Monthly notable news (w34-42)

On the home front, we had relatively nice weather. Warmer than usual, with some rain (remnants of “Nate”), until the seasonal temperature caught up to us to give our first freezing warning. Now, let me remember what happened in the last two months. So many stuff…

I had a terrible time at the job. I was asked to do something that was against the rules (and my ethics — we all know I am a stickler for the rules!). I voiced my objections but was ready to do the task nonetheless. Instead of praising my flexibility, I was told I was difficult to work with (that I might agree with but you should see what I have to deal with) and didn’t adapt well (not as fast as they can change their mind anyway). It was the culmination of all of what’s wrong with the place (the mismanagement, incompetence, utter inconsistencies [they flip-flop so much in their decision making sometimes that it’s a wonder they’re not flying!], and lack of respect). This incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I couldn’t take it anymore and it made me quite depressed for a while. Too much to my taste.

Lots of stuff was happening at the same time: the FFM, the preparation for the major (and expensive) repairs to the balcony and masonry at the back of the house so we needed to clear the backyard of all vegetation, etc. All this caused me a lot of stress (expressing itself with high blood pressure, digestion problems, rash, etc.). In the end, I was able to manage (finding something interesting enough to forget all those troubles). After all, we’re alive, there’s no imminent catastrophe chasing us and we have something to do to keep us busy (my writing, not this hateful job). Don’t worry, be happy! Easy to say…

I also changed my phone as Apple released lots of news stuff (some new hardware [iPhone 8, iPhone X, Apple Watch 3, Apple TV 4K, etc.] and many OS updates — some painful to implement, so I’ve spent lots of time back-uping hard-drives and re-installing everything)…

Despite all this, I was really on fire at the keyboard: I wrote many comments (on the opening of the Frederic-Back Park, on the FFM movies [Noise, Dear Etranger], a few capsule reviews (on  the latest Yoko Tsuno, Pline #2, Jackie and Samurai Gourmet) and two mangas (The life-changing manga of tidying up and Anne Frank’s Edu-Manga)–some posted at the Irresistibles: Yoko Tsuno #28 and Le journal de mon père), two essays (the second part of my piece on literary genres and an article on how I approach writing comments!) and I talked about Ishiguro getting the Nobel Prize and Rue de Sèvres publishing the last Taniguchi. Not bad, but there’s still so much to do! And, remembering  Daniel Keyes’ novel Flowers for Algernon, I cannot help myself in worrying that this welcomed lucidity of mind is only a fleeting perk…

In the news, it becomes clear that this will be an annus horribilis for the U.S. (and the world): not only Trump was unleashed onto the world (bent on unravelling everything good that Obama did and destroying the American democracy), but more disasters keep happening: an earthquake in Mexico, hurricanes Harvey (causing damages mostly in  Texas), Irma (in the Leeward Islands and Florida), Jose (again in the Leeward Islands) and Maria (in Puerto Rico), there was also a terrible shooting in Las Vegas, great fires in California, sex scandal in Hollywood (shocking!), etc. How comes some people still support this moron and deny climate changes is beyond my comprehension!

Despite all this, I still managed to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered about an hundred notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order), after the jump.

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Découverte: le dernier manga de Taniguchi

Il y a quelques semaines j’ai découvert sur le site de Animeland (et puis dans un article du #217) qu’un dernier manga de Jirō Taniguchi devait paraître à la fin de septembre (disponible ici probablement à la fin octobre). Il s’agit d’un projet que Taniguchi produisait pour l’éditeur Rue de Sèvres et qui devait paraître simultanément en France et au Japon. Le projet était inachevé lors de son décès en février (l’histoire devait comporter au moins cinq volumes) mais l’éditeur à tout de même décidé de le publier, agrémenté du storyboard du reste de l’histoire, d’illustrations, d’un interview avec son éditeur japonais et de tout un dossier éditorial en hommage à l’auteur.

Continuer la lecture après le saut de page >>

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Ishiguro gets Nobel Prize in literature !

British writer Kazuo Ishiguro (mostly known for his books The remains of the day [1989] and Never let me go [2005], which were both adapted into movies) has received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. The award was announced on October 5th. Sara Danius, the secretary of the Swedish Academy, said that his novels showed “great emotional force” as he was uncovering “the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” She also described his style as a “mix of Jane Austen, comedy of manners and Franz Kafka.” His recurrent themes seem to be identity, memory, time and self-delusion.

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 but moved to Surrey, England, at age five because of his father’s work as an oceanographer for the NOCS. He always stayed close to his Japanese roots because, until age fifteen, he had planned to go back to Japan but, instead, his family decided to settle in England (he received British citizenship in 1982). He graduated from UKC in English and Philosophy in 1978 and received a Master in creative writing from UEA in 1980.  Before starting his writing career in 1982, he wanted to be a musician and worked as a social worker. Strangely, his life background and relationship with Japan is very similar with Belgian author Amélie Nothomb and their writings share some themes.

To celebrate Ishiguro’s Nobel Prize, NHK World re-broadcasted a two-part special where the writer gives a lecture about his work. Originally broadcasted on October 22nd and November 5th 2016, the show is titled “First Class [in literature], Kazuo Ishiguro: My Secret of Writing” and is still available for streaming until October 25th, 2017 [Part 1 and Part 2]. It is also partly available on Youtube [in English and in Japanese]. It is very interesting and well worth watching.

Sources: BBC, Le Devoir, Goodreads, HazLitt, Japan Times, NHK World, Wikipedia.

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Edu-Manga: Anne Frank

“For two years, Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex. Though her young life was threatened on a daily basis, Anne channeled all of her fears and dreams into the pages of a private diary. Anne kept her hope for peace alive in the midst of the tragedy of war. Her indomitable spirit lives on to this day in the words of her very special diary.”

“Astro Boy can’t wait for you to meet this incredible young girl! Join him as he shares the day-to-day life of Anne Frank, her family, and the time they spent in the secret annex. Anne’s strength of spirit and joy in the face of impossible odds come together to create one of the most inspiring stories of our time.” (Text from the back cover)

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Backyard cleanup !

This is a (silent) time-lapse video filmed on October 1st and 2nd 2017 showing our fall backyard cleanup (again, thanks to Nest Cam). In preparation for major renovations in the backyard, it needed to be cleared. So we took all the flower pots to the front yard, trimmed the old vine, removed the overgrown morning glory and cut the rasberry stems. The next day, we also trimmed the tree, cleaned up the deck and removed the water hose. Here you have about eight hours of work in just three minute !

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