Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 8

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 8

Reckless ou irresponsible?

Confinement makes us TRY to understand others. I can really get that some guys become crazy without running everyday. In some parts of France (like in Paris), it’s forbidden to jog from 10 AM to 7 PM – to provide some quietness for the rare people who have to go outside to refill the fridge. So, well, they run before, and after. Good.

I never understood runners, though I tried. Is it just a way to get outside, get some air and some change? Or a goal for health (“I’m bored running like an idiot but it’s good for my body”)? Or a drug thing : waiting for the “after” moment, when one slops down in their sofa, drowned in pleasure endorphins?

Out on the plain, running like hell

Or stupid questions about exploding domestic violence in confinement times : “How come people marry violent men? Was this inner trait really invisible at the time?”. Yeah, I suppose, and I shut up.

Questions, questions. What about these three Types?

  • The first is the proud strong halfwit hammerhead, standing on “Nobody tells me what to do!”.
  • The two is the young moronic featherhead, vaguely laughing, partying all night in crowds.
  • The three is the exhilarated religious boss, “God protects us from coronavirus” (with the help of certain psalms, probably). Churchurlishness…

Then death comes around. With this disease, you just drown, suffocated. It’s the sad concept of “too late regret”. It’s universal, in all countries.

Empathically, trying to understand people. It’s a discipline!

***

To write this I had big laughs with the English synonyms of “idiot” (adjective or noun). I get the nuances (in violence or funnyness), but I really don’t know about chucklehead, goon, halfwit or schmuck. I guessed about the rustic countryside colors of oaf, yokel, lout. But what about bungler, klutz, simpleton or churl? Words are linked with bad manners, others with ungainliness or ways of sitting.

When one ESL like me begins to dig into a vocabulary field, even a funny field like this one, there’s a feeling of terrible loss : I know nothing!

***

Yesterday I watched Episode 2 of Carnival Row, with pen and paper – in English with English subs. In less than an hour, I wrote unknown nuggets : aught, lively, hoof, ghastly, quackery, snug, squander, shuddering, passerby, beget, shrine, pall, to preen.

Pfff !

Then I search : aught in “For aught I know!”, lively in an order : “Now go!”, hoof for the foot of horse but also as a verb (the GREAT “She had a flat tire, she had to hoof it to work”), and if ghastly is dreadful or horrible, what’s the difference?, and is snug comfortable or tight-fitting (positive or negative radioactivity?), and squander and waste? Is a pall a coffin? What’s that interesting verb, to pall (a domain, a person?), or to cast a pall over? Etc, etc.

I love it, but it’s exhausting!

***

I watched Underwater (2020) – a group of scientists at the bottom of the ocean encounters creatures after an earthquake destroys their laboratory. Everybody seems to hate this movie (because it looks like Alien, or because many people hate Kristen Stewart). Stewart is great, the beginning is surprising, the monster is Cthulhu-esque, and it’s very stressful. Cons? Some strange ellipses, a so-so sense of locations, scrambled lights at times. The characters (and the way we meet them, the way they talk) are strangely realistic, it’s also a problem (we don’t know them enough, maybe). I’d give a 6/10.

***

If you’re alone and not allowed to go, you have to find something to explore. Today let’s think about battles.

Interesting battles, what are they? You have to choose one, which IS an activity.

You can choose a star, like the D-Day, Austerlitz or Gettysburg. I’d choose elsewhere. Antietam or Wagram.

Then begins your researches. What’s history around? Who are the generals? The opposing forces? What about the battlefield, the terrain? Phases? Prelude? Ending? Events? Aftermath?

But also : where to find maps? What books to read? History? Remembrances (of whom : officers or soldiers?)? Where is the place today? Is there a way to go visit it? Is there a forum on the Web, where people who know this battle could help you?

There’s an editor I know : https://ospreypublishing.com/ – they have numerous leaflets about many battles.

It should get you busy for a few days…

Thanks for reading! Sorry for my English…

Stay safe!

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Quiff is a mess & French frou-frou noiseling : an #ESL struggles with English words…

One pleasure of ESLing is to gain vocabulary.

This week I watched a clever crime movie, Body Heat. Smart dialogs offer you new words – and I watched it in English with English subtitles. Each time I find an unknown word I remotestop the film and I check on my phone, and it’s… almost always a problem (because the French words are, obviously, “not exactly” what yours mean, it’s always a bit… displaced).

All these words were totally new to me :

  • Outsmart seemed easy but it’s not : beat by cunning, surpass, foil, thwart – what is it exactly? I like the way it’s made : “Out + Smart” (could be offsmart, right?). We have “déjouer” in French, which could be “de-play” or “out-play”. I love the cousinning of all these.
  • Rustle is great. I imagine it’s non human, something in a tree or maybe from a dress’ fabric, right? We have bruissement in France, and as “bruit” means noise, it could be… “noiseling”. I wonder what’s the difference with creasing or crumpling. We have in French the delicious “Frou-frou” for the “dress swish”, the word says it all, right?
  • Searing is clear, but then, when don’t you say burning? Is it… more painful? More red? More intense? Can you use it to talk about meat (then is it spoiled, or delicious)? What is scorching, then? Can I have a searing memory?
  • Arson is “setting fire to property”, but is it a law word only? Could I use it metaphorically, like I want “to arson my feelings/my past”? Where does this word come from?
  • Quiff is a mess. I found the hairstyle thing, OK. But what’s a “quiff’s eye”, then? A “haughty little stare”? (Haughty? Really? New word again… which led me to “your high horse”, a clear idiom, for once). But for quiff I also find “legitimate spouse” (really?), which seemed the case in the movie I was watching.
  • Askew : where is it used? For a hat? For a life? Does it sound vintage or do young people will say it about your eyes (or your books on the shelf)… askew?

 

Where does it come from, to feel such pleasure, exploring this? I don’t know.

Feel free, ô my reader, to make things clearer in the comments. Maybe it’ll help my brain (and some other’s) to understand these daily subtleties…

Thanks for reading! Bonne journée !

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