Monday, 30 September 2013

Monday survival guide

I was wondering last Monday how to survive it and the 9 to 5 job I have. I experienced it today first hand, and in the borderline worst case scenario: at the end of a month. Ends of months are usually busier and often nastier. Surprisingly, or maybe not, I survived this Monday better than I did the last one. Maybe because I was better prepared. I drank tea (Earl Grey), I had a breakfast that was high in sugar: a scone and a donut, the donut being offered by the employer as it was the end of the month. It gave me plenty of energy to get through the day. I also had pizza for lunch, again that was given by the employer which allowed me 1)to save myself a meal, 2)gain some protein through all the salt and saturated fat and 3)to make the usual gloomy Monday lunch a bit different. The pizza was pure junk food, but still enjoyable. And, as one of my readers had suggested, I took plenty of breaks. My waistline is worse for wear, but I survived Monday.

Des oies et des pommes

Nous sommes le dernier jour de septembre et j'ai pensé le souligner sur Vraie Fiction avec une photo. J'en ai publié une très semblable l'année dernière pour souligner le début du mois. C'est tout l'automne en une photo: les récoltes, son fruit le plus représentatif, les oiseaux qui migrent. Quand je suis rentré du travail aujourd'hui, ça sentait la tarte aux pommes qui cuisait lorsque je marchais dans la cour. Je crois que ça venait d'un appart du rez-de-chaussé dont les portes-fenêtres sont toujours ouvertes. Je ne suis pas un grand fan de la tarte aux pommes, mais ça m'a pourtant creusé l'appétit. En fait, si le goût de la tarte aux pommes me laisse indifférent, l'odeur de la tarte qui cuit, j'ai toujours aimé. Mais enfin bref, j'avais l'esprit bien automnal. Ce mois de septembre a été marqué par ça pour moi: des oies qui volent et des pommes. C'est donc pour conclure septembre que je vous montre cette photo.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

An Owl

This is, well, the picture of the painting of an owl, very badly framed by me. I took it last summer, in an art exhibition in the local C of E church. I was waiting for a moment to upload it. This is maybe the last picture I upload in September. It is kind of fitting. I consider owls autumnal creatures. They are often featured in Autumnwatch, which I cannot wait to see this year. Sadly, it will be on much later this year, at the end of October. This is way too late, but I guess they cannot get it started in early September. Owls, especially barn owls like this one seems to be, are associated with ghosts. And Halloween is getting closer and closer, so that's a good reason as any. I have only seen glimpses of them in the wild, but I have heard them. Their cry are indeed ghostly and very haunting.

Steak d'orignal

Coeurs sensibles s'abstenir: ceci est un steak d'orignal, que mon père a fait cuire sur barbecue à un moment donné cette année. Cela dit, n'étant pas encore cuit, bien c'est un morceau de chair sanglante. Enrobée dans du bacon. C'est pas décadent rien qu'un peu. C'est dimanche, le jour en Angleterre du Sunday roast. Je me suis rendu compte une fois que j'ai appris l'existence du Sunday roast, que le roast beef que l'on mangeait très souvent dimanche soir au Québec était tributaire de cette tradition britannique. Parfois, rarement, le roast beef devenait un roast... moose. Ou un roast beef d'orignal comme on le disait, ou alors un steak d'orignal. C'est bon pas rien qu'un peu.

Pumpkin Soup

Anybody here into children books? Here is a book you can read as an adult. It is Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. Because pumpkin is in the title and pumpkin soup is the MacGuffin of the story, it can be one of your Halloween reads. Especially since the look of the very lush pictures is very autumnal. The story is about a cat, a squirrel and a duck living together in a cabin with pumpkins in the garden. With the punpkins, they make... pumpkin soup. The best soup they ever was. The cat cuts the pumpkin, the duck adds just enough salt and the squirrel does the stirring. All is well, until one morning the duck decides that he will stir the soup. Which will bring conflict. A wonderfully simple story about friendship and understanding, with very well rounded characters and beautiful, beautiful beautiful images. There are two other books with the same character, in what is sometimes called the Pumpkin soup trilogy (!). I read them all, they were all wonderful stories and it was great to see the characters again, but the first book remains my favourite.

Les valises et les vacances (anticipation)

Je pars en vacances dans moins d'une semaine, alors j'ai commencé à préparer mes valises hier. Est-ce trop tôt? Je préfère m'y prendre d'avance que de manquer de temps, surtout que faire ses valises les soirs de semaine est moins évident. C'est aussi un réflexe tiré du temps ou je voyageais pour aller vivre plusieurs mois loin de la maison: je devais transporter tout le nécessaire en terme de vêtements. Maintenant, je voyage plus léger, enfin j'essaie. Cela dit, faire ses valises (ou plutôt sa valise, je n'en prends qu'une pour voyager) d'avance me permet aussi de calmer mon impatience.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The organic apple juice of Drovers Hill Farm

This post is both an anecdote and a plug. I know I am uploading an image of the business and not the apple juice, but I love the label with the hare looking around. So today I went quickly to a local Saturday market that was open during the morning.There were various stands of artisan and small food producers. I love these kinds of community markets, so anyway I went there and stopped, among other places, to the stand of Drovers Hill Farm, where I usually stop to buy their organic apple juice. Because I love their organic apple juice. It is delicious. I can drink it any time of year, but as it is autumn now and apple is the quintessential autumnal fruit, I thought it was the perfect time to buy some and show my appreciation to the business.

There were two children at the stand, a young boy of about eight or nine I would say, wearing a salesman's hat, and a girl older than him (eleven? twelve?). She was obviously more experienced with this and was teaching him how to speak to customers. I had seen her before, I think, but the boy was new. He offered me a glass to taste, which I accepted even though I very well know how it tastes. He poured me a generous portion. The girl said: "Don't pour that much! No, don't pour in another glass, that's rude." As he had already done so and was about to have a sip, she grunted: "Now don't drink it yourself!" I had to laugh. I told her: "Don't worry, I'm a salesman, he is still learning the tricks of the trade." I think this deserves to be a new great unknown line. The boy asked me if I was American, because there's something about my accent, he said. I told him no, that English was not even my mother tongue, but thanked him for thinking so. And then I told them I was French Canadian, which picked the girl's interest. She asked: "Do they speak French and English at the same time there?" I said sometimes. And I think what she said should also be considered a great unknown line. So in the end I bought two bottles, not only because of the apple juice (which, as I may have mentioned, is delicious) but because I think they were a very good sales team. I might actually email the farm to tell them they did a fine job.

Une mésange

Je télécharge aujourd'hui une nouvelle photo automnale, juste pour le plaisir de colorer Vraie Fiction de tons automnaux. La photo a été prise lors d'un voyage de chasse de mon père, le 23 septembre 2006. Les mésanges au Saguenay, je me rappelle plus les avoir vues que les geais bleus. Je me rappelle même les avoir nourries à la main, elles ne sont pas farouches après quelques minutes. Elles sont jolies dans les bois, elles ont un chant mélodieux, je les aime bien bref.

Friday, 27 September 2013

The rebirth of the private eye?

Quick plug for a novel that has not yet been published: The Double by George Pelecanos will be released on October the 8th, 2013. This will be the second adventure of Spero Lucas, the first being The Cut, which I read already (well, of course). I am trying to keep up to date with my Pelecanos, who is by far my favourite crime writer (yes, more than Elmore Leonard, there I said it). Spero Lucas is his new hero, or antihero, a 29 years old Iraq war veteran turned private investigator. A private eye. It might sound like a cliché, a commonplace, but it is so not. Because Spero Lucas works in contemporary Washington D.C. Because he is scarred and haunted by contemporary events and belongs to our time and age, because he is not a living anachronism but has a history that belongs to our time, the background of a man his age, I think he just made the private eye a relevant archetype again. Although Spero Lucas is not an archetype. On the contrary, he is a full, grounded, complex character, in a complex world, a world that may sometimes be in black and white but has plenty of shades of grey. Thus, I think Pelecanos may have, consciously or not, given us the rebirth of the private eye. I was enthusiastic when I read the first novel, I am impatient to read the second one. And I am uploading here the preview (!) of the novel, to give people a foretaste of the character and his world. I am not a big fan of video trailers for novels, I think they don't belong to the same medium, but I don't mind this one.

André Girard (littérature saguenéenne)

Petite plogue rérionale après mon billet d'hier sur le Salon du livre du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. L'écrivain et prof de cégep André Girard y sera. Enfin, il y est. André Girard a, incidemment, été l'un de mes profs de cégep. J'ai regardé cette entrevue à la télé rérionale et plus précisément La Baie-esque. Il n'a pas changé, si ce n'est qu'il a blanchi (un peu mais pas autant que moi). Il y parle de ses romans, de son amour de Tokyo, Dublin et du Saguenay, plus précisément de La Baie, son coin du Saguenay. Anecdote à ce propos: comme mon père, André est un gars de La Baie. Alors il était temps que je le mentionne et le plogue sans honte sur Vraie Fiction.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Walking on autumn leaves

This picture was taken last year in October, we are still in September the leaves have not fallen nearly as much and they are not nearly as colourful, but nevertheless, the leaves have started falling. It is another manifestation of autumn, one I love. It makes me forget that the temperature is a bit on the warm side these days. Whenever I can, I walk on the autumn leaves. I have an anecdote to tell about it, I hope I never blogged it before. Back in my university years in Montreal, my first year in fact, a friend/acquaintance of mentioned that her attitude towards autumn leaves on the ground indicated to every single Montrealer that she was a weirdo from outside the city (she was from Trois-Rivières if I remember correctly): she used to scoop the leaves with her feet with enthusiasm. This is such a regional, out of big city, countryside, borderline barbaric habit. I should know, I have it too. Walking on autumn leaves, kicking them when they are in piles, it is just some of the simple autumnal pleasures that I look forward to every year.

Le Salon du Livre du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

Petit rappel: le Salon du livre du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean est commencé depuis pas plus tard qu'aujourd'hui. J'avais promis de le reploguer, pour tous les chanceux qui passent par ou vivent dans ma région. Édition 2013, donc, du 26 au 29 septembre. J'ai été dans bien des salons du livre (non, c'est pas vrai, celui du Saguenay et celui de Montréal) et ce n'est pas que par chauvinisme régional que je préfère celui du Saguenay. En septembre, c'est le temps idéal pour un salon du livre. Juste parce que. Et puis la région, elle est bien belle en septembre.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Moose, deers and a great unknown line

This is a picture taken by the infrared cameras my dad and his brothers put in the bits of forest they own. They are hunters, see, and it is hunting season. I don't think my father ever killed a moose, but he did shoot a deer, a beautiful one whose head is now on top of the fireplace downstairs. My mother doesn't like it, as she finds hunting trophies a bit tacky. Last time I went home, at Christmas, I discovered that someone else did not like the head one bit: my godson. Moose, for some reason, are his favorite animals, he LOVES them. He also loves other cervids, as he does not really make a difference between them. So he saw the deer's head on top of the fireplace, looked at me with horrified eyes and asked: "Is that a real moose's head?" I told him: "No, that is a real deer's head, but the same family, yes." And then he asked, more horrified: "Who did this?" I told him that my father did, that years and years ago he went hunting and shot a deer. He said, emphatically: "Well, I think people who kill moose and deers are really nasty!" It made me smile, because he was very sweet. And since then I have wanted to make this a great unknown line. Looking at the pictures my father sent of the moose, I thought it was a good time. I did not repeat this to his own dad, because he would have probably told him off. But hey, I can blog it.

Pelleter des nuages

J'ai lu avec intérêt ce texte d'opinion d'Éric Samson paru dans Urbania. Notamment parce que, comme lui, j'ai étudié en Études françaises à l'Université de Montréal, un domaine souvent vu comme inutile. Incidemment, je ne me rappelle plus l'avoir connu. Il n'était peut-être pas de mes années là-bas. Contrairement à bien de mes anciens camarades de mon alma mater, j'ai présentement un travail et une carrière bien loin de mon domaine: je n'enseigne plus, ni le français ni la littérature, et je ne suis pas libraire, ou blbliothécaire. J'ai souvent la nostalgie de l'enseignement, surtout l'enseignement de la littérature, mais je dois admettre que j'ai réussi à me débrouiller dans l'entreprise privée, à bien des égards beaucoup mieux que dans le merveilleux monde de l'éducation. Surtout ici en Angleterre. Ce qui me fait dire que l'éducation que j'ai reçue a finalement été utile, même si je ne cherchais pas à apprendre quelque chose d'utile. Il Je déteste au plus haut point l'expression "pelleter des nuages", qui est anti-intellectuelle, ignare et peut-être même obscurantiste. L'étude de la littérature m'a appris à structurer ma pensée et à communiquer intelligemment, ce qui est déjà ça de gagné.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Eerie fog

Recently, the temperature has been much milder and I have been disappointed that the autumnal temperature that was there earlier has turned into something akin to a warm end of summer. Fine for an end of summer, but I wanted autumnal temperatures. Then this morning, as I walked out to go to work, I had a pleasant surprise: a thick fog all around me. Temperature went down a few notches, so it looked and felt very autumnal and of course beautifully eerie. And the train was a bit slow on its way, therefore I had some extra time to read the horror stories of E. Nesbit I have been reading recently, as I am already on Halloween mode. Reading scary stories in a train journey, surrounded by eerie fog is always a very pleasurable experience. By the way, this picture is not from this morning, but from last year. It does not give justice to the thick fog that was here today.

La St-Ambroise à la citrouille

Petit billet qui est en fait une plogue brassicole ainsi qu'une préparation de mes vacances québécoises automnales qui arrivent à grands pas: j'ai appris de leur page Facebook que la bière à la citrouille de McAuslan est maintenant disponible. Je n'en ai pas bu depuis 2005, je crois. J'ai hâte de la redécouvrir. La St-Ambroise à la citrouille est la boisson automnale et halloweenesque par excellence. J'en préfère d'autres, mais c'est une incontournable de l'automne québécois depuis que je l'ai découverte en 1996. Je compte d'ailleurs la ploguer auprès de mon lectorat anglophone. D'ici là, j'encourage mon lectorat francophone de se stocker.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Surviving Monday

Some Mondays are like this: you get up in the morning after a bad night of sleep, you have a pile of work to get through and at the end of the day you are still behind. Your body aches everywhere, you are tired, you are slow you are hungry but not hungry and you know if you start feeling sick it is merely hypochondria. Nothing goes really bad, but you feel so grey and gloomy. Sometimes I wonder if human beings are meant for a nine to five job. Especially on a Monday. Anyway, I survived this Monday, however I think I need to find a way to survive the next one, or the one after the next one, in case it is like this one again. Any suggestions? Preferably nothing that requires speedball. I will make a list in the upcoming days or weeks and eventually write another post on the matter.

La nouvelle française (billet nostalgique)

En faisant le ménage de mes armoires (enfin, un peu) je suis tombé sur ce bouquin, Modern French Short Fiction, qui était l'anthologie que mes élèves avaient pour leur cours sur... la nouvelle française. Que j'enseignais, avec d'autres profs. Une de mes amies se cherche des livres en français pour se dérouiller, je crois que je vais le lui prêter, même si en général je n'aime pas prêter mes livres (parce qu'ils ont tendance à disparaître). En le feuilletant, je me suis rappelé mes cours. Je me demande si j'ai encore les notes. Ce n'est pas le cours que j'ai préféré enseigner, mais j'ai quand même eu bien du plaisir, même si j'étais en avance d'une heure sur mes étudiants en ce qui concerne la connaissance de la nouvelle à l'horaire. Ils la lisaient rarement, enfin rarement au complet. Ca m'a aussi permis de redécouvrir le genre littéraire et m'a permis non seulement d'en apprendre sur le sujet, mais aussi de développer une certaine perspective sur le sujet. Je crois que j'étais un bon prof, en tout cas dans cette matière.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Odin the cat of many names

Last time I blogged about Odin was a bit more than a week ago, so since my readership seems to love the Odin saga I thought I would blog again about him tonight. Forgive this badly framed picture, but Odin is a capricious model. He does not let himself be shot easily. Anyway, my post will be brief, as there is not much more to tell, but a few anecdotes. I had a conversation with his owners, who don't mind that the people of the block take care of him. As my readership knows, the owners call Odin Homer, because they got him at Home Depot, in the garden section where he was squatting. They shorten it to Homie and they once had an Italian cat sitter calling him Homero. Strangely enough, Homero it is the name of one of the dogs of my Italian friend. She had a whole pack of them. I also know that the nurses coming here call him grumpy old man, which is as mean as it is often fitting. Odin does get a bit grumpy sometimes and he is not a young cat. And the people around him give him at least one other name. It does get a bit confusing sometimes, but for me, it will always be Odin. And I do think it is the most fitting one.

Question existentielle (204)

Je me pose la question souvent, il fallait bien que j'en fasse une question existentielle un jour:

-Comment se fait-il qu'il y ait autant de circulation un dimanche dans une petite ville comme celle-ci?

Autumn Daze

People will forgive me if I write another autumnal post. As I mentioned on my last French post, it is now the autumnal equinox. Yay for autumn and happy equinox to all my fellow autumn loving bloggers. How will you celebrate? I have a suggestion, if you like the drink: have a beer, as beer is associated with harvest and harvest with autumn. I have one here that will be perfect for the occasion: Autumn Daze the Three Castles Brewery. I discovered it back in 2008, when I was still unemployed. I loved everything about it: the colour, the name of course and the taste. It tasted autumnal, and autumn lights, like alcohol, does induce to daze. The best word plays are the ones that reveal some truth. It took me years to find it again, in the local wine shop. I will enjoy one today.

Le 22 septembre (et Brassens)

Commençons ce billet par une évidence navrante: nous sommes le 22 septembre. C'est donc l'équinoxe d'automne. Ca n'a pas vraiment l'air de l'automne à l'extérieur: il y a eu un subit redoux depuis le début de septembre, quand la température avait baissé dramatiquement. En fait, la température est un peu trop estivale à mon goût et je dois revoir l'organisation de mon armoire, que j'avais si brillamment réorganisée il y a une semaine. L'horreur, l'horreur. Mais bon, pour souligner l'équinoxe, j'ai décidé de télécharger ici pour la seconde fois Le 22 septembre de Georges Brassens. Ca changera de Vivaldi. J'ai aussi téléchargé une photo modestement automnale, que j'avais prise l'année dernière à la même époque de l'année à la bibliothèque municipale. L'équinoxe, pour moi, a ces couleurs que vous voyez à travers la fenêtre.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

An Italian encounter

I was shopping in Marks & Spencer yesterday evening, when someone tapped me on the ribs. To my surprise, it was the Italian guy who used to work in the sandwich shop where I go every Friday for my sandwich treat. He is the one who made that delicious pollo alla milanese sandwich. Well, unfortunately he will not make this delicious sandwich anymore, as he quit the job there. He now works, in M&S. We chatted a bit, in a mix of Italian and English, he basically told me he was not happy at the other place and it was not really a place where his career could progress (and Marks & Spencer is?), so he works now in the small M&S shop nearby. He knows the town very well, having been working in various restaurants here. He seems to know the whole Italian community, in fact. Good to know. So now I have an acquaintance at the local M&S. Small world.

Nils Holgersson (générique du début)

Depuis que j'ai vu la volée d'oies sauvages lundi dernier, ce qui m'a inspiré ce billet, j'ai la chanson du générique de Nils Holgersson en tête. Ca passait à Samedi jeunes durant mon enfance, comme bien des dessins animés. Quelqu'un d'autre se rappelle de Samedi jeunes ici? Je ne sais plus ce qu'ils offrent à Radio-Can maintenant les samedis, et sans doute est-ce la nostalgie qui parle, mais je ne pense pas que les émissions matinales sont aussi bonnes maintenant. Alors je mets ici la chanson du générique du début de Nils, rien que par esprit de nostalgie.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Call for a scary story

This post has been in my head since I blogged about the defunct station hotel of the town. I have decided to invite my readership to a blogging challenge, especially the Halloween aficionados among my readers, if they have time.Because Halloween is getting closer and closer and because I want to be more creative as a blogger and encourage creativity.

So what you see on the left side picture is the pub by the railway station (which is itself little more than a platform). It used to be, year ago, the station hotel. It is the first place I have been to into town, a cold, rainy October day. I was reading M.R James. A fitting read for a fitting time. Weeks later, I had my first meal in this town there. I thought then, as I think now, that it was the perfect place for a scary story. involving ghosts, or whatever creatures you can think of. So try to write a ghost story with this as a setting. It can become the old station hotel again, or a pub as it is now. Set at any time you see fit. It can take the form of a short story, or a tale, or simply write whatever haunting story seems fit. Or simply a few note, a rough treatment of a story that could be written inspired by the place. You can of course use the picture here and upload it on your own blog. I will try to write a post or more about it myself.

La Bataille de Valmy

Nous sommes le 20 septembre. Les Français savent sans doute ce que ça représente, mais je ne crois pas que le reste de mon lectorat le sache: c'est le jour de la Bataille de Valmy. La première victoire de l'armée française après la Révolution, celle qui a marqué un tournant décisif dans l'avenir de la nation française et a précipité la naissance de la première république. J'ai décidé de télécharger l'interprétation de la minisérie La Révolution française. La réalité était beaucoup moins romantique, mais ça demeure une grande victoire. En tant que républicain, je ne peux m'empêcher de l'aimer plus que bien d'autres batailles de l'Histoire. Et en plus il y avait un moulin à vent dans les environs. C'est joli, les moulins à vent. Anecdote à propos de la Bataille de Valmy: la mère de mon filleul a été nommée en son honneur. Sérieusement.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Wild geese and a Swedish memory

I am blogging again about another sign of autumn I witnessed before going to work on Monday morning. The day was sunny and crisp, cold as if it was the middle of October. I love days like this. And I saw and heard, flying low in the morning sky, a flock of wild geese. It was beautiful. I couldn't identify the geese, I don't think they were Canadian geese. But it was simply beautiful. Flocks of geese migrating always remind of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, or Nils Holgersson as we used to call it when we watched the Japanese anime. It made me discover Sweden. Years later, my Swedish sister bought be an abridged version (and translated in French of course) of the original novel by Selma Lagerlof. It was a nice read. I thought about it when I saw the geese flying.

La batterie qui rend l'âme

J'ai vécu le cauchemar du travailleur ce matin: la batterie de mon réveil-matin a rendu l'âme la veille au soir et je ne le savais pas. Je me suis réveillé quelques minutes avant que le train ne parte et bien sûr j'ai fini par le manquer. J'ai donc dû prendre un taxi et je suis arrivé en retard au travail. Ce sont des choses qui arrivent et mon patron était compréhensif (je suis d'habitude ponctuel), mais ça a mal commencé ma journée. Et j'étais un tantinet cadavérique, comme si j'avais souffert d'insomnie. Je suis naturellement insomniaque, mais les réveils tardifs ont souvent le même effet. La morale de cette histoire: il suffit d'un rien pour saboter une journée.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

One of Us (midweek song)

It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and the dreariest day of the week. I thought I would upload a song that somewhat reminds me of the everyday life of working people and commuters, and the One of Us song by Joan Osborne came to my mind. Maybe it is because of the videoclip and the train showing, I don't know. Did she ever sing anything else? Anyway, the Godless man I am loves how the songs desacralise the divine to the point of being blasphemous. So here it is.

Le cégep de Chicoutimi en automne

Je sais, j'ai déjà téléchargé cette photo, enfin une version plus petite, il y a peu de temps. C'est une photo du Cégep de Chicoutimi en automne, prise sur sa page Facebook. Je la publie à nouveau parce que le cégep est joli en automne. Enfin, pas partout: le bâtiment est souvent une horreur sans nom, mais l'édifice de l'ancien Séminaire, le Centre socio-culturel, est vraiment charmant. Surtout en automne. Avoir un cours tout en haut de l'édifice et voir les arbres en couleurs et la rivière Saguenay au loin, ça vaut la peine, peu importe la qualité intrinsèque dudit cours. Ah oui, et il y a les Catacombes au sous-sol. Vous ai-je déjà dit que j'ai la nostalgie de cette époque?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sleepy Hollow as a TV drama?

I have found this out of total chance yesterday night, on imdb: they made a TV series freely based (very freely based) on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. It is called Sleepy Hollow. It premiered yesterday in America and it is already a huge success. I watched the trailers, and there are so many things that could go wrong with it, that I would normally consider wrong... and yet I was watching them wishing I could see the first episode then and there. It will air a few weeks later in the UK. I had enjoyed the Sleepy Hollow of Tim Burton as an homage to the old Hammer movies I love so much, but the TV series is going somewhere else entirely. It seems to borrow heavily, from what I could see in the trailer, from Terminator. One reason why I think Still, in the weeks leading to Halloween, this seems to be the ideal guilty pleasure. A question to my readers on the other side of the pond: anybody watched it? How is it? Worth an hour of one's evening?

Un orignal

Je sais que je blogue encore sur la vie animale, mais mon père a je crois été inspiré des photos du geai bleu et m'en a envoyé d'autres, récentes... d'orignaux, prises au lot de ses frères avec une caméra infra-rouge. Il a peut-être été inspiré par un des billets récents de Cynthia de Sur un Boeing Bleu de Mer. Les choses que j'apprends ou que je réapprends en recevant des photos de vie animale. J'ai réappris (enfin, je me le suis fait rappeler) que c'est la saisons des amours chez les orignaux et les cervidés. Et j'ai appris qu'on les attire avec des blocs de sel. Ca je ne le savais pas du tout.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Garden pears (5p each)

Today I received a text from a friend, the one I used to commute with a few months ago and who now live in the same town as me. We don't see each other much because she lives in another part of town. Anyway, she texted me, asking me: "Do you like pears?" I replied: "I love pears, why?" And she sent me another text saying there was a lady selling pears from her garden, five minutes from the pub near the train station. So back from work, I walked to the place. There was nobody there, not the lady or anybody from her family. But a bunch of pears in a box, with a piggy bank and this small paper stuck on it. I bought three, left the money in the piggy bank. And I took a picture. I love encouraging local economy, even, or maybe especially, on such small scale. I wish I could have told the lady how much I appreciated such generosity, sharing the result of a harvest like this. It reminds me of the house of my parents, where we pick apples and crap abbles when autumn is round the corner. Pears are not really common garden fruits where I come from, and I don't consider them the quintessential autumnal fruit, but still. It also reminds me of the garden in Liverpool, which had many trees with fruits growing. I sadly arrived after harvest. But mainly, these pears I bought, on a crisp autumn end of the afternoon, just made me appreciate the day more. It was a perfect autumnal moment. And at 5p the pear, it was also a bargain.

Le geai bleu encore

Si vous cherchez la photo du mois, c'est par ici. Je publie une nouvelle photo du geai bleu que j'avais mentionné ici, prise dans les mêmes circonstances par mon père lors d'un de ses voyages de chasse. J'en télécharge une nouvelle parce que je trouve le geai bleu assez mignon et parce que je trouve la photo automnale, même si on ne voit pas vraiment la nature en arrière-plan. J'aime aussi faire bon usage des photos que m'envoie mon père et en faire profiter tout le monde. Enfin, par tout le monde je veux dire: mon lectorat.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

New sign of Halloween

Quick post update about the signs of Halloween I saw. In England, a country where it is not nearly as celebrated as in North America (even though it keeps growing). Anyway, I went to Sainsbury's recently and I saw Halloween desserts. Not many, but still a few, including the Halloween donuts I blogged about extensively last year. I didn't like them that much last year, but as Halloween is also a celebration of gluttony and as they caught my eyes, I bought a pack.

Le grand ménage de l'automne

Ca m'a pris aujourd'hui: alors que la température ne cesse de baisser, j'ai finalement pris le taureau par les cornes et j'ai changé le contenu des armoires à linge: mes vêtements d'été sont finalement au rancart et ceux d'automne sont sortis: gilets lourds, chemise, bas épais, etc. J'ai fait ça les fenêtre ouvertes, afin d'enlever aux vêtements toute odeur de renfermé. Il était temps, je ne m'y retrouvais plus. J'ai aussi sorti mon manteau d'automne. C'est l'un des autres rituels que j'ai qui annonce le changement de saisons.

Ellen Page as Tara Chace?

I have blogged before about Queen & Country the excellent espionage comic books series of Greg Rucka. I have read all the graphic novels and novels of the series, the only book I don't have yet is the art book. I LOVE the series, it's realistic tone and settings, the fact that it is an anti Bond, I also love the complex character of Tara Chace. Now I have recently learned that Ellen Page is supposed to play Tara Chace in a Hollywood adaptation of the comics. And I am skeptical about it, like for most adaptations by Hollywood.

I usually don't like when they cast a non British in a British role as they often lack genuineness and are cast because of their star appeal rather than their suitability. Ellen Page is a fine actress and I enjoyed her in Juno, but I have serious difficulties imagining her as a MI6 operative. Okay, so Lois Maxwell was also Canadian and played a British woman, but she had spent a long time in the UK, where she studied drama, before she took the role of Moneypenny. Page seems to have made mostly her career in United States so far. Another problem is her physically appearance: she is petite and kind of soft looking. Tara Chace has been drawn by many artists, but overall she is depicted as athletic and there is a hardness in her. I always pictured her as a bit of a tomboy. I suspect she is being cast as eye candy, which would be catastrophic. Years ago, I would have cast Cate Blanchett (yes, an Aussie, and yes my favourite actress) as she can play a Brit and she has the look of some of the renditions (see this portrait of her by Steve Rolston, the original artist). And obviously, apart from the casting I am suspicious of Hollywood's vision for this project: do they want to create a truly realistic and unglamorous spy franchise for the big screen, or they only want a spy chick? Because if it is the latter, they are missing the point of the source material and its relevance.

(Non) lieu de vacances (photo du mois)

Celle-ci a été vraiment difficile à trouver. Le thème était: "mon lieu de vacances de l'été 2013". Je n'ai pas pris de vacances, sauf un jour à Londres en juin et je n'y ai pas pris de photos, enfin pas vraiment qui colle au sujet du mois. Mes dernières vacances datant de mars et ayant été prises à... Manchester, je trouvais que ça collait encore moins. Maintenant c'est l'automne et j'aurai des vacances automnales. Alors j'ai décidé de publier cette photo d'une table inusitée d'un pub un peu en retrait de ma ville de résidence. Parce que mes "vacances" d'été 2013 consistaient à prendre un verre ou un repas dans un pub près de chez moi. J'espère que le thème du mois suivant ne sera pas "une table", parce que je viens de me brûler.

Allez voir les destinations soleil des autres, tiens: 

Agnès, A'icha, Akaieric, Akromax, Alban, Alexinparis, Alice Wonderland, Anaïs and Spip, Angélique, Ann, Anne, Anne Laure T, Arwen, Aurélie Ménard , Ava, Bestofava, BiGBuGS, Blogoth67, Calamonique, Cara, Caro from London , Caterine, Cécile - Une quadra, Cekoline, Céline in Paris, CetO, Champagne, Chat bleu, Cherrybee, Chloé, Christelle, Christophe, Claire's Blog, Coco, Cocosophie, Cricriyom from Paris, Dame Skarlette, DelphineF, Djoul, Dr. CaSo, E, El Padawan, Elodie, Eurydice, Fanfan Raccoon, Filamots, flechebleu, François le Niçois, Frédéric, Gilsoub, Giselle 43, Gizeh, Guillaume, Happy Us, Hibiscus, Homeos-tasie, Hypeandcie, InGrenoble, Isa de fromSide2Side, Isa ToutSimplement, Isaquarel, J'adore j'adhère, Josiane, Julie, KK-huète En Bretannie, Krn, La Dum, La Fille de l'Air, La Messine, La Nantaise, La voyageuse comtoise, Lau* des montagnes, Laulinea, Laurent Nicolas, Lavandine, Lavandine83, Les bonheurs d'Anne & Alex, Les voyages de Lucy, Leviacarmina, LisaDeParis, Louisianne, Lucile et Rod, Lyonelk, M, magda627, Mamysoren, Marie-Charlotte, Marmotte, Mathilde, MauriceMonAmour, Mes ptits plats, Meyilo, Mimireliton, MissCarole, Morgane Byloos Photography, Nicky, Nora, Ori, Oscara, Pilisi, Pixeline, Renepaulhenry, scarolles-and-co , SecretAiko , Sephiraph, Shoesforgirls, Sinuaisons, Sophie Rififi, Stephane08, Tambour Major, Testinaute, Thalie, The Parisienne, The Singapore Miminews, Thib, Tuxana, Un jour, une vie, Violette, Viviane, Wolverine, Woocares, Xoliv', Zaza,

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Harvest beer(s)

Autumn is now here, very much settled in fact.As I mentioned in the past, one of the many aspects of autumn I love is the fact that it is the harvest season. And beer, my poison of choice, is obviously closely associated to harvest. I drink beer in all seasons, but I have my set of autumnal ales and I love to discover new ones every year. Last year I tried Fields of Gold in a local pub. Not my favourite, partially because of the citrus aftertaste, I prefer beers with more bitterness, especially in autumn, but still enjoyable. I wanted to blog about it just for the picture of the cask's label I took. Here it is.

Des vacances automnales

Je sais que je blogue par thèmes et que je me répète souvent ces temps-ci, mais j'ai un esprit qui suit les saisons. Ainsi que je l'ai mentionné sur ce billet, j'aurai des vacances en octobre, que je passerai au Québec. Ce sera la première fois depuis 2005 que je vais voir le Québec en automne, ce sera également depuis 2009 (alors que je travaillais à l'école et que j'avais une semaine de relâche) que j'aurai des vacances à l'automne. J'attendais mon moment depuis un bout de temps.

Les vacances automnales ont cela de bien, quand l'automne est idéal, qu'elles sont plus confortables que celles d'autres saisons, à cause de la température (ni trop chaude ni trop froide) elles sont également plus jolies, à cause des couleurs. Je préfère et de loin cette saison aux autres, autant en profiter quand je peux. Je craignais un peu un automne trop doux, mais selon ce que m'a dit ma mère il semblerait qu'il fasse déjà frais, sinon froid. Ce sera le cas lors de mon séjour, avec un peu de chance...

Friday, 13 September 2013

A black cat for Friday the 13th

It is a gloomy Friday the 13th today. Friday the 13th happens once in a while, has a sinister, occult reputation, superstitious people are still afraid of it and I thought I would commemorate by uploading another picture of Odin. Because I am not superstitious.And because Odin is so cute. I had a conversation with his owners not so long ago and they told me he is not cute at first sight, what with his wounded eye, scars on his ears and worn out look. I don't know, I found him really beautiful the moment I saw him. I have learned from the vet that Odin is a moggy cat. I don't care if he's not a pure bred, I think it is fitting: Odin belongs to no one, no breed or cat family, he cannot be labeled or tamed. Anyway, I find him ridiculously cute.


Petit mot appris de la page Facebook de mon alma mater: paraskevidékatriaphobie. Si vous êtes paraskevidékatriaphobe, vous avez peur du vendredi 13. Nous sommes le vendredi 13. Pour la peur du chiffre 13, c'est triskaidekaphobie. Mais ça, je savais déjà. Morale de l'histoire: on en apprend tous les jours.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tomorrow Friday the 13th

This morning at work, there was a technical issue when I punched in. I said: "And we are not even Friday the 13th yet." Which made my colleagues laugh. Not the greatest unknown line, but a great unknown line nevertheless. So we are only Thursday, Friday the 13th is tomorrow, and I don't mind because it is still Friday. And I already have an idea for a blog post.

Les Loups et les Brebis

"Après mille ans et plus de guerre déclarée,
Les Loups firent la paix avecque les Brebis.
C'était apparemment le bien des deux partis ;
Car si les Loups mangeaient mainte bête égarée,
Les Bergers de leur peau se faisaient maints habits.
Jamais de liberté, ni pour les pâturages,
Ni d'autre part pour les carnages :
Ils ne pouvaient jouir qu'en tremblant de leurs biens.

Même sans le titre, vous aurez reconnu Les Loups et les Brebis. C'est sans doute ma fable préférée de Jean de La Fontaine. J'ai déjà cité la fin de la fable. Je me répète donc un peu. Mais j'y ai pensé depuis l'anniversaire du 11 septembre hier. J'y pense souvent dans pareilles circonstances: lorsqu'il y a une guerre de gangs à Montréal, par exemple, ou que ça saute quelque part dans le monde.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Twelve years of 9/11

It is the 11th of September again. This year, I barely noticed it. Ironic, as the day was fittingly commemorative: cold and gloomy. I wrote my most important posts about it in 2008 and in 2009 already. I will commemorate it briefly tonight, by uploading first this drawing from webcomic Atheist Eve by Tracie Harris. I hope she doesn't mind. I deeply admire her work, this specific strip especially, how intelligent and compassionate it is. How eloquent too. Then I have decided to upload The End by The Doors. It was not meant to be a song about the end of times, but one cannot help feeling this association, especially with its use in Apocalypse Now, fittingly re-released back in 2001. Of course, 9/11 was not the end of times. There is no such thing, not by human standards anyway. Nevertheless, this reminds me of that day, of a certain state of mind that the world is in since that day. So here it is.

La minestrone

Petit billet gastronomique de milieu de semaine morne. Comme bien des milieux de semaines. J'ai déjà blogué ce soir sur un sujet beaucoup plus grave, mais essayons d'équilibrer le blogue. Pour le sujet plus circonstanciel, vous pouvez répondre à cette question existentielle.Maintenant, je vais parler de soupe. De minestrone, pour être plus précis. Je ne me rappelle plus quand j'ai découvert la minestrone pour la première fois, ça devait être à Montréal, mais c'est sans doute ma soupe préférée. Une autre des contributions gastronomiques de la civilisation italienne. C'est le genre de soupe que je mangerais bien un soir de semaine morne quand j'ai faim et je n'ai pas le goût de faire à manger. La soupe en général est une comfort food parfaite, la minestrone l'est encore plus. Je ne sais pas trop pourquoi.

Chile: the other 9/11

Today is 11 of September, which means of course the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks I will blog later about it). But it is also another tragic anniversary: the one of the coup d'état in Chile by Augusto Pinochet. I hate all tyrants, but I have a special disgust for Pinochet, because I think this filthy scumbag got away with murder. Literally. At least, small consolation, he lost power following a humiliating defeat in a plebiscite. I watched a few weeks ago No, a fictionalization of the publicity campaign that turned the tides. Since I have seen the movie, I have been been fascinated by the main advert and the song in it. It is barely more than a jingle, but there you go. I have decided to upload it here on Vraie Fiction, to remind us that we do get justice... Sometimes.

Question existentielle (203)

Je pose une question existentielle sérieuse parce que nous sommes le 11 septembre, Je vous invite aussi à répondre à la 70, sur le même sujet. Mais voici la nouvelle:

-Comment commémorer le 11 septembre?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Autumnal chronicle

I hope nobody minds if I write yet another post about autumn, especially a post that it a followup of a followup of a followup. Of this post. I will try to vary the topics in the very near future. This picture was taken a year ago near my work. I had to share it, I thought tonight was a good enough excuse. Because autumn is surprisingly punctual this year. The pic was taken in October, we are in September only and, while the leaves did not change colours that much, the coal fire is already starting to show. First half of September, no equinox yet, yet the temperatures are much lower, I am wearing now thicker clothes and might start wearing my autumn coat, my consumption of tea has gone up to two a day during week days and there is that strange smell of fire every evening. I don't know where it comes from, but it smells of bonfire. I am quite happy how things have turned out. I have to go back to 2008 to remember such an autumnal September.

Un geai bleu

Je publie cette photo qui date de septembre ou d'octobre 2006 sans raison précise, sauf pour télécharger une nouvelle photo automnale inédite sur Vraie Fiction. Je sais, l'automne est un sujet régulier sur ce blogue ces temps-ci. a été prise par mon père lors d'une partie de chasse dans la cabane sur le lot de ses frères. Je tiens à rassurer tout le monde tout de suite: 1)la chasse en question n'a pas été couronnée de succès et 2)ils n'ont pas tiré sur le geai bleu. Mon père est par ailleurs assez amoureux des bêtes à plumes; à preuve les mangeoires qui sont chez nous depuis des décennies pour les nourrir. Et un geai bleu, c'est rare au Saguenay, alors il faut bien les nourrir.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Musing about mushrooms

I took this picture a few weeks ago in the garden of the block, so back in August. It is of course a photo of two small mushrooms. Last year, there used to be many more, and much bigger ones. I should have taken pictures then. I am uploading this rather trivial picture because I have a conflicting interest and history with mushrooms and I thought it would make for an interesting post. As a child, I first loved mushrooms when one of the first babysitters I had fed me with half a tin of them every supper. She was the best babysitter one could ever dream of, a real Mary Poppins. So I loved those tins, until suddenly, I suddenly got disgusted by them. It took me years, decades, to enjoy mushrooms again, and only specifically cooked.

However, while I did not like them as food, I grew an interest about them as a child. I blogged before about it in October 2010. At primary school, we usually went to pick up wild mushrooms at this time of year, in woods not too far from school. I used to love it. Of course, I learned a lot about poisonous mushrooms in the meantime and I started associating the fungus with its folklore, and especially with witches. There were in some gardens what in English is called fairy ring, but on Québec we called them witches' rings (like in other places too), because they were supposed to be the the result of a witch gathering and dancing with the devil. Mushrooms became something I loved to hate, the instrument of many potions by evil witches. I didn't believe in witches, but my imagination ran wild. Even nowadays, I think about it when I see mushrooms like this. I am disappointed I haven't seen a witches' ring since my childhood.  Here, it is no surprise there are mushrooms in the garden, as I believe I have a nasty witch as neighbour. And she thinks she owns the garden, so this might explains the abundance of mushrooms sometimes. Corruption growing from her footsteps. Yes, I still have a sort of animosity towards the fungus. That said, I have now learn to love them as food, sometimes, but that is another story. 

Question existentielle (202)

Chaque lundi, quand je me rends au travail, je me pose la même question, qui me reste en tête jusque dans la soirée. Il est temps d'en faire une question existentielle:

-Comment rendre le lundi moins mélancolique et profondément barbant?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The autumn clothes are back

This September is so far looking very autumnal, to my great delight. Since last Friday, the temperatures have dropped dramatically. It is not cold, but the sudden difference makes it very noticeable. I have checked the weather forecast, and it seems that it will be the same for the near future. So this means that I have started wearing warmer clothes. Yesterday, I wore one of my old turtle neck black jumpers and it felt soooo good. It is a very old (I bought it in 2001), worn out, black going on grey jumper that I only wear rarely at weekends or when I travel. I love my old worn out clothes, I may end up looking sloppy, but I don't care. One of my favourite seasonal rituals is to take out the warm clothes, it is another sign that autumn is here.

Felipe, Miguelito et le poulet

Comme c'est dimanche, jour du Sunday roast en Angleterre, j'ai pensé télécharger ce gag de Mafalda. On mange souvent du poulet dans un Sunday roast, voyez-vous. Ce gag est un des meilleurs mettant en vedette Felipe et Miguelito. C'est une des premières fois dans ma vie ou j'ai été confronté à la réalité du carnivorisme. En fait, ça m'a fait comprendre un peu les végétariens. Pas tant pour des raisons éthiques qu'esthétiques.

The Detective Tales cover for September

Today is a good occasion as any to observe this blogging tradition (a tradition of this blog, I mean) of uploading a cover from Detective Tales and comment on it. September is a tricky month, because my mind is all on horror stories and I think very little about crime fiction, so I am less inspired watching these covers. Last year I had chosen a cover with some elements you could find in horror stories, even though there was no supernatural element in it. I did something similar in 2008, uploading a cover with strong sadistic elements. So this year I looked thoroughly, pondered a lot about what would look good on Vraie Fiction, then chose the cover from September 1938. It is a crime fiction adventure cover, but it does have the nod to other genres: the simian hunchback and the secret passage, right by a fireplace.

So let's have a good look at the cover. When I saw it, it reminded me of the Clue/Cluedo mansion, which I wrote a post about this year. In a way, the setting belongs more to a whodunit than hardboiled crime fiction. I say whodunit, I should add a lazy one, because as Ronald Fox said in his ten Commandments of Detective Fiction, shouldn't rely on secret passages, not more than one anyway. It is true that it may be the only one. The old mansion, or the luxurious house is a setting of whodunits, in any case. I don't know what Fox thought of hunchbacks. That said, this is not a whodunit story, for obvious reasons: the hero is not an eccentric detective, but an action man, athletic and probably a private eye, even though he is very well dressed and firing away at an adversary out of the frame. The living room is not a place where the detective will reveal the identity of the murderer in front of all the suspects: it is a place of violent confrontation and danger, the fire still burning very near the escape route, blocked by a nasty antagonist. The two ladies in the back are both damsels in distress, one because she is unconscious, the other because she does not see the beastly henchman holding a knife. He could easily belong to a Gothic horror story. But in any case, it is an exciting piece of work.

La branlieue? Branlieu?

Je ne sais pas quelle mouche a piqué mon petit frère, mais il a commencé depuis hier à déverser son fiel sur la banlieue, qu'il appelle "branlieu" (il manque un "e"?). Calembour assez savoureux, je dois dire, dont la paternité remonte à mon autre frère PJ. On parle bien entendu ici de la banlieue montréalaise, mais branlieu peut s'appliquer à toutes les banlieues. Ca a commencé innocemment, un commentaire sur son mur, disant qu'il ne comprenait pas pourquoi les gens vivaient en banlieue. Je suis urbain, je vivais à Montréal, pas en banlieue et maintenant je vis dans une petite ville, pas une banlieueue nord-américaine sans âme. Enfin bref, petit frère s'est mis à écrire ces perles, que je vais soumettre (du moins une partie d'entre elles) à la postérité:

-En branlieu, tu deviens un homme quand tu achètes ta première voiture.
- En branlieu, ton bonheur se calcule en chevaux-vapeurs.
-En branlieu, tu préfères les bars de danseuses de la grande ville.
-En branlieu, le meilleur café sort d'une Nespresso.
- En branlieu, tu éduques tes enfants loin de tout le monde sur ton terrain clôturé pour les aider à socialiser.
-En branlieu, quand tu sors de chez toi, tu rentres dans ton char.
-En branlieu, tu penses qu'une machine de tôle sur quatre roues, c'est l'essence de la libârté.
-En branlieu, tu profites de ta grosse maison, de ta piscine et de ton terrain en passant trois heures par jour dans le traffic.
 -En Branlieu, tu trouves que le maire Ferrandez a dont pas d'allure pendant que celui que tu élis depuis 20 ans est accusé de gangstérisme. 

Voilà, bref en résumé. Des amis et votre serviteur y sont allés de quelques perles. Quelles sont les vôtres? 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Station Hotel (a setting)

I have blogged a few days ago about the railway model in the local DIY store, which is like a local museum display of local history. I love it. On this picture, you can see the station hotel. The building still exists, but no more as a station hotel: it is now a pub, the pub by the train station. Which means that it gets very popular every evenings and on Friday nights in particular. You can see a picture of one of its entrances here. Its walls are covered with creeping plants and it is a beautiful pub, not my favourite anymore, but it has character. When I first walked in that pub, it was to wait for a job interview in a business that was based here. It was my first memory of the town. I waited for the interview and for the train to the journey back in the pub, reading, incidentally, horror stories of M.R. James. It was in early October.  Because of this, I associate this place with Halloween and horror stories. The fact that it once was a small hotel somewhat strengthens this association. I often muse about writing a horror story set there. I know this is just a miniature, and it does not have all the details of the real thing, but isn't it an inspiring setting for such story? On a cold autumn evening, it is just so wonderfully eerie.

Le Salon du Livre du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean

Ce billet est une petite plogue de nature rérionale. Je me prends peut-être tôt, mais peut-être pas. Enfin bref, le Salon du livre du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean va ouvrir ses portes du 26 au 29 septembre 2013. L'année dernière, j'avais plogué l'évènement un peu tard, cette année je veux m'y prendre d'avance pour rappeler à ceux parmi mon lectorat qui vivent encore au Saguenay de s'y rendre. Pour la petite histoire: en 1995 j'ai gagné le prix du lecteur de l'année catégorie cégep, qui m'a valu notamment un laisser-passer à vie. Malheureusement: 1)je ne retrouve plus mon laisser-passer (il est peut-être chez mes parents) et 2)je n'ai pas pu en profiter depuis... 1995. C'est un peu une ironie tragique, quand on y pense. Bon, le prix d'entrée n'est que de 2$, alors ce n'est pas un gros avantage, cela dit c'est une raison de plus pour que vous y alliez si vous êtes au Saguenay dans ce temps-là. L'évènement est aussi plus convivial que celui de Montréal.

Dungeons & Dragons in Autumn

This is another lush drawing from former Dungeons & Dragons artist Larry Elmore, called Ancient Powers. I did not upload one of his works since April and thought now would be a good time. Warning: this post might be geeky. So yes, Ancient Powers is one of Larry Elmore's picture that I am particularly fond of. One of the reasons is that it has character and atmosphere. I could have written characters, as this is what they are. Often in medieval fantasy art, you have overly muscular heroes wearing loin cloths and scantily clad heroines, these people here are not like this. You have two spell-casters, the woman may be a druidess, a priestess of some sort or a magician, the thin, fragile looking man may be a mage too or a bard, judging by his colourful outfit (bards can cast spells in Dungeons & Dragons), watching over them is a strong man that does not display his muscles and who could also be a priest or a ranger. They are copying an ancient spell on a Celtic looking tombstone in a pseudo Celtic burial ground, while a dark clad figure is spying them in the mist by the dolmens. Oh, and it is set in autumn.

Autumn means many things for me, one of them being the season of the first D&Dr adventure of our ongoing campaign. We started it in late August, more than twenty years ago (21 to be precise). Usually, when you start a campaign, you make the time in the game coincide with the time of year in the real world, to keep things simple. Then things change, obviously, as time spent in the game goes much faster. But most of the first adventure we played was therefore set in autumn, and in a wide forest like the one on this picture. Furthermore, the mission our characters had was to find a ancient spell, lost somewhere in a ruined temple in the forest. I mentioned it on this post. So this image reminds me a lot of this first quest. Except that we did not have (yet) a personified adversary (a nemesis came on our second quest) and that our adventuring party was different. It was larger and there was no female in it. I played a ranger, PJ who was our Dungeon Master had nevertheless a character who was a Necromancer, Devadar my younger brother had priest of the God of War (and his character was ironically NOT named Devadar), there were two thieves, one human, one Elfic, one human fighter, one druid and finally one Dwarf fighter, who joined in later as an outcast of the nearby Dwarven kingdom. The group changed a lot since then. Anyway, this image reminded me of that.

Le courrier des lecteurs

J'essaie autant que possible de répondre à tous les commentaires, mais alors que je blogue souvent (deux fois par jour en français et en anglais, au moins), je trouve peu de temps pour y répondre. C'est pire dans des périodes de l'année ou l'inspiration me vient, comme maintenant, et ou j'écris beaucoup plus. En plus, il y a des blogues à lire et commenter. J'essaie de corriger ça, en répondant en masse (bien que de manière sporadique) à un moment donné. Il se peut donc que vos commentaires soient répondus beaucoup plus tard après leur publication. Bon, ce billet n'a l'air que d'une notification, mais c'est en fait une mise en abyme, un billet de blogue parlant du blogue. Et la machine à écrire a été prise en photo à l'Anthony Burgess Foundation. Je ne peux pas me plaindre: imaginez la douleur de ceux qui devaient répondre à un vrai courrier des lecteurs, avec du papier et un de ces dinosaure.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Autumn starting?

The picture at your right was taken a year ago, and about a month later than it is now, but I thought it fitted the subject matter of this post, which is a follow up to the post I blogged yesterday. I thought I needed to inform my modest readership of the development of yesterday's forecasts. It did rain today, although not nearly as much as I had feared. In fact, I remained dry all day. The heavy showers people dreaded was one short lived heavy shower. All the same, with the rain and the clouds came a good drop of temperature, and when I walked to buy my lunch I felt a chill that was pleasantly reassuring. It really felt like autumn was settling in. It got warmer at the end of the day when I left work, but the air was still cool and as the evening went on it slowly became cooler. In sum, the temperature today was typically autumnal, or to be precise typical of a September day. This is how I remember September to be.

Du rhum, des femmes, etc.

Vous connaissez le reste. Je suis certain que vous connaissez le reste. Comme le dit la chanson que je télécharge ici: "Tu connais la chanson". Je ne connais qu'une seule chanson du groupe breton Soldat Louis, mais je crois que c'est celle qu'un buveur invétéré de bière (ou de rhum). Enfin, c'est une grande chanson à boire, paillarde à souhait. J'écoute cette chanson assez souvent le vendredi soir, c'est une chanson de beuverie incontournable. Je bois très peu de rhum, mais je suis un fervent buveur de bière, alors elle me parle beaucoup.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Waiting for autumn to bloom

I took this picture in the nearby Anglican church, on a Sunday where there was an exhibition of various paintings and drawings. It is a dreadfully poor picture, taken from my phone, but I love the painting so much I have decided to forget about my poor photographic skills and upload it here. It shows very well an ideal autumn day, when the season is in full bloom: cool, dry, sunny and all in fiery colours. A darn shame I could not frame it properly.

Since the beginning of September, there has been an early Indian summer. It has been hot, sunny and more summery than it was at the end of August. I want to go back to the temperature we had a few weeks ago, when there was a slight chill in the air. People are quite happy about it, but I feel more like summer is overstaying its welcome. I need cooler temperature, the comfort of warm clothes and the fire of the autumn colours. It should start tomorrow, as heavy showers are being forecast, which will cool down the temperature. Even tonight, the temperature dropped a bit. I am not too keen on the rain, but if it brings the season to start properly, and if the colours follow, I am looking forward to it.

Des vacances en octobre

Après avoir travaillé tout l'été (je me sens d'ailleurs un peu fourmi parfois), j'ai finalement réservé des vacances en octobre. Dans pas si longtemps, donc. Je vais aller à Montréal et au Saguenay. Je n'ai pas vu l'automne québécois depuis 2005, et cette année-là l'automne avait été ordinaire. Le Québec me manque et le voir à cette époque de l'année encore plus, alors je suis impatient.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Tea and survival

Yesterday, there was no more Twinings' Earl Grey, which is what I have usually have with my breakfast. I survive starvation and exhaustion at work with a beaver's diet, but I also need tea for survival. I have one cup in the morning, and it is usually enough to keep me alert for the day, especially if I struggled to sleep the night before. There's free tea at work, a choice of either Earl Grey from Twinings or some banal Tetley or PG Tips tea, which tastes like rough mud. It wakes up all right, but it is much less enjoyable. I prefer Twinings in any case and since their Earl Grey is fancier, I just have it. But there was no Earl Grey, so I had to go to the other kind, whatever it was. In my state, a bit asleep light headed with hunger and in need of caffeine, I threw two bags in the mug. My colleague in charge of supplies laughed about it, I apologize saying I was definitely in need of tea to wake me up if I couldn't count to two. She said: "Oh but have more, it's not rationed." Thankfully it is not. I wonder how I could survive a war if tea and sugar were rationed. I certainly wouldn't be able to go to the front! Anyway, I thought what she said was a great unknown line.

Mafalda, Felipe et l'école

Parce que c'est la rentrée demain pour beaucoup d'écoles ici, parce que l'école vient de commencer au Québec et finalement parce que c'est un gag bien drôle, j'ai décidé de publier sur Vraie Fiction cet autre gag de Mafalda. J'ai déjà blogué sur Mafalda et l'école, notamment ici. Mais ce gag-ci est je pense plus drôle. Felipe illustre parfaitement le sentiment de mélancolie qui s'empare de l'enfant (ou de l'adulte) quand l'école est sur le point de commencer. Enfant, j'étais très Felipe. Une des raisons pour laquelle (lesquelles?) je trouve la lecture de Mafalda cathartique.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Odin and the Devil

It is not Wednesday yet, so not the day of his namesake, but I am sure that my readership will forgive me if I blog about Odin already (and again). My feline friend has been a regular visitor and lodger of the apartment's garden, but he does not show up as often. Often, but not as often. His owners may leave the neighborhood at the end of October, because their landlord suddenly wanted the house back. They are in a tight spot: they need a place for two months that would accept their little menagerie.So I am blogging about Odin more often because I may be without news from him very soon.

As his owners (or his servants, as humans are to cats) have many animals, I keep feeding Odin, who is always hungry. I was giving him his lunch last Saturday when the nurses who work here came by, smiling at me. One said: "Oh you are a devil!" laughing. I replied: "If the nasty evil witch was telling me this, I would really think it's true and be very happy about it." They laughed. I was referring of course to the neighbour who thinks she runs the place and dislikes Odin. She dislikes everyone but herself really, and because of this she is disliked by everyone, renters that she despises and the nurses coming here. My line, however cruel it may have seem, is I think a great unknown line. I do feel some kind of furious joy when I feed Odin, or when I cuddle him when she is around. Satan was often a trickster in folklore and, while I would never play a nasty trick on her, I love to make her furious by welcoming this black cat. She must find me and the other cat lovers devilish enough. There is something devilish in Odin too. He is black of course, but there are shades of red in his fur. Maybe he is a familiar spirit and not the wandering Norse god in disguise. In which case I wonder why the witch has such contempt for him. In any case, I intend to have a few words with her. Not to start a quarrel, but to set things straight.