30 May 2008
Well, I'm now looking for my "the weather is great in the South of France" receipt -- because I want my money back.
It's raining today, just like it rained yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that.
And the day before that!
[Note: we actually don't mind the rain all that much, mainly because the region desperately needs it. But the past two weeks have been incredibly wet -- making it hard to do all the outdoor activities that abound in this area. The kids area eager to ride bikes and go to the beach. The parents are eager to get the kids out of the house].
But there may be hope -- thanks to the fact that is't stil under warranty. After a long conversation (and some routine tests) with the HP customer service lines in the US, they gave me the HP-France phone number and I placed a call. They told me to call back to set up a time to have the computer picked-up for service. So Kerri called on Tuesday...and the courirer arrived the very next day and took the computer for service, with a promise to have it back in about 7 days.
If this works, I'll be pretty impressed. Of course, there's also a good chance we'll never see the laptop again
26 May 2008
25 May 2008
This won't mean much to most of you. Just ignore me for right now.
24 May 2008
23 May 2008
22 May 2008
It started last Monday evening when a colleague asked if I would like to attend an event two day later at the Festival -- a premier of a documentary film directed by Jermy Gilley called The Day After Peace, which chronicles his attempt to get the United Nations to establish an official Day of Peace. I’m not going to try to explain it any further, but instead direct you to this website where you can view a trailer. I urge you to take a look. The film centers around Gilley, but also prominently features Jude Law (yes, he was there; yes, he’s hot; yes, he’s way shorter than me). Here's a story about Gilley, Law, and the film from a British newspaper.
But the night before the event I received an email saying that due to the huge demand to see the film, I was being uninvited. I wasn't going to be able to attend because the people at the door and were going to have lists and I wasn’t going to be in the list! My colleague tried to talk to the organizers by no amount persuasion was going to work -- we were no longer invited, leading me to this sobering reality: high school history teachers don’t have much pull at the Cannes Film Festival.
Well, I decided I was going to go anyway. So Wednesday morning I did some research and found the phone number of the hotel that was hosting the party, a swanky little joint just off the Coissette called Hotel 3.14. I gave them a call and explained to the woman on the other line that I was calling to make sure my name was on the list for the film screening that evening. She looked over the list and didn’t see my name. I told her there must be a mistake and could she please add my name. And you know what? She did!
But I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I had no idea if the woman on the phone was actually putting my name on the list or just saying she was putting my name on the list, so even as I arrived at the venue I didn’t know if I was actually going to get past the door. Making matters worse was the fact that when I arrived the line of people waiting to get in extended 200 feet down the street. As I went to take my place at the end of the line, I scanned the crowd for anyone I might recognize and two things came to mind: 1) how is it possible for all these people to be so great looking, and 2) the last time I saw this much plastic was when I accidently opened my sister's Barbie-drawer in 1984. [Note: And it wasn't just the women! I saw one guy who appeared to have cheek implants. It looked like he had boiled an egg, cut it in half, applied one half to each side of his face, and covered them both with brownish-orangish face make-up. And one of the women I saw had so mch collagen in her lips they looked like the jet safety barriers you see on aircraft carriers.]
But I digress. My attempt to get in took a sudden turn for the better when I saw one of the parents of a student of mine – a parent who just happens to work for an organization that was helping to coordinate the event and just so happened to be in charge of…letting people in! Can you believe the luck. When she saw me she told me to wait right at the front of the line. Ten minutes later I was walking into the huge tent set up on the beach – right behind Dennis Hopper (yes, he looks great; yes, he’s way shorter than me -- I’m guessing 5’6, tops).
The rest of the story later.
(Excerpt from tomorrow’s post: After seeing Selma Hayek in person I realize she doesn’t come across very well on camera.)
20 May 2008
- vert (green)
- vers (towards)
- une verre (glass)
- une ver (worm)
- une vers (verse)
That’s FIVE words that are pronounced exactly the same. But there are plenty of other examples. How about these words, all pronounced core [but, again, with the fancy ‘r’ sound]
- la cour (courtyard)
- le court (court, like tennis)
- court (short)
- le cours (course/class or grand courtyard)
- courre (a conjugation of 'to run')
Or these -- again, pronounced the same:
- vingt (twenty); le vin (wine); vain (vain); vint (a conjugation of 'to come')
- c'est (it is, or it's); s'est (a reflexive version of it is); sais (1st/2nd person singular of 'to know'); sait (3rd person singular of 'to know'); ses (a possesive pronoun); ces (these/those), and, of course, the letter 'c'.
Here's a fun link to even more French homophones (hope you caught the sarcasm there, cause I'm laying it on pretty thick).
[obscure reference guide: layng it on pretty thick]
18 May 2008
Photo: Mike Tyson and his family on the red carpet this weekend.
17 May 2008
15 May 2008
But here's where it gets fun.
The CIV has an impressive music program and one of my students is apparently a good jazz guitar player and is thriving in the program. I got to talking with him one day after class about jazz music in general and he mentioned that his father is in a jazz band in Nice and wondered if I had ever seen them. Of course, I didn't know who he was talking about, but I soon learned that his father is part of ... The Boogiemen Swing. They play lots of gigs in jazz clubs around the Cote d'Azur and he's invited Kerri and I to come out one weekend to see them in Nice. This summer they will also be featured in the very popular Nice Jazz Festival. (Our friend over at Poppy in Provence will probably enjoy this post because she's in jazz band as well...I think I have that right.)
Hear some of the music they have posted on their myspace page. If you live in the area it's very possible you've seen them. He're a short video of them performing.
Exactly Like You - Boogiemen
[Late Update: it appears the video isn't working properly, but you can at least see a photo of the group. Go to the myspace page linked above to hear some of the music.]
14 May 2008
In any case, the whole region is geared up for an onslaught of actors, directors, writers, tourists, paparatzzi, wanna-be's, and celebrity stalkers,
Cannes Film Festival Official Site
13 May 2008
Students have signed up for 20 minute slots on Wednesday afternoons. When they arrive they will pick a question from a list of 40 that have been prepared by the OIB program coordinators in Paris. They will then have 20 mintes to prepare -- in a separate room with no notes -- a 5 minute oral presentation on that topic. After the 5 minute presentation I will ask them other questions about the program for 15 minutes. During this oral exam, another student from their class will be observing (just the three of us in a big room).
From my point of view it's really just a 20 minute conversation with my students about everything we have covered this year -- basically US and European foreign and domestic policy since 1945. Somehow I don't think the students view that way. Although this is just the bac blanc, it is counted as a large part of their grade for the trimester.
And for me, this is also a 'practice' test of sorts because in June I will travel to Paris with some colleagues from the CIV to administer the real oral exam to students from one of our schools in Paris. I've got to be ready too.
09 May 2008
Do I need to take a sheet?
The only response I could think of was, ‘I don’t know. Do you?’
At soccer and hockey games in Nice there is a lot of singing and chanting – very typical in Europe. Once such chant involves the entire stadium jumping up and down while performing the ‘song’. Patrick and I both tried in vain to figure out 1) what everyone is saying, and 2) why was everyone jumping up and down? After listen to the chant dozens of times, all we managed to ascertain is that the chant had nine syllables and the final word was niçois, as in, ‘from Nice.’ So when the fans began this ritualistic chant I would jump up and down with the crowd and yell, ‘blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Niçois!’ Patrick was incredibly embarrassed. To make him fell better I promised to go to the internet to find out what the fans were really saying. A few clicks around Google and I found what I was looking for. Here is the chant in French followed by a translation:
Qui ne sauté pas n’est pas Niçois.Translation: whoever is not jumping is not from Nice.
Ah, that explains a lot. Check out this link to see the chant at a real match. The clip is from Lyon, not Nice. But that's probably OK because many in France think Lyon was the first club to use it.
07 May 2008
Le weekend dernier on est allés à ouest de la Provence. Mon père et sa femme étaient avec nous. Samedi matin, on a visité le théâtre antique à Orange (1ere siècles). Il a fait beau toute la journée. Samedi âpres midi, on est allés au Chambon, un petit village dans le Massif Central. On a marche dans le village et on a vu l’église du prêtre protestant André Trocmé et sa maison. Il était résistant pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale.
André Trocmé était jeune pendant le guerre. Il avait environ trente ou trente cinq ans. Il a convaincu les villageois de cacher des juifs parce que c’était la bonne chose à faire. Tour les habitants l’ont aidé et ils on caché plus de cinq mille juifs.
Après on visité l’église et sa maison, nous sommes allés boire un verre. J’était un café (Kerri aussi) et mes enfants on pris des jus de fruits (pommes pour Julia, ananas pour Patrick, raisins pour Henry).
Le weekend était très bonne. Merci pour ma père et sa femme.
CJS and KRS (and Barbara)
[Ed. note: If you read the previous post you’ll see a summary of the trip in French. Don’t get to impressed though. This was an exercise for our wonderful French teacher Barbara, and my original version looked nothing like the corrected version you see above. I’m also a bit embarrassed that it reads like a textbook geared for 8 yr olds.]