It's one of those words that described something that does not make a noise but if it did make a noise would sound just like that. Bliss. It's like the sound of a soft meringue melting gently on a warm plate. (Terry Pratchett, The Truth, p. 234)

What's your favourite word, in any language?

In English, I like "thrilling". It's got a soft "th", the full "l", the "ing" ending, all of which are part of the core of English, to me. It sounds exactly like what it means, something that'll send good little shivers up your spine, especially when spoken in a whisper.

In French, my favourite word is "velours", another word that sounds exactly like what it means (velvet). A soft "v" sound to start off with, a little frisson of "ou" and a purring "r" at the end. Mmm, velours...

* * *


After two days of wanting to eat everything in sight -- and it's not even specific cravings, it's just OMG MUST EAT even when I've just eaten and am not feeling remotely hungry -- it finally dawned on me that on top of the weather suddenly being chilly again, I'm about to start my period. No wonder my body is craving nutrients. Not that I deprive it of any, it's just being testy.

* * *


Look at my first sticker sheet! Isn't it purty? :D )

I've since earned a sticker for completing a knitting project. Also, I have more charts!

Kimberly helped me make them, and while we were working on that at her place, I pondered what I should reward myself with.

"It's tough, because there's nothing I really deny myself. If I want it, I get it, unless it's unreasonably expensive, or something. I go out to eat with friends often, and I travel as much as I can already. And I don't want it to be clothes, because I'm attempting to stop buying clothes. And I own way too many pairs of shoes."

"How about accessories?"

Pause. "Have you seen my earring collection? XD;;;"

Laugh. "Right."

Finally, it dawned on me that the one thing that I do really like, and that I seldom ever buy, is fancy pastries. So each completed line will be a depaato pastry, which I will eat slowly at home, enjoying it along with a nice cup of tea. Now, doesn't that sound good? I can't wait!

I still haven't decided what I'll give myself when I complete a whole chart, though! Any suggestions?
Saviez-vous que le verbe "éclore" n'a ni passé simple, ni imparfait, ni imparfait du subjonctif? En plus, il lui manque les 1ère et 2ème personnes du pluriel au présent de l'indicatif et de l'impératif. Tu parles d'une affaire...

Translating "The Ugly Duckling" led me to look up éclore (to hatch), and I was once again amused at how weird some French verbs are. The great majority of them are first group ~er verbs, and super easy to conjugate (also any verb you make up or borrow from another language is by default an ~er verb: checker, downloader, gambarer, etc. XD), then there are the 2nd group ~ir verbs which also all follow the same pattern, except for the bunch of them that don't. It's with 3rd group verbs that things get interesting, because it's basically all the verbs that don't fit into the 1st or 2nd groups, and though they may have the same ending, ~re verbs, for instance, can conjugate any number of ways. Then you have the odd verb that has two accepted conjugations (like asseoir), impersonal verbs that can only be conjugated in the 3rd person (like falloir), and verbs that have fallen out of use or are so archaic they've been retained only in certain tenses and so are impossible to conjugate in say, the simple future, or the past subjunctive. Or maybe those tenses were never needed to begin with, who knows?

So, yeah. In French, you can't say "Let's hatch!", nor can you say, "They hatched" (but you can say "They have hatched").

Thus concludes your French lesson for this evening. *bows out*

Only one story left to translate! I'll do that tomorrow evening, proofread the two I translated today, proofread the last one Wednesday morning, then send them out and wait three months to get paid. ^_^;
My hair is short! Weeeee! :D It's just what I wanted, and I think it looks cute. I may revise this opinion once I try to style it myself.

The whole process took quite a long time, because the stylist decided that he'd wet my hair and cut it, then send me off for shampooing, then get another girl to blowdry it, then cut some more, then style it (usually it's shampoo first, then cut, then style, then all done). He was doing another client's hair at the same time, so while I waited, I was treated to a saabisu hand massage. Yes, please!

It was funny to see the perplexed look on the blowdry girl's face when she got around to my bangs and saw the lock that always dries with a weird little kink when left to its own devices. It never fails! Also funny were the stylist's feeling of "Urayamashi~~~" at my natural hair colour, as he pointed to his own died-to-sort-of-my-colour hair.

Spent the afternoon in Ikebukuro with the roomies* eating gyouza (Gyouza Stadium in Sunshine City is totally worth it!) and ice cream and taking them into Animate and Mandarake and K-Books. Fun times standing around in Mandarake, A and I explaining the concept of doujinshi and BL to S, who knows nothing of manga or anime at all. Her reaction to the tenimyu photosets was, "...are those REALLY all guys?" XD Then we did purikura and A proved to have natural mad skillz at decorating the photos -- this was followed by him immediately failing at choosing the picture layout, jabbing randomly at the screen before I could explain what was going on so we ended up with some microscopic shots along with the decent-sized ones.

While we were at karaoke last night, it hit me just how good it feels to hang out with French speakers (Canadian ones, even!) my own age. Since C moved back home last year, I only regularly speak French with my mother over Skype and with my private students, who are both lovely, but in their 50s... It's really weird to have no French in my day-to-day life, when for 25 years I constantly lived in two languages. Part of the problem is that I rarely read in French, and hardly ever watch anything in French either, but that's not a new development; I hardly ever did back home either, but I went to school and worked in French, and spoke it with a good number of my friends, as well as G. Those are all parts of my life that have radically changed since moving here, though I suppose I could make an effort and find out where les gens de chez nous hang out. ^.^;

In other news, how the hell is it nearly June?! Seriously, people! So I have a number of things that I'd like to do this summer, and I'll post a list in a little while so you can tell me what you want in on. Or, you know, let the crickets chirp away. ^_^

* I've got two people staying with me, and a friend of theirs is staying in a hostel. A is getting ready to write his thesis on cosplay and is in Japan on a recon mission of sorts. V and S are along for the ride.
A couple of weeks ago, I told the tale of my adorable 50-something student who said "crapping" instead of "creeping", right?

Yesterday, while she and her husband were trying to teach me to play hanafuda, she was searching for the word "phoenix". Guessing what she meant, I wrote it on the board.

"Ah," she said, peering at the word, trying to figure out how to pronounce it. "Penis?"
Though I've not watched any America's Next Top Model in a few months, last night I nevertheless dreamt of Tyra Banks. Playing golf. The dream also involved an old family friend, pictures of a pick-up truck and something about a party where I couldn't find the person I was looking for.

In the past few days, I've watched:

The Interpreter: Not too bad, not too good -- but WHY THE HELL didn't they just put her up in a hotel instead of having her apartment under constant surveillance?! And her French accent was horrible, the rhythm of her speech didn't sound natural at all, even for someone speaking a second (or third, or fourth) language. Unless of course she was supposed to be speaking with a south african accent in French, in which case I shouldn't say anything because I don't believe I've ever heard someone with a south african accent speak French. But still, it sounded bad.

Speaking of accents, a French presidential candidate recently made some inappropriate comment about Quebec separatism. A few days later, she received a phone call from "Jean Charest", in which she alluded to her comment and then ended up saying something (inappropriate) about Corsican separatism. Only she wasn't speaking to the Quebec premier, she was speaking to a French comedian (or radio talk-show host, something like that) and it was being taped. They played a bit of the tape on the news and my reaction, apart from wondering how good a politician she is if she can't keep such comments to herself, was to wonder if she's ever even met a Canadian, since that guy was doing a pretty bad impression of Canadian French, on top of sounding nothing whatsoever like Jean Charest.

Memoirs of a Geisha: I knew to expect weird hair and makeup and an inexplicable dance scene, but everyone said "It's a gorgeous movie!" And it was, at times, but for all the talk of the beautiful kimono, there seemed to be very few shots where you could actually appreciate their beauty. Also, I couldn't figure out why the young Sayuri was running around Fushimi-inari Temple (the tunnel of torii gates), which is about a half-hour train ride outside of Kyoto, if she pretty much spends her life at the okiya. It looks pretty, but... The Chinese actresses' accents in English didn't sound too Chinese to my ears, though someone's "Konnichiwa" at one point sounded really bad, but I still kind of wish the whole thing had been filmed in Japanese.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlement: Bad. I missed a good deal of it, going in and out of the room (couldn't be bothered to pause it) and concentrating on my knitting, but I think it's safe to say that I didn't miss much. Sean Connery sounded like he had a mouthful of porridge most of the time, though that might be his default mode of speech, the costumes were kind of cheesy, the special effects were VERY cheesy and that's about all I remember. I would like to read the comic book, if ever I come across it, if only to see if it's all the movie's fault for sucking.

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February 2012

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