Le cul entre les deux chaises

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


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Too short for the Star Wars universe

Well, I always knew I was too short for a storm trooper, but I’m apparently too short to talk STAR WARS with French nerds too.

Star Wars hostess job

First “qualification”: must be over 1,68 m tall (5 foot, 6 inches).

This is kind of a bummer because I’d actually really like to see what a bunch of French sci-fi fans are like but would only attend such a gathering if I was working.

On not actually being a nerd

My parents didn’t love me so I never had any STAR WARS toys growing up. I am a child of the 80s though, so I love me some Degobah system references and was one of those people who saw THE PHANTOM MENACE multiple times in the theater because I couldn’t believe that what I’d seen the first time was the actual movie.

UNA!

UNA!

In college, I met whole communities of nerds while working at a video store and learned that they’re generally very nice, socially awkward guys with whom I share a lot of interests. But I am missing that elusive characteristic (obsession? total immersion? loneliness?) that makes a true nerd, so I have to content myself with just being really, really into stuff (like ASOIAF).

I am the right size to be Salacious Crumb though, so that’s something.


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A Dream of Spring

Will this season never end? Are we truly living in Westeros?

Here are some spring peas from last year that I cooked up with some mushrooms, garlic and green onions. They were so fresh and bright … god, I miss food that tastes happy.

Alas! Sun-kissed vegetables I once knew.

Alas! Sun-kissed vegetables I knew some once.

I bought some peas over the weekend and they tasted like preschool paste. An apple from the other week was mealy. Bananas are always a safe bet but they’re boring and I don’t like them. When will spring come? Where are the strawberries?

I’m not holding my breath

Before A Dream of Spring, the proposed seventh title in George RR Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, we must get the sixth book, The Winds of Winter. I might have been able to put up with this interminable season if I’d had the several hundred pages that the book’s sure to be to keep me company but I didn’t. I’m not sure which thing annoys me more.


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Things I Did While I Didn’t Have Internet

→ Tried to remember the Greek alphabet. I got 15 out of 24 letters which is pretty good, especially considering that I never actually studied Greek. (It ain’t Latin.) Easily ten of them came to me by thinking of fraternities and sororities in teen comedies. Despite their poor academic standing, those Deltas taught me something after all!

→ Got a haircut. ‘Cause, you know, another year had gone by. (I think I need to schedule them in my calendar, ’cause I clearly need reminding.)

→ Started re-reading the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, (from which HBO’s GAME OF THRONES is adapted). I’ve gotten through 3949 of 4931 pages. There are so many hidden clues to stuff and connections to be made once you know where the story’s going. It’s even better than the first time!

→ Watched all the special features and audio commentaries on the first two seasons of GAME OF THRONES.

→ Re-watched THE SOCIAL NETWORK and then watched all the special features on the DVD (but not the two audio tracks because I can only take so much). David Fincher is one of my favorite directors.

→ LESSON: Physical media is still the best. I likely would have gone insane without actual things to keep me busy.

le guide vélo→ Pulled my bike out of deep storage and tuned it up following the advice in an awesome book I have, Le guide d’entretien de mon vélo by Peter Drinkell. I now know more words for bike parts in French than in English.

→ Got off my ass and actually rode the damn thing. It was awesome. The weather’s been ideal for biking, in the high 60s, low 70s.

→ Had my first dépannage and was able to fix it on the fly ’cause I’d read my book! Now I know to pull back on the galets by the rear cassette to put the chaîne back on the plateau! Tour de France, here I come!

→ [Cassette is the gears which explains where cassette tapes got their name. BOOM! Learning!]

→ Caught up on a podcast backlog of several months, clearing my external iTunes drive of weeks’ worth of audio. Of course, I’ll have over a month of episodes to listen to as soon as I’ve downloaded all the ones I missed, so this is kind of a wash.

→ Put all my summer shoes away in their original boxes and put those boxes in one big box labeled SHOES from which I pulled my fall shoes. There are few things I love more than fitting smaller boxes into bigger boxes, Tetris-style.

→ And, of course, I missed all you Internet people. Since I had visitors fairly constantly from July through the time my Internet connection crapped out, I’ll have to read what you’ve all been up to. I think I need a vacation just to get caught up on everything again!


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They’re out to get me!

Finding a cute enough place mat to replace the one (which I’ve used as a backdrop to many pics) I bought in Barcelona many years ago had been one of my goals for this soldes season. C’est pas evident to get the right level of cute without tipping over into annoying or twee, but my search concluded with this découverte in the gift shop of the Pompidou Centre.

By PetitJourParis

Trop cute! (By PetitJourParis.)

The only issue I have with it is that it prominently features both a slug and a rabbit right in the middle of the scene. The coincidence is too great to not be part of a conspiracy against me.

Why are you tormenting me so?

Why are you tormenting me so?

Other “they’re after you?” scenes

→ Arya and Gendry in GAME OF THRONES S2E02

→ ALADDIN, a movie I watched every day after school for a year

→ When BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID are being chased by the Pinkertons.

This better be the last I hear about either of these creatures for a long time because I seriously don’t like them and am starting to take this personally.


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White asparagus

Asparagus falls under the Fibrous category of the Consistency Rule which delineates which foods I won’t eat. (Other divisions include Gristly and Gelatinous.) Green asparagus tends to get caught in my teeth and leave tiny fibers hiding in corners of my mouth and I generally won’t have it.

But when I saw a bunch of super cheap white asparagus at my market after reading an appreciation in the NYT, I brought them home to experiment. I watched a José Andrés video and checked out some recipes on Epicurious and ended up liking them best raw, served here with an incredible avocado, some olive oil and salt and pepper. Texture-wise, they’re crunchier than hearts of palm, like a raw onion but not pungent.

white asparagus

Cultural Misunderstandings (Another Internet Warning)

Non-Americans say the funniest things. In one of the corners of the Internet I lurk around, a viewer of HBO’s adaptation of the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones complained that it wasn’t fair no new episode would air last Sunday because (they assumed) all US TV is dedicated to Memorial Day celebrations like parades and pageants. I actually laughed because, in a way, that’s a logical conclusion to come to but is so far off the mark. In the US, practically no good TV is ever aired on holidays or three-day weekends because Americans are too busy traveling, spending time with family, playing or watching sports, or getting drunk and eating too much. Conversely, in the UK, it’s common to have special Christmas episodes of popular series which actually air on Christmas day, something that would just never happen in the US.

This leads to my second consecutive Friday warning: if you read or follow anything slightly pop culture-related, all those sites are going to break and possibly melt the entire series of tubes which house the Internet on Sunday night, Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5) because the penultimate episode of the third season of Game of Thrones is going to make people freak the hell out. It’s going to be great… unlike the fourth season of Arrested Development which I am not caring for at all so far. Wish I could take a forget-me-now and wake up on Monday so I could step right into Westeros.