mercredi 18 juillet 2012
Apologies for the inspirational quotes from pop songs, but....
Hell yeah.
Four and a half years of work, countless nights and weekends studying, trips back and forth to Strasbourg, Paris, hours and hours of exams, and it all comes down to this.
Got a mass email last week from the European Patent Office that the results would be released today, July 18th. Usually it is the beginning of August, so it was much earlier this year, perhaps because they instituted a pre-qualifying exam (an exam that you must pass in order to be admitted to the main exam, whoopee).

The results are posted in a PDF file on their website, with the scores listed by numbers assigned to each candidate.

Dreamt last night that I was frantically searching for my results, the numbers were all out of order, and I couldn't find them...

So only one exam-result anxiety dream this year, which is an improvement over last year, when I had at least five.

Woke up this morning before 6 and logged on to the website. Nothing yet.
8 am: Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Damn it, when are they going to post it?
8:30 am: Check the forum. No comments yet. What the hell is taking so long? They posted them around 8:30 last year.


The results are posted!!! Quick download the PDF file, type in my ID number, hit search.
Please Lord, Please Lord, Please Lord, let me have at least a 45. I'll be happy with a 45.
(out of 100, not too shabby)
lundi 16 juillet 2012
Saturday morning, we watched the parade in Paris on tv, and then in the afternoon we drove to Toulon.
Our brother-in-law, Nicolas, is in the French Army. He was required to march in the Toulonais parade, and asked if we would like to come and see it.
We figured it was a good opportunity to get out of the house, see Lucie (Alain's sister) and one of their two rugrats (Anna - well into the terrible three's). The other, Manon almost 9, had left for camp for three weeks.

I was afraid that the autoroute would be packed with people on their way to the Côte d'Azur for the holidays, but it wasn't too bad. In about an hour we had arrived. Nicolas had warned us that the center of the city would be blocked off, so we took a detour, which was a bit backed-up, but made it finally around 4. Nicolas had already left, to pick up his rifle, be inspected, and practice.   His parents were visiting as well.

A little after five we hopped a bus downtown. We walked past the troops in rank and order (mainly Navy, as Toulon has a semi-large Naval base). The poor men and women had been standing out there for at least an hour.

On the shady side of the street, but still. Having spent many hours in parades myself, I definitely sympathized. We found Nicolas, and Anna (atop his father's shoulders) screamed Papa! and kept trying to get him to wave. He kinda blinked and wiggled his eyebrows in response. We found an area with a good view, and waited, thinking the parade would start at 6. Wrongo.

The boring inaudible speeches and medal-giving started at 6, with the parade starting at 7. This was a bit (okay, way) too long for Anna, who kept complaining that her stomach hurt, and Caca! (the equivalent of Poopoo!) as loud as possible. Lucie took her to the bathroom three times, but boredom was the main problem.
The parade started a bit after 7 and took all of 15 minutes. The troops marched by, followed by lots and lots of firetrucks. I am convinced that no National celebration is complete without firetrucks. Whether we are talking small town Colorado or Paris, France, the firetrucks must be present.

After the parade was over, everyone cleared out pretty quickly. We walked back to the bus stop, and waited. And waited. We must have waited at least half an hour for the damn bus. I was all for taking a taxi, since it was about 5 minutes away by car, but the others vetoed me. Hey, after 2 hours of standing and the prospect of not being able to fit on the bus even when it comes by....

By the time we got back to the apartment, Nicolas had already boarded the bus back to the base, checked in his equipment, and driven back to Toulon. We ordered some pizzas, and chowed down. Alain and I left a bit after 10, and saw some fireworks from the car on the way back.

Happy four (teenth) of July!
vendredi 13 juillet 2012
On Thursday, I woke up at my usual time of 6:15 to go to work. There was a faint smell of smoke, but as we had the windows open, I figured it was coming from outside, perhaps someone burning leaves (in July?) or some sort of construction work.
There was some noise coming from the building entrance level, but it sounded like construction workers, yelling at each other and using power tools.
Oh great, another group of uncaring renovators who start work at 6 am, like the ones who blasted music and used power tools at 10 pm a few years ago.
I got ready for work, and took the elevator down to the street level. The smell of smoke was stronger, and when I opened the elevator door, found myself face to face with a fireman, in his gear. It was a bit hazy, but no flames or anything. I asked what him what was going on, and he said that the pizzeria on the street level beneath us caught fire, that they must not have extinguished the oven correctly. Oh fantastic.
I went outside, and there were quite a few firetrucks parked on the street and some smoke billowing out of the front of the pizzeria.
Mind you, this is the second time the pizzeria has caught on fire. Once before we moved in, and now this.
I am not in the mood to die in a fire during my sleep because some stupid pizzaiolos forgot that a "wood burning" oven is actually "burning wood".
Plus, we don't even get our pizzas from them.
In fact, all we get from them is loud music at 9 am on Sunday mornings and precious parking space taken up by their delivery boy scooters.
So, I am not too sad. Nobody was hurt, and I am not sure how extensive the damage is. It was closed for business yesterday, with just a stack of charred wood on the sidewalk. Perhaps they will find another location. Or the syndicate will order them to move out.
Time to install the smoke detectors in our apartment. Which reminds me that though the building has fire extinguishers, there is no general fire alarm system, even though I suggested one be installed at the general meeting a few years ago.
But no, what are dues spent on? A half-hearted entryway/stairwell cleaning every two weeks.
At least I saw some cute firemen on my way to work. That helped.

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