Almost there...

Friday, April 25, 2003

test

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Sigh. It's been three weeks and these posts aren't getting anywhere. That's not much incentive to keep writing.

My hard drive is making a bad noise at work. They're calling Dell to get me a new one, but meanwhile it's alternately making me very nervous and annoyed.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

So this is totally old, but it still amuses the crap out of me. At a friend's birthday party:
"She was at your wedding."
"When?!"
"At your wedding!"
--referring to the presence of the elusive Eve, who posted a quote from a guest at the aforementioned wedding. For the record, Eve's secret identity was not revealed.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Oh I hate it when the coffee in the orange coffee pot isn't really decaf. My 20 ounce cup of morning coffee has left me vibrating in my chair. In a bad way.

Friday, April 11, 2003

The internet seems to go in series of popular color combos. For a while now, many corporate sites have been blue and grey. Before that there was Yahooism, where things were often yellow and purple. The color combo that seems to be suddenly taking the internet by storm is the one that Blogger pioneered long ago - blue and orange. Now Discover Card, EasyJet, and Southwest Airlines have all taken up the same exact combo of orange and blue. And there's many other sites I've noticed with this color scheme of late. Will we begin hearing of the new fall colors and latest spring fashions for websites? "Oh darling, that color combo is so last year. You simply must keep up with the times!"

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

One innovation in trans-Atlantic flight that I really appreciate is the addition of an in chair tv screen. Nothing passes the time like watching a movie. And movies that I might never take the time to watch in real life can be entertaining when they're the only major distraction available.

I watched Maid in Manhatten on my way back to the states. It was actually better than I expected, but the more important observation was how much good music gets its start in the cinema. Norah Jones had two songs in that movie, and they're the only two of hers I've heard get radio airplay. Radio is so unexperimental these days that it seems like it's up to a commercial or a movie to bless a song as safe and entertaining, then it gets radio play. This seems completely pathetic, but on the other hand, it explains why so many of the CDs I own are soundtracks of some kind. The movie was completely forgettable, but the music was worth remembering.

Day three. Still back.

So the first day back, I was all inspired and decided I should take the train to work. Rick and I both walked to the train station in the morning. I hopped the train. It was a couple of minutes late, so I missed the 8:45 Marguerite shuttle, caught the 9am shuttle, then got stuck in traffic and arrived at work at 9:25. Not successful.

The second day back I caught an earlier train because, well, I was up. Then I caught a different Marguerite shuttle. It still took almost 30 minutes from train arrival to getting off the shuttle. That's just too much time to waste in the mornings. By tomorrow, I suspect all hint of jet lag will have worn off and I'll be a sleepyhead again. I can't get up an extra 30-40 minutes early just to take public transit.

This morning, I drove to work. Three days back, and I've given up. Public transport in America just doesn't work. I miss the Metro. I wish I had some way to get EU citizenship. I'd be really willing to make a go of it in London or Paris. Especially Paris. What an amazing city.

Monday, April 07, 2003

So, I'm back. I wouldn't recommend British Airways to anyone, but I'm safely home and back at work. It's going to take a formidible amount of effort just to catch up on email.

I got to read three books on the trip: Slaughterhouse Five, Ethan of Athos, and Songs of a Distant Earth. Slaughterhouse Five is a classic, and I figured it was about time I sat down and read it. Not my preferred style, but a good book. The author seems to have been deeply damaged by his WW2 experiences. Ethan of Athos was crunchy sweet profiterole of a Bujold book. Always a good romp. The last was an Arthur C. Clark book. I was really disappointed that one aspect of it wasn't better investigated within the novel. There was a discovery of intelligent life on a planet that had been colonized by humans, but even though an earlier section of the book had discussed the importance of colonizing where there was no risk of interference with an existing intelligent life form, Clark never really dealt with whether or not the colony should do something about it. Anyway, without getting into a major plot synopsis, let's just say it wasn't totally satisfying. Not up to the par of Childhood's End.

Some random observations:
London has been overrun by Pizza Hut, KFC, and Starbucks. There was an average of one Pizza Hut every 2 blocks, with the extreme example of Leicster Square having one on 3 out of 4 corners. I asked one chap about the Pizza Hut thing, and his explanation was that, "Well, we don't do pizza very well here, so Pizza Hut moved in." I thought to myself, "But Pizza Hut doesn't do pizza well either..."

I love that in Paris, a little crepe stand can thrive next door to McDonalds.

We went to the Foire du Trone on our last night in Paris. They had an actual freakshow. If we'd had any more cash left, I would've had to go in. A real freak show. They still exist.

British tv is a hoot. There were so many reality shows that were big dating sessions. There was one where the premise was to find this one guy a life partner in a series of episodes. A commitee picked out who he should date. The episode we watched had him spending the weekend with a black guy. He'd never dated a black man before, and was a little uncomfortable with it. Meanwhile, all I could think was "This would never ever be shown on American television." It's a show where you not only have inter-racial dating, but it's for a gay man. The other show that sticks in my mind is the one set in the salon after hours. Again, the raison d'etre was dating. Everyone there had a number, and you could ask the stylist about number 4, and pass notes, and get the stylists to go talk to him/her for you. The stylists were also generally single/available as well. One of the stylists was the prettiest trans I've ever seen. Brit tv rocks.

I went to the ceili that Josh recommended and found out it was set dancing rather than ceili. Still, I met a couple of great folks - Andrea and Jean Francois. And I got to dance. The thing that struck me funny was that with all the wood floors in Paris, here we were dancing on concrete tiles. And the cast of characters resembled the gang at the Plough significantly.

Rick is all jazzed. He wants to learn French. He wants to go back next year. He wants to change America. He wants a public transit system that works. So do I. I took the train to work this morning. It was a beautiful plan. It got kind of munched by taking the wrong Marguerite shuttle from the station and ended up taking a half hour from the train station to my office. I could've walked much faster. Still, I'll try again soon. It's so nice to ride instead of drive.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Well, the rain summoned the cold and the wind. It hailed yesterday. And then our compact flash card fragged after a day of photos in the Louvre. Blah. Crepes heal all wounds though. Out of time....

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

After 10 days of absolutely beautiful weather, it started raining tonight. I'm so not complaining.

Today we toured the Montmarte, including the Museum of Erotic Art. They were showing some antique porno films on video. Amazing stuff. Women with womany bodies. Men with average sized penises. If they'd sold them in a version that would work on American television screens, I would've bought a copy in an instant. The best items in the exhibition were some Chinese figures that looked like perfectly normal little statuettes, unless they're sitting on a glass table where you can see the underside. These were displayed through glass with a little mirror so that you didn't have to crane around. There was a buddha stroking his penis, a couple copulating, a woman masturbating, and many more. They totally rocked.

Yesterday we hit Disneyland Paris. For better and worse, it's maturing. They've just opened a second park (Disney Studios), and the Disney Village adjoining them is the most American place in all of France, including the usual chains, a New York Deli, a steakhouse, a sports bar. It was oppressive. We grabbed a crepe and ran for the train, certain we could find better dinner back in Paris. I still really like Disneyland Paris. Phantom Manor is great. It's got a fairly clear bride theme throughout. And Space Mountain is the only coaster with a loop and a corkscrew that I like. I also went on the Indy coaster, which now travels backwards. Very scary, but over quickly, and kind of fun. The best part about this park though is Sleeping Beauty's castle. It's just what I think Walt would do if he were alive today. After walking through the gates, you climb up to the upper floor to view the stained glass windows showing the fairy tale in various scenes. Below the castle is a dragon that is animatronic. It's well done, and scary enough to scare the littlest kids.

Tomorrow it's on to the more traditional circuit - Musee d'Orsay, the Louvre, Notre Dame, St. Chapelle, etc. Wheeee!