Posts Tagged ‘words’

Novel Writing Month

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Every year I tell myself I am going to participate in National Novel Writing Month – an online “You Can Do It!” event where people from around the world spend the entire month of November writing novels. The aim is to write 50,000 words in a month – that’s 1667 words a day. I’m fairly certain that this time last year I said I was going to do it and then I didn’t. THIS TIME I WILL! I have been very unimpressed at my lack of writing over the past eight months and now I have no excuse. I don’t have any travel plans for November so all I have is Paris and its evil art galleries, cafes and shops to distract me from my goal. I have already written myself a Post-it Note reminding me to write 1667 words a day. This is going to happen. And you can all yell at me if I don’t.

How Rude

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Yesterday Tom and I walked through Montmartre and I noticed an interesting sign outside a building. I immediately realised it was an advertising agency and looked them up when I got home. I liked what I saw. The company is called “Les Grot Mots” which means “The Swear Words”. Looking at their website, I can now see why.

Five Months Down

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I’m feeling rather ‘bleerrr’ today as today marks the five-month point of my stay in France. This means I only have seven months left which, considering how fast the past five months have gone, are going to disappear before my eyes. This makes me very sad. I thought I’d do a bit of a recap on the past five months – what I have done, what I have seen, where I have been etc. Ready? Go!

  1. I have been to Versailles (twice), Bretagne (Morlaix, a few small towns along the coast and Mont Saint Michel), Lyon, Nancy, Madrid, Holland (various towns), Koblenz, and Crete
  2. I have eaten at least 15 nutella crêpes
  3. I have found some really great restaurants and shops in my neighbourhood
  4. I have started organising events for Les Recollets residents (that started this week but it still comes within the 5-month mark!)
  5. I have been a tour guide for my parents, Tom’s parents, and various friends
  6. I have seen Morcheeba, Architecture in Helsinki, and some other random bands live
  7. I have been up the Eiffel Tower twice
  8. I have experienced -3 and 37 degree temperatures in Paris
  9. I have been swimming in the Libyan sea
  10. I have applied for a few jobs and have finally almost been successful
  11. I have started four sock creatures and completed one
  12. I have competed in a 10km fun run
  13. I saw Rich Hall in a tiny room with about 30 other audience members
  14. I have been (unsuccessfully) to the hairdresser once
  15. I have established a nice home to live in
  16. I have seen some amazing works in some spectacular galleries
  17. I have attended French classes although skipped most of them
  18. I have been sick more times in the past five months that I normally do in a two year period
  19. I have eaten lots of delicious food
  20. I have sat by the Canal Saint Martin on numerous occasions and had a beer/picnic
  21. I have maintained my weight from when I left Perth
  22. I have run 5-7km almost every day
  23. I have updated my blog and flickr site relatively frequently but have failed to write anything of any significance
  24. I went mudwalking and survived
  25. I ride Velib bikes around Paris, dodging traffic like a true Parisian, on a daily occasion

Twenty-five things isn’t bad. There’s potentially more but I am starting to make things seem more significant than they really are so I should stop. To be honest, I am currently feeling like I haven’t done enough in the time I have been here. I think I set myself some high expectations when I left Perth and I’m not fulfilling it as I would like to. Things I wanted to have done and haven’t are:

  1. Improved my French
  2. Made friends
  3. Travelled more (although maybe not as I do enjoy the daily life of being in Paris)
  4. Met more people
  5. Started to write something which has the potential to be published/used/good
  6. Started more creative projects
  7. Taken art classes.

I seem to feel this way a lot of the time that I am here and maybe I am not doing enough to change it. I know it isn’t entirely my fault as it is hard and while five months sounds like a decent period of time, in the scheme of making things happen it is really very short. But I am a bit disappointed in myself. I mustn’t waste another seven months.

I have made some moves to change things a bit. In this last week I have initiated two new activities that will hopefully help me feel a bit better about being here and what I am doing. On Tuesday morning I had an interview with a guy from NewEurope tours who run a series of tours in cities throughout Europe. It was a significantly more successful interview than my last (mostly because it was in English) and I am now in the process of learning the history of Paris in under a week. Well… elements of the history of Paris. I have been given a base script and an outline of where the tour goes. It is a three-hour walking tour through Paris and it is run on a tips-basis ie. the company doesn’t pay me and I will be relying on people giving me tips. I have been on one of the tours to see how they are run and this afternoon I will go on my second. There’s lots to learn and my biggest concern it being asked a question that stems outside my range of knowledge. But this is giving me a good excuse to sit down and learn some French history. Next week I will do an audition and then hopefully I can start. I am looking forward to it.

The second change also happened on Tuesday. I have started to organise events with the residents of Les Récollets and the first one was last Tuesday. I had organised it for 6pm and as the thunderstorms after a stinking hot day rolled in at 5.45pm I had to run around changing the venue, worrying about whether or not people would come etc. At 6.30pm it was still only Tom, myself and Diogo, a guy who is also keen on organising things within the centre. But slowly people started to arrive and by 8.30pm there were about 15 of us sitting around a very small table drinking wine, eating nibblies and talking about what we all do. It was great! Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and some of us didn’t leave until after midnight. At one point, the two italians of the group went off to their apartments and whipped up pasta with a spicy tomato sauce for everyone. It was really wonderful to meet new people and to get the ball rolling for some more gatherings. I am going to send out an email for a wine and cheese night next Tuesday night. Should be good.

I think as long as I continue to bring new things in to my days then I will be content when I have to leave at the end of January. I think I might need to look into become a student again, only this time in Paris. The idea of doing a creative arts course in Paris is very appealing I just doubt they would let me in with my lack of experience and the high demand for those sorts of placements. Perhaps museum curation… We shall see.

Handy News

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Apparently I’m not the only person who needs help conjugating French verbs. I was reading the Le Monde newspaper online this morning and discovered that they have a section next to the classifieds and job opportunities that shows you how to conjugate verbs! Brilliant. I think The West Australian should pick that idea up because plenty of Australians need help with the English language. They may need to extend it beyond verb endings though. It’s about time people became aware that “Can I help youse?” is NOT a sentence.

I did particularly enough learning how to conjugate the verb “Estérifier,” which, according to my French/English dictionary, means to esterify. According to my English dictionary, to Esterify means to create an organic compound by replacing the hydrogen of an acid by analkyl or other organic group. Many naturally occurring fats and essential oils are esters of fatty acids. Now that’s a handy verb! You, too, can learn such verbs and how to conjugate them in French! Won’t that be fun.

Learning Can Be Fun

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Following my last entry, I have returned home from French class feeling as if I have actually gained something from the experience. Remarkable! Today we covered the subjunctif (a verb tense that I have never learnt) and another pronoun, dont. I love learning new things! It is far more enjoyable to go to a class and to come away feeling like you have learnt something rather than not. Also, I am on double-kissing terms with a Venezuelan girl in my class who is lovely and intelligent and a few of the annoying class members appear to have left (or at least haven’t been there for the last two classes). So I may be sticking with the class for a bit longer. Tomorrow we’re covering another verb tense that I have never officially learnt – the plus-que-parfait.

I love verbs.

How Rude!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Over the past few weeks I have been having various discussions with people about swear words. Usually people look at my hair and general complexion, assume I am angelic and fear that my heart may explode if explicit language is used with a 500 metre radius of me. They find it genuinely difficult to associate vulgar language with me but I find swear words and explicit phrases fascinating. And while I may not be one to regularly curse in my native language having a few derogatory terms up your sleeve is quite handy when it comes to dealing with sleazy French men. Swearing in a foreign language is so much easier because the words hold no meaning – they’re just sounds that come out of your mouth and you haven’t grown up being told never to say them. It surprises me that despite living in France for seven months AND working at a school full of naughty teenagers I don’t know many swear words. So some of my French-speaking friends have been kind enough to teach me a few.

My Dad even got on board and bought me a book for Christmas entitled “Talk Dirty French” that is full of cursory terms and slang that may just come in handy one day. I thought I might share a few so that if I swear at you in French, you know what I am saying.

Ma Porsche, c’est un vrai aimant à femmes. – My porsche, it’s a total chick magnet.

J’vais pas chanter pour ces blaireaux. – I won’t sing for these morons.

Ce pécno n’a même pas de voiture. – That country bumpkin doesn’t even have a car.

I think that will do for now. We don’t want to get too nasty.

Oh to be an Eagle

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

There was once an eagle named Bob
Who was a lead member of the mob.
He was really quite tough
And sometimes very rough
And would never be seen having a sob.


Last seen in Dawesville near Florida

Find It!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Yesterday saw the release of two books into the wild. My UWA colleague, Brendan, and I (and potentially Kylie as well), have set ourselves a little competition with the help of Book Crossing. For those of you who do not know, Book Crossing is a website where you register books, download stickers, put the sticker into the book, and then leave the book somewhere. Then someone finds the book, goes to the Book Crossing website and says they have found it and then, after reading it, drops it somewhere new. The idea is to encourage the sharing of books and to also watch how far your book can travel.

The terms of the competition are: We have each chosen a book and dropped it in the same place within the UWA Business School. We are now waiting anxiously until 1 January 2011 to see whose book has travelled the furthest – if at all. The prize for the book that has travelled the furthest – Lindt 70% chocolate.

So may I encourage you all to visit the UWA Business School, pick up Spike Milligan’s “Adolf Hitler – My Part in His Downfall” and take it far, far away. Preferably overseas somewhere. If you happen to see “Scar Tissue” by Anthony Kiedis, just ignore it. Or hide it somewhere so that no one can find it. Ever.

Spike Milligan

The book to find!!


Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Thanks to my brother and his MINT printing-on-material skills, I now have some brilliant Zaum tags. Soon everything will be claimed by Zaum. Check your foreheads, folks. You may soon be for sale on my website.

Zaum tags

Zaum Zaum Zaum Zaum

Zaum tags


A Series of Wonderful Lines

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I watched Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events for the third or fourth time on Sunday night – a brilliant film and one of few movies starring Jim Carrey that I actually enjoy. For those who haven’t seen it, three rich children are orphaned and have to escape from their evil ‘uncle’ Count Olaf who is attempting to kill them to get all of their inheritance. The children move from one relative to the next as Count Olaf changes character and appears on the scene to kill the new guardian and get to the kids.

Every time I watch the film I wait with great anticipation for the section of the movie starring Meryl Streep who plays a long lost Aunt Josephine who lives in a rickety house on the edge of a cliff and who is literally scared of dying in every possible way. Stay away from the fridge, it will squash you flat if it falls. Aunt Josephine is also a grammar addict and picks on people’s faults as they are speaking. Brilliant! There need to be more of these sorts of people in life. Sadly, she is eaten alive by giant leeches. But throughout this section of the movie is one of my favourite movie lines of all time. Count Olaf has dressed himself up as a peg-legged Irish sailor who woos Aunt Josephine with seductive grammar and syntax and then attacked her when the children are out of the house. The children return home to find Aunt Josephine missing and from the cliffs below, Count Olaf cries out, “You stay where you’re at, I’ll come where you’re to!”
Not only is this creepy, but what a brilliant sentence! I literally jump and giggle in my seat when that line in said in the film. A clever piece of wording by the script writers.
While writing this entry, I googled the line and discovered that a version of that line was used as a slogan for a tourism campaign for Fort McMurray in Canada. “Where You At” was created to lure past residents back to their original home towns to visit their families. It would certainly work for me.