30 September 2007

Alphabet City (la ville alphabet)

For those of you unfamiliar with the East Village, here is a quick guide from Wikipédia.

Dicton de East Village (qui aujourd'hui n'a plus lieu d'être):

* Avenue A, you're Alright. (tout va bien)
* Avenue B, you're Brave. (vous êtes courageux)
* Avenue C, you're Crazy. (vous êtes fou)
* Avenue D, you're Dead. (vous êtes mort)

26 September 2007

En français, s'il vous plaît.

Je pratiquerai le français. Dites-moi si ce sera un problème.

21 September 2007

A Facebook message from Paris

Paris te manque

The French capitalize only the first word in book titles; I assume the same is true for Facebook message subject lines.

Paris was overwhelming for the first few days; now that I’ve been here for two weeks, I’m kind of used to it. I haven’t experienced culture shock so much as culture malaise, exacerbated by the fact that my only friends (acquaintances?) here are other American students from my program, for whom I feel alternately resentful and grateful.

My room looks out on a courtyard paved with square beige stones. The only plants in it are dwarf trees in terra cotta pots. It’s a beautiful view.

I live a block away from the Trocadéro circle, which is directly across the river from the Eiffel Tower. My daily commute to school involves a dramatic reveal of said tower as the train crosses the bridge from the right bank to the left bank. It no longer impresses me; it’s like when I was working on Park Avenue South during the summer and walked right by the Empire State Building without looking at it every day. The fact that I’ve gotten used to seeing the Eiffel Tower doesn’t say much except that I bore easily; I still haven’t found nice places to walk or sit without tourists swarming everywhere.

The good news: my one professor (we only take one class, on grammar, for the first three weeks) is young and intelligent and therefore infinitely attractive. I’m writing a food column for which I have free rein for my school paper. There are lots of beautiful things and people here.

But I’m certainly looking forward to the spring, when you will be here to inject some much-needed familiarity into my life.


20 September 2007

Il était simple comme bonjour

I'm a little bit worried about my French. I just finished a quiz (un queeze) that was not simple as hello, although I think I got the bonus question.*

I took French in middle school (food, café skits), all through high school (Rimbaud recitations, more café skits). And although I took some French at Rice (and I am taking it now), I think I stopped learning after my senior year of high school, when I took the French AP exam. And now, all I can say is, to French people I meet at parties, You know what my favorite word in French is? And they say, What? And I say, very slowly, Malheureusement. I know, if we switched places, it would go like this. You know what my favorite word in English is? What? Un...for...tu...nate...ly.

Do I know how to construct a sentence in any tense other than the present or the past? I doubt it. I never really learned English grammar, so learning French grammar is like learning two grammars at once! Ack! Anyway, I'm a little worried about my French.

*Bonus (1 pt): Ce quiz n'était pas _____ difficile _____ je le craignais. En fait, il était simple comme _____.

15 September 2007

The Festival Blog

Here is a post on the Texas Renaissance Festival Blog by lordrazorhalo.


I just wanted to say that I have been an active attendee of the TRF since 1990 and it has been getting better and better every year! This website is a crowning achievement to the TRF and I love it! Every time the Festival ends I am already preparing for the next it is that much a part of my life. Sad? Maybe. But it is always a fun time! Costumes are a must if you really want to be a part of the fun!!!! Huzzah to all who have put so much into the TRF! Maybe one day I can be a part of the crew! See you in October!

13 September 2007

Experience the Magic

The Texas Renaissance Festival is on my mind. For those who don't know, you can actually go back to the 16th century, via Plantersville, Texas, for eight weekends October through November. This year, the magic begins October 6.

I went once, maybe twice, years ago. The one time I remember, I convinced my mother to buy me a dress within fifteen minutes of entering the festival. The dress was dark pink and made of a soft crimpy material. Once I had shed my Gap Kids and changed into the dress, I convinced my mother to buy me a wreath from a fairy. The wreath was made of things that resembled dried wheat and baby's breath, and long pink and green ribbons with small bells at their ends that jingled quietly as I walked. My mom did not buy a dress but instead remained in what may or may not have been a long sleeve white turtleneck with a pair of light Lee denims. I was young and had nothing to hold up the dress, so my memory of that day consists mostly of walking around, with a drink-in-a-coconut in hand, constantly pulling up my dress.

Early this month I received an email from Erotic Cabaret Boutique with the subject Lords and Ladyes, thou wonst believeth the 2007 Renaissance Festival savings that await thee! "Shop now and save 10% on any Corset of Bustier...Hurry in now to ensure delivery before the festival!" For men, there is a seven piece pirate captain costume (hat, eye patch, scarf, hook, ruffled shirt, velvet coat, boot covers) for $150.00, or a long-sleeved chain mail shirt (one size fits most) for $149.95. Are there people who mark their calendars in anticipation for the Festival? (Enthusiasts must capitalize the F.) I think the answer is yes.

I may just revisit the Renaissance Festival this year. If for no other reason, it will be an opportunity to finally go inside The Magick Cauldron.

03 September 2007

Ghost Story

I am taking an English course, on the modern short story. The syllabus is in Comic Sans, which is disappointing but excusable. The first day, the professor asks, How many seniors? Several hands go up. Oh good, she says, when we talk about sex, you'll have some experience. I want to raise my hand, I'm a fifth year. The first day, we read the first two paragraphs of The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, Ever, by Márquez. I've never read it. A few have, they drop terms like magical realism but the professor isn't really into it, for which I'm thankful. When I want to participate, my heart pounds like it did when I was an undergrad.

I've been saying, I feel like a ghost, walking around this campus again. They don't recognize me, I don't recognize them, for the most part. Day two of this class the professor wants everyone to say their name and something weird about themselves. Oh, I'll tell them I like a tongue sandwich, that's kind of weird. There's a girl who can beat Minesweeper super fast, there's a boy who can solve the Rubik's Cube super fast, of course. I'm sitting next to the chess champion of Arkansas or something. And then the guy next to him...the professor completely skips me, and no one knows my name or that I like a tongue sandwich.

Yeah, I'm back at school. Land of MWF and TTh.