21 September 2007

"Random Player Mix"....

...I'd call it an "iPod Shuffle" but okay. Ha... so here is the most random post ever, considering I haven't updated this at all though I've meant to go back and fill in all the gaps from Paris as well as perhaps some interesting, random things from life in NY and DC.

My random 80-or-so minutes' worth:

New York Dolls - Personality Crisis
Weezer - Simple Pages
Morrissey - This World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
Shins - Phantom Limb
Emiliana Torrini - To Be Free
The Clash - Hateful
Fratellis - Got Ma Nuts From A Hippy (Lol... that title still makes me laugh)
White Stripes - Ball and Biscuit
Sufjan Stevens - In the Devil's Territory
Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek (that one threw me for a loop as I hadn't listened to it in half a year)
The Presidents of the United States of America - Peaches (Try like 7 years!)
Arctic Monkeys - 505
Radiohead - 2+2=5
Les Chansons d'Amour - J'ai cru entendre
Pete Yorn - Crystal Village
Memphis - A Little Place in the Wilderness
Death Cab for Cutie - We Looked Like Giants
Tap Tap - Way To Go, Boy
Delgados - Girls of Valour
Loquat - Take It Back
Ted Leo/RXs - The Ballad of the Sin Eater
Neutral Milk Hotel - Communist Daughter
Third Eye Blind - Eye Conqueror
Silverchair - Ana's Song (Open Fire) - I sheepishly admit, I love this song!!
Neko Case- Ghost Writing
Mates of State - 10 Years Later

And the Ween's mix, which totally kicks my mix's arse:

Phoenix-Second to None

The Beatles-Here Comes the Sun

Tori Amos-Mother

We Are Scientists-The Great Escape

Sufjan Stevens-John Wayne Gacy Jr.

Tegan and Sara-I Bet It Stung

The Beatles-Oh!Darling

Stevie Wonder-Isn’t She Lovely

Mendelssohn-Wedding March

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins-Handle With Care

Rilo Kiley-Silver Lining

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-Blue Turning Grey

Death Cab For Cutie-Soul Meets Body

Everclear-I Will Buy You A New Life

Badly Drawn Boy-Stone On The Water

Yann Tiersen-Pas Si Simple

The Shins-Caring Is Creepy

Norah Jones-I’ve Got To See You Again

Beach Boys-God Only Knows

Death Cab for Cutie-Title And Registration

The Magic Numbers-Try

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists-High Party

Dave Matthews Band-Satellite

Billy Joel-Tell Her About It

Moby-Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

The Shins-Sleeping Lessons

I can think of no other way to end this post than to echo the sentiment at the close of Ween's email to me with her tracklist: Verbatim: RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI RI KI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

05 June 2007

Au Revoir, St-Denis...

St. Denis must have known it was my last day, because they made it very special. In the matter of just a few hours (a few rather than 6, because I was an hour and a half late to psych and decided to therefore just go for the "pause" and hand in my paper and take off, and because I didn't go to soc because I was writing my paper for that in the libe instead), I found all of the following:

Bathroom with:
-lock on the door
-toilet seat
-light in the stall
-toilet PAPER
-working sink
-working hand dryer. Good god!

A free computer in the library that let me access my email, put in a disc, and print out my composition.
A salad at the cafeteria counter.
Someone other than madame Crochety, who served me my salad and coke with a smile and sing-songy voice.

I think there were more things but that's what I got for now.

I was so dumbfounded I didn't know what to do with myself. Well, Universite Paris VIII-St Denis, you've done me well, and thanks for the kind send-off. You definitely were worth the 45-minute (and always amusing in some way or other) hike on Ligne 13, even on days when you had no toilet paper to offer me, nor hospitality other than the crochety old lady manning the cafeteria counter in downstairs Batiment A or the group of sketchy gangsta guys standing around a boombox blaring "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". I won't forget your otherwise kind and active and interesting student body, your array of out-there classes, your commie political stance, nor your modern architecture and design that includes signs written in completely lowercase letters indicating that you are automatically cooler than the Sorbonne.

Au Revoir St-Denis!!

26 May 2007

Week-end of Caves...

Friday night we went over to St. Michel -

- down the lively as ever Rue de la Huchette, to Rue Galande and the Caveau des Oubliettes, which I'd been wanting to check out for a while. I'd been really excited to finally get to listen to some live jazz - when we got there we saw that tonight it was in fact blues - but to my surprise, I really liked it; we all did. We had gotten there a little early so we could get a good spot downstairs in the small, cavernous (seriously) space where there was a small stage and tables lining each side, with extra stools dotting the rest of the floor. Within a half hour all the spaces were filled, and everyone was talking, drinking, smoking (I've really gotten used to it - what a nice surprise it'll be to be smoke-free back in the states!!) while waiting for the act to start. Though my host mom had told me that it was a famous place and hence a bit touristy where I would hear classic French chanson and that often the subjects of the songs-as-storytales were a bit vulgar and I probably wouldn't understand it all, it actually seemed like there was a pretty local crowd, and I didn't hear any other English spoken in the room nor see anyone (ahem.... else) with a camera. And uh, it was a modern blues band. Strike twenty-seven for my often quite adorably eager-to-inform, still-thinks-it's-several-decades-ago host mom. Lol.

Sus in sepia...

Ray and Abby getting ready for the "absinthe"

abby and sus... nice face!


We all enjoyed ourselves and found ourselves staying longer and dancing more in our seats than we thought! Afterwards Robyn and Nell and I continued the cave trend at Purgatoire, a very small bar off of St. Germain with dancing downstairs - I remembered the music from last time being French rather than American dance/pop mash-ups but it was fun nonetheless!

The next night I met Robyn and Dorothy on the Seine by Invalides, crossing the Pont Alexandre III and admiring Paris in its lit-up-at-night, cool summer air glory. We relaxed and shared a little of the fruity monoprix white wine that I’d bought a while ago and left at Robyn’s, and then we headed over to get in line for Showcase, a new club under the bridge we'd heard about. We waited for about 20 minutes and were surprised to get in – there was seemingly no rhyme or reason to who was getting in – they turned down groups of guys, but also small groups of girls, of guys and girls, of people dressed very nicely - in any case, somehow we three got in, and we exhaled and laughed about it when we got past the bouncers. Inside you’d think it would be really chic... The décor and atmosphere were certainly classy, but in a fun and inviting way, rather than a snobbish and exclusive and self-important way, I thought. Partly… or greatly… because of the music. First of all, there was a live band playing when we got in, and the dude was screaming in English – it was some sort of hard rock – what? Cool, but not really my thing nor Robyn or Dorothy's... they were just finishing up, thank goodness. But the crowd over there in that section was digging it… and then another band came on, who were actually pretty good, a mix of French and English being sung… and only after that did a DJ come on, and it was NOT typical club music at all. There was a great spell of dancy retro 60s and 70s music that came on, mostly American, that was just great, and everyone was having a good time. The crowd was more hip than chic - much like the music explained at one point: "Hip teens don't wear blue jeans/Cause we're cool cats, we got soul/Cause we're the in-crowd on the scene". Funny, I figured that song was from the 60s but turns out it's from a modern group (called the Frank Popp Ensemble) that's heavily influenced by 60s rock. I also remember them playing The Kinks' "I Need You", the original "Venus" by Shocking Blue (that we can't hear now without picturing a razor), and the Hawaii-Five-O theme song.

The one thing I did notice about the clientele, which perhaps also helped make it such a good time, was that there were no guys that looked like they were going to give one of us a suggestive smirk or eye and try to pull us over to them to dance, or ask for our numbers after a two-minute getting to know you conversation that includes little beyond "where are you from" and "tu me plait beaucoup". Nice for a change! I guess their one golden rule was to not let in sketchy guys – you can kind of tell who they are right away, I must say; not that there is one look, but certain looks can certainly scream sketchy. So anyway. We danced, carefree, during the retro spurt, totally loving the environment - we felt really comfortable; no one cared what they looked like, or even whether they were dancing by themselves. I got that sense anyway. Between dancing, walking around, people watching, enjoying the music and the scene, we had a great time. Somehow it got to 3:15 pretty quickly and we headed out, getting tired.

the crazy screamy band in blue

dorothy and robyn in red...

one of the bars

the good band

on the way out. In the back, past the arches, are windows open to the Seine, letting the cool air in. Awesome!

16 May 2007

Expat Blues: France +2, US -3...

I'm sorry to say I have to continue on that slightly deprecating-towards-the-US spirit...

Current Reasons that France Rocks:
1. People cry when THEIR two-term president leaves
2. An Inconvenient Truth is third on Virgin's bestselling list, a good portion of tonight's news was spent on SmartCars and other environmentally friendly cars, and one of today's papers published a segment about huge masses of ice melting in the south pole - obviously not great news but at least it's getting blatantly out there

Current Reasons the US doesn't:
1. Today a couple students were turned away from a museum because they were under no circumstances allowed to bring in their laptops, since there could be bombing devices inside and they didn't have a mechanism to check them... We were like "Seriously? We're students." and the guard says, "Well, look what's happened with students in America..."
2. Encouragement of students carrying GUNS with them at all times ON CAMPUS in Utah and Texas?!? WHAT??!
3. Paul Wolfowitz

sigh. I'm sorry. I really do love my country and am excited to go back to it, I just can't ignore the day's events that have made this list.... Please, if anyone reads this, feel more than free to make some counter-comments to make me feel better about where I'm from!! I know the reasons exist, I just can't seem to think of them right now!

Sarko & Spoiled Tor

Wow. So this blog became just about as ambitious a project as the ziploc bags full of ticket stubs sitting on my floor at home somewhere intended to be scrapbooked. Oh well!

So today while we met outside the Musée de l'Orangerie in the Tuileries before our class there, we saw all the police cars rolling into the Place de la Concorde (where I really wish I'd been last weekend just for the experience) : the signal that Sarko was near. Yup, today Nicolas Sarkozy was officially handed over the power by Chirac in front of the Élysée - okay it's also officially too annoying to put in the accents. Anyway. My art history professor said it was "dommage" - too bad. I mentioned a conversation I had with my host mom last night, and they seem to be in agreement that the new pres will try, unfortunately, to bring France closer to the US and Britain in terms of work and economy - optionally longer workweeks, welfare cuts - basically eroding away some of what I think are key defining values in France that it'd be really a shame to lose. Yes, he'll probably boost the country's economy - but from what everyone says, and like what I'm told happened under Blair (I tread carefully with words like "I hear" and "I'm told" because I don't pretend to hide my ignorance), the poor should plan to get poorer and the rich to get richer. He's said to be closer to Bush's policies than any of the other candidates, and anticipated to bring about a lot of change to move in that direction, which my host mom shook her head at. She only said she was wary of that in terms of the war aspect - she wants her country to stay out of things like war, like they have been - but I'd be wary for the rest, too.

The values that I mentioned - what I meant by that were a deference to leisure time (which means, broken down: necessary time for family, for oneself, for travel - 36 hour workweeks, 6 week starting vacations and paternity leave - ) and a laid back attitude that knows how to enjoy life a little more day by day, and to embrace art and culture as a continuous, fluid element of it. Not to say that Sarkozy is out to change these things or that a country's people could lose some of its longstanding core values and traditions just like that, it's just that I think (fear) that it's all part of the same spirit that's about to get attacked in one way or another in the upcoming years. I like this element of France that's been a refresher to me - whether I'm really still an American at heart that will take every moment possible to work harder, make more money, more more more, I don't know - but in any case it'd be sad for the country to lose a bit of uniqueness. That's just me.

In OTHER news, things are great these days - came back from a lovely weekend in the south of France (my tan lines and weirdly placed and painful burns are starting to subside), and am currently working on finding a job (eeeek), preparing to make the most of my last month here, booking a weekend in Canada pronto, and anticipating some much-awaited catch-ups with family and friends! (Even though some of those friends are doing silly things like doing a Europe tour after I've left, leaving for the whole summer in Maine before I get home, or like, living in California or something... Thanks.) Ha, well, I'm excited and all, but what's more frappant... Striking, I mean... (the French words sometimes just come first!!!) is how sad I'll be to leave. I kinda realized, crap, this may be as good as it gets. Not that it should get any better - I couldn't ask for a more wonderful experience than the one I've been given for the past couple months - but just, wow, these are perhaps some of the best months of my life, and I'll never be in this situation again. Unless I live in Europe later in life (okay - actually I am planning on it - ), chances to come back here will be few and far between. When I get restless and need a change of scenery I won't be able to just hop on a train or a RyanAir flight and go somewhere beautiful and old that I haven't been before. And I'll certainly never have this much leisure time again... besides perhaps this summer, it might just be all downhill from here... aaaah! End of study abroad semester blues!

But in any case, ::snap-out-of-it headshake:: I'm going to just be incredibly thankful for being able to do this and try to really make the most (as in, get my ass out of bed earlier on thursdays fridays saturdays and sundays, spend a little less time on facebook, and make more of an effort to do something different every day) of the rest of my time here. Yyyyyeah!

14 May 2007


a post in progress... a chronological photo "parcours" of our one day in beautiful Cannes, just a few days before the festival (damn, we def should have chosen the next weekend, when we booked it back in February!)

05 May 2007

Encore, encore! Le Petit Thomas.

I was so happy to be greeted by this little devil again for a couple days, and his lovely parents who are eager to try out their English while helping me with my French. A couple more photos are in order...!

22 April 2007


To come. siiigh. You know you've got a good life when you're upset about coming back to Paris.