Saturday, December 06, 2008

I can (maybe) make a difference!

Franken Scores: More Ballots Found In Democratic Stronghold

Thanks to The Huffington Post (and like the closest Senate race/most elaborate recount in Minnesota history), I now know that my absentee vote might actually count! Oh, I really hope mine was one of those in the newly discovered stack of 133 missing absentee ballots. Although, would that mean my Obama vote didn't count? I guess it's fine if it means that slimy Norm Coleman is off the scene. Also (for a laugh), check out the video in question in the Norm Coleman ad contraversy. His wife lives in LA and it's so clear that there's some serious green screen action going on here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Omg have you seen this?!!

No words.

So many people just got Rick Rolled. I love people who are in on the joke that is on them. I can only assume he is.

Just one more thing I missed by being in France for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Always A Lady

As a direct response to my post entitled The sleezy, sleezy Frenchman, and in no small way inspired by reading the WIG's blog and her link to this post on*, I have created this short (and hopefully terribly useful) guide on how to not get hit on in public.

1. Dress appropriately. You know, like a nun or whatever. You shouldn't want to look good for you if you don't want someone to leer at you and tell you how good you look. Don't think about what clothes you're putting on unless you want a man to try to talk you out of them.

2. Don't smile. At anyone. At any time. Having fun with your friends, laughing, smiling, these are all signs that you want strange men to approach you. Your smile, no matter whom it may be intended for, is an open invitation, nay an order, sent out to all surrounding men. You are asking for it.

3. Um, be a lesbian? But not the sexy kind. The really mean kind. The feminist kind. Cut your hair short but don't take care to shave anything else.‡ But, if you are a lesbian, and you are in public with your partner, whatever you do do not engage in any PDA. If you want to express your love out in the open like that, you have to accept that's it's totally cool and normal for a man to get in the middle of it. Like, that's his god-given right. So be a mean, ugly, feminist, single lesbian.

Me disguised as a nerdy man. Disguises can be very important when trying the ward off the advances of the opposite sex.

4. Say something smart. It doesn't matter what, it doesn't even matter if it makes sense. If a strange man approaches you, try to launch immediately into a discussion of the gender binary or just use the words "dichotomy" and "facism" in the same sentence and watch how far they run. Intelligent women are the opposite of sexually appealing. And they hate sex. Like you.

5. Stay home and read your scriptures, you prude. If you detest the "uninvited attention" of men so much, you must hate sex and men and fun. (Didn't you read number 4?) You can't possibly be both an intelligent woman who does not want to be accosted by strangers and someone who likes flirting and feeling attractive.

So there you have it, five simple rules to live by, ladies. If you break them, it's your own damn fault.

*Dear god, I wish I could force my sexist host brother to read this, but I am WAY too lazy to translate it into French.

‡Having short hair on your head and long hair in your armpits does not a lesbian make. However, you should expect to be taken for one, if this is your style.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

You have to promise never to tell anyone...

About Ghostwriter!* (Kudos to my friend The 7th Grade Poet for reminding me that this show existed.)

If you don't know about this show, you were obviously not alive from 1992 to 1995, or maybe your parents just didn't restrict you to public television viewing the way mine did, but I was totally the target audience for this show at ages 7 to 10. Like, I totally believed in Ghostwriter. At the age when most kids were writing Dear Diary, I was writing Dear Ghostwriter, I feel sad. Please find out if Shane likes me? (If I were not in France, I would find my old diary and pull a direct quote, but I swear that is not far off.) Also, I kept a casebook where I would write down evidence (of what? I have no idea, I seemed to think there were potential mysteries to solve) and interview questions, in case I ever found anyone to interrogate. Plus I totally bought one of those pen-on-a-string necklaces that Jamal would give you when he made you promise never to tell anyone about Ghostwriter. Oh, Jamal.

Classic Ghostwriter moment. Jamal was so cool for having that computer!

I think I just felt like I had a lot in common with the Ghostwriter crew. They were growing up in the mean streets of New York in mostly middle-income families, I was growing up in the White Bread suburbs of Vancouver, WA; Gabby and Alejandro had to work really hard in their parents' store, I really wished my parents had a bodega for me to work in; they used a computer that pretty much only displayed large text on the screen, we had a computer for word processing; sometimes Samuel L. Jackson would guest star as Jamal's dad, I have a dad.

Also, there was this one episode where Gabby steals money from the till at her parents' store to buy this coat she wants because her friend tells her she can say there's something wrong with it and get a refund. But it was on sale and there is a sign that says NO REFUNDS ON SALE ITEMS and then she's screwed because she didn't read the sign at first and then she's out fifty (of her parents') bucks. Anyhow, it really reminded me of the time I was in Fred Meyer with my mom (when I was like 5) and I found this broken porcelain animal on the ground (I think it had fallen off the shelf) and I picked it up and took it home. But then I realized that I had stolen it (!) and was so overcome with guilt that the next time we went grocery shopping, I took it back and put it in the same spot on the floor of the same aisle. Gabby and I were pretty much the same person.

If you have as much free time as I do (and you shouldn't), take the time to check out some videos, they're pretty amazing. And then wonder to yourself, who decided to make Ghostwriter look like a floating period with two eyebrows right on top of each other?

*¡Fantasma escritor, en español!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The sleazy, sleazy Frenchman

draguer /dRa'ge/ (v. French)
1. to dredge
2. to chat up, hit on, flirt with

It figures that the primary definition is "to dredge," because I swear to god, that's how hard these men are trying and they have certainly made it their life's work.

The other night, I was trying to explain the merits of feminism to my visiting 20-year old host brother (that was hilariously frustrating), and he retorted that he didn't like feminists because they didn't want to talk to him. I tried to explain to him that being approached in a bar can be creepy for a woman, but he felt it was "unfair" that he shouldn't be allowed to talk to a woman he found interesting. I pointed out that it's hard to know if someone is interesting just by looking at them, and that there are appropriate ways of approaching a woman. That we know if you just want to get in our pants. He was baffled, and continues to think feminists "want too much." But then again (as he put it), he's only seen them on TV.

So for any Frenchman who is still confused, I've compiled a list of inappropriate ways to interact with the ladies:

EXHIBIT A: Creepy old man doctor I had to see for my mandatory medical visit. Was it really necessary that I be in my underwear the whole time? Even for the medical history and the eye exam? Are you sure? You may have done this with everyone, but I still deem it inappropriate.

EXHIBIT B: Hip hop teacher (not the 14-year old). You are, in fact, 30 something, so why do you persistently flirt with the 16- and 17-year olds in the class. I'm glad that I'm too old for your taste, or are you actually picking up on the serious EW vibes I'm sending out? I appreciate some good, old fashioned flirting, it happens to be one of my favorite pasttimes, but let's keep it appropes, okay?

EXHIBIT C: The countless men in the street (teenaged to middle aged) who deem it necessary to yell things at me. For realsies, Messieurs, that knowing grin and those suggestive comments just make me want to barf, not talk to you, and definitely not sleep with you. Inappropes.

EXHIBIT D: Our favorite cartoon skunk.

That cat is so not into you, Pépé. Note the way she is using both her arms and her legs to push you away? No means no, Monsieur Le Pew. No means no.

So here's the deal, Frenchies: It's not your god-given right to tell me whatever you're thinking about me in the streets, in a bar, or outside my home, and I'm certainly not obliged to respond in any way other than to ignore you, or possibly say things to you in English that I only wish I knew how to say in French. Basically, I'm just not into you, so for goodness sake, give it a rest.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More comedy

I've been pretty bad lately about writing substantive posts, but I've been distracted by youtube, okay? Allow me to share with you my latest viewing obsession. How could I have forgotten the glory of Kids in the Hall? (Thanks to Lauren for the mustache link, leading me to hours of KITH viewing.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh right, I have a job.

And I actually kind of like it. Shocking, right? I find myself enjoying the company of small, Frenchy children, inspiring (or amusing) them with my animated gestures and explanations. I think that (possibly) my ridiculously stressful job of last year (might have) actually prepared me for this year, may have made me a better teacher. Or, it prepared me for enjoying the ease of a 12-hour work week. That's right, I said 12. My stipend this year is only slightly larger than my AmeriCorps pittance, but I'm working like a third as much, probably less.

Besides the fact that I only technically work 12 hours, there are an absurd amount of vacation days here. For example, a week and a half for Halloween? Ridiculous. Last week I had Tuesday off because it was November 11 (Veteran's/Armastice/Rememberence Day), and this week I have Thursday off because the teachers are striking*. And I always have Wednesday off. There is no school on Wednesday, and they used to have school on Saturday instead, but that has also recently been banned. So it's pretty sweet.

And what do I do with all this free time? Go places. Like, places in France. And soon, places in other countries. Why? Because it's Europe and I can. And also I drink and eat pizza and hang out with people I know. (Big improvement, right?) So, except for those moments (after my two and a half hour lunch break) when I just don't feel like going back to work, life is pretty awesome. Though I could really go for some Taco Bell.

*Today the train stations are striking and tomorrow it's the post office. Did someone forget to tell me that it was national strike week?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Humorous Diversions

For moments when humor is the best medicine.

Found this little FOTC gem. I've been getting more into their live shows (well, not live for me, but you get the idea). If only Jemaine and Bret would visit me and sing to me all day long.

I was also remembering recently how much I love the Electric Company. I mean, Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, what other children's show in history has had such an all star cast? Judy Graubart is also a comic genius, though I've never seen her in anything else. I really wonder if she was on some serious drugs during the filming of that show, or if she's that weird. I can't believe that she actually memorized any lines, it all seems so improvised. I couldn't find any of my true favorites on line, but this one has my four favorite cast members (unfortunately couldn't embed it. I love that Morgan Freeman and Judy Graubart are totally breaking up by the end of it.

This is the amazing Moreno/Freeman combo. I wish I could find the original Hey, You Guys with Bill Cosby as the milkman. I love a woman who is willing to make herself look ridiculous.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Oh, BBC Periods Dramas

So, I had had to go back to work in the middle of this week (that's right, I have a job), and to console myself after two whole days (okay, one and a half) of working with noisy kids, I watched YouTube clips of period dramas all afternoon. Nothing puts me in better spirits than nuanced dialogue and stiff, emotionally-closed men in lacy collars. For realsies. Por ejemplo:

"Poor, plain, obscure and little!" Oh, Jane Eyre, stop being so self-deprecating, he loves you!* Mmm, Mr. Rochester, I love it when you break through that cold façade and tell us how you really feel. Too bad your crazy wife is still locked in the attic and when Jane finds out she's going to run away and get amnesia and almost marry a crazy missionary (spoiler alert!). But it's classic British literature, so they'll make it somehow, even if that somehow is with Mr. Rochester all maimed and blind.

I watched a lot of Bleak House clips, too (starring hot, hot Gillian Anderson). My WIGgy friend Lauren and I went on a period drama binge this summer, and I think those were two of our faves. It started innocently enough on Netflix, but then we just stopped waiting for the next disc in the four-part series of (fill in the blank) to come in the mail and took to renting/watching four to five hours of witty bantor and parlor games at a time. The summer came to a tragic end when, long after I had cancelled my Netflix subscription, our local independent video store closed. By that time we were both moving, though, so it didn't matter much.

Wow, that was a bit more naustalgia than I was aiming for. A word to the wise though, the contemporary BBC dramas suck! by comparison. Apparently I've erased the name of the one we watched from my mind, and even 30 minutes of googling didn't get me anywhere, but it's probably for the best. We watched ALL FOUR discs of this terrible series (c. 1993?) about this doctor who "falls in love" with the older woman who hires him at the hospital when he has to go home to take care of his father. But get this, at first they hate each other! And, she's married! Maybe we were drunk, I don't know, but at least we didn't rent the sequel (disc 5). I'll take Mr. Jarndyce or Lady Dedlock over that shit any day.

*Also, look at how they kiss! It's hilarious, and this is how they do it throughout the entire film (okay, until they make out in the grass way later...) Like real lip to lip contact would just be too much, they just slide right past it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

So, I'm pretty much famous now.

That's right, if you don't hear from me for a while, it'll be because I'm enjoying my new celebrity status. I was interviewed about the elections, photographed, and published in the local newspaper.

Don't worry, you wouldn't be able to read it anyway. Plus she made me sound way better in French than I really am.

Yeah, I scanned that. Why, you might ask? Because this local newspaper is so exclusive that it's not even available online. I assure you that at least 20 people will read this article and ask for my autograph on the street.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


So I totally slept through the election results, but I loved the emails I received this morning re: election results. I voted a month ago, and I couldn't really follow the closing of the polls with the weak wireless signal in my room, so the whole thing was a bit anti-climactic for me.

Minnesota went Blue (woohoo! and thanks Mom for the email in the middle of the night informing me). My friend WIGgy* friend Lauren wrote this simple, but beautiful account of the progress in Ohio, where she lives.

Needless to say, I'm excited. More to come on the fact that I was interviewed by a local newspaper today on my views on the election.

*Were I Gay, as in Were I Gay (and were she), we would totally be involved. Credit to E. Purcell for the term.

Oh, excessively long vacations

Dear (7) Readers,

I think that's probably an enthusiastic estimate. I know you have all been wringing your hands, wondering what I have been up to and when I would return to feed your insatiable appetites with stories of the past two weeks. Well here I am, back and more irked than ever to be in such a small town with such weighty responsibilities. That's right, I've been on vacation, and now I have to go back to my normal, everyday French living (boo hoo) as an English assistant.

So, Paris, that was awesome. I left two Fridays ago by train, a mere 2 hour 20 minute excursion from my garage bedroom. I arrived late-ish (after 8), made the métro trip across town to my hostel, and did my best to look cool while I sat alone in the bar/restaurant for dinner, which turned out to be (what I'm pretty sure was) a reheated chicken burger. I had my little notebook, and I think I was doing a pretty convincing job of looking really deep in thought. Everyone probably thought I was some kind of tortured writer, come to a hip hostel just to mock the frivolity and torture myself some more. Anyhow, that got old after about 45 minutes, and I ended up sitting down at a table with some normal looking people speaking English. I am so brave.

These people (a Canadian guy and two Australian dudes), were, in fact, harmless. I didn't talk much, but I did get to hear tell of the previous night's pub crawl and the shenanigans that ensued as a result. Mostly, "I think that girl you were with had a boyfriend back home!"

"No, dude, that was the girl you were with!"

"Really, I dunno. I was just sitting there and all of the sudden she was holding my hand."

"Yeah, I didn't really sleep much last night. She wouldn't leave my room! I like having my space when I sleep!"

I made fun of them a little bit at that point. For not knowing which girl was which, for having been such "unwilling victims," for sharing a tiny, single hostel bed, for hooking up with people in a room with lots of other people! They didn't seem to mind. Plus, they were pretty much all leaving the next day, so I didn't need to make any kind of a lasting, positive impression.

Day one in Paris, I hung out with K, another language assistant from my region, and his friend who lives in Paris. We went to the Bon Marché, "just to look around." This, if you don't know, is a frickin' huge department store home to high fashion and higher prices. I was just looking around. My companions, however, decided to make it into a real shopping trip. I don't even like low-fashion shopping. I was being asked my opinion on colognes (I have none) and jeans (way too expensive). Luckily the day ended well with a trip to the neighboring biggest grocery store in Paris (La Grande Epicerie). Now that's something I can appreciate. We bought some delicious snackies and sat by the Seine as the sun was setting. Ah, Paris.

I met another girl at the hostel that night, and we attempted to go on the aforementioned pub crawl, but we had bad information, and we ended up just doing our own (2-)pub crawl. Despite not staying out too late and not drinking to excess, I woke up the next morning to face the Hungoverest Walking Tour of Paris Ever. I managed to make it through, though, and even came back for the night tour of Montmartre and the (real) pub crawl that followed. Needless to say, I took it easy.

On my final full day/night in Paris, I managed to go to the Eiffel Tower twice: once in the morning, after a magical breakfast of everything omelet and freshly pressed orange/grapefruit/lemon/raspberry juiced, and then again at night. I was looking forward to a Night Bike Tour, but it was all rainy and crappy and I opted out. Instead, I convinced an Australian woman, a

Russian guy, an English bloke, and a Kiwi dude to accompany me to the Tower as it lit up on the hour. Of course, we missed our first attempt by a minute and we had to wait around an hour or so, but I took an awesome, sideways video I took when it finally lit up again!

It was kind of tragic leaving Paris, but surprise, I found out my vacation was actually a week and half long, not just a week, and so I headed off to Nantes, where I conveniently had a host-cousin to stay with. I hung out with the Kiwi from Paris and we got to see things like, the Jules Verne museum and the town that Gauguin liked to hang out it. Mostly we just drank lots of Leffe, which is, by the way, my new favorite thing ever.

But, alas, here I am, back in Flers, and I actually have to go to work tomorrow. Bummer. I totally could have lived that way forever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On American Politics

So, I've been pretty disconnected from the whole presidential race thing (mostly by choice), and I tend to get most of my political updates from SNL. I know. I'm lovin' Tina Fey as Palin, and I watched the Couric/Palin interview (SNL version) the other night when I probably should have been sleeping. As I was watching, I thought to myself, Why, maybe I should check some news websites and see what Palin is doing in real life. So I did. I watched the real Couric/Palin interview and OH MY GOD they didn't even have to write that sketch! Palin is that ridiculous is real life! I know this is old news for everyone else, but she is really speaking gibberish! Just look:

Awuh? I think she changed the subject at least three times per sentence! Of course, then there's also the classic I'll Get Back To Ya moment, and Palin not being able to cite another Supreme Court case besides Rowe v. Wade. I DON'T GET IT, WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE HER? No, not like, love, worship. For answers, I turn to Jezebel.

There has been a lot of Palin coverage on this feminawesome website, and you should definitely do some poking around if you haven't been keeping up, but I particularly like the efforts that are being made to call out Palin for putting up with (and encouraging, it would seem) a culture of sexism and degradation at her ralleys. Hortense gives us this gem on the obsession with Palin's hotness. She points out that Palin has been given a lot of guff for tolerating offensive remarks being yelled about Obama at her ralleys, but that Palin should also be held responsible for allowing men to yell her "Marry me, Sarah" from the croud and exploiting her looks as a campaign tactic. Obviously, Palin is no feminist, and she blasphems each time she uses it, but how could anybody think she is when this is the norm? She's running on hotness, and the people who notice (you know, the men who go to her ralleys just to look) don't seem to care! In fact, they love it! Why why why why why????

I have already voted. I mailed in my absentee ballot two weeks ago. If McPalin is elected, I'm staying in France.

My hip hop teacher is 14.

Yeah, as in 1, 4. I thought it was gonna be this guy (Amar), and technically it is that guy, but this 14-year old is doing some kind of internship, and he is teaching the classes. So, technically, Amar is there, watching making sure everything is going well, but in fact, he only stayed half the time, and then things kind of disintegrated. Because, you know, that's what happens when there's a 14-year old in charge.

So let me just say, I was advised to go this class today by Amar when I met him on Saturday, and when I got there I was super nervous. It was clear that I was going to be the oldest (I think that the second oldest was 18), and the class mostly consisted of adolescent girls. I feared they would all be better than me. If only that had been so. The first half of the class was fine. We sort of learned a routine, or tried to. I got it easily because it was all stuff I had done before, but Kid was really moving too fast for beginners. Amar intervened a couple of times. Then we took a break for an indeterminate amount of time, Amar decided to leave, and Kid was left in charge. So, he shows off for a few minutes, while we're still resting or whatever, then asks what we want to do, saying he has no idea how to finish the class. And thus, things devolved into most of the girls sitting around, and me showing some of them how to do some freezes and six step. Kid was helping a bit, but mostly just trying things himself. So, yeah, I was teaching things that I hardly know myself, but in the end, it was kind of awesome. Like, I'm gonna go back. I just felt bad for the 7 girls sitting on the wall, feeling like they had nothing to do when Kid told everyone to practice freezes. I'm totally unqualified to teach this stuff, but these girls seemed to think I was the shit. Which is good, because I'm old, and I wouldn't want to be that lame, old person in the class.

Also, before he left, Amar asked me to show him all the freezes I knew and some other stuff, and it was as though he was testing me for something, but I don't know what. Maybe it was just amusing for him to watch me try. In any case, it was an adventure, and even if I don't learn anything new from Kid (and I think I will), it's a good way for me to keep practicing what I know. And to be admired by throng(s) of teen girls.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I had plans last night!

Last week, I had my work coordinator leave my phone number with the high school so that the language assistants there could (if they wished) call me and be my friends. You see, I'm the only primary school language assistant in my town, and although my host family is great, I'm a bit isolated from the world of 20-somethings. Mostly because I don't think it exists in Flers. Anyhow, I had heard tell of these mysterious "other native language assistants" who worked at the "middle schools" and "high schools," so I decided to investigate. And by investigate, I mean ask my coordinator if they truly existed, and if so, how I might contact them. And thus we arrive at yesterday afternoon, when I was trying to leave the house again to (once again) set off in search of the elusive hip hop class and its potential promise of registration.

The phone rang. My host mother answered and you cannot imaging my surprise when she said it was for me. It was Nela (though I didn't know it then), the Spanish language assistant at the high school, and she invited me to dinner at her apartment, with all of the other assistants. It sounded too good to be true! Would I really meet four new people, all in one night, all vaguely my age and doing the same kind of work I was? Oh, life was too sweet. I hurried off to find my dance class, which I did (eventually) and communicated (after a long wait) with the teacher, who told me to come the following Wednesday. I could totally do that.

That evening, Nela and Andrea (German) came and picked me up in a car! And to think, all this time I've been walking everywhere! We got to their apartment, right by the high school, just as Samantha (British) and Hannah (German) were arriving on foot. We said our hellos and went inside. It was kind of ridiculous how easily we all fell into conversation with each other, and in French, which of course is none of our native language. We ate dinner and drank cider and griped about our problems with the program and laughed about the errors that students made in each of our respective languages. It was absurdly fun. Just look at us! We're already taking pictures of all of us together with one person whose in the photo holding the camera!* We're so adorable and diverse! BFFs, obvs.

Around 11:30, we decided to go out and see if anyone was still awake in Flers, though we highly doubted it. The streets were, as we had imagined, pretty empty, although we did get verbally accosted by some gentlemen outside a bar that we decided not to got into (but whyever not?), and Andrea suggested that we all insult them in a different language. Unfortuanately, I was the only one who followed through.

We came to one bar that seemed pretty happenin', but decided that the animal-print bench seating was not so much our style. The bar was called the Why Not? Like, literally, no translation. We could think of a few good reasons. So we carried on, undiscouraged, and found La Taverne, a much better scene (in my opinion), with normal tables and plenty of room in back. And thus commenced my first night out in Flers. It didn't last long, as we had already been eating and talking and drinking for several hours, but it was important. It meant something. Plus, the girls who ordered cocktails totally got glow-in-the-dark sticks in their drinks. We only stayed for one round, and then made our way home. As I was being accompanied to my house by my four new friends, we came across this little treasure:
Translation: PRIVATE CLUB, The clientele who come to this club must
be accompanied by a person of the opposite sex.

This sign was outside of (what seems to be) the only discoteque in Flers. I'm assuming they made this rule because they were getting too many desperate male clientele, but come on! Really? Andrea made the point that it would have been no problem for us to go back to the bar find some people of the opposite sex to accompany us, but why would we want to? Needless to say, the adventure of the Discoteque lies ahead, but I went to sleep last night with visions of friendship bracelets and toenail painting dancing through my head.

*We actually took five of these pictures. One for each of our cameras.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Latest TV Obsession

So, every Friday night, channel 9 airs three episodes in a row of Kyle XY (dubbed, of course). And, as I am not yet in the habit of going out on Fridays, I've been staying in and watching it with host-sister (9) and host-brother (10). Yeah, I'm awesome. Anyhow, as it turns out, I'm super addicted to the show, and (in a strange turn of events) I'm going to Paris next weekend to attempt social skills and interactions with people my own age. What does this mean, you might ask? It means I'm going to miss the next three episodes of season two of Kyle XY!

So, dork that I am, I decided to see if I could buy those episodes on iTunes and watch them this week. So, I'm browsing iTunes, trying to figure out which episode I watched last, watching some free 30-second clips and oh my god his voice is totally different in English! Like, shockingly. Observe. Here is a clip from a dubbed episode (as I originally knew his voice):

Now, here is the same clip in English (spoiler alert, they kiss!):

Awuh?? In French, he's all, "Oh, I'm so sad and worried all the time and kind of whiney!" I thought he was all innocence! In English, he's like a man trapped in a boy's body! Where did that voice come from?! I don't know if I can watch it in English. I mean, don't get me wrong, I think he sounds better with his own voice, but I just can't quite adjust to the reality. You are a different character, Kyle XY, a much sexier one, and I don't think I want you that way. Matt Dallas, I thought you were a pretty boy. As it turns out, you're a pretty man.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So, this is the shit in France, right now. According to my host sister (18), this is the only kind of dance anyone is doing in the clubs. I wouldn't know, of course, because I just sit at home and dream of friends.

Lili Azian totally reminds me of a dancing, Belgian V-Mars. You know, she's adorable and I imagine her to be sassy beyond belief. And I bet she and Jey-Jey could totally solve crimes together! I almost couldn't chose between this video and dude alone in his garage, but then I realized that d.a.i.h.g. is totally Jey-Jey in his home videos before he got famous and got to be in a real music video! Or maybe after. Who am I to say?

Okay, new goal: learn tecktonik, find Lili Azian and Jey-Jey, and start a Dancing Private Eye(s) service. I think maybe if I was really French, I wouldn't even have to learn, I would just know. Oh, to be French.

P.S. - This video is awkwardly too big, but you know, I'm not very good at this crap yet. Also, did you notice how the black dude (whose name I admittedly missed) was featured like, 0.7% as much as the other two? Hmm...

A note about French televison

Most of the television shows in France are U.S. series dubbed into French. There's a ridiculous soap opera, Plus Belle La Vie, that we watch every night, and there are some really trashy game shows, and that about sums up the original French programming. Plus the news, but your know, everyone has that.

To be honest, I've been watching a shameful amount of Charmed. (I'm pretty sure the only other Aaron Spelling show that's dubbed here is Beverly Hills 90210*, but what other Aaron Spelling show is there?) There is nothing redeeming about the show except that my host sister loves it (she’s 9) and yells “Sharms!” whenever it comes on. Also, everything is funnier dubbed.

How does Alyssa Milano still have a career, you might ask?

Item 1: Ridiculous Outfits

Item 2: Boobage

Rose McGowan looks particularly ridiculous in the picture. I totally watched this episode the other day. They Halliwell sisters (mmhmm) accidentally summon Lady Godiva (she's naked!), and through some magical mix-ups, they alter history and women everywhere are oppresed! All the ladies are dressed like nuns and they can't even talk in public! Next to these Puritans, the Charmed Ones (yes, that's what they're called) look like total sluts! How could it be?!

What happened to the good old days, Sam? Remember?

Tony Danza was such a bad housekeeper. Angela only kept him around because she totally wanted to do him.

*Shannon Doherty, total jerk, but the missing link! At first I thought they killed her off on both shows, but that would have made her recent comeback on the new 90210 a bit awkward.

Dear Anne, eat more pastries

So here I am in France, and I've realized that the convenience of living with a host family has kept me from getting out and eating all the fresh baked goods that are readily available to me. Also, making friends and going to bars, but that's a different story. (Plus I totally have at least TWO friends now, both by force of having spent three days together in training, but whatevs.) Anyhow, my mission of the last week has been to start taking advantage of the pâtisseries on every corner. I justify my actions by with the following reasoning:

1. My heart condition is pretty much guaranteed at this time, what with all the cheese I'm eating. I might as well throw some sugar and butter in there, too.

2. Many pastries contain fruit(-like substances).

3. I walk frickin everywhere, so perhaps I can delay the impending onset of obesity.

4. I'm in France.

5. Pastries are delicious.

6. Pastries are the most delicious in France.

I was feeling a bit down in the dumps today after a failed attempt at finding a hip hop class I had read about (it totally exists, I just got lost). I was walking home, sullen and dejected, when there in front of one of my newly discovered pâtisseries was a woman making fresh crêpes. I think she was my Fairy Godmother, only French. (I guess I had always imagined she would speak English, for the sake of convenience.)

I decided to console myself. I bought a crêpe* that I had just watched her make, with a sprinkle of sugar all rolled up inside. "I will try again on Saturday!" I said to myself, "because that's when the other hip hop class is!" I walked home content, both with my recent purchase and my overall resolve to eat more sweets.

*This was by no means the first pastry I've had in Flers. It was merely the most recent and the most delicious.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I broke the internet.

Yeah, so if it wasn't working for you about two hours ago, that was me. In my ceaseless efforts to configure the house wifi to my computer (or the other way around), I unwitting did something awful last night and the box went dead. No more blinking red lights, no more recognition of ethernet, nothing. My host father (a very jolly Frenchman) may have actually growled at me. Like, I told him what I had done (so not my fault), he proceeded to go about remedying the problem, and then this guttural sound rumbled at me from the next room. It sounded a lot like, "But what did you do Anne?!" (In not so jolly French.)

In the end, he just exchanged the box for a new one, asked dude at the store how I should configure my computer, and abracadabra! I have wifi. So, the moral of the story is, it was totally worth it break the Orange Livebox. Plus I paid so much penance yesterday by being dupped into a five-hour lunch.

Yes. Five hours. My host mom was all like, "Oh, Anne, we are going to eat lunch a friend's house on Sunday. Do you want to come?" and I was all like, "Oh yeah, sure, I love lunch, it's a delicious, short meal!" Slight dramatization. So we (host mom, dad, sis, bro) get there, and there is a young husband and wife and a small child. The kids all play and the men and women talk to each other respectively. I sit at the end of the counter (where we are eating appetizers, round one of meal) and stare dully at the food. At a certain point, the husband and wife realize I speak French and ask me complicated questions about the subprime housing crisis. Fun.

So, an hour and a half later, we start the real meal. We eat meat, rice, bread. Dude of the house asks me if Walmart is really open 24 hours. I say I think so, but I don't like them because of their sexist hiring policies and union bans. Then we have cheese/salad round. Omg, I love French cheese. Like, I might die of 400 clogged arteries in France, but I will die so happy. Anyhow, I thought we were done. I was just biding my time. And thus we rolled into hour four.

Coffee and desert was proposed and then served. Delicious banana cake. No objections. Surely we were done. No. No no no. This is the part where we go outside and admire the yard and the countryside for an hour while the kids play on the swingset! Well, not quite an hour, but we got there at 12:15 and finally left at 5:30. Sunday Lunch: my first lesson in French culture.

So we finally went home after a (thankfully brief, only 30 minute) stop at host father's sister's house. And then I broke the internet. So maybe it wasn't pennance. Maybe it was revenge.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am stupid French

The following is a description of (probably) the best thing that's happened to me in France, so far:

I was in a yarn shop the other day, trying to buy yarn and needles of a certain size, and the store was going out of business, so everything was on sale. I made friendly conversation with the shop owner as I looked around. The selection was a bit sparse, as it had already been combed over, and I ended up buying yarn for a different project. I told the owner that I was ready to buy, and she was very disappointed that I was buying so little (as it was a liquidation sale).

This is when I began to explain that I was looking for yarn for a certain size of needle, but she thought I was looking for needles (which, by the way, is a particularly difficult word in French), and directed me to them. I explained again, and she looked at me blankly. After at least two full seconds of staring, she said (in French), “Oh, but you have said such stupid things! I don’t even know what you just said!” But this is the best part: I swear, she said this as though my accent was convincing enough, but that I was just dumb! She just thought I was a really stupid French person! Amazing.

Anyhow, an old woman who was sitting in the shop knitting seemed to understand me well enough (and perhaps pity me in my mentally deficient state), and she explained what I had said to the shop owner. I successfully made my purchase and left. I was initially offended at how blatantly the woman had called me out for being stupid, but then I started to think about it more, and just laughed to myself in the street (further supporting the theory of my craziness/stupidity).

How do you get from CDG to Paris Mont 3 Vaug?

I clicked on the title box, and that is what came up. It's the question I asked google before leaving the country. The answer ended up being, an airport shuttle, a train and the métro, oh, and then have fun killing 5 hours until your train to Flers actually departs!

And that's just what I did. Or rather, I wandered bleary-eyed through the empty streets of Paris (apparently no one leaves their house before 10am on a Sunday) and discovered things like, a rack of bikes for public use:

I also stumbled upon (or, you know, purposefully sought out) Serge Gainsbourg's grave/shrine in the Montparnasse graveyard. I love me some Serge, and I thought, what better way to start my Frenchy adventure than with him, the old (ahem, deceased) Frenchy pop icon? I couldn't stay long, for fear of falling alseep in the cemetary, so I headed back to train station to eat a sandwich, and fall asleep (a little bit) on top of my luggage.