a friendly shark

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The sun was setting and the apartment was hot. Slanting rays from the last days of summer baked the dust mites in my carpet, sending their papered souls flittering in the air. I hate the slow accumulation of sweat.

But no one could be had. Everyone was hurrying off to cafes and terraces to bake noisily before melting Ricards and dripping beers. I didn't fancy trading hot air. The deferred swim date seemed like a good solution.

It's weird to go swimming alone. Unless one does laps, and one likes doing laps, it does seem like a very strange thing to do. Hover, float, crawl a little forward, somersault back, hover, drift.

The pool at rue David D'Angers: the breadth and the length was large enough for the herd of torpedoing elephants, messy Arab teenage boys and grumbling belle meres. Swimming for pleasure is possible if you keep your head well underwater and look down. How fast the tiles stream by.

The sun now covered half the pool. On one of my pauses I noticed a young man turning to look at me. He seemed quite alone. I went back towards the shallow end. He took that opportunity to speak one line.

One line. You know that one line. You either nod politely, say something bland, or crack a joke. It's a ritual... it doesn't mean anything. Nothing useful. So I flipped the ball back in his court and spread my wings for another lap. At the other end, he appeared again.

He traded my blandness and I flittered something equally mild. Now, at every lap, I was tailed. And then, going back again, I saw a shadow deep beneath me. Like a shark. A strangely muscled boy with nothing more than a few words about Paraguay and theatre to pander about.

I looked up at the clock. The time had passed and my restlessness was quelled. He asked me where I was going. I said out of the pool. He asked for my number. I turned to face him full in the face. There was a smile and a no. But a hint that he could keep swimming and one day maybe we'd cross paths again.

Perhaps he'll be there all fall.

I am not a model

Monday, August 29, 2005

I wake up late, I wear my hair in a ponytail and wear deliberately casual jeans and slippers to work. I assume it's normal that people stare my up and down, and I'm always standing gracefully bent so that people either think I'm a wounded gazelle or a art deco hat rack. What am I?

Well, that would make me a model. Except I'm not because, besides the late bit and jeans to work, nothing of the above would be right. I'm really not interested in being a working girl, nor do I long to work in the showbiz industry. I think that my ideal job would be as a muse. So, I'm a muse for hire. I can show up gracefully in anyone's office and make random coffees while spilling out pithy pick-me-uppers like "wow, the random wine stains on your report are really edgy," or "you know, I always thought that the aesthetic layout of Excel left much to be desired... reminds one too much of the failures on the jungle gym."

So, much to my surprise, I found out recently that American Apparel was looking for non-models to parade their wares. I'm a non-model. Hearing the remuneration fee and the possilibity of scamming some wares, plus having the afternoon in question off, I decided, what the hell? Give it go.

I tied my hair up loosely, slipped on a pair of jeans with low heels, just a smidgen of lip gloss, dark sun glasses, 10-year old rock t-shirt, and of the moment puffy sleeved pin striped fitted jacket. Grabbed a handbag only big enough for my cellphone and bank card, and off we go.

I have to admit, I feel ridiculous recounting this. I'd prefer to be remembered for my mind, and not my body... or even the failings of my mind over the victories of my body.... or even... It's just that I've always been a top student, head of the pack, recognized for outstanding achievements in yada yada yada, at all levels. It's hard to suddenly have all that cast aside just to strut around while men ogle my goodies. Plus, it's not like I'm unaware of American Apparel's seedy flip-side image, what with the ads and stories about its founder. I have a conscience but I'm turning it off for cute undies and some pocket change. What have I become?

But, there's also the other side of me screaming, hahaha, it'll be worth a laugh. You'll be able to chat up some blokes, scam some good stories and really, it's not a lot of work for the money being paid. It'll be an adventure! Well, I can stomach almost anything if there's a hint of corporate piracy, surreal banality, and good splash of the unknown thrown in.

Shit, I'm going to be soooo bored.

Anyways, so I walked in, the guy who was handling the casting, and his friend, gave me a quick one-over. No smiles, just strange scrutinous looks. I got the company chat... and then they asked me to change. I picked my outifts. Bright fuschia bathing suit, green short shorts with a little tiny white halter, and a terry-clothed one piece shorts jumpsuit, tube tob style, in sage.

Bathing suits are starting to become my modelling calling card. The last time I scurried around pretending to be a gazelle it was in a green bathing suit. That one was high-cut on the sides. This one had a plunging neckline. I walked out, amid all the other twenty-somethings in their tiny store and stood in front of the man. He immediately started fumbling around with his digital camera. He turned to his colleague and said, "amazing, no self-consciousness."

Great. Either my acting skills are up up or my judgement on appropriate behaviour has been completely rewired. Anyways, I don't give a shit because the bathing suit was HOT!

So that's the end of the story. I got the job, easily, just because I can walk around half naked without worrying. I hope you join me in a couple of weeks, after the job is finished, for the next installment of "I am not a model." Till then, have a great week.

Slave to the Rhythm

It never fails that when you decide to pick a well-deserved time-out from the field of battle that the major scurmishes occur. Such was the case this weekend. After Friday night's debacle, which involved absorbing more vodka in one sitting than I've done since living with a Finnish alcoholic (yes, a redundant statement!), I was too tired to do anything on Saturday. Plus, I don't want to seem like I'm a slave to the social rhythms of Paris.

So Saturday, at around midnight, I received a call inviting me for quiet drinks at a fabulous restaurant. In fact, I was already in bed already watching a film, tucked in, while my husband slept beside me. I took the call and was half of a mind to jump back into the fray, fearful of losing my party panther status. But, it was in full consciousness of my inability to resist that I resisted. Too bad. I lost. Apparently, according to Thibault, the night was a classic.

Thibault:
We were sitting there at B__, with Delphine and Inaki, and the owner kept bringing out all these fantastic wines. Very special wines. Richard showed up and started yelling at everyone about why they had to make such fancy schmancy food. Why they didn't just make something simple... you know, they way he likes to take the shit out of everyone. Then, the owner, this spanish woman, called one of her friends, who is a caveist (wine merchant), and got him to open the door for us.

At the C__ M__, a hidden place reknowned for its selection of non-sulphurised wines, the owner was sitting there with his new girlfriend. The spanish woman, his ex, was really going fantastic, yelling at him to open the biggest wines, yelling at Richard to roll a joint, making a big mess of everything. The new girlfriend was so put off she had to leave. Then they played some piano music, like "Haydn," and Richard yelled "I don't know any Haydn! I only know Iron Maiden." He kept up the "con" (idiocy) all night long. I can't remember how many bottles we opened.

At the end, the owner pulled out a bottle of Japanese 100-year old whiskey. I didn't know the Japanese made whiskey. I don't even like whiskey. But it was so good... didn't have the same smell. We kept drinking and then left to go to Zorba. At Zorba, there were two girls and two guys who Richard started to take the piss out of. They started yelling and then he said, "NO, now we have a discussion!"

I got home around 6 in the morning. You really missed something ma petite Sam!


Richard:
But they were really fucked up. I was shitting those guys... Was I being really awful? How bad was I? Aw fuck, I don't care. They were really messed up. And I was going to get into a fight with one of them when he said, "hey, I've already been in a fight tonight." And he pointed to his eye which was swelling up and blood on his face. So, yeah, then I backed off and ended up having a good drink with them. I went home, and slept in my clothes for one hour. Then I was woken up by Nico who wanted me to bring him to Zorba to pick up his scooter. So we went there, and there I was again, drinking a couple of Ricards in the afternoon. Then I drank a beer. Then I met Marussia and drank more beer in the park... And I went home but now I'm here.

(takes a drag of a cigarette and another slug of beer)

Then we laughed over how cuite is the same as cooked, ate food, skyped, and generally drifted into half-slumber of food coma, sun in the afternoon, and lots of beer. But now, I have a small bitterness in my heart at having to recount this in first person italics.

Oh well, no boo hoos. At least they both exclaimed many times during the evening that they wished I was there, and had it not been for my wordy protestations on the first try...Still..... guys, if it's before 4am on the weekend, you can try and get me out of bed!

_____________

a little footnote for those worried about what constitutes a good time in my books:
It's not being an alcoholic that I crave. It's missing out on once in a lifetime adventures that involve hideous amounts of expensive irreplaceable alcohol drunk in a setting that reminds one that even the best wine is not meant for bourgeois tasting notes, but as the background to mad adventure. I couldn't repeat all the fantastic witticisms shuffled around because I wasn't there and the above testimonials were gleaned from witnesses close to their deathbed.

I love you too!

Friday, August 26, 2005

God... everyone's back from vacation and the parties are starting to bubble. I can write about my fucking vacation in Swiss, scaling mountains, chowing on fondue and Argentinian beef, champagne showers (damn I love the Swiss!), jumping up and down in my underpants to Yoko Ono in front of a crowd of bewildered Swiss, enjoying a five star experience with hot springs, and the lovely Princes I consorted with... but BAHHHHH!!! That's WORK! fuck that crap.

Got drunk tonight with Kim, Joakim, (from the Tigersushi clan), Thibault (slave to his inamorata), Emmanuel and Christine. We went to the french establishment, Chartier, after hanging around a very chic hidden bar... Life is sweet... I'll tell tomorrow. In the meantime, read my post on Armstrong to find out the difference between sober and sloshed nardac.

Later Gators! Paris is ours again!

Oh, and Leopold Rabus is the next hot thing in art. You heard it here first.

don't twist my armstrong

Thursday, August 25, 2005

As some of you might be aware of, Lance Armstrong has been accused by L'Equipe newspaper of being on EPO in 1999, the same year he won his first Tour de France. This is a very serious accusation that could bring the downfall of either parties and even the sport itself. While I have parleyed around the idea that Armstrong is far from a decent sportsmen, I find these accusations badly timed and in poor taste.

So what if he's drugged? Everyone else in professional cycling seems to be drugged.
Actually, quite a big deal. This is a man who has made his life out of a dramatic comeback story. Imagine, he's close to death, fights back on his own will, and wins seven Tour de France titles. On paper, it's sheer heroism. If any of this story was to be tarnished, it would be the equivalent of Shoeless Joe throwing the World Series. How can a hero be broken? By exposing that his superhuman power is in fact not only human, but exceptionally human: the baseness of trickery. Goodbye St. Lance. Hello, Armstrong the thug.

But there's never been any evidence before that Lance has been doped.
Correct. Lance has never had one single mark on his record. While lesser cyclists have been found with amphetamines, cocaine, EPO, all sorts of nonsense, Lance has always affirmed and so far proved he is clean. He does admit in his autobiography, "It's not about the bike," that he took EPO while in chemotherapy. He said "it's the only thing that kept me alive."

Ironic then, the magic elixir of life, so valued by our dear knight, could also be the one substance he is forbidden to take once healthy. One could imagine the EPO, sitting in its chalice, under a glass box with the words "Break in case of emergency." But, this is indulgent.

What is clear is that Armstrong went out of his way, in 2004, to terrorize Gilberto Simeoni, an otherwise unknown rider on the Tour. Simeoni had testified openly against Dr. Ferrari, the infamous Milanese doctor who introduced EPO into the sport. Simeoni further filed a complaint, after the stage, that threats to his personal safety were made by Armstrong. The case has still not been resolved. But making threats is not a declaration of guilt either.

The French have always had it out for Lance.
That's a generalisation that's not so far from the mark. The french who do care for cycling are divided on this subject. I know rabid Lance fans from frogland, and I know rabid anti-Lance fans from croissantland. The same thing, if you ask me. If there has been any dislike towards Lance it is because of the way he wins. He wins by dominating and there is hardly anything romantic or stylish in brute domination. He's a foxy devil, but his wins have always been punctuated by a distinctly american style of aggression. Sometimes this type of aggression and desire to win is rather funny and miraculous (as seen in the Superbowl, where legend is amplified to cartoonesque dimensions). Sometimes it's just offputting.

I think that yes, the french media in L'Equipe has been itching to find something to write about Lance. But, before all those Americans starting gnashing their teeth on their freedom fries, we should note that there are also a fair number of fans who openly congratulate Lance. Anyways, I hope this doesn't descend into some patriotic mud-slinging. That's just infantile.

What's with urine being kept so many years and why the results now?
The urine was kept frozen, along with samples from many other cyclists, as part of a research program into EPO testing. The lab's intentions was only to work on these methods, not to test cyclists officially. The urine kept is one of two samples given by Lance in 1999. The first sample was tested during the tour. As there were only two samples, the results of this second sample cannot be tested against. This means that legally the International Cycling Board cannot act on the allegations.

Furthermore, the results were leaked, not published. It is L'Equipe which has published these results, results which to all intents are purposes are meant to be kept anonymous. One can only assume that the results were only unearthed recently. Still, the timing is suspicious. Just after Lance's retirement? Bizarre.

I believe that regardless of whether or not Lance has taken drugs, he is the most dominant cyclist to emerge in our generation. He is tactically superior in every way to all the other teams, and responds to every challenge with the mark of a champion. However much I dislike his attitude, however much I doubt the honesty of his statements, he remains one of the most incredible athletes I've ever watched. I mean, if we found out that Michael Jordan was on cocaine the whole time he won those NBA titles, would it change what we think about his Royal Airness? I don't think so.

I'm no Lance-fan. Don't get me wrong. I'm a cycling fan. I love the sport and I can't imagine anything worse that having people doubt the incredible drama and passion possible because they think they are watching drug addicts. Cycling is a sport built on legend, not on mediocrity. In this aspect, I believe Lance is still the king of the slagheap.

The Swiss Evasion

Saturday, August 20, 2005

My head still feels swimmy and my tongue tastes like onions and acidic wine. Horrible. My first night getting properly soused in France, starting with beer, moving towards wine, ending up with champagne, then beer, then more wine then..... oh boy.

Spent the morning, still half-drunk, doing half-a-dozen IQ tests. Apparently my greater than genius level drops the day after drowning brain cells. This just proves you can't dare to be great without sacrificing something on the way... or that nobody should be doing those things at 10am on a Saturday morning... Or that I am truly the world's stupidest narcissist.

But now, am heading off to Switzerland with the same drunken bunch of merrymakers for Till and Anais's birthday party. Bringing bikini because I know being hungover while floating on a lake is divine. Ciao desk-monkeys!

Summer Snack

Friday, August 19, 2005

Well, I can't believe it but I actually read a Harry Potter book, the last one in the series, The Half-Blood Prince. And, somebody slap me because I actually liked it. I read it in a span of 27 hours, including sleep, food, and hanging out with friends, which gives you an idea of how easy and addictive the book was. What the story left me thinking about was how long will it be before the Potter movies start getting an R rating. It's obvious that Rowling has nowhere left to go but sex and violence. Hmmmm, better get back to work before this starts becoming a full-time hobby.

Why are you eating my sponges?

I met up with Warren and Francisco, visiting pals from far flung destinations, for dinner tonight. Warren is a South African film director and Francisco is his sexy Venezualan actor companion. We went to some terrible bobo cafe in the Marais that had the audacity to name itself The Philosophers. As if burnished metal in sperm like patterns on the ceiling made for heavy thinking.

The food and wine is speckled by colourful stories from our youth. Ahh, those halcyon days when life was one unfurling emerald hill, glinting unblemished in the sun.

So Warren mentioned how he used to play mummy and daddy with the little Bloomberg girl. He really loved playing mummy and daddy with her until one day she said: "No, you're not daddy. You're the cat and you have to lie by the side of the bed." Then there was another daddy, and Warren would be very happy, later that year, when that daddy had to leave for Australia. He only found out much later that he preferred playing daddy and daddy, and now doesn't mind going to Australia.

I then tell them about my bizarre incident where I almost took all my hair off at seven in the morning by slapping hair removal cream on my legs, not washing my hands, and running that, mixed with shampoo through my hair. If you ever need to wake up fast, that's a good technique. Nothing happened because of my cat-like reflexes in emptying out half a conditioner bottle on my head, chanting fuck fuck fuck.

Francisco followed this up with how he once had Ben-Gay on his fingers after rubbing it on his elbow, and went to the toilet without washing his hands. Classic ancient frat joke.

Finally, Warren kicks in a clear winner. When he used to get nose bleeds, his nanny used to stick cotton wool up his nose and ask him to tilt his head back. One day, he got a nose bleed but his nanny wasn't there. So he went to the toilet searching for cotton wool. He found something that seemed tailor-made for nose bleeds. It was the right size and seemed made of fuzzy cotton stuff. So he stuffed two of those up his nose. But, as the blood went into them, they started to grow. And they grew and grew and grew, distending his nose so far that it required attention. He screamed for his sister who cried "whatever the devil made you stick those up your nose!" At which point she pulled the two handy strings hanging out, tearing off most of the inside of Warren's nose.

Which reminds me of some story I have of Shelton. This was when he went to New Brunswick for university and was staying with some friends who were ecologically conscious. Shelton, as I think I have eluded to before, has quite a knack for eating pathologically. He turns into zombie eating machine whenever there is any food around him. Don't laugh. It's scary to see so much white in someone's eyes.

Anyways, so he used to live with these two girls, hippy girls, the earth-coloured kinds who are undubitably vegetarians. These silly girls who run around eating sprouts, wearing Tibetan shawls and buying expensive ineffective shampoo made from sheep's dung. Well, one of them had taken to using the sponge instead of regular menstrual aids. The sponge is a little organic sponge that is reusable. You just pull it out, wash it up, dry it out and it's ready for another drink. Apparently, when they dry up, they look quite a bit like oatmeal cookies.

So, there you have it. Shelton's house had a party, a real house party, and Shelton had slept in the afternoon. The consequence of this was not only did he join the party a little late, but he didn't have enough time to eat dinner. He was sitting on the counter, chatting to some people, eating some cookies. He chewed mechanically, and later would confess that he couldn't remember the taste at all.

Suddenly, the roommate walks in, stares at Shelton and says, "Why are you eating my sponges?"

Lost in Translation

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's true that the Brits have a peculiar sense of humour. I won't try to vivisect it in some grad school thesis way, but any country that derives its humour primarily out of men dressing as grannies and talking in high pitched voices surrounded by pretty high-breasted girls is... well... pretty wacked out. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that their sense of humour falls flat on this side of the Channel. (though they love the high-breasted girls enough that Benny Hill was an unqualified success).

Not to say that the french don't have a sense of humour. I've seen two Rochefort films which made me giggle silly. Tati has cut out a certain elegant burlesque that only he seems to master. Not to mention the inevitable Louis de Funés films, though I've always felt that in the yelling and making faces genre, Jerry Louis is the King. But Jerry isn't always the King of Comedy*, despite have a bizarrely huge following in France. I suppose we'll have to throw in Jamel somewhere, though I find him very unfunny... toadying about as the token Arab guy. Ugh, political humour, the fall guy for the clever but monstrously boring comedian. Hmmm, really... aside from that, I'd have to say that maybe the french are less capable of tapping their eccentricities.

But, I guess where all this is coming from is the recent review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as seen in France's left-wing newspaper, Liberation. I'm already used to the wonky taste in films displayed by most young french left-wingers which tends towards glorification of anything asian/kung fu/manga/zombies and the villification of traditional blockbusters. It's common stomping ground for bobos everywhere. It makes me furious that those same people try to intellectualize The Island because it is the first film Michael Bay has made for the semi-lobotomised (as opposed to the fully-lobotomised). Honey, it's a blockbuster. It's still made for drippy butter popcorn fingers retreating from the slow dull heat of summer.

What I'm not used to is having delicious little tidbits, such as said Adams film, being not only misspelled twice in the review, but tidily mocked.

Having been largely unexposed to Adam's sense of humour till late, I was piqued first by his writing in The Salmon of Doubt, his last book. This book had me bellowing at loud and repeating lines to Dacnar, who promptly wriggled his moustache in what could have been either irritation, amusement or follicle itch... perhaps all three. He didn't get it completely. And that should have set off alarm bells. Because Dacnar is a fairly witty and open man, with a sharp sense of humour and mediocre command of the english language. He's better candidate than most for capting on this kind of humour. If he wriggles, I get twitchy.

Anyways, needless to say the reviewer, in Libe, of the film, mungles on about the history of the story and the some of the key theatrical moments. He even manages to quip that Adams is a depressive, as if all humourists by right should be. The article emphasizes the vast following Adams has gathered while not really tackling the film itself. If the books have such a large following it's sheer brilliant comedy done in a particular turn of voice.** That voice, however, rests lost in translation. Heavens knows why culture does not translate completely but I think sneering across a large stretch of water for a thousand years might have something to do with it.

Not that I would wish for the vast invasion of British humour on French shores. I'd like the French to continue to cultivate their elegant wit in their own way. However, a little less Jack-Ass borrowing*** and screaming with funny faces could do them well. Pull the cornichons out of their petunias, so to say. Which is why I hope they make acquantaince with H2G2.

______________________


*The King of Comedy, incidentally, is one of Scorcese's few comedies, though black comedy it would be. It keeps it's humour to a minimum, serving only as a backdrop to his characters's celebrity psychosis. If you think that's an odd juggling act, see the film. More subtle than Taxi Driver, better shot, and featuring a Jerry Lewis that burns up the screen. Horrifying man.

**Oh Golly Molly, wasn't Stephen Fry the best choice for the voice!

*** An example of something stolen from English telly that they haven't dropped yet is the Spitting Image rip-off, Les Guignols. How that's still about and who finds it funny...

Warning: Wi-Fi Moochers Abound!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Since I've been back I've noticed a really marked drop in our cable internet connection. Like, it was almost as slow as dial-up. And then... I looked at my iTunes and noticed that two people were sharing my collection. Now, to share on iTunes you have to be on the same network. Since my internet connection is only for the apartment, who the hell are these two people on my network?

My suspicions were further raised by the fact that one of our former boarders managed to connect his Mac to our connection without a password.

So, I passed a little note out to my computer whiz kid and he promptly replied that yes, indeed, I was sharing my connection with those two moochers.

This is a problem not only because those assholes are stealing our bandwidth and slowing me down to turtle speed, but also because this poses security issues. Sharing a network means sharing hard-drive info. I don't have a lot but what I have I'd like to keep for me.

Now, I'll have to buy a separate router for my modem, install a password to keep those buggers out.

I know they're not too far... somewhere in our building. I also think I shouldn't have to worry too much about their computer prowess if they were smart enough to let me find them on iTunes. If I ever find out who they are, which shouldn't be too hard, they're in for a good chat (and maybe a baseball bat to the head, for good measure).

Beware, all people with WiFi. Get a firewall out there and make sure your router is passworded.

LoloGee de Paris... you've been warned! Get off my connection, cheapo!

_____________

*problem fixed. dacnar installed a password on our modem/router. no more lolo-dodo. thank the friggin' lord. now I can download in peace. yay summer.

The Dream Factory

Saturday, August 13, 2005

When somebody asks me what I miss about North America, the first thing that comes to mind is television. Now, I can already see all them noses turning up. You can flick your schnozz where the sun don't shine because honey, when you see genius like Pimp My Ride, you seen tv at its MTV finest. There would be nothing wrong with the USA if everybody watched this show. (except more people would be sticking tape on their car)

I love Pimp My Ride. I love it, I love it, I love it. If there was a french spin-off version, I'd go out and buy the shittiest car I could find and submit myself as a contendor. Why? Well, let's just ask Big Ron now.

Big Ron was the season 2 starter for this genius show from MTV. The concept is simple. You have a shitty car. It's an embarassment. There's holes in the ground, it's painted four different colours, you still have an 8-track, no upholstery, tape is holding your car together, your car is made up of two different cars welded together... etc etc. You leave a little message for Xhibit and his gang asking them to pimp your ride.

Then... if you're lucky, Xhibit knocks on your door and says he's there to pimp your ride. They take it to West Coast Customs where the shit gets a makeover, a roll in the purple velvet, a little jacuzzi action in the back, maybe some 20-band EQ stuck inside, who knows? You come back, and your freak.

Here's Big Ron in action:

Big Ron showing his shitty Cadillac El Dorado
This is my ride, a Cadillac El Dorado.


As you can see, Big Ron's ride is a bit shabby. He uses it to take his granny around. He needs to up his style because, hey, it's a Caddy!

Then, those boys at the West Coast get all A-Team on the machine. They rip out the interior and put in a few DVD players, orange and white custom interior, gold plated rims and grill, it gets pimped out.

big ron's interior

Oh My Freakin' Lord... look, they gave him a custom signature insignia for his driving wheel. The same shit is on his headrests! Sweet!


Then they unveil the beast.

The boys at West Coast Customs with the new pimped out mobile.
WCC shows off their work


Then...

Big Ron freakin' with Big Dane.
Big Ron freaks out with Big Dane


I love this show! It's a formula that works. Xhibit is so damn funny and those guys from the WCC are actually a bunch of characters. Ish, Q, Big Dane, and my favourite, Aren. Aren's a genius with paint. He didn't do more than season 1, but you gotta love this guy. He puts shredder marks that make shreds look cool.

Ok, so, now I'm stuck in France, eating baguettes, pate, drinking wine, looking chic, the whole bit. But you know what, I'll never lose my love for the genius that is American Television. Not that bible thumpin' shit... but the real funny crap that spins out every now and then from the boys who smoke dope and fix cars. And if anybody starts talking about how much they like Punk'd, I'm gonna scream. Ashton Kutcher gives Punk a bad name. Hate that idiot.

Who wants a Cluster Map?

Friday, August 12, 2005

See that map on the bottom right in my sidebar? The one with the map of the world? It's a cluster map that shows you where your hits are coming from. As you can see, I am absent in South America, Africa and Antarctica. Shucks. C'mon Ecuador... Represent!

Anyways, if you want one for your website, drop me an email. I have two to give away.

Paris in August

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm glad to be back in Paris, after my little Toronto sejourn. It's such a treat to walk through the door and find your own apartment, clean and tidy, waiting for you. Home sweet home.

What's actually fun about coming home at this time is that Paris is dead in August. Which means that while I'm relaxing at home, the ever-present hum of traffic from outside has dulled somewhat. There is a sense of things coming to a full stop. Nice.

Which means, like Geraldine, I will be watching tons of movies and generally amusing myself with magazines and such. Suddenly realized, though, given my magazine addiction, it is rather odd that I don't know where the best place in town for them. Can anybody enlighten me on where in Paris I can find the best selection of international magazines?

Oh, and if anyone's in town, don't hesitate to drop me a mail if you feel like watching The Island in V.F. Can't wait for Logan's Run done the Michael Bay way, though apparently it's a clone of another film!

Hangman's Supper

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The way plane travel is working these days, it's obvious that it's far from a sure deal. True to form, yesterday afternoon, I asked my mother and sister to High Tea at the Windsor Arms. Take it as a Last Supper, of sorts.

I love High Tea... fresh buttery scones slathered with clotted cream, yummy quiches and tarts, slim elegant sandwiches.

What a way to go... Wish me luck.

Windsor Arms High Tea
Mother condescending to glance at cowering quiche

Going Home

Monday, August 08, 2005

me and shamu

That's it for me and the tofu burgers, pizza pockets and monster fun. You guys were fantastic. I had a nice two months. Still some little odds and ends to clear up, and going for high tea at the Windsor Arms Hotel tomorrow, but am almost all packed and ready for home.

Today, had a great time with Taku and Kathy's BBQ for Trudie Cheng's birthday. My favourite 40 pound Eskimo was bedazzling in a one piece green jersey dress, synched at the waist. Precious Cashew and her bf Ben were there, as was the lovely Sairah, Natalie, Sammie, Tanya and some boys and girls I was less familiar with, including a girl whose last name was Too Good. The menu was extraordinary: bbq'd Kalbi ribs, minty vietnamese cold rolls, inari with shiso tinged rice, roasted jalapeno peppers, a salad made of arugula and nasturtium that Tanya had picked from her own backyard, gyoza, blah blah blah... and all served with a wicked little brandy punch. This is BBQ the japanese-ontario way.

It was also time to say goodbyes. I'm horrible at goodbyes. I can't stand crying in front of people, because, as few actually recognize, I'm terribly emotional and sentimental. Not at all the cold tyranosaurus I proclaim to be, though wish to protect. Alon, who was there, being Alonie, had to give me a final shoulder to cry on. Oi vey.

But, thanks kids. I had a wonderful time. (I have pics of me and the bear that shakes the pole with the Labatt 50s. It's almost biting my head off! Now if only Alon would email me the pics...)

___________________________

But that was only the second bbq. The first was the night before, a celebration party for my sister's 2nd anniversary of her clinic. The clinic is owned by three doctors, and the other two besides my sister are Glenn and Val. The party was held at Glenn's house where the real kicker is the pool. It's a salt-water pool. No chlorine kids. This makes for better skin and better flotation. All of which becomes irrelevant when you're trying to mount a giant inflatable Shamu. We stayed in the pool till the sun set, and the bats had gone to sleep.

Drunkie drunk, but clean wholesome fun. Yes, I'm totally detoxed for Paris now.

sisters
sisters

public flogging

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I have to admit... I've been in a bit of a mood lately, especially about this whole blogging business. And, there were several rants that got written, and erased. Frustration, irritation, why? Because, as the wisest wisecracker on the blogosphere has pointed out, it's exactly like high school.

I hated high school. Actually, more importantly, it annoyed me, because hate would be too strong. In the end, while I enjoyed classes and liked laughing my pants off, the cliques, the lack of courage, the lack of anything really that interesting, the self-replicating wannabes, they bored me to death.

In the midst of all that, though, are the really funny kids that give you the times you'll remember. That blog, the one above, reminds me of some of those kids... but all you suck-ups, don't go running on her blog and polluting it with "I love how you write." or "You're so funny." Show a little restraint please.

__________________

*technically, this whole post could be considered a suck up. But, I have to give props where props are due. So, I take that end of the Catch-22.

Because it's there

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Spiders are very interesting creatures," she thought to herself watching a white-ish speciment sail loosely in the wind. The bus stop was next to the forest so the oncoming nightfall set loose a small cloud of mosquitoes. It seemed a small revenge to stand next to a spider's web.

The poor spider. He would get thrown up by the wind, spinning erratically between the metal girders of the telephone booth and catching himself on the far post. The little adventure suited him so well he retraced his steps on the same silk skein and let loose once more.

"Doesn't seem to be quite useful. This spider hardly seems focused enough to make a web." She flicked her ponytail absent-mindedly and checked her watch again. All her life she had been called disorganized, but, if there was one thing she had learned in her young years of this world, it was that seldom does greatness come from planning. It was those that yoked adventure with two firm hands, that scorned the schedule and ate the map, that really felt the full blood of life in their veins.

And so she turned around to check on the spider again and saw another one, busy spinning it's web. This one seemed to be more concentrated on the task at hand. There was a distinct plan which was evident in the neat and ordered rungs of silk. It moved methodically, crawling on a newly laid out skein, trailing silk, then moving a few millimeters down and using it's hind legs to fix the silk to its support. She watched its movements, hypnotised by the repetition.

"Ouch!" A mosquito bit her on the leg. Why were the spiders not being more useful? There seemed to be lots of webs, around her, with spiders, their legs like withered grandmothers, sitting at the centre, waiting for prey while she herself was getting bitten by the dozen. If spiders could somehow emit enough CO2 to fool their prey, they're life would be sinful and godlike.

Her eyes silently accused the pretty web. "Perfect, but useless."

She did, notice, however, that the unruly and undisciplined spider had built a web that spanned an improbably wide space. He now sat prettily, at the centre of his assymetrical and unkempt creation, ready to feast.

"I bet that spider will catch a mosquito before the organized one. His web is so much more improbable there must be a hidden genius to it. I'll stand equidistant between the two webs, and find out which one wins."

So she stood there, for seconds, which became minutes, which became a sun setting from red to turqoise to dark. And still she stood, till she got tired of scratching her small mosquito welts. Just as she was about to smash one of the webs, a black car sped through the corner and swung in front. She got in and it sped away.

The two spiders, bored on their webs, grumbled between them.

"That stupid girl. Why was she sitting there taking all the mosquitoes away from us."
"What's that? I didn't hear you?"
"I mean, who does she think she is, the queen of the telephone booth?"

Just then a giant flying ant came tearing through and ripped through the organized spider's web and landed flat on the eccentric spider's web. Henry, for that was the disorganized spider's name, ran hilly gilly, eager to suck empty his prey. But, just as he was about to feast, the largest spider of them all swung down and pierced Henry's main support. Web, spider and prey fluttered wildly in the wind for several seconds, before tumbling down on the ground.

"Why did you do that!? Why did you tear his web down?" Dorian, our organized spider asked the malicious giant.

"Because it's there."

going to hell in a henbasket

cheshire cat

trumpetting my peeps... words words words

Thursday, August 04, 2005

It's yet another Canadian literary talent: Sheila Heti. Am halfway through her gem of a book, The Middle Stories. Each story is around 2-5 pages long and seething with wry-bleak insight that's candy coated in her Hans Christian Anderson style. A female Brautigan for our times.

Stories I liked:
The Girl who was Blind all the time
Story of a blind girl who starts a one woman parade and lives the 3 most interesting days of life, followed by the rest of her life.

The Favourite Monkey
My favourite. Man falls in love with monkey. Monkey leaves to tell mother. Lover despairs. Lover in love with the histrionics of love.

The Woman who lived in a Shoe
A woman who gets tired of living in a shoe. On the importance of difference.

Mermaid in the Jar
A girl who is cold to her complaining mermaid in the jar.

___________________________

While working, I have come across the incredible essays of Andrey Bely. Mystical, magical, his essay on words is nothing short of poetry.

The word connects the speechless, invisible world swarming in the subconscious depths of my individual consciousness with the speechless, senseless world swarming outside my individual ego. The word creates a new, third world: a world of sound symbols by means of which both the secrets of a world located outside me and those imprisoned in a world inside me come to light. . . . In the word and onlyin the word dio I recreate for myself what surrounds me from within and from without, for I am the word and only the word.
...
The process of naming spatial and temporal phenomena with words is a process of invocation. Every word is a charm. By charming a given phenomenon I am in essence subjugating it. Thus connections between words, grammatical forms, and figures of speech are in essence charms.

--
Andrey Bely, "The Magic of Words."

untitled

Shaken

I suppose those of you who follow the news might have heard sometime today, or even last night, about the plane crash in Toronto, Air France A340, a crash where 309 people walked away before the flames engulfed the plane. I can hardly believe it myself. Still, I'm a little shaken up. Yesterday, Dacnar left Toronto to go back to Paris, and while his was an outgoing flight, and thus I knew almost immediately after I heard the story that he was in no danger, these kinds of things are not what you want to hear the day your husband flies out.

The CBC has quite extensive coverage of the disaster details.

But, as you're about to find out, I found out about the accident several hours after it happened, which, if you can put yourself in my shoes, made it all the more horrifying.
_______________________________________

August 2nd, 9:30 am
I woke up with him beside me. It was his last morning in Toronto with me, the first time he's visited. It had been a very emotional trip. He saw most of the places where I grew up, met most of my close friends and, most importantly, finally met my parents for the first time. I was sad to see him go, not because we were parting, and it won't be a long separation, but because there's something special about the fact he finally got to see my where I grew up, and understand a little bit about the world I came from.

Eating breakfast, I tried to stay pleasant and perky while everything is becoming brittle inside.

11:30 am
We, my mother, Dacnar and myself, pack into the car to go to the airport. His flight leaves at 2pm.

12 pm
Get to the airport, and help Dacnar check in. Spend another hour walking around airport with him, where we eventually make our way to the giant glass walls facing the tarmac. There are very dark skies on the horizon.

12:40 pm
He is waiting with me at the pick-up spot, for my mother's car. It's under a long metallic cover. The clouds are black on the horizon. Then, not far off, is a large and very direct lightning flash. I mention something about it being bad to wait underneath metal. He says that it will be a terrible flight, lots of shaking. "I probably gonna shit in my pants."

My mother shows up, and I kiss him goodbye, fighting off tears.

around 1 pm
We are on the highway. The large droplets that had fallen on our way out of the airport have transformed into a monsoon-like sheet of rain. There's hardly any visibility and my mother slows to 50km on the highway. Terrible strips of lightning tear through the sky, barely visible through the rain.

2-6 pm
Am inside Robart's Library, University of Toronto's pride and joy, one of the largest libraries in North America. Hunting down information on Robert Morris's process-based technique, and finding some quotes in Marinetti's Teatro e invenzione futurista, am suddenly hit with strange pang of fear and sadness. Becoming progressively more depressed. The older I am, the less I bear separations well.

7 pm
Numbed, I make my way to Annie's where she greets me by telling me about the Air France crash. This is the first news I've had on the crash all day. At first she's light, until I tell her Dacnar was leaving today.

But really, was too shocked to be emotional. I verify that it was Air France and that it was an incoming flight. Those things checked off, this accident had nothing to do with him. Plus, the accident took place at 4pm. His flight was supposed to take off at 2pm.

After 10 minutes calming down with a wine spritzer and a cigarette, almost cry when talking to Annie about Dacnar leaving.

7:15 pm
Call my mom to ask if there are any messages... if he called. No. My parents sound relaxed.
Friends come over for dinner.

8pm to midnight
Have dinner and drinks with old friends, which proves to be distracting.

August 3rd, midnight
Sleep

5am
Wake up with horrible aching feeling in heart and terrible wine taste in mouth. It takes another two hours before I can fall asleep again.

9:30am
Wake up and go to work.

3 pm
Receive email from Dacnar explaining his ordeal. It is his letter that starts to make my brain work.

My goodness! There had been a plane crash in a terrible storm. He could have been affected, if his plane hadn't been delayed, eventually grounded, because of the inclement weather. He could have skidded off the runway, been hit by lightning... all sorts of horrible things... It could have been him! And in fact, while most of the time I'm not plagued with it, fear of flying is really quite normal. So many things can go wrong, and, usually when something goes wrong, everybody dies.

5:30 pm
On the way home, buy newspaper. It's there that I read the full details of the ordeal, the miraculous survival of all crew and passengers, the dramatic turn of events, the dramatic pictures themselves.

6:10 pm
Finally cry.

___________________________________

Dacnar's email this afternoon:

Sweet Sammie,

At last, I'm at home now.

I had a long long day.

My first flight to Montreal was cancelled twice. Once at 2PM, once at
4PM. It was raining so strongly they said that travellers would better
go back home.
A woman changed my ticket for a flight direct to Paris around 7:15PM
Canadian time.
We went by bus to the International board under massive storm.
Over there, Italians were waiting to board for 3 hours.

At this moment, I heard about the crash of Air France plane.

I finally took off around 2 AM, still Canadian time.

Over Montreal, storm and lightning flashes striked back, and that was
really shaky inside. Fortunately, after one drink of red wine, and
another of white, that didn't move anymore.

I landed around 3PM, french time.
...
Just arrived in Paris, I discovered that the crash (a little one,
actually) was in front of every paper. For everybody here now, I am a
"Miraculé de Toronto".

Kiss you a lot. See you very soon.
Bye.

rien que moi

Monday, August 01, 2005

Petite has done me the honour of answering my shoe meme dare. I'm not a fool. I know many PA readers will now click on this site, wondering what kind of Marcosian fool has tagged her for such a superficial meme.

Unfortunately, all they would find here is a moustache obsessed girl with a penchant for showing up for the right party at the right time.

It doesn't clarify anything, but hopefully it'll give you a good laugh.

*just found out that Schuey finally posted his shoe meme response too. The best male response I've seen to this meme so far. Class!

__________________________

The week's rundown:
Tunes - M.I.A. ...the girl with the best style right now
Books - Just finished Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman, which was practically impossible to put down.
Fashion - extra big pivoting visors that the Japanese are going crazy for
Film of the week - Fellini's Roma, which was stunning.
Blog - A Shaded View of Fashion, Diane is one of the fairy queens in the Paris fashion/art world... You can spot her a mile away, and she still takes the metro.
Moment of the week - watching my parents navigate bravely the waves of extreme abstraction at the Albright-Knox Gallery in upstate New York. They're the audio-commentary type but went in unarmed this time. Bravo!

Movings

Am on Fellini kick. His camera moves.

Must be unhinging from the jigsaw shoulders on the couch... watching men in white robes in steam baths disappear into abstract arches on the screen, imagine making a roast that was stuffed with anchovies, shredded daikon, pureed onion... then roast walked off into this moment where I wonder how long it would be before the perfect circle between

my ankle on his hip
and the curve of his elbow against my neck.

It's an eternity. I imagine the mad would never be sure

when the precipitous task would arrive
if the precipitous task was in fact a symbolic repetition of events past
that events were constantly speaking to each other
and that this was the moment before death, born to be relived
as a present that remembers the past.

_____________

But the kitchen smells bad. I must finish my book before the big move tomorrow.