Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


You can not dance if you want to

This is a sign from the metro in Barcelona. It drew my attention because this guy looks like he’s having fun or recreating the Vitruvian Man in a minimalist, Helvetica-y way. Regardless, I really like him and am sad that what I get from him is basically the opposite of the intended message.

Have a happy and safe New Year and dance if you want to.

“It is not permitted to go down to the track.”


There’s snow place like home

I woke up with a start around 4:30 on December 7th. I normally sleep so soundly that I need five alarms to get me out of bed, but something had definitely disturbed my slumber.

As my eyes adjusted, I saw and heard it at the same time: snow.

I don’t like Christmas but I love snow. Everything about it is wonderful and magical and makes me happy and I want it to snow for months and months so I can get bundled up in lots of layers of clothes and then roll around in it. The sound of falling snow is maybe the best thing on earth and so hard to capture on tape as to seem mystical, but my wolf ears hear all and they’re especially alert for any sign of activity on the snow frequency.

201212 Paris snow

Sadly, it hadn’t been cold enough here for the snow to stick so, in the morning, all that was left was some frozen windshields.

Of course, as a person who loves snow, it rarely does near me. When I was living in Boston, there was a fluke blizzard on April 1st that was easily the best day I had during the five years I was there. Come to think of it, if I had to list my Best Days Ever, another snowstorm in DC would rank highly as well as the March day it snowed in Barcelona and the December 1st when I was in Lyon and it snowed several inches overnight.

2012 snow roasBut the Universe didn’t want me to have snow this year, so instead it sent part of my family back to the land whence we came where there was so much snow that their flight was cancelled and they drove part of the way, passing 102 cars and trucks which had slid into ditches. And then, they got to spend some days in a proper winter wonderland that looked like this:

Actual yard of house they stayed in. Jerks.

Actual yard of house they stayed in. Jerks.

All I have are memories of winters past and the hopes that meteorological freaky business will come my way.

201003 Parc Guell Snow

Neu a Parc Guell, 2010

201012 Lyon snow 1

Neige Hôtel de Ville, Lyon 2010

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This is my pea coat.

peacoat 1There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pea coat is my favorite coat. It keeps me warm in coldest weather. Without me, my pea coat is useless. Without my pea coat, I am cold.

peacoat 2I got this coat about a decade ago from the J.Crew clearance catalog. (Do they still mail out catalogs?) There may no longer be many like it in use, though I’ve found it to be incredibly durable. The general construction of the garment is quite good. As you can see, the only wear has been caused by my general insistence to sit on the back of the coat to protect my bum from cold surfaces. Someday, maybe I’ll darn those spots. (Out, darned spots!)

The big selling point for me at the time was that the coat was lined with Thinsulate™, one of the great wonders of the modern world (as far as I’m concerned). I remember there was a non-Thinsulate™ version and I thought then (as I do now) what the hell the point of such a thing is.

peacoat 3Thinsulate™ alone would have been enough to make me favor this coat over the dozen I have for winter wear (each one has a specialized use, I swear!) but this coat earned my enduring love for a secret detail that I didn’t discover right away: an inside breast pocket. In case you don’t know, the percentage of women’s clothes that have an inside pocket is 0. No women’s clothing has enough or appropriately sized pockets. Apparently, designers think that since we carry bags, we don’t need to keep things on our persons. Well, I for one love having the option to go bag-free and this coat is the perfect thing. Back when I still smoked, I could put my wallet in the inside pocket, my smokes and lighter in the left one, keys and phone in the right and gloves in the top hand-warmers. And all was well. And warm.

Learn something, you maggot!

Full Metal Jacket, whose “This is my rifle” speech inspired this post, was filmed entirely in England. Stanley Kubrick was American. There is a Christmas scene in this movie which makes it eligible for my Unconventional Xmas film series.


Loot 3 in 3D

This end-of-year care package* means I basically own the Girl Scouts now.

Loot 3

  • 8 Nestle Crunch/Girl Scout Peanut Butter Crème candy bars (note the è!)
  • 6 Nestle Crunch/Girl Scout Thin Mints candy bars
  • 3 Hostess-like packs of cupcakes
  • 2 boxes Savannah Smiles (lemon cookies)
  • 2 boxes Tagalongs (peanut butter and chocolate cookies)
  • 1 box Do-si-dos (peanut butter sandwich cookies)
  • 1 box Hot Tamales
  • 1 box 3 Alarm Hot Tamales
  • 1 Jiffy Pop stove top popcorn

*True story: I couldn’t remember what these types of boxes were called. I had to mentally cycle through all of the related words (camp, college, etc.) to come up with “care package.” I need to go back to the U-S-S-A to polish up my English-talking since it’s not so good anymore.

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¡Feliz Naviblah!

[I don’t like Christmas. I realized too late that I should’ve done “12 Days of Not Liking Christmas” but will settle for just a few. I don’t think many of you will be checking your blog readers during le saison de Noël anyway.]

I don’t like Christmas but I watched Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special on VHS so many times in college that the tape wore out.