Tuesday, 14 July 2020

About Mrs. America

As you know if you have been following this blog recently, I had planned to watch Mrs. America is now available on BBC, partially because it's with Cate Blanchett, partially because I love these kinds of history dramas. So far, so great and I have been practically binging it since last week or so. My favourite actress is as expected mesmerising as the "villain" of the piece, showing nuance, complexity and even vulnerability to someone who is not easy to sympathize with. I also find fascinating to see the feminists who must have (at least to a degree and albeit indirectly) influenced my mother's own feminism. I don't know if she read any of them at the time, but she went to uni at that time. Anyway, Mrs. America is the best tv series I have watched in years.

Le 14 juillet

Nous sommes le 14 juillet, donc le Jour de la Bastille, donc la Fête nationale française.Je ne sais pas comment nous cousins vont la fêter cette année, moi je le souligne chaque année sur Vraie Fiction, ou en tout cas je tente de m'en rappeler. Pour les visiteurs français, fêtez-vous et si oui, comment?

Monday, 13 July 2020

The "lost" tea mug

I remembered something recently, something I had forgotten about the office I left: I think I forgot to take back the tea mug I had brought there since my first day three years ago or so. It was my work mug. It was nothing special, in fact I chose to use this one at work because it was an old mug bought back in 2007 or 2008 from students in an outdoor market. It's not even pretty. So I am wondering if I should ask the former colleague I got along best to bring it to me when he has time, because it is still my mug, or just not bother as it is the past and I am moving forward.

Pompadour fraises et érable

Ceci est un nouveau de billet food porn, mais que voulez-vous, je n'ai pas pu résister. Mon père m'a donc envoyé cette photo, titrée "pompadour fraises et érable". Sais pas s'il y a autre chose que des fraises, du sucre d'érable, du sirop d'érable et de la crème, mais ça a l'air vraiment bon.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Chocolate cake (and dinosaurs)

I baked this chocolate cake last week, just for kicks. Well, in fact, no, it was also to celebrate something. It is my grandmother's recipe. I did it fairly well, although the icing as usual was a tad too liquid, so it got quite wobbly. But it stood and it was delicious, just decadent enough, as chocolate cakes should be. On top of it, there are sugar sprinkles on top of it. You might also have noticed that some of the sprinkles are dinosaurs shaped. This was my wife's idea. Of course, Wolfie added the sprinkles, as he's the assistant baker. He sprinkled generously. In fact, he poured them right on top. That's his signature.

"La Chabot"

Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo hier. C'est une variété de grosses fraises, apparemment délicieuse.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Portrait of Marlowe by Chandler

I have started reading this book again and in it I found a description of iconic private eye Philip Marlowe by his author Raymond Chandler which I found fascinating, for reasons which I will state below. Here it is:

"The date of his birth is uncertain. I think he said somewhere that he was 38 years old, but that was quite a while ago and he is no older today. He was born in a small California town called Santa Rosa about 50 miles from San Francisco. Marlowe has never spoken of his parents, and apparently he has no living relatives. I don't know why he came to Southern California, except that eventually most people do, although not all of them remain. He is slightly over six feet tall and weights above 13st 8lbs. he has dark brown hair, brown eyes, and the expression "passably good looking" would not satisfy him in the least. I don't think he looks tough, but he can be tough. If you ask me why he is a detective, I can't answer you..."

Chandler wrote this in a letter to an enquiring fan. So this descrption his fascinating for many reasons. Even in this letter, Chandler remains literary and evocative, it reads like a part of one of his novels. What is also just as interesting is the level of uncertainty: Chandler describes Marlowe physically in minimalist terms and is vague about his character's background. We get a better idea about his mindset, but even then it is more by evocation and the use of a few words than deep analysis. In sum, Chandler is writing here about someone he knows but not completely and not perfectly, rather than a character he created. So that is why I am obsessed about this quote. Now I want to find and read the whole letter.

Des carottes et des souvenirs

Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo, des carottes fraîches achetées à un marché en plein air (je crois), pas à l'épicerie. Elles ont l'air délicieuses, mais je ne veux pas faire de food porn (je vous jure). Ça me rappelle une tradition de mon enfance, lorsqu'on allait chez mon oncle qui avait un énorme jardin (enfin c'était mon impression) pleins de fruits et de légumes. Nous allions surtout cueillir des framboises, mais aussi des oignons, des patates et... des carottes comme celles-ci, avec la tige et tout, qu'on mangeait crues après les avoir lavées. C'étaient les meilleures carottes au monde.

Lawn mowed? Check!

I know it should not even be worth mentioning, but yesterday I mowed the lawn. It was about time. Only the back garden, the front lawn can wait a little bit longer. I really hate to do it, but like I said it was time, and it was also the right time: not too hot outside, no rain, grass not to dry, just perfect to be relatively comfortable doing it. Some would say the garden looks much better, but I must confess, I do prefer when it is a bit wild with long grass. Maybe it is just that I'm used to it like that. Anyway, now I don't have to do it until... Whenever next time will be.

Les bienfaits de la sieste

Je disais il y a quelques jours que j'avais des problèmes d'insomnie. Pas trop épouvantables, j'ai vécu pire, mais quand même, je ne voulais pas que ça devienne un problème chronique. Je crois que c'est parce que je suis déphasé, en décalage-horaire pour ainsi dire depuis deux ou trois mois sinon plus. J'ai réussi à me replacer un peu avec des siestes de trente minutes environ. Ça me permet de reprendre le sommeil perdu, si je perds du sommeil et je n'ai pas autant de difficulté à m'endormir.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Spooky state of mind

I blogged about a month ago about a book I was tempted to buy: Dead Leaves: 9 Tales from the Witching Season from Kealan Patrick Burke. Well, I fell into temptation and I bought it in the end. I know, autumn is still far away, and Halloween even more, but as I know from experience, things come soon enough, especially in eventful years like the one we are having. It is never too early to prepare a reading program of horror literature.  And I'm not the only one who has started thinking about Halloween: Wolfie told me he wants to prepare for it, and the nine year old daughter of a friend we saw told me the same thing last week. Must be something in the air, these last few weeks have been cool and borderline autumnal. But in any case, I now have this book to read when the Witching Season comes.

Souvenirs de L'Aristocrate

Mes parents sont à Québec pour deux jours, pour aider l'un de mes oncles à déménager. J'ai demandé s'ils restaient à L'Aristocrate, ce qui n'est pas le cas. J'ai posé la question parce que L'Aristocrate est l'hôtel où nous allions passer nos vacances à Québec durant notre enfance. J'ai pas mal de souvenirs concernant cet hôtel, ça a été le premier hôtel où j'ai dormi de mémoire. Parce que je ne connaissais rien d'autre, je croyais que c'était le grand luxe. Je croyais aussi que la ville de Québec était le bout du monde. Ce l'est un peu, j'imagine, mais peut-être pas quand on a grandi à Chicoutimi. Bref, j'ai des souvenirs assez plaisants de L'Aristocrate: quand on mangeait des sous-marins dans nos chambres, quand on s'est baignés dans la piscine, quand je me réveillais trop tôt le matin parce que je n'étais pas chez moi et que ça me troublait toujours un peu le sommeil. Nous y sommes retournés assez souvent, jusque dans notre adolescence, parfois pour les vacances, parfois pour voir de la famille une fin de semaine lors d'occasions spéciales. J'aimerais bien y retourner un jour, juste pour voir comment ça a changé.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Mrs America on BBC

My wife gave me some good news yesterday: the historical TV series Mrs America is now available on BBC. This is the kind of historical drama I really enjoy, but this one has Cate Blanchett in it. My favourite actress,. I could listen to her reading the phone book, but apparently she is amazing in it (well, as usual). Now I just need some time in the day, or more likely in the evening, to watch it.

Mon juillet (jusqu'ici) atypique

Bon, le mois est encore très jeune, mais j'ai songé bloguer sur le sujet, puisqu'il est jusqu'ici atypique. Autant mai et juin ont été chauds et annonçaient un été torride, autant juillet est frais, assez gris, frais quand il n'est pas gris et donc assez peu estival. Mais je ne m'en plains pas, car je n'aime pas la chaleur. Ça peut changer d'un moment à l'autre et je ne m'attends pas à ce que le reste de l'été soit pareil, mais j'espère un peu que le temps va demeurer relativement frais jusqu'à ce que l'automne arrive et que ça continue comme ça. Juillet est aussi atypique pour une autre raison, celle-ci vraiment heureuse: alors qu'en général l'été est un très mauvais moment pour les opportunités d'emploi (être mis à pied au moment où c'est arrivé m'a d'ailleurs beaucoup inquiété, j'ai trouvé le mien dès le début du mois. Enfin bref, voici mes réflexions sur mon mois de juillet, comment est le vôtre?

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Sussex: our next holiday destination?

Today, I saw this humorous article on my Facebook feed: 27 reasons Sussex is the worst place in England. Article might be taking things a bit far: it is a list of sarcastic points about Sussex, accompanied with gorgeous pictures. And I do mean gorgeous pictures. I don't know when will be our next holidays, a lot of things must change before we can even start thinking about taking one anywhere, but seeing this, I think I might have found our next holiday destination. The pandemic notwithstanding, an English holiday has been long overdue.

Un puit dans le pavillon?

Nous sommes récemment allés dans un parc avec des amis. Pas dans notre ville, mais dans une ville proche, là où ils demeurent. En respectant la distanciation sociale bien entendu. Nous n'y avons pas fait une promenade proprement dire, c'était un parc tout petit, mais nous sommes restés là pour une heure et plus et c'était très agréable. Il y avait aussi ce pavillon, que j'ai bien aimé et qui m'a assez intrigué, car je me demande si c'était un puit à sec qui se trouvait au centre. Dans tous les cas, j'ai pris cette photo parce que.

Tidying Wolfism

I mentioned to that my son has many cute lines, which I call his Wolfisms. He came up with a new one yesterday, when we asked him to tidy his toys when he was holding some cars or Lego pieces: "I can't tidy when my hands are filled". That is only one of his many objections when we ask him to tidy. That said, my wife asked me to be fair and to add that he did tidy his many toys a few minutes later, without being asked, because he is also "a sensible child".

Oisillon tombé du nid

Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo hier, d'un oisillon tombé d'un nid, enfin c'est ce qu'il croit. Je crois que c'est un merle, je ne suis pas certain. Cela dit, mon père croit que ses parents l'ont retrouvé, alors cette histoire a sans doute une fin heureuse. Je l'espère.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Figarohaus

My father sent me a few weeks ago pictures dating back from our family trip in Austria, during the 200th nniversary of the death of Mozart. We visited a lot of towns and cities, among them Vienna. This is where he took this picture. I am not sure if it is the same as the Mozarthaus, only with a different name, but from my father's memory this is where Mozart composed Le Nozze di Figaro. I must confess I don't remember seeing the Figarohaus of the Mozarthaus, or whatever its official name is, but I do remember quite a few things about that trip, especially the music, the concerts and the operas we went to. I will blog more about our time in Austria it in the future. I also think a post about Vienna would not be quite completed without a bit of music, and that it would be fitting to share something from Le Nozze di Figaro, an aria sung by Luca Pisaroni.

"Bar ouvert"

Je cite le titre de cet article dans La Presse+ sur la réouverture des bars au Québec et les consignes de sécurité qui ne sont pas respectées. Je lis ça et je me dis: "baptême." C'est pareil ici dans les pubs, remarquez et c'est pourquoi malgré que ça me manque, je n'y retournerai pas jusqu'à nouvel ordre. Et comme les gens manquent de prudence, je ne crois que ça va arriver de sitôt, malheureusement.