What's NeXT?

Friday, November 26, 2004

What's NeXT?
Originally uploaded by nardac.
This weekend is my friend, the Buscemi doppelganger's, official computer birthday party. He's celebrating the fact that he's been messing around with bits and bytes for the last 20 years. Pretty impressive.

Ironically, last year was the 20th anniversary of the SVM magazine in France (Science et Vie Micro). I managed to find the anniversary copy from a year ago at the library and it's chockfull of interesting information on the (at that time) latest digital cameras, computers and television screens. The last couple of pages were dedicated to the history of SVM, and it's landmark issues.

For example, on the cover in 1987, is the "Compaq 386," "the fastest portable computer in the world," "with a monochrome plasma screen weighing only 6 to 10 kg!" In 1984, the cover is obviously a little Macintosh, where the critics are shocked, "using a Mac is as simple as that: no document to read, no command to know...the interface by images makes the classic operating systems insipid and laborious." That's 1984!

Reading about the last 20 years of computing made me realize how fast the last 20 years have been. I still remember being the computer monitor in junior high, where there was one Mac, and forty PCs, and I always hogged the Mac. Or being frustrated with Windows 95, even though it was so hype. Even the early days with Amiga and Ataris. Commodore 64s in my classroom where we all were amazed with very stupid games like mine-sweeper.

My first computer was an Atari ST 520, where I first learned how to program my computer into playing a melody. It had no games, worked in monochrome black and white, and had a very unfortunate power button on the top left of the keyboard. I say unfortunate because I remember once, when moving a stack of books, hitting that button and wiping out my sister's essay. She cried.

We kept that computer in my room, me being the geek and all, and only when we moved, in 1992, did we change computers. My parents bought a PC, which I hated. Everytime I loaded a new program, I would inevitably have to phone the helpline, in the US, for details on rewriting files in the autoexec.bat... or other stupid details. I officially got irritated/frustrated with programming with my PC.

Because, even then, I was more interested in using a program to make a sound or image, rather than actually the language used to write a program to do exactly that. I'm not a programmer. I'm a mad computer user. I eventually pestered them, years later, to burning the PCs and getting me a Mac. Never looked back.

Going back to SVM, I noticed something curious under 1988: the NeXT Computer, put out by Steve Jobs when he got kicked out of Apple. It's a black cube, with no built in hard drive or floppy. It takes removable magneto-optical disks, each of about 256MB, with optional hard disk, floppy (2.88MB) and CD drive. It featured a fully image based interface, modem, and was colour upgradeable. Never heard of it before? Me neither.

But think about it, it's a black cube computer in 1988. Looking at the photographs, one can't help but admire how Jobs was always interested in the value of aesthetic appeal when using a computer. Apparently, the interface of NeXT, which Jobs bought the rights over before he left, is the basis of Mac OSX.

Furthermore, and this is interesting, Tim Berners Lee built the first version of the World Wide Web using a NeXT!!! Incredible. They are still used in some remote places as a server.

Anyways, I'm off to see the Buscemi in a couple of hours and hopefully pick up more useful nerd-o facts. If you want to know more about this, and other cool archaic computers, go to this wicked old computers website. CPU later.

working from home

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Has obvious advantages. But one big disadvantage: it's aggravating my insomnia problem. Case in point, now that I can work at my own hours, I spend inordinate amounts of time surfing, writing this fucking blog, sleeping at ungodly hours (check out the time of this blog) and waking up so late that I only catch 4 hours of daylight. Not getting any sun translates to depression. How can I cultivate more discipline? How can I battle this insomnia? Terrible. Not to mention lonely.

"how to get your ex back"

What's up with friendster and their "suggested searches" department? How does this fucking thing decide what searches to give me when I never use their stupid bleeding search engine in the first place? It takes long enough to load common things like messages and friends onto the page, who's got time to use their search button with google in the menubar on firefox?

To add insult to bewilderment, the number 1 search today was "how to get your ex back." Why does this need to be there? For those who know the back story, this is the type of thing that would have been interesting to me, like, 2 years ago. Seeing it there just made me feel like someone wants me to timewarp to that miserable period in my life. Plus, it made me remember the rather shocking bit of hatemail I got from his girlfriend, months after I cut off contact with him. I think I wanted to have him back a couple of weeks into the initial breakup, but gave up quickly after seeing him in flesh, recognizing the wisdom of the decision.

I would like that search box, the suggest searches boxes, along with all their dumbass ads that take up half the fucking page, to be optional. I don't need to see anymore "dream suspension bicycles," thank you very much. Other dumb things on the search list were "emo hairstyles" and "lacoste for men." Like I want know how to look like some depressed cartoon of a sensitive white girl, or find out about another label. I like the crocodile but hello, who doesn't know about their polos already?

Friendster had a winning combination for awhile, but now I'm beginning to find the whole business repetitive, competitive, and kind of wasteful. With everyone competing to write something cool on their personality list, their music list, their movie list, and then you read the whole mess and find out our whole generation is basically the same, obsessed with being fashionable, cool, listening to the right music and boring the fuck out of me with shallowness. Like, doesn't anyone care about more important things? Shouldn't our best and brightest be more motivated about changing the world in more than just appearance and reference? No wonder the O.C. is so popular.

Of course I plead guilty to all the above. But, still, "how to get your ex back"...stop that ...grrr...

strange misunderstanding

I've just had my head bitten-off from a certain buddy blogger based on a rather thoughtless quip I made on his photo. In fact, looking at only the text, it is apparent that I didn't take enough care with the inflexion of my voice, and somehow things escalated beyond my original sentiment. Sometimes biting humour, between penpals, becomes rude. Between the witless burnishing and my rather clumsy though unintended flaming, my ass got smacked. Gently but firmly.

It's a new lesson for me to learn, the grammar and etiquette of comment leaving, that commentary from otherwise strangers can leave the wrong impression. It's strange that I never learnt that from emailing alone. However, when you read someone's (well-written) blog for awhile, you start to feel you know them, and can start liberally injecting your own brand of humour. Obviously, this has backfired on me. Whereas emailing strangers automatically creates a certain politesse.

Of course he doesn't seem to be deeply affected by any of this, and he'll move on. But for me, it was kind of a bitter pill, his last comment.

You, you know who you are, I know you don't want anymore apologies, but there it is, I'm going against your wishes. And for the record, you know I love your blog.

that's it. end of story.

WE'RE NOT WORTHY!!! (a little free advertising)

Originally uploaded by nardac.
So turns out the movie date was to see Les Indestructibles, otherwise known as The Incredibles, that new Pixar film. Well, what's there to say...

It's a damn near perfect film,
I loved it from start to finish,
I thought it was one of the most beautiful films I'd seen in a long time,
the art direction was stunning,
they ripped off all the best movies (like Dr. No and the tree duel in Return of the Jedi),
it remained funny and well played even in french which shows you that they're paying attention to all the details,
the credits were given to the french dubbing voices,
there are so many scenes I loved that I can't name all of them,
there were sooo many people who worked on this film and yet it holds together,
the story is so well fleshed out (with the exception of Mirage who gets shortshrift),
that ice guy Frozone has the wickedest speed skater moves,
the scene where the Elastigirl comes onto the beach after playing dinghy is the best body movement ever by a animated character...fucking surreal as hell
I will work for Steve Jobs, I will work for Pixar, I will work for Brad Bird, if they will ever have me, WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!
I will never work for Disney.
gosh, even the fashion designer woman's house was to die for...as was her hair ever so perfectly rendered
that blobby spodgy sticky stuff stopping Mr. Incredible was so cool
I'm glad they pay less attention to realism and more attention to beauty, unlike that stupid Polar Express trailer we sat through at the beginning
was this coloured by my awesome candy popcorn experience in the cinema?
I hope not, because I'm going in for a double dose



Wednesday, November 24, 2004

not much time, so will say what's necessary.
Last night with Cyl, Elisa, Voin, Julia, Thibault, and Scoobs had wonderful time. Saved Elisa from 3rd degree hot water burns and giggled with Cyl like 4-year old schoolgirl. Voin is diVine.
Malcolm Maclaren, soooo OVER.
Today with Schapoli and Herbie, more good times.
Received wicked anonymous post on being 30.
Got super testimonial on friendster page from long-lost gay boyfriend.
Sister came through with english book shipment: Coetzee, Sloterdijk, August Comte, P. Roth, Nigel Slater.
Dacnar is taking me out for a date at the cinema tonight.
I need my friends and family.
I love my friends and family.

Slogan of our generation: by Cyl and Nardac
©nardac 2004

and you thought religion was dead!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

You'd never believe it but this is the biggest word-of-mouth story of the year, internet wise. It's the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese sandwich. It's a 10-year old grilled cheese sandwich, which, after a bite, was recognized as sporting the face of the Virgin Mary. 10 years later, and in the same plastic baggy, the sandwich hasn't spouted a spore.

What makes this news is that Diana Duyser, the larky discoverer of this modern relic, had put the sandwich up for sale on ebay, only to have it pulled off when ebay thought it was a fake. They later reinstalled it's auction status after having verified that she could "deliver" what was promised. So what...ebay is getting into the relic verification trade? E-commerce replacing the Vatican? Are we going to hell?

I don't know. Anyways, fellow blogger, Jeremy has an excellent personal take on the whole affair. And the last time I checked with a search on ebay under "Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese," there were 179 items up for sale. Anyways, it's only a matter of time before someone comes up with "The Virgin Mary Sandwich Grill," bidding starting at $.01, BUY NOW for $35. Is this some genius Christmas marketing ploy?

hunting the big fish

Originally uploaded by nardac.

Many a time in my life I’ve written that art is something we know when we experience it, and that it needs no definition. For the most part, I was speaking from my own experience, when a certain idea/image/sound/moment hits me with such metaphysical force that I am forced to bend for it. It made me want to define how and why, to develop a system of proof for why I had to call it art. But each time I burrowed into classifications, by experience, by knowledge, by understanding, by finesse, it seemed to elude me, always slipping just beyond my fingertips.

Art, she is a fickle and unreasonable lover. Often when asked to make something that is art, I find myself laughing at the idea, because one never knows if it will be anything to live up to that definition until it is done. One just has to try. There is no sympathy for enormous glaring failures and there is no voice for mediocre failures. It’s a thankless job.

Training is done to have taste enough to say what is and what isn’t art, and, for the life of me, I have trouble agreeing with most critics. It’s true that there are unanimous successes, such as Carsten Holler’s success this year in Marseille, or Wim Delvoye’s shit project, Cloaca, heralded by a snowball of glittering praise. However, there are others that are despised, or ignored, in their lifetime. Sometimes, in their distant future, and unfortunately sometimes posthumously, these people meet with the recognition that was theirs by right. The obvious example is van Gogh, but there are others, like Nick Drake, or Henry Darger. What’s even sadder, though, are those who disappear, never to be known, their pleasures passions submerged forever; these Lycidas with no Milton.

Why is this my topic today? It’s because Dacnar is in the ranks of the almost-unknown artists in the world right now. And, today, after a brief search, he encountered his first negative review. Dacnar makes films, really strange films where I could describe the sequences, but never properly capture the spirit. Of course I’m not the most objective of judges, but even before I became his bed partner, I was always intrigued with his way of thinking and expressing himself, or rather evading expressing himself. The truth was to be found elsewhere.

If he is careless in social circles, invisible in others, strangely anti-social, or sweetly contemptuous, it’s not out of fear or ambition, thank god, but out of choice. I have the strange feeling I’m married to a type of Bartleby, which quite naturally presents several problems. But it goes beyond this facile description.

So his work is like taking a peak into his head through an Alice mirror with trick prisms. There’s enough there to cause problems, and enough to understand his grace. The last two films he made are two succeeding episodes in a series entitled “Laïkapark.” The offical summary is as follows: at a construction site for an amusement park dedicated to animals lost in space, the Lovermann workers are on strike. The sketches are lovingly mocking of a certain everyday man culture, while the workers themselves live in a void, set up in laughingly tragic situations. It points in several directions at many times but is hard to pin down.

The core idea, or so it would seem to me, is a profound sympathy for the incredibly futile and ridiculous methods we employ to defend the meaningfulness of what is essentially a void.

It’s not that the work is without fans. It has a small but loyal following in france, where complete unknowns rave madly after screenings. There is a group of prominent art critics that greatly respect what is his genre. But, and I’m not sure why, he remains invisible, largely unknown. I’d like to think it has something to do with being prolific, since he makes about one film a year. But I don’t think so.

I think it’s vision. Because truly original vision, when first encountered, provokes bewilderment and often distaste. Those who are already part of the inner circle often reject what they cannot support as threatening to their own mediocre power holdings.

Here’s an anecdote: Michel Houellebecq’s first novel, despite the fact he was in Perpendiculaire, a hip Parisian literary circle at that time,met with questioning editors. His publisher finally said, “we’d like to publish Houellebecq, he is undoubtably a great writer, but we won’t.” His writing was dangerous unknown territory, malicious, sexual, and most of all, without sympathy for false emotion. There was no redemption; writing so dark and unsympathetic. Houellebecq isn’t always right, but he’s one of the few writers of our age, besides Coetzee, that I can respect, both in craft and message. Finally, his girlfriend, who was working at the publishing house at that time told the publisher to “put his money where his mouth was,” and a literary legend was born.

There are those who despise Houellebecq with an unnatural passion. He was unanimously expulsed from Perpendiculaire, and after his openly anti-Islamic novel Platform, he fled the country for anonymity in Ireland. There he lives now, infamous, malicious and fragile. And why? Because he went hunting for the big fish.

Dacnar is hunting for big fish. He’s not looking for monetary success and social acceptance. In the immortal words of Lloyd Dobler, he’s looking for a dare to be great situation. If he is an artist, it’s not to join the merry-go-round of socialites, in their yellow ballgowns and latest dress. It’s because it’s a choice, a way to be what he would like to say. I admire this, immensely.

After reading the nasty critic we found online, he turned to me, a little shocked, with a funny smile on his face. It’s hard to deal with negative criticism, let alone the pointed contempt of this reviewer, but Dacnar handled things with calm and remarkable aplomb. He kind of giggled and went, “oh, that’s really not nice. But what hurts me is that he thought my humour was gross. I thought it was quite sweet.” I fumed and thundered in the kitchen, boiling oil and imagining all sorts of schemes for skewering the blasted critic.

And then I went back to his little desk, to see how he was. He was doing some preparation for a job he’s shooting for, very practical writing. I hugged him and minced no words about how stupid I thought that guy was. He turned to me and said, “oh, we don’t have to mind about that.” For Dacnar, it’s in the making that counts. As for whether other people think it’s art, “we don’t have to mind about that.” When you hunt the big fish, all concentration must be focused in the right place.

trottoir roulant rapide à Montparnasse

Originally uploaded by nardac.

Il marche!! On a essayé. C'est tellement effrayant, l'acceleration et decceleration sont bizarre et j'ai sentie un peu deséquilibrée, mais, finalement, ça marche et c'est rapide. Le même vitesse du bus, tu peux traverser l'espace entre le gare Montparnasse et le ligne pour Clignancourt en moins d'une minute. Pour les gens qui pensent ils n'ont pas assez d'argent pour s'amuser, voilà quelque chose fun et gratuit!

And for all you anglais out there, I'm talking about the new high speed travelator at the gare Montparnasse, that's finally reopened to the public. It's a really weird and slightly scary experience, but once you've cleared the initial acceleration, it's great fun, and fast!

object of desire

Monday, November 22, 2004

So, after my debacle earlier this fall with Apple, those strangely unemotional help staff decided to offer me 100Eu in Apple money, to ease my pain. I've been sitting on this ever since, wondering how best to spend this metaphorical moolah.

Option number 1 was quite simply the product of massive marketing, and intense envy. I want a goddamn ipod. No surprises there. They're small, they double up as a hard drive, you take all your music with you. nuff said.

Option number 2 was the one proposed by Dacnar, the wireless airport thingie that looks like a power supply. Completely wireless option with linkup to stereo and internet. practical and unglamourous.

Option number 3 was something I've been toying with for years. Given the amount of drawing I do on my computer, and the amount of clicking and sliding around on the touchpad, it seems only reasonable to upgrade my equipment to a tablet with drawing pen. I've used one before and I have to agree, they make drawing much easier. Plus, with this option, I don't have to spend more money than my apple gift.

And then I clicked on the Apple site today and now I have no more dilemmas, but one solid problem. The Photo Ipod is TOO EXPENSIVE!!! Yes, it was a matter of time before Steve Jobs came up with the winning combination, but he's done it. An ipod, choice between 40gig and 60gig, that shows your photos on its delicious LCD screen. Gag. KICK MY FUCKING ASS OVER WHILE I'M ALREADY FALLING DOWN!

Problem: it's 569Eu for the 40Gig one, alone. Now, that's ridiculously expensive for a vanity item. Not to mention it's so much cheaper on the american site. The 40Gig option is $499. Translate this into Euros, and it's 382.63, that's a difference of almost 200Eu for God's sake! What gives! Apple does it again: they toy with my fancy and imagination, and then frustrate me with inexplicable discrepancies.

So, for all those who read this, who come from the better non-European countries, I'm begging, drivelling, on the scraped skin knees: get me the Photo Ipod...buy it in your cheaper priced country and ship it my way. Christmas is coming...I just got married, and I turned 30; all good reasons to be nice.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Originally uploaded by nardac.
going to the inlaws for the weekend. there's no internet in the middle of fucking nowhere, so don't bug me with silly questions on fish recipes or appropriate underwear colour. my services are temporarily suspended.

Beaujolais Nouveau

Originally uploaded by nardac.
I remember the first time I heard about the Beaujolais Nouveau. It was in the summer of 1994, in Toronto. At that time, I had the acquaintance of two very particular specimens, Starboy and the Wench. Starboy was this ex-cycling champion who had posed as the Sun's posterboy. He smoked copious amounts of weed and dated the Wench, a horrible banshee of a woman with dyke butt who put way too much raw garlic in all her food. I still remembered her mangy cat Orphelia, who she insisted on not fixing, rubbing her pussy all over guest's shoes in a futile attempt for satisfaction. Gives a whole new interpretation of Hamlet.

Anyways, Starboy and Wench were beyond bourgeois, in a kind of poverty line sort of way. They knew enough about food to talk about catering for cottage parties (our normal hamburgers were replaced by inedible pizza with raw garlic), and were snotty about what techno to listen to. Of course they were chronically unemployed. They were the very first people to mention the words Beaujolais Nouveau.

I still remember their excitement.
-It's French, very hard to find here! We already ordered our bottles! It's a magnum!
-Yeah, we got two bottles! One to drink immediately, and one to wait on.
Not knowing anything about wine, being more beer inclined at that point of my life, I just nodded along absently and said, or
-that's great. Is it a screwtop?

For those who know anything about wine, even minimal amounts, there are two obvious mistakes in the preceding. First of all, Beaujolais Nouveau is not something they sell in magnums. That term is usually reserved for Champagne. Secondly, who the fuck puts Beaujolais Nouveau in their cellar???

411- for those who don't know, because, let's face it, the public enthusiasm might not have fully jumped the pond, Beaujolais Nouveau is the new wine of the season, express fermented after about a month after it's harvest. It's taste is extremely light, somewhere in between grape juice and wine.

Beaujolais Nouveau will come from the Beaujolais region, near Lyon, and is a relatively newly created vinicultural event. Only really admitted into the canon of wines in 1951, it's essentially the youngest wine, made from the mediocre grapes, while the better Beaujolais sits in the barrels, looking for spring.

The key thing here is the party. Every 15th of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is unleashed on the world. It's official date is upheld by wine-sellers around the world, but also, I suspect, to coordinate Beaujolais tasting parties. The wine is deceptively easy to drink, so mass guzzling is possible. So the euphemism wine-tasting is used to cover the fact that it's one big slosh-fest.

Today, parked in front of his little Repaire de Bacchus storefront, was our cute little wine seller. Normally viciously communist at heart, I saw him stuffing huge wads of cash into his apron, as he festively waved around bottles in front of gold and blue balloons. He screamed at us to have a tasting.

Dacnar and I were hesitant. Well, not really, I was hesitant and he never said no, just silly french eyebrow raise matched with pout. That translates to "why not." We tried our first glass together. It was strange, kind of grapy, lacking in any body, and had a bizarre banana undertone. I found it incredibly easy to gulp down and wondered about eating it with a beef pattie.

While we were sipping, some very direct and serious old men circled, tasting the "deBoeuf," the grand dame of Beaujolais Nouveau. They sniffed, they snorted, they pointed, cash was exchanged, bottles were packed in cardboard boxes. Very serious stuff.

Immediately after the old men left, while we still had our wine seller momentarily to ourselves, I took the time to tell him that the wine tasted like banana. He immediately looked down his nose, poured out a half glass, chugged it, and said, "no, it's more like cherry juice."

While his pronouncement went down, another guy came up, tasted and said, "can I try something that tastes a little bit more like wine?"

That's the problem with the Beaujolais Nouveau, it's getting a bad reputation. It used to be all hype, and November 15th was the official Christmas for vini-vendors. But now, it's becoming all too clear: Beaujolais Nouveau is lightweight and not worth the fuss. People complain that it tastes like nothing, or that the standard has gone down.

That's not stopping the parties, though. Walking towards the Metro, at 8pm, we passed the real estate office, and inside were all the agents, getting trashed on Beaujolais. Office girls letting their skirts hike up as sleazy slick hairs keeping refilling the grape juice. Last night, we saw numerous splotches of barf on the sidewalk, on the way home. I guess in France, they celebrate the equivalent of Thanksgiving by skipping out completely on the turkey and jumping into the grape bath.

I like the idea of a wine that's just made to party. You drink it like raspberry cordial, titter like 17 year olds, and find yourself brutally drunk after a few innocent glasses. There's something so sweet and teenage about the whole affair. I wish that they could led it flow through the taps nationally for the sole day it's released.

We eventually bought the banana wine and LOOK, check out DACNAR! The Beaujolais makes a party even before the uncorking! Word!

alles Gute zum Geburtstag

Thursday, November 18, 2004

alan's birthday card
Originally uploaded by nardac.
This was an unexpected birthday card from the Web. It's so simple, Ullrich, Kloden, Telekom, dreams of July in the mountains of France.

And they look so skinny! Where's the beef, Jan?

turning 30

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

old lady
Originally uploaded by nardac.
buzzing on german spiced wine
cried too much
worried about non-existant future
dallying with severe marital crisis
terrified over miniscule career
not getting high on drugs
turning down a champagne party
eating walnuts while watching tv
read bad potty novel by pulp writer
besides all that
have tried out new face cream
that works

nothing has changed.
if today means anything about the rest of the 30s,
it's going to be a rough ride.
I need a personality makeover.

Thirty-One Things about Me! Me! Me!

This is the best type of exercise for a narcissist such as myself. Since it's acceptable in the blogosphere to talk without end about oneself, here it is:

Thirty-One Things about Me (updated November 2005 to reflect age)

1. Born in Singapore, grew up in Toronto, Canada, moved to France three years ago, and married my Prince Frog, who came attached with a moustache.

2. Biggest regret: quitting piano because of a stupid dare I made with my mom.

3. Was a real ugly duckling… my high school photos are the stuff of Todd Solondz films.

4. Won a red and white striped scarf when I was thirteen balancing a meter stick on my head for over ten minutes. When I moved to France, the scarf came too.

5. Wrote a screenplay when I was fourteen, starring all my stuffed animals, that was loosely based on Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Geo-Force.

6. Was in a electro-pop group called Pony da Look… for all of seven months. People still tell me the group ain’t the same since I left.

7. Sat for a portrait when I was sixteen. The portrait was named Sam. It was then bought by a rich gay man, who asked if he could meet the model.

8. I fell violently on my head when I was seven. The hair turned white and fell out, then grew back. Now, in this is the part of my head that is turning white before the others.

9. Have little to no stagefright, as was evidenced by an art performance where I was naked,
painted in white, at the closing night for an international film festival. I was a walking screen.

10. Wanted to be an actress, then a lawyer, then a writer, then a mathematician, then a philosopher, then a poet, then a photographer, then an artist….

11. Was third in Canada in Grade 7 for a national mathematics competition.

12. Took way too much acid my first year in university and promptly lost my scholarship.

13. I am sports-obsessed. Everything from the Champions League, Superbowl, Roland-Garros, Curling Finals, Petanque Golden-League… even the Tour de France. I love the Tour de France because it’s the coolest!

14. Every month I think I’m pregnant till my period comes. Am I alone in this?

15. Apparently, and this is family folklore, one of the first complete sentences I articulated was “Mummy, I’m so frustrated.” Before that, they just thought I was a deaf mute mental retard.

16. Barry Manilow’s Copacabana is probably the song that has run through my life… of course not metaphorically.

17. Richard D. James saved my life… like for real! Not just musically… he pulled me back from getting hit by a cab.

18. I love reading… If I ever stop reading, I might die.

19. Right now I’m happy and bopping to Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely… but if I get sad, which could be in ten minutes, I’ll listen to something else.

20. My only black eye was from moshing to Nirvana… somebody stuck their elbow in my eye socket.

21. I’ve been checked out by Henry Rollins. That’s when my hair was bleached white. That was a bad fashion move.

22. If I was rich I’d probably turn into Brian Wilson… in other words, I’d find no reason to leave my bed.

23. I have obsessed over several books in my lifetime: Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Pride and Prejudice, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Waiting for the Barbarians and Stephen King’s IT.

24. My favourite line from the Name of the Rose is when the guy screams out “FLAGRANTE DELICTO!”

25. My breasts are small, but my ass is like a strawberry.

26. I have realized you can never go home, you can never turn back the clock, as much as you want. That split second once gone… is gone. Perhaps not a unique observation, but still such a bittersweet one for me.

27. I’m a lazy bastard.

28. Jerry Garcia was fat. I know it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with me… but I’d like to emphasize the factual nature of this list.

29. I don’t have any children… next!

30. My name means King of the Lions. Which makes me a Princess, if you haven’t figured that out already.

31. I'm still too confused half the time to know when to buy lottery tickets. Actually, I learned a really good answer when I get confused: so what? It works pretty well for other problems too (this is an open plagiarism of Andy Warhol, if you must know. But I only really copy funny people because it simplifies having to decide who's cool and who's not. Unfunny people are never cool, unless they have giant schlongs and want to save baby unicorns).

men and cooking

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Dacnar cooked today and it was terrible...like terribly good! Of course he did something simple, like stick little potato balls in the oven, and fry up a ray with cream, onion, anise and beer. What makes this exceptional is that he's advanced to the point that he has four ingredients in the sauce, and the four fit together elegantly. I'm so proud!

Normally he does something stupid like fry onions with peppers and then spoon the glop over boiled pasta...or he has this weird chick pea dish which is just smashed chick peas with green peppers, served with bread. It's quite minimal stuff...because he gets distracted easily.

But today, I'm not sure whether he was inspired, or just happy to eat fish after three days of sauerkraut and salted pork (yeah, the choucroute will NOT go away). In any case, it's proved to be an inspired go at kitchen duty. BRAVO!

When I first met Dacnar, he used to eat canned spinach, canned green beans, canned pasta, dried tortellini, boiled plain pasta, bread and butter. I still remember the puzzled look on his face when I served him green beans that weren't grey. And, he stubbornly holds on to that strange idea that vegetables need to be so overcooked that your tongue takes the place of your teeth. I hate canned spinach. Who eats that dog poo? And yes, Popeye is a cartoon character!

But this is not the only case of male culinary retardation. For example, my father is notorious for the three times he tried to cook for my sister and I. My sister was quite a non-discriminatory eater, but even she was horrified at the messes he produced from the kitchen. For example, I have a memory of his french toast so scarring it prevented me from ordering or tasting french toast till the age of 25. And I think he tried to make daal once, but I've erased the taste from my brain. My dad's a bad cook not from lack of trying, unlike dacnar, but from sheer lack of talent.

And then there's the finnish friend, JP, who lives off steak. That's all he cooks. The rest is just carrots, apples, ice-cream, vodka and gallons of milk. Before he got on the caveman diet he ate chinese noodles with chick peas, or chicken with cream. The noodles were boiled and then tossed on the chick peas, which were then fried in an assortment of soy sauce, oregano, herbs de provence, hot sauce...like anything that he could ge within arm's reach. The chicken was as the title suggests, fried then tossed with cream. It's really not as bad as you think...except he would regularly leave this food on the stovetop, then eat it the next day, and the day after. No wonder we went through so much toilet paper last year.

Finally, the last category is devoted to men who just won't grow up and eat properly. Old roommate, false front teeth, used to be a McDonald's addict till he moved to France, where he coined the now famous "double dinner": whatever you're eating for dinner, eat a doner/kebab before. Or ex-boss, Dr. Turettes, who used to blab about fine wines and excellent pate, but left alone, he'd live on popcorn, chocolate, and dessert wines.

But seriously, I feel like I'm making headway with the Dacnar when it comes to food. If this is true, it would make the second boyfriend that I've successfully managed to brainwash into stardom in the kitchen. The first one turned into a cook after discovering the soup wasn't just powder poured into water. I have a lot hope, nonetheless, that this is a passing phase and he'll go back to the minimal cooking style. It's just too much to hope he could be distracted from his computer for more than 2 minutes.

le premier blogue sur le blogueroll

gangway...first real bonafide parisian blog on the list. I'm coming out of the closet now. Merde, tout le weekend avec les amies canadiennes, je m'ai trouvée entre français et anglais. Bizarre...Delire. Par example, un moment, quand on était dans un magasin du vin, je n'arrivais pas de finir mon phrase en anglais. Un mélange assez dégueulasse, entre Jean-Claude van Damme dans le voix de Christopher Lambert, a fuitée de mon bouche, avant je peux contrôler. Beaucoup trop fort que moi. Et, après cet après-midi, quand j'ai reussite d'être moitié française, est-ce que mon Monsieur Hyde commence à sortir? No, don't think so. Still too early to say, but my french writing career is stalled in grade 10 grammar. Give me a couple more years before I can write like a native. Still...I can read like a native now. Which is why I got my first french blog online. Go for it, you francophiles!

france immigration, or stupid motherfucking shitface third world fucking immigration policy!!! FUCKERS!!!

Monday, November 15, 2004

france immigration
Originally uploaded by nardac.
This morning, before the dreaded trip to the Commissariat for my carte de sejour, I had already imagined blogging about it in all its unsavoury details; the nasty trip through the drudge of humanity at obscene hours in the morning, being touched by strangers in an unfriendly way, finding out exactly how inefficient french bureaucracy can be. After all, after my two year odyssey to be legal in France, while a student in the north, I'm hardly a novice at the horrors of this barbaric experience.

The carte de sejour is like your visitors permit. All foreigners not from the E.U. have to get one if they plan on staying in the country beyond the 3 month limit. Usual reasons for an application are marriage, child with frenchman, student or refugee. The usual mix in the crowd is african, arab and chinese, with rare spittings of white people who are usually eastern european. Rarities are people from first world countries.

This alone should tell you something about the state of immigration in France. Obviously other first world citizens aren't flocking here to study. And most of the marriages and families are either african with africans, arabs with arabs, or... white guys with japanese girls. Rice queens, they're everywhere.

Even in Paris, the motley crew comprises the aged, the debilitated, the mal-educated and the general desperate coloured swarming masses. Americans, Canadians, Australians, Brits, they know they've got it better. I'm one of the few Canadians with leaking brain syndrome.

Who's calling me racist? Shut up. I'm starting a club to unite all the racists in the world. If you ever have to battle these uncivilized coloured masses in droves, as I've had to in the queue, you'd be fucking racist too.

In the north, the centre for application was the Prefecture in Lille, a nasty greyish aging 70s building, one had to start lining up at around 6 in the morning to guarantee entry by 12pm. The very first time I got there, the sun was still sleeping, my feet got numb, and my soul was tarnished by the lack of civilization. Up in the north, they've perfected the technique for turning normal 20th century homo sapiens sapiens into battling gorillas, all in under 2 hours.

People pay other people to sleep overnight in front of the bullet-ridden doors. Cardboards stained with human waste and pee slide over the front door steps. It's not uncommon to see 30 people in front of you at 6am, only to see the number swell to 100 by 8:30am. Normal procedure is for some young lout to wait early. He's then joined by his various family members, each crawling and pushing through the exhausted angry masses. People get so irritated with this behaviour that they start pressing in. The line dissolves into a parabolic blob, crushing onto the doors. By 8:29, the crush has begun. The doors, manned by two fully armed police officers (armed with semi-automatic guns), are opened and closed periodically, allowing around 15 people to squish in at a time.

So, what happened to me? Well, I remember feeling someone's erection pressed onto the side of one of my buttcheeks. I elbowed the son-of-a-bitch, but he didn't move. I finally stepped really hard on his foot and he moved a little, pressing his erection into the man in front of him. Another man behind me had his arm pressed deep into my side. I couldn't move at all. I yelled at them. Everybody just tiredly looked around, and then stared back at the door. Your body is not yours. There is no sense of civilization, order...just animal desperation, poverty and idiocy.

I don't understand why people don't respect queues. I have never been able to comprehend what the point is when you're waiting in line and some dumbass decides to slide beside you, slowly shuffling their way in front. Like, what's do they think somehow their needs are greater than the rest of the people waiting? For me, this is one of the highest markers of people who are uncivilized and generally lacking in grace.

And if you thought that was bad, this nasty behaviour is coupled with the complete idiocy of french civil servants, at least in the north prefecture. I've never met a group of people less willing to help, inefficient, and surly. I mean, for fuck's sakes, they're still doing everything with paper!!! Computers are obviously too advanced for these cretins.

Long story short, it took me two years to get what is a very official and necessary piece of identification in France. The paper should have taken 3 months. The problem was compounded by the Canadian Consul in Lille, a certain Mdme. Aymé who should be fired for being a fuck-up and pretending to have the qualifications to handle my file. I'd also like to send a special nod to Mr. Schmandt, the person who handles the Canadian files at the prefecture. The two times I've visited his office, I've seen him closing screens to his email and gay porn. If that's why my file wasn't being handled, I think he needs to reconsider his career choice... obviously his real dream is to work at a club med for gay men.

Ok...now that you've had the back story, here's what happened today. I woke up at 9am. I made it to the Commissariat in the 12 arrondissment at 10:30am. Immediately behind me was a Chinese woman and Black woman, who seemed to be together. Chinese older woman did that special trick all pushy Chinese women like to pull, they smile their slightly toothless grins, while subtly pushing their bodies into yours. Fucker!

At one point she did a little 90 degree turn left, facing out, and started sliding along. I stuck my foot out. She kept pushing. Finally I outright knee-ed her in the kidneys. At which she squealed and gave her "i'm so weak and wounded" look while complaining that I was putting my foot out to keep her from moving forward. And I said, "yes, because obviously you're too stupid to understand what a queue is for." Then she wailed about there being two queues. "what, one queue for normal people, the other for classless fuckers like you?" Luckily the two arab girls jumped in and started verbally beating the shit out of this woman. She shrank back momentarily.

After we rounded the corner of the building, she started pushing her arm into my back again. Finally, pushed to my limit I turned around and said, "do you like touching me? Do you have a problem touching people you don't know? I don't give you permission to touch me so stop." One of the policemen at the side of the line heard this, came over, and stood watch. After this, no more problems from that fucking midget twatface.

I waited in line till 12:30pm to get in. I waited 40 minutes to get to the welcome desk. I waited 1 hour before getting an agent. And then, a miracle happened... The immigration agent was wonderful, a real gem. She smiled, she handled the file immediately, she gave me a paper that gives me permission to work immediately, she set up my appointment to pick up my carte de sejour, which, surprise surprise, will be ready in less than one month! She sent me off with a smile. She even wished me happy birthday!!! WTF!! Can we find more like her? That alone gives me hope to stay in this god-forsaken country.

So that's the end of my story...or at least I think it is. You can never be sure until the carte is finally stamped in your passport. Stay tuned for more rage and racism.

canadian content

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Originally uploaded by nardac.
Just spent the weekend with Jaci and Antonio, the visiting Toronto faction. Thanks guys. You were the best. Am now severely wasted on Noilly Prat and wishing that you had one day more to spend in Paris. Canadian Ambassadors, especially those hailing from Toronto, we need more. So much love. Detailed post coming up tomorrow, when am sober. Heads up to Walrus magazine, wicked Toronto version of the New Yorker.

Gosh, am so homesick now will have to smoke all the cigarettes left behind just to get over.

J'ai rendu compte...

Friday, November 12, 2004

I'm a girl who likes to go out, to parties, housewarmings, nightclubs, bars. I like to drink, and dance, talk shit and be ridiculous. I don't know why, but it's a part of me. And when I take a leave of absence, it's never for long. And I can't shut up but sometimes I really have nothing to say.

The husband, he stays at home. He's a real writer, in the sense that he actually writes everyday. And, this is the thing that he likes to do best. It's a bit strange to say, but between staying at home and writing his new installment, or going out to a party, he'll stay at home. Sometimes when I come home, he's still parked in front of the computer, giggling to himself as he taps away.

Recently he asked me why I need to go out? Was I afraid of myself? Did I need other people's attention and adoration? Was I insecure?(!)

Yes, but it's more than that. It's true I can't live long without looking for an audience. But would you say someone like Chad Black has some sort of social disorder because he needs to perform? Or would you say that we can excuse his social disorder because it's makes him the funniest guy alive? Would Dacnar be less critical of my social leanings if someone this gained me fame or respect? When I concentrated only on making him laugh, there weren't any complaints.

The need to go out...it's about fantasy, looking for an adventure, or simply searching for the moment when the spirits rise together to create a situation legendary. We're looking for the legend, even if just as spectators. We belong to the night, we ride fast on bikes, we dash around like whirlygigs looking for the beau geste, we bubble like popinjays for a line that will hold for a couple of seconds. It's a life lived in packages too small to count, in fragments of time. We're fame seekers, children of too much television, media, magazines, fashion, knowing the dos and laughing at the don'ts, socially over-educated wastrels, specialists in a sport that has no school but unending rewards.

I can't deny there is an element of weakness in all of this. It's like living with a never-ending addiction. If I had known that leaving the house that night when I was 16 to get wasted would lead to a life of dissolution and intoxication would I have still done it? The beast seems stronger than the master. Before that age my life was based on one best friend, masturbation, school, and books. The simple life. Now, everything is more complicated, there's never a moment to spare, and money objects, things go flying in and out of windows.

In truth, if there is one thing to be said, when I look back at it all, is that the adventures, a good number of them, were worthwhile; good friends, funny moments, terrible jokes, dastardly dance moves and libidos held and released. My life has been marked by simple little creations, tiny odes, some things published, some shows played, some art shown, and a thunderous non-stop search for a place where the internal spirit's weight ceases to exist.

But, perhaps with the new ways of evaluating ones future combinatory gene power we're all madly circulating in the hope to get the best bargain buy.

I blackballed myself with B.O.!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Oh god, another wasted night. When will the hurting stop?!!
Have I become secretly blackballed by a certain group of artists? Are the weird looks and half smiles real? Did I really smell that bad? Is my hair shit? I just wanna have fun!! Why is it so hard?

Day was already retarded from last night's blowout. Today, after a preliminary go at booking the place for the party, was rejected. Anabelle might have a couple of solutions, but the Friday party is looking like a heavy washout. Why? It's because we're all too busy and tired to occupy ourselves with booking a bar, even if it's only for one night for the birthdays of 5 people. How do you say Scorpio Losers Club. I'm so depressed about this.

Secondly, was very smelly from last night, and tonight, at the party for the magazine launch, when the funky music came on and the heavy sweating began, realized I reeked like Madame Tatiana, the oldest lady gorilla at the zoo. Putting my jumper on top only made me sweat more, even though it protected others from my odour. Eventually, in desperate fit to stop turning into jello pudding, stripped off jumper, only to have a circle of space build in between me and the others.

Now, being smelly at a party is acceptable if everyone's a bit gross and smelly. But they weren't. THEY were all Paris fashionable types, in their dirty looking clothes but smelling so much more like lavender. Even nasty pit hair of Tania was sexier then my on again off again sweater act. Maybe that's why I'm being blackballed. Gawd, I blackball myself!

Of course it was Voin's birthday, so we wanted it to be special. I think he had a really good time, with Tania and all the Amsterdam chicks around, but he was also playing shepherd to wandering lesbian sheep, which you know is not a good career choice. At the end I apologized for my stinky mood...and threaded off with head hung low from the parties.

I hate it when I can't get out of the funk. Of course, once home, met up with Dacnar, my lovely husband who I haven't seen since last afternoon. He doesn't go out to parties. He likes to stay at home, or do really nerdy things, like go watch science films. Tonight he found something really fascinating, a screening of old science films from this ancient scientific committee. Three of their board members passed away this summer alone, and Dacnar was the only one in the crowd not wearing Depends.

Turns out the films were made by Paul de Roubaix, father of Francois de Roubaix. Francois de Roubaix is a legendary film composer. He makes these little quirky french tunes to go with sitcoms, or series. They are the most delicious and fantastical little melodies. My favourite song is La Scoumone, which starts with some funny spring sprung sounds, and then moves into a dippy little organ tune, so whimsical it can make a jaded six year old seem like my cutest fluffy bunny wabbit. So Dacnar gets the good shit...he also managed to take in the Paris Saint-Germain at Marseille football game, which sounded like a dramatic finish. I wished I'd stayed home, taken a shower, and tucked into the night with him.

Or maybe this is the curse of married life. Like, when you stay at home with your lover, you have a good time. When you go out with your lover, you have a good time. When you go out without your lover, you have a good time. When you go out two nights without your lover, you lose and have shitty smelly night which ruins your party reputation FOREVER.

Oh, and almost forgot to talk about wacko friend of Etienne's, some dude called Wolfgang (or something really german). Wolfgang is the only boy who really hit on me tonight...like HE'S THE ONLY ONE!!! What the fuck happened? But then realized he was super drunk, kept asking where were my gigantic biggie boobies (evidently the only Samantha he knows is Samantha FOX...so obviously he's old), and then started to do some heavy humping wiggle. I danced along for a couple of moments then realized something truly awful. Not only was he the only guy hitting on me at the party, he was The Drunkest Idiot Boy at the party.

I'm cursed.

On final good note, met up with Herbie tonight. You remember Herbie? He's the Scoob's friend, the guy who I said made money out writing the joke-of-the-day. (ok, I exaggerated, he's just an editor at a newspaper). Anyways, haven't heard from him in ages. Turns out the boy has been working his tidy ass off, which has prevented him from having even a kind of real social life. He's bloody fed up, so now he's on leave. But what did that guy do with his free time!!!??? He moved in with his girlfriend, the Merciful Mystery, to an apartment just down the street... like literally 5 minutes down the hill. Awesome! Neighbours! So went out for long extended drinking session with him...It was only supposed to be one beer, but that idea got tossed out at 4:40pm. Tottered off to the Louvre at 8pm. Herbie always starts out like a wise guy and turns into a elastic faced clown...he just needs a little gin juice for the engine and the devil leaks out.

But I don't remember 3 hours going by.... Maybe that's why the rest of the night was stinky, it was because I spent the rest of the last 6 hours sobering up! Oh my god...YUCK!!!!

So no party on Friday, we are all big losers, and I'm turning into an alcoholic. Life is shit. I should just stay at home. Oh god, I'm so depressed. But now that I've taken a shower, and updated the hairdo, should be able to salvage some kind of reputation... or not. B.O. is the type of thing that's easy to label someone with...AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!! RUINED!

the delightful winter chill

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

When I stepped outside today, there was a crisp chill in the air. A little mist and drizzle hung through, but was immediately assailed by that motionless cutting ether. It's the air we feel in between snow storms in winter. It hangs damply, yet with no weight. The weight of the grey autumn has moved on. Winter, with it's whiteness almost upon us, has driven us out of our holes.

Anyone else in paris noticed it today?

scorpio fever - part 1

Last night was the first installment of the four part birthday series. Queenie, first in line for the b-day celebrations, turning a ripe age of 28, had a little surprise birthday party thrown for her by the Dude, who blew me away with his gorgeous satin vintage baseball jacket. I have Detroit Tigers version which kicks his Yankees version anyday, but, yeah, his is pretty class. But...fashion aside....

It was supposed to be a small little party, just for friends. When I got there for the surprise toast, at 7pm, the Dude and Queenie were sitting at the table, all serious and everything. As usual, Queenie was scarfing down blood sausages, saucisson, cheeses, she's like a vacuum cleaner that girl. Where the hell she puts all that, I dunno. Maybe there's a hole in her little toe. Girls, she's like a size four and she packs it in like a trucker!

Anyways, so I took off to buy some alcohol. Dude came with, cajoled me into buying champagne, which was definitely over-budget. Sandra was there too. She's this nice quiet blonde, who, after a couple of drinks, was definitely being dragged by weird nasty boy. I'm scared she's one of those girls we see all the time in movies: beautiful, quiet, single, nice, who ends up with nasty boy who cheats on her. Yikes, movie of the week.

Heading bacck to the party... Upstairs, the second bottle of red wine got uncorked. Started to sip wisely, mixed with casual conversation. Was quiet because yours truly had had a rather unfortunate encounter with something in cheese that resulted in several sad hours perched over the toilet. When my stomach acts up, just want to cry, stay at home, and sleep more. But, birthdays being birthdays. Can't be left out of a party, can we?

Then people started to show up, girls, boys, boy, girl... Suddenly, after Ferdinand had finished refilling my glass (only to halfway while his was full! Drunk! Drunk!) the first bottle of champagne got uncorked. Was at this moment where I made a little trip into the kitchen to pick up some food. There were about 6 people packed into a kitchen the size of a broom closet. Finally squishing by everyone, checked the fridge, only to fall down. There were about 12 bottles of champagne lined up, toe to toe. GOD ALMIGHTY!

So that was it, threw out the red. Ran back for the second uncorking. People were being sexy, stupid, and messy. Queenie was starting to squeak in high muppet voice, Scoobs was refillling her glass blindly, Manu was scotched to the bed, talked to weird german art writer for too long, Voin and the Amsterdam posse showed up, as did AmiSioux and her boyfriend, who's birthday is just after mine, adding to our collection of birthdays in the next two weeks. The Scorpio fever is hot! Even Gaelle, our almost invisible friend, showed up with Eloe, sexy dancing Eloe. He's a boy and his name sounds like Eluard. Gaelle was normal until she was drunk, and then she didn't stop jumping up and down...this may seem like a small detail, but if you ever see the height of her heels you'd realize that this girl has had some serious training with the heels to not break her two fucking ankles jumping around like that.

This all culminated in a series of pile-ons. You remember them right? Yeah, first it was Queenie, with seven people on top, then it was Voin, with I can't remember. Gosh, Scoobs almost broke my back. Gaelle accidentally turned on the gas in the kitchen with her bum, and the whole place almost burst into flames. Remember double kissing everyone and taking 45 minutes to leave the party. Also remember long conversation with a guy name Wilfred, about something I totally cannot remember except that I was concentrating on my pronounciation but somehow managed to Birkin all my french. Gross. Followed by eternal walk to Scoobs and Anabelle's place. Woke up realizing my beautiful black hat was exchanged for some MASH-type cap. Oh well.

Now have appointment with sexy Sioux's boyfriend to book bar for Friday's blowout. If all turns out well, we'll be screaming till the break of dawn. But, first have to survive Voin's birthday parties, which are today and tomorrow. Boy is so hot that he needs two b-day parties. Also anxiously awaiting the coming of Toronto people, Jaci and her BF. It'll be nice to shoot the shit with some homefolk.

It's good to be out again.

oh photomaton, what's gone wrong?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Originally uploaded by nardac.
As everyone who lives in France knows, this is the country of filling out papers. It's common to see ordinary people hoarding huge stacks of paper, old bills, old electricity bills, every single slightly official paper around. And why? It's because every application you make to get something done, an apartment, a residence permit, a driver's licence, even a video-store card, requires some of these forlorn papers. My EDF bill has passed through so many hands by now that it has to laminated soon.

In addition to the papers, they sometimes ask for an 'identity photograph.' It's not uncommon to see CVs, otherwise completely unadorned and badly designed, with a little self-portrait.

So, with the dire need for so many identity photographs, the french have had to do away with the official portrait photographer identity photos. You know... you go to the back of Sooter's or Black's, and there's this terrible portrait studio light setup with a nasty polaroid camera aimed in your direction. Some person with less talent than my big toe tried to put you into focus, pushes the button when you least expect it, and then spends 5 minutes blowdrying the sheet, only to give you 4 unphotogenic portraits afterwards, charging you upwards from 10 bucks for the nasty.

In france, you can just go to the photomaton to get your photos done. They're the same machines you see in North America, little lonely booths hunched next to the metro and train stations. You put in the money, pose, and 2 minutes later, presto dasto photo!

But something has happened here. In North America, or at least the last time I was there, they were still using something akin to a photographic process. You got four different poses, then you got them still damp from their chemical process. I've always been a big fan.

In France, the process is now digital...and this brings some distinct benefits. For example, you can now take your poses, then choose which one out of three you want printed. You can see what you're going to look like before giving the ok. It's not bad, and it removes a certain anxiety.

But it also takes some of the fun out of it. I mean, I love the different poses in a grid. Instant four piece masterpiece. I also adore the fact that you can't choose what you want, and sometimes the mixture of the good with the bad is what makes a good photomat series.

But the thing that irks me the most about the new photomatons is the lack of true colour and resolution. My prints are always blurry, and lacking in either magenta, or cyan, or yellow. My skin colour is already a dubious mix of orange brown yellow...but in a photomaton, I always come out a sunny bleached greenish grey. It's bloody irritating.

You're probably saying, what's the big deal? The deal is simple. When you carry those little photomat pics in your wallet, they're little treasures, aesthetic objects. It's harder to treasure someone who's grey and fuzzy than someone who's clear, unrestrained with a human skin colour. And, it's harder to treasure something you know is not a unique object. Finally, it takes all the fun out of divvying up the four shots between friends, like pieces of a four-part jigsaw puzzle.

But, I have to be honest. They're useful, those photomatons, for the files. I just wonder if in the future, when these pictures really start to fade, what people will think of all our green and purple faces. It's like we all have the future skin disease of our generation.

return of the csar

Originally uploaded by nardac.
The Paribas Masters is finally over, and, against much expectation, one of the qualifiers did not win. Instead, Marat Safin became the only man in Open Pro history to win consecutively the two indoor Masters tournaments. (He was victorious in Madrid earlier).

Safin, a former (and privately still) enfant terrible, is now coached by Federer's old coach, while Federer himself has ascended to such stratospheric heights that no trainer does he need. One might attribute Safin's new-found mien of wisdom and calm to this change.

But Homey don't play that way. What we are watching, my dear friends, is the true awakening of the csar. What I saw this week was a player with an uncanny ability to subtly modify his game to dominate his opponent. It's a startling intelligence to see in such a brutish bearish man.

But even look at the way he holds himself before the public and during the game. While entering the court, his head is angled down, but the shoulders slouch back. The head angle clearly says concentration, but the body conceals all the speed of such weight. It's a humble gait for such a big man. It isn't until he starts playing that we become aware of his incredibly quick responses. And, more telling, after the game, Safin always stands broader, shoulders back without the slouch. He holds himself to his full height and looks dispassionately at all around him...until he cracks his first joke. He's exactly my image of a young csar in his castle, picking from his harem of mistresses.

There was even this one funny moment when he won the U.S. Open, and during his acceptance speech, he thanked his 'family,' sitting in the box by the court, for supporting him. Except his family comprised of three very luscious young blondes sporting typical Russian ho-bag fashion. It was almost a living breathing Larry Sultan tableau.

Anyways, I'm gushing. I know it's bad, to gush like this, about tennis players, for goodness sakes. But I don't care. With the dearth of real sports, except for football, a little tennis on the diet is great. And Safin bulk reminds me of a hockey player. If only...

a rare but necessary referral

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I've been following Vitriolica Webb's blog for only the last two months. It was something I came across while reading the petite anglaise website. To say she's talented is an understatement. However, this week, she did something very nice, she summed up the late 20s, early 30s artist dilemma.

It's not obvious for those who aren't involved, but artists in a certain generation, a generation I'd like to bracket between 27 and 35, are plagued with a sense of angst. It's hard to define. Those over 35 are already bitter or established, but belong to a world where they regard the rapid change as something they had orchestrated. The under 27s live in a world where idealism was already killed to a certain extent, so they have neither the same sense of angst, nor the same rein on ambition. They know the system.

But, the 27s to 35s straddle the fine line, having experienced first hand the sudden rush and revolution of the globalization generation, seen the way the market place has changed but not reaped all the new programs installed to help the younger generation cope said new employment situations. We're a cursed bunch.

But, I digress. Let me return to Ms. Webb's recent post on her bipolar artistic nature. It's a great post, quite succinct, and her ilustrations are great. Her summations about lifestyle, kitchen creativity, paints, philosophy and leaving her two opposing sides, the "commie pinko and neo fascist," intact, are all spot on. So, with no further a do, introducing Vit and Madge.

party panther is sleeping tonight

Ever since the fury and frenzy of the accelerated wedding honeymoon weeks, I'm plain tuckered out. I mean, how much sex, fun and partying can one girl take? So, it should come as no surprise that for the last week, since I've come back to Paris, I haven't really bothered to go out... no openings, no parties. I've been staying at home, baking pies, watching dvds, smoking joints and drinking chicken soup... and sneaking off for one solid day of tennis. (brought drugs and kleenexes)

Of course it didn't hurt that I was sick as a dog. But, coming from a confirmed social monster, this is a welcome surprise: I love my apartment. I live across from a small park, facing southwest, in the east part of Paris, the 20th arrondissment. It's a quartier that's becoming filled with unconfirmed artists and musicians, so the area is a mix between ethnic and hidden boho corners. Other benefits are cheap markets, great bars, and a central line to the centre.

But, even as I'm writing this, I have to confess something. Everyday I check out a little site, vodkacoca, to find out what the social calendar for the night holds. This is a fun blog run by some guys, who I MUST know because they go to all the same parties I'm at. It's terrible and addictive, and it saves me from calling all the contacts to figure out who's going to what party when. Around 6, I click and there's the nightly plan. On the other hand, it makes me a little depressed that in a town the size of Paris, we can still find all the same people at all the same parties. If everybody is going out all the time to the same things, and seeing the same people, we're all getting super bored of each other, and right now, I'm a little bored of it all.

You thought it was glamour all the time? Guess again. Being a bona-fide party panther requires endurance, fitness, and perserverance. It's requires training (with drugs), a solid liver, endless supply of new bad jokes, and a dashing wardrobe. I always have to be seen laughing with a glass in one hand and a beautiful partner on the other. Ever since the debacle the FIAC night, with that guy who unsuccessfully tried to snog me, have decided to drop below radar and concentrate on making artwork. Because if I actually make work, they'll all have to see me as a successful artist, instead of just an art groupie. Gag. As if artists are really THAT cool. (sometimes I like to protect my faux groupie status...just because. at least then I don't have to worry about people sucking up to me for my power... they're just doing it because I look good.)

I suggested the other day, to the Voin, that they should make partying an Olympic sport so that Bulgaria could get its first gold medal. He does it better than the rest of us. Why, just the other day, the king of the suck-ups came up to me to find out what the deal was with him.

-How does he do it? How does he know everybody and always get invited to parties and dinners?
-Well, it's because he's a nice guy.
-A nice guy? It's that simple.
-Yes dumb dumb. And he wasn't born yesterday, you careerist pig.
-oh, ok. But you're not nice.
-But I'm still invited. Oh, thanks for the scotch. You're really nice.

definitely not a barn-burner, this shit post. I'm going out tomorrow night...

(god, what are you doing with your time!? it would be better just to run out and tear your clothes off, jump into a pool of GHB cognac so you would have something decent to blog about. Did it already.)

to the max

Originally uploaded by nardac.
I did it! I got Max Mirnyi's autograph!

Yah, he's winning. First he knocked off Roddick, then he pulls out a fantastic come from behind victory against young swede Soderling. I happened to be there, live to see him completely stun Roddick into submission, with delicious serve and volley, thundering service, and terrific shot making.

After Soderling, the 6th singles game he's played in the tournament, sending him to the semi-finals, Max looked a little tired. Keep the fingers crossed and I hope he gets enough sleep tonight. If he can get through Stepanek quickly, he'll have a chance to thrash Marat Safin, who he has beaten in the past.

For those who don't know, and I was one till recently, Max is a terrific tennis player from Belarusse. He has all the weapons necessary, super service, great serve and volley, power, grace, good shot making. I only wonder why he hasn't won more singles.

He's more visible in the doubles field, having won the U.S. Open with Lleyton Hewitt and his other partner (who I can't remember unfortunately). He's also been the doubles partner of Marat Safin, and sometimes pairs up with Roger Federer.

Anyways, he's a gentle giant and I hope he thrashes the hell out of Stepanek, his next opponent. GO MAX GO!

P.S. - Google Image this guy for a chance to see what I'm gooshing over. Or just check out his website.

your whole life revolves around raw fish

Friday, November 05, 2004

thinking about blogging about that. my whole life revolves around raw fish. will start with early childhood memory of eating raw fish congee everymorning, and loving it. How the fish was marinated in oil, then thrown with green onions, salt and some lime on the side. Then move on to definitive sashimi moment at 13. Followed by wild sushi//sashimi craze, punctuated by latest kaiseki dinner. Then move to France where tuna tartare is discovered. Followed by the now legendary encounter in Amsterdam with new herring. Raw fish has always been in my life.

Ok, now too lazy to write more.

You're probably all sighing in relief. Yes, fish is good for hearing too.

Paris Masters

Paris Masters
Originally uploaded by nardac.
and if you look really closely, you can see me out of focus and blurry in the background.

yup, that's right. Today I was at the Paribas Masters, the indoor tennis championship in Paris. It was the battle for the 8 final spots.

The tournament has been rocked by some heavy early withdrawals. Juan Carlos Ferrero and Roger Federer were sure not to come, Agassi and Nalbandian abandoned in the first round. All in all, it hasn't looked like the tournament is keeping its glam ground.

On the other hand, this is one of those tournaments you can be sure to see Safin, Henman and Roddick around. And that's what I did today.

Sidenote: the tournament is played on a new artificial surface called something like Toreflex. It's blue and we got a chance to test it out. I can attest that it gives quite a nice reasonably soft surface to run on, but with terrific grip on the materials. So you can really accelerate and stop quickly. The speed is a little slower than grass.

First, we started with a little Tim Henman vs. Mikhaïl Youzhny. Youzhny is another mid-twenty russian suddenly picking up his game. He's just come off a surprising victory in the St. Petersbourg tournament. Long story short, Youzhny demoralizes Henman in the tie-break of the first set, and then Henman turns himself into a piece of sashimi and games over 10 minutes later. Youzhny can shoot the line fine, just like our buddy Federer.

Second game, Lleyton Hewitt vs. Nicolas Massu. Massu was one of the guess who's of the Olympics. It's great to know that, but watch the Chilean leapfrog in in his ocean to know the poetry of motion. There's magic in his awkward hunch, his shorter shorts and tucked in shirt, a straggly ponytail like a dead-end rocker, and a face that looks like it came from a truck. It works...

Dacnar told me that massu, in french, sounds like the word for stone-age club.

Unfortunately, so does thunderhead Hewitt. I don't like that guy, and I'm glad Kim dumped him. But, Massu's down for the count with a back injury in the second set. Too bad. I'm gonna have to see my Chilean jumping guy some other time.

Then there's this other game after, featuring Max Mirnyi and Andy Roddick. Andy doesn't wear his hat anymore and it looks like he took some pounds off with the hair. He's still great. But Max is greater. He's a tall noble northeastern european man, wearing a bright royal blue polo, playing great serve and volley, and commanding quite a decent service. He wins in two sets, easily. Roddick even turns to his coach Brad at one point, to ask him what to do because he just didn't have anything.

then blah blah blah, french guy loses to boring swedish dude.

eating indian food.

Then final game: Marat Safin vs. Jurgen Melzer. Safin is a god. He comes in to a rock band playing "live and let die" ...live band. Then he gets on the court and girls, I kid you not, this guy is 100% bear! Jaysus, when he's moving around, it's scary because he's really fast and powerful...and...and...

Yeah, the other guy was good too, and he's beat Safin before. But he was also wearing a Roger Federer headband ponytail combo. Bad decision. That and tossing his racket around. There was even a 20 second boo session that he orchestrated. So he lost. That's the end.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

dewey finn wants you!
Originally uploaded by nardac.
Just finished watching School of Rock, again, twice in 24 hours. Just wanted to check in and say that, well, this is a really great and funny film. It's directed by Richard Linklater, so you know, it's gonna be good because he's the guy that did Dazed and Confused. And there's these kids who can really play rock music, a girl that sings like Aretha, a boy that plays like Mark Knopfler.

And don't forget Jack Black. He's funny, crazy, and I like his musical taste.

I think this film works because it is the very essence of rock, which brings out a certain naivety. After all, to really follow what Led Zeppelin is all about, you have to dive into the sparkling pool of what is psychedelic rock, without a concern for its 'reality' or 'not.' It's like a sword shining brightly, in early dawn, as it unsheaths itself from the utterly still lake. Or like a dove, doing backwards somersaults, until a flying corkscrew comes sailing in with vikings...

And if you like the mighty Zep, you'll love the extra in the DVD. Jack asks, in front of an audience of 1000 rockers, permission to use Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song... by driving them into a pure rock devotional frenzy. It almost made me weep.

But seriously, I missed this film when it first came out because I was having a nervous breakdown in the north of France in early 2003. And that's a crying shame, but not really...I wouldn't want to see this baby dubbed in french.

Rock is not french. French rockers is like English vegetables...WTF! Hello, does not make sense. It's not bred in the blood, or respect in the culture. I know, they're good at other kinds of music, with accordians and tin flutes or moogie keyboards.
But I grew up in Toronto, Hogtown, long-standing fort to Rock'n'Roll. I dated guys who played lead guitar and I've had a very serviceable jean and leather jacket for more than 8 years. And that's why I'm very happy that rock has become fashion, because then I am fashionable. But I have a feeling Bulgarian rock is taking over and I'm scared to wear my boots over my pants.

school of rock, with chad black, directed by richard linklater. I know, for most of you guys, might be an old recommendation. But even when you find a nugget that's 2 years old, it's still solid gold.

autumn bounty

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

There are several things to adore about fall. Endless rain, grey skies, strange allergies, new flus, back to school blues, the sky getting dark by 5pm, knowing it's another 9 months before summer.

But, have I mentioned what my favourite thing about autumn is?

autumn bounty
Originally uploaded by nardac.
It's the fact that we have to wear more clothes in fall, which means I can start eating even more than usual, in prudent preparation for the coming winter. Which really couldn't be better planned, because fall is one of the most delicious and rich of all seasons.

At the beginning, there is the harvest of mushrooms. This year, it was damper than usual and we had massive dumps of chanterelles, trompettes de mort, all sorts of delicious fungi.

Then, coming just after the wave of fungus is the squash season. Pumpkins, spaghetti squashes, roasted acorn squash, in soups, purees, stews, in the oven, baked in a pie, turned into jam, thrown with butter and salt, squashes are a delight. Such little work. You only have smash it open, dig out the seeds, smear some butter, sprinkle some salt, wrap it in tin foil, then forget it in a medium oven for an hour.

But this year, I've discovered something new, chestnuts, or, as they are called here in france, marrons. In france, they can be called either marrons or chataignes. I don't understand the distinction but I think it has something to do with raw and cooked.

They make a type of butter out of chestnut puree that beats the heck out of peanut butter, and runs closely to red bean paste in its taste. I smear it all over a fresh crusty baguette or pain de mie and dip it in earl grey in the morning.

Aside: someday I'd like to spawn a little beast that I can raise and torture with all my little food whims until they write a book like Nigel Slater's Toast for me.

But the french also get quite friendly with their chataignes, using them as bed partners for game or blood sausage. You boil your chestnuts, peel them, then simmer them in some caramel (sugar syrup browning) until they are confit. (steeped in the sugar). Then you just broil some rabbit, serve it with green pepper seed cream sauce and the chestnuts.

Making an entrance at the wedding party is a sac of fresh walnuts, from my friend Julie's farm. They are covered in some earthy peaty strands and are fantastic. Of course a little roasting couldn't help, but it's really fun to just crunch on a fresh walnut. I think I'll make a cake out of them.

But, that's the joy of fall. So many great dishes to eat and so many lovely sweaters to cover up one's indulgences!

afternote: I'm baking like a maniac. I think I've passed the stage where I'm afraid of my oven. It's starting to happen that I can make cakes without measuring and they turn out. Made a funny fudgy cake out of bananas and poppyseed, butter, lemon juice, flour, baking powder, and some salt and sugar. It was incredibly good! A cake without eggs. Who would have guessed?


second afternote: my pressure cooker works just fine now. And the soup is still delicious.

pressure cooker

I've just deleted two posts, the one near midnight, and the one 30 minutes ago.
I couldn't bear to blog about politics. It's sooo uncool.

Instead I'll tell about one of my wedding presents: a pressure cooker!
I asked for it from Dacnar's sister. She said, "whaddya want now that you're gonna be married?"
relayed over the phone through dacnar, saying "wedding present?" to which I instantly replied "pressure cooker." "Yah, ok, I'll bring one over. BYE" two days later, big box with giant pressure cooker inside...like 16 litres!

I've been dying to get one of these things for years. The name, for me, instantly recalls beautiful memories of a scary grey metallic pot, with a weird whistling valve that emitted a sound that clearly sings YOU'RE GONNA BLOW UP YOUR HOUSE AND GET DECAPITATED. I've always liked my food a little spicy.

So...I rounded out my ingredients for the perfect chicken soup (dacnar is currently acting in a film where he has to go to war in WWI), and threw it in the pot. Checked all the valves to make sure they were clean, wiped down the rubber ring, lined up the arrows and slid the lock through. The metal piece slid in smoothly. The device seemed so professional.

But it didn't work. Halfway through the cooking, the second safety valve started leaking water. That's when I noticed that the first safety valve was going like nuts while the regulator was not...ahem...regulating! Exploding pot sequence!!! This all happened when I was too busy with something..ahem...else that I neglected the damn thing till I heard all those fatal hisses...

Getting some basic cover, I just took the pot off the stove and immersed it in cold water and lifted the regulator off...letting the pressure out.

I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this except that maybe, I don't feel so pressurized right now.

Anyways, the soup was good, even if we did eat at 11 at night.
I think this is my first soft (but not flaccid) porn post. Gosh, married life is exciting.

wedding party

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Originally uploaded by nardac.
who's beautiful
who's cool
who loves the bride
who loves the wine


Originally uploaded by nardac.

vermeer is a very great painter

Originally uploaded by nardac.
now that I've seen not one, but three, in real life, I can confirm what I've always suspected: Vermeer is a very surprising and great painter.


Monday, November 01, 2004

I'm just back, and gosh darnit, have too many stupid things to blog about...
retarded backwards toilets,
new herring,
finally watching and loving english football,
the cool artkids and magic twins going completely beserk in Amsterdam and smashing chandeliers,
getting lost every time until I learned to navigate by Dirk,
unfriendly Dutch service workers,
why our heads are miraculously overwater and our heads under smoke?
freaking out with weird hanging lion,
real pub food is a treat,
smoking my stupidity in everynight until someone told me that I needed to draw 100 drawings everyday and after 1 month maybe I'd have a maybe 10 good ones, (my husband)
after a couple of hours Stefan turned into wallpaper
hearing "pinkie poo" repeated 10 000 times in one night,
finding out that the guard at the Staedlijk has had two pieces stolen in one wing while the same guard was sleeping,
finally working out the plot to my first romantic comedy,
reading two books and finding the NYBook Review (birthday gift anyone?)
eating real italian food,
Friday the 13th is beautiful,
meeting beautiful young people,
watching them cry when it was time to part.
special shout out to Tania and Magriet!

very nice honeymoon.