dreams3x: (claitchen - tied up)
So, over the past few days I've been trying to figure out what - exactly - I want out of this life of mine. The answer, after much contemplation, meditation and self-analysis is that I still have no idea. I'll figure it out someday, I'm sure. When I'm 90 or so I'll probably wake up one day and go, "AH-HAH!" But in the meantime, there is today and tomorrow and all the days inbetween now and the Ultimate Epiphany.

b5media terminated its contract with, not only me, but the entire entertainment section of its network. Without warning, they let go 50+ writers and shut us out of all our blogs. It's rumored that they will let go of the 150+ more that remain. All content has been refunneled to a new website called Crushable which will pick up where we left off and tackle the world of entertainment from all angles. Onwards, upwards and good luck.

I am not part of this new venture, but I still have a Grey's twitter account (@greysnews) with almost 5000 followers. It seemed stupid to let that go to waste, so today I launched Grey'sNews.com (http://www.greysnews.com) to take the place of the now defunct Grey's Anatomy News. It's kind of cool to have it all to myself. Sure, I won't be making much - if any - money from it, but I'm gonna keep on keeping on until it's no longer fun. So feel free to drop by - and please pardon the mess. I spent all day trying to get it ready for public viewing but it was a rushed job so ...

Anyway.

Whenever I feel aimless like this I have a tendency to want to do too many things at once. I buy 5 domains with 500 different ideas for 5000 different things I want to do. I start one project and another project. I announce to the world that I'm going to do X, Y and Z and then conquer the world in the process. And in the end I don't do anything and I get depressed at my lack of productivity. I'm getting old - or at least, older - so I'm aiming for more self-awareness. I'm giving it a shot, anyway.

I've narrowed my goals over the next few months down to the following three things:

1. Work on GreysNews and see if it's worth the investment in time/energy/money
2. Work on TBSOL and hopefully finish it once and for all
3. Sign up for a French course (a.k.a. go back to school) and get out of the apartment more

And then we'll just go from there...

So, the other night I watched a lesbian movie called Eloïse, which was actually not terrible. It wasn't wonderful, but it wasn't terrible. It was, however, unnecessarily depressing. But it wasn't as OMGWTF as something like El Niño Pez, which I did not enjoy at all. I'd summarize Eloïse thusly: cute girls, artsy, not-too-wtf, nekkidness, endingfail.

If I get a chance, tonight I might watch this other lesbian movie called Pusinky. The title makes me giggle, but I expect the film to a) bore me b) make me go omgwtf and/or c) depress me. And still I watch. Why? I know not.

Currently reading: Branded Ann by Merry Shannon. Lurve it.

.endrandomness
dreams3x: (rayne icon with quill)
Let us get on with the good news of the hour: K called the Prefecture earlier and managed to get a hold of someone. This someone told her that my file (which up until this point had always been - mysteriously and inexplicably - "under investigation") had now been sent off. And that my card was well on its way to being printed and should be back from its wayward traveling in 2 months. And - better yet - that instead of expiring in November (date of application submission) it would be expiring in February (date of application acceptance), granting us some extra time to put in for its renewal.

I'm almost scared to be excited.

However, I'm so relieved to hear good news instead of bad news or - worse - vague news, that I can't help but be optimistic.

Let us move on then to talk of Chapter 48. I've managed to write the first two scenes already, and they're quite long, which means this chapter will be rather chunky. I'm happy with the chapter so far. I've had it outlined for months, and it's nice to finally see it come to life and to find that it's more or less what I was hoping it would be. There's a lot left to write. Not the least of which is the sex scene - yes, there will be one in this chapter. And I still have no idea how that will turn out. It may or may not involve a Lord of the Rings themed orgy. It may or may not include hooker parrots.

I have to say that writing this chapter so far has been ... fun. I was expecting it to be difficult and frustrating - and there have been moments where the words felt stuck in my head - but I've had a good time with it so far and I'm feeling optimistic that the rest of the chapter - and the rest of the novel - will continue in that vane. I hope that it's fun for those reading it. I hope that it offers a satisfactory ending - with or without the promise of a sequel. I hope, mostly, that people like it. Both the ending and the novel as a whole.

And on that note, I'm off to work on the next scene.

PS: Chapter 48 will be brought to you by Ingrid Michaelson's totally awesome CD - Everybody. I've been listening to it obsessively.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs from the album, "Locked Up":

dreams3x: (Default)
I feel like I should post something here today because I've been really good at posting here lately and I don't want to disappear again, even though I think most of you have disappeared and maybe I'm talking to myself. This would change nothing, anyway, because I'm often talking to myself.

If you talk to yourself when no one's there to hear you - are you really talking?

I hate that tree question. So much. It reminds me of when I was young and self-important and thought that life only happened when I was there to witness it. So if I left a room everyone would cease to speak and everything would grow still, and when I walked in again, everything would come back to life. And so, things like other countries were totally unreal to me. And for the longest time I envisioned everything outside of Puerto Rico as just clouds.

In first grade, this girl told me she was moving to Texas. And I had no idea where or what Texas was. The closest thing I could think of was the Texaco gas station near my grandparents. And so when she said she was moving to Texas I envisioned her moving to a gas station in the clouds. And so I told her, "That sounds really boring. What would you do at a gas station?" And she just looked at me like I was crazy. She said, "It's in the United States." She said it like it was meant to impress me, but it meant nothing to me. I'd heard of the United States, but it was just another place in the clouds. going off on a tangent... )
dreams3x: (cloak of boringness)
The end of TBSOL is so close I can taste it. I typed "Chapter 48" into the file yesterday and then I sat there for a very long time, thinking, "Oh, my God, I'm finally here." I wrote Chapter 47 in something of a mental blur. It happens sometimes. Months of not being able to write a word and then bam, the words come pouring out. I am mostly happy with Chapter 47. I am mostly happy with this novel in general. It will need a lot of work once the end arrives, but I'm looking forward to tightening it up and chopping off all the unnecessary bits.

It seems crazy to me that six years ago I sat in my first apartment in NJ finishing the first version, while Sheila went, "Go, Ingrid. You can do it!" It seems crazier that I've spent 8 years of my life on this novel. Well, on and off. There was a break for starting on Rayne. There was a break for moving to France. There was a break for other things, as well. Still. I am mainly grateful to the people who have waited patiently and continue to wait patiently for its second conclusion. Published or not, this novel has changed my life in ways I would've never imagined. I am grateful for the friends I've made because of it. I am humbled both by their friendship and for their unwavering support.

Above all, I am grateful that it led K to me.

Anyway, today has been spent working - blogging. After that, I spent some time reading Alix & Valerie reviews. Overall, very positive reactions with a few - and fair - criticisms. I am glad that people have enjoyed it. It still seems unbelievable to me that it's out there at all. Yes, even a year later.

I still just think of being in my dorm room my sophomore year of college, handing the first page over to Sheila and [livejournal.com profile] njdinergirl and Sheila saying, "I don't like it." And Rebecca saying, "I like it." And me changing it entirely, per Sheila's criticisms. And now I'm sitting in an apartment in France reading total strangers' comments out there on the Internet. I should be used to this, but I'm not. There's a part of me that's still 10 years old, typing words into my father's computer in an effort to escape. And it seems odd to me that all the things I'm so grateful for now, would likely not have happened had I not been so lonely and miserable then.

Blah, blah. I'm mushy today. Maybe even slushy.

I should leave you with something non-sentimental. Let's see...

Ah yes, some librarians singing "Biches Ain't Shit" - or something.

dreams3x: (cloak of boringness)
I wasn't on the computer much yesterday, so I didn't get around to uploading my picture of the day, but here it is:

Read more... )

And today I bring you the current view from my window.

365: 19





I'm listening to "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat. I heard this song while walking through Disney Village. I liked it, so I used my iPhone to find out what it was called. I have this nifty application called 'Shazam' (it's free). You hold it up, tell it to tag a song, and it listens to it and tells you what it is. When I first heard of this application I figured it wasn't for real, but it totally works! And then it saves your tags so you can just go back later and get the songs when you've got time.

This is what my tags currently look like:



I heart it. It also works for songs playing during movies or TV shows. It doesn't know every song, though. If it's too indie or obscure it usually can't find it, but it's got a pretty good track record. I use it all the time.




Anyhoo, Rogue asked me for a picture of scene 3 of TBSOL, so here you go:Read more... )

The scene is all done and K gave me the thumbs up on it yesterday. I'm not 100% happy with it yet, but I'm trying to finish up the chapter before going back. I started scene 4. If all goes well, I should have Chapter 45 up and about by the end of the week.

In other news - tomorrow morning we're heading to the police station for the whole PACS/stay permit/check up thing. Send good vibes. If all goes well, that's one step closer to getting my stay permit.

And I think that's about it.




I'll leave you with a quote that made me laugh:

"An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations." -Charles de Montesquieu


Thingies

Jan. 6th, 2009 05:53 pm
dreams3x: (Garcia - Baby Girl)
365.2: 6: iPhone + Coffee



I was reading this story the other night in which the writer had one of their characters speaking four different languages and claimed that the character was fluent in all of them. But really it was obvious that they just put English through a translator and hit enter. I don't expect most authors to be fluent in four languages, but if you're going to claim that your character is, at least find someone who speaks it fluently to help you out. Online translators are really not good for that sort of thing. Assume your reader speaks more than one language.

That's my writerly advice for the day.

Speaking of languages, my French is getting better. I don't quite know how seeing as my day-to-day life continues on in English, but it is. I can now follow most conversations, even if I don't catch everything. My main problem is verbal expression. I really fail at speaking in French. I can read it, I can more or less understand it, but I suck at speaking it. Especially when put on the spot. Actually I suck at understanding it too when put on the spot.

Like the other day I had to sign for a package and the guy told me to sign at the top and I understood I had to sign at the bottom. And as I closed the door I realized that I'd totally mixed up the words and felt stupid.

It's a little weird where I am with French at the moment. When I first got here and spoke 0 French, all sentences sounded to me like one big word. Everything I heard was like, "alksfja;lfkja;flajkdslfjalfjafa." Eventually, I managed to break it into words so it was more like, "asfa afljaf asfjaf aflja." These days there are sentences I understand 100%, but most of the time what I hear is something like, "So the ____ went to the beach and there was a ____." And it's a little frustrating because I can follow conversations but most of the time I just miss the key words.

Anyhoo...

Stay permit update: the Police sent us a letter that we had to present ourselves at the station on the 20th with a bunch of paperwork. I'm happy to finally hear from them, but going to the police station is a little intimidating. Let's hope it goes well.

Tonight I've got to decide whether or not I want to go to Disneyland Paris this weekend. K's got to be there Monday and Tuesday for work and we might head up a day early to enjoy the park. I'm mostly trying to decide if I'd rather be alone for a couple of days here or for a couple of days there, since she'll be working most of the time.

And now I'm out of original things to say, so here's some of my favorite lines from NCIS:

"I'd buy that except for the fact that it looks like this guy did an episode of Trading Spaces with Satan." -Tony, "Head Case"

Ziva: I may be in a little bit of trouble.
Gibbs: Yeah, define "little."
Ziva: I am currently on the run from the FBI, NCIS, Mossad and my Father. - "Shalom"

Tony: Women want men to lie to them.
Ziva: Not true.
Tony: (imitates a conversation) "Honey, does my butt look big in these pants to you?" "Actually yes, sweetheart. Your butt looks as big as Alabama. Didn't want to say anything, but you've got the Bama butt going on." See? You want us to lie to you, so we do. Especially if your butt is as big as Bama. (Ziva looks at him, angry) Not that your butt is big. And not that I've even looked. - "Faking It"

Ducky: My first impression is that we're dealing with a complete loon.
Tony: That masters in psychology is starting to pay off, Ducky - "Dead and Unburied"

Tony: So you're saying that someone stole your urine while you weren't looking?
Laura Seeger: Yes!
Tony: How, exactly, would they do that? - "The Good Samaritan"

Abby: You can't rush science, Gibbs. You can yell at it and scream at it, but you can't rush it. - "The Good Samaritan"

Tony: Where the hell are you? Fornell's here with a warrant for your arrest.
Gibbs: Well, good thing I'm not there then. - "Enigma"

365: 24

Nov. 7th, 2008 06:55 pm
dreams3x: (cloak of boringness)
I couldn't get out of bed this morning so we got a late start getting to the prefecture and by the time we got there they'd stopped giving out waiting slips. They're closed Monday and Tuesday, so I guess we'll head back on Wednesday. Failure. The lady at the welcome desk did go through with us what we'd need and it seems we have everything (I think), but we'll see. The French administration has a tendency to ask for a lung and then demand why you didn't bring a kidney. "The paper said four pictures." "That was the old paper. We changed it. Now it's six." "But you guys are handing out the paper that says four." "Yeah, but it's still six." True story from when I applied for my student stay permit a few years ago.

So we ended up walking around Lyon. Bought some tea, kitchen stuff, CDs and eventually landed at McDonald's. I am addicted to their chicken wraps:



While we were at the Kitchen Bazaar store, [livejournal.com profile] quew called. Looks like she'll be coming to Lyon at the end of next week and that should be fun. :D

I'm currently torn between wanting to read more of Chasing Lightning, wanting to watch The Office, and catching up on my Google Reader. Hmm.

Also - despite the fact that I no longer have any hope whatsoever regarding lesbians on TV, I enjoyed the Angela/Roxie stuff in Bones. I look forward to watching it all fail miserably in a ridiculous, offensive way.

Also - am I the only one that kinda wishes Penny and Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory get together?

In happy yet totally shocking news, my very Republican, conservative father (I just learned) voted for Obama O.o and even more shockingly against banning gay marriage in FL. O.o My father. Yesterday I talked to him and didn't even ask if he was happy Obama won cause I figured he'd voted for McCain. Crazy. Not that I expect him to suddenly start waving pride flags or anything, but it means a lot to me that he did that. I would've never expected it.

My very Democrat, liberal mom is very upset about Prop 8, Amendment 2, etc. She's very disappointed in CA in particular, though, cause she was almost sure Prop 8 wouldn't pass.

Alas, we march forward ... for there's nowhere else to go.
dreams3x: (writer)
Midnight Island has a brand spankin' new layout that I've been tweaking over the past few days. It's still not 100% done but I'm pretty happy with it so far. Next step is to get Rayne back online. The formatting has been giving me all sorts of trouble which is why I've not gotten it back up yet.

I'm about three scenes away from finishing Chapter 43. Hoping to post it by Wednesday.

Today, K and I caught up on Gossip Girl, which we love muchly. We also watched SVU last night and it sucked monkeys. Where oh where has that show gone? At least Olivia's hair looks good. That's really all the positivity I can bestow season 9.

I've not yet watched episodes 25 and 26 of Los Hombres de Paco because I'm trying to delay the gratification. But I'll likely cave in soon ...

I just drank coffee and my mind feels like it's going vrrroooooooom!, which is why this post is all sorts of scattered.

Lately, I feel myself slipping under a dark cloud when it comes to writing. It happens every so often that I start to question it all. It used to be a question of "am I good enough?" but lately it's become a question of "is this a worthwhile profession?" And I'm sure it isn't. Riches aren't going to come my way any time soon. But it's not so much the money. The not knowing what my blog pay will be at the end of a month, or what my royalty check is going to look like at the end of a quarter is part of it, but not all. I'm mostly scared that I'll never get out of this path I'm on. Writing novels is what I've always done, but it's not what I ultimately want to do. And I think what keeps me from going after what I really want to do is the fear that I won't be any good at it. It feels mostly like a dream. Only, I don't want it to be a dream.

I've been looking into an online course that'll at least get me started, but the timing is kind off on such an expense. It'll have to wait for spring semester. But at least there's that. The moving toward the ultimate goal makes me feel a little less hopeless.

Maybe I'll manage to sidestep this dark cloud after all.

Scattered I am.

Off I go. :)
dreams3x: (Default)
Good moment to check Amazon today. I've been away from the computer pretty much all weekend. We spent Saturday in IKEA and yesterday in Vichy - didn't make it back until 11pm and pretty much collapsed from exhaustion after that. But amazon had some good news for me -

Image


Spiffy.

Anyway, this week starts a very long, long journey through stressful situations ... pretty much one after another for many weeks to come. So any prayers and good/positive thoughts would be appreciated.
dreams3x: (writer)
Do you ever have one of those days where you wish you could just turn yourself off cause you know you're not going to be any good to anyone? I am having one of those days. I want mostly to crawl under the covers and cry over nothing in particular and wait for K to get home and tell me everything is going to be okay, even though things already are. At least, as okay as they can be in this world. It's just one of those days. I feel entirely unlike myself. But this too shall pass. And hopefully take this stupid headache with it.

But enough whining from me. Let's see. [livejournal.com profile] quew asked where one might purchase Alix & Valerie once it's out. I'm not 100% sure as to all the places it will be available through, but it will definitely be available through Barnes & Noble (bn.com). Amazon will also have it, but they're being evil and greedy and I encourage you all to use them only as a last resort, if at all. It will also be available through a bunch of independent booksellers which you can find through www.booksense.com. I believe it will be available through StarCrossed Productions as well. I'll gather up a more comprehensive and accurate list once I know more. :)

In other news .... I've become totally obsessed with Ugly Betty. Oh sure, it's a, "Where have you been, Ingrid?" kind of thing, but I honestly hadn't gotten into it before. I attempted to watch the first episode of the series waaay back in the day and found it kind of eh. But I picked it up again recently, needing something to distract me from the fact that I'd torn through the entirety of Capadocia in 48 hours. And BAM! I fell in love with Betty and the entire cast of the show. The writing is so good I want to lick it. Yes, that's right. Lick it.

Backtracking to Capadocia for a moment ... that show is amazing. I can't wait for the second season and by God there better be a second season cause I really want to know what happens next. For those of you who don't know, Capadocia is Latin America's answer to Bad Girls. It's not at all the same thing, but it is set in a women's prison and does deal with a lot of similar issues. I found it to be a bit over the top, especially toward the end. But it was a good over the top. I loved it. I couldn't stop watching episode after episode and babbling to anyone who would listen (or read) about the different crazy plot lines going on in the show. It's in Spanish but I'm sure subtitles are available somewhere. And I'll stop there before I blab the entire thing.

In book news, I'm currently reading Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell. I am currently on page 26.

In writing news, I'm still stuck on Chapter 40. I have changed the dialogue, settings and characters for the different scenes about 890234 times and it's all still a jumble. Worse yet, it's still all in my head.

While I'm on the subject... I know there will always be people that prefer TBSOL v1 to TBSOL v2 ... and I'm okay with that. It's somewhat difficult to gauge people's opinion of this second version since about 99.9% of them read v1 first. I don't quite know how to judge v2 by itself. But I am pretty sure that it's a better novel. It's more toned down, more mature, which I think is something some people don't like as much, going by some of the comments. But that's okay. I don't wish to take v1 away from anyone. I'm happy when anyone likes anything I write. I don't expect them to like everything.

There was a reason I wrote all of that. But it's not important.

And now I think I should eat. :)
dreams3x: (coffee time)
.... in Age of Conan.

Lolz: http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=29983

Back from Cannes. I'll upload pictures at some point. K's off this week so we'll be doing lots of together stuff. I won't be logging into chat and stuff but I'll be around so feel free to comment here or email me if you need to get a hold of me. We'll be in WoW too.

Got my Early Access for AoC which means I can start playing on Saturday - Wootz! :D
dreams3x: (Default)
I'm unsure where I am at the moment; on a train (certainly) but where, geographically, I have no idea. Assuming we're on the right train, I'd guess that we're somewhere between Lyon and Cannes. ;) I don't have Internet access so by the time you read this I will no longer be on a train. I will likely be in the hotel room, waiting for room service. But in the meantime there is now, and now is good enough for me. Adventures on the train )

So, let me tell you a bit about the past couple of days. On Monday night, I was in WoW, while simultaneously stalking the Age of Conan forums. I had been, actually, reading one particular thread all day (it was rather long) discussing computer specs. It occurred to me to check and see if there were any new posts. Lo and behold, there was. In fact, there was one I should've seen hours before that stated that FilePlanet was giving out Open Beta keys for AoC. Well! I told 4youreyesonlyKarine and dracmttMatt. Karine hasn't been very enthused about the game (she's been put off by all the splashing of blood) but Matt had expressed interest. So all three of us set off to try and get beta keys. This proved to be something of a hassle because it appeared as if all of the AoC crowd decided to try and get beta keys at the same time. So FilePlanet wasn't loading past the beta sign up page and it took something like an hour or more to finally get the keys. We got them just in time, actually, because in reading the forums yesterday, I learned that the keys had run out shortly thereafter. Continue reading about AoC... )

For those who don't want to read a buttload of text on a game you'll probably never play, I'll give the very short version: AoC rocks. I'm pre-ordering tonight.

After much thought and going back and forth, I've decided to go for the EU version of the game. This sucks because I won't be able to play with my US/Australia/NZ friends should they ever get the game, but I'd really like an MMO that's on local servers. Latency is annoying as crap. Plus server maintenance for WoW is always smack dab in the middle of my day. And getting a hold of expansion packs is a hassle. So for my own piece of mind while slashing heads, I'm opting for the EU version. I expect most of my friends will likely a) never want to play this and b) not have a computer that can play this, so I don't feel too guilty. Though it sucks that I can't play with Matt :( We'll see how it goes though.

Anyway! Enough of that.

We're now approaching what sounded to me like the Zark of Dragignon. I await a sign to tell me where we actually are. Les Arcs-Draguignan. Close!

I see palm trees, how exciting.

I hear Spanish! "Ay mamita." "Que pasa?"

Scenery: trees, trees, a house in the middle of trees, trees ...

Anyway, I'm gonna pack things up seeing as we're almost there!
dreams3x: (me red chair)
It's a bleak day. Or at least it feels like a bleak day which amounts to about the same thing. This is me being unhappy for no reason. This is me at my worst because there's so many Good Things I should be focusing on. I haven't had one of my omg-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life panic attacks in a while but I think I had one this morning and it has sort of persisted throughout the day. So I've been entirely up and down mood-wise today. One second I'm happy, the next I'm depressed, and back again. Stupid. All stupid. I'm getting too old for all of this self-doubt. It's too late, anyway, to question this whole being a writer thing.

Anyway.

Moving entirely on to a slew of happy things...

- My mom is out of the hospital and back home!

- Nouvelle Star last night was both boring and stressful. My favorite of the bunch is Amandine. Julien will probably win but I hate his hair. Reminds me of um ... Justin from the first season of American Idol. Ick. Though Julien's voice is amazing. Anyway, Amandine ftw.

Emission du 26/03/2008 : Amandine - Nouvelle Star 2008 - Nouvelle Star 2008

- Top Chef episode 3 was enjoyable! Glad to see the lesbians are still going strong.

- Aaaand it's official: Alix & Valerie will be published by Bedazzled Ink Publishing in the fall of 2008. :)


(LJ ate like half this post originally so ... edited :) )
dreams3x: (Default)
Our coffee machine broke recently and it had been the cause of much suffering. Karine came home with a new coffee machine today, and it's silver and pretty and has a digital display screen. I love it.

"So you like the digital display screen?" Karine asked me.

"Yes," I replied. "Before, you didn't really know what the coffee machine was thinking."

We had eggs and bacon for dinner and crepes and coffee for dessert. The coffee was wonderfully foamy and yum. This coffee machine and I are going to have some good times together.

I watched the first two episodes of Cashmere Mafia and then made Karine watch them while we ate. She likes it. And I love it. And I look forward to the next episode with every fiber of my little TV-addicted being.

I watched the L Word, which was really enjoyable (surprisingly enough). They've really done a good job turning around the pre-credits scene. This last one was hilarious. I'll probably subject K to it tomorrow if the WoW realms go down.

The weekend was spent in WoW. Friday night we had a Gruul's Lair raid planned but it was cancelled due to lack of people, but not all was lost because we managed to get [livejournal.com profile] dangerosa and [livejournal.com profile] ceilyn_rm attuned to the BEM dailies. Saturday we ran Karazhan and downed Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Big Bad Wolf, Curator, the Chess event, and Shade before calling it a night. On Sunday night we picked it back up and downed Netherspite, Prince, Illhoof, and got Nightbane to 20% before breaking for the week. Our Kara group rocks. Good stuff.

I've been writing every night and TBSOL continues to inch merrily along. It's currently sitting at 213 pages (87,000 words) which makes it a bit over half complete. I expected the second half of the novel to be a simple cut and paste from the original but as a few people have pointed out already this rewrite has turned TBSOL into an entirely different novel and well ... goodbye original.

Tonight K and I had a talk and we decided it was best if I took a break from school this semester and focused on work and finishing TBSOL and getting my health issues dealt with. I feel really good about this decision. We had most of the conversation in French. We agreed to speak in French to each other more often.

So that's 1200 euros we're saving on, too, which is nice.

I'm not, however, going to the US in February after all because neither K nor I wish to get into the whole visa nightmare again until we get the PACS taken care of. So I'll be K-less for a week. :( But at least she's not going to Thailand next week like she was originally supposed to, so I guess I can't complain .... too much.

I'm reading Emma by Jane Austen. I've decided to read all of Jane Austen's novels because I feel that not having read most of them is criminal.

And I think that's all of the excitement on my end. :)
dreams3x: (me red chair)
Today was a cold and wet day in Lyon. I went to class to take exams. Pretty sure I failed the first one on account of them asking us the most ridiculous things EVER. Even if I had studied more than I did, it would've never occurred to me to memorize the different types of French diplomas by bac +1 - bac +8 between the ancient system and the new one. I mean seriously. SERIOUSLY, people. The second exam went a lot smoother as it was just reading comprehension.

After the exams the professor showed us a bunch of scenes from a terribly depressing war movie. Yay for watching all the main characters DIE HORRIBLY.

I kept thinking, "Do not cry... do not cry in class."

I didn't cry.

I left class quickly as to avoid certain people's company (because I am just that anti-social) and I listened to happy music and I stepped on dry leaves, and I told myself to hurry before it started to rain.

I thought of calling Karine just to hear her voice and tell her about my morning, but I figured she'd be at lunch.

I was starving. And a lady sat across from me on the train carrying two pizzas, and I thought, "How weird would it be if I asked for a slice? Would she actually give it to me?" I didn't actually intend to ask, but I thought about it because I was just that hungry and the pizzas smelled that good.

At my stop, I stood behind a lady in a blue and white track suit as we both waited for the doors to open. I thought about how happy I was that things were okay on all fronts. It felt so nice to be able to breathe.

Then the lady in front of me decided to light up a cigarette and blow smoke in my direction.

My cheerfulness darkened briefly. I hate cigarette smoke. I hated that lady. I hated her blue and white track suit as I trailed behind her, inhaling her smoke.

But then I was outside again, and even the rain and the smoke and the cold felt good.

Everything's okay.

And now I impatiently await my girlfriend's arrival, and I should probably clear the table so we have someplace to eat as we watch Chuck.
dreams3x: (Default)
Class is over for today. The upside to waking up at the buttcrack of dawn to go to school is that I'm done by 11:15. Noon finds me doing world-changing things like ... defrosting chicken nuggets. Yummy.

I've made it my mission to update this every day (until I inevitably stop updating it every day - because we all know how inconsistent I am).

Alas, I have nothing to say. Class was ... class. We learned how to dress appropriately for different types of work. And then we learned about an Italian ad campaign against anorexia. Following that, we learned about Marcel Marceau. Off the top of my head, I can tell you a few things about Marcel Marceau that I didn't know before today. He was born on March 22nd 1923 in Strasbourg, France. He died September 22nd 2007 in Cahors, France at the age of 84. In 1947, he invented the character of Bip. Michael Jackson's "moonwalk" was inspired by Marcel Marceau's "marche contre le vent."

And that's all I remember.

Anyway...

I added Chuck to my list of shows to keep watching. I enjoyed it loads.

Anyway it's been 2 hours since I started this post and I've not come up with anything more thrilling to relay so .... au revoir.
dreams3x: (buy-curious)
[This entry has been crossposted from A Puerto Rican in France]

Yesterday, I went to the mall and was surprised to hear English spoken all over the place. I think I heard more English than French. That's never happened before. For the most part, I heard American accents. I think there were a couple of Australians, though.

Americans = Loud. That was my observation.

The French are loud too, don't get me wrong. Teenage girls in the subway, for example, are the leading cause of hearing loss in this country - I imagine. They sound like hyenas dying.

I'd heard - before ever coming to France - that the French were very quiet in the metro. Perhaps in Paris. In Lyon, this is not the case.

Regardless, Americans are loud too. K. likes to point out English and Spanish speakers in public to me because I'm generally not paying attention and don't hear anything. But yesterday, this crowd of Americans passed by me at the mall, and there was no way NOT to hear them.

Then at a store called Naf Naf (which I always read as 'Fan Fan' for some reason), I'd just finished grabbing all the size small tank tops I could find (in all the colors that were not seizure-inducing) when the cashier yelled to someone that they were closed. The person being addressed - a woman in her late twenties, I think - kept walking. The cashier, again, called that they were closed. The woman seemed to realize she was being spoken to and stopped to look at the cashier. The woman touched her ear in confusion to signal that she hadn't heard. Again, the cashier repeated that they were closed. The woman shook her head and shrugged her shoulders and said something in English I don't remember now.

The cashier then switched to English and said they were closed. The woman replied, "Can I pay?" And the cashier didn't understand. So the woman raised her voice, "CAN. I. PAY?"

The cashier nodded, and the woman headed toward what appeared like the dressing rooms, and the cashier called that she couldn't try the clothes on. The woman said, "No, I'm not trying anything on."

The cashier seemed to give up and returned to the people in line. She shook her head and said something in French to the people standing in front of me. I didn't hear what she said.

I smiled and turned to K. and said, "Definitely American." K. said, "Definitely."

It was kind of refreshing, that whole exchange. I was beginning to think there were no tourists in Lyon, but K. assured me that the summer months were filled with tourists, so I expect to hear a lot more English around.

The thing about hearing English is that I get this weird impulse to want to speak to the people.

At a different store, I was waiting for K. to come out of trying some clothes on, and there were two girls speaking English in front of me, and I wanted to start talking to them, only I didn't know what to say. It's been so long, though, since I've been around English speakers that I almost want to run up to them and hug them and yell, "THANK GOD! BE MY FRIEND!"

Hopefully I won't actually ever do that. It would be embarrassing. Especially since I don't think I actually want to be friends with any of those people. One of the girls, for example, was trying on the most horrid shoes on the planet. All I really wanted to say was, "Why would you ever wear that?"

But anyway. While I think I remain the only Puerto Rican in France (or perhaps 1 of 2), at least I'm not the only American in Lyon.
dreams3x: (Default)
I must confess the following: I'm scared to death of speaking French out there in the real world.

I've been here about six months or so, and have been studying the language twelve hours a week for about four of those six months, but I refuse to speak French if I can help it. That's not to say that I speak English with the French people. Oh, no no no. That would be much worse. Mostly, I just avoid speaking at all costs.

The other day, however, I gathered up my courage and did something revolutionary: I went grocery shopping by myself. Yes, that's right: I had yet to do this. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's true. The main reason - or at least my main excuse - is that I hate handing my obviously foreign credit card to the people behind the cash register. They stare at the name "Wachovia" in utter confusion for about 5 seconds before they figure out that no, it's not a French card.

Sometimes, they ask me for ID, and I don't understand that they're asking me for ID, and I stand there smiling and nodding like an idiot because I don't want to let on that I don't understand, only it's pretty obvious that I don't understand because nodding and smiling is not - amazingly enough - the same as taking out my ID. So I do this until K. tells me that he or she is asking me for ID.

I hate those moments, because I hate feeling like an idiot, which here happens quite constantly.

So generally, I go to class and I come back home, and I sit in front of the computer where it's safe.

But the other day, I was coming back from class and I thought, "We're out of butter. We're out of butter and I know I have 10 euros in my wallet. I would also really love a baguette."

I decided, quite spontaneously, to get out at a different stop, one closer to the grocery store near the apartment, and buy butter.

Plan in action, I got off at said stop, and realized upon getting off the train, that I'd never actually been in that station before. I proceeded to get lost, and turned around several times because I couldn't figure out what exit to take. Eventually, I just decided on an exit, and once outside, I realized that nothing looked familiar. I kept walking anyway.

Thankfully, I figured out the right way and I was very relieved that I wouldn't have to spend the rest of my day wandering lost through Lyon, as I have no cellphone, and wouldn't have even known how to ask for directions back to familiar territory.

So, I found the store, went in, and headed straight for the butter. I also grabbed cheese. At the cash register I said my mandatory bonjour, I paid, I put the butter and cheese in my bookbag - because plastic bags here in France are something of a luxury I've realized.

My next stop was the bakery, and that would be the biggest challenge, as I would be forced to order something from someone, and it would be the first time since my arrival in France that I would so something as remarkable as that.

I walked in, and stood there. The woman who worked there was talking to some other people and working the coffee machine. I'm not sure if she didn't see me or if she was too busy to attend to me until like 7 minutes later when she finally said something to me. I was forced to speak across the place so everyone could hear me, and I said, "Une baguette, s'il vous plait." She said something I didn't really understand, but I decided to just wait.

Eventually, she came around and got the baguette and gave it to me. I paid, and was on my way.

I finally bought my first baguette. And you never forget your first.

(This was published at A Puerto Rican in France)