Thursday, 6 June 2013

Got up this morning and felt crêpe-y

I made crêpe batter last night, and if there is anything that can pull a chap out of bed 45 minutes earlier than is his custom it's the thought of making wafer thin, lemon-juice-and-and-sugar crêpes. They are best when devoured quickly, and to ensure the rapidity of my breakfast I made like the professionals and ladled in my juice and sugar while the crêpe cooked. Folded, folded and folded again, my breakfast was three of these beauties in quick succession:

I tell you, when I have my flat in Aberdeen, and my coffee machine installed, every morning will be crêpes or eggs and toast or something glorious and hot and filling, because Aberdeen is where the Winter lives. Paris at the moment, it seems, has been gripped by solid, stultifying heat - when a step outside means an assault on the eyes, the nose, and the skin. It is as powerful a blast of heat as you might experience upon opening an oven door.

And so I, in a dark suit and a dark shirt with dark hair and dark shoes, near melted into the ground. Mary assures me it will be hotter still in Chicago. Splendid. It will be nice to have melted on both sides of the Atlantic.

This morning, as you can tell, started well. Yesterday ended well as well; I finally sat down and watched much ado about nothing via a wicked site called +Digital Theatre. There are plays on there that you can rent or buy, and my choice (since there's another version coming out soon, whose trailer is below) was Much Ado About Nothing, featuring David Tennant and Catherine Tate as Beatrice and Benedick. It's absolutely fantastic, with the laughs coming thick and fast courtesy of the brilliant leads and supports. My favourite is still this version, though, because Emma Thompson is beautiful and lovely and speaks Shakespearean English as though she were the lost sister of Elizabeth herself. Please, I implore you to watch it. It's how Shakespeare should be done.

This trailer is for the upcoming Joss Whedon (Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) version of the same, and it's out in the UK on the 14th - hopefully not much longer after that in France. I'm really excited for it, because a new look at the best Shakespeare play - and yes, I said it - is always welcomed.

But I've been massively sidetracked, and I suspect I've lost some readers in Youtube's labyrinthine corridors. Onwards.

This morning I was faced with an extensive translation and a couple of articles to check, one of which the author had written in English. Though it seems cynical I suspect he had done so with the aim of sneaking past the committee the fact that it was essentially an extended advert for his professional services, since they do not speak a lot of English. I passed it up with a note attached to that effect. With a little spare time I lent a hand to a friend of mine, who'd written a cover letter to a very prestigious company without mentioning the prestigious company once.

Cover-letter-writing should be a class. Ditch an afternoon's PE or geometry and teach kids how to write a decent cover letter. Please.

At about half past ten I was cornered by a PhD student who wanted me to take a look over her thesis, which is "only" a third finished and "only" 120 pages so far. There are times when I wonder what happens in the polished corridors of Academia, where 120 pages can be graced with an adjective like "only". In any case, we set to it and cracked through 80 pages before lunch, which I ate in half an hour. This will seem normal - nay, luxurious - when I work at a desk,  but in France it is a sin. No, worse than a sin, because sins are forgiven. It is almost high treason.

The reason for my hurry was that I had an appointment with the head of security to do some filming. I spent about an hour and a half with him and his colleagues, directing a brief bit of film entirely in French. And then we went off to secure a filming slot with the nurses. I went away almost skipping; some days I only speak English due to teaching or reading. And then there are days like these, when I can feel the rhythm of the words and look back at how abysmal I used to be and see the progress - these are the best days.

After that it was time for round two of the thesis, as well as instructions from my supervisor and a call to update the project leader on what progress I'd made with the filming. It felt great to be able to say how much progress I'd made, and also to tell him what I'd organised for next week. Great day.

Finally, I had a French lesson, where I spoke more French and tried not to tear my hair out as a classmate tried to convince me that the soul exists because we can be moved by Art. Having emotions does not signify a soul. Still, it was a useful practice, and I managed to give the teacher a minor heart attack by demonstrating "soudain". I did this by sharply banging both palms on the table at once, without warning, demonstrating the rapidity with which attraction can strike. And apparently how swiftly heart attacks can come on, as I looked up to see him collapsed in a chair. I also managed to bring a little Wilde into the room, explaining that it is important to get engaged several times in order to be perfectly practiced when one does it for real.

Jack.  Gwendolen, will you marry me?  [Goes on his knees.]
Gwendolen.  Of course I will, darling.  How long you have been about it!  I am afraid you have had very little experience in how to propose.
Jack.  My own one, I have never loved any one in the world but you.
Gwendolen.  Yes, but men often propose for practice.  I know my brother Gerald does.  All my girl-friends tell me so. 

Well now. I think that's quite clear, don't you? No lady wants a man who is unpracticed in getting down on one knee and doing what it is necessary for a man to do.

A long day. I grabbed a bag of cherries on the way home and got them for free because of loyalty points. Today has been just a gigantic win. I hope tomorrow is the same.