May 2006 archive

(17 entries)

May 24, 2006

Adventures in francophonie

Montreal is awesome. I am doing better than expected with speaking French - instead of avoiding French altogether I string together these mangled franglais thoughts in my mind and occasionally spew them out to whoever my victim is. Example:

Shuttle driver with French-Canadian accent: Which hotel are you going to?
Me: Le Fairmont Reine Elizabeth¹.
SDWFCA: Fairmont Reine Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth?
Me: Oui. Yes.
SDWFCA: Vous parlez français? You speak English?
Me: (stammers) Oui. Yes. Les deux. Both. Je parle... I speak, yeah.

So yeah, that was clear. And efficient. Let's speak both languages at once! And translate for ourselves!

Later in the day I had an exchange with a Tim Horton's counterperson who refused to believe that I didn't speak French. I do speak French, but not when it's mumbled quietly into the counter in a heavy Canadian accent.

Counterperson: Bonjour.
Me: Hi, I would like an egg salad sandwich please. (I had chosen to do this in English because I just KNEW that if I tried to say "oeufs" I would pronounce the stupid F and embarass myself even though I KNOW the F is not pronounced!)
Counterperson: kszvnzsoic jwoijosijf brun?
Me: Huh?
Counterperson: Do you want it on white bread or brown?
Me: Uh, brown.
Counterperson: imcoisoiajeroiwehjro iosclkmao owinc?
Me: Huh?
Counterperson: Do you want anything else?
Me: Uh, no.
Counterperson: owierjoinoinowipaojclxkjnzlziz.
Me: Huh?
Counterperson: That's $4.49 [or some such outrageous price for a pretty lame fast food sandwich].

Every new thing she had to tell me, she tried in French first. It's like she thought "She didn't understand me the last time I tried, but maybe she's learned my language in the last few seconds."

¹ You know who else stayed here? John Lennon, that's who. Boo-yeah!

srah | 6:31 PM | TrackBack
Tags: french, language, montreal, travel

May 23, 2006

'I'm your main target/ Come and help me ignite'

The second-worst song to have in your head on the way to the airport: "Janie's Got a Gun." And it's in mine. I suppose it could be worse if my name were Janie.

Remind me not to sing that out loud as I'm going through security. Oh well, at least it's not #1...

srah | 6:45 AM | TrackBack
Tags: music, travel

May 20, 2006

Parlez-vous quebecois?

No, not so much.

I am off to the Great White North on Tuesday for a conference followed by some Staying Around and Sightseeing. Youpi! So far I have made all of my Montreal hotel reservations in English. I am a-feared of the Quebecois French. I'm afraid of all their funny ways of saying things and their different accent and their reputation for looking down on French-from-France and for speaking perfect accentless English to people who try to speak French to them.

I was telling someone at dinner that I might just chicken out and try to pass myself off as an American Who Speaks No French, but then I mentioned the Palais du Congrès convention center and realized that I'd already given myself away and I should be training to pronounce it pal-ace de con-gress. I am a fraud and shall be revealed as such!

Sorry, Quebecers.

srah | 12:24 PM | TrackBack
Tags: french, language, montreal, quebec, travel

May 16, 2006

And then Angela Lansbury pulled out her Beretta...

Dear Planet Earth,

In going through the list of great characters... few come to mind. Blanche Dubois, from "Streetcar Named Desire"... Willy Loman, from "Death of a Salesman"... Screech, from "Saved By The Bell" and, of course, Big Man from "Trapped in the Closet". If you ever want to see acting at its finest... acting that will make you re-examine your life... acting that will make you see the world for the first time... watch the 2005 hip-hopera raperetta music video serial monstrosity Trapped in the Closet. It is truly scrumtralescent.

Yes, this weekend I saw yet another example of truly terrible cinema. But Trapped in the Closet was the Feel-Good Tragedy of the Year compared to Yours, Mine and Ours and The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold. YM&O and TCEGFTG made me sad for America and the movie industry in general and were therefore real downers, whereas Trapped in the Closet just made me feel very very very sad for R. Kelly and whoever financed it, and also a little sad that he will probably never get the funding to make the next twelve chapters, so we will never learn about Tina and Roxanne. Woe unto the Earth!

You owe it to yourself to rent-- nay, buy this DVD. Buy it in order to fund the production of further chapters! Maybe once they're all released, then the whole thing will make sense!¹

If I can narrow it down to just two, my favorite parts are Bridget's accent and obsession with pears. PAY-YERS! You must eat some! Eat some pay-yers! Go up the stay-yers! She's three months pregnant and blaming her suspicious behavior on it being "that time of the month"! Don't question it! It's probably a cliffhanger!

Most of the rest of the horror that is Trapped in the Closet has been discussed elsewhere, including:

You stay classy.

¹ No it won't.

srah | 9:16 PM | TrackBack
Tags: bad movies, movies, music, open letters, r kelly, trapped in the closet


I have discovered the joys of Bowling Green, Ohio! On my way home this weekend I set off with half a tank of gas just so that I would have an excuse to stop in Bowling Green. A little birdie named BobaFind had told me that there was bubble tea to be found there. I had planned to take my aunt out for bubble tea while she was in Ann Arbor, but I forgot all about it until after she'd returned home. No bubble tea for Aunt Pat and no Ann Arbor bubble tea for me, which only made me want it more.

So I stopped in Bowling Green, found some reasonably-priced gas ($2.83 - not that there is anything reasonable about that, really, but it's all relative) and set off in search of Smoovies, armed only with the memory that it was on Washington Street, which was off Main Street somewhere. Luckily I found it without too much driving up and down Main Street. And it was lovely! It was an almond milk tea thing - but it was frozen, which they don't usually do for the almond flavor at Bubble Island. Very different and grood! I mean good. Great and good. I'll never buy gas in Ann Arbor again!

srah | 8:19 PM | TrackBack
Tags: bowling green, bubble tea, food, reviews, tea

May 13, 2006

Channeling terrible comics

My Review of H&M at Briarwood Mall:

AAAAAAH, with the scary and the loud and the crowded! Oh lady! Not so much with the going to H&M until the furOR of the buying and the shopping and the Grand Opening Weekend has died DOWWWWN, nice lady.

srah | 8:23 AM | TrackBack
Tags: ann arbor, briarwood mall, hm, shopping


Congratumatations to Alfie, who gradutates from Albion this aftermanoon. Albion, I hope, done gived you the same edumacation it gived me, which makes me spell in odd ways.

srah | 8:11 AM | TrackBack
Tags: albion college, alfie, graduation


Apparently it's not cool to tell your dreams to the Internet. To that I say "Suck it, Internet, you're going to read my dreams or else skip on to the next entry! Boo-yeah!" "Boo-yeah" has, unfortunately, become my catchphrase of the weekend.

I dreamt that I went to a fanciful land like Narnia. There were about eight of us in the group, including apete and his quadruplet brother and sisters and Rose (and possibly Bernard too) from Lost. We were all lead by some bearded guy who was sort of like Zeke from Lost. We went to this fanciful land called Candyland, where everything was pleasant and where we wanted to spend lots of time, just like Narnia. But then we came back to the present and it was obvious that something was up. People were trying to kill us or something so we escaped back into Candyland where it was revealed that there were people there who were our exact doubles and were trying to steal our souls, and Candyland was about to be threatened by a huge tsunami.

srah | 8:03 AM | TrackBack
Tags: apete, dream, lost

Joey and Janis' Day of Fun!

Apete and I had a Real Authentic Cincinnati Weekend last weekend. Or at least a Real Authentic Cincinnati Saturday.

First, we went to the Cincinnati Zoo. I hadn't been to the zoo yet and it was very exciting and nice. I've been to the Detroit and Toledo zoos a million times over, but it was nice to see new animals that I've never seen before, like the Takin and the Sumatran Rhinoceros. There's so much to learn about animals! Zoos sometimes make me sad, because the animals are caged up in middle America and being hooted at by humans instead of running around on the prairies and savannas and tundras where they belong, but I also feel like I get a lot out of the experience and that zoos do a lot to protect animals that would run into problems with humans encroaching on their native prairies and savannas and tundras. I suppose it's not an ideal environment for them, but other humans have made their natural homes uninhabitable, so it's a better solution. Now I'm depressed because there's nowhere for the animals to liiiiiiive!

Anyway, the zoo was great and apparently it's the second-oldest zoo in the country and it was a very nice zoo at that.

After we left the zoo, we went to have dinner at another Cincinnati institution: Skyline Chili. We'd been meaning to go there for a couple of apete-trips now, but hadn't made it. It was definitely not what we expected. First of all, Cincinnati chili is nothing like the chili we knew. It's more of just a meat sauce that you can choose to add beans and onions to if you like. And it's served on top of spaghetti. I knew about the spaghetti part, but I was picturing something like Wendy's chili served atop some spaghetti and smothered in cheddar cheese. We were also surprised by the restaurant itself, as we were expecting a fast-food style restaurant with a counter and it turned out to be a sit-down fast-food with waiters, more in the style of Steak and Shake. Anyway, it got apete and srah's seal of approval and we plan to return and try different things on the menu.

After Skyline, we went just down the street to Graeter's, a local ice cream institution. They have all kinds of special processes so the ice cream is denser and heavier than normal. It was good. We also really liked all the lovely cakes and pastries and sodas that they had to offer. It felt like a real soda counter and apete felt like we should be sitting at the counter, sharing a strawberry phosphate and saying things like "Ye gods!" and "Great honk!"¹.

A trip to Cincinnati would not be complete without sighting an iced angel food cake in the case at Graeter's. Nothing says southwestern Ohio like Frosting In Places Where There Should Be No Frosting!

¹ What, you don't have the catchphrases of minor characters from The Music Man memorized? What kind of nerd are you, anyway?

srah | 7:53 AM | TrackBack
Tags: cincinnati, cincinnati zoo, frosting, graeter's, skyline chili, zoo

Unconscious Mutterings

Time for free associations! So there!

srah | 7:30 AM | TrackBack
Tags: memes, unconscious mutterings

May 4, 2006

(This from the would-be fashionista in shoes from Target)

Dear Boy I Passed On the Sidewalk After Work Today,

There is no excuse for wearing white socks with a dark suit. I can only think of one situation in which it is acceptable to wear white socks with a dark suit, and that is if it is HALLOWEEN and you are dressed as one of the BLUES BROTHERS. But as it is May and you were wearing a blue shirt and I didn't see E-L-W-O-O-D written across your fingers, I am assuming this is not the case.

If you do not have any dark-colored socks that match, you should wear two different colors of dark-colored socks. If you do not have any clean dark-colored socks, you should wear dirty dark-colored socks, or perhaps dirty dark-colored socks turned inside-out. If you have no clean OR dirty dark-colored socks, you should borrow some from a friend. If you do not have any clean or dirty dark-colored socks OR any friends, then where are you going all dressed up? And why did you buy a suit but no dark-colored socks to go with it? To quote my favorite fashion designer, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

I believe the dangers of white socks are best illustrated by a girl we both passed who said to her friend, with great pity in her voice, "Oh... that poor boy is wearing white socks." Evoking pity from your female peers is probably not the route you want to take. White socks never won fair lady, Boy I Passed On the Sidewalk After Work Today.

srah | 5:58 PM | TrackBack
Tags: blues brothers, fashion, open letters, socks, suit, white socks

They must be saving TEH NEIL!!!!1 for later

Acceptable song choices for next week's Elvis-themed American Idol:

  • Always On My Mind
  • Kentucky Rain
  • Suspicious Minds

Unacceptable song choices for next week's Elvis-themed American Idol:

Overplayed song that I am almost positive will be sung by someone next week:

  • A Little Less Conversation

Horrifying spectre that dost float in my mind's eye when picturing next week's episode:

  • Taylor Hicks gyrating and announcing that he is "itching like a man on a fuzzy tree"
  • Taylor Hicks gyrating and announcing that he is "a hunk o' hunk o' burnin' love"

My overall reaction to the thought of next week's episode:

  • Nausea

srah | 5:53 PM | TrackBack
Tags: american idol, american idol 5, elvis presley, music, tv

Another reason to hate George Lucas

You money-grubbing bastard... I totally want to give you more money.

srah | 11:34 AM | TrackBack
Tags: dvd, george lucas, movies, star wars

May 2, 2006

American Idol never listens to my genius suggestions!

Because I am sick and should be sleeping, instead I have discovered all of the #1 songs on the dates of birth of the remaining American Idol contestants. Tonight's theme is "Music from the year you were born," I am told, so I thought I would use the ol' This Day in Music machine to pick songs for the would-be Idols:

  • Paris Bennett (September 23, 1988) - "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin
  • Katharine McPhee (March 25, 1984) - "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
  • Chris Daughtry (December 26, 1979) - "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes
  • Elliott Yamin (July 20, 1978) - "Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb
  • Taylor Hicks (October 6, 18761976) - "A Fifth of Beethoven" by Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band

Awesome. I'm sure my version of American Idol would be better than the one that will be on tonight. I'd love to see Chris trying to Fuelerize the Piña Colada Song straight from the gut with extreme passion and emotion and Taylor spazzing out while trying to sing an instrumental piece.

srah | 6:48 PM | TrackBack
Tags: american idol, american idol 5, music, tv

May 1, 2006

'You say I only hear what I want to'

Alrighty, my High School Mix CD is done. My CDs will be going out a day late, but they'll be going out! Read on for the track listing:

srah | 10:44 PM | TrackBack
Tags: cd swap, high school, music, track listing

Unconscious Mutterings

Here they are! Once again I'm way behind! Two weeks of free associations coming right up!

srah | 10:13 PM | TrackBack
Tags: memes, unconscious mutterings


Many congratulations to the SI class of 2006! I went back to Ann Arbor this weekend to attend graduation and join in some of the festivities. The SI ceremony was marked by the least inspiring graduation speech I've ever heard, in which the dean basically said that the graduates knew no more than they had entering SI, but now they knew how to "fake it" better than they did before. So those are the useful skills that your money will buy you, and that's why we're something like the #9 Information school in the country. Out of all those information schools out there. Ahem.

Anyway, now you're all out and everything will be better from now on! No more pencils laptops, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks!

srah | 10:11 PM | TrackBack
Tags: graduate school, graduation, school, school of information, university of michigan

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