Sunday, October 10, 2010


OK, just returned from a weekend in Berlin. And it's not an overwhelmingly beautiful European city like Paris or Prague or Florence. But it's very cool and compelling. Plus there are some sweet flea markets. And yours truly scored a funky 1926 German mandolin at the one near the Mauer-Park. It's a 12 string mando built to have 3-string clusters rather than the modern 2-string clusters. My finger tips may never forgive me.

A more thorough photo essay at this link.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Feeling Like an Alien

One time, many years ago, I bought an Atlanta Rhythm Section record solely for the song "Alien" in which the pinnacle line was "Feeling like an alien." As I recall, the rest of the record was underwhelming but that line has come back to me a number of times over the last few years living in France.

Now ... I like France, I like the French, and I like living in Paris. But sometimes, the alien-ness hits me. Usually it's a very basic situation like arriving at the Franprix checkout having forgotten to weigh my sweet potatoes and forgetting the French for, well, "I forgot to weigh these sweet potatoes." ["J'ai oublié peser ceux potates douces" for those of you scoring at home. And no, I don't know why the French use "potate" for sweet potatoes while using "pomme de terre" for normal potatoes.] Anywho, it's a pretty exposed, embarrassing situation. The checker just wants you to check the hell out!

So today: role reversal. I was in a San Francisco Tumi store checking out some brief cases where 2 French dudes were shopping too. They didn't speak any English and, so, they were having no luck interacting with the sales staff. I said "pardon" as I slipped past them and, based on that one French word, 10 minutes later they approached me and asked me to explain US pricing and sales tax. This, of course, is a bit puzzling to Europeans because, in Europe, the taxes are embedded in the advertised prices whereas, here in the US of A, we add taxes as a surprise at the register. That led to a 15 minute French conversation on various topics. Turns out they were from Nantes - and so SF was kind of a big city experience for them.

Well anyway, it was kind of a cool karma moment or a marker (or Ebeneezer for those of you scoring from church). Aliens. Yeah. Sometimes I am one. Other times I can minimize the sensation for someone else.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Scott and Hilary's checklist for their last day in Paris yesterday. The important stuff got checked off.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

L'Eglise Saint-Louis en l'Ile

Scott had an outstanding idea to catch some live music today. So we took in a baroque organ/trumpet concert at L'Eglise Saint-Louis en l'Ile. It was a great concert inside an impossibly beautiful building. And I can't think of a better use for that setting than quality, live music.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


This is a shot from the village of Mersault looking out at the surrounding vineyards - mostly Chardonnay here. Yes, I bought 2 bottles.

A night shot in Beaune - the unofficial capital of Burgundy. The large building on the right is L'Hotel Dieu.

Dinner in the cave at Le Conty in Beaune. Very nice and a bottle of Pommard to go.

A mosaic show in Chartres (admittedly not in Burgundy, but a lovely place nonetheless).

Hilary actually took this shot in Chartres.

More Chartres - on the steps of the cathedral.

Using the macro to amuse myself while Junior-sitting outside the Chartres cathedral.

A few shots inside the cathedral.

And outside.

How French chihuahuas stay so trim.