Le week-end à Paris

Last weekend, Nicole needed to take the LSATS and the closest place that they’re offered is Paris. In a tremendous display of selflessness, I agreed to accompany her. I took over a hundred pictures, which I’ll be shortly posting along with a narration. Rather than replicate that, I will type here instead the unphotographed sections of my journey and, at the end, some useful advice.


It’s that time of year when Paris stores are allowed to unload their unsold inventory. If last weekend was not the end of it, next weekend will be. At this point, their goal is not make profit, but to minimize loss. This means cheap french clothes for me. I was all over the soldes like vinyl car seats and bare legs in the summer.
For the most part, buying clothes is a chore for me. I have a hard time finding my size, or something I like or a non-hostile place to shop. None of this is true in Paris. I can let my inner metrosexual run amok. On the train there, I read a copy of GQ, looking for trends. Of course, upon arrival, I ignored all of their advice. Loafers? No, I want shoes just like my old shoes, but less old or more functional. (Ok, my inner metrosexual isn’t very metro.)
I walked into a store that sells suits and tweed. They only had a couple of things in my size (which really is as small as certain tweedy shops in The Hague have informed me). Green tweed? I was leaning against it, but then the shop guys were gathered around. «C’est magnifique!» “Wow,” they told me. “Fabulous!” These were old, grumpy suit store guys. At that moment, I began pondering when I could next live in Paris. Sometimes, I kind of like capitalism. These guys wanted my money. Concerns about my foreignness or whatever were entirely secondary. Maybe I do look as fab as they say in the jacket. A distinct possibility, I think, as my self-esteem has climbed to it’s normal Trump-like levels from this encounter. (yeah, ok, see if I didn’t keep telling myself how great I was, hostility would squish me, but in the absence of hostility it over-compensates.)
Yeah, I got TWO pairs of shoes. Neither with goretex or vegan, but I don’t want to wait until I’m in San Francisco to get new shoes. Extravagant. Nicole says it’s reasonable to have many pairs of shoes. Also, two pairs of pants, two shirts, a bow tie (which either says gay republican pundit or high school science teacher. I hope for the former.). So I think I’m good for clothes until 2008.


If you are getting over a cold, don’t try to smoke a pipe, even if it makes you imagine yourself as Hemmingway-esque. If you do smoke a pipe, don’t accidentally inhale. If you do inhale, get plenty of sleep that night. If you don’t get plenty of sleep that night, at least get some the next night. If you are short on sleep and coughing, don’t stay up to all hours of the night, even if you are dreading an appointment early the next morning. If you do stay up too late, at least get up early so you don’t need to sprint 8 km to your appointment. If you fail all of these, skip having beer with your friend on his birthday that night. Even if you feel guilty about it. I can follow at least the last bit. bah.

Thanksgiving in Paris

Air France is a much nicer airline than US airlines. Rmemeber the old days before everyone was terrified that the person next to them had a shoe bomb and you could stand up and stretch without being eyed nervously and people did crazy things like walk around and stand in line for the bathrooms? Air France is like that and the stewards are polite. Downsides were that they kept waking me up for things like food or to warn me that airturbulence might break my neck is I sleep with me head pitched forward on my tray table. I’ve never heard of that before. Is it because US-based airlines don’t care if I break my neck? Is it a special feature of french airplanes?

Arrived v. tired in Paris. Took a nap. then went out to see the world Priemere of a LaMont Young piece. I don’t know the name of the piece. Christi insisited that we arrive one hour early to listen to the talk. The talk was in French, of course, so I didn’t understand a word of it. “Blah blah blah John Cage blah blah serialism blah blah.” Well, I got a few words. I didn’t mind because I know Christi has extensive experience listenign to and understanding lectures in French about music. But then she slipped out and went to a bar without telling anyone, while I and her mom (who also doesn’t understand French) stood respectfully and listened to the lecture.
The piece was three hours long and seemed to involve a few different tuning schemes, but I couldn’t tell you more than that, as I didn’t understand the lecture. There were drony MAX-based electronic sounds, I think samples of cello and a solo cello player with a couple of pedals. The auditorium was about 90 degrees Farenheit (I come to France and I can’t speak the language and I don’t do metric…) and there was inscence burning and just-intoned drone-y sounds. I fell asleep twice in the first twenty minutes. then was awake for a while, then out for about 40 minutes where I had a dream that I was on an airplane and instead of the big TV screen at the front of the cabin, they had a solo cello performer. There was a while where I had my eyes closed but was not alseep. Eventually, the cellist was playing fast rythms in the sort of the same mode as the piece started out in. The same kinds of gestures were being made, but they were all ornamented with fast notes, also in the same sort of gesture. It was sort of fractal that way. It was exciting, but then it was drony again and I’m afraid I dozed off again. Finally, the peice was over and the cellist just sat at the front and looked stressed and beat. He didn’t do the full relaxing thing that’s a clue that the piece is over. There were tentative claps here and there. People waited. Clapped quietly once, sort of testing if anyone else would join in. For four or five minutes.
Spent yesterday working on SuperCollider project. It crashes the server. Christi and her momed cooked and I coded. Now they’re out doing something interesting and I’m working on my Joan of Arc paper (and updating my blog, of course). Two French folks that Christi is friends with came over for Thanksgiving dinner. They were dubious about the holiday and about American food. But all went well. Christi ran out to get extra tomatoes (ah the convience of celebrating a holiday in a country that doesn’t recognize it) and found a computer out at the curb which has a DVD player and a CD burner, so she dragged upstairs.
I must get back to work