What is this blog all about?

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

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

lundi 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.