samedi 24 novembre 2007

one of those days

Did you ever have one of those days when you have no clue what's going to happen and where it's going to take you? Yeah, one of those days today. I knew I had to meet one of my groups for a project, but that was about it.

Was supposed to go to a birthday party for a French friend of a friend, but the group thing got in the way. Also the French girl said something to me at Thanksgiving that sort of pissed me off or just rubbed me the wrong way, but I don't want to write about that, I want to write about happy things. Why go to a party when I know I'm going to be unhappy and, as another friend put it, it'll just be "work"? Yeah, I don't want to work on the weekends.

On a whim, went to the Jardin du Luxem again to read Me Talk Pretty One Day. It's a nice place to read. Read for an hour when I get a call from Susie asking me what I'm doing. I say I'm at the park and she and Nayommee are at the park too! Whoa! Met up with them. Nayommee had a list of stuff she wants to do in Paris, but it was all "night" stuff, so we decided to do one of the food stuffs and it was fondue. Got a crepe at St. Michel then met back at my quartier with Sarah to find a fondue place.

We changed our minds and got Indian food instead--bad idea. This place was such a tourist trap. If we ever want bomb Indian food, we're going to the Gare du Nord area. This place was effing awful, and we were all just half-pissed half-laughing at our situation. God I love moments like these. Everything funny about it almost makes the awfulness unbearable. Susie sat facing the front door, and whenever a tourist walked by to look at the menu, she'd shake her head in warning, "Don't come in! Don't come in!" It was hilarious. We talked about puking at the doorstep or throwing red paint on the front door or just running out before they bring the check.

Afterwards, I was convinced to not be a hermit and go to La Fleche D'Or, a venue where you can watch bands play for free. For FREE! Susie convinced me that some good bands were going and Sarah came too. Oh. Gawd. I'm so glad I went. I'm not the kind of person who sees bands live often. I went to Warped Tour once and to Thrice shows every time they put out a new album. But seeing bands I don't know is not really my thing. I am so thankful that Susie and Sarah got me to go. We got there during the set of this UK band The Mules, and they rocked my socks off. They reminded me of Squirrel Nut Zippers, if they had kids my age. The drummer/singer (awesome!) looked like a Swing Kid, specifically the Swing Kid that was also in Dead Poets Society. And they had an Asian girl violinist. Sweetness. Wanted to get a cd after the last band's set, but they already packed them. Susie's going to try it find it at a store.
Then stayed a little bit for the last band, which was French. But the singer was ridiculous. Sarah said, "I don't take a man who wears pointy shoes seriously." He was also wearing really tight pants. I was in the front, and once while he sang he was looking at me, and I just looked away. Too uncomfortable and weird. Has someone ever looked at you while he sang? It's just weird. I said to Susie and Sarah, "He looked at me while he was singing!" and feigned a teeny-bopper sort of happiness, and then Susie asked me something dirty (but funny in a joking way) which I will not repeat here that prompted me to laugh and yell, "Shut up!" We left before their set ended.

All in all, a great night. Really glad I wasn't a hermit tonight. Check out this band, The Mules! I took some video:

vendredi 23 novembre 2007

carte de sejour

Went to my physical for my carte de sejour. Wasn't too bad. They weighed me, did my height, took an x-ray of my chest--wait, what? An x-ray of the chestal region? That is correct. I also got to keep it too. Yup, I have an x-ray of my chest. I've always wanted to get an x-ray of my skull and to keep the x-ray. I should just get x-rays of different parts of my body and then arrange them on my wall so it's this life-size x-ray of me on my wall. Awesome. That's my idea!

Haha, that waiting room at the medical place was so hilarious. There were loads of people. Just read this. This really happened.:
Doctor (to a patient): Monsieur, cherchez une place. (Find a place to sit, guy.)
Patient looks around, sort of silent film mode, motions that this place is pretty good, why should he move?
Doctor: C'est une table. (That's a table.)
Rest of waiting room people: HAHAHAH (HAHAHAHA)
Doctor points at an empty seat for the guy.

HI-larious. There was this guy standing in front of me, and I was sitting next to a table, and I said, in French, motioning to the table beside me, "Why don't you sit down?" And we both laughed and got a kick out of that. Met with a nice doctor lady who asked me some questions and looked at my x-ray. Also hilarious. It went like this:
Doctor puts the x-ray to the light and looks at it for 2 seconds: "Impeccable." (Same meaning in English).
Doctor does my blood pressure: "Cent soixante. Impeccable." (100/60. Impeccable.)

Was unbearably happy after getting my carte de sejour and upon learning that I lost 8 pounds just living here. Awesome. Can you imagine if I actually worked out regularly how much weight I would lose? I only do it once a week if at all. Celebrated at my café across the street, Le Saint-Médard. Sat at the bar (it's cheaper) and got a café-crème and tried to remember all the funny things said at Thanksgiving.

Check out the photos about Thanksgiving on the left. I'm too lazy to post some here. Updated the albums. Although here's a funny pic of me on a bike:

jeudi 22 novembre 2007


Sadly, turkey day is over on my side of the world, and my Dad's probably basting the turkey right about now?

Wanted to do something eventful for the whole day, something with meaning. I wanted to be detached from the fact that I won't be celebrating a major holiday with the fam, but not so far detached that I forget what this day means. I have a lot to be thankful for. I believed that if today goes well, then there's hope for Christmas not being a sad, lonely Bridget Jones-like disaster.

Walked to Hôtel de Ville to meet up with Nayommee. We then went to the Courbet exhibit at Le Grand Palais and met Sarah there. It was an amazing exhibit. When I look at paintings, I'm mostly looking at the composition and where the light source is coming from in the painting. I like seeing what pops out of the picture. It inspires my own ideas for films and certain shots. I really liked Courbet's self portrait, Le Désespéré.
After, got food, then Nayommee and I decided to try Velib! That's the bike rental thing where they have bikes all over Paris that you can ride around in. I LOVED IT! I feel kind of bad for forcing Nayommee to ride with me on the street. I'm used to riding around in the city, especially on the street, so I was cool and was in my bikeriding street mode, but Nayommee got scared of a couple of the buses. We rode around for an hour from Chatelet to Eiffel Tower and then made a u-turn to bike to St. Germain-des-Pres. It was great! Here's a video. Plus, I'm pretty awesome with a camera and on a bike at the same time. I can be your camera operator!:I swear, when I'm on a bike, I can't stop smiling. It's the best thing in the world to me. I love singlespeed bikes too. It's just so simple, and I feel one with the road on a singlespeed. There's no choice involved: if there's a hill, then you have to work harder (depending on the gear ratio), and if it's flat, then you're cool!

Headed over the Steven's for Thanksgiving. There were loads of food, thanks to Nick and Carmen who made mashed potatoes, candied yams, stuffing. I brought roasted chicken. Will and Marie brought turkey! My plate was loaded with things. I'm really thankful to Sarah, Steven and his roommates for setting this up and letting them use their space; to Nick and Carmen for making loads of bomb food; and to everyone else for bringing tasty things. Will post pics later. I'm kind of tired.

Things I'm thankful for:
1. My family: For understanding my reasons to go away and for their support (financial, moral, spiritual, etc.). For not promising to visit me, for making me feel truly alone--and yes I'm really thankful for this. But if you really did visit, I'd be really thankful anyway.
2. My Parisien friends: To my fellow expatriates for giving this self-proclaimed hermit a reason to go out and get a beer or wander this city aimlessly. Specifically, all the San Francisco State crew--I'm really glad I got to know you all better.
3. To MICEFA: For making being a student here easier.
4. To my friends back home: For keeping in touch with me and for dealing with my somewhat detachment from them.
5. To these artists: Buster Keaton, J.D. Salinger, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Jon Brion, and Arcade Fire. For being the moving image in my head and the soundtrack. For all their inspiration and for helping me deal.
6. To Paris: Je t'aime. Parce que je n'habiterai jamais dans un ville comme vous. Jamais.

1. Strikes: Metro and university.
2. The exchange rate.
3. My hair: for its awkward mullet state.

mercredi 21 novembre 2007

things happen for a reason and pre-thanksgiving

I smell like cigarette smoke. I'm pretty sure I've been smelling like cigarette smoke for a while, but I've been noticing it now. It doesn't bother me.

Woke up today with no real sense of purpose. Again, no class and apparently no class until further notice (that's what I got in an email). Around 13h (I'm so used to the military time here, you're just going to have to get used to it), I decided to go to my favorite, the Jardin du Luxembourg, to write in my journal. Yes, I keep another journal totally separate (and private) from this one. Lately, this blog has been getting most of the attention. I wanted to write about some changes I'd like to make in my life. Sort of like a list of New Year's resolutions.

As I head out the door, I get a call from Romina saying she's just outside, her class got cancelled would I like to get some food? I took it as a sign that maybe this list can wait. There was so much to think about. Up my street, we got some food then we walked to the Jardin to hang out and talk. She lost her map of Paris, so we went to Gibert Jeune on St. Michel. Then we spent, it felt like close to an hour, at Shakespeare and Co. looking at books. God, I love bookstores. Especially when they're old and a bit disorganized because you end up finding something you weren't looking for in the first place. I was looking for Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. They had it, but I couldn't find it. What's so weird is that I met a guy at the pre-Thanksgiving thing that Micefa threw tonight that bought this book! And he said I could have it. I love it when these things happen. He said he'll bring it to Steven and Sara's Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Before going to the Micefa thing at a café, I took Romina to my bar to get a framboise. She's never had one, and she liked it! Success! Then we headed to the thing, which was pretty cool. The first round of drinks was on Micefa, and I got a 1/2 peche, which is Stella or some other blond beer and peach stuff. Barbara and Topher brought snacks. Don't know why, but I was in such a weird mood. A huge sorry to anyone who sensed it. There's just a lot on my mind.

mardi 20 novembre 2007

I like order in my life. Since moving here, I haven't had that so much...It's kind of funny. But this school strike is really getting Annoying. And neither of us knows what's going on. I only had one teacher who got in contact with me out of 4 of my teachers. Craziness. Down the street, there's a manifestation going on. People are chanting. There's a line of cops just a block away by the Starbucks. I see some smoke too. Tear gas? Can't be. It's definitely not fog. Anyway, I'm not going to find out.

Walked to the Bastille just to see how long it would take. My appointment for my carte de sejour is there on Friday, and I don't want to risk taking a bus if I might be late. It only took around 30 minutes. Not too shabby. Also bought a parka to keep me warm since the winter clothes didn't come and Mom said it was okay. It's Carhartt (again). Black, waterproof, warm, and puffy. I always make a point to get something that I know I can't get in the States.

Finished editing my Normandy travelogue, but my program that compresses videos so that they can be uploaded to sites like YouTube isn't working right. Will figure that out. I have the time. In the meantime, enjoy this work of awesomeness. I have a huge crush on comedic silent actor Buster Keaton, and this guy made a video of clips set to Radiohead songs. It's absolutely amazing. Especially during the second song "Let Down". Enjoy!

lundi 19 novembre 2007

so cold

There's nothing more lovelier right now than walking into my warm, cozy studio from the freezing rain and cold. It's 45 degrees F. I grew up in southern California. That's cold to me. And it's only going to get colder. Bring it on. My body is getting used to it. I've been fighting this cold that's there and not there at the same time. But drinking lots and lots of tea has really helped. I love sitting at my window looking out onto the street and drinking my tea in the morning. I will never have this ever again. I'm also convinced that drinking tea is keeping my face relatively zit free. Yay!

So, with this cold, and my lack of winter clothes, I've been bundling up with layers of clothing. It's almost become a ritual. Tights under the pants. Knee-high socks over the tights. Long sleeve and short sleeve. Sweater and jacket. Scarf and beanie, then gloves. The parentals insist that I buy some sort of coat until my friend visits and brings my wool coat. I have decided on a long parka with a hood. I already have a wool coat and a jacket, but I don't have a long parka.

Braved the cold again with Kristin to meet Susie, her boyfriend Andy, Melissa, Alan, Taylor, Nayommee, and Sarah at this bar Shywawa at St. Michel. I almost didn't go just because I was about to log and capture clips from the Normandy trip to edit, but I decided to not be a hermit and to get a beer. I got a beer cocktail called a Monaco. It's Stella, limonade (like 7-up), and grenadine. It was tasty. I used to feel bad about drinking alcohol just because it's a lot of calories, but I made this rule that for every alcoholic drink I have, I have to drink a cup of tea. On top of my morning, afternoon (if possible), and evening tea, that's a LOT of tea. But I don't mind. I love tea.

It was a grand old time. I never used to go to bars even in SF. I just felt that was such an adult thing, and I've always felt intimidated going into one. Now, I really love it. It's really cute seeing Susie with her Andy. They're so great together. It's nice that they're handling this being away for a year thing well. Being around them made me miss hanging out with my Kuya and his now fiancée. Sometimes being with couples and being the single one can be either really cool or totally effing annoying, especially if your friend is different around her boyfriend. Luckily, that happens rarely.

I like what couples have, and I love the idea of relationships and commitment, but I also really like this independent Jane Eyre thing I got going on. And I didn't think I'd be like this, but I think I'd like to do this for a while, this independent thing until I'm finished with school. I thought I was independent in SF, but Paris just took it to a whole, new level, and I like it, I really do.