vendredi 2 avril 2010

Bradley Cooper speaking French

I loved Bradley Cooper in the "He's just not into you" film... in my wanderings on YouTube, I discovered that this gorgeous and talented actor also speaks French!

Admittedly I can pick out quite a few mistakes with gender and grammar... but overall he speaks well and his pronunciation is pretty good!

The videos are quite long to watch though but it's good listening practice and I pretty much understood everything they were saying!

Eiffel tower necklace

Récemment, j'ai acheté ce petit collier chouette avec la tour Eiffel. C'est tout ce que je voulais de dire.

Recently, I bought this cute little Eiffel Tower necklace. That's all I have to say!

World's most beautiful people hot spots today revealed a list of the top 25 most beautiful holiday hot spots in the world, populated with the most beautiful single people...

  1. Trancoso, Bahia, Brazil
  2. Laguna, California
  3. Grande Plage, Biarritz, France
  4. South Beach, Florida, USA
  5. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  6. Las Salinas, Ibiza, Spain
  7. Santa Maria Beach, Ilha do Sal, Cape Verde
  8. Via Montenapoleone, Milano, Italy
  9. Byron Bay, Australia
  10. Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy
  11. Stockholm, Stureplan, Sweden
  12. Ramatuelle, St. Tropez, France
  13. Sitges, Barcelona, Spain
  14. London, England
  15. Capri, Italy
  16. Maresias, São Paulo
  17. Paris, France
  18. Baastad, Scania, Sweden
  19. Hornbaek, North Sealand, Denmark
  20. Prague, Czech Republic
  21. Manhattan, New York City, USA
  22. Dallas, Texas
  23. Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan
  24. Sankt-Petersburg, Russia
  25. Bratislava, Slovakia
I can imagine a 'survey' like this is pretty biased.. considering it was only conducted on a(n American) website.. but still, it's interesting and funny to see the results..

I admit I didn't know where Biarritz was (assumed it was on the Côte d'Azur) so I had to look it up! It's actually on the west coast of France, near Spain. All in all France did very well, earning 3 places out of 25!

jeudi 1 avril 2010

Paris-like metro station in Sydney, Museum station

I normally never go to Museum station (in Sydney) but after having gone to see films for the French Film Festival I passed through this station many times recently.

I was immediately struck by how "Paris-like" this station was!

I have only been to Paris once and for a very short time but I have memories of photos that I have seen and I'm well acquainted with the curved ceiling and tiled walls...

As far as I know, Museum station is the only station in Sydney which looks like this. St James looks similar but isn't as 'polished' looking.

Almost all the train stations in Sydney are above-ground and outdoors, which is why we don't call it the metro or the subway, but simply 'the train'. Those stations that are underground tend to have an "open plan" feel because of the way the stairs link to them. Most of them have the platform in the middle and 2 sets of tracks on either side, whereas with Museum station and Paris ones, they have the platforms on either side, and the track/s in the middle. It's hard to explain but basically none of them really have this 'enclosed' feeling, except Museum. Some of the newer underground stations may be similar but they are just ugly concrete boxes. They don't have the charm of yesteryear.

The walls of Museum station are covered with charming old black&white magazine/newspaper advertisements from eras gone by but when I took this photo, they had all just been (temporarily) replaced with colourful close-up photos of easter eggs!

For comparison, Paris metro stations:




What I found interesting is that our trains and stations have overhead wires but Paris trains don't. It seems that they are powered from underneath the trains! Also, something curious about Sydney trains is that they are all double-deckered, well actually it's split-level onto 3 levels. There's the entrance level, and an upper and lower deck. I could write more but that's a whole other post! :)

Flickr: Miss Cantankerous, Barmy Bee and Barmy Bee.

mercredi 31 mars 2010

Paris vox pop interviews

Stumbled upon these interviews which I found both informative and hilarious (as the title says)..

"Hilarious interview: French guys in Latin Quarter (Paris)"

This bit in the conversation cracked me up... "They are German."

Interviewer: Can you cook well?
The guys: No, I don't like it.
Interviewer: What have your parents taught you about French cuisine?
The guys: Everything but we didn't listen. / Just pasta and simple things.
Interviewer: Because I know a lot of French men who can cook which is..
The guys: Yeah it's a cliché.
Interviewer: No, no, no. I know them.
The guys: No, you don't.
Interviewer: Yes, I do. I have a lot of friends here.
The guys: No, no you don't. / They are German.
Interviewer: I was visiting France for a month and I paid only 4 nights. Everywhere else I was staying with friends...

Actually, my theory is, going by everyone I know, both French and non-French, and from all different countries, is that people who grew up in the country or in a small town are better at homely things such as cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, home improvements, etc, than those people who grew up in big cities and were more than likely spoilt by their parents and lived at home till an older age. I swear this is true for almost everybody I know from all different cultures/countries.

So given these guys are from Paris (a big city) it would explain why they are not good cooks and don't like cooking :P

This bit was also funny:

Interviewer: If your girlfriend earns a lot of money, would you be happy in staying home and taking care of the kids?
The guys: (laugh) yeah of course, it's my dream! It's a perfect dream. Yes! Every day, every time. Just cooking and taking care of child (sic) and sleeping and (can't quite catch that last word but it sounds like 'masturbating').

I think the fact that they are around 22 (?) is telling there... the fact that they are from Gen-Y. Actually from the interview all round you can gather that they are pretty open-minded people/guys/Parisians. They talk about gay people having the right to marry and that there's no issue with different race relationships, and more...

Lady Gaga interview in Paris

Lady Gaga's interview in a Parisian art gallery

I don't really know much about this woman, but I like her songs. Found this video by accident on Youtube. I quickly read the French sub-titles then tried to guess what she was going to say by translating the subtitles to English in my head.

In a way she seems bimboish (mainly because she's blonde, the way she's dressed, and the fact that she talks so slowly) but then some of the things she says are actually quite profound!

Je ne connais pas bien cette femme, mais j'aime ses chansons. J'ai trouvé par hasard cette vidéo sur YouTube. J'ai vite lu les sous-titres et puis essayé de les traduire en anglais et les vérifier après Lady Gaga a parlé.

Elle a l'air comme
'pouffe' mais quelques-unes des choses dont elle parle sont assez profondes!

Les Entrepreneurs et la Vallée du Silicium

French entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Just read this interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Everyone says that the French invented the word entrepreneur, yet they don't know how to be one! Most people seem to choose 'safe' jobs and public servant jobs like a teacher or police officer, or something like engineering, or something in the medical/health field.

Anyway, here's part of the article. It's quite interesting..

According to the Consulate General of France in San Francisco, the number of French citizens in Northern California increased from 13,446 in 2000 to 18,056 in 2007, an unprecedented 34 percent jump. Because many don't get registered, officials estimate that number to actually be around 30,000 and will conduct an updated study next month.

"We have seen more incoming French businesses in the last 18 months than in the past," said Carole Granade, who has headed the French American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco for the past seven years.

Just last year, about 200 French companies paid a visit to the Bay Area, said Gaetan Gachet of Ubifrance, a trade organization that helps French companies with business development abroad.

In fact, their increased presence is having a direct impact on the local economy: French companies employ 63,000 people throughout California, the most of any state...

Many said expanding a company in France can be hard because of stringent employment laws and the country's small market. In the United States, on the other hand, a startup can expend the same resources to access a much bigger market - and thus faster growth and larger profits. There's also something to be said for the Bay Area's culture of innovation.

"Compared to France, people here are much more enthusiastic about new projects and innovation," said Skander Larbi, founder of Techshower, the first French Web TV and tech news site about the Silicon Valley. "The valley is a very stimulating environment."...

I think this is an exciting thing for both the US and France because their people can combine their great minds and ideas to create new innovations...

mardi 30 mars 2010

Mothering tips from Elisabeth Badinter

Interesting that I should read this news report so soon after my last post where I briefly talked about the subject of breastfeeding babies or not..

MOTHERS in the English-speaking world are under attack from the French for trying too hard.

Controversial French philosopher and leading feminist Elisabeth Badinter argues that mothers, including those in Australia, have become slaves to their children. Instead, she argues, they should be women first - and mothers second.

Mothers should ditch the pureed organic pumpkins, eco-friendly cloth nappies and breast-feeding and get their lives back, Badinter claims in her controversial new book, Le Conflit, La Femme et la Mère (The Conflict, the Woman and the Mother).

They should follow the lead of traditional French mamans, who feel no guilt about using powdered milk, jars of baby food and day care if they're so inclined, she claims in the French bestseller, which has already caused a storm in Britain and the US, the Herald Sun reported....

The story was reported last week by the UK Times:

...She advocates a return to the old French model, which involved whatever necessary — powdered milk, baby minders, nurseries, you name it — to prevent les enfants from taking over their mothers’ lives.

“We live 80 to 85 years in our industrialised countries, and children take up 20 to 25 years of that,” she says. “Staking your whole life on 20 years is a bad bet.”

Unsurprisingly, Badinter has drawn furious reactions from all those she blames for making motherhood a prohibitively daunting challenge — an unlikely coalition of ecologists, New Age feminists, paediatricians, conservative Christians and breastfeeding activists.

They have accused her of, among, other things, endangering the planet, serving the cause of sexism andsecretly seeking to boost Nestlé’s profits...

All I can say is, everyone has an opinion on the topic and in the end women will always have to deal with the judgements of other women about what are the 'right' and 'wrong' things to do but in the end it's still their own choice!

dimanche 28 mars 2010

All You Need to Be Impossibly French by Helena Frith-Powell

All You Need to Be Impossibly French - a book review

A couple of weeks ago I went to a few op shops (opportunity shops, charity shops, thrift stores, second hand stores) for no particular reason other than to have a look as I hadn't been to them for years. I got some great bargains including some French related books!

I got: Reflets Methode Francaise: Level 2 textbook and workbook  and
Two Lipsticks and a Lover (Helena Frith Powell)
for $2 each at one store, and 
Language and Learning: An Introduction for Teaching (Emmitt, Pollock and Komesaroff) published by Oxford Press, 
Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris (Sarah Turnbull) and 
French Kissing (Catherine Sanderson)
for 50c each at another store!

I couldn't believe my luck as I usually never find any decent second hand books that I'm interested in.

I just finished reading Two Lipsticks and a Lover which is apparently the same book as All You Need to Be Impossibly French: A Witty Investigation into the Lives, Lusts, and Little Secrets of French Women.

It was an interesting read but contained nothing new that I hadn't read before in all the other French books, magazines, blogs and websites I've read. I wouldn't say it's an especially good book but not a bad one either. Her writing style is very easy to read and she's a likeable person/author/character but the whole book almost seems an article for a university newspaper featuring interviews, rather than a book with any especially insightful comments.

The thing I found most interesting was the chapter on childbirth and childrearing! Helena is English, and there, I have to agree with her on all the points she makes in this chapter. She says that French people find it bizarre if you don't want to find out the sex of your baby ASAP, if you want to breastfeed and if you want to deliver naturally and drug-free. I don't know if this is true or not but she writes:

Back at the natural birthing centre in Crowborough Sussex, they practically won't allow you in unless you promise to breastfeed. In some countries, like Sweden and Australia, bottle feeding a newborn is akin to some minor crimes, in fact some major ones. In Australia women regularly breastfeed for a year. I was desperate to talk to these French women and tell them they were depriving their babies of the best possible start in life...

To me, feeding your baby cow's milk (or even worse, powdered crap) instead of what mother nature intended is just plain stupid! There are so many pros for doing so and very very few cons. I won't give away the reason why French women do this. Read the book and find out why. You might find it shocking, funny or just plain stupid and selfish.

There were some other insighful things in the book too.. so if you're interested in the lives of (upper middle class) French women (or Parisians rather) you should read this book.

Bonne lecture!

Les films « Être et avoir » et « Le Papillon »

Il y a plus de 2 ans que ma soeur m'a demandé d'acheter des DVDs des films étrangers. Je lui en ai acheté 3: « Les choristes », « Être et avoir », et « Le Papillon ».

C'est bizarre car après j'ai commencé à étudier le français, j'ai decouvert de plus en plus de films français et quand j'ai dit à ma soeur de ces films, elle m'a dit, « Ah, tu ne te souviens pas? Tu m'as acheté ces films avant.. »

« Être et avoir » est une histoire comme un documentaire d'un homme qui est prof d'un école primaire dans un tout petit village. Il y beaucoup de gens qui aiment ce film mais je l'ai trouvé un peu lent. Mon scène préférer est l'un drôle où les enfants apprennent comment écrire... un des petits garçons persiste à dire "copains" quand le mot est en fait "amis". C'était mignon. Le prof est un homme gentil et il est un bon prof patient et doué qui est peut-être rare à trouver dans ce monde, je pense.

J'ai lu de « Le Papillon » sur YouTube, et trouvé la chanson qui est chanté par les acteurs principaux, Michel Serrault et Claire Bouanich. Enfin, je viens de finir de regarder ce film et je pense qu'il était un film sympa. La petite fille était très mignon et ce film m'a rappelé de ces films animés de Disney/Pixar et Dreamworks, par exemple, le film récent, « Up ». Tous ces films parlent de deux personnes très différentes qui deviennent amis...
Pour une étudiante de français comme moi, c'est plus facile de comprendre un film français quand il y a des enfants car le vocabulaire est plus simple.

Tous ces 2 films sont bon pour apprendre le français je pense et les enfants dans les films sont tous très mignons.

imdb : Être et avoir
imdb : Le Papillon

Le Papillon (The Butterfly) lyrics

Pourquoi les poules pondent des oeufs?
Pour que les oeufs fassent des poules.
Pourquoi les amoureux s'embrassent?
C'est pour que les pigeons roucoulent.
Pourquoi les jolies fleurs se fanent?
Parce que ça fait partie du charme.
Pourquoi le diable et le bon Dieu?
C'est pour faire parler les curieux.

Why do chickens lay eggs?
So the eggs will make chickens.
Why do lovers kiss each other?
To make the pigeons coo.
Why do the pretty flowers wilt?
Because that’s part of their charm.
Why the devil and the good God?
To make the curious people talk.

Pourquoi le feu brûle le bois?
C'est pour bien réchauffer nos coeurs.
Pourquoi la mer se retire?
C'est pour qu'on lui dise Encore.
Pourquoi le soleil disparaît?
Pour l'autre partie du décor.
Pourquoi le diable et le bon Dieu?
C'est pour faire parler les curieux.

Why does fire burn wood?
In order to warm our hearts.
Why does the tide go out?
So we can call for an Encore.
Why does the sun disappear?
So we can see the rest of the décoration.
Why the devil and the good God?
To make the curious people talk.

Pourquoi le loup mange l'agneau?
Parce qu'il faut bien se nourrir.
Pourquoi le lièvre et la tortue?
Parce que rien ne sert de courir.
Pourquoi les anges ont-ils des ailes?
Pour nous faire croire au Père Noël.
Pourquoi le diable et le bon Dieu?
C'est pour faire parler les curieux.

Why does the wolf eat the lamb?
Because it needs to nourish itself.
Why the hare and the tortoise?
Because there’s no point in running.
Why do angels have wings?
To make us believe in Father Christmas.
Why the devil and the good God?
To make the curious people talk.

Ca t'a plu, le petit voyage?
Ah oui beaucoup!
Vous avez vu des belles choses?
J'aurais bien voulu voir des sauterelles
Des sauterelles ? Pourquoi des sauterelles ?
Et des libellules aussi,
A la prochaine fois, d'accord.

Did you enjoy our little trip?
Oh yes, very much!
Did you see beautiful things?
I would’ve liked to see grasshoppers.
Grasshoppers? Why grasshoppers?
And dragonflies, too.
Next time, ok?

Je peux te demander quelque chose?
Quoi encore?
On continue mais cette fois-ci c'est toi qui chantes.
Pas question.
S'il te plait.
Non, mais non.
Allez, c'est le dernier couplet.
Tu ne crois pas que tu pousses un peu le bouchon?

May I ask you something?
What now?
We continue, but this time you sing.
Not a chance.
Absolutely not.
Come on, it’s the last verse.
Don’t you think you’re pushing it?

Pourquoi notre coeur fait tic-tac?
Parce que la pluie fait flic flac.
Pourquoi le temps passe si vite?
Parce que le vent lui rend visite.
Pourquoi tu me prends par la main?
Parce qu'avec toi je suis bien.
Pourquoi le diable et le bon Dieu?
C'est pour faire parler les curieux.

Why do our hearts go tick tock?
Because rain goes plop plop.
Why does time pass so quickly?
Because the wind pushes it along.
Why do you take me by the hand?
Because with you, all is well.
Why the devil and the good God?
To make the curious people talk.

Earth Hour 2010

What started as a little event in Sydney in 2007 has grown to a massive worldwide event involving more than 4000 cities.

In an effort to raise awareness about carbon emissions, householders were asked to turn off all lights and electrical appliances for one hour on March 28, starting from 8:30pm (the time chosen because that's when it's finally becomes pitch black in our summer daylight savings time).

I remember participating in this in 2007. It was quite exciting and I remember sitting in almost darkness with candles suddenly aware that time seems to stand still when you're without light (no tv, no internet, no reading, just talking or listening to music).

In 2008 I didn't do it as I wasn't in the country, and last year (2009) I remember playing Pictionary in the (almost) dark with some friends who came over! This year (2010) I was at a friends house and we only managed to last 20 minutes before we got 'bored' and decided to play their new console games (with the lights off mind you, so we were half doing it, OK, half cheating too ;) ).

I'm pleased to hear that Paris got in on it too :)

Sydney Morning Herald report
Earth Hour site
Le monde : Earth Hour

Related Posts with Thumbnails