July 2004 archive

(42 entries)

July 31, 2004

Dream

I dreamt last night that I was walking through an airport with a bunch of people including my mom, friends from home, and my sleazy boss. At one point, I just turned around and started ripping into my sleazy boss, telling him what was wrong with him and what was wrong with the company. My mom was later concerned that I would lose my job, but I pointed out to him that I have three weeks left and that I was going to finish my projects before I left. He actually took me seriously and got really depressed. Someone told me later that he had pulled the commercials he had made from the airwaves because they were sleazy and dishonest, then he lost the presidential election, having somehow turned into George W. Bush somewhere in the course of the dream.

srah | 5:31 AM | TrackBack
Tags: dream

July 30, 2004

Shower, yes. Internet, no.

There's something gone wrong with the Internet infrastructure (the guy on the phone used the phrase "le backbone") of the Région Centre so that our ISDN (or whatever it is) connection doesn't work, but the ASDL at our B&B does. This has conveniently managed to happen right in the middle of prime summer vacation time, when everyone in France abandons their jobs to go to Normandy or Nice or wherever the hell they are instead of fixing my Internet!!!!!!1 So I've got a few precious moments of Internet to say that I miss you, and by "you" I mean my blog.

Or you.

Perhaps!

You shall never know.

Thankfully, though, we finally have our shower back (although it's probably tempting fate to say so because every time I say we don't have it, we get it back and every time I say it's back, we lose it). If I were both filthy and unable to communicate with the outside world, I would probably be home by now!

srah | 5:15 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

July 26, 2004

Signs will be made! And posted! Stern ones!

Bitches! Someone has stolen the golden pie! And by "golden pie" I mean my freaking ice cream from my freaking staff-only freezer!

The latest group at the abbey are a bunch of prepubescent rugrats who think that refrigerators are magical devices that create food just for them to trip along and snag. BOOOOOOOOO!

At least it wasn't the Cookies & Cream...

In other abbey news, we never got our shower back after all, so I smell.

And I have no ice cream!

I am going to kick some tiny musical arse!

srah | 7:15 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

Dream

I dreamt last night that I was telling Becky I kept almost walking into our bathroom even though it's not ours anymore... then I looked around and I was standing in our bathroom as I said it. Later, another of my colleagues was wearing an awful green kilt and tossing me up in the air like a baby, but high enough that I almost hit the ceiling.

Clearly this dream means that my subconscious is tortured by the lack of hygienic facilities. And the overwhelming fear that Chris is going to turn Scottish and throw me around.

srah | 2:46 AM | TrackBack
Tags: dream

July 25, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

Righty-o. Free associations. I done 'em. I typed 'em up. I put 'em in the extension for your viewing pleasure.

ARE YOU SATISFIED YET????

srah | 3:10 PM | TrackBack
Tags: memes, unconscious mutterings

'Je préfère les chevaux bruns... ça ne se salit pas autant que les blancs.'

Spent a lovely weekend in Grenoble, visiting the host-fam (minus Denis, who is spending the summer hols wandering around in Egypt). I got to take a shower every morning and spent a lot of time being pénible and making terrible puns, which I will not burden you with because I've forgotten most of them* and they're all in French anyway and wouldn't translate.

The trip there was frought with Americans. In the train from Onzain to Paris I avoided talking to the one in my compartment, but the one sitting across from me Paris-Grenoble addressed me first, asking if I spoke English. He was so relieved to find someone who spoke English that he felt the need to fill the next three hours with that language, despite having very little to actually say. I was painfully polite and tried to humour him, but he kept fading off, then I'd think Yes! I can read my book now! Then he'd start off with "Oh!" as if he were suddenly reminded of a related story and start talking about something else altogether, which I still didn't care about. I think he might have been functionally retarded. He once thought of studying astrophysics, so perhaps he's just socially retarded.

We had crêpes for dinner. I think mushroom-and-cheese is my favorite combination. I made Sophie help me with the batter pouring and all, for I am hopeless and American and their crêpe-making ways are strange to me.

Saturday, we went up into the Vercors (local mountain range) and visited various museums and memorials related to the French Resistance and particularly the freedom-fighters who created resistance camps in that area. It was kind of strange to do this just after I'd read the Elizabeth George book that talks about building a museum about the resistance movement on Guernsey.

I think World War II was a lot longer ago for Americans than it is for Europeans. This makes sense, of course, because we were hardly involved and we had nothing to rebuild, nowhere near the sense of confusion or betrayal or loss. I felt kind of strange about visiting all of these things and being such an outsider. The French people would walk by the translation of a German soldier's letter home and exclaim in shock, "Do you see? He said that the French were pigs! They called us dogs!" and all I could think was, It's a WAR! What the hell do you think the French were calling the Germans?

Some of the things in the first museum were also just rather grotesque and inappropriate for family viewing. There were lots of photos taken of Resistance fighters after their deaths, with bits of them blown off and portions of skin missing from their faces... I guess other museums have things that are just as graphic and that it was very moving as a result, but it also just wasn't a very good museum. It wasn't very well organized, it hadn't been renovated since it was built in the 1970s, and it was just sort of a jumble of artifacts and documents and badly-presented information. It needed a good museum studies intern, it did.

The memorial was a much more modern building and was more of an experience than a museum - using video, sound, pictures and even the design of the building itself to tell its stories. Unfortunately, they were much the same stories that we'd already learned in the museum. There are a lot of museums and memorials in the Vercors - perhaps more than there are actual stories to tell.

That evening, Sophie and I went to the movies. We missed the showtimes of all of the movies we were actually interested in seeing, so we went to see Alexandrie... New York, which sounded not bad but wasn't our top choice. It turned out it actually was bad. It was a bad movie and it was unintentionally laughable. It was understandable, in some ways, because I think (I hope) the director intended it as an Egyptian film to be watched by Egyptians, rather than to be watched by an American and a Frenchie. That would explain why all of the scenes in "California" and "New York" were clearly filmed in Egypt, why the never-ending US graduation scene was not like any graduation I have ever seen or will ever see in the US and why, inexplicably, everyone in the United States spoke perfect Arabic - even the racist people who were making camel-jokes about the hero and telling him to go back where he came from. (In the movie's defense, Germans in English-language movies are always speaking English to each other... but they at least have the courtesy to do so with a heavy fakey German accent!)

On Sunday, we slept in and had a nice relaxed lunch before I had to go to the train station. Uneventful American-ridden trains to Paris and on to Onzain, then back home!

–––––
* Well, okay, if you insist. A few I remember

Françoise: Voilà, le Tour San Venin!
me: Est-ce qu'il y a beaucoup de tours avec vénin?

Walking through the Parc Paul Mistral with Sophie:
me: C'est qui, Paul Mistral?
Sophie: Je sais pas. Celui qui a fait construire le parc? Non, 'chais pas.
me: Est-ce qu'il a perdu beaucoup de choses?
Sophie: Quoi?
me: Ben... parce que sinon, ça serait un Mistral gagnant.
(Sophie groans)

I AM SO FUNNY! HA!

srah | 1:12 PM | TrackBack
Tags: crepes, host family, travel

July 22, 2004

Righty-o.

"srah, from this day forward you will also be known as: Colonel Drunkenpaws"

[via A Cheeky Squirrel]

srah | 5:37 PM | TrackBack
Tags: discovered

Rule #7: No dry humping!

Right. I know I said something about cuddling in the last post, but NO. No no no.

[via greenfairy]

srah | 5:18 PM | TrackBack
Tags: discovered

A meme. One that is craplicious.

I feel like doing a crappy meme. You got a problem with that?

srah | 3:49 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Tags: memes

July 21, 2004

How to handle a srah

It doesn't solve anything, but my supervisor invited me and Becky to spend tonight in our B&B. I hate that she probably did this because I cried.

I cry when I get frustrated or angry. I cry when I don't get my way or when I want people to listen to me and they're not.

While I always like getting my way, on another level, it really bothers me when people give in to my crying and let me have my way or give me what I want. I wish that once in a while, someone would just have a backbone and let me cry and say, "You know, you can howl and greet* all you want, but it isn't going to change anything."

And then let me have my way.

Sigh...

–––––
* a Scottish word for crying, wailing and generally carrying on that I picked up from Christopher Brookmyre

srah | 7:30 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

You can't handle the truth! Or the tears that come with it!

Nearing the end of my status interview with my supervisor:

Supervisor: Are you happy?
Me: (shrugs) Yeah, it's not bad, now that I have a bathroom again.*
Supervisor: Is this internship everything you'd hoped it would be?
(I think hard about how to respond diplomatically)
Supervisor: Truthfully.
Me: Truthfully... it's everything I expected it to be.
Supervisor: How's that?
Me: Well, I knew coming in that I probably wasn't going to get credit for it and that I wasn't going to be doing exactly what I wanted, but it was something to keep me busy over the summer, so... I'm busy.
Supervisor: Not exactly what you wanted? Isn't this what you're studying?
Me: Well yeah, but I'm studying it. I don't know what I'm doing yet and there's no one to teach me or tell me what to do, so I'm just making it up as I go along.
Supervisor: And you're not getting credit? Wasn't that the whole point of you coming over here?
Me: Well, kind of. I mean, I had realized I wasn't going to be getting credit by the time I came over here, because there are all kinds of requests to be filled out and reports to be done and [T3h B1g Ch33z] has never even taken the first step, even though he brings it up every time I talk to him and even though all the first step consists of is sending an email. So I really don't feel like he's reliable enough that it's ever going to happen, but I'm resigned to not getting credit now. It's okay.
(tears well up; it's not okay)
Supervisor: Well I'll do whatever I can and blah blah blah blah blah...
(a tear rolls down my cheek)
Me: Oh, oops. Man. It's, um, it's just the bathroom. And... it's been a hard week. With... the bathroom and all. And... um, sometimes it's hard. Because there's no separation between our personal and professional lives. And... it's been a hard week. But... uh, I'll make it.
(tries not to blurt out "It's only 35 more days" because that would look like I've been counting)
(meeting wraps up with some more blah blah blah and the supervisor bringing me tissues and promising to do what she can although she doesn't know what she can do)
(I leave the office sniffling and red-faced)

I'm not happy and it's not just the bathroom. I've had little breakdowns before where I just need to have a good cry, but doing so in front of my supervisor in the middle of a status meeting was probably not the best way to go.

Is it the weekend yet? Is it August 25 yet?

–––––
* Somehow my asstard co-workers managed to overbook the abbey so that our bathroom (crappy and awful and smelly and flooded as it was, it was still ours) was taken away and we would have to trek across campus to the other intern residence any time we wanted to take a shower. This situation has since been rectified, by the guest who would have been taking it over complaining and moving into our Bed & Breakfast instead.

srah | 5:31 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

July 18, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

Yet another post! Aren't you, the reader, lucky? So go read it already.

srah | 7:01 PM | TrackBack
Tags: memes, unconscious mutterings

Communication hijinks

For those of you who were confused by my last three posts (on either end of the Atlantic):

vacation (US): holiday
posh (UK): fancy

rubbish (UK): garbage (or in this case 'not very good at all - terrible, in fact')
corridor (UK): hallway
ground beef (US): minced beef (I think)
hen party (UK): bachelorette party (actually, I think it's hen night, but there's no fixing it now!)

pants (US): trousers
hire (UK): rent
hire (US): uh... like, employ someone. Exchange money or radishes for services and stuff.
courgette (UK): zucchini
pudding (UK): dessert

I think that's all of them... all the ones I shouted out, anyway.

srah | 6:47 PM | TrackBack
Tags:

'That shorrre would be swell, maaa'aaam...'

Apparently there was a huge storm during the night with thunder and pouring rain and lightning that lit up the sky. Apparently this storm happened right after we went to bed. Who knew? My reputation for sleeping through just about anything on earth remains intact!

After the big storm, the rest of the day's weather was sort of questionable, but I'd thought the same thing the day before and had left my sunglasses at the house. So this time I brought them along, but warned Jez that bringing them along would only make it rain.

We set off for the Château de Chambord, which is actually on the other side of P--------. If I'd been planning this well from the beginning, we probably would have done it on the first day. But we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants ("PANTS!") and making it up as we went along.

The château was full of tourists, but was also enormous and mostly able to contain them all. There were metal detectors at the entrance, which we didn't see at any of the other châteaux. I hired an audioguide, by which I mean the American meaning of the word "hire" and not the English one, and by which I mean that Jez walked around the château and read the visitors' brochure to me in an audioguidey voice and occasionally picked up the Spanish audioguide channel instead.

We started off the visit with the traditional trip up the double-helix staircase, peeking at each other through the staircase's windows and running up and hiding. It's really two staircases winding around each other, so that people on one will never meet people on the other. We nearly didn't meet at the top, because it didn't occur to us that they wouldn't intersect there either. But I found him eventually and we explored the balconies and the lower levels of the château. There was a lot of art in the castle - copies of paintings that François Ier kept there, exhibits about François' love for the arts and Leonardo da Vinci's time spent in France. There were also a few furnished rooms that were on view, including the Queen's Apartment and the apartments of the Comte de Chambord, who would have liked to have become king of France in 1871 but never made it. Poor thing.

The Leicester Codex was a special exhibit at the castle. It's a collection of 18 recto-verso folio pages that Leonardo da Vinci did, recording many of his findings about the properties of water, sea animals, tides, astronomy, his love for doughnuts and Olivia Newton John and much more. It's all done in his mirrored handwriting, but even the computer program we saw later that mirrored it back didn't help us decipher it much.

We finally got around to lunch after exploring just about all of the château we could find. Jez's mum had packed us some tabouleh and some courgette ("COURGETTE!") quiche for me, so we went and retrieved it from the car and ate on the grass in front of the château. At one point, Jez left to go get a sandwich to supplement his lunch and left me to watch over the digital camera. When he came back, there were pictures of the castle and the sky and my lunch and Jez walking back... I really couldn't say where they came from. It must have been ghosts or something.

By the time I finished eating, there was about an hour and a half left before we had to leave to be home for dinner. So rather than continue on to Blois as planned, we decided that seven châteaux in three days was really sufficient and just lazed around in the grass for about an hour. A well-needed rest!

We drove back to St Cyran and had grilled steaks for dinner, along with several vegetable dishes. I made a valiant effort and finished almost everything on my plate, had only a tiny bit of cheese during that course, then managed to polish off my pudding ("PUDDING!") which was a sort of fruit-and-spongecake thing with crème fraiche dolloped on top. Wow. We retired to the sitting room and had tea and coffee and chocolates, then Jez and I went for another walk through St Cyran and the environs, in a different direction this time.

It was starting to get dark at this point, so we packed my bag into the car, I said goodbye to Jezmum and Jezdad, and we drove off to P--------. Jez did a lot of driving over the course of the weekend! His poor car probably didn't know what it was doing, especially being on the wrong side of the road and all. We got to P-------- around 11 or so and said our goodbyes. It was a great weekend and a wonderful time spent with an old/new friend.

srah | 6:37 PM | TrackBack
Tags: travel

July 17, 2004

'This is a castle. And we have many tapestries. But if you are a Scottish lord, then I am Mickey Mouse!'

I think I slept in this morning. We hadn't set a waking-up time, but Jez was ready before I was. We had breakfast (a whole pot of tea for me!) and set off for Loches.

Loches is the next sizeable town to St Cyran, so Jez was familiar with the Château de Loches, which is not a big, well-known tourist destination. We walked through the Saturday market and up into the walls of the old part of the city.

When we bought our tickets, the ticket-seller saw my magnetic-strip credit card (as opposed to the chip that lots of European cards have now) and asked where I was from. I like to think that he would have thought I was French if it weren't for my credit card. *grin*

Anyway, I said that I was from the USA and didn't bother to explain any differently for Jez, which, of course, set him off trying out his American accent. It's... very good. He, uh, shows lots of talent with accents. NO, HE DOESN'T! It was rubbish. ("RUBBISH!")

The castle was small but interesting and focused a lot on Charles VII and his mistress, Agnès Sorel. All of the rooms connect to each other in sequence rather than having some kind of corridor ("CORRIDOR!") connecting to all of them. Joan of Arc also had some history at Loches, as there seems to be a Joan-story in every town in France. She had to stop at Loches to chase down the Dauphin yet again when he wouldn't go and be crowned the first time she asked.

On the lower level of the castle, there was an exhibit on Louis XI and the changing perspective of history on the way he's been portrayed. Unfortunately, neither of us was very familiar with the backstory, so being told that the story was changing didn't do us much good. Apparently he liked to lock people in wooden cages - but only nobles and clergymen! And he was stingy - but he could be generous when he wanted something out of someone! He sounds quite charming, I'm sure.

After Louis XI, we headed over to the castle's donjon. I managed to wallop my head on a doorway or something early on, but as we weren't at Amboise, I was okay and didn't die.

Not... yet!

There are a lot of strange things at the Loches donjon, like the room advertised as Cardinal Balue's Dungeon which was later explained to have really been a grain mill that was long misidentified as the place of the clergyman's imprisonment, or the torture chamber that may or may not have been used as a torture chamber. But there was a lot to see in the various towers of the dungeon, and it was worth all of the tiny spiral staircases we had to climb up and down and up and down and up and down.

Yes, worth it. But only barely. :)

With all that walking UP AND DOWN AND UP AND DOWN ABOUT A MILLION STAIRCASES, we worked up an appetite and stopped for croques and to find some nice English-speaking English tourists to embarass Jez (there had already been plenty of Americans for me at Chenonceau the day before).

After lunch, we took off for Azay-le-Rideau, which Jez's parents had warned us was very nice on the outside but not much to see on the inside. We had to go somewhere before Chinon, though, and break up the stair-heavy medieval castles with something more Renaissansical*. We stopped for drinks again before hitting the château and had nice refreshing menthes à l'eau. The town was very nice and flowery with bridges and ducks and bright, narrow streets leading to the castle.

On the inside, as predicted, the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau was kind of boring. Lots and lots of tapestries, not much royal history, as it was the château of a nobleman rather than a royal residence. The outside was very nice, though, with a cleanly trimmed lawn, nice gardens and trees and bridges and a nice moat with ducks and swans and crocodiles and hippopotomi in it.

What's next, then? Righty-o. We walked back to the car, stopping to watch the ducks on the way, then drove to Chinon. We parked next to the river and walked up the hill to the castle. On the way we stopped at the Église St Maurice, just as Joan of Arc once did - except I don't think she stopped to listen to the organ practice. And I bet if she had, the organist wouldn't have stopped as soon as she walked into the church and picked up again as soon as she left! Not that that happened to anyone I know.

We continued up the hill to the Château de Chinon. Thankfully it was a hill rather than stairs! Chinon is now mostly in ruins, but you can see the remnants of the medieval fortress where Joan of Arc first met the Dauphin Charles and picked him out of a crowd of courtiers, telling him to go and be crowned king of France.

You can also see the remnants of a lot of other stuff, but it's mostly towers that you can climb UP AND DOWN using spiral staircases and look out of tiny slit-windows and pretend you're shooting arrows at people. It may have once been the dog kennel or the pantry, but now it mostly looks like a tower room with some tall, narrow windows.

The room where the famous meeting took place is actually mostly gone now, with a few feet of wall in place as well as the fireplace at one end. Grass is growing inside, but if you have a lot of imagination, you can remember it as it was... in movies.

We walked back through Chinon, keeping an eye out for dinner. Well, Jez did, as dinner was his bailiwick and I refused to participate in any decisions. We worked out a trade where when he buys me a private jet, I will buy him a courtyard with a house to go with it. I hope he doesn't buy me a private jet, but now it's blogged for all eternity so I guess I'll have to stick to it.

We ended up going back to Loches for dinner, as Jez had heard of a new pizzeria that had recently opened up. The Pizzeria Sforza was named for Ludovic Sforza, the Milanese nobleman who was a prisoner in the Château de Loches but had his jester imprisoned with him and was allowed a guarded escort to go hunting in the local forests from time to time.

Luckily we were very clever this time and only ordered a demi-bouteille of wine. I had a Lochoise pizza, which had ground beef ("GROUND BEEF!"), potatoes, onions, crème fraiche, olives** and I don't know what else. It was very tasty and very never-ending.

Just for the record, I do, from time to time, finish everything on my plate. Anyone want to back me up on this one?

*crickets chirp*

Hmm. Well anyway, a hen party ("HEN PARTY!") came in just as we were finishing up our dinner, so we escaped into the streets and tried to figure out how to get ahold of Jez's friend Ben, who had invited us to a party that night. He hadn't answered his phone all day, but Jez had a vague memory that the name of the location of the party started with C. So we scoured the road map and eventually came up with La Courroirie.

We got there, parked along the side of the road and walked across the grass to the party. It was an enormous sort of fête, apparently organized by Ben's brother-in-law (?), who has owned nightclubs in Paris. There was music, artists showed their music, and a hot air balloon was in- and de-flated over the course of the evening. We had a few drinks and talked to Ben and his Franco-Australian friends, tried to be deep and appreciate the modern art, giggled, were hypnotized by digital video art and, after a few hours, left to get back home.

We are such party animals that we left the party around midnight and came home and played Trivial Pursuit until 3am! I won both games that we played, but my victories were rather suspect as Jez would skip any of the Entertainment or Sports & Leisure questions that seemed too Anglo-centric. I ended up getting a pie piece at one point for knowing that if the Detroit Red Wings were playing the Chicago Blackhawks, it would be a hockey game. %)

srah | 9:34 PM | TrackBack
Tags: france, travel

July 16, 2004

'Have you fed the fish today?'

The weather was unusually warm and sunny all weekend. I've been layering jackets over sweaters over long-sleeved shirts for weeks now, but we had a brief respite this weekend where it was warm - maybe even hot - for hours at a time. It was a very nice atmosphere for a weekend of castling with Jez, who came down to visit and invited me to stay with his family.

Jez called me when he left his parents' house, so I got my stuff together and took advantage of the sunshine to sit in front of the abbey and read my book. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the direction he'd be arriving from, so he had to call me and we found each other using the 'wander around for a while until you see someone else wandering around and talking on a cell phone' strategy.

We walked to his car, which he had brought over on a train in the Chunnel so that we could zoom about all weekend. Seeing as it was an English car, we had plenty of hijinks and foibles all weekend with the driver being on the opposite side. If you want to know his bank card code, it's... well, okay, maybe not.

I decided that our first stop would be Amboise, because I've never been there and because I've been on a Leonardo da Vinci kick of lately. We drove to the town, got a sweet parking space, then sat in a café and had a drink and chatted at the base of the château.

We went and bought our tickets to the Château d'Amboise and had our first instance of the Dilemma of Brochure-Languages. I think we ended up asking for one French and one English one. It's nice to have the English brochure, but you never know what you're getting yourself into. We were a professional translator and a snarky language nerd, so it was best that we have the French alternative in case the English was translated so badly or so strangely that it only frustrated us. That was my reasoning, anyway. People probably thought we were crazy because we always had to discuss what language we spoke.

We stopped into St Hubert's Chapel, where the presumed remains of Leonardo da Vinci are now buried (apparently he had been interred in a nearby church that was ruined and it didn't occur to anyone to dig him up until about 60 years later!) and explored the rest of the grounds and the Gothic/Renaissance style château. François I, the children of Henri II and Catherine de Medici and Mary Stuart all spent time in Amboise while they were growing up.

Charles VIII hit his head on a doorway here in 1498 and died a few hours later. Although some of the stairs and doorways were clearly made for people shorter than the average for today, none of them seemed dangerously low - so maybe he had some help.

At some point in the trip, Jez and I made a formal division of labour where I had to make any decisions related to châteaux and he s'est occupé de all those related to food. So he picked a saladerie/crêperie down the street from the castle and we had a break.

After lunch, we went to the nearby Château du Clos-Lucé, which was the home of Leonardo da Vinci while he was living in France as a guest of François I. In addition to the normal châteaux features like period furnishings, the museum and grounds are full of reproductions of Da Vinci's paintings, sketches and inventions. IBM has sponsored the construction of models of several of Leonardo's inventions, which probably only existed on paper and in Leonardo's head.

We continued our visit to the Clos-Lucé with a walk through the grounds, which contain life-sized versions of many of his inventions and recordings of scientific observations he made. We left through the one-way gate and decided that Da Vinci had invented that one, too.

I've been confused for a while as to the spelling of the name "Chenonceau(x)" but I've now discovered that this is because the town is Chenonceaux and the castle is the Château de Chenonceau.

We stopped for another drink and I had a lovely apricot juice and we examined the tables' centerpieces, which appeared to have some kind of artichokes or weird old potatoes in buckets.

Chenonceau is the château des dames and has been home to Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici (mistress and wife, respectively, of Henri II), Louise de Lorraine (widow of Henry III), Gabrielle d'Estrees (official favourite of Henry IV) and I don't know who else. It's chock-full of lady-history, though, I'll assure you. During WWII, one end of the castle (which bridges the Cher river) was in Occupied France and the other in "Free" France. The long gallery was used as an escape route during that war and as a hospital during WWI.

We also visited the kitchen, which was packed with horrible tourists from places like England and the US. Jez told me all about his bartering system of translation for radishes while we were down there, but it has only just now occurred to me that what he is really working towards is probably a great big turnip in the country.

I think it was at Chenonceau that we began the language game, which consisted mostly of coming up with words or phrases in British or American English that do not exist in the other. This usually manifested itself as one of us carrying on a normal conversation and then the other loudly shouting out some strange word that had been used. "VACATION!"

After Chenonceau, we headed to Jez's parents' home in St Cyran du Jambot. I had thought that P-------- was small, but the commercial sector of St Cyran, it would appear, consists of a bar and a tractor dealership. I met Jezmum and Jezdad briefly, then we went for a walk around St Cyran and through the local equestrian school, petted some horses, didn't get bitten and saw the famous Jambot river from whence the name St Cyran du Jambot comes from.

Well, more of a stream, really. A trickle.

Still, it's better than St Sirop du Jambon, which is how I originally heard the town name! It was a nice, quiet little place.

We went out for dinner and had a posh ("POSH!") meal on the banks of the Indrois in Gemillé or Chemillé or some similarly named town (everything around there rhymes, I think). We ordered a bottle of wine, which was silly because Jez was driving so I had to pitch in and do my part to help out the team. I stumbled back to the car, slurred some helpful navigational advice and stumbled back into the house to fall asleep... at 11pm. Lame!

srah | 5:37 PM | TrackBack
Tags: france, travel

'I AM the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells!'

"That Jez is crap at driving!"

Hey, look! Two birds! A stone!

Poor birds. :(

(More "What I did over my Weekend Hols" is coming soon, if by "soon" you mean tomorrow, after I have slept.)

srah | 2:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Tags: travel

July 15, 2004

'Can it be true? That I hold here in my mortal hand a nugget of purest green?'

On our last night in France last year, at the end of the assistantship, Renata, Jenny and I went out for Indian food. We found a restaurant just by wandering around and I happened to look up and see that it was in the Rue Nicholas Flamel.

At the time, I only knew Flamel as the "only known maker of the Philosopher's [or Sorcerer's] Stone" from the Harry Potter books, but it turns out that he really existed. Flamel was a fourteenth-century French alchemist and that he really was rumoured to possess the Philosopher's Stone, which is supposed to create an elixir of immortality as well as having the alchemic powers to turn ordinary metals to gold.

srah | 5:58 AM | TrackBack
Tags: assistantship, books, harry potter, harry potter and the sorcerer's stone, paris, travel

July 14, 2004

Feux d'artifice!

It's Bastille Day today, the French national holiday. They're going to be shooting fireworks off from the abbey grounds, so it appears we'll have to vacate the presences.

That's probably for the best, because the latest blog-picture has convinced me that I'm getting fat from eating cheese and never having to go anywhere and that a walk would do me good.

*sigh*

Hopefully it is just the posture/shirt wrinkles/facial expression!

srah | 12:11 PM | TrackBack
Tags: holidays

Halfway through my payments

Just wanted to let you know that this Onion article is completely unfounded and untrue, in that I'm pretty sure that we don't have an Office of the Bursar.

Other than that, sure. Run with it.

srah | 7:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Tags: university of michigan

July 13, 2004

'It's all about the berries with you...'

New Weebls cartoon! With world-famous celebrities!

[via Somewhat, Muchly]

srah | 3:53 AM | TrackBack
Tags: discovered

July 12, 2004

'T'es pour Bush, toi? Non, c'est un gros connard, lui!'

November is setting itself up to be quite a month of negativity as I find myself voting against things instead of for anything. I hate having to do that. I wish I liked Kerry at all.

srah | 10:16 AM | TrackBack
Tags: election 2004, marriage, politics, voting

Workin' for the Man

I was so exhausted from the weekend that I let myself sleep in an hour. When you work where you live and can determine your own schedule, you can do that. So as a result, I was in the shower when Kathy called and asked me to pick Becky up at the train station.

When I finally got the message, I had to hurry there and all of the usual cars were gone, so I had to take The Silver Bullet.

All of our cars have cute little names - the Red Rocket is a 1987 Opel Corsa, the Green Pea is a van that can't be much younger than that, then there are The Durango (not very cute, since it's a Durango) and the Silver Bullet (a minivan) - newer, automatic-transmission cars which the Big Cheez had brought over from the states, complete with Michigan license plates.

I feel like a freak driving around in a car with Michigan plates. I feel like a freak driving around in a minivan that doesn't fit through the streets. I feel out of control driving an automatic. On the way back, I almost drove off the road twice. I think I scared Becky.

We got back in time for our meeting where I found out that I now have to work in the computer lab, 9-6 Monday-Friday. I hate this because I loved my freedom to work anywhere on campus and to name my own hours. It wouldn't have been so bad if it had been this way all along - it's just the fact that I got used to freedom and now they're taking it away because they want to assign particular workplaces and workhours to everyone. Once it's "fixed up", though, I get to move from the computer lab to the room next to the computer lab, which my supervisor assures me will have electricity once he runs an extension cord over from the lab.

ARGH!

Why am I still here?

srah | 4:58 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

July 11, 2004

Le douceur angevin? Ca fait plutot froid.

I managed to sleep until noon today, so I missed the entire morning and went straight into lunch rather than eating breakfast pastries. Sorry, Rachel. I got up, got showered and dressed, then we went to Le May's bar, where Antoine's brother works, to pick up Julien and his girlfriend, Lolotte and bring them with us for lunch. They brought along their cat, who spent all of lunch chasing and being chased by Antoine and Fanny's cat, Kira (full name: Chat-Kira).

They really seemed to enjoy the bottle of Menetou-Salon blanc that I brought along, which was lucky because I know just about nothing about wine and just bought something that I was familiar with. We had a lovely and huge Sunday dinner, which was also a birthday dinner for Antoine's sister, Lucie. For dessert, rather than a birthday cake, there was an assortment of pastries from the shop. I had a cream puff, which was lovely and very filling. Having grown up in a pastry shop, the Astagneau children all know a lot about pastry and have developed delicate tastebuds when it comes to these things - they could tell that their father was using a different brand of vanilla these days. Wow.

Once lunch was finished, it was time to race to the train station to make sure I made my train. We made it just in time for me to buy my ticket, say my goodbyes, and hop on the train.

The wait at St Pierre des Corps was shorter on the way back, so I only had 20 minutes between my trains. Anca brought me back to the abbey from Montrichard, I checked my email and chatted online for a while, then collapsed into bed, exhausted from my excursion into Real France!

srah | 5:38 PM | TrackBack
Tags: travel

Unconscious Mutterings

Here be the free associations made by me...

srah | 2:24 PM | TrackBack
Tags: memes, unconscious mutterings

July 10, 2004

Angers management?

I woke up at 7:30 this morning.

"Fat chance," I grumbled, considering that F&A and I had decided on a 10am wake-up time. I rolled back over and slept until 10:30. Then I got up, got showered and dressed and went around the corner to F&A's for breakfast. We had pastries from his parents' shop for breakfast - some lovely thing with a thin custardy layer and chocolate chips. After everyone was showered and dressed, we left for Angers.

We picked up a few friends of Antoine's and went out window-shopping. We didn't buy any windows, nor did we buy anything else. Triumph for the shoppinged-out srah! I had a lovely chicken sandwich from a boulangerie for lunch, and while they were being made, the boys stood outside and played a game that consisted of Watch The Pile Of Dog Poop In The Street And See Who Steps In It And How They React. Ah, boys.

After shopping, we went back to David's apartment and hung around for a while as we tried to figure out where to go to dinner and collected people to go along with us. I had an interesting conversation with Gildas' girlfriend, Julie, about how France and the US are different, especially in terms of nightlife and Internet use.

We finally picked a Lebanese restaurant, made reservations, and had an apéritif. I was just going to have menthes à l'eau, but I was convinced to try some Martini blanc. It was okay. I guess I would drink it again. It wasn't as strong as the Martini rouge I tasted at the chalet last year.

We walked through town to the Babylon restaurant, where we sat in the back room. Many of the group hadn't had Lebanese food before or hadn't had it many times before. We ended up ordering a sort of sampler meal for the whole group, with 12 hot and cold dishes to pass. There was tabouleh, fattouch, falafel, baba ganouch, grape leaves stuffed with a rice mixture, smoked beef, hummous, triangles of pita with cheese sandwiched between them, triangles of pita with a meat mixture sandwiched between them... I'm missing a few dishes, but anyway, it was amazing in quantity and variety. I followed it up with a glass of mint tea.

After the meal was over, Fanny and Antoine and I went for a walk in Old Angers and saw the castle, the cathedral and the Maine river. We met up with the others at a crocodile-themed bar that served little gummi crocodiles with all of the drinks. I, unfortunately, was falling asleep most of the time we were there. I couldn't figure out at the time why I was so tired, but I realize now that my brain was not used to constantly speaking, hearing and thinking in French. Poor little thing was working hard!

In the car on the way back from Angers, I happened to look out the window and see the Big Dipper. This is quite amazing for me, given that I can never ever see constellations. This one just popped right out at me. The stars were very bright and Le May is far enough out from the big city that it doesn't have a lot of light pollution. I suppose it would be the same situation in Little America, but I don't spend a lot of time looking up there.

We finally got home around 3:30 and I revived myself enough to walk inside and up the stairs, change into my pyjamas and zonk out until morning.

srah | 9:48 PM | TrackBack
Tags: travel

July 9, 2004

"Tu es mexicaine? J'adooooooore les fajitas!'

The trip to Angers was long. It was only about 1.5 hours of train travelling time, but a 1.5 hour wait at St Pierre des Corps had to be figured in, too. Blechhhhh! In case you wondered, here is what is around the train station in St Pierre des Corps: Nothing.

I arrived in Cholet and Antoine picked me up at the station. They were out with some colleagues of Fanny's from work, so we went back to the restaurant and hung out with them for a while. They were language teachers from all over the place, but the wacky Brits sort of adopted me as their fellow anglophone and chatted with me. I had ice cream: one scoop of coffee and one scoop of crème brulée, rather unappetisingly labeled in English as "burned cream."

After the restaurant, Fanny and Antoine and I went to this bar that a friend of theirs owns. It's a sports club - with beach soccer and paintball - during the day and a loungey sort of bar at night. It was nice and large and open.

After sitting around and drinking and chatting for a while, we went to Le May, where I stayed in Antoine's old room at his parent's house, which is just around the corner from Fanny and Antoine's apartment.

srah | 6:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Tags: travel

Haiku regarding the picture at left

See how I'm dressed in
November 2002?
I want a scarf now.

This cold weather is
inappropriate - July
should be stifling!

srah | 9:21 AM | TrackBack
Tags: haiku, poetry, travel, weather

Syllables counted/ Poems being created/ Haiku explosion!

A few years ago
I went to Le May sur Evr'
Haiku all the way.

Return of haiku!
Return of Srah to Le May!
Return to pastry?

I was to go to
Angers tonight, but so is
The darned Tour de France!

There's too much traffic.
Darned sports! Instead, I must take
the train to Cholet.

See friends, eat pastries
Sight-see... most importantly:
Escape the abbey!

srah | 6:25 AM | TrackBack
Tags: antoine, haiku, poetry, travel

'Or as the Indians call it, 'maize'. In conclusion, Libya is a land of contrast.'

Dear France,

Popcorn is meant to be salty. Sometimes it is also meant to be buttery and delicious. We are the continent that spawned popcorn, so we should know. Stop your crack-smoking, popcorn-sweetening ways! You are wrong and we are right; get used to it!

Sincerely,

SRAH who got her hopes up when she found out there was, for some reason, a brand-new popcorn vending machine in the abbey

srah | 5:27 AM | TrackBack
Tags: blackadder, cultural differences, food, my favorite posts, popcorn

July 8, 2004

Why English Teachers Die Early

I'd like to thank Mr B------'s mom for sending him this email forward* so that he might forward it on to me, which he hardly ever does, so that I might post an email forward in my blog, which I hardly ever do.

Why English Teachers Die Early
Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays


1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

–––––
* Oh, and for giving birth to him 24 years ago today.

srah | 3:25 PM | TrackBack
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July 6, 2004

iTunes? Check. Headphones? Check.

When I was eight, I began taking piano lessons. Other kids in my class could play songs I knew on the piano and I wanted to do so too. What frustrated me most about playing the piano, however, was the long, painful period between Beginning and Playing Real Songs That People Have Heard Of. Piano lesson books are full of made-up songs that help you work on some certain aspect of piano-playing, while at the same time saving money for the publishers because there's no need to pay royalties.

When I was ten, everyone in our class had the opportunity to play an instrument. I ended up playing the flute, which I never really liked or had the lungpower for. I was therefore always last or second-to-last chair, and always played the 2nd Flute part if there was more than one. Second Flute doesn't sound like anything either, because it doesn't play the melody of the song. I played for four years, but at the end of 8th grade, my mom's best friend convinced her to let me quit both instruments.

A big shout out to Aunt Diane! W00t!

Anyway, as I've previously blogged, the abbey is full of musicians right now, constantly practicing. And this makes me even gladder that I was able to quit. These are people who have spent years playing music and they still aren't playing anything that sounds like anything. They still have to practice scales and play the same thing over and over again. If I had stuck with it, it wouldn't have improved and I wouldn't have been any happier. So yay.

(Oh, and by the way, the abbey is full of musicians, all constantly playing their own individual things that don't sound like anything and I can't escape the scratchy violins and the mooing celli no matter where I go, whether I'm at work or in my room, and I think I'm going to lose my mind but HEY, it's only for a MONTH!)

srah | 5:07 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

July 5, 2004

Out, cursèd musicians!

The latest guests at the abbey are a group of musicians who will be playing concerts here for the next month or so. Being musicians, they seem to feel the need to practice. And feeling the need to practice, they seem to want a space to do it in.

Our room is the only bedroom that is not on the second floor. As it is not on the second floor, it is easy to understand that it might not immediately be recognized as a bedroom. We have been annoyed, therefore, over the past two days, by musicians searching out practice spaces and being surprised to find beds in such a perfect one.

I went to the room to change my pants today before we went to the supermarket. I was deciding which pair to put on, when I heard the door open. I figured it was Becky or Caroline, but I looked up and there was a girl standing there, looking like she wondered what I was doing there. For my part, I was just glad I hadn't taken my pants off yet!

As of about 30 seconds after this, there is now a sign on our door that says "Private - do not enter/ Privé - defense d'entrer." Stay out, you pervy musicians, you!

srah | 1:25 PM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

Unconscious Mutterings

Thinky thinky thinky.

srah | 3:30 AM | TrackBack
Tags: memes, unconscious mutterings

Ghost in the machine

My alarm clock is possessed.

I woke up at 3am last night because it started making high-pitched beeping noises. I've had this happen before when I snoozed it, but I didn't snooze it and it was set to the radio rather than the beeping setting. Not to mention that it was NOT set for 3am. So I turned it off, turned the alarm back on and tried to go back to sleep.

For about ten minutes, because it started beeping again. So I unplugged it, plugged it back in, reset the clock and the alarm and went back to sleep. And it started beeping again. So I unplugged it. And it beeped again. I checked to see if it was trying to run on a battery that was dying, but it had no battery! So I took it across the room, put it under a pile of sheets and towels and went back to sleep.

I woke up around 7 but was afraid that if I went back to sleep, I wouldn't wake up in time for work. So I plugged the darn thing back in. I think at that point, I made it to 8 with no problems, but I still have no idea what's wrong with it or if it will do the same thing again tonight.

I'm frightened...

srah | 3:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Tags:

July 4, 2004

I love Paris in the summer when it drizzles and is about 50°F and I don't have my raincoat on...

Becky and I set the alarm to go off at 9:30, but I woke up at 9 and the sun was out and I was covered in too many blankets and my clothes desperately needed to be folded. Who knows? I'd only had 5 hours of sleep, so it almost makes sense that I fell out of bed and started folding all of my new clothes.

Becky and I showered and dressed and left the hotel by 10am. First destination: Um, it's a secret. Uh, I mean... nowhere. We didn't go anywhere at all. Well, okay... Starbucks. Okay? Fine! We went to Starbucks! And I had a chai tea latte and it was heaven, okay? It's the freakin' 4th of July, okay? I have to celebrate my nation in some way! Cut me some slack!

*buries face in hands*

Well, at least it wasn't McDonalds.

Becky and I then went our separate ways. She went to the Musée d'Orsay and I went to the Louvre. Because it was the first Sunday of the month, the museums were free. This was nice in terms of my empty pockets, but kind of a drag because everyone and their mother and her kitchen sink were there. I decided that I wanted to do more than the Louvre and since it was free, I wouldn't feel bad about rushing through it.

So I set out to see one thing I hadn't seen on previous trips. I picked the French crown jewels and walked around the wings to find them. I got to the room where they were supposed to be and found a sign saying that they had been moved to another room. I went to that room and it was under construction. No dice. So I went and saw the Mona Lisa instead. Meh. At least I got to see Jesus and The Commemorative Crucifixion Tea-Towel Vendor on the way.

Sometimes when I'm in a very touristy place, I like to wonder where my face is going to go to. There are always strangers in your photos when you're taking these pictures and people come from all over the world to take them. I also ended up walking back and forth in front of Nike of Samothrace about eleven times, so I'm sure I'll be all over the world in a few days.

After the Louvre, I set out in search of a bookstore, armed with a few tips my roommate Caroline had given me. I found Shakespeare & Co. and wasn't terribly impressed, but I had to meet my friend Andrés so I didn't look for any others.

I took the Metro to the Parc de la Villette, where Andrés and his friends were having a picnic. Andrés (aka Don Shakiro), as you may remember, is the former Spanish assistant at the Lycée Valéry Larbaud, with whom I may or may not have had a torrid secret affair.

Anyway, he ended up running late, then it started raining, then his friends were running late, then it stopped raining... by the time we actually sat down for the picnic, it was actually nice out. Unfortunately, I had to leave early so that I could catch my train. They convinced me to stay a bit longer, then I ended up losing track of time.

When I realized what time it was, I said my goodbyes quickly and raced for the Metro, calling Becky and Eirlys, who were already sitting on the train. Meanwhile, I still hadn't collected my bag from the hotel! In the end, it turned out that the train they were on was not the one that we'd all agreed on, but another train to Blois that left around 5:30.

So Anca got to the station at the right time, right about the time I was approaching the hotel. She very kindly waited for me, so the four of us got to Blois an hour apart. Becky and Eirlys had waited for us with Jackie, who came to pick us up, and we all went back to P--------.

By the time I got back to the abbey, I was so worn out from two non-stop days of walking and taking trains and Metros and not sleeping, that I couldn't bring myself to attend the 4th of July barbecue (with marshmallow-roasting!) that was going on across the grounds, or even to climb the two flights to the kitchen for dinner! I scrounged around my room and snacked and climbed into bed and finished The Da Vinci Code before falling asleep.

srah | 4:35 PM | TrackBack
Tags: andres, art, beckyb, fourth of july, france, holidays

July 3, 2004

Müber good deals!

We got up at 7am today to head off to Paris at 8. Luckily, unlike the last time I travelled, I actually packed more than 10 minutes before departure time. Eirlys, Becky, Anca and I crammed into the van with the other people, who were only going to Paris for the day. Two of the seats had been removed from the van, so Anca remarked that, crammed in and sitting on the floor, we looked like a van full of illegal immigrants. This was completely ridiculous, of course, because only some of us are illegal immigrants.

The train ride was long and boring and I was starving, but we arrived at Gare d'Austerlitz, made our way through the Metro, and got to Place de la Nation, which was supposed to be the stop closest to our hotel. I remembered the name of our hotel and I remembered how to get there, but I didn't remember the address or the street name (although I knew I would recognize it when I saw it) and I had also left the phone number back in P--------. So we walked and walked and just after we gave up, we found it. We dropped our bags off and headed out shopping.

Our hotel, by the way, turned out to be very nice. It was only 58€ a night, which made 29€ for each of us - only 5€ more than we would have paid if we'd been able to make reservations at the hostel. The rooms themselves were behind the building that the hotel office was in, so they were a nice distance from the street and very quiet.

We spent a long, boring time in the crowded, noisy Puma store, where everyone except me wanted to shop. Then we went our separate ways - that is, Becky and Anca went in one direction and Eirlys and I in the other. I found a lot of cute stuff on sale (probably more than I should have) and we spent a nice afternoon together.

After shopping, we went back to the hotel and rested and waited for the other two to get back. We went out to dinner at a Moroccan restaurant down the road. I'd never been to a Moroccan restaurant, so I figured I had to be adventurous and not get a steak and french fries. So I got a tagine de poulet aux olives et au citron. It was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo gooooooooooood. So good. So so good. They were even nice to us with our foibles of having to have everything on the menu explained to us, even the French stuff. I followed it up with some bad thé à la menthe and then we went back to the hotel to change for going out.

I got gussied up in one of the tops I bought (for 70% off!) and Becky put makeup on me. Then we hit the Champs-Elysées because Becky knew of a bar there that she wanted to go to there. We walked down the street and someone yelled "Nice tits," quite possibly at me. I felt flattered and dirty at the same time.

We got to Barfly around 1:30 and the bouncer told us it closed at 2. Oh well, time enough for one drink. It was sort of a loungey, hanging out place. It was okay. Becky met a guy there and we were going to tag along with his friends. The most charming of them, upon meeting us, asked if we had any coke. Yes, that is with a lower-case c. So I was not too disappointed when it came to pass that they were going to a cabaret somewhere else in town and only had small cars, so we would have to take a taxi then pay the entrance fee. So we stayed on the Champs-Elysées and went to another bar, which had smoke machines inside.

I, not being a late-night party-person type individual, was almost falling asleep on the table by 3. We got the check, took a taxi home and were probably in bed by about 4 or so.

srah | 10:04 PM | TrackBack
Tags: travel

July 2, 2004

Back (and front) in black

I was reading a style-biography of Audrey Hepburn that I found in our common room yesterday. I think I'd like to be her when I grow up. I could come back from France all Sabrinafied! I suppose I would have to, like, wear makeup or buy designer clothes or care or something, though, so I guess that's out.

I'm wearing a black sweater, black trousers and black shoes today. I don't think I would ever dress all in black in the States. There, its like you're in mourning or you're making some kind of statement. I don't feel weird about doing it here, though, which is nice because a lot of the clothes I brought along are black.

srah | 2:54 PM | TrackBack
Tags: audrey hepburn, fashion

Ear culture?

I have been on a real classical music kick as of late, as it's less distracting than the modern, wordy kind when I'm trying to work.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my classical CDs with me, so I only have a few songs I ripped or downloaded. Among these, I think my current favorites are:

Borodin - String Quartet #2 in D major
Canteloube - Bailero
Chopin - Etude opus 10, #3
Offenbach - Barcarolle
Satie - Gymnopédie #1

What are some of your favorite pieces?

srah | 8:32 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Tags: music

Job description

My computer doesn't connect properly to the Internet and I go complaining to our IT intern to fix it. He tells me what's wrong and I stare blankly and ask him to fix it. My coworkers laugh because I have told them repeatedly that I am not IT but they never seem to believe it.

I am not IT. I am not a web designer. I am not a web developer. I am not a lot of things. But what am I?

Ah, woes of the information professional.

srah | 8:19 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the abbey

'On me mettra dans un grand trou...'

Going to Paris this weekend to take more advantage of the soldes and see some sights. Want to recommend anywhere to buy cheap-yet-lovely clothing or cheap-yet-lovely English books?

Hopefully I'll finally visit Serge on this trip, as I've meant to do for years!

srah | 6:36 AM | TrackBack
Tags: travel

Oh where, oh where can my little blog be?

In the middle of the night last night, hours after the problems began:

Argon is down for emergency repair. We will update everyone shortly when the problem is fixed.
- Jaguar PC (formerly Aletia), worst hosting company EVER (said in tone of Comic Book Guy), regarding the server my website is hosted on

7.5 hours later:

There were some problems with the server software installs and data is now being transferred over now. The data transfer is taking quite a bit longer than anticipated because of the performance issues on the old drive. Some system files also needed to be fetched from backup and we are looking into the possibility of other data missing as well from the old drive. As far as we can tell, no client data is missing. Thank you for your patience.

2 hours later:

Um... *waits*.

When I came to work yesterday, at 9am France time, the site was down. It was up for a few hours in the afternoon, then down again for the evening.

I finally got logged into the forum, where they claim, at the bottom of the page:

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:29 AM.

Yes, 6:29. As long as GMT stands for Greenwich (Connecticut) Mean Time...

This company is smoking crack.

srah | 6:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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