Monday, February 28, 2011

Owen Pallett and Metz

I saw Owen Pallett play in L’Autre Canal Theatre here in Nancy on Thursday night and I can tell you that it was one of the best gigs I’ve been to! I was, in a word, anxious, about going to the gig by myself. I really really enjoy my own company (maybe even a bit too much?) and my various weekend trips have been fab! But I felt that being at a gig by myself would be pushing the boundaries of loneliness.

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However, I also felt that I had to go to this gig! I was shocked to find out that Owen was going to play in my little temporarily adopted home and even more shocked to find out that the tickets were under €10. It was a bargain that I had to avail of! I ended up meeting four lovely girls to enjoy the experience with, three Irish and one English. The first Irish people I’ve met in Nancy, and out of pure chance! It was delightful.

And Owen… He played so well, he was so sweet, he *tried* to speak a little French and he played my request. And my favourite song! Win! I never even knew that he’s a one man band. I had visions of a whole host of piano players, backing singers, violinists, everything! But no. He loops his violin and piano pieces, and even his voice. It’s amazing to watch. And so much work for him, I’m sure!

Owen Pallett Collage

Excuse my crude video taking skills, but here’s a little video I took from the gig. The song is from when Owen Pallett was known as Final Fantasy. It’s called “Many Lives –> 49 MP” from the album, He Poos Clouds.*

I bought his new album, Heartland, at the gig and I am not embarrassed to say that it’s all I’ve been listening to since Thursday night and that I‘m listening to it right now.

We’re all, I’m sure, guilty of a bit of self Googling… Seeing where we are in the World Wide Web, or if we even make the cut. I don’t, until you reach the third or fourth results page, and even then it’s work-related! But I’m wondering do artists Google themselves? After a few gigs, do they wonder, “Has anyone uploaded photos or videos from my tour? Did anyone blog about me?” So if you’ve done this, Owen, and ended up on my very humble blog, leave a comment, say hi!

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[And after all this prattling on about a man I’ve never met, I’d like to bring everyone’s attention to a man whom I have met and whom I like very much, whose name is Paul, regardless of what this link may say.]

And now, onto what I did this weekend! Saturday was a day for big sleep ins, being rained on while stupidly wearing flats and meeting S (who has just moved here for two months) for coffee and then dinner. A day I needed for it’s slow pace and lack of definite plans. Bliss!

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And today**, S, Alejandra (another visiting student) and I went to Metz. And it was so refreshing to be travelling with other people. This weekend has been one of chats! I’ve talked more this weekend than any other on this trip and I’m loving it! We saw the cathedral and the Centre Pompidou and walked around the pretty city. And home early for some rest before another week of work starts.

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I can’t believe I’m halfway through my trip… At times it’s going so fast and at others so slow!

Kisses as always!



**Or yesterday, if this internet connection will ever sort it’s problems out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fiona's First Adventures in Crochet

As I mentioned previously in my Luxembourg post, I've been crocheting. Finally!! I was so happy to just get down to it and make something with a hook and some yarn. And I was so so surprised by how easy it was. And fun! And rewarding! I saw my little projects reveal themselves so quickly.

I started off with something that's been stored in my Evernote account for the past EVER, filed under "Crafts", of course. I Stumbled Upon this tutorial by Bella Dia and I thought it would be a sweet pattern to start my crochet adventures with. I made two hearts - one while watching The Aristocats and one on the train to Lux. It was that quick!

Then I thought, "OK, well, if I can single crochet and increase and decrease, maybe I can learn double crochet and make a circle?" And that's just what I did! Although the circle isn't really a circle... It was the end of the yarn and I was just practising, so once the yarn was finished, I just stopped crocheting. 

I made the circle and learned the basics of crochet using The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller, which I'm sure a lot of you have heard of. It's an incredible book that takes you step by step through every crochet stitch. I also have the Knitter's Handbook... But I'm fighting with knitting at the minutes, so I'd rather not talk about it.

I made the One Skein Scarf from The Happy Hooker as my first big (ish?) crochet project. I tell you, adding over two hundred chain stitches was hard... I'd say I counted them at least four different times. But it worked up so quickly and by the end, I was happily making double crochet and shell stitches while Skyping and listening to audiobooks. I'm really happy with the finished product and am proudly wearing it whenever the weather and my clothing choices will allow.

Hopefully, a few more finished and lovely crochet projects will be popping up here from time to time. I have my eyes on a few flowers, but they may have to wait while I do other stuff.

Hope you're all having a lovely week!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This Weekend Part 2: Strasbourg

Strasbourg was really nice! The Cathedral, phew!! Spectacular! But I'll get back to that, as a sort of grand finale.

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Unfortunately (again) it rained all day, an uncomfortably drizzly sort of rain. I braved it as long as I could - had a walk around, saw the lovely buildings and all the stairs going down to the river.*

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To be honest, I didn't stay long and I didn't see much. That rain! And I was so tired too... All I really wanted to do was get back to Nancy and chill.

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So, without further ado, onto The Cathedral!!! As I said, phew! It really was breathtaking... From all around the city, you can see the spire peeking above buildings and around corners. But it's pretty well hidden if you don't have a very good map** and aren't quite sure where you're going. In the end, I followed the people. The Cathedral was like a magnet, attracting everyone to it's base, to look up in awe. I turned a corner and there it was! It's freaking huge!!

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I climbed up to the platform, 332 steps on a winding stairs, the kind that makes me so dizzy. But it was so nice. I could see over all the rooftops in Strasbourg, over the whole city.

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I hope you've enjoyed my weekend trips so far!


*I think they're just so cool! I can imagine Ye Olden Days women washing clothes in the river, singing some Ye Olden Days songs and it makes me smile.

**Which I didn't.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Weekend Part 1: Colmar

Oh, Colmar! A lovely little village, really, it is, but I just couldn’t help thinking that it would look so so much better in the summer, with flowers and sun and a blue sky. It was pretty though, such a special place. It’s like it didn’t really get past Medieval times, which suits everyone very well, because it looks great as it is!

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Unfortunately, this weekend was not the best for the weather, boo! Well, good weather can’t happen all the time. I didn’t dress for the cold, though, so I spent a fair amount of the day in cafes and bars. Not such a bad idea, either!

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I found the most amazing bookshop! Amazing!! It was oh so good! There were so many books and there was no room to sit down and it was so pokey and good. Most of the books were old, old, old. Such treasures there.

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I found a whole shelf (A WHOLE SHELF) full of very old Chemistry school books. I took this photo, but in my haste, I had most of these books arranged upside down.


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I picked up this pretty super one from 1918 (I think). I love it! The diagrams are all hand drawn and the French words fascinate me! There’s even a page torn out of a notebook on which some old schoolboy has written words to do with magnetism. I feel really lucky to have found it.

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The shop is called Lire & Chiner and it is located at 36, Rue des Marchand, Colmar, 68000. Website here. Check it out! Do, do!!

This Weekend Part 2: Strasbourg will be coming up tomorrow evening. For now, it’s late and I need sleep.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Between books and audiobooks


I normally abhor any novel / narrative that's not in proper, traditional book form. Book form, like, where you hold the book open and turn the pages and immerse yourself in some wonderful world of (witty)* fiction.** I'm still unsure about the Kindle, even though I've heard some very good reports about it. It saves paper, yes, and it would be great to take on holidays, when bringing a pile of books just isn't feasible. But... Really? I can't imagine not turning pages, not holding something lovely and papery in my hands.


But how many of you out there have ever listened to an audiobook?

When I was at home for a few days in January, just before leaving for Brighton, my Dad gave me two vouchers for two free audiobooks. These vouchers came with two tasty bottles of Casillero del Diablo wine. Oh, the wine was yummy, yummy, I tell you! The website is pretty nice too. Check out the "Legend" video below.

I was unsure about these "audiobooks"... They seemed like another cop out for reading an actual book. And the fact that there's really no reading involved. Pfft! But, never one to turn my nose up at something that's quite free, I checked it out. This is the link to the audiobooks website, called Audible.

After "shopping" for some time, looking for the best audiobooks, I came out with not four, but six!! Super good deal! I was tempted to get some classics... "Pride and Prejudice" was nearly on the list... But I find reading classics difficult enough, I figured listening to them would be so much more tough.  I did, however, get "War of the Worlds" by H. G. Wells, we'll see how that goes.

And they're great! Audiobooks, that is. Very convenient and very useful for crafting!! Great for travelling and walking around. I listen to them mostly while commuting to and from the lab... Sometimes I read a book on the tram, but then I have to close it during the 15 minutes walk from the tram stop to the lab and back again. But with audiobooks, I can keep on listening all the way. And when crafting, I can have it playing in the background. There's even a really super app for Android and iPhones. Love it!

So far, I've listened to "The Host" and "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner".*** Next I'm going to start on "The Time Traveller's Wife" by Audrey Niffeneger.

And there's my two cents on audiobooks. They're good!

I'm off to Colmar tomorrow and Strasbourg on Sunday, both day trips. Very excited! I'll tell you all about them early next week.

Have a nice weekend!


P.S. I just joined weheartit, sort of loving it so far!

*Totally going for a bit of alliteration there.

**Fiction is always my book of choice.

***I am unashamedly a fan of Twilight and all Stephenie Meyer's books.
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