, I believe. So she comes 5th in here. I'm pretty sure her version of the book would be very interesting, poor woman. It would be so awfully sad and terrible that it would probably receive a Nobel Prize and/or be adapted for the screen by Lars Von Trier... Anyway.

So here it was. My top 5 favourite vampires, only one of them isn't one. And by the way, I apologize for the lack of originality of this post. It seems like just about eeeeeveryone is talking about vampires these days. We'll blame this one on peer-pressure, I already blamed the boogie too many times.

vendredi 20 août 2010

Rock me mama like a southbound train...

What did I tell you? What do you mean "You have no idea, and you ended up here trying to find Snow Patrol lyrics on google"? Ok, then, I'll tell you again: When I posted yesterday that I was feeling down lately, I said at the end "I'll feel better soon", and I actually do. I feel better today. I stopped whining and started working, for a change, and now I'm feeling better.

So I figured, let's come on my blog, and not rant, see how it goes. So here it comes : the top 5 things that get me in a cheesy mood (at the moment). Make me stare at the sky wide eyed and eyebrows raised as high as possible, and smile daftly. I only do that when I'm alone, don't worry. Top 5 rules apply, and this is just about little things, of course.

1. Pushing Daisies. I've watched the first season only, I think there's a second one, but that's all there is... --And 10 seasons of Smallville. Go figure... Oh no, I'm ranting again...-- Anyway. I did what I was supposed to do, and fell completely in love with the Piemaker about 10 minutes into the pilot. I like the fact that the scenarios make no sense, because who cares about scenarios when you've got great characters, I love Olive the waitress, and the whole thing is really worth a watch. (thanks, step-brother V, for telling me about it !)

2. Country music. Ok, not all country music. But things like "Dance dance dance" by Neil Young, and "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show. Now I have to admit. I listened to both of these only because of covers by Mumford and Sons. Who make me cheesier than a whole truck full of camembert (yuck). But still... Country music... makes me want to put on brown boots and a flowery dress and... wait a minute... everything makes me want to put on brown boots and a flowery dress... Well, you know what I mean. Must be the banjo and the harmonica... Wakes up the squaredancer inside.

3. Wedding proposal scenes in Jane Austen books and the movies they inspired. And a special mention for Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility. Now I know, this is not particularly original. But it's true, I just can't resist. And who could, really?

4. Musical scenes in movies. Sometimes you expect them (for example in musicals... isn't it amazing?), sometimes you don't (500 Says of Summer is a great example), but they always make me feel happy inside, a little bit like a hot chocolate in winter. I told you it made me cheesy!

5. Flash mobs. I've never witnessed one in real life, and not all of the ones I see on the internet are great, but still... I think it's related to number 4. And to number 2 as well, actually, because when people sing or dance together, it never fails to wake up the squaredancer within, and Squaredancer Claire, she's a very emotional, girly girl. Unlike real-life Claire, who's merciless and tough, of course.

Anyway. Here it was. A new top 5. Now I'll go and work a little more. Or maybe have a look in the kitchen, if there's something to scavenge... Or in the mailbox, who knows, maybe something nice awaits in there...

mercredi 18 août 2010

Not in Notthingham

Well well well, reader. My mood has been going from bad to worse over the last two days. Isn't it terrible? TWO DAYS of terrible mood? Has any creature on this earth ever suffered such a terrible ordeal? Am I overdoing it already? Sorry...

Anyway, I figured, "go back to your blog and complain some more, it helped a little bit last time". So here goes. 5 things I don't like about being in a bad mood (because, as you know, many people enjoy being in a bad mood... See, I started out kidding, but I for one must admit, I sometimes cultivate my bad moods by listening to K's Choice or the Babyshambles, which have got nothing to do with one another, but still both work very well either way. But tonight's bad mood is one of those you'd just like to go away, like a toothache...)

1. I hate that I'm not happy for people who are happy. I think that's really bad. People write e-mails to me, saying "I've got a new girlfriend, and so does everyone, new love grows on trees*, life's beautiful, my holidays went great, and I'm loving life..." and I'm all bitter and mean and I think "well good for you, you schmuck, how about you stop polluting my mailbox with all your... happy?" and then I turn into a big ball of self-hatred.

2. I hate that I blame it on the bad weather, the stars, the atmospheric pressure, what I ate for dinner last night, the book I'm reading, anything but just my mood. And then I get annoyed because I figure: why could I not just be unhappy and in a crap mood? And then I get annoyed at myself because the answer to this question is: because I have no good reason at all to be unhappy and in a crap mood. And then I turn into a big ball of self-hatred.

3. I cry and talk to myself and rationalize and think about why I'm so down, and then, it figures, I can't think about anything but me. Which is just exactly the problem. I am the problem (which is good news, really, since I am also the only thing I can change, in here), and I can't think about anything else. Then I figure this is all both silly and very selfish, and I turn into a big ball of self-hatred.

4. When I'm bored enough by number 3, I start thinking about what's really not going well outside of my head, and then I start blaming things on tectonics, destiny, German, my grand-parent's neighbours (of all people, yes, I blame it on YOU, Mr P. from OberE. in Alsace), freakishly-tallness and Charlotte Brontë, and then I turn into a big ball of self-pity.

5. I talk and talk and pester everyone with my petty problems. I know this sounds like I'm fishing for "noooooo, you don't bother us", but I really am not. It's related to number 2, I think. I can't think about anything else but why I'm down, and then I can't talk about anything else (because talking, in most cases, though not always in mine, requires thought prior to execution.) Then I find someone to talk to, and I figure "stop it, stop it, mayday! mayday! your mouth is talking! incessantly! quit it! now!" and I just can't, because it's coming out and out of my mouth like... well like I'm being sick, really, which is gross, but in most cases you feel better afterwards.

But you know what, reader? Moods like that, they go away after a while. Maybe tomorrow, I'll get paid, the sun will shine a little bit for a change (it's bloody August! It's like 15 degrees outside, and it's been raining for days on end!), I'll call both my sisters and my brother too, maybe see my friends and make cookies, and I promise I'll come back in a better mood. C is for cookie. That's good enough for me.

* That's not mine, of course. That's courtesy of Pete Doherty, whose permission I did not ask.

When I was out there

Well, I'm back already with the promised post about the Cranberries concert I went to last week. But first, let me get something off my heart: I'm very, very sorry about my complete and utter incapacity to deal with double punctuation and spaces in my English texts. I keep wiritng "oh !" instead of "oh!" and I'm very sorry about this. Just so you know: in French, there are spaces before and after :;! and ? and this is all very confusing for my little brain.

Now let's get back to the concert.

I like the Cranberries very much, and have liked them ever since I was in Junior High... I don't really remember which song started it, whether it was "Dreams" or "Ode to my Family", but I really, really love the music and have always been impressed by the voice of the singer. So when me and my best friend V heard that they were going to be playing at the Foire aux Vins in our hometown, we decided to go (and I got invited! Thanks, V!), especially since the first half of the concert was going to be the Gotan Project (see this here if you're interested) and I liked them a lot. They are not very well known, but I had heard parts of their first CD at my sister F's place.

I was a little worried about said first part, though, because it's got nothing to do with the kind of pop/rock band I am used to seeing in concert. It was, however, really great, what with videos and a little bit of theatre, and a guy playing the bandonéon (O.ô for the badonéon, I tell you, reader...), and though it took the audience a little time to get used to things, they ended up being a real success. Still, I find it a little... say... odd, to pair up the Gotan Project and the Cranberries, but why not... I, for one, was very glad to see them both.

As for the Cranberries, V and I were really excited about seeing them, and the concert went great, (we were really close to the stage, too, and there were quite a lot of real fans in the audience, so it was nice), only the sound was a little strange, and we couldn't hear the singer properly. She kept going backstage for a while and coming back and going again, until they just stopped playing, because of some support power system failure or something.

They hadn't sung their most famous song yet, so the crowd went wild and started screaming, and then I went wild and started shaking (I don't LIKE IT when 10 000 people scream at an empty stage, it makes me feel like I'm in "28 days later", which is ironic, because they all wanted to hear "Zombie"), and then they turned the lights on, said "yow, be quiet, they're coming back" in a very, very unpleasant manner, and then they fixed the problem (much more pleasant) and the band came back and sung the last 3 or 4 famous songs that they hadn't had time to sing before, and left.

I juste hope they'll still come back and won't hate us for screaming because of the power shortage, because they really are a great band. She said "We're Irish, we've invented Murphy's law", which was as good an excuse as any for the Foire aux Vins' technical shortcomings... Which were surprising, because I love going to FAV concerts, and it was the first time ever that anything went wrong, as far as I am concerned...

Anyway, thank you, Cranberries, and thank you V, for a really cool concert (and the photo, as usual, is courtesy of V as well, since I'm not good at all with a camera).

mardi 17 août 2010

We'd up and fly, if we had wings...

I am not in a very good mood right now, reader. Not in a very good mood at all. My sister F left, after spending nearly 2 really cool weeks here in Colmar, I am home alone, the weather is crap, and I am experiencing a bad case of the MSN annoyance. So I figured I'd log off, and come over here and write an annoyed post. Which reminds me that I have not written anything on the Cranberries concert I went to last week, invited by my best friend V, and which was great (zoommmmbie, zoooommmbie), even though... well, I'll write something about it soon.

Anyway. In order to spread the joy and surf on the mood, here it is : the top 5 things that annoy me about clothing these days.

Let me, first of all, say that I am not a fashionista. The sheer fact that I say "fashionista" proves this. I am not good a getting dressed, I was laughed at throughout junior high for wearing jeans that were too short and having a haircut that made me look like that thing you use to scrub the burnt part at the bottom of pans and pots. My hair hasn't changed, though I manage it a little better, but I now only wear jeans that are a leeeettle too long, to compensate (hell of a challenge, when you're more than 6 feet, I tell you). Still, I enjoy shopping and choosing clothes. They are, also, a necessity (I don't know if you had noticed this fact, but they really are). Sometimes, however, designers seem to take a particular delight in making them as inconvenient as possible...

1. "Dresses" that have no skirts. Oh come on. Ok. Mini-skirts are sexy, we live in a modern world, and I have no moral objection to them as such, people should just go ahead and show as much as they are comfortable with. But then again... How about you guys give us a choice, maybe? How about you just add a teeeny little bit of fabric, so that we can sit down, and maybe even stand up, and maybe, even better, not have to pull everything down and look daft everytime there's a tiny breeze? I'd like a study to be made about that. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one annoyed. Once again, I'm freakishly tall, which only makes the problem worse, but still...
You find the puuurfect dress, English old lady style, but slightly modernized, maybe with some tiny pearls sewn on it, or maybe with a little lace here or there, and then you take it from the rack, and it's actually a glorified t-shirt which would suit Kate Moss, but no one else. I hate, hate, hate clothes that are too short.

2. Trapped clothes. You go to the shop, you find a lovely, black t-shirt, with the right cut and a nice neckline, you're happy as can be, and then you turn it around, and there it is, a huge pink heart, bedazzeled by a colorblind maniac, with ruffles all around, and something like "Lovebirds are forever" written in gold lettering underneath. I think having stuff written on you clothes is, generally, something one should be circumspect about (cf that guy we saw the other day in Strasbourg with "iPood" written on his T-shirt, and a guy sitting on a toilet drawn underneath. Oh puh-lease).

3. Clothes with a piece missing. Armless pullovers more than anything. Things with only one shoulder. Things with only one sleeve. Ok, sometimes I find these pretty on other people. But armless pullovers? They are pretty too! Oh, of course, they are pretty, the fiends ! But then: why wear a bloody pullover if it doesn't KEEP YOU WARM AT ALL? Why, why, why? This is probably "so last season" or something, but it did really drive me mad last winter. Impossible to find any stupid pullover with arms on it. Are you trying to save money, Mr H&M? Well, you sure won't get mine. Said the girl who'd been looking for a sleeveless cardigan for weeks...

4. The fact that the clothing industry manages to change my TASTES. It freaks me out a little. One of the most ridiculous clothing items I heard of over the last few years is most definitely the "sneakers with frills" footwear thingy that I saw for the first time in the Parisian subway, maybe... three years ago. At the time, I figured: aw come on, this is just ridiculous, sir (yes. It was a sir, not a miss. He was wearing white sneakers, but the tip was shaped like that of those italian mocassins things, all pointy and aggressive). And the other day, I saw a lady in the street wearing one of these ridiculous pairs of Converse with heels, and I thought "Oh, cool". I don't like it very much when someone proves that I have no opinion of my own...

4. The fact that they had me convinced that I couldn't tie my shoes anymore, there, for a while, because tying your laces is not "fashionable". Are you crazy, people? I'll tie my laces the way I want, you're not the boss of me. Ok. So maybe I will hide the knot a little bit, just in case someone looks at my feet and laughs. Because nothing interests people more than the way I tie my laces, apparently. One more Junior High trauma, there. Because I figured "hey, who cares if my jeans are a little short, honestly" and then people did care. It was an insult to their sense of fashion that you could see a thin slice of my socks between the bottom of my trousers and the top of my PROPERLY TIED sneakers. Life's tough this way, when you're 12 and don't have a care in the world.

5. Jeans that are meant to be worn low on your hips, (actually meaning that you can't sit down in them unless you are wearing a long t-shirt (or maybe, say, a "dress") on top), high heels shoes in which you can't walk, those t-shirt you never can figure out quite how to wear. But hell, that's also what I love about clothes. They are unconvenient and sometimes, you need to have a little imagination and be a little clever, cause they're not just meant to keep you warm. They're here to make you feel secure (which sometimes involves giving you blisters, just to remind you of their presence), pretty, and sometimes proud, when you've tamed them.

Anyway. Here was my rant for today. If you are now in as bad a mood as I was 20 minutes ago, you can watch this here. Will make you feel better. Or this here. Won't make you feel better, but it's still nice, I figure.

mardi 27 juillet 2010

Basket case

Hey reader...

Well, I'm back from Belgium, where I've worked a little (not too much) and had a nice time with my sister M and my sister F whom I visited in Paris, managed not to melt completely in the process, and now I'm back in Colmar, wondering about Fate and Destiny. It's kinda nice, having time to wonder about Fate and Destiny.

I think my Fate and Destiny will be to go to Berlin next year, for a year. What do you think about that, reader? One year in Berlin... I think it's exciting. I think they have Dunkin Donuts, in Berlin...

Anyway. I was looking through my stuff the other day, and found a bunch of doodles I did while working over the last two years. Since I haven't posted anything here in a while, I figured I might as well share, and also, maybe it will reassure you as to my ability to draw. It's not always as bad as what I manage to do with Paint. Sometimes, it's worse (ha ha ha)...

That's an owl. It's trying to keep its eyes wide open during a particularly boring speech.

That's a bunch of jellyfish. And an octopus.

That's me at different times of the day. Really cool job, this one, but a little... let's say intensive.

That's a dragon and his big dragon buddy...

That's when life's tough

That's when it's time to go home

I have no idea what that is. It says "let's talk about shrimp". NO IDEA. No memories about it whatsoever. This is very strange.

Sadly, I lost my notepad from Copenhaguen, into which I had drawn a lot. I also complained about people dressed as yaks, the fact that no one was listening and the cold, and wrote down some of the weirdest things I heard over there. And I did hear some really really weird stuff.

If I ever find it again, I'll be sure to share what I find in it with you...

vendredi 2 juillet 2010

Sense and...

Well reader, there we are, I am back to France for a little while before going to Belgium on brand new adventures! Wonder what will happen when I come back from there, I tell you... I have so no plans at all, I am starting to make some to move to New Zealand and become a sheep farmer.

So, yeah. Over and done with Stuttgart, where I actually spent about three days over the two and a half months I was in Germany, since I actually lived nearer Böblingen. Still, I'll say Stuttgart, it's bigger and more well known.

I hate leaving. I hate packing, I hate saying goodbye, I know it's not very original, but it's true. I've kind of had enough saying "see you soon" to people while knowing I won't, actually. I've had enough of leaving, but I've not had enough of going places, and I still am always happy to come home, so I guess I'll have to deal with some more of that sooner or later...

Still, as you say goodbye, you like to look back on the good things that happened while you were away, so here are 5 things I loved about living in Germany over the past two and a half months.

1. My roommate. Now it would be a long post if I had to go over the details, but my roommate was great. He enlightened me about Bärchenwurst (sausage shaped as a little smiling bear. Would you agree to say it's a little wrong?), Dosenwurst (tinned sausage --very wrong, no argument there), Schweinskopfsülze (you don't even want to know), powdered little bugs swimming in vitamin-flour (still not over this one), death metal underground punk dark clubs, how to use my blinker, cinema from modern-time eastern Germany, quite a lot of music, the difference between Abend and Nacht, Nacktschnecken (a slug, in German, is actually officially called "a naked snail". Is it not great, reader?) the difference between a star and a faraway plane and many, many other things. For all this thanks, very sincerely. And if you hear me, which you don't, mach's gut. Please.

2. The cool people I met. An incredible quantity of cool people. A special mention to H. our really great "nearly-neighbour", fun and interesting and welcoming, and his friends B and G with whom I had many great evenings, to B, my roommate's best friend, who is quite simply amazing and whom I wish I had had time to know better, here's to V, also, who was very drunk and said, "I am full wie die Badewanne" the night I met him (in so many words, half English, half German. A Badewanne is a bathtub. I suspect it was close to reality). Won me over. And to R, as well, who had, weirdly, an é in his first name, and who made me feel at home even though I was not, and to all those who were patient and OK with repeating things when I had to ask them to. I appreciate it very much. Once again, thanks go to M, my roommate, for helping me meet them all.

3. Much less important, but Subway. We don't have Subways in France (at least, not in my region). We should.

4. The culture of Barbecue. How great is that? I love barbecue as it is, but in Germany, they take it to a whole new level. Marinated meat, amazing sauces, incredible amounts of so called "baguettes", salads and potatoes and potato salads and hanging around in gardens with your friends... What's not to love, I ask you? Ok, maybe smoke and bug bites and smelling like bacon for days, but even smelling like bacon for days can be seen as an advantage. Who doesn't love bacon, honestly?

5. The faraway-so close aspect of Germany. Germany's abroad, there's not denying it, however close the Alsacian culture may be to that of our neighbors to the East, and yet I feel weirdly at ease over there. Also the fact that I could go home and see my friends and my family whenever I wanted was nice. Maybe I'll go back there soon, and visit some other part of the country... More preparation for the European tests in April might still be a very good plan... I heard Hamburg was wonderful... Any advice?

samedi 26 juin 2010

What it's for, or what it's about...

I’ve been working reader! Real-working! A mission! Cool and interesting!

I met another one of those guys. Did I ever tell you about the volunteer interpreter guy from Copenhaguen? I think not. He was a volunteer interpreter. From Spain. Very tall, lean, handsome, with the whitest set of teeth and the nicest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen. Cultivated and funny, and he could play the guitar and sing. And then someone said he had trained as a doctor. I’m pretty sure the man’s hobby was saving kittens from fires. Made me want to go back to bed.
Well I met another one of those, yesterday. Same kind. Organic farmer, sporty, looked like a hippie, taller version of Edouard Baer (if you are not French, you might not know, but I do. And it’s a good thing, to look like Edouard Baer in my book). Then he said he was also into music. Then he said he had worked with orphans in the Himalayas. I hesitated, and then I grunted and decided I found them both annoying. Do you think it’s a healthy reaction?

Anyway. Over the course of the week, I found out one more thing to tell to my imaginary group of students about being an interpreter (yes. I’ve got followers in my head. They follow me around and say “yes master, you are wise”. In fact they are mostly a little group of Claires from the future, whom I tell that I am very stupid now, and they’d better improve before their turn comes. It is a little less self-important than it might seem).

Where was I? Oh yeah. One of the things I tell my imaginary group of students about being an interpreter, is that you need to be able to stand alone in the middle of a big, empty hall, and look like you’re OK with it and you belong there and you need no help at all. I believe this to be an impossible task.

This is one of the parts of my jobs that I like a little less: arriving at the venue with no idea what to do, who anybody is, where you need to go, and generally what to do with your arms, that are so bloody long, and your mouth, which you suddenly realized is a little frowny, but then you smile, and then you feel stupid, and then you bite your lips, and you look stupid and affected, and then you start frowning again. Sometimes, I try reading, but read what?

The best is when you have something related to the theme of the conference, (not a book, because you don’t want to look like you don’t care, not your vocabulary list, because you don’t want to look like you don’t already know it all by heart). Like maybe an article about the eating habits of penguins if you are going to a Linux conference. Loosely related. Knowing all the while that no one gives a damn what you read, I’m aware of that fact. But I can’t help it. And my little group of followers are still running around in my head, waiting to be impressed by my amazing skills.

In any case, followers or no, when I am sitting alone in an uncomfortable leather chair that is much too close to the ground, studying my shoes and making bets with myself on the number of places where my feet are going to hurt when I take them off tonight, I often wish I just were home. Home sounds nice, at 7.30, when you are alone and embarrassed. So here is a list of things that make me feel like home.

1. Knitwear and jam. Not both together, of course. My mother used to knit (she stopped now, somehow), and all my pullovers when I was a kid smelled like the hospital, because she had knitted them there (my mother’s a nurse). Now I’m the only person in the world who actually likes the smell of hospitals. As for jam, jam makes me feel like home for exactly the same reason. My mother makes jam. It is like a fever, a passion, an industrial endeavor, call it what you like, but it causes my home to smell like hot orange juice or strawberry very late at night. Somehow, jam only works if you make it very late at night. I keep annoying my mother about making crazy sorts of jam and letting the whole fruit in them instead of mashing them up, but the truth is, whatever the shape and form, it’s always nice to have your home smell like jam when you go to bed.
2. Talking about knitwear, that old dark blue pullover which is one of the rare items in my closet that are actually too big for me. Never felt cold in that pullover, and it probably has to do with the fact that it was worn both by my sister and my father. Who could feel cold in a pullover like this? It’s thick and itchy, and it’s got a nice, night color. It weighs about 5 kilos. It is immortal. It is the father of all pullovers. And it still looks new.

3. De Palmas’s “Marcher dans le sable.” Reminds me of when I was in high school in a weird, good old times kind of way. It’s not particularly happy, either, but somehow to me, it will always taste of summer, laughs, running around in fountains and sun.

4. The Star Wars movies. After watching them 678 times each, (probably a little more for episode 6, I guess) they still totally work. (Do I need to specify that I only like episodes 4 to 6? I hardly think I do…) I know the dialogues pretty much by heart, but only in French, because I was too young to read the subtitles when the rage was full on…

5. The Indian restaurant where I helped out when I was at the university. I still go there regularly, and even when I just think about it, it makes me feel like home. I went to a street festival the other day, and there was a stand with Indian cuisine, and it smelled like the restaurant, and I wanted to teleport. I did not, and I still had a great evening, but you get the idea.

I’m leaving Germany next week, and going back home for a while. Well, I’ll be off to Brussels soon, even though the European tests of death are postponed till April next year (Can I swear on the Internet? I believe I cannot. I shall refrain. I already said Arsch last time…), so I won’t stay home very long, but still. Bye bye Stuttgart, live long and prosper etc. Maybe I’ll tell you about homecoming, and leaving places where you settled for a while next time, if I find 5 interesting things to say!

samedi 12 juin 2010

Because I'm bad, really, really bad

I'm in a terrible mood tonight. Blue and angry and annoyed and mean at everyone I see, for some reason I don't clearly understand. I also know the solutions to this problem (singing very loudly, watching Bones with my mother, reading more Shakespeare and dancing to the Sugababes while brushing my teeth) are not immediately accessible, which only makes matters worse.

Somehow, I believe that reading more Shakespeare and listening to "About you now" would achieve about the same result. Is that not really, really weird? I think it is. Maybe I'm just dehydrated.
In any case, since I am in a mean mood, I figured this top 5 would be a good idea for today, might even improve the situation. I've been wanting to write it for a while. Indeed, I did it again, reader. I went to that gothik-metal-dark-anything-as-long-as-there's-a-K-in-it club with my roommate on a pretty much weekly basis.

And I looked at people a lot, for three main reasons: 1. they are fascinating, 2. my "pretend what you hear is Rihanna and not Rammstein"-plan did not work out at all, and 3. my German, though it is improving a lot (I think), still does not suffice for me to understand what (mostly drunk) people say to me when very loud music is playing in the background.

Have you ever noticed, reader, how getting better at something is exactly like growing up? You don't really notice it yourself when you do. Except when you need to reach that box on the top shelf, and suddenly you actually can. Well it's the same with my German. But still, it's not enough for me to pass as a person of average intelligence when loud music is playing in the background.

The few people I have managed to talk with were really, really nice, though, and they really did try their best and did not give up on me even though they had to repeat everything 5 times. Special thanks to my roommate there, for introducing me to all his cool friends and not being ashamed of me, even though I must seem quite lame. Still, as I have very little skill in the area of deaf-mute small-talk in German sign language, I mostly tend to smile daftly, and then take off and go have a soda in a dark corner.

No dearth of those. Mostly I spend the night grinning like a crazy person, sitting in my dark corner, and I am not at all respecting the law in there that says you need to look blasé and sad. I can't help it. And I'm not mocking them, either, it's a kind of nervous fascination thing.

Sometimes, however, I do mock. And this is what I want to tell you about tonight. Tonight, the top 5 things that make me happy even though they really should not. The top 5 Schadenfreude. Cause I'm in Germany at the moment. Not all of them relate to Gothic punk rock dark metal clubs, though, but this is still where my inspiration came from.

1. Women who have very high heels and cannot walk in them. I cannot walk in heels either. I love high-heels shoes, and were I not freakishly tall, I would probably wear some every day. Except for the fact that I would then have to stay seated at all times. But somehow, the sight of a girl going down the stairs veeeery slowly and a little unsteadily in heavy boots with 5 inches heels makes me unreasonably happy. When I am wearing sneakers, that is. Because I am cruel. When I am the girl walking down the stairs, needless to say, I do not find it as amusing.

2. My roommate who forgets to take his laundry out of the washing machine. Do not ask me why, but it makes me happy. Then it stinks, and he has to wash it again *delighted laughter*. I nearly hoped he would forget it in the washing machine again the next day. He's really nice and all, my roommate, I have no reason whatever to wish either him or his T-shirts ill luck. I have no plausible explanation for this particular guilty, happy feeling.

3. Metal fans who are not happy with the rock remix of Katie Perry's Hot and cold being played at their favourite club when they were expecting something by some band named something like "Stabbed Puppies Kry Acid Tears of Fire". Whadayamean "cliché"? Honestly, I am only slightly exagerating, and this is exactly why I find it all so awesome. Because sometimes it's fun to just go for it. Especially when it means I get to wear a long black skirt and really dark smokey-eyes make up. Still, I rejoiced over the depressed look of that guy on the dance floor yesterday. The brief struggle before he decided that his pride could not take head-banging to the beat of a pop song, remixed or no. Then he mimicked his head exploding, Mars Attacks style. Hu hu hu...

4. This creature. If you really, really mess up in this life, you'll be that thing in the next. The fact that it is so very ugly makes me unreasonably happy. But then again, it probably is a reasonably happy creature, and it digs galleries, who am I to judge. Unlike the little bugs that I saw the other day at the pet-shop with my roommate. They were all white, so we asked the seller what was wrong with them, and he said "we powdered them up with vitamin powder, because the (whatever bigger bug he was feeding at the moment) need vitamins". "DIE WERDEN EINGEPUDERT"! OoÔ

5. People who lose soccer matches. Only when they are not French, though. I know. I'm getting used to disappointment. I've been going to "public viewings" of soccer matches lately, twice, in fact, I've seen both Germany's games, and I don't really know why, but the "aaaargh" and "booooooh" (and occasional "arschloch", ok, I have to report this, because it's the truth) make me grin. I've not had my own "arsch" kicked yet, but I supposed it won't be long now. Only they are already happily making fun of me in return, so in fact I guess I'm safe.

Well I do actually feel better now, strangely... I'll go now, and try to be good.

Nothing else matters

My brother got married last week.

It was an eventful day, what with the groom cutting his finger and actually severing a nerve hours before the ceremony, but it was his index and not his ring finger, so everything went fine. He was sent back from the hospital and allowed to enjoy the evening. Probably less so the surgery the next day, but hell... We all learnt a little lesson (do not use scissors on your wedding day) and he was there at his own wedding, which is already a reason to rejoice :)

It has been a crazy time for my brother and his wife, since they have been simultaneously looking for a job, moving from the other side of the Atlantic, and preparing the wedding. And not once did I hear them say they were stressed out about it. Makes me dumb with wonderment. I do hope, however, that last saturday marked the beginning of a new, calm period of utter boredom. OK, right, no. I do hope that last saturday marked the beginning of a really great time in Paris where they will have plenty of professionnal and personnal success. Maybe just a few weeks of boredom would be good, however. Just a tiny little bit of sleep.

Here they are, reader! I will not show their faces, because you need sunglasses to look at them safely.

Picture is courtesy of my step-brother V, I hope he doesn't mind. He was the photographer for the wedding, and his pictures, I must say, are remarkably non-blurry and very impressive

You know, sometimes in life, I figure I'm too lucky for it all to be true (not always, though. Mostly I forget, but I really am very, very lucky). This is exactly how I felt last sunday, sitting in church next to my sisters, at my brother's wedding, listening to the choir in the church of my grand parent's village with the whole family. I just watched all the people around me, and figured I was just plain lucky. If I ever have children, I want to have a lot of them, so that they're as happy as I am to have awesome brothers and sisters.

As for my brother's wife, S, she looked amazing and perfect. She makes me feel austenian and want to use big words and say "you're my sister now". Don't ask me. I'm so very glad they got married. I'm so very glad they're coming back to France and we'll get to see them more often, because I really missed them a lot.

I look at them and I figure : I wouldn't see them anywhere else with anyone else. They kind of just belong together, in a very logical way. You can never be sure of anything, and as I said, I have not seen much of them over the last few years, but when I think about them, I figure there must be an equation somewhere that's just been perfectly balanced. They're a reason to be optimistic, and I wish them both all the very best.

samedi 15 mai 2010

After the storm

Reader, I've officially had enough. I'm a healthy young woman, and I've been sick for one week in a row, that just cannot be tolerated. Back pains, then a really bad cold and temperature, and today, migraines. Now I'm complaining again. Sorry. Still, I figured, while I am sick, why not let others enjoy a bit of what I learnt over my last 5 or 6 migraines. Could be helpful. Most of these 5 hints would be considered common sense by most. But, you never know. Hence: Top 5 things NOT TO DO UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES when you have a migraine, or feel a real bad one coming up.

1. Watch Eyes Wide Shut. Now I would say that one of the things NOT TO DO UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE even when healthy is watch a Stanley Kubrick movie, but I might just be mean. I never could watch any until the end, so I suppose I cannot and should not judge. Still, Eyes Wide Shut with a migraine is an even worse idea than Eyes Wide Shut when healthy, and that's saying something. I stopped understanding anything, saw black patches all over the screen, nearly threw up on my Australian cousin, who was home at the time, and then went to bed and cried myself to sleep. One very, very good night for me.

2. Go to you german sight translation course, even though you know you are the only sucker who goes there every week, and you are bound to end up alone and helpless. But I already told you about that one.

3. Pretend you're fine and go have a friendly chat in German with your roommate and his friends. Who are listening to hard style techno music. Makes your head pop. I've come back from the dead to deliver this message to you : No hard style techno music OR German conversation when you have a migraine. What happened to me is what happens to the aliens in Mars Attacks. T'was not pretty, and from above, I can see my roommate trying to scrub the remains of my brains from his scorpions' terrariums. (Sorry, gross)

4. Go for a walk because you figure maybe fresh air would help. Even though the German countryside is beautiful and the cherry trees in full bloom, it will not improve your situation, you will want the stoopid birds to shut up already, and generally hate anyone driving a car.

5. Read those Harper Connelly books by Charlaine Harris. She's the one who wrote the True Blood books, which are great and very funny. The Harper Connelly series is very good too, but much less funny, and much more Stephen King like. Absolutely gross and very dark and cruel. Bad, bad mix when your head already hurts and you just want soothing. I just want soothing, reader. However, the Charlaine Harris book has got me hooked, and I want to know the ending. Sometimes, you must suffer.

Well, here we are. Yet another self-pitying post. It's actually not so bad, and I'll be much, much better tomorrow, the situation has done nothing but improve over the last few days. I hope that you are doing good!

mercredi 12 mai 2010

Life, oh life... [edit]

Well, reader, looks like I lied. I said I'd be writing here much more often now that I am in Germany, but nothing as thrilling as going to a goth club happened to me in a little while now. Here's a 5 steps update on my status, however. Because I'm sure you're dying to know.

1. I have a terrible, terrible backache going on, and I wish it would just stop already, because I'm going slowly crazy. Also, I don't know if you noticed that, but as soon as you back hurts, you want to sneeze every 5 minutes. Which only makes matters worse. Why is that, reader? Why do I have back pains NOW that the allergy season is full on? It is not nice at all.

2. My roommate M went to Switzerland yesterday to pick up the last things that were still missing in the kitchen. This means that we now have a fridge, a stove, cupboards, knives and forks and even sharp knives that you can actually use to cut onions without crying your eyes out. Ever tried to cut up an onion with a butter knife? Don't. But our new kitchen? I like it very much. Kitchens rule. I love cooking. I'll come back in a few days, and say that I don't have any ideas left, but as of right now, I love cooking and I am the stove-queen. I don't know, I seem to have something with royalty these days...

3. I have a truck-load of translations to do, which is great and will help a lot (money-wise) with my "find a dress for you brother's wedding" mission. I can't WAIT to go on THAT mission. A dress! A dress! I get to buy a dress! I love dresses! I'll try not to pick anything with tiny flowers on it. But you never know. Maybe I'll just go crazy and wear a Victorian gown and a gas-mask, like that girl I saw the other day at the gothic thingy. How about that? A Victorian gown and a gas mask... And then, once I have a dress, I'll actually go to my brother's wedding. HA HA! 5th of June! 5th of June! When will it finally be the 5th of June??

4. My room is in a terrible, terrible mess, even though I cleaned it yesterday. I don't know why this keeps happening to me, but I really, really hate it. OK today it does have a little bit to do with all the stuff my roommate brought back from Switzerland, but my "corner" of the room, with my bed in it and all, is in a terrible mess. I think some kind of evil spirit comes up in the night, while I am sleeping, kicks me in the back and messes up all my stuff. I'm pretty sure there is a Japanese ghost who does exactly that. And he's currently on vacation in Holzgerlingen. Stupid bugger.

5. I have been catching up on series the last few days. I now have seen all the latest episodes of Ashes to Ashes (not as good as it used to be, if you want my opinion), Glee (anything that sings hs got my vote) and Dr Who (I'm so glad Matt Smith is good. He really is good. He really is very very good). Series make me unreasonably happy. I still have some catching up to do on the Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, but I just can't keep up with the breaks and stuff.

Well, here we are, reader, 5 very important news-flashes about me. I hope you are doing good, and wish you sunshine.

And also :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wik2uc69WbU you can no longer live without this. Sing with us !

samedi 1 mai 2010

The Cave

Hi again, reader!

Now that I have moved to Germany, I figured I could try and start blogging a little bit more regularly. It will help with my English, hopefully, since I am speaking German so much lately. Of course, right now, I am back at my parents' place, sitting on the couch, but it won't last, I'm going back tomorrow. In any case: I will try to blog more often now that I am having adventures in a foreign country on a daily basis. First type of adventures I had last week: Spending time in gothic-dark-metal-rock-clubs in Germany.

Now if you know anything about me, (just read the previous post, for example), I am not a gothic-dark-metal-rock-club type of girl. I am a folky-pop kind of girl, and I like to drink herbal tea. I gather, also, that German gothic-dark-metal-rock-clubs are particularly... let's say... radical. I might be wrong, however, as I have no points of comparison whatever. Still, I spent some time in them last week, since it's the type of things my flat-mate M likes to do. It was really great fun, in a Discovery Channel sort of way... Here are 5 things I discovered :

1. You can be the Prince of Darkness and the King of Doom if you wish to. Just do it. It's OK, here. You are among friends. I find it pretty cool. Give me two weeks, and I'll be the Duchess of Night and the Marquise du Désespoir. It sounds so much more gothic in French, I figure...

2. If you wish to be the Prince of Darkness and the King of Doom, however, watch the DJ closely. He might choose to play little pranks on you. Like for example wait until you and your valets are very, very drunk and then play "Walking on sunshine" or even, amazingly "Ca plane pour moi", a weird Belgian hit from the late 70's, by a guy named Plastic Bertrand. (It's in French, but it's still Belgian. :D YOU GUYS NEED TO TAKE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES). The sheer name of the singer gives you an idea of what it sounds like. It was a very... 4th dimension sort of an experience. Or rather, Close encounters of the 3rd kind, maybe.

3. You will be more noticed wearing a T-shirt and jeans than, say, a tartan skirt, a linen shirt, a jingly little ankle-chain, and a dead racoon hanging from your back. I am not kidding you about the dead racoon part. However, apparently, wearing a washed out 92 Backstreet Boys Tour t-shirt is OK too. Did I ever tell you about Colin Farrell... Crap, no. That was Boyzone....

4. If you are the Prince of Darkness and the King of Despair, you also know how to dance to the music they play in clubs like the ones I was at. I can't. I can dance on Rihanna "Pon De Replay", and I'm not even so sure about that. But: My challenge for next time around: Play "Pon De Replay" in my head, and try and dance to that, while completely ignoring Rammstein in the background. I'm pretty sure it will be a huge win for the Claire Team. I'll keep you informed. ("let the bass from the speakers run through ya sneakers, move both ya feet and run to the beat" \o/ _o_ \o/)

5. Maybe, just maybe, I'm completely losing my marbles. It is a possibility I can't ignore. I'll keep you posted on this one too, I promise.

PS: Another mission for next time: Learn how to spell Marilyn Manson before saving my beautiful Paint illustration.

vendredi 30 avril 2010

Thistle and weed

Reader, I need to tell you something veeeery important. I have found it. All the time, when listening to music earlier, I thought "that's THE band. THE band that was started just for me and I'll love them forever". I never do. But this time? I found it, I did. And you need to listen to it, you do.


I told you about them in an earlier post, presuming I might forget all about them in two days. Instead they grew on me. Then I saw them in concert, thanks to, but sadly without my sister M (thank you, thank you, thank you for telling me about the date, and sorry much that you weren't there). I was there however with my best friend V, who did not know them that well, but was instantly convinced. Amazing is how they were, and nice, and just what I needed.

Here are 5 things I love about Mumford & Sons.

1. I can listen to the whole CD ("Sigh no more", buy it! buy it!) without finding one single track I want to skip. The sad songs are great, the happy songs are great, and when there's one I like a little less, I listen to it again, and I find it awesome.

2. They are a folk-band. I do believe "folk" is what I like. I thought it was country, but I think now that it is rather folk. They play the banjo, and most of all, they all sing together. Oh my. People who sing together, I don't think I could find any example of an occurence that I don't like. Abba: check. The destiny's child: Check. Russian army choirs? Check. Mumford & Sons? You bet.

3. They have great lyrics. Now, maybe just by my own standards, I don't know, but I think they are great. First of all, their song titles are beautiful. "Thistle and weed" being my personal favourite. They also say things like "and pestillence has won when you are lost and I am gone". Pestillence! Pestillence has won! And also "you are lost and I am gone" I don't know, it's nothing special, but it just gives me the shivers. And also, between the great lyrics, they breathe in and just sing one note and you can feel that it comes from the pit of their stomach and they give all the air and the strength they have and you just want to fly and sing too and you love the world and you love them. That's how it makes me feel, and I don't care if it's cheesy.

4. I am not at all ashamed of loving them. Most of what I listen to is... best described by the terms "girly-pop". I know it, and I regret it, but you can't fight your feelings, can you. Even when they are for Brian Adams ("Everything I doooo, I do it for youuuu"). But Mumford & Sons, that's another deal altogether. Hell, I even bought a T-shirt :)

5. They get me in a group-hug mood that I wish I was in more often. They make me want to be nice. I don't know why or anything, it just is so. It was the same with "On the road again", by Canned Heat, I remember, one day, we listened to it in the car with my sisters and my brother going to my grand parents. It was a long time ago, and my sister F had just brought their greatest hits CD, and I remember thinking "how I love them all, and how beautiful is the world we live in" and such. You know what I mean. Well, Mumford & Sons do the same to me. Make me want to spread the love. So here I am. Spreading the love. I hope you'll like them too. First one is sad, I must warn you. Second one is the first one I ever heard, so I'll try it on you too.

mardi 20 avril 2010

But my heart told my head

Pour une fois, un post en Français. Pour ma grand mère Jeannine, à qui j'ai loupé l'occasion de le dire. Je ne sais pas exactement pourquoi je suis en train d'écrire ça, probablement que c'est parce que j'ai trop peur pour le lire à l'église. Mais : C'est important quand même donc : Voilà, une petite liste de ce qu'elle m'aura apporté, personnellement, et aussi peut-être à ses 18 autres petits enfants.

- Un goût pour l'art et les belles choses, et l'expression en général. Un goût tellement prononcé qu'il aura même créé de vraies vocations chez certain(e)s d'entre nous.

-Un goût prononcé pour mettre les mains dans la patasse, dû aux séances de malaxage de glaise quand j'étais petite.

-Un goût prononcé pour les "beaux mecs", et pour les solides, aussi, parce qu'elle n'avait pas choisi n'importe quel grand-père.

-Un amour inconditionnel des "BN tout nus" + beurre et miel

-Des tas de souvenirs de vacances d'été, sous le cerisier, (généralement les mains dans la patasse)

-Une critique positive de Jane Eyre, qui m'a aussi encouragée à le lire.

-Tous ces livres d'art, dans la bibliothèque, et plus particulièrement ceux sur les créatures fantastiques. Qui font peur, mais qui sont tellement romantiques.

-Des Noëls, des rencontres chez elle avec des cousins et des cousines qu'on ne voit pas si souvent finalement, et que du coup, on considère comme une vraie famille. Un sens du QG. Qui restera là longtemps, longtemps après son départ, parce qu'on ne va pas laisser tomber ça comme ça.

-Des éclats de rires qu'on pouvait entendre depuis le premier étage. Et probablement depuis la maison d'en face.

-Un certain amour des animaux et des gens. Et la conclusion que "plus on les observe, et plus on les observe de près, moins on en a peur". Dans sa bouche, ça parlait d'une araignée dans sa cave, mais je pense que ça s'applique assez bien à l'alsacien d'à côté, en fait.

-Du coup, des voisins qui l'aiment, et ça, on ne peut pas en dire autant de tout le monde. Cheannine, elle a su s'intégrer.

-Ma maman, et des oncles et tantes, qui seraient autrement si elle avait été autrement, mais autrement, ça ne seraient pas eux, et eux, c'est mieux.

Il en manque, il en manque des tonnes, mais il va falloir faire avec. Les gens qui partent, ça donne toujours l'impression qu'on n'en a pas fait assez. Mille mercis, donc, et désolée.