Monday, July 28, 2008

Field Report

It's been 4 weeks since we moved to Paris. And I am now ready to announce that I have isolated the primary sociological difference between Americans and Parisians. You can keep your socio-econometric models and your cultural-philosophical maps ... it's all secondary. The primary difference is the disparate values we place on ventilation.

In the U.S., we ventilate just about everything to within an inch of its life. In Paris, entire spaces like elevator lobbies, restrooms, and subway cars go wanting in the whole vent+fan department. And disproportionate energy consumption be damned, on a day like today I gotta give the nod to the US of A. It was, um, really hot -- 31 C which, according to my calculations, is like 175 F.

So it was a huge relief when the rain broke this evening (blurry picture below). Viva la ventilation!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Marche de Raspail

Let's pause for a Rick Steves moment, shall we?

There are lots of street markets in Paris. So far, we've discovered two within walking distance of our apartment. On Sunday marnings, there is an organic market on Boulevard Raspail -- this is where we went this morning for some fresh fruit. In French, they refer to "organic" as "biologique" ... or "bio" for short. And in a linguistic coincidence worthy of Douglas Adams, that's pronounced like we would say "B.O."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Morning Ritual

I'm sure many of you have meaningful, maybe even spiritually enriching morning rituals. Maybe you search your sacred text of choice. Maybe you meditate ... perhaps there is yoga involved. Hell, I don't know maybe you face Hoboken and bow 3 times while chanting, "I will respect all of God's children today ... yes, all of them."

Well, I'd like to give you an insight into my morning ritual. Please to enjoy:

That's right. Every morning. I get out of the shower, walk back into the bedroom and this is how I'm greeted. Granted, Junior has only one tooth left in his head. So the potential for injury is modest. But still, it's a tough way to start the day. Especially given the fact that we just shared a bed all night. And I won't lie to you, sometimes when I wake up in the night the "positioning" is more intimate than I would choose - were I lucid. And yet, this is how he greets me. Every morning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today's Commute

From here:

To here:

in 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Eurostar is a beautiful thing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Made to Be Played

It's been 4 weeks since I trusted my Guild into the hands of the moving company. It arrived today still in tune -- Made to Be Played indeed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Good Day in Paris

There are, admittedly, many different ways to have a good day in Paris. But at this point in time and space for Lolly and me, these were the right ingredients:

1. Wi-Fi!!!!! Sweet, speedy, wireless broadband. Clearly a gift from God above.

2. Two lovely salads.

3. A stunning Vlaminck show at the Luxembourg Museum:

4. A walk along the Seine:

5. Art gallery window shopping in Saint Germain de Pres

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Girl and her Chihuahua

Now before you get all judgmental about Twig's weight and "oh why can't he walk off a few pounds?" ... you should know that he has made progress on the leash. And he routinely trots along au naturel for long distances. This is quite a feat since he is a major novelty here in Paris. For whatever reason, there seem to be no other chihuahuas around. And so he gets a lot of casual petting on your standard Parisian sidewalk.

(yes, that's another softball for jblog)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another one of Junior's Shortcomings ...

... Is that he is incapable of distinguishing between the laws of physics and bad intentions. To him, wind slamming a door is identical to a home invasion. The outcome is a now well known sequence here at 2 rue d'Alencon: loud, sharp barking followed by uncontrollable coughing followed by a sneezing fit and then a nap. What a loser.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I guess in the back of my mind, I knew I would be writing this blog post sooner or later. So I can't help feeling a little bit just part of the system now that I am actually sitting down to do it. Here's the thing: moving to a different country is hard.

Don't get me wrong, there are many very cool things about living in Paris (including being able to say out loud, "we live in Paris.") But it's very strange and difficult to wake up one morning and have every single one of your life rhythms terminated. Of course, there is a beauty to the fact that you also get to establish a whole new set of rhythms and do things you never would have done within the context of the old ones. For example, choosing to live without a car -- never would have happened if we stayed stateside.

And the other hard thing is: you wake up on that same morning and all of your friends and family are thousands of miles away. That falls into the "things you don't fully appreciate until ..." category.

But on the bright side, it's a long weekend here in France due to Bastille Day. Lolly and I did a long photo safari through Cimetière du Montparnasse and Jardin du Luxembourg today. Here's a photo to prove it:

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Junior thinks he's friggin' Jesus on a Stick walking along on a leash all with his "ain't nuthin' but a thang" attitude ...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blue Tower

I took this photo with my phone on the 4th of July. It takes about 25 minutes to walk from our apartment to the Champ-de-Mars. Wy so blue? The tower is illuminated in blue to celebrate the beginning France's turn in the European presidency. But our neighbor Bernadette (and apparently many others) doesn't like it. To be honest, I'm not sure if she was saying that she didn't like the tower blue or didn't care for the whole EU concept.

There was also a group of loud, drunk Americans celebrating the 4th of July -- noise makers, funny hats, etc. We didn't identify ourselves.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Moving to France

Hi all and welcome to my new blog. I'm not entirely sure where this one will go or how long it will hold my interest (I stuck with Out of Fellowship for 80+ episodes - an unusually long attention span by my standards). But I thought it would be a good idea to start fresh here as Lolly and I begin our 3-year adventure in Paris.

The trip from San Francisco last Wednesday was a little tough. Lufthansa was on strike in Frankfurt and that tripped off a series of difficulties that resulted in us getting to Paris late and our luggage getting here even later. But our bags were delivered the next day and none too worse for the wear.

The major immediate adjustments include:
  1. Seriously ramping up my French skills - I already see improvement in reading and speaking it, but hearing it ... that's another story.
  2. Adapting to city life. We live in the center of Paris in Montparnasse. It's a mix of old "postcard" Paris and urban big city Paris. Let's just say that it's not as quiet as the Oakland Hills.
  3. Teaching Junior to operate a leash. When I put the leash on him, he looks at me like he's never seen me before and freezes in place. I tried dragging him but he just plants all four feet and and skips along -- as if we had him stuffed by a taxidermist for the purpose of taking him for a scrape around the city. What a loser.
  4. Sleep cycles! Ouch.
Here are some photos of our neighborhood ...

This is the building where we live. Our apartment is the one near the top with the balcony.

This is the street on one side of our apartment:

This is the scene that greeted us as we left our apartment in search of wifi this afternoon; some type of French Critical Mass: