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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Since an excessive amount of Champagne, some white wine, some red wine, oysters and other nibbles in Montmartre on Saturday did nothing to get rid of my cold, I thought I should give into reality and try taking it easy for a day. So I decided to take a very easy stroll, with my camera of course, and show everyone the neighborhood where I’m staying. It’s not off the beaten track by a long shot, but it doesn’t seem to be a neighborhood many people, or at least many Americans, know. I stayed here last year as well and like the area very much.

It’s called the Sentier. It’s the center of the textile business. More recently, it’s attracted internet startups and, at least according to Wikipedia, is called “Silicon Sentier.” Hmm. I wonder if anyone is looking to hire a middle-aged, female, American, inexperienced programmer.

It’s in the second arrondissement, just a little bit north of Les Halles and the Montorgeuil neighborhood and to the northwest of the Marais , and, at least when I was looking for a place to stay, a tad less expensive. That’s not to say it’s cheap, but why pay the trendy tariff to be in the Marais? At least that’s my logic. To the west is the Opera, so it’s very close to many things. From the point of view of a former New Yorker, it’s walking distance to the Louvre, or five minutes by bus for you wimps.

Yesterday, the weather was lovely so I walked over to Montmartre where they were having a harvest festival. One of the nice things about Europe is that they appear to think that alcohol is a major food group.

This vendor featured beer, attractive young people and loud rockabilly music.

vendor_1

It looks like the graybeard in the background was also hoping to suddenly lose a decade or two off of his age.

women_playing_chess_1

For those of you thinking that these are not the best photos I’ve ever taken, you try to take good pictures while holding your third glass of champagne. I’m multi-tasking – dammit!

If you haven’t seen it yet, a post has been going around that was written by someone working for the U.S. Antarctic program, if I understand correctly, in a support capacity. For practice in French, I thought I would try translating parts of it. I’ve left out quite a bit since it would have been too much for me to do.

My apologies for the errors which I am sure are there.

It’s also obvious that I don’t know how to curse in French.

L’impact de la fermature du gouvernement des Étas-Unis a une plus grande portée que les médias ont expliqué où compris, plus que la plupart de vous peut pénétrer. Je n’ai pas l’image complète moi-même.

La programme Anarctique des Étas-Unis fermera pour l’an.

Il n’importe pas s’il est possible que le gouvernement sera au debout et en train de marcher dans quelques semaines. ….

Nous allons à l’état de gardien. Ça veut dire quoi? Nous ne savons pas exactement, mais nous savons que les pertes sont énormes. Dans les médias, ils parlent d’une foule internationale des scientifiques qui ne pourront pas faire de la science cette année à l’une de nos trois stations: McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole and Palmer. La plupart de cette science a été des décennies de la recherche et de la continuité scientifique qui nous ont menés jusqu’à des découvertes incroyables dans notre compréhension de notre monde et notre cosmos et notre rôle dedans. La science est fermée pour la saison. Pour l’an. Il n’y aura pas de science. ….

Ce qu’il reste pour nous est est fermer le station comme si nous sommes en train d’aller à une hiver dans Novembre, pas Mars. ….

Nous amener ici-bas est une maudite cauchemar chere, une énorme grappe logistique epique. …. Nous sortir d’ici dans un court délai? Trouver des chambres d’hotel à Christchurch à la dernière minute? Changer les billets d’avion? Calculer comment financer notre redéploiement (tout exige de l’argent que nous n’avons plus)? Decider qui est essentiel et qui n’est pas et quand?

….

Nous sommes tous triste. Nous avons peur. Pour beaucoup de nous, perdre ce travail ce saison nous décime financièrement. Quelqu’uns n’ont pas d’abri chez nous parce que nous avons loué nos apartements, nos maison, dépensé beaucoup d’argent en préparation pour dette saison d’emploi. …. On ne nous invite pas à travailler dans 2013, où même avant Août-Septembre de 2014. Quequ’uns de nous ne serions pas, peut-être, dans une circonstance pour revenir l’an prochain.

Même si les Républicains ont des révélations sur leur stupidité totale et leurs cerveaux foutus et reccommencent leur maudit travail, nous ne ferrons pas. Nous ne recevons pas de salaire rétroactif. On ne nous rappelera pas pour reccommencer la saison. Notre raison d’être est la science. La science est annulée. Les krills ne passent pas toute l’année, les pingouins non plus, ni les phoques, ni l’agues. Ni les poissons, ni les baleines, ni les albatros, ni l’accès aux mares de fonte des glaciers ou aux volcanes. S’il ne passe pas maintenant, il ne passera pas cet an.

En général, nous sommes tristes. Frustrés. En colère à notre gouvernement et nous avons hônte d’être Américains.

Nous sommes une partie d’un système antarctique internationalement codépendant. Ce qu’il passe aux Étas-Unis, et donc pour nous, pourrait foutre la science en Antarctique pour tante de stations et pays autour du continent. La station McMurdo est une plate-forme logistique pour les stations australiennes, russes, françaises, italiennes, et nouvelle-Zélandaises (et souvent d’autres). Lorsque l’hélicoptère francais a baissé il y a plusieurs ans? Nous avons envoyé un de notre LC-130s pour chercher. Quand les autres stations ont un incendie, ou un cas d’urgence, nous sommes souvent rassemblés pour les aider avec nos aéronef Air National Guard et équipages. …. Nous travaillons ensemble. Nous sommes une seule grande communauté quand il y a une panne. Et nous sommes en train de fermer pour la saison.

Je ne sais pas mon avenir. Peu de nous savent.

Mais je sais une chose avec certitude: Qui est en faute.

Foutre les maudits Républicains pour nous avoir mis dans la merde avec leur connerie d’extrême droite idéologique égoïste intransgeante.

Foutre-les pour raté une des chose la plus incroyable du monde, la programme Antarctique des Étas-Unis.

Vont les faire foutre.

Again, the link to the original.

Well, I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. I almost always come down with a cold when I fly, so I can’t say I’m surprised. I took it easy throughout the morning and decided to go see one of the touristy things I have seen before in the afternoon. Then I figured I’d sit in a cafe and finish writing the post I didn’t finish yesterday. Needless to say, it didn’t work out that way. A man asked me to go for a cup of coffee. At first I said, “No,” but I didn’t say no firmly and next thing I know I was saying yest. Then before I knew it, he had grabbed me by the hand and was heading to the metro. I figure that we would just go get a cup of coffee nearby. Then we emerged at another stop and walked a few blocks until we came to a particular cafe. I have no idea why we went to that cafe in particular. Now, I’m really tired and my feet are killing. I don’t know how I always get myself into these positions.

I’m single and I haven’t gotten laid in longer than I’d like to admit, but I don’t want any complications in my life.

 

place de la republique

 

Over dinner, I started writing down another memory, but I didn’t finish and I want to get to bed so I can acclimate to the time zone. In the meantime, I’ll leave you all with a photograph showing what trigered this particular memory.

gaffitti

It’s a bit rough, but I haven’t slept.

a sketch of some people at a cafe.I know this is really rough, but I’m so tired. It was such a beautiful day that I didn’t want to waste it sleeping, but I’m half delerious at the moment.

Well, I don’t think I’m going to get any awards for aesthetics with this one, but it fit the theme far too perfectly. I started my day changing planes in Heathrow en route to France…

Chairs in the waiting area at Heathrow.

The sunrise seen through a large wall of windows.

So it was Good-Night, Baltimore… Good Morning, Paris. Hardly a typical morning for me.

Maybe I’ll get some pictures of Paris tomorrow. I wonder where would be a good place to go take photos in the morning.

In a couple of days I will be going away for an extended trip. I intend to keep blogging, or at least try to. When I first started this blog, I was in Paris, so I don’t expect to have any problems, but one never knows. My main reason for announcing this is that I’ve been there quite a few times before, but I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for day trips or perhaps trips that require only a one night stay. I know I could look up something in a guide-book, but I was just thinking that maybe someone who reads my blog might have an interesting suggestion, or at least an opinion.

I did eventually meet my b-mom. She blamed my very existence on rock-n-roll. The first thing she wanted to know was if I had any musical talent. I said, “No.” She sighed and replied that I must take after her. She said, “I thought when I met you I’d know who your daddy was, but damned if you don’t look just like me.” I’d grown up in a suburbia that I’d been told was sterile and hadn’t yet learned to appreciate its positive aspects, after all peace and prosperity are not bad things for a child, and I exulted in the addition of this colorful Americana. Suddenly, I had a great-granddaddy who had been shot to death by a sheriff during a poker game – and I was born from Rock-n-Roll. Under age girls, too young to even know what a condom is let alone to ask a man to use one, getting knocked up by guys who play guitar. We know it’s gotta be someone, so it might as well be me. Too bad I can’t sing. I think it’d make a good song.

At that time in my life, I was twenty-four, exactly half the age I am today, I was spending much of my time in the East Village, mostly in nightclubs and bars that hosted bands. Luscious, Stone and I would meet at Luscious’ place in Manhattan. We’d down a six-pack between the three of us, that would be two for Stone, one and a half for me and two and a half for Luscious. She’d complain that I drank too slowly and that it was time to get going, grab the bottle out of my hand and chug-a-lug the rest. She’d do this all night long. Luscious was tall, gorgeous, brilliant, secretly in love with me for some reason I couldn’t fathom, and more gonzo over rock-n-roll than anyone I’d ever met. Stone was an audio engineer whose particular area of expertise was rapidly becoming live broadcasts of bands. Me, I was the little one who tagged along after them.

It was a different world back then. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

I used to joke that I wasn’t really a liberal; I was a libertine. We drank and smoked and danced until dawn with great gusto and regularity. I’d ride back to Brooklyn with mascara staining my cheeks, going against the morning rush hour crowd. We were denizens of the night, working shitty jobs during the day and turning into something entirely different when the sun went down. “You look like a star – but you’re really still on the dole.” We never asked what was hip, or trendy, or cool. We were the answer, at least in our own minds. No one had yet heard of bottle service. Styles were different then. It took more creativity than money to look good.

“All of your friends are married, vanished or just left a note.” Some songs can make me cry – just not love songs. Then again, who’s to say which songs are really love songs. Maybe at some level, all songs are. Somebody turn up the volume before I get sentimental. It doesn’t flatter me.

Stone, he went bankrupt, left his apartment on the eve of eviction, and moved north. Me, I moved south. Luscious – who the fuck knows. She didn’t even leave so much as a note. Stone has wondered whether she’s alive or dead. Somewhere, I think she’s alive just to spite me.

I look around me and see a world I don’t know. I feel like I live in foreign country. With each passing day I feel more and more like a refugee from the past, a displaced person with no place to call home. I can’t go back. Home doesn’t exist anymore. New York has gotten absurdly expensive. The cost of living just went up and up while our incomes stagnated until we couldn’t make ends meet anymore. Even if I could afford New York, it’s changed. The East Village is clogged with trust fund babies pretending to be what we once were. Eurotrash now lives in a Brooklyn that’s “cool.”

I’ve been told that we live in a meritocracy, the rule of the people with merit. The gap between the haves and the have-nots grows, which means the gap between the rulers and the ruled grows. Some days it seems that everyone wants to prove that they have merit. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Eat right. Exercise. Recycle. Turn out the lights. Avoid red meat. Work hard. Be monogamous. There are no more libertines. Where did my people go?

Better yet, where did my apology go?

Shortly after I started this blog, someone came by and liked one of my posts. When someone likes my posts and I don’t recognize him or her, I usually look to see if he or she has a blog. At that point, few people had liked any of my posts, so I was still especially thrilled when someone clicked the like button. I don’t recall which post it was, but it was probably about atheism because he also writes about that, far more often than I do.* I signed up to follow his blog. Since then, I’ve unfollowed a whole host of blogs because I was following too many and couldn’t keep up. His was on the chopping block.

That was Daz. His blog is called The Dixie Flatline. He can be funny and clever. Better yet, he puts up a music post every Friday night. I really liked his taste in music. It reminded me of Luscious. Weirdly, he reminds me of Luscious, however I doubt his tits are as beautiful. He did, however, once write a post about how the word titbit had been bowdlerized and turned into tidbit. Ever since, I’ve been looking for an excuse to use the sentence: Americans might have cute little chickadees but Europeans have great tits.

I became a regular lurker on his music posts. After a poor start, I began participating regularly. But you see, I had a problem, I was constantly getting my nose out of joint. Yeah, I can be an a-number-one asshole sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s not a pose. I wish it was because it can be an emotional roller coaster for me. In any case, I stopped hanging around his blog.

Then yesterday, I looked up WordPress blogs tagged with atheism. I do that from time to time. If you write about atheism and I’ve liked one of your posts, there’s a high chance I found it that way. He doesn’t believe me and I can see why, but that’s how it happened. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty inured to the romanticization of American Indians. What I saw on the page of posts tagged atheism was an embedded video of the “Cherokee Morning Song.” I almost certainly would have ignored it had I not noticed Daz’s little avatar. As usual, I got my fucking nose out of joint, and I wrote a post about it. I won’t rehash that point. However, Daz feels that I portrayed him as a “stereotypical atheist who can’t stand anything with any connection to religion.” If I did so, then I gave a very incorrect impression. I barely know him at all, but from the little I do know I’d be surprised if he was a stereotypical anything. He is, most certainly, a unique person with interesting viewpoints or I wouldn’t have hung around his blog as long as I did. I feel that it is entirely my loss that I am too sensitive, too thin-skinned and too bad tempered to continue to enjoy his posts, especially his music posts, which I miss.

Daz, I apologize for misrepresenting you. It was not intentional. I should have been more thoughtful and explained it differently.

While I’m at it, I owe Daz another apology. When I was buying a ticket with my sister looking over my shoulder, she commented on the spelling errors because she didn’t recognized British spellings. Apparently, “everyone” doesn’t understand that the British, as well as many other Anglophones, spell some words differently from people in the U.S.

*This is my recollection. If I first got to his blog in a different manner, perhaps he liked a post I liked, because if I see that another person and I have liked many of the same posts I’ll check out their blog, my apologies for my inaccurate memory. I think he once liked a post of mine, but maybe not.