Thursday, 17 April 2014

A pine cone

This is a post about one of these little nothings that make life. I took this picture yesterday on my lunch break, of a pine cone that had fell on a bush, the thick leafs keeping it from falling further. I don't know why but I thought it was a striking image, it got stuck in my head so I took the picture. There are plenty of pine trees in the business park where my working place is, so there are plenty of dry pine cones like this one falling on the ground. I don't associate pine cones with Spring, for me it is of course the object of cold autumn or winter days, things you put dry in the fire after a walk outside. This is what I think about when I see a pine cone: I daydream about warming up by the fireplace. In a way, it is one of these objects that trigger my mind the way madeleines did to Proust. I didn't put them that often in a fire, but I remember doing it sometimes.

La poutine d'Aux Vivres

Cette photo a été prise en... octobre, à Aux Vivres. Je ne savais pas trop quand la publier. C'est leur poutine végétalienne, une bien étrange variation sur la poutine. J'avais blogué sur la curiosité à son sujet ici. Et je tenais à dire que ma curiosité a été satisfaite. C'est en effet une bien étrange poutine, en fait c'est plus une salade de patates avec des goûts de curry indien qu'une poutine. Ce n'était pas mauvais, cela dit, avec le tofu à la place du fromage. Mais la sauce, ce n'est pas une sauce à poutine: c'est un curry, tout simplement. Alors voilà, c'est un peu tard, mais je tenais à en faire un compte-rendu.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Hitchens' Decalogue

Fellow blogger Prof Solitaire reminded me that Christopher Hitchens would have been 65 yesterday. As Easter is coming, I thought I would upload a video from this incredible mind, controversist extraordinaire and overall merciless, admirable intellectual, about the Decalogue, aka the Ten Commandments. The Commandments are maybe the most overrated, absurd, often amoral "moral" injunctions ever written and Hitchens deconstructs them beautifully, then makes his own, which are far better. Anyway, as the movie of the same name is probably playing everywhere around Easter and that I disliked that movie even when I was a good Catholic boy, I thought I would upload Hitchens' Decalogue. So enjoy. Hitchens is always enjoyable, especially now.

Souvenir du mistral

Tiens, ça m'est venu à l'esprit récemment: j'ai brièvement connu le mistral, ce vent du midi de la France. Je ne sais pas trop pourquoi j'y ai pensé, peut-être parce que je l'ai connu lors des vacances de Pâques, en 2001. Je me rappelle comme c'était un vent vif, qui réveillait lors des matins de printemps. Je ne l'ai pas connu en Provence, peut-être la région française à laquelle il est le plus associé, mais au Roussillon-Languedoc. J'ai essayé de prendre à l'époque des photos qui donnaient un peu une idée de sa présence, sans vraiment de succès. C'est une tâche impossible, de photographier le vent. Alors enfin bref, voilà, aujourd'hui, j'ai pensé au mistral.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Elusive black cat

This (very bad) picture was taken yesterday, at the train station after work, as I was waiting for my train to go home. It was of one of the cats that dwell by the train station, in the shrubbery next to the gate or even on the railway. I stopped counting them. This may or may not be the black cat I saw right after the interview that got me the job I now have. I nickname him/her and/or the potentially other black cats Mephisto, sort of Mephistopheles. He is one daredevil: I saw him more than once prowling on the tracks. Yesterday he walked on the railway, then took one of the holes that are behind the gate and lead to the shrubbery right by the station, where he spent a lot of time. I was looking at hi, trying to take a good picture (this one being the less bad I took), then he looked at me, and jumped from the long grass on the bridge, started running on the station just as the train was coming. It was impressive.

Of course, every black cat reminds me of, well, my black cat. Unlike Odin, this one seems very feral, although somewhat chubby. Mephisto may not be scared of humans, as he sees many commuters daily, but he never stops to receive a cuddle. He seems happier hiding in the green herbs, the flowers, the bushes and walking on the rails. I miss being friend with a black cat, heck, any cat would do, but a black cat would be pure bliss. I cannot create a friendship with Mephisto, he cares little about humans, but I do find his presence at the station enjoyable in a soothing. He is such a beautiful, proud feline creature.

Expression (la photo du mois)


Le moment est venu pour la photo du mois, qui cette fois-ci a été assez facile. Le thème était: "Une de vos expressions favorites en photo", chosi par Champagne. Or, j'ai pleins d'expressions favorites, j'avais donc l'embarras du choix. Il fallait simplement trouver l'image qui conviendrait le mieux. Une visite à un pub (comme pour la photo d'août 2013) m'a donné mon sujet: une corde de bois. Ou une cordée de bois, comme on dit au Québec. Pourquoi cette expression? Parce qu'elle évoque la forêt, les feux de foyer, enfin bref le confort primitif du feu de bois. C'est rassurant, une corde de bois, savoir qu'on en a une corde au moins... Enfin, ça c'est mon expression, allez voir les autres:

A chaque jour sa photo, A'icha, Agathe, Agnès, Akaieric, Alban, Alexinparis, Alice Wonderland, Angélique, Anne, Annick, Arwen, Aude, Ava, Bestofava, BiGBuGS, Blogoth67, Calamonique, Cara, Cécile - Une quadra, Cécile Atch'oum, Cekoline, Céline in Paris, CetO, Champagne, Chat bleu, Chloé, Christophe, Claire, Claire's Blog, Crearine, Cricriyom from Paris, Cynthia, Dame Skarlette, DelphineF, Dr. CaSo, E, El Padawan, Elodie, Elsa, Fanfan Raccoon, Filamots, FloRie, François le Niçois, Frédéric, Galinette, Gilsoub, Giselle 43, Gizeh, Guillaume, hibiscus, Homeos-tasie, Hypeandcie, InGrenoble, Isa de fromSide2Side, Isaquarel, J'adore j'adhère, Joane, Josiane, KK-huète En Bretannie, Krn, La Berlinoise, La Dum, La Fille de l'Air, La Nantaise à Paris, Lau* des montagnes, Laulinea, Laurent Nicolas, Laurie, Lavandine, Lavandine83, Les bonheurs d'Anne & Alex, Les Filles du Web, Louisianne, Lucile et Rod, magda627, Mahlyn, Mamysoren, Maria Graphia, Marie, Marmotte, MauriceMonAmour, Mère débordée, Mimireliton, MissCarole, Morgane Byloos Photography, Nana, Nicky, Nie, Oscara, Philae, Pilisi, Pixeline, princesse Emalia, Proserpinne, Renepaulhenry, Rythme Indigo, Sailortoshyo, Sephiraph, Stephane08, Sylvie, Tataflo, Testinaute, Thalie, The Parisienne, The Singapore Miminews, Trousse cadette, Tuxana, Un jour, une vie, Une niçoise, Vanilla, Viviane, Xoliv'

Monday, 14 April 2014

Holy (Accursed) Monday

The Godless heathen I am did notice, since yesterday, that we are in the Holy Week, the one leading to Easter. Yesterday was of course Palm Sunday, today is Holy Monday. Which means... Well, nothing at first. Monday is just a boring, monotonous working day, the first of the week. This didn't change. When I was a child, growing up in a still Catholic society, Holy Monday was at school a rerun of Palm Sunday. My parents being Godless heathens (which I didn't know at that time), we didn't go to mass so I didn't have the real day, but at school we spent a good deal of the day with palms, crosses made of palms and doing a bit of a ceremony, praying, telling the story of Palm Sunday. I guess it was easier to be brainwashed through gimmicks.I learn from Wikipedia that the stories of the Scriptures associated with Holy Monday have, among others, the cursing of the fig tree. Which I find very mean, if anything like this ever happened, as I love fig trees. Seriously, cursing a tree? That is cold.

If I had the power to curse, I would curse Monday as a day in general (although I suspect that through the ages, having been cursed over and over again, something stuck to Monday) and Holy Monday in particular. Because nowadays, in my experience, Holy Monday is a Monday that feels longer, where Easter and the weekend is closer, yet feels so far away. Because the closer you get to a holiday, the longer the days are until you actually get there. So every Holy Monday, it feels even more like Monday than usual, it feels more like Hell. Like it will never end. So it is for me an Accursed Monday.

Un jour pour du pâté chinois

C'est lundi, jour minotone s'il en est un. Et ça me prend à chaque lundi ou à peu près: ce serait  le bon temps pour un souper au pâté chinois, si j'avais la patience et la canne de maïs en crème pour en faire. La première morale de l'histoire, c'est que la prochaine fois que je vais au Québec, je me rapporte quelques cannes de (et je sais, je l'ai déjà mentionné). Je regarde cette photo et ça me donne le mal du pays. Ce qui est étrange, c'est qu'il fut un temps où je n'aimais pas le pâté chinois. Pour moi c'était un repas pour journée morne de la semaine. Et c'est la deuxième morale de l'histoire: parfois on ne se rend pas compte que certains mets sont mangés les journées grises justement pour les rendre plus endurables.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Detective Tales cover for April

I thought I would carry on today the tradition of uploading a cover of a Detective Tales. It is getting more and more difficult for April, because back in April 2008, I uploaded a few of them. This time, I have chosen a far more sober cover than usual. Nevertheless, it is very suspenseful. It it from April 1951. You have the hero, most likely a private eye, at night, rummaging through papers with a flashlight, on what appears to be a dark and stormy night (I don't mind clichés in pulp magazines), while a hand holding a gun. Simple, efficient, dark and, as I said, very suspenseful. On the bottom right side you see the title The Deadliest Game. I don't know if the image is for this story, but it is certainly fitting.

L'Antéchrist de service

Nous sommes le Dimanche des Rameaux, donc la Semaine Sainte commence aujourd'hui... Il fut un temps où, pour moi, la Semaine Sainte c'était une émission plate à Radio-Can. Maintenant, c'est un mot qui réfère à mon enfance catholique, autrement dit l'Age des Ténèbres (au sens figuré, bien entendu). J'ai pensé commencer la semaine et ce dimanche avec une chanson de Georges Brassens, L'Antéchrist, que je n'ai malheureusement pas pu trouver en VO. Ca pourrait aussi s'appeler l'Impiété pour les nuls. Vous trouverez une analyse de la chanson ici. Tout comique mis à part, ça résume bien le fond de ma pensée sur le christianisme et sur son mythe fondateur.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

House Odin

As my readership knows, I am following assiduously Game of Thrones, which I discovered last November and I absolutely got hooked on it. The series's website has a page where you can make your own sigil. I decided to create my own and of course I chose as a sigil a black cat. It is easy to know why, and why I called my virtual noble house House Odin. Odin was there with me when I watched back to back the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, he spent a lot of time sleeping next to me or at the feet of the TV set. I was then living the Odin saga, watching a fictitious saga. I thought about it when I watched today this video from YouTuber Comic Book Girl 19, about the first episode of season 4, which I watched recently. She has adopted a black cat too, who is very much present in the video. It made me sad, thinking about all these moments with my own black cat. So this is the sigil of House Odin anyway: a black cat on a blue backdrop (that is supposed to represent night, or evening) and its motto is: Swift as a shadow. Very fitting.

5 Règles de Sagesse (mettons)

Ceci est une liste de 5 règles à ne pas oublier (!) qu'une amie (la mère de mon filleul, pour ne pas la nommer) a placé sur son Mur de Facebook. Je l'ai partagée sur mon propre Mur, parce que c'était vraiment hilarant. Je ne sais pas d'où ça vient, malheureusement, parce que j'aimerais vraiment lire l'ensemble du livre. Les règles ont eu un franc succès sur le Mur, alors j'ai décidé de télécharger l'image ici aussi.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A Black Bear

This is one of the many stuffed animals from the Natural History Museum. I think it is one of a black bear. The fur looks black enough anyway, although it could be another ursidae.His fur is quite worn out and his whole demeanour looks like he is an ancient animal.  The thing with the animals of the Natural History Museum is that they do not want new skins, to avoid hunting and thus useless killing of animals. So they kept the old, old stuffed animals on display. Like this one. But I love the fact not only that it is ethical taxidermy, but also the old look of the creatures. It gives them, and this black bear in particular, a certain charm. The bear, with his shaggy ashes colour fur and his big paws and his grumpy features looks a bit like a monster.

I am not saying this innocently: we once had a black bear skin by the fireplace in the family house, when I was a child. I don't know the whole history about it, I think my dad had trapped it, or maybe he had bought it, I am not sure. In any case, it was by the fireplace downstairs, a relatively small skin, but it looked enormous to me. I loved it and used it as n accessory to many make belief games, but it also gave me recurring nightmares. In my dreams, the skin was a live bear, except it was not quite a bear, it was something malevolent, with a mind developed as a man's mind could be. And interestingly enough, I never made the connection until I became an adult. And seeing the black bear of the museum, I immediately thought about it.

Question existentielle (224)

J'ai regardé ce soir un nouvel épisode (enfin, un nouvel épisode ici) de The Big Bang Theory. Et ça peut paraître bête, mais ça m'a donné en tête une question existentielle:

-Pourquoi est-ce que les sitcoms sont souvent présentés le jeudi soir à la télé?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Scouser talking

A friend on Facebook put this link on her wall, a small article dating back from January, about Liverpool saying. Even though a lot of it is not exclusively from Liverpool (a lot of Brits say birds for women for instance), it was a still a trip in nostalgia land for me. I lived a year or thereabout in Liverpool and it made me remember the very distinctive linguistic environment I was living in. Liverpudlians, or Scousers, have a very distinctive accent, the Scouse. I cannot honestly say that I ever mastered it, or even got vaguely familiar with, but I remember the sounds of it. It is a cliché to say that a particular language or accent is musical, and it is an inaccurate cliché. But I did find Scousers very musical in their way of speaking English. Maybe it was because I was a foreigner. Still, reading this short article made me want to walk the streets of Liverpool again. Ah, memories!

Ah, le poisson du Carême!

Bon, ce n'est pas que j'aie fait mon adieu à la viande pour quarante jours, ni même que j'en mange vraiment plus que d'habitude, mais ça m'est venu à l'esprit: un régime de poisson, ce n'est pas vraiment un gros sacrifice, de nos jours.Prenez ce plat à votre gauche, que j'ai mangé dans un restaurant italien pas loin d'ici. Un poisson, je ne me rappelle plus lequel, avec des moules et des crevettes dans une sauce aux tomates. Bon, je ne l'ai pas mangé durant le Carême, ni même un vendredi, mais bon, ça se prêtait bien au sujet. Le poisson a longtemps été la nourriture du pauvre. Ce n'est plus le cas aujourd'hui. Je me rends compte qu'en fait, pour moi, le Carême dure l'année longue, puisque je le préfère aux autres nourritures. Et je songe même à en manger à Pâques.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Bisbee, Arizona

I am reading Hombre by Elmore Leonard at the moment, the first western novel I ever read, I think. They made a movie adaptation, which I never saw. Anyway, in the novel they mention the town of Bisbee, Arizona. Its Wikipedia entry says it's a city, but it really is a town. Funny coincidence, I recently watched (again) L.A. Confidential, which mentions Bisbee as well, since this is where Lynn Bracken, the Veronica Lake lookalike character of Kim Basinger, is from. So... Well, so nothing. I just found it funny, this obscure town (no offense for the people living there), being mentioned in one of the most acclaimed movies of the 90s. It made me curious about it. From what I found on its website, it looks quite pretty. If I ever go to Arizona, I might visit it.

Comme une certaine lassitude...

Les Libéraux sont majoritaires au Québec. Surpris? Non. Déçu? Oui. Marois a fait une très mauvaise campagne, mais ça n'excuse pas les circonvolutions de Philippe Flop, son attitude pusillanime envers la laïcité (non, je n'ai aucun problème avec une loi qui consacre de manière ferme la neutralité de l'état), son passé de médecin laquais pour princes saoudiens et surtout, surtout, que les Libéraux ont passé leurs derniers mandats à magouiller avec la mafia et tout ce qu'il y a de corrompu et de corrupteur au Québec. Bon, ils sont de retour. Pour quatre ans. Fuck. Il y a des moments où je me console d'être un expatrié.

Monday, 7 April 2014

An eulogy for Sky

Here is a bit of sad news today: I learned that Sky, the dog of my family-in-law had died. She was very old, 17 years old, and had been very sick for quite a while. It saddened me, although not as much as when I suddenly lost Odin. Strangely enough, I only blogged about her once. I am more of a cat person, but of all dogs I've ever known it was Sky I had the closest relationship with. Years ago, in 2006, when I was unemployed and I had plenty of free time squatting at the in-laws, I walked Sky every day. It gave the both of us a good exercise: I lost a few pounds in these months. Sky was also a champion of emotional blackmail, especially when it came to food: she was barking loudly, whining, until you gave her a piece of what you were eating, preparing... or a biscuit, or a piece of food. My favourite anecdote is one about raspberries. I was picking them in the then in-laws' garden, when one fell down on the pavement. I offered it to Sky, who sniffed it, but didn't eat it. I thought this was it, for once there was one piece of food she didn't like... Until a few days later, I saw her biting the raspberry plant, eating whatever berry she could find that was ripe enough. My fault entirely. Anyway, Sky was an adorable, playful Labrador dog, always curious, always greedy, always affectionate.

Quand avril ressemble à...

...ben, à avril. C'est ce qui m'a frappé aujourd'hui: il pleuvait, il faisait frais, c'était gris. Le mois d'avril est un mois printannier, c'est en fait le coeur du printemps, à l'opposé complète d'octobre qui est le coeur de l'automne. C'est aussi, encore plus que mars, un mois qui est capricieux et prompt aux explosions de tempérament. Ca a été le cas aujourd'hui quand il a plu des vannes. Je crois que ce sont dans ces moments-là qu'avril est à son plus typique.