fun with the cyclops

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I had the afternoon off, so I visited Voin, my favourite Bulgarian troublemaker. Needless to say, the clothes came flying off and the camera got whipped out. Here's the PG-13 offerings.



And nooooo, this isn't ART! It's just all fun and games. And you know what they say: It's fun and games until somebody pokes their eye out... Then it's fun with a cyclops!

(and that would be me today since the eye ointment I was recently prescribed makes me effectively blind in one eye.)

The Passive State

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


The public domain is completely utterly forgiving, in most ways. One can pretend, can invent, fritter time away while klatsching over the newest Potter film, or their own personal woes. I often treat the blog as my boredom factor. When I’m bored, I write what I would normally be babbling to somebody in real life. In fact, the frequency of my posting often reflects my actual social schedule. I’m not that disciplined, you see. But, having a mom that lets you do everything sometimes turns you into a junkie. (The mom in this case being the internet... and the drug being the internet... oh god, I confused myself!)

Today, nothing happened. I spent the whole day writing, and watching a very bad soft porn film. I was supposed to work, and I did work, but somehow it doesn’t seem like work. I never realized I’d be the type of person who could be comforted by a regular schedule.
Left to my own devices, I can only stare wistfully at my Sloterdijk while frittering the whole day making my iTunes playlist, and thinking about random stuff.

Today’s random stuff was about violence and passivity. The difference between being stuffed into a Metro at an ungodly hour because you know that’s what gives you your Estelle Yomeda shoes, and the Virgin Mary. Or a schoolboy hitting you on the head to steal your cellphone, and some guy sitting in his bed looking at you with a giant erection. It keeps me up at night. That and the idea of oldness.

Old people are somehow completely in a passive state. The more they try to assert themselves, the more passive they seem. Sometimes, they use their last weapon of resort, patheticness, as a weapon. But that just doesn’t seem to work. Old people really have the short end of the stick. Unless they’re rich. In which case, they could probably stuff themselves with enough young people and drugs to forget how close to death they really are.

Sometimes I just imagine myself as a sixty-year old woman, comfortable in her pajamas, while outside the snow falls. And there is a comfort in that passiveness. When I was twelve I imagined I would be a fantastic twin-set suburban success by thirty. Now that I’m thirty-one I imagine I’ll be a fantastic pearl-wearing old cronie hanging out in her urban tent, chock full of stories, sipping hot chocolate. So you see, it’s good to dream because then you can remember all the stories you could have had, and sometimes those stories are more real and useful than any real ones.

Most people don’t read beyond the fourth paragraph. I understand and congratulate all you six paragraph readers. Not much further to go now. What am I really trying to say? A lot of things but really, nothing. The way you can be so happy being with people, then so happy being alone. That sometimes when you’re alone, you want someone, and the moment they’re there, you wish you only had them on the phone. I don’t like looking at blood, and when somebody tells me they are afraid of flying, I say so what? In fact, so what?

Exactly! Now you should go do something productive in your day, like writing a memo, or something. Work work work… that’s what Andy always said. But, even he’s dead. Oh well… I’ll go out for drink in a couple of hours, when social hour hits. Just like everyone. We’re all trying so hard to be like everyone anyways that sometimes it gets mistaken for originality. I guess that’s why I’m not reading so many blogs anymore.


Monday, November 28, 2005

In lieu of a proper post, I'd like to give you this little documentation of the weekend, a lovely quiet weekend the way I like them when it's cold and dark outside.

Needless to say, with the sudden slew of photos and lack of text of my blog, y'all might have gathered that I am in possession of a new camera. Ye be correct. It's a Canon Powershot S80, a little on the larger side than most compact digitals, but a mighty powerful beast. I have yet to read the manual, nor really play with the settings, but here's a taste. It's not the best example of photography I could give you... for that I have included, as a bonus, a photograph of a weed sprayer (though that's a photo I made in collaboration with Cécile).

Given Thursday night's shenanigans, and still reeling from drinking a combination of champagne and Bordeaux, all night long, I decided to take the evening off and make myself a nice dinner. This is the salad: mache, zucchini, granny apples and red pepper, tossed with lemon, sea salt and olive oil.

...followed by roasted duck with cranberry Bordeaux sauce. I almost didn't catch this because I was ready to tuck in. I followed the dinner up with a nap, that lasted till next morning. Plain tuckered out, y'know.

I dreamt about the sound of compressed air coming out of a plastic container, slowly being crushed by vises. I turned to somebody and said, that's the sound of old people making love. Then I woke up and was surprised to see that Paris was hit with snow.

leo and cecile
After a Saturday afternoon of recuperation, I went to a housewarming party. Same old, same old, but nice all the same. Here's two lovely ladies, Leo and Cecile. Cecile, on the right, is one of my oldest friends in France. She looks like a duchess but dances like a mamma jamma.

alain and me
I always say that if there's one thing that's a marker of education, it's the difference between being trashed and looking trashed. In this photo, both Alain and I are completely dead wasted from alcohol and substances. But, we still look like we could host a literary salon. That, my friends, is what I mean by class.

squid ink pasta
Sunday day, however, was more of the same house-happy nesting that I've been keen to get more of. Later in the evening, I finally peeled myself off the bed and made myself something proper to eat. Squid ink pasta with leeks and tomato sauce. Just boil tomatoes and leeks, peel tomatoes and puree, season with salt sugar and olive oil, toss in some fried garlic, shred boiled leeks, toss whole thing with great store-bought squid ink pasta.

The infamous weed sprayer. It makes me weep.

no, not another photo of me

Friday, November 25, 2005

from last night's whizz bang restaurant opening at the MAC/VAL. Inaki's new restaurant... menu forthcoming.

ana and thibault at MAC/VAL
Ana and Thibault


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Haven't been able to drag myself into the land of blogs for the last week and a bit. Too much partying, too many foreign visitors, too little sleeping. I can't tell more. Going to bed. In the meantime, I'll give you a subject you can mull about in your own free time: what does a person, who spends most of their time moving from country to country, out of caprice, call themselves?

me and kim at my b-day party

Friday, November 18, 2005


older and not any wiser

Thursday, November 17, 2005

With each passing year, the arrival of my birthday seems to bring this quote from Stand By Me clearer and clearer into focus:

CHRIS: Come on Teddy, act your age!

TEDDY: This is my age! I'm in the prime of my youth and I'll only be young once!

CHRIS: Yeah, but you're gonna be stupid for the rest of your life.

So gay, my Paris

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

How to really explain this…

I’m a big fan of those kinds of nights where things happen without plan or direction. Nights where you:

- Get ridiculously wasted on free alcohol, courtesy of the Pompidou no less;

- Get kicked out of a foreign cultural centre for laughing too hard at a humungous stack of Schweppes;

- Hang out with some dudes on a giant bed so big it’s blocking the whole goddam road;

- Go to another club where you meet up with some people who give you champagne stolen from the Bulgarian mafia;

- Kiss several Aryan poofs (that could just be my imagination because I think it was only one Aryan poof who changed his hairstyle half-way through the night);

- Then come home only to spend ten minutes typing out one sentence for your stupid blog. (Which is ten solid minutes you’ll regret losing when you wake up still drunk after four hours of sleep to go to work).

Everything in here is real, especially the giant bed in the middle of the road. I could tell you about the Arab hottie whose number I scammed, but then this would be a tell all. Comfort yourself with this fact: the bed was the size of my living room, it had a canopy so that a you could stay fresh and dry when it rained, and it came with an accompanying bar service. Don’t ask me what it was doing there because I never bothered to ask. Dudes were so chill it just seemed natural. I think I just stumbled upon the secret nerve centre of the whole teenage riot network… and if their new thing is just to build beds in the centre of the street, collect all the teenage hotties and make them all wise, sexy and fun, I’m down my brothers! The craziest thing was at the end, this like totally aged French guy comes by, toddling along with a walking stick and red beret, and steals some smoke from one of the boys. So gay, my Paris.

too effin' wasted on a tuesday night

After hanging out with street gangs and five fashion fags, is there anything left? NO. Fuck me.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

I don't really know what to make of this. The police have culled a high number of SMSs and internet websites in the last couple of days, calling for attacks on Paris tomorrow, the 12th. The list of places is in the Liberation article. I don't care to reprint these things in detail. Scary.

France Fiction

Friday, November 11, 2005

Last night was Hendrik Hegray's opening at France Fiction. There's something about this moppet-headed little bugger that always makes me laugh. I'm just a little surprised his moustache happens to be real now. He's exactly the type of character to paint his moustache in. The work was lots of collage, magazine cut-outs, and drawings on cut-outs, the naive style.

I showed up after the wine was finished, but before my friends had arrived. The Dead Zone. In many ways, I'm quite sensitive. I get very scared if I don't have some kind of lady-in-waiting by my side. If I walk into an opening alone and I don't see anyone there, I'm quite likely to just walk away. Standing around a well-lit place with lots of young sexy people all busy sexing each other up while you feel mated to the wall is very uncomfortable.

I pulled out my cellphone and started to call my various agents around town. One was stuck in a traffic jam, the other one was stirring pasta, and the last one went straight to messages. Finally, I gave in and talked to someone I had a passing acquaintance with and suddenly, I was surrounded by boys. Boys I barely know. It was a pleasant turn in the situation, and then, Kim threw herself in my arms, and I knew everything was going to be ok.

There was this pirate-type guy who howled at the moon and serenaded all the girls with a line of dime-store prose. There was another guy who apparently looks like Tony Curtis but sounds like Danny BlahBlahBlah, the guy who does the voice dubbing in french for Tony. For french people, this guy is really Tony Curtis, and he kept trying to get me to jump into his SUV. In the US, guys who ask you to jump into their SUV can only be obeyed if they're somehow studly enough to have put GHB into your drink.

Then we hightailed outta there, to Kim's place, the concrete palace. Julien made us listen to Arabic techno while telling me that my love for glass harps was vaguely lame. I wanted more giggles, but the boy and I had some ironing to do. Luckily, this one ended amicably. I stayed long after everyone else left, yapping to Kim about random stuff. I really like Kim because she always keeps the upper hand. It's so nice to be with someone who's in control like that. You don't have to bother about a single thing while she's strangling Hendrik on the floor.

However, I got tired and left. On my way home, climbing up the Menilmontant hill, I passed a barrage of police cars near the high-rise apartments on my left. Their lights were flashing and they were blocking all traffic going up the hill. As I walked further, I thought I saw a little tiny bit of smoke. Then, passing the ambulance, I saw a white sheet laid on the ground, and a hand slightly curled poking out from underneath. I walked on, further up the hill, and saw a tiny smoking Morris mini, with a huge dent on the front left side. It was really awful.

Why I have a reputation as a lush

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

There used to be this girl, in my math class at high school, who always used to carry a bottle of water around with her. I always thought it was the height of chic. That water bottle, along with her long brown hair, seemed better than all the accessories anyone could buy. Only later on did I realize that her height, her ability to be well groomed yet casual were also part of the look. The faux-model look.

The faux-model look is cool because it looks effortless. Those kinds of looks are always the best, I feel, because nobody wants to know that you care about looking good. They might worry that behind all that fussing and fawning you are really a boiled turnip. And, there’s really nothing more unattractive in a person than seeing how desperately they need to show that they are attractive. That’s why metrosexuals are the very opposite of sexy. Only some gay men really like them but since I’m not a gay man, I can’t figure that out. And some women who like to keep men as objects. I don’t like to keep men as objects because when something is an object, it tends not to be in action. What use is a man without action?

My friend’s boyfriend used to iron his pants obsessively every day. He would iron them, and then place them carefully over the back of a chair. One time, he screamed at her because she had lifted the pants off the chair and put them on the shelf. She consulted me about this. “Sam, S__ yelled at me because I moved his pants before the ironing lines were hardened.” Of course I told her to dump him, but there were other mitigating factors as well. Someone who tries to give you an image of brilliance by pretending Foucault is as easy as reading Dr. Seuss is either very boring or very stupid. I can’t figure out which.

This friend was really something. I always try to cultivate a group of attractive girlfriends. This is always useful because then men will think you’re in some lesbian cult of bombshells. It instantly makes you more popular. All men want to have a harem, even if it’s only an imaginary harem that lasts two minutes at a forgettable party. And you can easily turn the tables on them. If enough of these men come around, hunting for their harem you can shoo your girlfriends away and then, presto, you have your own male harem.

Anyways, I used to call this friend the Slovakian princess because she certainly looked liked one, except when she had chocolate cake stuck between her two front teeth. Everybody looks daffy with chocolate cake stuck between their two front teeth. Sometimes, when I’m in front of someone I know I could be attracted to, I try to see them with chocolate cake in their mouth. It helps because then you know you’ll never care for them, not deeply anyways. And not caring too much is the first step towards successful human relations.

Being jealous is unattractive. That’s why sometimes your otherwise beautiful girlfriends might become ugly. You never know when it’s going to happen. One moment they’re raven-haired beauties, the next moment they’re telling you not to talk to someone in case somebody else will be jealous. It’s very difficult to keep track of who you’re not supposed to be talking to, and why. It’s hard to remember the last lie you told when you’re on drugs and it’s hard to avoid talking to someone when they’re crouching over you like a stone tiger. I usually say I need to go freshen up my drink. Which is why I have a reputation as a lush.

Hot damn! That Berdych boy can play!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ok, so this year no Safin, no Federer, Hewitt, Gasquet, Nadal, and Lendl (joke!) but the Paribas Masters final was still quite incredible. I know my sports posts are real winners, like the cooking posts, but fry me some turnips, that Berdych boy can play!

The Paribas final was between Ljubicic and Tomas Berdych, and hot damn, that Berdych boy made me sit up from the first set. He has everything: excellent service, precise spectacular passing shots, excellent serve and volley, great speed, and most of all, nerves of steel. He has never lost a five-setter and he has beaten Federer and Nadal before.

If those names sound like whozat to you, chances are you don't follow tennis. Which is fine. All I can say is if you know the names of Federer, if, every now and then you're tempted to catch the Nadal fire, pay attention! Berdych is your man! Mark my words, we're looking at a future contender, of the big kind. The boy can is one damn intelligent shot-maker. I'm sure, a long time ago, when Federer knocked out Sampras in Wimbledon, people, old fogies like me who read the sports pages religiously, sat up out of their granny chairs and said "Holy mother of God! That boy can play!" These same old fogies are hot-wheeling around after seeing Berdych play.

So, you've heard it here, perhaps for the first time. Look out for Tomas Berdych. He sure is mighty fine (and easy on the eyes, though a bit too girly Seattle looking for me). Ok, now Top Gun and Point Break are coming on TV so I'm going to stop filling this blog with endless chatter.

And while I'm on my soapbox...

The situation is this: you have a large population of poor teenage boys, of largely immigrant descent, who are jobless, bored and essentially aware that they are regarded as "untouchables." You take these bored young men, all armed with cellphones, scooters, and anger, and you give them a position where their actions can be justified politically, and you see what happens.

I'm going to be straight up and honest. If, at night, I pass a group of Arab boys huddled around their scooters by the side of the park, I become immediately uncomfortable. I know one of them will hiss, another one will call out to me. Their eyes follow me. They are never with other girls. They travel in roving packs. Most of the time, they're harmless, but I don't think six boys, standing around, with no girls, late at night, a little high, are there for benign reasons. They're looking for something to do, and pack mentality is something I don't underestimate.

I find it telling that the rioters are choosing targets such as institutions that give them education and jobs in their own neighbourhoods. Obviously the rioting shows an indecent amount of disrespect for their own community. This, to me, is further proof that the attacks are motivated more out of gang-style insurrection than any political intent.

Secondly, the rioting will only consolidate and support right-wing ideology. There have already been a wise swell of response that the immigration policy should be even more restrictive. I hardly think the rioting is doing anything to strengthen the image of French people of African and Arab descent. They rioters have called for the head of Sarkozy. In a poll given today, over 50% supported him.

What irritates me the most is the idea that the rioters see themselves vindicated in the press. International media has been quick to place the blame for the violence on everyone but the rioters themselves. The rioters therefore believe their actions to be glorified and justified. They see themselves as heroes in a fight to change France. If this image continues to be perpetrated, change will be even difficult. Taxes will go up, laws will be tightened, polarized viewpoints will predominate.

Sometimes, trying to explain why something happens, deflecting blame, cloaks the responsibility of those involved. It's like when somebody beats his wife and says, well, my father beat me when I was young so now I'm violent. It doesn't work that way. We are not our parents and all this mumbo jumbo coffee table psychology only serves to absolve our responsibility as real thinking individuals. Even if the situation is terrible, resorting to violence of this kind is usually a sign of disrespect for other people.

It is about time that France takes its immigration problem seriously. As well as the declining economy. It is about time that they review the organization of their socialist state. I'm largely in favour of socialism, but it seems to breed a certain kind of abuse when the population forgets that they are working for a better place to live, and not just to have more vacation time for less work.

A short story: I was walking down a busy street, in the afternoon, and I was talking to my friend. We were caught up in the conversation and I barely noticed a man, walking down the centre of the sidewalk towards me, with another two other people also approaching on the right hand side. I turned myself diagonally to squeeze by and he pushed his hand out, pushing me in the chest and to the side. I turned around, shocked at this lack of courtesy. He said, "you walked into it." Either I'm hallucinating or his hand moved to meet my chest. It's shit like that that exposes a certain failing in human decency. In compassion. I don't know where this kind of aggression comes from but it makes me angry.


In an extension of the thought to this post, The NY Times has a very good op ed piece today, Wednesday, on the riots. It extends the line of thinking from hooliganism to youth targetting gymnasiums, school and factories, the very institutions that have failed them. I don't think this is far off the mark but it might be giving the rioters too much credit. They're picking available and visible targets. Like cars.

A Handmaiden Account

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I’d like to think when major stories happen in your town, you’d feel connected. You’d feel linked to some general concern, that the story would seem to loom large over you. I imagine that if you stood in the way of a hurricane the experience would leave a resonance.

I feel tonight so far away from the France reported on television and newspapers. I keep reading reports that there have been riots outside of Paris, and in other major cities around France. But, it doesn't seem to be closely connected to the world I live in.

I feel like one of Marie Antoinette’s handmaidens.

There’s riots tonight in other places other than Paris. Places like Strasbourg, Rouen, Dijon and Nantes have also reported rioting. Every New Year's Eve in Strasbourg, I hear reports of hundreds of cars being burnt there. It seems to be a kind of tradition.

International newspapers, such as The Herald Tribune, have reported that the rioting is due racial discrimination. They say that the rioting is happening because of unemployment. I remember in Roubaix, a suburb in the North where I used to live, it was a mainly Arab community, desperately poor and I think that there was a high level of unemployment. I looked it up and it's quiet over there. Relieved.

Maybe this isn't only about race. Maybe it’s actually a generational gap announcing its entrance. The rioters seem to be very young. Obviously poor, but not poor enough to afford cellphones, scooters and cars. Why do they run like wolves in the night?

There's something that, well, I'm not sure what it means to think this but there's something that has me stymied. I just have this distinct impression that these youth gangs are acting out of joy in power. A power that reaps the benefits of local notoriety, almost as if the riots are a social event for them. A bit like the droogs in Clockwork Orange. Or like the Gangs of New York. Or the Warriors…. I think they take pleasure in rioting, in the act itself. The act is driven out of anarchy rather than political intent.

I mean, I know you have to have a certain social climate to brew that kind of disrespect for order. Maybe poverty, maybe lack of upward mobility, stagnation, apathy.... but the reason for the rioting is not going to be useful for coming up with an immediate solution to the continuing violence. Even with police surveillance, the rioters have no distinct targets.

I imagine this sounds rather inflammatory. I sound unbalanced. I wonder about what I'm saying myself. It's just got me feeling a little destabilized, flummoxed and a kind of lonely sad.

Une nana qui chie sur sa propre équipe, c’est degueulpif! Ca, c’est de la gnognotte ça. A poil!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I went to see the Champion’s League game at the Stade de France last night. Before the game, I dug out my favourite red and white scarf so I could support Manchester Utd. I’m not really a Man U fan but I just couldn’t resist the temptation to go for the Beast (Wayne Rooney) after all the hoopla.

It took me exactly 3 seconds to turn my coat once I got to the stadium. Why? Because only a suicidal dingbat would cheer for Man U amidst 66,000 Lille supporters! It was so much fun to scream and boo at van Nistelrooy, and Silvestre everytime they touched the ball. And, lucky lucky, Lille’s colours are also red and white. I swung my scarf round and round like some cheap Vegas stripper. Everytime Rooney came close we hollered “rentre toi gros porc!” Everytime one of their players rolled around in pain on the field we hollered "à l'hôpital!" Trop marrant quoi. However, I did find some time to giggle at all the out of tune Marseillaise singers around me. Gosh, I'll never be a true frenchie.

How to stop your mother-in-law from bugging you about having babies.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

1. Make her watch Rosemary’s Baby with you while eating lunch.
2. Tell her fat people look permanently pregnant.
3. Show her photoshopped pictures mixing you and your husband’s faces (That was our Halloween trick - THE HORROR!)
4. Pretend to have Turette's.

Actually, it's useless to pretend to have Turette's when all your swearwords are in english and the inlaws know only one word in english - "OK".

I then dared the husband to ask his mother for more tongue.
-Mom, can I have more tongue?
-Why yes, my dear son. You can have all the tongue you want.

And out it came from a can.