What is this blog all about?

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

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

vendredi 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.