Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So French, So Roland Garros

Today, two beautiful things happened:

#1 Hyper cool thing - The Pompidu Modern Museum of Art

They had posters by the Guerrilla Girls. I loved this.


When I have kids...they will only be allowed to play with cool vintage things like this.

This horizontal urinal was entered to the New York Society of Independent Artist 1917 show by Marcel Duchamp. It is titled - Fontaine. His motive behind it was that he wanted to test a modern art committee (of which he happened to be a member of) that said they would accept anything as art for their show. So to trap them...he tipped over this urinal, signed his name (with the code name R. Mutt) on it and entered it into the show (He and Jackson Pollock would have definitely been friends). They refused to accept it under the grounds that he didn't actually make the urinal itself and therefore he could not take credit for the piece. It has had a large impact on modern art, making it so that artist did not need to be responsible for the complete creation of their finished product...more just the person behind the thought and manipulation. ... And it all began as a farce.


This is just a cool art video projection from the Pompidu. It is nearly as cool as in Gossip Girl, when Serena sets up the projections of trees for Dan's Christmas present...almost.

#2 Hyper cool thing - I went to the French Open!

Some years ago, I went to many a tennis tournament with Kristin Panarra and enjoyed absolute displays of sport etiquette and manliness. I have been missing those days, and after seeing the creme de la creme in tennis, I do not ever want to go through another tennis tournament drought.

Just look at that beautiful tennis pirate...


Fate has set me living, no more than, 3 minutes from the location of the French Open, so today I went and experienced it first hand. It was incredible. First, we had to wait in line for a very long time. Then, when they finally released the line to go get tickets, there was a literal stampede and I heard screams of pain and horror coming from the front...but I really wanted to see some attractive tennis players / pirates, so I was not deterred. When I first walked into the complex, guess who was there to greet me ... Maria Sharapova, herself. She had just finished up her match and was looking glamorous. I was unable to get a picture of her because my camera did not open quickly enough and she had just finished her match so she was heading out, but it was still pretty cool. And can I just say that she is really hot...because she is. I had initially planned on seeing Sharapova and Nadal (they played in the same stadium), but by the time we got in, Sharapova had already won and Nadal was half way through slaughtering some poor soul. So we decided to go to the main stadium and watch Safin (Russian stud) vs. Ouanna (the pride of France).


Venus was supposed to play after them but there game was so incredibly long and intense, it was already dark by the time her turn came around. I was so bummed I did not get to see Venus. But no need to worry because when we started to leave the stadium, who else walks by? VENUS WILLIAMS in the flesh!!


Again...I was not quick with the camera, so she is kind of in the distance at this point, but you can still see her. She is center stage in the white visor. And I am not saying that Venus or Sharapova ever came off as ugly or anything...but they are even more beautiful and fit in person.

video

This is a video from the match. I don't think you can even really see the ball on this small version, but whatever. It was just so intense. It lasted about 3 1/2 hours and they were still hitting the ball at up to 206 km/h. So many cool plays went down. And I am telling you, if you ever want to see the French get sassy, go to Roland Garros. I wish I had a real video camera and could have recorded all the mind blowing plays, but my little powershot (which Sharapova endorses, by the way) made due.

And if anyone would like to spot me 32 euro, I would love to have an excuse to buy a Roland Garros tennis ball ... that is the size of a basketball. I saw a lot of 5 - 14 year olds running around with them and I was really jealous.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At the end of the day, It's another day over

Breakfast at le train blue.  
On the menu... du petit pain chocolat.


By lunch we were at chez Victor Hugo.

This is a table Hugo had made with a place dedicated to each of the four best writers of the time.  Of course, he included himself.  I love romantics. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Much Needed

Today I took a long overdue run in Le Bois de Boulogne.  Very pleasant experience... 


The woods are conveniently close to my residence so it is a pity I have not been going more often.  Before my run I discovered that my socks were M.I.A., but I put my shoulder to the wheel and just ran sans socks.  When I ran St. George, I saw a man running without shoes or socks, so really, I was doing pretty well for myself.  However, the trails in Le Bois are sand...and pretty quickly the sand was in my shoe and the blisters were on my feet.  Then towards then end I caught the sent of weed and I knew it was about time to clear out before the prostitutes infiltrated the place.  The park takes on a new life when the sun goes down...

Besides trodding through the streets of Paris, my only other exercise adventure was a bike ride in Versailles Gardens.  Best thing to happen to me since I heard Britney was back.  It was very liberating.  

I saw Marie Antoinette's house and hamlet, which I was unable to experience on my original Versailles excursion.  M.A., you may have had your children stolen and been sent to the guillotine, but still... you were one lucky B.  The Petit Trianon is pretty much the classiest pool house you could imagine.  The Grand Canal, a cross shaped lake where Louis XVI used to entertain himself with live naval battles, was hosting a rowing competition, so that was fun.  ... The picture below is, as you might notice, not the rowing boats, but boats we were unable to enjoy because of the rowing competitions priority to the lake.  They were still photo worthy, though.  

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Benedictions

Today was Bring-Your-Most-Pungent-Cologne-To-Church Day.  I don't know what the deal was...but every male on the metro formed a pact to wear a whole bottle of cologne.  This has never happened before.  Usually they have a pact against using any sort of deodorizer.   It made my nose burn.  Also, there was a lady who sounded like she had Gollum inside her throat. Paris, you should probably cut back on the cigs.  It's a real problem.  

To pass the train time I turned to my playlist titled "Holy of Holies" and listen to great religious numbers like Homeward Bound (by MoTab, not Simon and Garfunkel), Swing Low Sweet Chariot by Ella Fitzgerald, and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing sung by Sufjan Stevens (It made me think of Andie.  Anyone who ties Sufjan into Relief Society gets beaucoup de points from me). Church was classic and lovely.  I love the ward.  It's an international ward and I am pretty sure every language is represented by at least one person in attendance.  Also, I like that the women in Paris are very sure, strong and opinionated... and it shows at church, as well. Other things I like about the church - it has a ping pong table, a bathroom, and  free water (the last two being nearly impossible to find elsewhere...I guess I haven't seen too many ping-pong tables lying around either).  

Usually on Sundays, you will find me napping here in the Tuilerie Gardens, but today, I went to a concert at L'Eglise Madeleine instead.  


And so now I am ready to get some Sunday Zzzz.  

Happy Sabbath

Au revoir

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chapeau!

I may be in Paris, but that doesn't mean I don't deserve some wind-down activities at night.  It may sound like all fun and games, and maybe it is, but a lot of fun and games can be tiring. So to relax at night, I like to watch an occasional episode of The Office or Gossip Girl (don't judge me).  So you better believe that, just because NBC and Hulu shows are blocked in Europe (online), I didn't miss the Office Season finally.  I just want to say ... I loved it, but hated that it was only a half-hour.  Big mistake.  You never do that with a season finale!  NBC...You've got some explaining to do.  But even still... there were definitely some scenes that I have been replaying over and over in my head. America...you may generally have bad chocolate, bad style, and bad table manners ... but you still make me laugh. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

FYI

It has come to my attention that not everyone is aware of the existence of Fainting Goats.  That's rediculous.  Educate yourself:


video


Wikipedia informs me that fainting goats are annually honored at the "Goats Music and More" in Marshall County, Tennessee.  Be sure to keep your calendars free for October 9 - 11.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Once Upon A Time, In An Irish Shire

You have all been wondering what lies behind the unique and colorful doors of Ireland...and I am here to tell you.  The answer is *magic*.  Spending some time in Irish countryside is probably the best thing you can do for yourself.  It was beautiful...and there were lots of sheep (LOTS) so I felt right at home.  Kara, Kylie, Kristen, Emily and I flew into Ireland on Thursday evening and we flew out on Saturday evening so we had to get down to business right away.  This was made easy because our hostel was right in the beating heart of Dublin.  I will also note that this was my first hostel experience.  It was interesting.  My conclusion is that men in Europe smell just as bad before they shower as they do after, probably worse.  It kind of made me sick to my stomach, but I didn't let it ruin things for me.  

The first night, we went and watched live Irish dancing, fo' free!  What a  gold mine.  Those dancer were out of control. And sweaty.  One of the male dancers had so much junk in his trunk!  He totally rivaled me, so that was pretty shocking.  

video

Some advice from me: if you ever make it to Ireland, definitely visit some pubs.  There isn't much else to do, anyways.  This is especially important if you ever have a case of the blues or are feeling unloved, because that can easily be cured by taking one step into an Irish pub.  This probably would only work for those of the female gender, but I promise you that in 5 seconds flat your self-esteem will increase ridiculously because drunk men love girls, and drunk Irishmen love girls even more.  And they love for you to sing with them... so go for it.  I have never been hit on my so many men (ranging from 20 - 50).  One time, I was scoping out the landscape, searching for some strapping young men and as I looked over the heads of people, trying to see across the room and around a wooden pillar, I suddenly noticed that a very aged and wasted man was in front of my face, moving in line with any direction of my vision.  When we made eye contact he smiled really big and raised his eyebrows.  At that point, I just stopped looking.  
We took a tour to Glendalough, it is a small town / village where there is an old monastery (when I say old, I mean medieval old)  So we hung out in a Celtic grave yard and saw some ruins. The best part was making videos in the graveyard...no regrets.  Along the way to Glendalough, we stopped at lakes and movie locations (think Braveheart and P.S. I Love You).  We also learned a lot about Irish history... so if you have any questions, I am your girl.  The tour guide informed us about current Irish events, as well.  Apparently, Ireland has been hit especially hard by the economic crisis and is experiencing a 20-30% unemployment rate (ouch).  They will probably be calling in aid from the IMF next year and are on the verge of being third-world status!  That's enough to make a man cry in his Guinness, so say a prayer, make a wish or find a four leaf clover and dedicate it to Ireland.  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lucky Lucky (Twice)

Just some photo's to catch up on ...

This is me and the band in front of the Opera House.  I did what felt natural and played the air flute. 

Photo shoot in front of the Arc de Triomphe.  Sometimes looking like a tourist is unavoidable. 


I promised a special someone (you know who you are...i hope) an image of the Champs Elysees so here it is.


Pretty classy stuff..

Ciao

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Je Blague

Combien des boulons sont dans la Tour Eiffel? (How many bolts are in the Eiffel Tower?)


Just un bout long! (Just one long point!)

An old man in Le Jardin du Luxembourg told a group of us that joke.  He loved it.  He was just dying laughing.  Aah...it kills me.  I love the French.  I don't know what people are talking about...they are hyper (pron. "ee-p√®re" et pas "Hi-per".) cool.  


I'm telling you, they are very, very nice.  Maybe on the inside they think "stupid American"...but even still, they are kind enough to keep it to themselves and I appreciate that.  B
ut really, absolute strangers will go out of their way, even if they're obviously in a hurry, to stop and help you.  I've seen it many a time.  Je blague pas, and I have only been here a week.  One time I was in the metro and there was a girl having trouble with her metro pass.  There was also a lady who passed through at the same time and you could see in her face she was in a hurry.  The lady was absolutely torn between whether to help this person get into the station or reach her deadline.  The lady paused three times to check and make sure the girl was ok, and on the third time, she turned around and helped the girl, who was clearly a tourist, get into the metro.  It wasn't her job to help at all and she was not bothered to do it either.  Afterwards she gracefully said "Je vous en prie" and was on her way.  I was very impressed.  


(Notre Dame - It didn't click that Notre Dame means Our Woman until I came here. I guess I'm not always what you would call quick.)

Also, I am very grateful for how patient the French are with people learning the language (i.e - ME).  They are very encouraging.  If you don't know or aren't sure how to say something they say, "Well, just try".  And if you don't get it right, they correct you, but in a kind and respectful way.  So what I am trying to say is the experience is certainly worth it, even considering the pee filled subways and dog dropping filled streets.  

Friday, May 1, 2009