Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Travel Tales Part 1: Karen.

There are people in this world for whom travel is a breeze. These bastards are generally found in first class. They settle into seats the size of a Cadillac, drink champagne,  and they eat fresh food that was not made of freeze-dried hog shit. I bet they can even tilt the seat back during take off and landing.

I know. Douchebags. I have an intense dislike for them as well.

But not because of the impeccable service, gourmet food and the miles of leg-room. For me, it's because of people... like Karen.

I was dozing off a few rows away from the assholes in first, and as I relaxed into my seat I was convinced that they paid an extra 5k euros for the food. Until seat 13B, next to me, was filled.

"HHHIIIIIIIeeeeeeeee!!" she screamed into my earbuds, "Myyeee name iaz Kareeen!!!". She said this to me as if her name were the cure for fucking cancer and she shoved her hand in front of my half-open eyes. 

Make no mistake. Introductions on flights are a bad omen. She might as well have said "Hi there. I'm here to make this flight as comfortable and relaxing as an enema of chinese throwing stars."

I reluctantly introduced myself and she proceeded to tell me her EN-TIRE life story beginning with birth and ending with how she ended up on a singing tour of Greece with sixteen other ladies over sixty. I took a moment of silence for the other passengers suffering my fate.

The flight from Paris to Chicago was already a long one at nine hours. But the minions of hell were hard at work last wednesday. Some fueling contraption needed to be fixed. Then it needed to be replaced. Four hours later, we were apologetically asked to deplane and I had an intense desire to meet the captain and see how far I could wedge my flip-flops up his ass cheeks. Thirteen hours of Mrs K is enough to make you want to suffocate yourself with the vomit bag.

I learned a great many things against my will.

I learned that she had a bad foot. (A tale of grossities I will not relay on the off chance that you may be eating). 

I learned that her son-in-law is way too interested in dogs for his own good and sounds like a real dick.

Most importantly, I learned that first class doesn't buy you better food. It buys you a financial wall of protection against the Karen's of the airplane.


Monday, June 21, 2010

My Cup (of Egotistical Whiny Bastages) Runneth Over

I'm writing this blog drunk. It must be said. But when else am I going to speak my mind without any hint of remorse? Never I tell you. Why? Because I'm from Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, you don't tear people down for the sheer pleasure of it. You don't mock people just to relieve the resounding voice in your head saying:
"What the EF do they think they're doing???"

But, when you're hammered... the gloves come off. And such is my case.

So I say... "Equipe de France, mais qu'est-ce que vous être en train de foutre,  BORDEL!?!?".

It is my right, as a drunkard, as a light weight who has just celebrated, not only a birthday, which in and of itself is license to say whatever you want in France, but Father's day as well... to completely destroy the French nation's football team.

I'm allowed, not just for having had more than three coupes of champagne, or because I washed them down with three glorious glasses of red wine, but for the simple reason that:

I am not French.

Though, I have probably never acted more so. That said: Goodbye respect. See ya later good judgment. STOP. It's Hammer(ed) time.

So, I ask you... What THE F*CK France?

Seriously. You're not even going to train because you had a bad game? You're actually ON STRIKE from training? That's like a winery letting the fruits of their labor rot in the cellar because they had a bad year.

SUCK IT UP, I say. DEAL WITH IT. You had a crappy game, against Mexico. Waaahh Waaahhh. OK, so it's like the Red Socks losing to a 3rd grade little-league team. But you're Freakin' FRANCE. Where's that over-developed sense of Pride I'm so used to? What's next? Are you going to go all Tanya Harding on me? "My laces were too tight", "He said 'Ef You, Dirty-son-of-a-B'" and We were SCREWED". Life is unfair, dammit. But stop getting all
FRENCH on me, I know y'all looooove the strikes, but his is a bit overboard, even for you.

I thought this was a nation of Egos. I expected that one little defeat would be power enough to set the team in motion towards defending their beloved Cock. (I'm referring to the French mascot btw.)

Instead, I'm left with a pseudo group of wining prima donnas that can't take the hand their dealt.

Not only am I forced to listen to those ANNOYING horns blowing in my living room nearly every evening, but you've completely F*CKED my husband's attitude. The poor guy has been brooding since day 1, and now, it's getting even worse.

Thank you France for blowing another week of my life with your confused definition of Pride. If you want ONE piece of advice, here it is, whether you're ready for it or not:

Get your balls back on that horse and WIN, instead of acting like a two year old spinning on his back in the parking lot because the store is all our of chocolate pudding pops.

The end.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nylons: Classless apparel for hairy albinos since 1935

Pack up your guarders. Fold away your stockings. Tuck your tights up too. Prepare for annoying detail number 27,459: Parisians don't wear nylons in the summer. EVER.

Seems to me, over here nylons have one purpose -- ONE ONLY, ladies. And that is: to protect you from the cold. Ok, well maybe they do occasionally dawn those lacy numbers for the sheer fashionista woman-hear-me-roarness of it, but they manage to make me feel like I'm some kind of ice cube who needs to be covered head-to-toe. Is it above twenty degrees Celsius? Then they wanna see some skin, biznatches!

I learned this the hard way last summer and anxiety has been growing, along with my leg hairs over the last seven months. (Don't ask how I never figured it out before, this is just one among a plethora of chronicles detailing my culturally-defective retardacity.)

I've mentioned that style is not where I excel. I have come to terms with the fact that if being trendy were a sport, I'd be in the special Olympics... no not even. I'd be holding the little plastic cups of water. MMM. Still not good enough. I'd be that loser cleaning up the trash left in the stands. It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

In my world, nylons and their kin are like Swiss army knives. They were designed for multiple purposes. They're useful when:

1) Why are you hitting yourself? HUH??
My skin is a f*cking pussy. If I bump into something, anything, I'm covered in cuts and bruises like I just starred in the last Die Hard. No point trying to avoid it anymore, I'm going to turn black & blue at the slightest encounter because my epidermis is about as thick as a baby butterfly's wing. Without my stockings, V's reputation would be on the line -- I don't like the idea of my colleagues thinking I'm a battered wife. 

2) I'm in the "grow-mode".
I've converted. Back Gillette! Keep your distance Schick!! I avoid shaving whenever possible so I can go to the "esthéticienne" and get my wax on. Side effects: You can't exactly go every two weeks once your body gets used to it, so there is an inevitable "grow-mode" where you've just got to bite the depilatory-applicator and get furry with your bad self. Nylons come in handy during this phase. Just a week to hold me over, that's all I need... but I can never seem to escape the "OMG aren't you dying in those?" comments.

3) Mask the winter-white

I am "fair skinned". This is actually code for "Freakishly Translucent". I've tried not wearing nylons. You know what the result of that experiment was? I'm not going to tell you. It was too frightening. Let's just say it involved people screaming, running, throwing garlic, holy water & crosses at my feet.

4) Hide the summer-red
You know what's worse than being white? Being PINK. Not just, "I jogged and have a healthy-glow" pink. I'm talking THIS kind of pink ('nuff said.) :

I need my camouflage Frenchies. The defense rests.

Friday, June 11, 2010

JNSQ FF - Ex's vs Tourists... Vacationists Invade Paris.

If you call yourself a true Parisian, you're going to have to deal with them sooner or later. Yes, you know who I'm talking about. The fanny-pack-clad, twenty-pound-camera-wearing, running-shoes-white-socks-and-shorts-sporting hordes that infiltrate Paris beginning... oh yeah, NOW.

Parisians -- consider yourself warned: they're back and they want YOU to tell them where they're going. They tend to have maps and guides enough to fill a Virgin Megastore, but some how I still get caught in the "where do we go" crossfire. (Friends reading this are probably laughing their asses off.) I'm the very last person on the planet you should ask for  directions; unless that is, you want to take a             (photo credit:
detour to Asia. "Just keep going until you see Chinese people?" was my geographical genius at work when someone asked how to get to the 13th.

I've done my duty a few times when family or friends came to visit, gotta pay your dues. But you can only see the Eiffel Tower so many times before you turn to your travelers and dispassionately announce, "Yeah, yeah, it's big, it's there, enjoy." before you mosey on over to Shakespeare & Co and let them fight the army of globetrotters at the top of the mythical phallic pillar of French pride.

Now, to be fair, I was once one of them. I was seventeen and I wanted to do absofuckinglutely everything there was to do. Twice. I did allll the big stuff: Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame, Louvre, d'Orsay, Grand Palais, l'Opéra and the list goes on. By day three I had trigger finger, was partially blind and had a permanent cramp in my cheeks from smiling for the birdy. I even have a photo with a panhandler and his drugged pets. I thought they were so cute, "sleeping" under his blanket in a baby carriage, and I gave him a few coins for kibble. So naive, was I.

This past experience has really helped me to sympathize and I always stop if someone's giving me the "I'm lost and I'm about to WIG OUT!!" look. Besides, not all tourist are bad news, some can actually be really lovely and I am glad to get their appreciative smiles if, by some miracle, I've helped.

But for my friends who've been here longer, the good-Samaritan-high has lost its appeal. They're tired of being bothered and just want to go about their business without someone saying, "Aahhh Eh-scu-zay-mwah, par-lay Ahn-glay?" and I can kind of understand their point of view.

Here are a few hints to identify the annoying visitors and avoid becoming a tour guide to the slow and infamous:

1) Maps, cameras and casual dress... Oh my!
I mentioned this one above. People poring over guides, or giant maps of Paris will obviously not be locals. Taking photos of the curb? Probably not from around here. Dress is also a key indicator. Look for socks + sandals. Look for running shoes. Look for backpacks. These are the traits of the wayfarer crowds.

2) Take it one, painfully-slow step at a time...

They're going to walk too slow, staring at your local Monoprix like it's a work of architectural genius. They may even stop in the middle of your path to snap pictures of some random block they'll probably delete later from the "buildings" phase of their journey. This specimen will have their heads craned to the sky, so try not to run into them when they're haphazardly walking directly at you on a collision course.

Isn't the entire WORLD on holiday?
They're on vacation, you see, so everyone else in their path must be as well. They don't realize when they stop you in the metro on your way to work, or in the street when you're off to meet friends that YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO BE. This vacationer will be watching everyone who walks by, looking for a local to chat with. Avoid eye contact at all costs; Parisians know you never look someone in the eyes.

4) I have a cousin who...

If you do accidentally get caught in the tractor-beam-eyes and are nice enough to stop, beware, you might be in the conversational claws of a sight-seeing chatterbox. If they don't want to hear your entire life story and how you deal with the French, they probably want to tell you all about their long-lost cousin or auntie who moved to some other country and was totally miserable. If you hear the key phrase "My so-and-so moved to..." you need to bolt. Your house is on fire, your friend was hit by a run-away subway car... say whatever you can, but get a move-on before the story eats up an hour of your precious time.

5) I love it here, I hate it here...
Sometimes chatting with tourists can be a very enjoyable experience. They'll tell you how much they love the city, how much they wish they lived here, blah blah blah. You'll smile and nod and be on your merry way after a few minutes. Then... there's the other kind. You wonder why they ever left their suburban paradise. They complain so much you expect their exhausted tongues to be sagging out of their frowning mouths. I hope you don't meet this vaca-variety. They're often found with the "I have a cousin who" and are usually looking irritated like Paris is poking them between the butt-cheeks.

Everyone has their own take, so I asked my expat buddies to chime in for this week's Friday Feature question: What do YOU think about tourists? Enjoy their answers & check out their blogs

"I love them..." - Badaude
"I love them, especially when they ask me directions. I'm ever-grateful to any tourist of any nationality who thinks I look/sound like a Parsian."

"I wish they would walk a bit quicker."- I Heart Paris

I wish they would walk a bit quicker, and not in front of me. "

"Car full of screaming Danish Teenagers, 'nuff said!..." - Ashleigh T.
I just took the metro home from work in a car full of screaming Danish teenagers, 'nuff said! But, I love all tourists, particularly those who are here to visit me :)

"They should invent a 'tourist lane'." - Rebecca Leffler

They should invent a "tourist lane" on the streets. parisians (and fast walking tourists) on the left and on the right tourists and tortoises.

"Not so long ago that was me..." - Doni Belau
Well, I do enjoy feeling superior to tourists. I congratulate myself for how much I know about Paris, having had an apt. there for 6 years and because I write and breathe Paris via my website 24/7 - but....then I catch myself. Hey not that long ago that was me, ok maybe 20 years ago but still. Yeah they may be embarrassing in their shorts, baseball caps and fanny packs and poorly executed French but I probably look just as stupid when I travel to Japan or Costa Rica with my 8th grade Spanish and generally clueless behavior. Yes I try to be a traveler and adventurer and not a tourist, but I kinda think that my feeling of superiority over the tourists is a bit like the Mexican family who immigrated to Arizona 10 years ago and now supports the new Arizona immigration law and looks down on all newcomers. Am I wrong? So when my heart is open, I try to look at the new onslaught of tourists - particularly from the US and quietly thank them for stepping out of their comfort zone. There is much to be learned from traveling. Didn't mean to take this lighthearted discussion into serious territory. "Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise" G Whitman, founder Shakespeare & Co.

"What Doni Said..." - Karin B.
Pretty much my response to this question is, "What Doni said."

In my more forgiving moments, I am right there with her in spirit.

Mostly, the tourists make me laugh! They are so funny to watch. Yes, Métros get more annoyingly crowded and with people who don't know the unwritten rules of riding. Yes, they can be loud and obnoxious. Sure, they walk slowly in front of me (for some reason, I notice this the most with Italian tourists). But they can be a refreshing alternative to Parisians, whom I often feel have sticks up their bums and are no fun -- what with their trying to be like everyone else around them in that weird French thing with conformity. When I saw a careful of teen Germans the other day, piercings everywhere and loudly chattering with one another, I kind of breathed a sigh of relief and reminded myself there is diversity in the world, and I am grateful for it.

"Your English is SO good!..." - Forest Collins
it always makes me giggle when they ask me for directions in either hesitant English or broken French & when I answer them in English, they get really impressed and tell me "Your English is SO good!" i would hope so. I'm totally going to start answering them in English but with a heavy fake french accent!

Ah, tourists...if we're lucky we're all one at one time or another!

"My assimilated side totally loathes tourists..." - Katia

My assimilated side totally loathes tourists and wishes they would just get out of my bloody way don't they know that I have things to DO???... until I shake myself out of it and have to smile at their enthusiasm, their excitement, and remember that that's what I'm like when *I* go on holiday ;) 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Robots who watch me pee. (aka: Bathroom Afficionado in the Work Place.)

Someone in my company has a serious jones for bathrooms. I've been working in as an IT project manager in this place for nearly three years, and I swear on all that is good and holy that the bathroom changes at least once a month.

They're not extraordinary changes. Your mind will not be blown, but still... it's weird. A new soap dispenser here, a sparkling toilet brush there, but the frequency has caught my attention.

To get to the long & short of it, I'm 78% sure that our janitor is OCD.

I've seen the geezer, we'll call him Monsieur Propre, in his impeccable blue uniform, not a white hair on his head out of place, vacuuming the same 3 square feet, over and over and OVER (poor little chap, never seems to get clean enough.). If there were a crumb left in that carpet from my colleagues' incessant need to cram sweets down my throat, I assure you, it has been sucked into oblivion, never again to see the light of day.

I noticed the expression on his face right away, I mean, how could you miss it really? It was the look of someone who was dredging through a river of pure, unfiltered SHIT. I sometimes wonder what he does after we're all gone.

Maybe he sneaks into the bathroom, shaking his head in disgust at the sinks, then raising his clenched hands, curses the toilet gods for giving him in such a repugnant career. Or maybe he just goes back and vacuums again. Either scenario is possible really, maybe both.

Whatever he does after we leave the office, there is particular consideration is paid to the waste receptacles. We went from plain-ole cans with no lid, to lidded, to lid with the foot-thingy you have to push to make it open, and now... la pièce de résistance...

electronically activated lid-openers.

I literally have a robot watching me pee. Wave your hand at the robo-waste-2000 as if to say "Hello, I want to feed you something useless and/or disgusting" and it opens wide for ten seconds (you can hear the ticking), before snapping shut again.

Now, I love technology. I'm one of the original girl-geeks of my generation... but this? It just seems a tad overboard in the insaniac department.

Either the head janitor:
- Has a fetish that I don't want to know any more about
- Has WAY too much time on their hands
- Is about to be fired, so he or she keeps coming up with replacement can-work to justify their position
- Just really, REALLY HATES GERMS!!!

I bet a plethora of reasons have lead to his maniacal bathroom purchases; whatever it is, I promise that I have the cleanest, most shiny, most technologically advanced bathroom you've ever sat your ass in.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Can you have sexy-time with a city? (10 Blogs for making sweet sweet love to Paris this summer.)

Don't tell me you haven't thought about it. This place is well-endowed, and we all know that size really does matter.

Summer has arrived and Paris & I are madly in love, again. We had a few spats this past winter, but come tourists or snotty waiters, w
e're going to be tighter than your pants after thanks giving dinner.

The sun has returned & I've gotta fev-ah.
I want to lick the Eiffel Tower. I want to spawn garden offspring. I want to show the skeptics that despite the over 40% divorce rate in France, the city of lights and I are going to make it G-Dammit! (ps - did you know there was a "Divorce" magazine? "Help for Generation 'Ex' "...depressing niche much?)

I remember discovering Paris with my boyfriend, (now husband), and thinking that this city had me under its spell. Dark forces were definitely at work because everything was romantic. The simple act of walking down the street was enough to make me feel like my feet were going to lift off the ground at any moment -- that takes some serious sorcery given how shit-littered the sidewalks are.
I had all the symptoms of a "lovah":
- incapable of rational thought
- unintelligible diarrhea of the mouth
- happiness bordering on lunacy
- overwhelming disregard for major flaws
- raging desire to wear
skimpier clothing than Britney Spears

I have a sneaking suspicion: People don't just fall in love in Paris, but with Paris.

My theory was confirmed a couple of weeks ago when I called on fellow bloggers to share their most romantic moments... know what I got? A lot of romance, but the role of love-interest was played all too often by the city itself.

If loving Paris were a illness, I'd have a temperature of 104 and I plan to pass this incurable disease to as many people as possible. The Parisian-Anglo blogger world here is amazingly well organized and full of top-notch writers, so without further adieu...

Here are my top ten blogs to read to fall in love with Paris this summer:
(not in any particular order)

Girl's Guide to Paris

One-stop-shop for the best of the best. Where should I propose? Ask GG2P. Where should do while in town? GG2P has a blog for that. How can I book an affordable ticket? GG2P has you covered, baby. Check it out RIGHT THIS SECOND, I promise you will not be let down!

Paris by Mouth
This site is brand SPANKIN' new and rearin' to go. Multiple blogs per day about where to get your eat on and some fun drinking options as well! The brain child of Meg Zimbeck is a an infant genius. Smart, funny & loaded with contributors who have the city's restaurants begging for their attention. A must. Miss it at your peril.

The Paris Blog
Another collaboration amongst bloggers and one not to be missed if you care about what's happening in the city! From politics to restaurants, this is the place to get your infogasme.

David Lebovitz
Foodies, Frenchists, lend me your eyes! (Can we call them Froodies?) Love, love, love this site. David is the quintessential charmer and his site,, is a feast for the eyes and the mouth. Enjoy recipes and funny anecdotes by the baker's dozen.

52 Martinis
Where are you going to get a drink? Wherever Forest TELLS you to go, that's where. This lovely lady knows her martinis and is a real hoot to boot. Check out her Wednesday cocktail nights for a lot of fun and a good martini guaranteed - or she'll blog them to death the next day.

Go-Go Paris!
"What are you up to?" is not the question to ask. "What is Go-Go up to?"... now there's a good question. Want something fun to do? Get on Go-Go!!

Hip Paris Blog
Not only does this fabulous blog tell me how to integrate the impenetrable francosphere, but it's chocked full of places to go and original things to do. Especially heart the "events" section.

Secrets of Paris
Title lives up to it's name. Heather shows us the ins & outs of underground Paris -- and she even offers tours!

Parisien Salon
Best of both worlds: Directory & blogs. I'm in love with the directory-feel of this site and always interested in the articles and reviews that make it worth coming back to again & again.

Invisible Paris
Really enjoying the "something for the weekend" posts. They make you want to get out and I adore that so many are free in a city that can break your bank.

There you are! Happy Surfing!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Download the JNSQ Desktop!

It's on mine... might as well be on yours. Click image to download :)
XO Shan

JNSQ FF - Fuck the (neighbor) Man.

Ahhhh... siiiighh... living in Paris... a DREAM...come true... until you meet your fucking neighbors. The city is loved for its beautiful scenery, happening nightlife and food that could make you drop mort with a single bite. You know what it's not known for?

effing SPACE.

Most of us live in cramped apartments and on top of it... Parisian buildings are crammed like sardines into a teeeeny tiny city compared to similar European hot spots. The result? We live so close to our neighbors that sometimes it can feel like we live WITH them... sorry Martha, but that's not always a good thing. (Especially given the bubbly warmth of Parisians in general.)

I've had some crazy specimens in the states as well. There was that one neighbor in college who invited my roomie & I to dinner... and served us venison stew. Or as I would've named it, "Shitty Blood Soup with Unidentified Brown Chunks that make you GAG". Or the crazy neighbor lady who sits on her deck all day in her bathrobe, muttering to her dog and chain  smoking cigarettes into your bedroom window. Or the assholes who decided to have a party EVVVERRRRRRYYYYY SINGLE NIGHT. That was just BRILLIANT. (Yes guys, it was me who came down at 4am in a satin robe and fuzzy slippers to tell you to shut the f*ck up... then very carefully moved a turd with a paper plate so it was strategically placed in front of your porch.)

But in France, they kinda take the cake. My upstairs neighbor, god bless him, has got to be a relative of Bigfoot. I've never actually met him, but he stomps SO LOUDLY I imagine him being this HUGE man. Ginormous. Hulkesque. He Sasquatch's nephew, I've decided. And the yelling! What are they having a potato sack race on a rug of yelping baby kittens?? [THOMP THOMP THOMP.] [Random tumbling noise.] [Chaotic Pandemonium.] [Hysterical Shrieking.]

I want to run up the stairs and shower him with obscenities or smear my own poop on his front door when he finally goes to sleep at like FIVE AM - but for the time being, I'm settling for glares at the light fixtures above and cursing the colossal bastard for eating way too many Twinkies. Probably eclairs in his case. Fucking sugar-addicted-cat-despiser is going to put me in a straight jacket.

Last weekend was the "Neighbor's Party"... right. You're supposed to get together with your neighbors and try to socialize. Key word: try. If anyone actually did this, they are either:

a) A social outcast, completely devoid of any reason to live.
b) Totally oblivious that they are probably said annoying neighbor that the entire building HATES with the heat of a million white-hot suns.
c) A pet-assassin-sympathizer who doesn't deserve any of my chocolate chip cookies anyway.

Hence this week's JNSQ FF:  What's your worst neighbor story? Time to vent. Let the anger spill out of you like water from of Niagra falls.

please be nice little girls & boys and check their blogs, you won't be disappointed!

"The old 'kitchen neighbors'..." - Forest Collins
My most annoying neighbor has to be the old “kitchen neighbors”. Our kitchen window looked over a courtyard and very close & directly across from ours was the neighbors’ kitchen window. Oh, sure initially it was all fun with the bonjours and ca va’s as we stood in our respective kitchens making coffee or doing dishes. They invited us over for an aperitif. We invited them for a house party. We could never actually remember their names - or if we did which one was which so we always called them the 'kitchen neighbors.' Neither of our windows had curtains and it seemed like putting one up would be such a rude gesture, so that we never did.

In short they were somewhat strange, but friendly people who quickly became annoying because I could never go to the kitchen in peace. Things got uncomfortable because he started getting really flirty with the both of us (I lived with a girl roomie at the time.) This quickly nixed us from his wife’s list of favorite kitchen neighbors. This was all very disconcerting when really I just wanted to heat up my kettle for a cup of Earl Grey. I devised ways to avoid the kitchen window and the discomfort that had arisen due to our little kitchen window love square. I would duck when I passed the window, open cabinet doors that sort of blocked the view, pretend to be on the phone. My roomie and I compared notes on the best times to go in and our most successful evasion tactics! (Good God, Forest! Grow up and buy some damn curtains! Yeah…I know)

Until one day when we saw the wife in their kitchen with…another man! And a few days later they put their own curtains up!

"The fighting couple next door..." - Karin B.
We live one floor above a Franco-Portuguese bar and restaurant. With the smoking ban that went into effect in 2007, the crowds that used to smoke indoors now spill out into the sidewalks and small plaza below our windows, sometimes into the wee hours when we are trying to sleep. It's not so bad in the wintertime, when our windows are closed and smokers only stay out as long as it takes to finish a cigarette, but in the summer with our windows open to catch the night breeze, it is another story. It's karaoke night on Friday and Saturday nights, and there are often live bands that play, too. Sunday nights seem to be the worst with not only loud music, but with the drunken riff-raff that gathers outside (this is in the more rough-around-the-edges 19th, you know). Sometimes it is entertaining when a fight breaks out or someone who has had too much to drink gets rowdy. This is especially entertaining when it is the women. I've seen a couple of rocking cat fights! I'm not looking forward to the World Cup games this year, when I know there are going to be late nights with lots of hollering football-watchers. Ah, this summer, too, shall pass.

This is not all, though. I was just reminded last night, in fact (funny that this topic should come up today), that we have the Fighting Couple next door -- a different apartment building from ours, but their apartment walls are just next to our bedroom. It seems about once every two months they have a huge blow-out and there are lots of shouts of "putain" this and "salope" that which we can obviously hear. There is often a lot of banging of objects and weeping from the female. Last night, their shouts drew attention from people walking in the streets, and some other neighbors who were hanging their heads out the windows to try to listen like I was (lol -- it was quite a ruckus). A couple of months before, at about 2 am, one of the people threw dozens of files and documents out of the window, and off they blew in the chill wind. It looked like bank statements and so on. That fight was a doozy, too.

It's very sad to hear them fighting, and sometimes concerning. We keep an ear out to be sure that there is no domestic violence going on -- if it seemed too serious, we'd call authorities to check in on things. As it is, it just sounds like a couple that ought not stay together.

"F-U strong letter..." - Doni Belau
We have neighbors here in NY that several years ago began building a wall in our lower driveway. They thought they'd erect a gate and felt that the right hand column (we do share a driveway) would be best fitted right smack dab in the middle of our lower driveway preventing us from parking near our house or even entering this drive. Luckily friends alerted us, we called a lawyer and he sent the standard US threat letter - F-U strong letter to follow. My hubby, who needless to say does not like this neighbor due to this and many incidents, enjoyed his coffee each morning on our deck as he watched the poor workers who had erected the column now take it down stone by stone.

"Flashing RATS!..." - Ashleigh T.
My neighbor issues actually involve the fish and pet store across the street. I live on the first floor so we have a looovely view of the little fishies. My main beef is that the owner is an a$$ who seems to think that it is a good marketing technique to put a huge flat-screen tv in his window and endlessly run the same powerpoint presentation with flashing kaleidoscope transitions in between lovely pictures of RATS! That's right, you look out my window you get flashing RATS! That'll reel'em in.

"A Ruckus had been going on all night!..." - Sion Dayson
I can actually illustrate this one with a video!

Like Karin, I love the 19th, but it definitely has its interesting elements. We lived on a street with a sketchy African bar on the corner. I say sketchy because there were daily brawls, catfights, and no discernable hours. They were open past normal closing hours all the time and the police never did anything about it.

When in the right mood (and with the possibility of closing the window), it was amusing, but sometimes, you just want to sleep. This video is pretty tame – tail end of something suspicious – but just keep in mind this is 7:30 AM on a typical Sunday morning and a ruckus has been going on all night!

"Multiple personalities stole one of my packages..." - Lindsey T.
I'm pretty sure my crazy neighbor with multiple personalities stole one of my packages. She talks to herself in the stairwell and has grunted at me when I say hello. Then there's also the neighbor who used to get scared in the stairwell because she thought she saw ghosts. Oh the fun.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I totally know how to get a diesel finger in Germany now... Thanks Carla!

Every time, I tell myself, "This is the last time. You don't NEED this, and nobody wants to read that shit anyway. Just give it the EF UP!!"

And then she does something so mind-numbingly ridunkulous that I cave. There is a beast inside me, roaring for sustenance... It demands tribute...

My name is Shannon... And I... Am a CarlAddict.

Mme. Sarkozy, the definition of distinguished, the epitome of elegance, the icon of irreproachable class is having an extra craptastic week. A video has just surfaced. Not sex, silly rabbit, trix are for kids! Just pillow talk really, but enough to make even this classless hack choke on her PB&J.

It seems Mme. Demure herself has been revealed for the kinky little minx we all knew was in there lurking. On the distinguished talk show "EuroTrash", (btw, not at ALL the type of place where you'd expect these kinds of shenanigans), she was giving a quick review of two books about how to make international lovin'. The books taught said reader how to say several phrases, such as:

"I love your titties" in Italian
"you make me so hot" in german

Thanks to this wonderfully educational show, we all now know she loves a good Diesel Finger, and isn't afraid to ask in several languages. What lingual and sexual prowess, color me all kinds of impressed. Sarko, you must be so proud.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paris by Mouth and David Lebovitz are conspiring to make me a Vegan Lesbian LUSH...

I never had any desire to be a vegan lesbian before last night. Come to think of it, I probably would have been right at home back in Madison, Wisconsin - that city was lousy with them. Somehow, for what must be cosmic reasons, that ship sailed without me.

But when David Lebovitz, chef extraordinaire, suggested that Blair and I, fellow Davidites, join the ranks of the San Fransisco V-L's, I almost wished I did play for the other team just to see his winning smile broaden.

Alas, I am otherwise spoken for and, if we're being honest, Blair intimated that she wanted to wear the pants in our would-be vegan sapphic paradise, but I'm not sure she's ready for this jelly.

So instead of beginning my new life with Blair and a bouquet of asparagus, I settled for disappointing a culinary legend and drinking obscene amounts of wine.

The Paris by Mouth launch was a fantastic success, to say the least. I ogled swarms of respected bloggers, chefs, writers and foodies and thought... Bravo. If the support of the crowd is any indicator, I'm sure this website, already my favorite after only a single day, will delight the eyes and bellies of many a reader.

Favorite part of that night, other than rallying around this launch, was meeting in person so many people I know virtually, including Meg herself who turned out to be as nice as I expected :) She seemed a bit giddy, a bit nervous, though I can't imagine why. Meg - your site rocks my socks, you can exhale now. Then there's Forest... ahh my little Fotest (that's what happens when you try to write someone's name in your iphone after six glasses of sparkling Vouvray!). Mosey on over to if you're wondering where to drink tonight.

If I have one regret from the evening, it's that I didn't get to try the food. Braving the daunting crowd around the eats was like trying to swim against a current of flailing hands and chomping mouths. Maybe there's a pecking order to get to the foodbar; if the table providing the delectable treats was heaven, my place was lodged somewhere between the depths of hell, and river Styx. There was competition to put it mildly, so I stuck with Beth, Rebecca, My future wife, Kim and "Fotest" and our liquid diet.

This morning I had a hangover that would make Lilo look like an amateur, but it was def worth this outing. Thanks Meg, contributors of the site & the crew from Spring. Thanks David for your advice about my love life - I'll be sure to send you an invite to the VL premier event of the season if the occasion should arise.
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