Thursday, 14 February 2019

Sally, Snoopy and How Do I Love Thee

To celebrate Valentine's Day, I shared tonight a scene from Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. A reading/performance by Sally Brown and Snoopy of the poem How Do I Love Thee from Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Watching the cartoon as  child (a classic by the way), I never noticed how cultured this scene was, but I knew it was hilarious. Kudos for Sally's reading skills. She has very good eyesight too. And Snoopy is quite a charmer.

Une pensée sur la Saint-Valentin

Je n'aime pas beaucoup la Saint-Valentin: en couple c'est stressant (la boîte de chocolats est-elle assez imposante? Des fleurs, pas de fleurs? Une carte ou pas? Autre chose?), célibataire c'est déprimant. Mais si vous êtes seul(e) aujourd'hui/ce soir et que vous lisez ceci, consolez-vous en vous disant que vous échappez un peu à une journée d'excès. Ah oui, et quand j'étais adolescent, je ne recevais jamais de cartes de Saint-Valentin à l'école, en tant que geek un peu beaucoup rejet (le secondaire ça a été vraiment des années de m*), et je crois que ça m'a marqué au point de vraiment prendre la fête en grippe.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Rock cakes

My wife decided to do some baking recently and for some reason she thought she'd make rock cakes. You can see the picture here. It was not the first time I had rock cakes, but it was the first time I ate home made ones and they were delicious. I know they are not the most decadent dessert, but I love fruit cakes when I'm in the right mood, and these days it is just what the doctor ordered for a healthy release of endorphin. They were also a huge success with Wolfie: he ate them like they were getting out of fashion. Like hot cakes you could say. "Rock cake please, more rock cake please!" With his cheeky grin, it is irresistible.

"Un polar sans morale..."

Je pensais partager ce soir une citation de Jean-Patrick Manchette. Elle n'est pas tirée de La position du tireur couché, mais je mets ici une image de couverture tirée du roman, parce que c'est le roman qui m'a fait découvrir Manchette (en fait pour être franc c'est le seul roman que j'ai lu de lui, à ma grande honte) et parce qu'on n'a jamais assez de couvertures de Série Noire. Enfin, voici la citation, tirée de je ne sais où: "Un polar sans morale, c'est une soupe sans moustache. C'est de la soupe." Ça rejoint pas mal mon sentiment.

Call for the Dead

I have not done it in a good while, so here is today’s reading suggestion: Call for the Dead by John Le Carré. A sort of (accidental) prequel to The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. This time featuring antihero (and maybe more to the point anti James Bond) George Smiley, a spy who is more an ageing civil servant dealing with petty bureaucrats than a master secret agent. He investigates the apparent suicide of colleague Samuel Fennan after a routine security check. A rather mundane (if embarrassing for the British government and Her Majesty's Secret Service) mystery where the ghosts of World War II haunt both the protagonist and his world. It is set in dreary, utterly unexotic, unglamorous and unglamorised Cold War England between January and February, so all the more fitting to read it around this time of year.

Vieille photo gaspésienne

Nouvelle ancienne photo prise par mon père il y a quelques décennies en Gaspésie et qu'il m'a envoyée récemment. On y voit des Fous de Bassan, encore une fois. Je sais que cette photo n'est guère saisonnière et que je dis souvent que Vraie Fiction a les couleurs du temps de l'année où je blogue, mais je fais un peu accroc à mes principes parce que 1)c'est une jolie photo, 2)c'est impressionnant, des Fous de Bassan à perte de vue, 3)j'aime le nom "Fou de Bassan".

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Cate Blanchett is a brunette

I missed the BAFTA this year, as I often do. It was Sunday, and I didn't watch them. I would not have really regretted it, the ceremony is usually something that interests my wife more than me, but for one thing: Cate Blanchett showed up and indeed made quite a striking appearance. My wife pointed me to this article from the Daily Mail, but it was all over the BAFTA news anyway: Cate Blanchett had a striking dress with gigantic jewel on it and she is now... a brunette. Not a blonde, as she usually is, or a redhead, as she often is. A brunette. It makes no difference. Blonde or brunette, Cate Blanchett shines all the same.

Question existentielle (341)

C'est la Saint-Valentin dans deux jours, je vais pose une question existentielle sur le sujet:

-Quel cadeau original et pas quétaine faire à la Saint-Valentin?

Monday, 11 February 2019

How to deal with too many books

Here is a post that I hope my readers will find helpful. I finally found out how to deal with the crowded bookshelves and tables and so on I have, due to owning too many books, thanks to this comic strip by Tom Gauld (I don't know him, although his drawings look familiar). That is how it must be done. You may say it does not solve anything, but then you would be wrong: it solves everything, it gives you peace of mind, you know you are among the righteous.

Informations sur le marabout

J,ai pu observer une fois un marabout, c'était à Branféré. Voir sa photo ici. Avec son long bec, ses grandes pattes et sa posture courbée, il m'avait fait une assez forte impression. J'ai aussi pris une photo de ce tableau informatif. L'image n'est pas très bonne, mais elle vous éduquera un peu (et j'espère que vous trouverez les informations intéressantes, enfin celles qui sont visibles). Au Québec, on dit d'une personne grincheuse qu'elle est marabout. Je peux témoigner, après avoir vu l'oiseau en question, que l'expression est parfaitement justifiée.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Apple harvest cake

My wife recently bought me a dessert at the coffee shop of the farm where she often goes with Wolfie. She hesitated to buy it as it has a very autumnal name: apple harvest cake, and she knows I generally eat seasonal things, even desserts. But I would not have said no to a dessert, especially not one that is associated with my favourite season like this one. When autumn is still very far away and Christmas is over, I can start longing for autumn again. So I was happy to have a slice of it. I was happy for another reason: this is actually the second time I eat an apple harvest cake. The first time was at the cafeteria of the hospital where Wolfie was born, a day or two after his birth. You can see the picture here. I thought it was fitting then, to mark the birth of my son during the harvest season. So anyway, I associate this cake with my boy. The cake itself is pretty simple: there is some apple in it, some raisins and it is topped with almonds. I shared this new piece with Wolfie.

Molière et moi

Le Google Doodle d'aujourd'hui rend hommage à Molière, dont ce sera l'anniversaire de la mort le 17 février. Ça me rappelle des souvenirs de l'université, où j'ai lu Molière, mais aussi où je l'ai joué. J'ai en effet joué le rôle de Purgon dans Le malade imaginaire. Autre anniversaire à souligner: la première était le 10 février 1673. Ça m'a donné le goût des planches. Molière, c'est en le jouant que j'ai vraiment appris à l'apprécier. Cela dit, je l'ai trop peu lu et trop peu vu, alors il faudra aussi que je corrige ça.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

What to do with a pickpocket

As you know, I had my creative writing workshop recently and was asked as a homework to write the synopsis of a novel using the material I have created and worked on on that day. Not all the material, but some of the material, to be rearranged and developed as I see fit. So I am trying to write down a plot based on that. Of all of what I wrote, the lady pickpocket is the character I find the most inspiring. The rest, the politician who loves a book he never read and the mobsters, less so. I could find them something to do of course, but I find my low level criminal far more engaging, especially since she can easily be pictured in a sympathetic light, more an antihero(in) than a villain. Now the question is what to do with her, since I now have a good idea of who she is and why she does what she does. I know that she will run into trouble with some members of organised crime. A bit of a commonplace, perhaps, but it has a lot of narrative potential. Now it is how to have her go from point A to point B that I need to work on.

Revoir Val-Jalbert

Petit retour sur un billet récent. J'y repensais et je pense qu'il faudrait peut-être organiser un jour une petite visite (revisite pour moi) en famille à Val-Jalbert. D'habitude, mes retours au pays se passent à deux endroits: Montréal et Chicoutimi, c'est à peu près tout. Mais il y a pleins d'endroits au Québec à voir et revoir. Surtout dans ma région, qu'il faudra bien faire connaître à mon fils.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Cuddly red panda

In the last few weeks, our little Wolfie has become more interested about teddies than he had been before. He cuddles the plush toys he has far more than he used to and, while he still spends a lot of time with his cars, trains and dinosaurs, he does enjoy his moments with his teddies. I am glad as I bought many of all sorts when he was in his mummy's tummy. In fact, he has a whole menagerie of them now. That said, given his new interest towards stuffed toys, I thought it might be the right time to buy him a red panda. If you remember, I once blogged that the animal is pretty much meant to be a model for stuffed toys. So maybe I should buy a red panda to add on to the menagerie, especially since Wolfie seems particularly fond of animals who have bright fiery colours. Maybe next time we go to Branféré, where I took that picture. Or another zoo that has red pandas. Or I will just look online.

Les Fous de Bassan

Autre photo prise par mon père il y a des décennies en gaspésie, cette fois-ci des Fous de Bassan. Joli nom, dont je ne connaissais pas l'étymologie jusqu'à ce que je lise l'article sur Wikipedia. En haut d'une falaise (ou d'un cap?), c'est assez impressionnant.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Italian friendship

A few days ago, I was chatting to my Italian friend over Messenger. She is a friend I met during my first year at uni in this country and is about the same age as me. The last time we met, it was back in 2000 in Bergamo, where she is from and where I think she still lives. She is generally discreet on social media, so it was nice to getting some news from her. She has a young boy a few months older than Wolfie, let's call him Cesario. I haven't seen any picture of him yet. Anyway, she told me that she will give birth to a baby in six weeks, another boy. Talking to her like this made me feel better about myself, not only because of the nostalgia, but because she is living the same reality as a parent. We both became parents at a relatively late age, our children seem to have a similar mischievous spirit, they both have long afternoon naps and they both struggle to keep a sleeping routine. I wonder if Wolfie would get along as well with Cesario as he does with Uber. In any case, I think a trip to Italy is long overdue. When my friend get used to the reality of being a parent a second time (and at 41!), maybe we should plan a visit there. I'd learn a bit of Italian, reconnect with an old friend and we could maybe even extend this friendship to a new generation.

Le char de gros Gin

On est quasiment la fin de semaine, alors j'ai pensé partager un numéro hilarant de La fin du monde est à sept heures, afin de se dilater la rate et de se mettre dans un bon état d'esprit. Ah, les années 90! L'époque du début de l'internet et des cassettes VHS qui étaient encore populaires. Bruno Blanchet est vraiment au sommet de sa forme, dans un gag long, lent, presqu'un suspense, jusqu'à la chute finale. Si elle ne vous fait pas plier en deux de rire, je suis vraiment très triste pour vous.

The Woman in the Blue Cloak

Since the beginning of the year, I have been binge reading crime fiction. I mean more than usual. Maybe it is because of my writing workshop, as I try to find inspiration learning from the very best. Who I think are the very best in their craft anyway. Among them is of course South African crime fiction writer Deon Meyer. I recently discovered that his latest book, featuring reformed alcoholic cop Benny Griessel, is now available in English, under the evocative title of The Woman in the Blue Cloak. So I hurried up to buy it. It is next on my reading list. The book is actually a novella, which I have been told is quite a popular format these days. So reading it will also be instructive.

Le Rocher Percé

Nouveau billet sur une attraction touristique québécoise. Mon père m'a envoyé des scans de vieilles photos, voyez-vous... Enfin bref, il y avait celle-ci du Rocher Percé. Je ne l'ai vu qu'une fois, je l'ai trouvé brut et magnifique. J'ai montré la photo à mon fils, il a été très impressionné. Il faudra bien que je fasse découvrir la Gaspésie à ma femme et mon fils un de ces quatre.