22 October 2011

Big French Sunday

SUNDAY IS A big day for French rugby fans -- they will compete in the Rugby World Cup Finals against host-nation New Zealand. If you don't know, New Zealand, or the All Blacks as they are know, are the most iconic team in the world of Rugby and they are perhaps best knows for the Haka dance they do before every match. The Haka is a traditional ancestral war cry that comes from the Maori people of New Zealand. It is absolutely incredible to watch and the clip below is about as good as any you'll see. It's from the last time these two clubs met in the knock-out stage of a World Cup -- back in 2007 when it was here in France (though this match was play, oddly, in Cardiff, Wales). Watch as the French team just stares down the All Blacks. The intensity on both sides is fantastic. France went on to win the match in 2007 and will try to do the same tomorrow. (The Haka starts at the 4:27 mark, but there's also a pretty good rendition of the French national anthem at the 3:00 mark. Nothing like 80,000 singing a national anthem).

I can't believe I'm saying this, but...I can't wait for the rubgy match tomorrow!

11 October 2011

Corsica in the Distance?

CORSICA IS 191 km from our house according to GoogleEarth. The great debate is whether we can see the island from our house. We're convinced that we can, though some of our friends seem to think we are only seeing the "shadow" of the Corsican mountains -- some sort of atmospheric mirage. Well, I put together some evidence on my much-below-average-quality camera. Here's a still shot, and some video evidence follows:

03 October 2011

First Hockey Practice

SINCE WE LIVE on the sunny Cote d'Azur it only seems natural that our youngest son wants to play...ice hockey?

We took Henry to his first hockey practice this afternoon at the Palais des Sport Jean-Bouin in Nice -- the only sheet of ice within 100 km of our house . He has been begging for us to sign him up for a couple weeks so we made the 30 minute trip to the rink and got him all dressed in his "gear". He has never really skated before on ice (well, maybe once at a birthday party) so we were a but unsure how he would manage. We thought the hours of roller-blading he has done over the past few weeks would help, but we weren't sure. To make things a bit more comfortable, his big brother and sister took to the ice with him -- resulting in the rather comical sight of two lanky pre-teens skating with a bunch of munchkin 6-10 year olds. But I digress.

Henry had a blast! He hit the ice with the rest of the kids and barely stopped for 80 minutes. The coach (we think he is Czech) had the kids doing all sorts of drills -- backwards skating, circle
s, squats, fall-down-get-up, etc. When the session was over, Henry asked if we could go back tomorrow. We can't, but we will head back on Wednesday evening for the bourse aux equipements where people bring in the used equipment their kids have grown out of and sell it an cheap prices. We'll be in the market for shin guards, pants, shoulder pads, gloves, and sticks. Size = 6 years old. Oh, and also size 12 year-old because Patrick now wants to do hockey as well.

In a related development, I'm in the market for a higher paying job.

The photos below are dedicated to our friends Jim and Dana and their kids: the only Canadians who have come to visit us since we moved a few years ago!!

A few days ago -- when he was 'practicing' on our porch with roller blades.

This afternoon -- getting ready for a few sprints across the ice.

Learning to shift weight from leg to leg. Sort of looks like a young Crosby, no?

Some steady gliding, it appears.

Helmet said "Made in Sweden" on the back. Perfect!!!

If we're really lucky, he'll play Juniors in Oshawa where he can live with Jim and Dana.

01 October 2011

The Office - Two Versions

I MENTIONED THAT YouTube sent a letter about a video we posted a few years ago. They have blocked the ability to 'embed' the video -- but I was able to work around that and embed it below. For those who don't know what I am talking about, we made a silly knock-off video that copied the opening credits to a popular TV show in the States (originally, a show in England). Here is the original from the show, followed by our French for a While version. OK, I admit we totally stole and concept, but isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Take a look at both: