How I became a Pokémon Master in a day

As most of you will know, this April’s fools, Google Maps set up a pokémon game within the maps interface. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed. I haven’t written a post about it because I’ve been really busy… watching Grimm on netflix and catching up on Glee and 2 broke girls…. but I recently got a job working in Google Maps! So Marc’s comment was of course “Gaëlle goes to work for Google Maps and two months later there are pokémon in it, coincidence? I think not!”. I wish I had something to do with it, sadly I did not. It did feel awesome though to be associated with it in some way. Google somehow managed to get me to look at maps for a lengthy amount of time (seriously, so fucking long) even when I wasn’t getting paid. Well done, google, well done. So at first I thought it was a joke, to my surprise and utter joy, it was not! I proceeded to… not do work… and spent my entire break looking at yet more maps to catch ‘em all.

 

You cannot imagine my joy as I caught Bulbasaur, my favourite… well maybe you can… Look at it being all cute:

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If that isn’t cute enough, look at this:

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I got home to a very quiet house, I was surprised to find that Mom and Gaby were actually in the sitting room, sitting in silence both looking at their phones, searching for pokémon. I sat down and the entire evening was spent searching the world’s monuments, highest mountains, lakes, volcanoes, and the deep darkness of the amazon. We of course went to bed exhausted and much later than was good for us and we had gotten quite far. I caught around 120 on my own, I had told myself that I would catch them all myself but the last 30 were just too hard. I was going to stop at 120 but I spent wayyy too much time that day being sad because I didn’t have them all, I am unfortunately the type of person who would feel sad about it for years and years. I know, I’m weird. So I decided that I was going to look up the rest. I did feel a bit bad, but the amount of happiness I got from seeing that 150/150 made it all go away.

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I realised that life was too short to feel bad about silly things and that something is going to make me happy I should do it regardless of what other people might say, in this case hard core nerds saying I’m not cool…

 

I am cool, I’m a pokémon master!

Dresden

In January I went to Germany, Dresden to be more specific. I had been to Germany once, in Bavaria… some might say that doesn’t count :/a, when I was 12 as a class trip when I was still living in France. This time around it was very different. For one, I actually had to speak German, old ladies in bakeries don’t speak English and since my trip ended up being a cake tour of Dresden I had to make an effort in order to procure said cake.
 
Cakes cakes and more cakesNow, this is a language I studied for nine years but I had absolutely no affinity for it, so of course most of what is left of my German is buried deep deep down somewhere in my mind. I always said that I would have rather done Spanish or Italian, I guess because I think those are easier for French speakers to learn and also they are made up of noises my tongue has less trouble with. Overall, I got on pretty well, I definitely did not get my genders right every time, I decided to use “das” when I had a doubt… which was in fact most of the time. I hadn’t realised how much German I had to be forgotten in the first place, it was quite frustrating, I could feel comprehension on the edge of my mind, only to have it evaporate once the sentence was completed. For example, there is more than one word for bag in German when using the sentence “Would you like a bag?”, there was a new one every time I was confident with what the last one was.
I did feel like a child most of the time because I had less understanding of the language than most five year old children. It reminded me very much of the passage from David Sedaris’ “Me talk pretty one day” where he mentioned being bitter about the fact that, when he lived in France, adults took such care in being understandable to children but would not do him the same courtesy.
I was quite proud that I was successfully able to ask for food and pay for it wherever I went though. Marc on the other hand was basically mute apart from the occasional salesperson who spoke English (he did get me the currywurst in the picture below).

Delicious thingsThe drink you can see above is Club-Mate… it’s a very weird drink that seems to be like a drug to a lot of people. It has a crazy caffeine content and tastes… like elderflower mixed with spices and sweat… as unappealing as that sounds it does make you want to drink a bit more each time. I don’t understand it, but I kept drinking it… Dave had prepared for our arrival and had bought a crate of it.
Pesto cheese

I enjoyed eating weird things, most of them Adam’s strange vegan diet (I learned I cannot live without cheese, not that this was a surprise). The picture above is some pesto cheese! Yep, did not know that was a thing, but it is, a delicious delicious thing!

Dresden was a strange city, the old town “Altstadt” having been bombed was actually a lot newer than most of the “new” part of town called “Neustadt”. Altstadt looked old, but when you looked closer you could see that is was a sort of nouveau old. The Frauenkirche for example had been bombed but was reconstructed using a mixture of the original stones and new ones. Very strange but I like old things so I appreciated it. Marc and I did a lot of walking, seriously, a lot. That’s pretty much all we did (and eat of course). My favourite was going around the Aldstadt at night, around the Zwinger and the nymph baths, it was magical. What we noticed is that Dresden has a thing for naked women with fish… no idea why…
Naked woman with fish

 

AltstadtSo before leaving I asked people on facebook what I should eat when I got there, the majority said “a kebab” I was surprised but after having one… or two actually… I understand, they are a delicious heavy brick of food. I’m not sure it would be my preferred hangover cure though but I do feel deprived now that I can’t have one :p When I saw the price of alcohol I nearly cried, a bottle that I would buy here for a tenner was only three euro! So sad! Well I was happy at the time, but I wish wine was always that cheap.
Cheap cheap wine!

I really enjoyed my trip and my adventuring through the old and new town with Marc, I’m hoping we’ll go back sometime this year, preferably when it is warm, not minus 4.
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Autumn and Scarves

Summer has gone. This is a very sad thing. I will miss sweating profusely and playing that game where I try to wear as little clothing as possible while not looking like a prostitute. I will miss the vitamin D and the general happiness that floated around the air.

However, I must say that as soon as that first smell of autumn hits my nose, I get very excited. I put this down to a number of reasons. One, my birthday is in October and who doesn’t like a birthday? (I know some people don’t but they are weird.) Two, stationary! Yes, the smell of new pencils, schoolbags and copies makes me happy. Of course I don’t have to buy them because I’m not in school anymore, but I do anyway. I draw and occasionally write so that is my excuse.

Autumn is my spring. Most people say that spring is full of hope, but to me, the start of a new school year was the time of year in which I was most hopeful. I always told myself that, this year, I would be better, this year I would be smarter, I would be prettier (no idea how that was going to happen), this year I was finally going to be the person I always wanted to be. Alas, I never quite got there. The other thing that I told myself was that I would be better at school, I would study more and learn wonderful things; September always seemed like a door to all of the wonderful knowledge that I could obtain… Yes, I know, I’m a nerd.

The third is fashion. Autumn is the time when all of the shops sell my favourite colours. Brown, teal, wine, mustard, emerald, all of these make me happy; the best thing is that I get to wear my scarves again. I love scarves, I love them so much! This love was recently intensified by my obsession with crochet. Now I can satisfy my thirst for scarves with numerous hours of repetitive movements. Heaven.

So, this autumn is not particularly filled with hope, not being in school doesn’t offer me a new chance every year anymore. I don’t think my life is going to be changing in some significant way anytime soon, but I’ll still attempt to better myself and at least I can start wearing my scarves again.

Dickens

One of the many things I told myself I was going to do last year was reading every Dickens novel, well, at least twelve of them. This was inspired by a penguin blog post (the publisher not the bird) where I read that a few of the penguin staff set themselves the task of reading all of Dickens to celebrate his 200th anniversary.

 

This sounded like a great idea. One of those ideas that is supposed to make you a better person or at least one of those people who at parties can say “Yes well I’ve read ALL of dickens and…” in a snooty way whilst holding a glass of wine. But no, it was not meant to be. The reason is, Dickens is dreadfully dull.

 

I remember getting this very pretty copy of Oliver Twist, I was very excited, I started reading and everything was miserable. I got about 20 pages in and never picked it up again. I decided to try something else; I leafed through the titles, Bleak House, nope, Hard Times…. no thank you… I ended up choosing a maybe pile of three titles, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickelby, and A Tale of Two Cities.

 

I went with A Tale of Two Cities, this book had been sitting on my shelf for years where it looked at me with pity and longing, this book wanted to be read. It seemed like it could be the Dickens for me, I love reading about the French Revolution and I thought a familiar setting would be a good way to start. At least I knew it could be anything but boring.

 

But no.

 

I was very surprised, Dickens made the French Revolution boring. I think in the back of my mind I was hoping for the Scarlet Pimpernel. It’s not what I got. The part that he did get right was the miserableness and ugliness of the times. I guess it’s bound to happen when you have an author that tends to focus on the actual people of a country, I’m sure he was accurate in his description of the times but what I was looking for was intrigue, big dresses and a lot of decapitation.

 

I do have to admit that his writing is very good. There are many brilliant passages, but in terms of story there is very little and what little there is moves very slowly. When I was reading it I spend a lot of times telling myself “That man is very clever”. My favourite quote is:

 

“Mr. Cruncher… always spoke of the year of our Lord as Anna Dominoes: apparently under the impression that the Christian era dated from the invention of a popular game, by a lady who had bestowed her name upon it.” 

Lines like that are what made the book worthwhile; however, I didn’t feel that it was reason enough to read more of his work. I know that the writing is good; I just don’t like it. So in Dickens, I have found my English counterpart to Victor Hugo.

 

If you have read Dickens, any Dickens, and do not feel the same way, please tell me why; if you have a Dickens recommendation where the characters are not always miserable or where the story has a faster pace please do tell me.

 

So my Dickens challenge flopped miserably and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt…

Is what I wish I could say…

 

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Youtube

People often say that after a little while they get bored on the internet. I never understood it. I can spend hours on end on the internet without getting bored. In fact, sometimes, I only get up because I need to go to he bathroom and/or eat.

This came up during the week when I was walking to work with a colleague. She was saying she would get bored after half an hour, to which I replied “How? The internet is the repository of most of the knowledge in the world! It’s like the biggest library that has ever existed!”. We then started talking about make-up, as you do, and youtube came up. She said she followed about 20 beauty gurus on youtube and I found it strange that she could get bored of the internet if she was familiar with youtube. By familiar I mean, has an account and follows people rather than just watch cat videos linked from facebook.

I have a youtube problem, and by problem I mean it’s wonderful and I’m not going to stop. Now, I know that there is a lot of crap on it, but there are so many cool things too. It’s just like the internet, 60% porn, 20% trolls, 10% cat videos, and 10% gold. Well maybe not so much porn, but you get what I mean.

The thing that people are most surprised about when I talk about youtube is that I have learned things from it. One day, I looked at the bag of knitting needles that had belonged to my great grandmother and grandmother and found weird short needles with hooks. I had no idea what they were so I googled it and found out that they were crochet needles and decided that I was going to learn to crochet (I was quite unemployed at the time and I have a need to always feel at least somewhat productive). So, I turned to my friend youtube, looked up some videos, a beret first then a hat, and commenced my love affair with crochet. It is a very useful skill considering my long commute to work, I spend three to four hours on public transport everyday and having a scarf at the end of it makes me feel like I’m not wasting my life. This combines very well with audiobooks, I read and make something at the same time. You see what I mean about needing to be productive!

Youtube has taught me many things, crochet, world history, how to play the guitar and piano badly (the reason it’s badly is because I am lazy and don’t practice), how to bleed a radiator, and many many makeup and nail art techniques. It has given me access to people I couldn’t know of otherwise like Kina Grannis who’s become one of my favourite singers.

I also follow many people who make video blogs, travel videos and other things like book reviews. I’ve been trying to do that but I’m not home during the daytime often enough to update my channel more than three times a year. The only place in my house where I can record videos is my room it’s very awkward. One, it’s always a mess. Two, I’m rarely alone and I can’t record myself when someone is there, I just feel dumb and embarrassed. Someday, I will be good at updating things, maybe when I have a place of my own…

Here are some examples of the videos that taught me things:

Crochet (this is the first piece of crochet I ever did):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIH0ntfwzCk

History:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szxPar0BcMo

Baking (French marzipan pie):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAUYI-PeWnk&list=FLNdDXc-rcDEVw6TyHECD4Hw&index=120

Fashion (many many ways to tie a scarf):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LYAEz777AU&list=FLNdDXc-rcDEVw6TyHECD4Hw&index=28

And here are some that just make me happy:

Constant access to Norah Jones:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZgkClKE6hQ

Kina Grannis:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOu0DuxFAT0&list=FLNdDXc-rcDEVw6TyHECD4Hw&index=17

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtVh8kVZ_XM&list=FLNdDXc-rcDEVw6TyHECD4Hw&index=65

Maru the cat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_AbfPXTKms&list=FLNdDXc-rcDEVw6TyHECD4Hw&index=35

A really beautiful animation project:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBk3ynRbtsw&list=FLNdDXc-rcDEVw6TyHECD4Hw&index=43

This little corner of the internet with my life on it

In an effort to improve my writing I’ve been trying to write more often. What I write is usually whatever comes out of my head and is directly transcribed. There isn’t really any art to it. Recently Marc told me that I should write more. I had said some pretty things at the time and I guess he must have thought that they were worth putting into words… I mean written words. I wish I remembered what I had said, I know it was something like “When I paint it’s more than just something I do, it’s part of who I am, it’s the transfer of my soul from my body to the paper via a brush” but phrased nicely.

In those moments I wish everything I said was recorded… but then I remember all the dumb things I say and it would probably be a terrible idea, I don’t think my ego could take it…
It meant a lot coming from him because words are his paint, so for him to think that my words are nice must mean that I am not totally devoid of talent.

So while emptying my brain onto a word processor I thought about this place, this little corner of the internet with my life on it, and tried to figure out why I haven’t written here in a year. I update my Tumblr(s) more regularly; one to post things I’ve drawn and one to reblog nice things, but lately I haven’t been doing that very often either. I really like blogs, I love peering into someone else’s life. The problem is I don’t like looking into my own, hence why this hasn’t been updated since I went to London last year. I feel like I’m too empty to have anything valuable to say and by empty I mean void of any interesting activities. I could have written about lots of things, my excitement over the new Daft Punk Album, my continually failing attempts to make youtube videos about book reviews, or even just what I thought about books or films. I’m currently trying to read 50 books and watch 100 films this year… I’ll probably fall short but it’s the journey that’s all the fun.

So I’m going to try and update this a bit more. Mostly to motivate me to write and acquire some sort of writing style (I never really got how one got around to having a particular style). I might talk about my hopes and dreams but it will most likely by filled by stupid things I thought about.

So, welcome the the newly reopened corner of my mind, I hope you enjoy it… or at least get mildly entertained.

London (overdue walkthrough)

So I went to London last month for the MCM expo/ comic con. I meant to post this ages ago but as usual, I am a lazy blogger. On the plus side, I don’t think I could have asked for a better weekend. The weather for one was beautiful. Maybe a little too warm given that we were walking around all day but still amazing. I think it was about 30 Celsius which was great and reminded me of summers at home :)

London itself was great. I may have been swayed by the fact that the weather was holiday-like but the heat made all the Londoners seem happy and everyone looked like they were having fun.

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London is huge. I know you probably know this, but when things are right beside each other on a map, it doesn’t mean they are actually close to each other. We walked a LOT, Cillian, Katie and I explored the city on Saturday and didn’t end up going to the con. We went to Camden in the early afternoon, it was my first time there and I loved it. It was not at all what I had expected. For one, it is massive. I thought the Camden markets would be a large Market, not a hodge-podge-town-sized-market that looked like Howl’s castle, put together randomly, with little nooks and crannies around every corner.

If you know me you will know I am a hoarder, and that makes Camden a very dangerous place for me. I wanted to buy everything! I didn’t because I spent a large amount of money on food and had a very limited space to bring things home in, but god I wanted to! There were so many adorable things; bags, purses, clothes, old leather suitcases, books, jewellery… aahhh, it was so cool, I didn’t want to leave :)

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Later on we went to Leicester square and had some delicious but overpriced ice cream in Hagen Haz. Well, all the food was kind of overpriced in London, but so delicious. I think my most repeated phrase from the weekend was “I’m so happy” and was it usually said when we were eating. It was a fat weekend, but I keep telling myself that I walked it all off :P

 

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I don’t remember being that tired in a very long time, if ever. I think having sore feet and sweating drains the life from you :/ It is ridiculous how important comfortable footwear is. You think shoes are comfortable, until you have to walk in them for days. They’re tricksy little things.

Back to the trip, we went from Leicester square to Piccadilly circus then wandered around Soho for a while and got some bubble tea. If you didn’t know (I didn’t) bubble tea is an iced tea (it can be a variety of flavours) with little balls of tapioca at the bottom. It was very strange.

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After that we walked to Oxford street where we went to the Disney store <3 then through Hyde park and back to the hostel via a long way around. We may have gotten a little lost…

We went out to eat in a Thai restaurant called Thai Square which was the cause of much confusion as half our group thought we had meant the square was Thai… yeah… like China town… but a square… then we went to the nearest pub we could find and spent our evening there. There, an amazing pun battle took place. It was legendary. The premise of it was that the puns had to be related to cutlery… An example: Ah that’s knife…. Sorry, I spoke too spoon… This is what happens when nerds gather…

We eventually went to the expo the next day but not after visiting the national history museum and the science museum gift shop. That was awesome gift shop, I really need to go back and visit the actual museum. The National History Museum’s main expo was “Animals inside out” which was weird :/ there was this weird seemingly three headed Camel in the main hall… I imagine it is similar to the “Bodies” exhibition.

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There were dinosaurs there, which was pretty cool :) The Science Museum gift shop (Cillian had said it was a must-see) is now responsible for an increased amount of items on my amazon wish list. Most of them gadgets that I will probably never use, but really really want :P

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I don’t have much to say about the expo itself because it wasn’t really the highlight of the weekend for me, I much preferred exploring the city. We went to China Town for dinner and went to this really cool Japanese restaurant… Yeah, Anime nerds know what they like.

That concludes my long account of my trip to London, I realised it was a bit long so I didn’t spend too much time on Sunday :P

It was amazing and I can’t wait to go back… with more comfortable shoes :p

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