3 things from this week (#3)

I was about to start this blog post with a heartfelt “it’s been a while, hasn’t it?”, and then I realized that that is, word for word, the way I started my last blog post over a month ago. So, yeah, that’s where we’re at.

It’s a little past 8:30 p.m. and I’m writing this from my couch. Gilmore Girls is playing in the background. It’s season six, episode 20. Rory is with Logan in the hospital after a quasi-deadly skydive jump, and Luke is hosting a terribly unsuccessful birthday party for his daughter April, until, that is, Lorelai flies to the rescue with feathered tiaras, makeover baskets, and Pretty in Pink. It’s a pretty cute episode.

Our Christmas tree is still up and we still turn its lights on at night. It’s a little Christmas tree, not even two feet tall. It’s sitting on the window sill. I know we should probably take it down (after all, it is January 15th, and even the Wisemen have come and gone by now), but I always get a little sad about the cold and the darkness this time of year (what exactly is winter good for post-holidays, anyway?), and the tree seems to help a little. Plus, the Christmas lights are still hanging from the canopy on the Plaza right outside our building, so really, I think it’s fine.

Anyway.

Since we’ve now entered a brand-spanking-new year, I’ve decided to make a blogging resolution, and that resolution is to be more diligent about the 3 Things a Week posts, of which this is the third installment. Things got a little bananas during the Vegan MoFo, and finals didn’t help either, but starting today, I am determined to make this space a livelier, more regularly updated corner of the Internet. (We’ll see how long that lasts.)

So, here we go: let’s talk about 3 Things from This Week.

1) This months-old piece on 10 Cloverfield Lane (spoiler alert!).

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Last night, Ben and I sat down with a bowl of BBQ chips and some drinks to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane. The movie had been on our Netflix queue for a while. Personally, I think I was kind of saving it for the perfect night—the kind of night for some cheap thrills, jump scares, and good ole Hollywood silliness. Last night was that kind of night—or so I thought.

It turns out, while 10 Cloverfiled Lane delivers all of the above in sufficient amounts, it’s also a pretty decent movie. I won’t get into too much detail in case you’re even more behind than I on new(-ish) thriller releases, but I found the film’s take on doomsday paranoia, creepo masculinity, and straightup abuse pretty darn interesting. Luckily for me, I don’t have to articulate any of these thoughts any further, because as I soon found out during my routine post-movie googling session, the much smarter and better-equipped film critic Tasha Robinson had already done so (and back in March, too!). Her piece uses viewer backlash against the film’s finale as a starting point for a pretty cool, pretty subversive analysis of the protagonist’s arc, and I really, really recommend giving it a read. (If you’ve already seen the movie, that is; otherwise, go watch it first, then read the piece. Duh.)

2) The new Potter book!

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(A design sketch for Cursed Child’s main characters’ new wands, found here.)

As some of you may know (hey Ben), for some of 2016, I was re-reading the Harry Potter series. I was quite fond of the books as a kid, but what really got me back into them was the Witch, Please podcast, hosted by Canadian scholars and super-rad feminist heroes Hannah McGregor and Marcelle Kosman.

I started listening to the podcast back in June, when I was getting ready to move out of my tiny Plateau Mont-Royal studio apartment and into our current place in Rosemont. It was an exciting, but stressful time, and listening to Witch, Please while taping boxes and throwing clothes in trash bags definitely helped. Eventually (inevitably), I ended up picking the books back up, half for nostalgia’s sake, and half because I was curious to see what Adult Me would think of them. (The answer to that last question is long and complicated. Maybe I’ll write about it someday? Mostly, just go listen to the podcast.)

Of course, after re-reading all seven books, I had to get my hands on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is a play set 19 years after the end of the original series, featuring some of the original characters, plus some new ones (mostly their kids). I asked for the book for Christmas, and got it. I haven’t finished it yet (I’m reading a few things at once, and also (mostly), I’ve gotten kind of bad at reading? What’s up with that, btw?), but I am enjoying it thus far, and if you like the HP-verse, I would recommend checking it out.

3) My new job!

I have a new job! For the past six years, I worked as a copy writer/social media person for a small sales company, and just before Christmas, I quit! (Well, I actually let them know way in advance, but my last day there was December 22nd.) And on January 9th (after a whole two weeks vacation!), I started my new job as a translation intern at a mid-size, Montreal-based firm.

This is both my first internship and my first time working officially as a translator (down to the job title in my email signature!), and I must say, I am enjoying it a lot so far. Everyone there is very nice. The work is interesting. The office is well lit (but not too bright) and relatively quiet (but not so quiet that it would be creepy/distracting), and for once, my place of work also feels like the right place for me to be. And I like it.

Alright, kids, I guess that’s it for tonight! Thanks for reading, and sleep tight!

—s

 

3 Things from This Week (# 1)

So, it’s been a solid week-and-a-half since my last update on here. I was starting to feel bad about it, which somehow made it harder to remedy the situation, but luckily, I came up with a (partial) solution to what I expect will be a recurring problem. I call it 3 Things from This Week. 

One of my favorite things about personal blogs is that when updated somewhat regularly, they can serve as an archive of sorts for one’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Sound like a diary? Yep. The problem with diaries is, I get bored with them. Within days. I think it’s the whole privacy thing: I always get sick of writing for myself only. Not that this blog has attracted a vast readership so far, mind you; nonetheless, it’s out there, anyone could theoretically read it and, thus far, that’s plenty for me.

But I digress. The reason I started talking about this diary stuff is that I think I want Végane franglais to function as an archive. I like the idea of being able to look back on it, months and years from now, and be reminded of some of the things I read, saw, heard, or did during a given week. Hence 3 Things a Week, which (as you’ve probably guessed by now) will be about at least three things from a given week that I’d like to remember (or be reminded of) in the future.

To be clear, this may not actually be a weekly feature. Most likely, there will be weeks where I’m too busy to post—and maybe even weeks so boring or terrible that I won’t wish to remember much about them at all. Hopefully, it will also be about more than three things, sometimes—whether because the past week has proven particularly interesting, or because I’ve waited too long since the last installment, and things have started to pile up.

Oh, and in the spirit of this blog’s premise, 3 Things from This Week will be a bilingual feature. I might call the French version Les 3 choses de la semaine. We’ll see.

Cool? Cool. Then, without further ado, here’s three things from this week:

1) ‘The Deaf Body in Public Space’ by Rachel Kolb, via The New York Times.

This is a piece about alienation, otherness, exclusion, visibility, relationality and relatability, and the ways in which certain bodies and their means of expression are made to feel or seem too loud, or like they take up too much space, while others are validated, essentialized even. I like this paragraph a lot:

“When I reflect on this memory two decades later, I recognize how my childhood friend, whom at the time I had found to be so accusatory, had really gaped at me with a sort of wonder. My signing challenged the rules of social conduct she’d absorbed from adults, and to her I must have seemed ignorant or radically rebellious, or perhaps both. But pointing was a truly fundamental act for me; it was how I expressed what my grown-up scholarly self would call relationality — the idea of being in the world in relation to others. Through sign language, a properly poised finger allowed me to say you and me and he and she and they. If I did not point, how could I make a human connection?”

This is also, I think, a piece about self-empowerment and self-affirmation through language, and specifically through sign language. On that topic:

“When I sign, when I use my body to communicate, it indeed elicits a different state of mind, one that invites and guides the physical gaze, but this need not feel discomforting or unwelcome. On the contrary: looking at me, at my body and everything it says, shows me that you are paying attention. We meet each other in the midst of this physical and linguistic self-expression, and our connection surpasses a disembodied voice and expands to include our entire beings. Right here, looking back at you, I feel like I have made contact.”

Mental note: I should really start learning LSQ (Québec’s sign language) again.

2) ‘Texts from Jane Eyre’ by Mallory Ortberg, via The Hairpin.

This just made me laugh a lot. I know it’s from 2012, but I don’t care. Here’s my favorite part:

“RELATE TO ME THE VAGRANT GLORIES OF THE RUINED WOODS
do you really want me to describe my walk to you
MORE THAN ANYTHING YOU POCKET WITCH
it is fairly cloudy out
looks like rain soon

3) Yamato (California) by Daisuke Miyazaki.

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This is the first FNC film my partner and I went to see this year. It was being shown at UQÀM’s Judith-Jasmin Annexe building, which I’d never been to before. The projection was followed by a short Q&A with director Daisuke Miyazaki.

Yamato (California) takes place in Yamato, Japan, the director’s hometown. In Yamato is the Atsugi Naval Air Facility, which is the largest U.S. military base in the Pacific Ocean. The base is like an American island within Honshu Island: the soldiers have everything they need on the inside, and so seldom leave the base, and all mail addressed to them is sent to “Yamato, California”. The film follows Sakura, a young aspiring MC influenced by American rappers, who lives with her mother and brother. When Rei, the mother’s absentee boyfriend’s daughter, comes visiting from San Francisco, she and Sakura become friends.

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I’m happy we went to see Yamato. I really liked the way it portrayed the friendship between Sakura and Rei, and it was especially interesting to share the director’s insight into today’s Japan. I’d like to watch it again someday.

Well, that’s it for this first installment of 3 Things from This Week. I did it! And you made it to the end! Congrats!

Thanks for reading,

—s