04 January 2017

Frosty branches and needles, etc.

Here are a few more photos that I took last weekend, before all our frost melted. I say that, but the temperature is again below freezing this morning, so the trees and vines might be frosty white again this morning. At 6:30 a.m., it's too dark outside for me to be able to tell yet.

Yesterday I got my monthly check from my retirement pension provider. With the current exchange rate, for each $1000 U.S. dollars I received about 963 euros. Compare that to the situation just a five years ago, when $1000 was coming in at something less than 665 euros. It's not hard to understand how much easier it is to live here now. Let's hope the dollar doesn't take another dive. About 95% of my income is in U.S. dollars.

Another subject: I've been digitizing my movie collection. Well, it was already digital, I guess, but the movies were in DVD format and saved on recordable DVDs. I'm converting them to MP4 format so that I can copy them to SD cards or USB flash drives and play them directly on my television set, computer, or touch-screen tablet. The MP4s take up between 400MB and 1.5 GB each, and each DVD movie uses more than 4.25GB of space, so it's quite a saving in disk space.

In the conversion process, I've come to realize that I have a collection of more than 150 French movies. I've bought some of them on DVDs, and others I have recorded on our satellite TV decoder and then transferred to my computer in DVD format. I'm preparing for the day when DVD players will go obsolete, and when desktop and laptop computer will no longer have optical drives. There are French films that I watch on a fairly regular basis — say once or twice a year — just because I enjoy the atmosphere they project and I love listening to the language. They remind me of the life I lived in Paris and Normandy back in the 1970s and early 1980s. In fact, I started recording a lot of French movies back when the dollar was so low, and I thought we might one day have to move back to the U.S. I'd always have Paris, I thought to myself, at least on DVDs...


  1. My gigantic, new, graphics-based computer has no optical disk drive...
    I had to buy one!! USB3...
    as there are a large number of USB 2 & 3 and an SDXC slot....
    but, to extend the USB3 slots, I have had to buy a powered USB3 stack as well!!
    Modern technology.... hmmmmph!

  2. That's exactly what happened to me with my new, refurbished by Apple, MacBook computer, no optical drive! I was lucky to be able to get this small, very light, 11-inch laptop, because this very model has been discontinued! Let's hope it will last me for the next few years, since it's probably the last one I'll ever buy!

  3. Wow, that's lots of work. I'm curious what some of your favorite French movies are?

    Yes, like chm, I have a new Mac laptop (Mac Air), and had to buy an external DVD/CD drive.

  4. fingers crossed dollar stays strong....every time I go to France it's at a poor exchange rate

  5. What are some of your favorite movies?

  6. Hmmm, this is the third time I've tried to reply. Maybe your blog doesn't want me to know your favorite French movies. :(

  7. My favorite French movies include:

    - almost anything directed by Claude Sautet, who died in 2000 (Les choses de la vie; Une Histoire simple; Vincent, François, Paul et les autres; UnMauvais Fils; César et Rosalie; Un Coeur en hiver; Nelly et M. Arnaud)

    - almost anything with Charles Berling in it

    - most movies with Jean Rochefort and/or Pierre Noiret

    - the later movies with Michel Serrault, who died a few years ago (not so much the earlier slapstick comedy movies)

  8. I should also have mentioned actors Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, Catherine Frot, Stéphane Audran, Miou-Miou, Natalie Baye, Emmanuelle Béart, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. And directors Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut.

  9. The dollar and the euro are almost at parity. A good time for you, and if interest rates go up again in the US, even better.

    Recent French films I've loved:

    Moliere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NySWrKfEa4E

    The Intouchables: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvdJ--DV0Uo

    and probably my all-time favorite, though from Quebec, is C.R.A.Z.Y.:


    and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRYKnQFtWic

  10. "Le Grand Restaurant", Louis De Funès, great stuff, even though I don't speak French...


  11. And there's me still with some old photos to digitise - and a couple of hundred old 78 rpm discs..... I can't keep up.


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