Wednesday, December 31, 2008

101 things to do in 1001 days

The Internet takes me to strange and inspiring places.

I had just started sending New Year's greetings to some of my expat blog contacts, and I only got to the third one on La France Profonde's sidebar: Megan of An American in Provence. I was intrigued by a passage she had in her sidebar:

"101 things in 1001 days project begun July 4th, 2008 time left until April 1st, 2011 : 821 days 4 hours and 57 minutes left"

She had no link, but geek and ye shall find: a quick Google search brought me to Day Zero - The home of the 101 things to do in 1001 days project.

As a lover of lists and goals, I might just take the plunge on this one. And also, unlike New Year's resolutions, it won't have to be done by tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings 6

Click here to play with this week's Unconscious Mutterings.
  1. Destined : to fail

  2. FAIL : too weird

  3. Camping : campground

  4. Only you : can make my life complete

  5. Incessant : mutterings

  6. Tomorrow : is another day

  7. Impressive : resumé

  8. Riches : wealth

  9. Dislike : hate

  10. Speaker : phone
Looking over these mutterings, it's interesting for me to see how the English (as a second language) teacher in me comes out. On 8 and 9, I just spit out synonyms, much as I do in class.

Number 3 was not so much a synonym, but a recurrent correction: the French word for campground is le camping, so students often, and rather logically, think that that must be the English word. So I'm often correcting that error. I can hear myself:

No, in English we go camping (to go camping gets written on the board) but the place we go to is called a campground (go to a campground flies up on the board as I speak...)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

From business school to batik

One of the miracles of the Internet is being able to keep up with all of those people I surely would have lost touch with in the pre-digital days.

As someone who loves life stories -- or life's stories -- I was tickled that electronic communication brought me back in touch with Julie, one of my former business school students, and also one of my daughters' past babysitters.

I always thought Julie's personality might take her down a different life path from the typical business route, and I was right: she is now living in Senegal and recently married batik clothing designer Omer Silé Dao Diatta. She is helping out with his business and also occasionally modeling his creations, as you can see above!

Check out Omer's website and his beautiful work here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Unconscious (Christmas) Mutterings

I decided to do this week's Unconscious Mutterings with a Christmas spirit in mind. I don't know if that's true to the idea of the activity, but it sounded like a fun thing to write.

  1. Carpet : No Christmas ideas

  2. Bottoms : Up

  3. Music : Jingle Bells

  4. Nails : Nine Inch

  5. Watch it! : Haven't we done this one before?

  6. Your life : Varied

  7. Candies : Candy Canes

  8. Chafing : Dish, I think my mom has one

  9. Svelte : A brand

  10. Ding : Dong, Christmas bells
Well, I didn't manage to keep the Christmas theme for all of the words, but a few worked out rather nicely!

Happy Holidays!

PS: Dear Santa, For Christmas I would like somebody to read and comment on my previous post. I guess it didn't get picked up by Google alerts because if it had, I'm sure some Kinks fans would have chimed in.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rekonnekting with the Kinks 1: Arthur Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have made up my mind to gradually purchase all or most of the Kinks' CDs in order to rediskover my favorite group.

If they're my favorite group, how, you might ask, did I end up living without them for practically two decades?

Let's just say practical considerations (Do you remember the young and innocent pre-Amazon days?) and life got in the way.

But I'm not one to sit by the fire in my Shangri-la. I can now one-click my way over to the UK and order as many Kinks CDs as I want; I got my first shipment a few weeks back.

I'm determined to take my time and savor every moment of this unstructured rediskovery.

The first album I have listened to repeatedly has been
Arthur Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire. I ended up with the Castle edition, which has all sorts of extra tracks, but I'm not going to deal with those.

And I'm not going to attempt a full review, which would be great if I did this for a living, or if this were my only blog, or if anyone other than fans who get Kinks Google alerts were going to read this post...

Instead, I thought I'd have my fun categorizing the songs according to my reactions to them after a nearly twenty-year hiatus, with comments on some of the songs.


Victoria: Between the unexpected lyrics and the infectious melody, this is not just a Kinks masterpiece; it's a rock masterpiece.

Shangri-la: This song will certainly move way up in my Kinks' Top Ten list when this whole re-listening project is over. When Ray Davies sings "But he's too scared to complain, 'cos he's conditioned that way," my heart just breaks.


Yes Sir, No Sir

Australia: This song is more intriguing to me since I saw Come Dancing, which picks up on the same theme.



Drivin': Along with Victoria, this is the song that my 17-year-old daughter likes the most on the album.

She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina: For the title if for nothing else.



Young and Innocent Days: I always visualize this song; I think it certainly would have worked better in the original Arthur "televised rock opera" concept than it does on the album.


Some Mother's Son: I know a lot of fans love this song. To me, it starts out well but doesn't hold its promises, and veers dangerously towards the maudlin.

Nothing to Say
: I could say the same thing.


Mr. Churchill Says: The category is to be taken in the first degree; I had totally forgotten this song, and may well do so again.

One final comment: Arthur Or... is without a doubt my favorite Kinks' album title.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings 5

  1. Travel :: Uncountable

  2. Expensive :: Stuff

  3. Backspace :: Typing foxes

  4. Traffic noise :: Beep

  5. Now see here :: Missy

  6. Vegetables :: Vegetarian

  7. Chat :: Cat

  8. Your calling :: Teaching

  9. Weekly :: Reader

  10. Oh! :: MG

Inspired by Unconscious Mutterings. Photo credit here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kinks Wordle

(Click on photo to enlarge)

In the category of "fun things to do on the Internet," I have just discovered Wordle -- thanks to big blogging buddy spacedlaw. It's an application that turns a bunch of text into an image, featuring the most frequent words.

This is my first attempt. I'm sure one can be much more poetic and artistic, but I liked the image I got out of the content of all of my blogposts about the Kinks and Ray Davies.

Wordle seems to have a rather stringent copyright rule going which I don't quite understand, but I think it means I need to link to my actual onsite version.

Since I'm going on and on about Kinkdom, I'll mention that I enjoyed reading a fresh and well-written blog post review of Ray's December 12th concert at the Hammerstein ballroom in New York. The writer had never seen the Kinks or Ray in concert, and he managed to catch the spirit of what Ray brings to audiences as well as any of us oldies.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Kinks Koncerts

I'm just passing this along. I saw this tour (or a similar version of it) in July in Seattle and it was fantastic:

"Ray Davies has 4 shows remaining on his current tour and there are still tickets available for each of the performances. By all accounts this has been an excellent tour.

The following 4 dates remain:

10 Dec, 2008: Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, Rhode Island.
11 Dec, 2008: Higher Ground, Burlington, VT.
12 Dec, 2008: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, New York.
13 Dec, 2008: Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, New Jersey.

You can find ticket info at Dave Emlen's Kinks site:

If you can make it to one of the shows, please try and do so. Also let your friends know that there are still tickets available. A Ray Davies concert is a not to be missed experience. If you don't buy tickets online, call ahead to confirm seats."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings 4

Here we go again: Unconscious Mutterings 306:

  1. Love affair :: with life

  2. Bubble :: gum double

  3. Pimple :: Clearasil

  4. Knocks :: Hard

  5. Persistent :: Pain

  6. Infected :: Wound

  7. Yay! :: Good class

  8. Repaint :: a house

  9. Daily :: Post

  10. Quickly! :: Finish

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Rekonnekting with the Kinks

Last summer, my sister bought tickets for the two of us to go see Ray Davies in concert in Seattle.

Little did she know what this outing would bring about: the return of my obsession with Ray Davies and the Kinks -- a passion that has rather sadly been on standby while I have pursued being a mom, holding down a career, and basically living a grown-up's life.

It's not that music has been absent over the past years: we have plenty of CDs, and I have listened to a lot of my favorite musicians since I've lived in France. I've also gotten more into jazz, standards and French popular music.

And of course, I do own a nearly komplete kollection of the Kinks' albums: all on vinyl, sitting forlornly in my parents' basement.

Perhaps as part of my post-Obama euphoria (I'm part of Barack's generation, so I feel young again!) I have decided it is time to get the Kinks back into my listening habits. So I recently Amazon one-clicked my first Kinks CD order:

Something Else by the Kinks

Arthur or the decline and fall of the British empire

Lola vs. Powerman and the Money-go-round

Workingman's Café (a Ray Davies solo album)

And be warned -- I plan to bore you with the details of my rediskovery.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings 3

OK, I think I'm going to get addicted to this. Here are my responses to Unconscious Mutterings 305:

  1. Sleepy :: Time Herbal Tea

  2. Thanksgiving ::Thoughts

  3. Fifteen :: Again

  4. Authority :: Whatever

  5. Bangs :: Cut

  6. Curled :: Hair

  7. Young man :: Oh, don't get me started, I wonder if one of my blogging friends is going to read this. He'll know what I'm talking about.

  8. Surprised :: Often

  9. Mistake :: Error

  10. Handle it :: Don't get mad, get glad.