Tuesday, May 31, 2005

You are now entering...The Twighlight Zone.

Well I made it. In one piece. And I'm actually in better shape than I thought I'd be in, thanks to getting an exit row/bulkhead seat on the airplane. That never happens to me. So whohoo! I still didn't sleep at all, but psychologically I felt like the Gods were smiling on me. And since I usually feel like they're trying to poke me with their celestial sticks, that was a great feeling.

The train ride to Strasbourg wasn't bad either, just long. Stupid regular speed train! But I slept the entire way, until the screaming baby roused me from my dreams. Stupid French baby!

Christelle met me at the gare and we proceeded to her apartment, where we were later met by Arnaud (who I still don't recognize sans dreadlocks), who brought pizza and frites. Ah what a healthy meal.

I've already had the pleasure of buying my first real French baguette and pain complet...ah, French bread, how I've missed you...

I slept until 11 and now I'm just farting around until Christelle takes off...and then the redecouverte of Strasbourg begins. All I can say is that I feel really weird being here...in some ways it's like I never left, and in others everything is different. I especially felt weird after seeing all of mine and Meg's dishes, sheets, etc. in Christelle's apartment (our parting cadeau). I drank coffee out of my old favorite mug this morning...yeesh.

I've already received emails from some of you asking about F-head and the pink couch and the chains o' fire. Don't worry...that's first on my list to check out...after my grand cafe creme of course.

More updates to come...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Grand cafe cremes...in T-minus 14 hours and counting...

Actually, it's really more like 21 hours, cause that's when my flight from Newark leaves to PARIS!

Actually, it's even more than that, but I'm too tired to figure out the hours until I can arrive in France, get off the plane, get my baggage, hop on the RER and find a grand cafe creme.

So we'll leave that one alone for awhile. But--

Whohoo! I'm goin' back to France!

It's kinda funny actually, I was just going back through my blog posts from yesteryear (yesteryear meaning during my time in France) and towards the end there (Read May 3, 2004), I was pretty sick of France and wanted to get the hell out of there.

And now I can't wait to get back.

On the itinerary:

Strasbourg--will F-head still be lurking around 12 place St. Etienne? Will his pink couch be with him? And what about the fire batons (October 16, 2003)? Will the hot gay waiter still be working at Le Petit Ours? Will I want to eat choucroute for "old times sake"?

Nantes--visiting my French "family". The only people I managed to cry for when I left. The beautiful ocean in La Baule. Le Cote Sauvage. Our old cottage in Champtoceaux. Gallettes and Crepes.

Paris--Montparnasse. Latin Quarter. Champs Elysees. The metro. Visiting old friends at the American Church. Chastity Beds (read December 14, 2003). Tourists tourists tourists. But new for me this time--airplanes! And lots of them.

I'll be blogging as much as I can, so stay tuned.

See you on the other side of the ocean!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

H.O.T. Hot.

Originally uploaded by verretc.

I'm pleased to report last night's "Happy Early Birthday" festivities went off without a hitch.

The par-tay took place at Doña Emilia's, where we imbibed happy hour beverages and dined on South American cuisine.

Afterwards, a few of us went to the Congress St. bridge to see the infamous bats, which I have heard numerous times while rowing underneath, but never actually seen.

Two words: Heebie. Jeebies.

But good times were had by all. A big gracias to all my amigos who came out!

To see more pics from last night's fun, click

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

*Everything* is bigger in Texas.

*Warning* This post could give you a good case of the heebie jeebies...

So when I was moving down to Texas, all the Yankees in Indiana who had visited/lived/knew someone who lived there tried to "warn me" about the cockroaches.

Well, they weren't telling me anything I didn't already know. I grew up in Louisiana, after all, where everyone had cockroaches, no matter how clean their house was. Yes, they were disgusting but part of life.

I haven't seen a whole lot of them here in Texas, but the ones I have seen have been notable. Huge. Bigger than anything I have ever seen in Louisiana.

And now they're starting to freak me out.

Last night, after hearing my classy neighbors get in a big fight and scream and yell, I turned off my a/c because I heard this funy scratching noise at the window. I listened...silence...then more scratching.

I got nervous...then I heard something that sounded like wing-flapping, which didn't make me feel much better.

I peeked through the blinds...and to my horror, I saw the biggest monster cockroach I have EVER seen in my life. I wasn't even sure it WAS a cockroach at first. He was at least as long as my middle finger, and thick and armored and THANK GOD he was on the other side of the window...perhaps even stuck between the panes.

Needless to say, I couldn't sleep for the rest of the night, because I kept hearing him, and I kept worrying he was going to find a way to get through the window and get me. Then came the creepy crawly dreams....yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh..................

So today I am exhausted. And when I looked in the window he was gone.

I quite honestly don't know if that made me feel better or worse.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Friend-Mixing *shiver*

So this Wednesday, my wonderful friends are having an early-birthday Happy Hour for me, since I'm going to be in France for the official one (which is June 4, by the way...).

I invited people from the French dept, my roomate, my crew, and other anonymous acquaintences.

I've never "friend-mixed" before...

Let's hope there are no nuclear explosions as a result...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Courtenay Cox (Hee.)

So a few weeks ago, I decided to "take one for the team" and signed up for a coxswain clinic. Ideally, everyone on my crew (the infamous CrewU) was supposed to sign up, but due to work schedules (and the fact that I'm an unemployed grad student), I was the only one who could make it.

The first half started last week, and consisted of two hours worth of safety instructions, providing me with a laundry list of all the reasons why I never want to be a coxswain, ever.

The second half was today, and consisted of a "hands-on" practical lesson--In other words, 20 minutes of terror, followed by an hour and 40 minutes of recovery from said terror.

First, let me just begin by saying that my ass is way too large to accomadate the tiny seat that is made for the stick-people coxes. Did you ever see the Simpsons episode where Bart's a jockey and the creepy jockey elves come out to threaten him?

Well apparently the jockey elves moonlight as coxwains, because those are the only kinds of creatures who can fit in those seats.

But I digress...

I have to say that I lucked out not having to worry about navigating underneath a bridge, or docking, or any of that crap. I pretty much had open water. And I also kind of liked being bossy and having everyone do my bidding. But not even total domination and power could counteract my fear in trying to figure out how to move in a straight line and watch out for river hazards.

The most terrifying part, however, was rotating out of the coxswain seat.

Since we were all coxes in training, we were all supposed to have a go in the hot seat. A launch boat followed us out for that very purpose and easily switched us in and out.

Unfortunately, after I got moved into the cox seat, the launch boat didn't manage to be anywhere near us. So, after waiting in the hot sun and getting impatient, the crew made the executive decision to switch out on our own.

I thought it was a great idea, until I figured out what switching out on our own would entail. And furthermore, that I would be the first to have to do it.

Switching out consisted of the front three rowers lying on their backs, while the other 5 sat in the back and did their best to balance the boat. And say some prayers.

Because after the front three laid down, I had to crawl--hands and feet balanced on the outer rims of the boat--over them, and into my seat.

I don't know what scared me most--the thought of losing my balance and falling into the river, or the thought of losing my balance and falling on top of these three men I didn't know.

Fortunately, with the encouragement of the people I was crawling over (encouragement I later decided was most likely to protect them rather than me), I made it back to my seat without any disasters, and even received some applause.

I then spent the rest of the row deciding that I never wanted to cox again. Ever.

I suppose I'm too hard on myself and expect too much...and maybe, one day I'll try it again...

But for now I'm hoping the rest of my crew simply "forgets" that I ever went to the clinic...

Even though the thought of "Courtenay Cox" (coined by the launch driver) makes me giggle.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Colin Firth, you are too yummy for words!

I just watched the second Bridget Jones movie.

How was the movie itself?


How was the eye-candy (the whole purpose of renting the movie)?


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Reading for pleasure? What's that???

So I have finished my first official summer not-having-anything-to-do-with-linguistics-book. Whohoo!

And now prepare yourselves for Court's literary review:

This week's selection was entitled, A Painted House, by John Grisham. I've always kinda liked him, it goes back to my high school days, but this book was a little different. Forget about all the lawyers, governers and politicians. This book took place on a cotton farm in rural Arkansas during the 1950's. While at first I was somewhat turned off by words like "Pappy" and "Gran," I really got into it. Very exciting, as only John Grisham can do. I recommend it.

Allow me to quote my favorite part from the whole book:

...she was from Michigan, and when she spoke her words came through her nose. She clipped them quickly and efficiently, and within seconds she made my skin crawl.

'Why does she talk like that?' I asked my mother.

'She's a Yankee.' was the simple explanation.

Hee hee.

Now before all you midwesterners get on the defensive...I acquired one of your accents living up there for 6 years, and have been called a Yankee myself, so I don't mean no offense.

My next book is going to be Lucia, Lucia, by Adriana Trigiani, a fellow Saint Mary's alumna. I've actually already read this book, but it's been awhile, and I really liked it.

So there.

Ahhhh, reading for pleasure...it's been so long.

And finally, as a side note, I purchased my voucher yesterday for Harry Potter 6, coming out on July 16.



Hostile Grackles Attack People in Houston

HOUSTON - Like a scene from the horror movie "The Birds," large black grackles are swooping down on downtown Houston and attacking people's heads, hair and backs.

Authorities closed off a sidewalk after the aggressive birds, which can have 2-foot wingspans, flew out of magnolia trees Monday in front of the County Administration Building.

"They were just going crazy," said constable Wilbert Jue, who works at the building. "They were attacking everybody that walked by."

The grackles zeroed in on a lawyer who shooed a bird away before he tripped and injured his face, Jue said. The lawyer was treated for several cuts.

It appears that the birds are protecting their offspring. On Monday a young grackle had fallen out of its nest and adult birds attacked people who got too close, Jue said.

Monday, May 16, 2005


I have just cleaned out my room.

And when I say clean...I mean CLEAN: closet, bookshelves, dresser drawers, and even...UNDER THE BED.

I also bought a tv stand, to replace the plastic crate that my gi-normous tv has been sitting on for the last 9 months.

Let me hear you say it:

I am (slightly) awesome.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

My vacation thus far:

So, since I finished with school last Tuesday, here's what I've been up to:

Sitting around and not feeling guilty.
Hanging out with friends and not feeling guilty.
Sleeping in and not feeling guilty.
Taking naps and not feeling guilty.
Going rowing and not feeling guilty.

AND, finally...

Cleaning out my room--big time. (no guilt one way or the other)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Stick a fork in me...

...I'm DONE.


Monday, May 09, 2005

In conclusion...

...there are several factors that indicate lexical borrowings do not threaten to destabilize and break down the French language. Nor does it appear that the French identity and culture face the threat of extinction. Technology, mass media, and the natural tendency to view foreign languages as different and exotic make it difficult, if not near impossible, for linguistic protectionist policies to be truly effective. Therefore, while today’s guardians of the French language may slow down its natural evolution, they can never hope to arrest it completely.


History has demonstrated that the French have always held their language in high regard, sometimes to the exclusion of others. History has also demonstrated that French language and identity are directly correlated. It is no surprise, therefore, that as the European Union continues to expand, and the role of the French language continues to decline in both Europe and the world, France has been thrust on the defensive. French support for multilingualism is a direct effort to protect and, perhaps, revive its importance.

Yes folks...the papers have been completed and emailed to my profs.

Papers...and Muzack.

So I think I have finally completed one of my papers. And the other is on its way. Syntax exam has been started, questions have been formulated for the prof., and hopefully tomorrow evening (?) I will be done. Or just about there.

*And a roar went up from the crowd*

Tonight I took a break and went to the Cactus Cafe to hear my friend Molly play. Some of you might know that Austin is one of the music capitals of the world, and Molly, who is a dear friend of mine, is one of those aspiring artists.

She is awesome. For real. If you like folksy girl-and-her-guitar music, you need to all go check it out. She's got a CD out, but is recording another this summer.

So go ahead and click: Molly Venter.

Or go to iTunes.


I'm trying to finish my school stuff, but my mind is plagued by thoughts of grand café crèmes and Le Petit Ours...

Ah, bientôt ma cherie...bientôt...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Nectar of the Gods..

Diet Pepsi Slurpee, how I do love thee...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Yes, yes it did.

This freakin' RULES.

Maybe there will be more random blog posts, since I have this fast and easy tool...

Widget Fun

So I just installed Tiger on my lil' Powerbook and I'm testing out one of the widgets that lets me publish to my blog right from the desktop!

Does it work???

Luck be a Courtenay tonight!

Today was a great day--not only because it was the last day of class and my last Syntax class ever, but--

I am getting to go back to France this summer...

For FREE!!!!!!!

A friend of mine in the deparment emailed me this morning--her parents own a marketing-type company. There's a big airshow in Paris in June, and they needed an extra person to go--and my friend invited me!!!!!! All expenses paid, and in return, I have to serve some coffee and shmooze with the tradeshow folk.

I think I can handle that.


They told me I could extend my ticket, so I'm going to leave a little early and hopefully visit my friends in Nantes, and if possible, go back to Strasbourg as well.

Talk about fall-in-your-lap-luck. How much does this rule?!?!?!?!

Monday, May 02, 2005

"Ummm, technically, since you're in the *French* department, they like you to do your papers in *French*" --Anonymous Grad Student

Greetings earthlings,

Blogging to you during the last week of school, when all hell has broken loose. Actually, things are somewhat manageable for the moment...I have two papers to write, which, for the first time in my life, I'm not too worried about.

Especially since I talked my one professor into letting me do it in English. It took some convincing, but he agreed. I'm sorry, but I just can't say the same things I want to say in French. And I frankly don't care.

On Friday, I will have my LAST SYNTAX CLASS EVER (!!!) and I'll get my take-home final exam. I am NOT looking forward to it, especially considering I have not paid any attention to what we've been learning for the past month. There's just too much going on and I don't care.

And then--when the papers are all turned in, and the exam is complete--I have to start thinking about my thesis. *DUM DUM DUUUUUUUUUUUUM* I really have no idea what I'm going to do my thesis on. I'm interested in Sociolinguistics, but the problem is my first socio class will be this fall in another department. So there's sort of an issue with my working with the prof in our department.

My other option is to do something in Second Language Acquisition, which I love, and more importantly, I also like the advisor...but I don't really know if that's going to help me get a "real" job when it's all said and done. I just feel like socio can be applied to some artsy fartsy sort of job while SLA...I really need to get a PhD for that to make any difference.

And at this point I don't think that's gonna happen.

So I'll keep you all posted. But in the meantime, I am ready for summer!

Here are my summer goals:

1. Sit around and do nothing.
2. Blog about more interesting things more frequently.
3. Row, row, row, until my hands are calloused and my back is aching.
4. Visit my brother and sister-in-law in Baton Rouge.
5. Learn Spanish.
6. Do some more "fun" writing.
7. Visit my aunt, uncle and cousin in Seattle.
8. Read Harry Potter Book 6
9. Go to South Bend, Indiana.
10.Refer to number 1.

What a productive summer it's beginning to look like.

But until then, it's time to get the "real" work out of the way. Perhaps I'll post some excerpts of my interesting and ground-breaking academic work. I know you're all shivering with excitement.

Au Travail!