Thursday, July 27, 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

You know you're in France when...

A certain brand of sparkling water uses a man ironing his own penis to sell the merits of its cool and refreshing qualities.

Friday, July 21, 2006

performance anxiety

Originally uploaded by Nyx.
Hello digital internauts! Been a while, but my lazy ass bone has been playing up again. That and I have performance anxiety. Old school friends from the olden days (when everything was in black and white - just like I used to think when I was 4 - see, see how stupid the television makes you?) have been proclaiming readership, others are proclaiming to want readership, and to that end I was just thinking the other day how many english collective description words and/or titles end in 'ship' - and, y'know, why...? So to any old friends (and a new one, hi the new one) who are tuning into this's been 15 years, I'm still ranting.

So, y'know, it's been hot. And if it's not the heatwave, the hezbollah or Zidane's headbutt it's not news. And heat means a couple of major changes here in France - first is the transformation of old people into sort of geriatric houseplants (have you misted Madame Tartempion yet this morning?), the second being the bone melting epidemic amongst small dogs transforming them into a canine rag mutts. It's disturbing.

This weekend past was July the 14th, which, like most historical celebrations in any society around the world, means a chance to drink more alcohol. I went to some northern beaches in the pas de calais, soaked up the faux tudor and tacky souvenir shops, watched dogs get carried and witnessed some nightmarish toddlers face meets chocolate icecream incidents. I accidently went on a 50km bike ride - mostly because I didn't know how far I was meant to be going (distances on tourist maps with oversized local attraction icons are larger than they appear), went to a bird wetland sanctuary (daydreamed mugging the people with the severely expensive digital cameras and telescopic lenses), and went to Aqualud in Le Touquet (where I spent 3 hours thinking...'I paid HOW MUCH for this??)

Otherwise I just get the train back and forth to work everyday and spent 35 hours a week contributing to that overly complicated administrative system that the expats all violently hate. Bureaucracy is, after all, a French word (not to mention one of the bonus spelling words on the list when I was in whatever year you're in when you're 10 in your country).

Saturday, July 15, 2006


In the Parc de Marquenterre, Baie de Somme - France


In the Parc de Marquenterre, Baie de Somme - France

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fort Mahon

Canche-Authie region of the Pas de Calais, France

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

soccer saturation

Grande Place j-1
Originally uploaded by Nyx.
Y'know, there's a lot going on in this world, but nothing short of a national disater of epic proportions is going shift football/the World cup/why Zizou had a tanty off every real-time broadcast with pseudo-teleintellectuos speculating and surveying and replaying and devoting 96% of a 40 minute news program to one subject (see, I can do some bloody surveys too; 8.00pm - 8.26pm and 8.34pm - 8.40pm entirely football related. It's like they forgot there was a rest of the world out there.) Surrounded as I am, by morons, I too was dragged to a mysteriously-hiked-up-their-drink-prices bar to watch people yelling at a tv screen for over 2 very long hours...on some level, I can still argue that I'm just participating in some kind of cultural field trip, just with more alcohol. Soccer can transform a town like no other sport I've seen - I've seen it turn London into a flag parade, Amsterdam into a ghost town for 90 minutes on a Saturday night, and the Lille grande place into an open air party. So here I am, jotting down pointed observations in my imaginary moleskin as I watched the crowds silently file their way out of the bars to go home and puzzle over why so few euros rested in their pockets, flags refurled, red, white and blue body paint trickling down into their shirt collars. And philosophically ponder to myself...meh, nyer, whatever.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Encore un truc

Just the one. Let's not get carried away. But now that I'm back in the employment fold, I'm reminded how much this habit irks me.
So standard work greetings in this part of the world are either a handshake or a cheek kiss (confound them at your peril). This habit, in itself, I'm quite ok with - having been semi-regularly exposed to the greeting system à la française since my childhood.
No, what does bug me beyond measure (apart from people whose head and legs are not necessarily pointed in the same direction when they're moving into my impact zone vicinity)
What DOES bug me beyond measure is the French version where the hand and the head are not pointed in the same direction during the workplace greeting rounds. So, you guys initiated this custom, right? Follow the damn thing through already and just LOOK at me when you're shaking my hand. A micro-second of acknowledgement is all I'm asking for here.

And if I'd met a carpenter instead?

Go out with an IT type lad, and his version of reality is that his spectacularly lucky girlfriend (or hey, let's be more open minded in honour of gay pride that I recall as having supposed to have happened sometime. Recently. This Year. I think....and call them a - partner) has hot and cold running access to superior computer technology, faster, stronger, better and constantly updated software. Now - there's the key phrase that is the bane of my existence...constant updates.
Constant updates translates to your online password to about a squillion sites being consistently wiped and I can't even begin to count how many bookmarked pages I've lost even AFTER I realised that there's a better way (delicious serving as nothing more than a replacement online toolbar that won't get wiped every other week) , there are still a bunch of temporary 'I'll check back on those later' that get swept under the cyber rug, how many online passwords I lose, then forget, then have to reapply for, then lose, then forget, then...including delicious, now that I think about it.
Constant updates translates to just when you think you've figured out where everything is, it gets moved/reconfigured/uninstalled/or just plain wiped. Unless it's his. It's always reinstalled if it's his.
Constant updates translates to 'whoops I just overwrote all your documents and photos by accident. Sorry'
OK, so I DO back up (hell, I was at uni for 7 years, I'd never have passed if I didn't back up, with 'the computer ate it' replacing 'the dog ate it' as number 1 most frequent excuse. In my case it actually was true. Re the computer, not the dog. I never really had a dog). But I, being a proud and robust techno-peasant, do not back up nearly as often as the meddling cyber geek plots opportunities for my 0101101 numeric destruction.
You know when you were a kid and you got your hands on that first bit of electronic equipment (in my case a portable am radio) and a screwdriver and you went 'hmmm, let's see now', and it was never quite right after?
Need I say more?