Saturday 31 August 2013

Mrs. Robinson

I thought I would upload something from Simon & Garfunkel. I love The Graduate, I watched it for the first time around this time of year, right before I started the last year of my degree, so here is Mrs. Robinson.

Le sorbier familial

J'ai blogué récemment en anglais sur les sorbiers et sur leurs fruits oranges qui sont une indication du passage de l'été à l'automne. Or, j'ai trouvé dans ma boîte de courriels une photo du sorbier envoyée par mon père en août 2006. Le 14, pour être plus précis. Après des recherches exhaustives, je me suis rendu compte qu'elle n'avait jamais été téléchargée sur Vraie Fiction. Nous sommes aujourd'hui la dernière journée d'août et j'ai pensé que ça faisait sens que la dernière photo publiée ici en août 2013 soit celle-ci. Surtout que déjà l'on sent l'été se faire discret et l'automne à nos portes. J'ai déjà blogué sur ce que ce sorbier représente pour moi. Enfant, il était le centre de bien des jeux. Alors voilà, le sorbier familial, une fois de plus sur ce blogue.

Gentle breeze

It is sunny and windy today. It is not very windy, only a breeze, but a constant one, strong enough to give a slight chill to the air. It is a beautiful time to be outside (so I will not spend much time in here blogging, not until the evening anyway). I wonder if the wind could be strong enough to fly a kite. I actually have one here, but it is not for me: I bought the kite as a birthday gift for my godson and will give him next time I see him. I often worry if he will not find it boring. But growing up, my father used to go with us on windy days to fly his kites. I would do it if I had a kite (for myself I mean) and if I knew the breeze was good enough for it. Maybe it is, but I an no specialist. I have very rarely flew a kite myself. I was more interested about seeing them fly.

Mafalda (parce qu'il faut bien rire)

Je télécharge ici un gag en une planche de Mafalda, juste pour le plaisir. Enfin non, pas seulement pour le plaisir. Parfois, comme maintenant, je me sens un peu misanthrope et l'espèce humaine me décourage. Avec ce qui se passe dans le monde, en Syrie et en Russie particulièrement, je me rappelle Mafalda. L'humour ne change rien, a dit Quino (je paraphrase). N'empêche, l'humour de Mafalda est toujours pertinent, comme je l'ai dit ici. Pertinent parce que toujours contemporain et intelligent. Ce gag en une planche que je viens de télécharger aurait pu être écrit aujourd'hui. L'humour ne change rien, mais quand c'est intelligent c'est profondément cathartique.

Friday 30 August 2013

The whole menu of Georges Steak House in Chicoutimi

As it is my new tradition, I am plugging a restaurant this Friday, and/or some of its menu, a restaurant I often mentioned in my French posts. Tonight, I am plugging maybe Chicoutimi's most important restaurant: Georges Steak House. Well, its proper, real name is Chez Georges, but since it opened up in 1960 the locals call it Georges Steak House and this is how I usually call it, or the Steak House, as if there was only one in the world. Because it is a steak house, although I usually have the chicken. Georges is the perfect restaurant for fatty, greasy food. You can find its menu here in PDF. You can also find it on the individual mats in the restaurant. There is no English version, not for now, but you don't need to know much French, or any at all, to understand the menu. Of course you can also read about it on TripAdvisor, but the reviews are rather mixed. Maybe you need to be from the place to understand the appeal. I have been to better restaurants, but when it comes to honest, simple cuisine, even though it may be somewhat bland in its simplicity, it is difficult to be better than Georges Steak House.

So if you ever visit Chicoutimi and are hungry (because you need to be hungry to eat at Chez Georges), what would I recommend there? Well, in short, everything. My youngest brother usually has a spaghetti meat sauce (basically spaghetti Bolognese), my other brother PJ has BBQ chicken breast I think, or something. We rarely change what we order. My parents are more adventurous. I remember sometimes years ago I used to order the Frankfurter sausage or the cocktail of shrimps as a starter. Not anymore, they are too filling. So for the last few years basically I have as a starter an Oriental salad (no idea why it is called Oriental), which is basically iceberg lettuce, one piece of tomato in a dressing that is mainly vinegar and salt. Then as a main meal, I have the chicken, coming with a thick BBQ sauce which is more a gravy, thick fries and coleslaw (!). Then for dessert, I have a slice of Graham cookies custard pie (the Graham cookies is of course the base). Little lesson of Saguenay measures: when it says one slice of pie, it really means one quarter of a pie. Last time I went there with my father, we were two on said slice/quarter and we couldn't finish it. I wrote a French post about it. I enjoyed a lot my last meal there, which was in February 2012 (so long already), but most of my enjoyment may have been pure nostalgia.

Question existentielle (201)

Je marchais ce soir, il y a une heure environ, en passant par un parc pas loin et j'ai entendu des adolescents parler. Je me rappelle que j'ai passé beaucoup de mon adolescence dans un parc. Il m'est donc venu en tête cette question existentielle:

-Qu'est-ce qui attire les adolescents dans les parcs?

Thursday 29 August 2013

Rowan trees and new signs of autumn

I have decided to upload this picture of a rowan tree, which I took yesterday on my way back from work. It is of course the picture of a rowan tree. I blogged about rowan trees before, as I developed a certain fascination for them, as they are associated with mythology and folklore. They are supposed to be a protection against witches, which is great, as there is one that lives nearby (I am talking about the evil neighbour who hates cats of course). We have one at my parents' garden which is absolutely magnificent. There are plenty of rowan trees in the little town where I live, I have also seen many in Windsor. It might be a tree typical of the English south.

It is also one of the signs of the upcoming autumn. Trees obviously can be used to determine whether a season is coming or not. I use them to read the signs of changing seasons anyway, like I did recently with a fig tree. When a rowan tree gets his orange coloured (and as far as I know inedible) fruits, it means that autumn is near. When autumn is in full force, the leaves should take the colours of a wild fire. There was also another recent sign of seasonal change: yesterday evening, as I was walking outside, I could smell smoke and fire. Not the smell of a barbecue, typical of but the smell of a bonfire, or a small home fire that was coming from a chimney. There is summer smoke, and there is autumn smoke, both smell differently, something about the context and the atmosphere. In any case, I was happy to see these new signs of upcoming autumn.

Le sel de la terre (le bouquin)

Je plogue une nouvelle publication de mon cousin Samuel Archibald, Le sel de la terre. qui je crois semble être un recueil d'essais mélangés de récits anecdotiques. Il faisait du Proust matiné de Stephen King lorsqu'il a écrit Arvida, je pense qu'il soit fort possible que cette fois-ci il mélange Jean-Jacques Rousseau et Roland Barthes. Mais je me trompe peut-être. Peut-être que ça ressemble à Homage to Qwert Yuiop, qui sait. Je vais bien entendu l'acheter lors de mon prochain voyage au Québec. Quelqu'un l'a-t-il déjà acheté?

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Odin the black cat

Well, since we are Wednesday, Wotan's Day, I am publishing another post about his namesake, Odin the wandering cat. Since you all seem to love Odin, I am sure you will not mind. Not that there is much to tell, to be honest: Odin is still around, comes out of his dwelling (the shrubs by the block) every morning, full of twigs and dead leaves, to greet me and every evening he shows up to welcome me back. He is not as camera shy as he used to be, as last weekend he stared at me and did not flinch when I took my phone out to photograph him. That was after I fed him his dinner, rabbit stew and biscuits. He was not keen on cuddles and needed some "me" time, it seems, as he moved away from a few steps, licked himself thoroughly, then looked at me, with his very unique eyes, in something that I identified as irony. You tell me if I am right, but on this picture he seems to be telling me I'm a sucker. He is right of course, but he's so darn cute.

And as a bit of news, one of the neighbours told me he had a conversation with the witch I mentioned here. Basically he warned her not to take away (as she had done in the past) the bowl of water for the cat that he and his wife left in the bushes. He also said that the cat was loved by many and that he was doing nothing wrong and hurting no one, and that the fact that she decided to do the gardening did not give her the right to run the place as her own. She tried to justify it, and justify her feeling of entitlement over the garden by saying: "Oh, but you are just renting." He replied: "We have been renting for nine years here, and our rent pays for this garden too." I would have told her the block is not a boarding school and that she is not a headmistress and that renters are also people to treat with respect (not sure she understands that word). Nevertheless, the answer of my neighbour is worth a mention as a new great unknown line. His second one, in a row. Oh I love the humiliation and little defeats of evil witches! And Odin, being maybe the Norse god in disguise, is a blessing to the whole neighbourhood.

La rentrée déjà?

Constatation lorsque je visite Facebook ce soir: tous mes amis qui ont des enfants, ou presque, parlent de la rentrée aujourd'hui. Les gens de ma famille qui sont à Montréal, ceux qui sont à Québec aussi, une amie de Sherbrooke itou. Ca m'a comme frappé: ça commence dès fin août, la petite école? Dans mon souvenir, c'était septembre. Je pense à ma presque nièce (la grande soeur de mon filleul) qui commence le secondaire cette année et ça me donne le coup de vieux. Jusqu'ici, aucune mention du retour en classe à Chicoutimi, ou au secondaire. Mais enfin bref, est-ce déjà la rentrée chez vous? Et, un coup parti, quels sont vos souvenirs de la rentrée scolaire? Je sais, je l'ai déjà posée cette question, en question existentielle (la 17e). J'essaie de me rappeler quand est-ce que l'on rentrait à l'école, et ce n'était jamais en août.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Tuesday's Dead

I know I uploaded Tuesday's Dead before, but that was years ago. And had not uploaded it on a Tuesday. So as I am feeling very dead after a day of work, this song came to my mind. I comes to my mind every Tuesday, believe it or not, I am that predictable. Cat Stevens had a more profound and spiritual meaning to this song (which he hinted at in this video), but for me it is about the end of a working Tuesday.

Je cherche un manteau

Bon, c'est officiel, parce que mon manteau d'été achève, je m'en cherche un autre à partir de là. Je regardais le capuchon et sa couleur qui avait été noire à l'achat passait au vert-de-gris, ça veut dire que je dois m'en défaire avant qu'il ne se défasse pour de bon. Prérequis: je préfère le noir, avec un capuchon parce que je n'aime pas les parapluies et il doit bien entendu être imperméable. Si vous avez des suggestions, n'hésitez pas à me les donner.

Monday 26 August 2013

The figs are green

I know I used a similar title not long ago. What you can see at your right is, well, figs. I may be wrong, but I think they are figs. Green, raw, unripe figs. I took the picture in a small and narrow street, barely more than an alley, in the way to the library. This alley is maybe my favorite spot in this town, I might blog about it one day and explain why. There is a fig tree in one of the nearby gardens and the branches are so big they cover the walking pavement so you walk for one meter under a green, natural roof. It looks and feels lovely.

But anyway, as you can see, the figs are still green, which is a sign saying we are not quite in autumn yet. Although of course harvest time changes from fruit to fruit. During my trip in Italy, the figs were ripe from late August and early September. They were part of many of my breakfasts there. Every time I walk pass the fig tree, I think of Italian breakfasts.

Souvenirs d'une rentrée cégépienne

Une petite nouvelle anecdotique m'a inspiré ce billet: c'était la rentrée des classes au Cégep de Chicoutimi, incidemment mon alma mater collégiale, jeudi dernier. Cette photo du Cégep de Chicoutimi téléchargée sur sa page Facebook a bien entendu été prise en automne, à voir les feuilles, bien après la rentrée des classes, donc, mais c'est tout de même cette image qui me vient en tête quand je pense au début des classes cégépiennes. En août, je trouve ça un peu tôt pour commencer l'année scolaire, néanmoins le cégep est sans doute le milieu scolaire qui m'a le plus fait oublier le sentiment mélancolique du retour à l'école, celui qui m'a donné le plus d'enthousiasme à la rentrée (même plus qu'à l'université). Même nouveau, malgré les craintes que j'avais face à un nouveau milieu, je ne me suis jamais senti autant comme un poisson dans l'eau, me faisant des amis aussi naturellement que s'ils étaient des voisins rencontrés dans le carré de sable dans lequel je jouais étant enfant.

Je me rappelle de ma première journée au cégep, enfin de mes premières journées, j'imagine que mes souvenirs ne sont pas exacts, mais je sais que j'avais une classe sur le "langage et analyse filmique" de trois heures au départ et une sur la bande dessinée en fin de journée. Entre les deux, un cours d'éducation physique (que j'exécrais) qui s'appelait je ne sais plus trop quoi, un cours de science humaine sur les sciences humaines, un de philosophie que j'ai dû faire déplacer et peut-être un autre. Après avoir dû changer les cours, j'avais neuf heures le lundi, j'étais donc raqué à la fin de la journée, mais le reste de la semaine était par conséquent allégé. Et puis à la fin de la journée, j'étais conquis. Mon cours de bande dessinée qui terminait ma journée était donné par Richard Boivin, que j'ai déjà mentionné ici. J'ai beaucoup appris dans ce cours, qui dépassait et de loin la bande dessinée. Mes années au secondaires ont parfois été pénibles, mais celles du cégep, je l'ai su dès la première journée, ont été les meilleures de ma vie estudiantine.

Where Odin dwells

I hope my readership does not mind if I tease it a bit without showing my feline friend on a post that is about him. This is a picture of Odin's bushes, the dwelling place where he comes around in the garden.He has owners, but I think he spend most of his nights there, sleeping in the bushes. Every morning, or most mornings anyway, when I go to work, he shows up, his fur full of twigs, for an early cuddle. Every evening, or most of them, he is shows up from his hiding place, the same bushes, and asks for a cuddle and of course some food.Today is a bank holiday so I can feed him during daytime. I know he has owners and maybe I shouldn't feed him, but as they have a little menagerie at their home, with a dog and two other cats, and especially as Odin always seems very hungry, I do like most of the neighbours here and feed him.

One of the neighbours the one I mentioned here, is considering putting a small house in there to keep him safe from rain and colder weather. He and his wife already placed a bowl to fill with water so Odin could drink when he is thirsty. Of course, the evil witch (whom I sometimes refer to by another name) who thinks she runs the garden and hates its feline dweller, took it away a few times. She spent a lot of time gardening around and in the bushes two or three weeks ago, trying to reclaim the nest as her own property, but it only kept Odin away the time she spent there. Well, she will be granted her wish in December, until then Odin is welcome. Interestingly enough, his namesake had a dwelling place where he looked at the world around him, an eagle's nest at the topmost part of Asgard. Although this is much closer to the ground, it is pretty much Odin's nest now.

La tourtière crue

J'ai trouvé dans Dropbox cette photo (parmi d'autres) de tourtière pas encore cuite avant la mise au four. Elle ressemble à un oeil sans iris, avec une minuscule pupille. Pourquoi est-ce que je publie cette photo? Elle est quelconque. Un peu parce que ça montre LE met régional du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean sous un jour inusité, avant qu'il soit doré par la cuisson. Je télécharge la photo sur Vraie Fiction peut-être simplement parce que le temps de manger la tourtière approche. Et par fierté régionale, évidemment. Je régionalise Vraie Fiction.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Fast Train (Solomon Burke)

I thought this blog needed a bit of music. Something not to chase away the melancholy of a Sunday, but to embrace it. So I uploaded another song heard in The Wire, this time the end of season 3. It is Fast Train sung by Solomon Burke. Although it is a cover from a Van Morrison, I prefer the interpretation of Burke I think. Something about his voice. Today I prefer Burke's version anyway. So here it is.

Un buffle d'eau (Mosaïcultures)

Je télécharge aujourd'hui pour ce premier billet de la journée une nouvelle photo prise par mon père lors de sa visite avec ma mère aux Mosaïcultures. C'est une sculpture qui m'a beaucoup impressionné parce qu'elle est d'un réalisme saisissant. C'est celle d'un buffle d'eau, enfin je crois. On le regarde et on croit un instant qu'on est dans un coin perdu de la planète. Je ne sais pas si c'est ma préférée, mais le réalisme est saisissant.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Eerie reads

As I mentioned on this post, I am getting in the mood for Halloween. There is an eerie feeling in the air since yesterday, something that came with the rain. I know summertime will come back again for at least one last blast, but it feels autumnal enough, so I am officially starting to read horror stories. I finished yesterday my last summertime book, and as I struggled to sleep last night I read a few pages of The Howling. I had seen the movie years ago and wanted to read the original. The movie I thought was quite a good chiller. As for the good, so far, so good. It is not great literature and I have seen better prose, in fact the style is a bit flat, but it is nevertheless an efficient 70s chiller. It has been (re)published by Books of the Dead Press. A few years ago I tried to find it on Amazon, and all I could find were old copies at prohibitive prices, so I am grateful for this publisher to make it available again at such a good price. The cover is also very nice.

I guess what got me curious about it, apart from the memory of the film, is that it is about werewolves. I am more into vampires (the old gothic kind) and I usually read a good deal of ghost stories when I read horror stories. Werewolves stories I very rarely read, last time I did was because I stumbled upon one. I wonder if werewolves stories are less common than vampire stories. In any case, I want to extend my knowledge of this horror archetype.

Fête des récoltes (plogue)

Petite plogue rérionale en ce samedi 24 août, si vous êtes au Saguenay. J'ai donc appris via LBR, le Cyberjournal du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, qu'il y a une Fête des récoltes qui se tenait aujourd'hui dans le quartier St-Paul à Chicoutimi. De 10h à 16h, au Carrefour communautaire St-Paul. Le logo est à droite et ne semble avoir rien à voir avec les récoltes. C'est semble-t-il la huitième. Comme je ne savais pas qu'il y avait une Fête des récoltes, c'est une nouvelle indication que ne suis pas au Saguenay depuis un bout de temps. Pourquoi est-ce que je le plogue? Parce que le temps des récoltes est un moment de l'année que j'aime beaucoup et je suis heureux qu'il y ait une fête qui le souligne. Ensuite parce qu'il y aura une épluchette, tradition typiquement québécoise. Ah oui, et du bouilli gratuit. Alors si vous êtes dans le coin, allez faire un tour.

Friday 23 August 2013

The bagels of St-Viateur

For this Friday, I am plugging, as it is now a sort of blogging tradition, a restaurant or food joint that I particularly love. I have mentioned them time and again before so it will not be exactly something new, but they deserve their own post. I am talking about the bagels of St-Viateur Bagel of course. My first year in Montreal, they were part of my main diet and made me survive starvation. That and pork pies, omelettes and a few other things, but mainly the bagels from St-Viateur, which I had very often as my Friday treat. I used to go to the café on Mont-Royal Avenue, buy a few fresh from the oven, with salmon, cream cheese, capers, bring them back to the apartment, then toast them and eat them with cream cheese, smoked salmon, onion and lots and lots of capers. And a zest of fresh lemon too. Sometimes I ate there too, I usually take the Traditionel (classic smoked salmon bagel), but I also tried the Omertà once (years ago), which from what I remember was quite nice. My youngest brother had the one with smoked meat, which seemed delicious and very Montrealer. You can find the menu here, in PDF format. My other brother and I had them replacing the bun in hamburgers, and they work very well like that too.

You might think I am exaggerating, but Montreal is the place for bagels. Read the reviews on TripAdvisor. Of course, I need to mention that there is also a "bagel war" in Montreal, between St-Viateur and Fairmount. You can read more about it on this BBC News article, which also features a video. I am sold on St-Viateur, but I may be biased because I had my first Montreal bagel experience there and because it was so close to home. In any case, they taste much better than the cardboard donuts they call bagels here. If you go to Montreal, your trip is not complete until you eat a bagel from St-Viateur, fresh from the oven.

Une gaffe de La Presse

J'aime bien me payer la claque de la "grosse" Presse quand ils commettent des erreurs. J'en ai trouvé une récemment dans un article sur la Semaine italienne de Montréal (sur laquelle j'ai blogué ici). Dans l'article en ligne intitulé La culture avec un grand I, il y a des notes sur les photos qui accompagnent, ou accompagneraient, l'article, mais elles n'y sont pas. Ca donne: "photo de l'église ?", "photo de lui ou une de ses toiles", "photo du bonhomme vert" et je trouve ça assez amateur. Peut-être que les photos étaient sur l'édition sur papier. Maintenant, la semaine est terminée, mais les erreurs demeurent.

Thursday 22 August 2013

The incipit of Goldfinger

An incipit, as people who studied literature know, is the first sentence of a novel. I quote them on Vraie Fiction from time to time, because some are simply great introductions to great novels. This one is from Goldfinger. It is a flawed novel from Ian Fleming, some people say the movie improved upon it (I think in some ways it did, in some other it did not), but it is nevertheless very well written, full of atmosphere and character. And here is the incipit: "James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death." What follows is a reflection about the murderous aspect of his job, triggered by the memory of fight a few days earlier with a hitman sent to kill him. The first chapter makes in itself the novel worth a read.

Question existentielle (200)

Nous en sommes à la 200e. J'ai beaucoup cherché, je voulais poser une question existentielle profondément existentielle, j'ai sué sang et eau pour trouver une question songée (comme la 101e), j'en ai trouvé plusieurs que j'utiliserai dans un avenir proche, mais finalement, celle-ci sera relativement prosaïque. Et en passant la numéro 199 n'a pas encore été répondue. Alors voici la 200e:

-Où faire une promenade dans la soirée?

Wednesday 21 August 2013

The mac and cheese controversy

Last week, two colleagues of mine, one English one American, were discussing about macaroni and cheese.I was not paying much attention to it, but then the American one started laughing as if he had heard the strangest thing. He asked: "Really, you put mustard in your mac and cheese? Who does that?" The British one asked me to take part in the debate and I took his side. The American thought it was a very odd choice of flavoring for the dish. I did not do this when I used to make macaroni and cheese back in Québec, my recipe was with four different cheeses, taken from a book mum bought me for my first year at university. It was quite bland. I guess it was not meant to be high gastronomy. But I discovered a few recipes that do include mustard, and it gives flavor to the dish and fancies it up. With Dijon mustard, it is borderline decadent. Anybody else have mustard in mac and cheese? I wonder if it gives snobbery to the quintessential comfort food meal, but it is really good. In any case, it made for a subject of debate at work.

Je cherche un roman

Quand j'étais enfant, je ne me rappelle plus à quel âge, ma mère a amené chez nous deux romans, deux anciennes étidions. Je crois qu'elles dataient de son enfance à elle et qu'elles venaient de chez grand-maman Mado. Je ne me rappelle que d'un titre, L'Auberge de l'abîme d'André Chamson. L'a couverture est exactement celle que vous voyez à votre gauche, merci Google Images. Elle m'avait attiré vers le livre. C'était un roman historique, je me rappelle encore du début. C'est le premier roman que j'aie tenté de lire, le premier livre qui n'était pas une bande dessinée. Je crois que je m'en suite au premier tiers, peut-être même jusqu'à la moitié. Je me rappelle avoir été pris par l'histoire et comme il y avait des illustrations parfois je trouvais la lecture assez plaisante, même si j'avais parfois assez de difficulté avec la prose. Je devais être très jeune. Je ne sais pas trop pourquoi j'ai abandonné sa lecture et je ne sais pas ce qu'il est advenu du livre, s'il est encore à la maison. J'y ai pensé récemment, je ne sais pas trop pourquoi le titre m'est revenu à l'esprit. Je voudrais bien reprendre la lecture du début et le terminer. Ce genre d'obsession livresque me prend parfois. Avez-vous des bouquins comme ça que vous voulez retrouver?

Tuesday 20 August 2013

RIP Elmore Leonard

I have learned something very sad today: Elmore Leonard passed away. At 87, it was to be expected, but it is still sad nevertheless. I have to confess, I was disappointed by Djibouti, but he wrote so many great crime novels. I still remember discovering him with Glitz and being blown away. Elmore Leonard had such... I was about to say talent, but this is such a cliché and so ridiculous to say this about a veteran writer, especially such a prolific writer. Leonard has mastery, skills. He was a maestro of crime fiction. I had wanted to quote his ten rules of writing, I didn't know when, then sadly tonight became the occasion. It sums up why he is so admired:

"1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."

He also added one to sum up the ten: "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." A maestro's words. He will be missed, but his work is immortal (and he wouldn't have forgiven me for this cliché).
1. Never open a book with weather. 2. Avoid prologues. 3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. 4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely. 5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose." 7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. 8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. 9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things. 10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

La pleine lune ce soir

"C'était, dans la nuit brune,
Sur le clocher jauni,
La lune
Comme un point sur un i.

Lune, quel esprit sombre
Promène au bout d'un fil,
Dans l'ombre,
Ta face et ton profil ?

Es-tu l'oeil du ciel borgne ?
Quel chérubin cafard
Nous lorgne
Sous ton masque blafard ?"

Ballade à la lune (extrait), Alfred de Musset

J'ai pris cette photo hier soir, quand la lune était presque pleine, mais mais la photo était suffisamment jolie pour la télécharger ce soir. Je cite encore Musset, la ballade qui a inspiré la chanson de Brassens. Je la fredonne à chaque soir de pleine lune, enfin quand je me rends compte que c'est la pleine lune. Alors je vous invite à la regarder ce soir.

Monday 19 August 2013

Halloween in mind

Maybe I am writing this as a cheap excuse to upload another picture of the Jack O'Lanterns on the house windows of this house I saw recently. Well, not maybe, it certainly is an excuse to upload more pictures. However, like I am sure many of my fellow Halloween aficionados, I am getting in a Halloween mood more and more. It is not autumn yet, but the air in the morning and evening is filled with a bit of a chill that is definitely not summery. It looks and feels more and more like the summer is ending. And it is, of course. But in the evening, there is something vaguely eerie about it. Soon, as soon as I finish reading this novel, I will get started on horror stories. I can barely wait. The Halloween mood starts in late August for me. I read Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera in the middle of summertime and they haunted me until the end of the next season and beyond, I played the Dracula game on a hot September day... Somehow, it is always now that I start thinking about Halloween.

Avoir hâte au retour à l'école

Petite anecdote apprise via Facebook, qui m'a fait penser à la question existentielle 196 (et en passant personne n'a encore répondu à la 199) ainsi que mon billet d'hier en anglais: une de mes amies de Facebook, la mère de mon filleul, dit que sa fille a hâte de commencer l'école secondaire. Qu'on soit impatient d'un retour à l'école, c'est rare chez un enfant (et un adulte?). Bien entendu, la mère est nerveuse. J'ai trouvé ça très drôle. J'envie ma presque nièce d'avoir du sang froid comme ça. Les débuts d'années me donnaient toujours des angoisses, mais le tout début du secondaire encore plus. Tout de même, ça me donne confiance en l'avenir de la civilisation humaine, du moins sa survivance.

Sunday 18 August 2013

The "Back to School" feeling

It usually starts in August, and this is why I sometimes don't like the month. I have blogged about it in French earlier this month. It is often triggered by one trip in the shop. And you are stuck with it: the "back to school" feeling. it got me. Again. There is advertisement everywhere in the shops reminding parents to buy new clothes for their children, furniture to get back to school and reminding me of the end of summer holidays. I know I do not have summer holidays anymore, not automatically, but I have been conditioned since childhood to have the same dreary feeling when I see all this. August is the time to renew your autumnal wardrobe, buy new shoes and gradually start getting into the mood of a new working season. Don't get me wrong, I love autumn. But the days in August leading to it, I often feel melancholic, a feeling triggered by the preparations to the new school year around me.

Un panda (Mosaïcultures)

Petite note en préambule: ceci n'est pas la photo du mois (que vous trouverez ici). Je télécharge donc à nouveau une photo des Mosaïcultures. Mon père a pris les photos que vous retrouverez sur Vraie Fiction. Celle-ci est celle d'un panda. J'ai pensé la télécharger depuis que j'ai vu cette vidéo sur La Presse, à propos d'un bébé panda réuni avec sa mère au zoo de Taipei à Taiwan. Les pandas du zoo étaient un cadeau de la Chine. Enfin bref, ça m'a fait penser à cette mosaïcultures.

Saturday 17 August 2013

The burgers of L'Anecdote in Montreal

I don't want to blog too much about food on such short time period (last time was yesterday), but I have been wanting to plug this restaurant and its burgers for quite a while and I had promised to do so last time I plugged a restaurant/pub. Although I think I did plug the place before, I certainly mentioned it, this is the formal post about what is one of my favourite eating places in Montreal. Since Eurosnack closed down, it is where I usually go for my first meal in Montreal, sometimes for the last one the day before departure. I am talking about L'Anecdote (no website, this is the info you get on TripAdvisor), at the corner of Rachel and Saint-Hubert, at the heart of the Plateau Mont-Royal. It has a vintage American diner look, far from a rarity in Montreal, but L'Anecdote gets it right. It is there, but not too kitsch, and the appearance is not everything: there is quality food too, and especially. Everything I tried there is delicious, especially the burgers. I usually go for the Anecdote #4, which has deer meat and, instead of bacon, smoked bison on top. It just makes the experience very, very unique. There is a range of mayonnaise as well to go with the fries, I usually choose their curry-mayo. So here it is, in a nutshell. Go and try some.

La mauvaise herbe

Je n'ai pas téléchargé de chanson de Georges Brassens sur Vraie Fiction depuis ma fête, donc le mois d'avril. Je vais corriger cette erreur à l'instant.J'ai choisi La mauvaise herbe, comme ça, sans raison. Ou peut-être un peu en pensant à la voisine mégère qui s'est autoproclamée jardinière du bloc et qui a des préjugés sur tout le monde (et les chats). Dans tous les cas, la chanson s'adresse à tous les gens étroits d'esprit.

Friday 16 August 2013

Pollo alla milanese sandwich

Remember when I used to write about my Friday's sandwich treats? Well, for one blog post, I am reviving the tradition.Today at work, as I usually do every Friday, I went to the sandwich shop where the Italian guy works, to have my special Friday sandwich treat and speak Italian a bit. He was there, all friendly and chatty as usual. Now he greets me in Italian form the start, which is always a good sign. He then offered me something, again in Italian, I could hear pollo and milanese, and I said yes out of curiosity. I love being offered something special from the chef. Well, he is not exactly the chef, but as he is Italian and was speaking to me in Italian and was making a big deal about it, I knew I was getting the royal treatment.

And I did get the royal treatment. Through our conversation, a mix of English and Italian, I understood that the sandwich I had ordered was a polla alla milanese sandwich. Basically, it is, in a baguette, fried chicken in breadcrump, with melted mozzarella on top and mayonnaise with it. It was delicious. The guy (I need to find his name really) also explained to me that it was something his mum used to make for him when he was a child. He had prepared the chicken the night before, soaking it in herbs and what have you. Ironically enough, he is Sicilian. I wonder if next Friday he will try something special. I would be happy with the same thing, this is comfort food at its best.

Le Red Champagne

Petite nouvelle découverte par PJ dans Le Quotidien: Herménégilde Plourde, l'inventeur du Red Champagne, une boisson saguenéenne qui est pratiquement inexistante hors de la région, est mort à 94 ans. Je ne suis même pas certain d'en avoir jamais bu, si c'est le cas je ne me rappelle plus ce que ça goûte. Je me beaucoup plus du Saguenay Dry, lequel lui a disparu. À mon sens, c'était la vraie boisson des Bleuets. Le nom en tout cas était beaucoup plus typiquement régional. Mais des imbéciles ont décidé de cesser de le vendre. Au moins, le Red Chanpagne est encore vendu, et bu. Alors Herménégilde Plourde a laissé un vrai héritage aux gens du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Happy Birthday E. Nesbit

Ah, the things you learn when you open your browser on Google sometimes. Like today, first thing in the morning, I see a Google Doodle, and I discover it is celebrating the birthday of Edith Nesbit, or E. Nesbit. She was the author of children's books, such as The Railway Children, which was the one illustrated in the Doodle. It is maybe a lesser known fact nowadays that she was also the author of a good deal of horror/ghost stories, including Man-size in marble. I know nothing about her children stories, ironically enough. But I read Man-size in marble in this anthology. It is a really good chill, a classic ghost story, set fittingly on Halloween night. As it is my favourite holiday, I found the story very fitting for a read in the time leading to the season.

The short story had a strong enough impression on me to make me want to truly discover Nesbit, so as I mentioned on this post I bought a book of her horror stories, The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror (and by the way what brilliant covers Wordsworth Mystero books have). I will read them eagerly soon, in the upcoming weeks leading to Halloween (I usually start shortly before September). One could find strange that a famous (or once famous) author of children fiction also wrote horror, but to me it did not surprise me at all. Children have a wild imagination and often a sinister one and childhood fears and nightmares feed one's psyche for a lifetime. If one can channel them, they can write magnificent tales of terror. I am looking forward to explore the dark side of Edith Nesbit.

Un objet (la photo du mois)

C'est aujourd'hui le moment de la photo du mois. Surprise, ce fut très facile. Le thème étant "un objet", il me fallait simplement trouver un objet (duh!) et essayer d'être original. Voici l'objet. Trouvé dans le jardin d'un pub. Ca sert à, heu... Ben, heu, ça sert à égaliser le sol? À taper le gazon pour lui donner l'allure d'un tapis? Enfin, je n'ai pas à expliquer ce que c'est, tant que c'est un objet. Rouillé, soit, mais un objet. Un quossin, comme on dit au Québec.

Vous pouvez voir ici ce que les autres ont découvert comme quossins:

Agnès, Akaieric, Alban, Alexinparis, Alice Wonderland, Anaïs and Spip, Ann, Anne, Arwen, Aurélie Ménard , Ava, Bestofava, BiGBuGS, Blogoth67, Calamonique, Cara, Carnets d'images, Caro from London , Caterine, Cathy, Cekoline, Céline in Paris, CetO, Champagne, Chat bleu, Cherrybee, Chloé, Christelle, Christophe, Claire's Blog, Coco, Cocosophie, Cricriyom from Paris, Dame Skarlette, DelphineF, Djoul, E, El Padawan, Eloclemence, Elodie, Eurydice, Fanfan Raccoon, François le Niçois, Frédéric, Isa, Galinette, Gilsoub, Giselle 43, Gizeh, Guillaume, Happy Us, Hibiscus, Homeos-tasie, _Hypeandcie, Isaquarel, J'adore j'adhère, Josiane, Julie, Kia909, KK-huète En Bretannie, Kob, Krn, La Dum, La Fille de l'Air, La Messine, La Nantaise, La voyageuse comtoise, Lau* des montagnes, Laulinea, Laurent Nicolas, Lavandine, Lavandine83, L'Azimutée, Les bonheurs d'Anne & Alex, Les voyages de Lucy, Louisianne, Lucile et Rod, Lyonelk, M.C.O, magda627, Mamysoren, Marie-Charlotte, Marmotte, Mathilde, Mes ptits plats, Meyilo, MissCarole, Monptitboudoir, Morgane Byloos Photography, Nicky, Nie, Ori, Oscara, Photo Tuto, Pilisi, Pixeline, Renepaulhenry, scarolles-and-co , Sephiraph, Shoesforgirls, Skipi, Solveig, Sophie Rififi, Stephane08, Tambour Major, Testinaute, Thalie, The Parisienne, The Singapore Miminews, Thib, Tuxana, Un jour, une vie, Une niçoise, Violette, Viviane, Wolverine, woocares, Xoliv', Zaza,

Wednesday 14 August 2013

The Odin saga continues

Well, it is Wednesday so it is just an excuse as any to talk about Odin. I thought it was the end of my time with my feline friend. I thought Odin, now that his owners had found out about his visits to the neighborhood (well, in fact it is the same neighborhood, as they live in the street perpendicular to this one), they would just spend more time with him and that would be it. Only two days ago, I titled my post about Odin The end of the Odin saga?. Well, I was wrong, at least for now.

In fact, not much has changed. Odin is still around, in the morning when I go to work, in the evening when I come back. It was raining tonight and he was still there.He still rubs my feet, he still asks and receives treats, from me and from the neighbours. Except the evil witch I mentioned here, who has been passive-aggressive to everyone who gave cuddles and treats to Odin. She keeps on bitching about him to anyone who would listen, usually passersby, as no one in the block listens to her anymore. Like one of my neighbours said about it: "There is nothing wrong with being compassionate." This is wise, and good enough to be a great unknown line. People here understands this, including Odin's masters. And this is on this note that I want to end this post.

Question existentielle (199)

Parce que mon manteau achève après quatre ans d'utilisation (et non pas trois comme je le disais dans mon billet du 12 août), je me pose cette question existentielle:

-Quelle devrait être la durée de vie d'un manteau?

Tuesday 13 August 2013

The beaver's diet again

Remember the beaver's diet I mentioned in January? Twice, actually. It struck me today: I have it again, I mean I crave sugar more than usual during daytime, so much so that I need to control myself. It happened inconspicuously: first it was someone's birthday and he had brought donuts, biscuits and other sweets. I had brought my own breakfast, but of course I had to eat some of course, I mean to be polite. Then today a new colleague, from Germany, came with chocolate cookies and other biscuits and some more desserts, I think I saw some rocky roads. She sent an email, saying it is a tradition in Germany for newcomers in a working place to offer food to everyone. That is one hell of a way to be accepted and appreciated by your peers! The chocolate cookies were delicious. I had them for breakfast with plenty of tea. Everything high in sugar tastes better with tea.

I always have sugaree breakfasts on a working day, but now I am in pure beaver's diet mode. I wonder why, I mean why I crave sugar that much. I think it might be the need to stay awake and alert. Or maybe it is getting colder outside. In any case, I crave it. I think I can keep my waistline under control, if I cut on crisps and I walk a lot, which I do. But I need to remain vigilante. Because a beaver's diet is a very tempting one, but I do not have a beaver's metabolism.

L'Italie montréalaise

Je l'ai appris dans La Presse, car ils ont un dossier sur le sujet: c'est la Semaine italienne de Montréal. Je ne savais même pas que ça existait. J'ai une relation trouble avec l'Italie, un mélange amour/haine. On le sait. Je trouve la culture italienne tour à tour fascinante et insupportable. Je me demande ce que je ferais si j'étais à Montréal, de cette Semaine italienne. Parce que l'italianité peut être encore plus insupportable, surtout quand elle est montréalaise. Mon expérience italienne, elle vient surtout d'Italiens natifs, alors que je partageais avec eux le rôle d'étrangers en terre étrangère. Avec un petit saut touristique d'un mois dans leur pays. L'Italie montréalaise, c'est trop souvent ces temps-ci le scandale de la construction, la mafia et cette couleuvre de Lisa Frulla. Je lis tout de même les articles sur le sujet avec fascination, surtout les chroniques de Foglia, que j'ai trouvées touchantes. Un peu malgré moi, je dois dire. Mais l'Italie, c'est aussi ça et ça aussi. Et je n'arrive pas à l'oublier. Alors j'irais sans doute faire un tour là-bas, si j'étais à Montréal.

Monday 12 August 2013

The end of the Odin saga?

A warning to everyone who love him: I might write more about Odin the wandering black cat, but not as much as I used to. It was a very eventful evening. So as I had mentioned last time, Odin went to the vet tonight. He was a very good boy. A few things were confirmed: he is a boy, he was not a wild cat, even though he was an outdoor cat, he had a chip... but it was a foreign one, the code being much shorter than the British codes and it being not in the vet's database. My imagination ran wild and I started imagining Odin coming from Scandinavia or Russia or something. As if he was really the Norse god in disguise. Anyway, overall it was very reassuring: Odin is a healthy cat who spends a lot of time outside because he loves it and even his left eye, although suffering from something, can still see.

Then, back home, as I was taking Odin out of his cage, a couple walking by and asked if this cat had a weird eye... And it turned out Odin was theirs. They are really friendly people, the man is American and the woman is French, they are from Florida where they bought Odin and two more cats and a dog. So Odin is really a wandering cat, and a well traveled one. Except he is not from Scandinavia, but from Miami. His "real" name is Homer, not because of the Greek poet, but because they found him at Home Depot. It is a good name, it is a fitting name too, but I still prefer Odin. So anyway, in a nutshell, the mystery of the black cat is now revealed: Odin is just a home cat with Bohemian owners, who likes his bit of independence and is friendly to everyone and not shy to accept people's generosity, especially in food form. Their house, by the way, was their house I mentioned before. I was glad Odin had a safe place to go. I wonder why he spends so much time here. But I need to end this post, and this saga, on a sad note (can a saga end on a good one?): Odin and his masters will go back to Florida in sunny Miami next December. They said they cannot endure another British winter. I should be happy he has a home, a loving one even more, with really lovely, warm, friendly owners (one I could even speak a bit of French with). And he even has some cats buddies with him. But I can't help feeling sad. Oh, and they offered me to pay for the vet, but I refused. I mean, it was my initiative, that would have been cheeky to ask for them to pay.

Le manteau qui achève

Petite révélation de fin de saison: mon manteau léger d'été, justement, que j'ai acheté en 2009 en rabais à rien que 10£ (dix petites lvires sterling anglaises, donc un peu moins de 20$) commence sérieusement à prendre de l'âge. Trois ans seulement, et il est devenu noir pâle par endroits. Il devient également naturellement frippé. Ca m'ennuierait beaucoup de m'en acheter un autre: c'est de loin mon manteau d'été préféré de ceux que j'ai eus durant les quinze ans de mon existence, sans rire.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Early sign of Halloween

I blogged recently about the early signs of autumn and now, without even looking for it, I found the very early sign of Halloween. I couldn't believe my luck. Today is a very sunny day, just warm enough, but a nice breeze that cools things down and makes the temperature not only bearable, but pleasant. It is the kind of end of summer day which I love. As I want to make the best of it, I was walking around midday, when I saw this Jack O'Lantern on the top of a window. In fact, there are two Jacks like this, one over each window. (By the way, how do we call this thing, this kind of half circle, protuding bit in some houses?) Of course, it is not a real pumpkin, just a lantern shaped as one, and the owners might keep them all year round, like some people keep their Christmas lights on no matter the season.

All the same, it reminded me that Halloween is coming, and getting closer and closer. I long for it and I am already getting in a Halloween mood, wanting more and more to read horror stories. i know this is August, but I used to feel the same as a child, because thinking of Halloween was making me forget that the school year was also getting closer and closer as August went. This house would be the perfect setting for a horror story. Heck, they have Jack O'Lanterns already!

Un singe (Mosaïcultures)

Si vous êtes à Montréal et vous vous ennuyez ce dimanche, parce que dimanche c'est souvent plate, pourquoi ne pas aller faire un tour aux Mosaïcultures? Faites comme ce Montréalais d'adoption expatrié ferait s'il le pouvait présentement. Oui, je sais, ce billet est encore une fois une excuse pour télécharger des photos de l'évènement. Enfin, une photo, celle de ce singe. Je ne sais pas si c'est une espèce spécifique, mais il a l'air vivant.

Saturday 10 August 2013

Banana bread on the house

I went to the local artisanal food shop to buy myself sausages for tonight's supper. I go there because the sausages are made by a local producers and they are delicious. I mentioned the shop before. They also offer some kind of café service, where they serve coffee (duh!), tea and various cakes. As I was hesitating between various specialties, the shopkeeper was finishing banana bread, and asked me: "Do you want the last bit of it? It's on the house." I already loved this shop for many reasons (quality food at a not so expensive price, and the most delicious pears I ever ate), now I have another one. So I came back home with tonight's meal, which was delicious (Toulouse sausages) and tomorrow's breakfast. Or maybe tonight's dessert. I am not sure yet. But I love getting slices of banana bread on the house. Buying them, I always find it expensive for the size of the slice. But free, I can't complain.

Question existentielle (198)

J'ai déjà posé des questions existentielles sur le mois d'août, mais après une recherche sur le blogue je ne crois pas avoir posé celle-ci:

-Quelles sont les causes profondes de la mélancolie du mois d'août?

Friday 9 August 2013

The ongoing Odin saga

I have not blogged about Odinsince a fairly good bit, as I thought about diversifying the topics on Vraie Fiction. But I know Odin is maybe the favorite topic of this blog, so here is a new one, the latest episodes in the Odin saga. Here is the most recent picture, where I miraculously managed to get his lovely feline face. Odin is very camera shy and always turns his head, often even moves quickly out of the frame, when I try to take a picture of his face. But yesterday, I managed to take one where you can see his eyes. You can see now why I baptized him Odin. He is very akin to his namesake, even though Odin I think had lost his right eye (according to this book at least). Reading the WIkipedia article, it seems that the Vikings were never clear about which eye the Norse god had lost.

So this Odin, my beloved wandering cat, has now been adopted (or has adopted, as cats do), by the whole block. I discussed feeding time with a couple of middle aged people who are also cat lovers and do enjoy feeding him. I say the whole block, except one person: there is a malevolent old lady, who took over the garden when she moved in (even though there is a private business paid to do the gardening), and has been bossing the place around since then, who thinks Odin is a nuisance and has been chasing him down the road when she is gardening. I was referring to her when I wrote this post two years and so ago. I was naive enough to say people were all nice here, even the irritating busybody ones. Oh I was so wrong! Just like I was wrong in my preconceived idea that old witches loved cats. She has been very rude to pretty much everyone showing kindness to Odin. She is my new nemesis. Otherwise, everybody loves my furry friend. The name has not caught up yet, but I think it will. He even made himself at home in the bushes in front of the block, where he hides most of the day, except when he is treated with foods and cuddles. It seems like a safe place when it rains.

I have also decided to take Odin to the vet next week, to see: 1)if he has an chip and 2)if something can be done about his eye. One of the nice neighbours offered me to pay a part of the visit and the possible treatment. If he does have a chip, and thus an owner, I would be very sad, because I would have to give him back (and explain this to the people who fell in love with him here) nevertheless it would be the right thing to do. Even if he does not have an owner, I will probably need to give him up at some point to the Cats Protection Society. As I suspect he is half blind, I won't let him out in the wild indefinitely. But until then, well, sweet Odin is here.

250g de chocolat aux bleuets

Ce billet est en quelque sorte une suite à ce billet. C'est aussi et surtout un billet à saveur sucrée et régionale. Enfin bref, la photo de droite a été téléchargée par moi-même sur la page Facebook de la Chocolaterie des Pères Trappistes. Leur site internet est présentement en construction, alors je ne peux pas donner de lien vers le produit, mais évidemment je veux parler des bleuets enrobés de chocolat noir. Mon petit frère m'a indiqué, dans mon dernier billet sur le sujet, que la quantité par boîttes a progressivement baissé à pour être maintenant à... 200 grammes. Ce qui n'est rien. Ici, on voit clairement 250g. Il fut un temps où c'était 275g. Je sais, je sais, la saison a été difficile. Les prix ont augmenté progressivement je crois. Et c'est ce qui m'agace. On devrait faire l'un ou l'autre. Oui, maintenant c'est un produit de marque, l'emballage est maintenant celui d'un produit de luxe. Mais c'est le même chocolat. Alors j'estime que la boîte devrait être de 250 grammes, au moins.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Early signs of autumn?

My fellow blogger Jaz from October Farm mentioned in one of her recent posts that autumn is settling in. It made me very thoughtful since I read this. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I do think I found some early signs of autumn. I know, it is still early August. But here they are:

-While it is usually hot enough during daytime, it cools down in the evening and in the morning it is cool too. Cool enough to be comfortable with a light jacket.
-At work, I saw in some of the maple trees nearby a few leafs reddening (or blushing, as I like to say).
-There is this cool wind outside sometimes. Not much of a change, but when it blows in the trees it creates such an autumnal atmosphere.

Ce sentiment de rentrée des classes

Bon, ma publication sur Vraie Fiction de gags de Mafalda passe plutôt inaperçu on dirait, mais je m'y lance quand même une fois de plus. Celui-ci a été créé après la série, pour illustrer les Droits de l'enfant de l'ONU. Il illustre parfaitement le sentiment ambivalent que j'avais durant mon enfance, que j'ai encore, envers l'école. L'école, c'est souvent ça, Felipe le comprenait parfaitement: une nécessité, un droit primordial, mais ce que ça pouvait être barbant.

Or, c'est le mois d'août, cette époque dans l'été qui marque le début de la fin de vacances. En août, je suis pris de mélancolie, des années après avoir cessé d'étudier et des années après avoir mis fin à ma carrière dans le monde de l'éducation. Ca ne rate jamais. Je n'ai pas encore vu de publicité pour le retour à l'école, mais ça ne devrait pas tarder. Dans tous les cas, il m'arrive souvent d'avoir de ces moments de méancolie du mois d'août. Enfant, c'était pire: je pouvais sentir l'odeur de l'école certaines journées. C'est pourquoi d'ailleurs je crois, que je lis surtout Mafalda le mois d'août. J'ai souvent l'impression qu'elle et ses amis (surtout Felipe) comprennent ma douleur.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

The Forest of Doom

I don't know for whom I am writing these posts about Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks. Nostalgic geeks like me, maybe. I finished The Citadel of Chaos, which I will not read again just yet, I found it mostly tedious (as I had feared). Now I am going to walk in safe territory (so to speak) with The Forest of Doom. You can see a very bad picture of the cover on the right. It is the third Fighting Fantasy Gamebook and one that I already read it during my childhood (or my early teenage, I can't remember). The Forest of Doom in question is in fact Darkwood Forest. With a name like that, it didn't really need a nickname. Darkwood Forest is frightening enough as it is.

I know I am going to love this one, for many reasons. You do not have to fight an evil wizard or any kind of magic user, but to find a warhammer which some Dwarf kingdom needs to win a war against trolls. This book is, in fact, a treasure quest. Sure, it is not the Holy Grail, but still, it makes a nice change from killing the big baddie. This book is also thus close to low-level Dungeons & Dragons quests, and actually has an uncanny resemblance to the very first quest PJ, who was (and is) our Dungeon Master, made for us more than twenty years ago (21 to be more precise). I think he was heavily influenced by this gamebook. My character being a ranger, I was like a fish in the water. Which leads me to the other thing I find interesting in The Forest of Doom: the setting. Old network of caves or ancient fortresses might be fun, but gloomy woods have a charm the other settings don't possess. A forest is alive, creeping with life, whether this life is good or evil. It is wild, but you can find the odd shelter, the wood cabin or the hollow tree, sometimes a place to rest, sometimes hiding its own dangers. It is just a great setting for an adventure. So I will enjoy my venture into Darkwood Forest. I know because I did before.

Le Chat et le Vieux Rat

"J'ai lu chez un conteur de Fables,
Qu'un second Rodilard, l'Alexandre des Chats,
L'Attila, le fléau des Rats,
Rendait ces derniers misérables :
J'ai lu, dis-je, en certain Auteur,
Que ce Chat exterminateur,
Vrai Cerbère, était craint une lieue à la ronde :
Il voulait de Souris dépeupler tout le monde
. "

Le titre du billet et la citation viennent bien entendu de cette fable de La Fontaine. C'est la seconde fois que je cite La Fontaine. On retrouve le nom de Rodilard dans cette autre fable. Je redécouvre les Fables de La Fontaine depuis un certain temps, et je me rends compte que souvent ce que j'aime le plus, ce n'est pas tant la morale que le début, toujours brilliant d'évocation et d'efficacité. La morale de cette fable est le fameux "Prudence est mère de sûreté". Mais le début, avec son chat sanguinaire, est bien meilleur.

Monday 5 August 2013

The apples are green

What I really mean to say is that the apples are still green. As you can see on the picture here. I took it yesterday in the garden of a nearby pub. It is a very bad photo from my mobile phone, but you can see apples, very green, so green in fact that they blur in the leafs. I had blogged last Friday about the harvest season that has started with the month of August. I should have added: that has just, barely started. These days it has not felt very summery, if it was not for the green leafs we'd think it is September already. It is not cold, but it is much cooler than it was. There is a certain autumnal feel to this beginning of August. It is fine by me: the heatwave had started to be a bit much and I find the temperature more bearable now. August is in many ways a transitionary month that can go either ways in terms of temperature. That said, we are not in autumn yet. Its quintessential, emblematic fruit, the apple, is not nearly ripe yet.