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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I’m Freshly Pressed!!!

I got an email on Friday alerting me to my imminent Freshly Pressed-status* from Cheri, a WordPress editor, and promptly started to freak the hell out. The email said

We really enjoyed this succinct yet well-written post about using “spy techniques” at a bus stop, and your exchange with this woman. I like how writers can take quick, seemingly mundane encounters and create interesting pieces/reflections out of them.

I read this many times, trying to soak in the meaning of the words but I got stuck on whether she intentionally put a pun in there (“reflections”) for my benefit. Does she know I love puns? How did the editors even come across this post? There weren’t any more readers than usual that day, so I guess WP can read as many things as they want without leaving a trace making them pretty damn sneaky themselves.

What does this all mean? I guess there will be more people here for a day or two and maybe some of them will stick around. I feel a weird pressure to write something more superlative than usual, like funnier or more insightful or more educational or incredibly clever but I don’t know if I can. Christ, being Freshly Pressed is almost enough to make me stop blogging all together, but then I’d lose that feeling of accomplishment I get from posting every day and I won’t let anyone take that away from me!

So… I guess I will continue as before. Thankfully, I usually have a week or seven days’ worth of posts done and scheduled at any given moment so by the time I calm down from the excitement of my fleeting virtual fame, I’ll be able to think clearly and not be so self-conscious.

In the mean time, welcome, bienvenido, bienvenue and benvinguts to any new people. I hope you are entertained and join into the collective amusement at my expense. I’ll be over here, Paris-adjacent, smiling so big, I may split my face.

Grinch glowing

I totally looked like this all weekend. (Illustration by Dr. Seuss)

*For people (like my mom) who don’t live in WordPress, being Freshly Pressed is like being on the cover of a cool magazine. Top of the world, ma!

Woo-hoo! Top left corner!

Woo-hoo! Top left corner!

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Shock and Awe

In the buildup to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the phrase “shock and awe” was used by the Bush administration to describe the monumental can of whoop ass that the US was going to open all over the Middle East.

Today, I use it to describe the feeling I had when fellow blogger anglophonism left me a comment saying she was giving me a Reader Appreciation Award.

Shocked. Flabbergasted. Incredulous. The famous Anglophonism, a Freshly Pressed blogger, chose me? Not possible. Unbelievable.

Awed. She was going to write something about me on her blog. Probably something flattering. Was I going to be able to handle the cyber compliment? She’s actually studying to be an expert in things I only pretend to know about (like making with the language and the writing and the talking of words). How the hell could she find anything I say amusing enough to recommend? And yet…

Of course, like Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben says, “With great honor, comes great lists that need to be completed,” and this honor is no exception. Here are the conditions:

  • Identify and show appreciation of the blogger who awarded you. — Have you been adequately thanked, anglophonism? If not, I will redouble my efforts!
  • You must add the award logo to your blog. — Thanks to dlaiden for explaining how.
  • Tell your readers 7 things about yourself. — See below.
  • You must nominate 5-10 of your favorite bloggers for this award. — See, um, further below.
  • Inform your nominees that you nominated them. — I will make it so.

Seven things about me

  1. Movies (to me, the apogee of storytelling) are what I’m really passionate about but everyone’s got an opinion about them. Not so the trials and tribulations of multilingualism, so here I am.
  2. Even though I know there are better books, movies and soundtracks, The Princess Bride, The Princess Bride and “The Princess Bride” (OST by Mark Knopfler!) are among my favorites.
  3. If I could get Coke Zero pumped into my body intravenously, it would save a lot of time.
  4. Sleeping is one of my hobbies which may sound lame until I tell you that I’m a lucid dreamer. Every night, there’s a multiplex in my head where I’m having awesome adventures on all the screens. Real life is kind of a let down.
  5. Baseball is a great game. It’s like The Odyssey — one hero (the batter) faces a series of challenges (crazy pitches, running the bases) against a host of (nine) adversaries before he can make his way home to his beloved (um, the bat boy?). It’s fun to play and to watch, a feat not matched by many sports. Go Red Sox!
  6. I don’t eat mollusks and don’t understand why any does. Consistency-wise they’re all gristly and a ton of effort must be put in to get the “edible” part out. Basically every other living thing on earth is easier to eat and tastes better.
  7. For almost a year of my life, I only ate hot dogs; breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you like me, you’ll probably like these people

  1. Thefrancofly — Jessie makes beautiful watercolors to illustrate the stories of a Chicago girl married to a French guy, living la vida Vincennes.
  2. Breadispain — So, so funny. Another American girl with a French significant other, this time in Grenoble (which is not Paris). I also like to think that her blog name is a secret Princess Bride reference.
  3. Paris? Really??? — An American whose husband announced one day that the family was moving to Paris.
  4. IAmYourCanadianBoyfriend — As an American, I think all Canadians are suspect, but Jason Sweeney is an exception. I cruise over to his site when I need little pick me ups, like the little guy at right.
  5. Suzanne et Pierre à Paris — A (French) Canadian couple in Paris who write very informative, fun posts in English and French. It’s double le travail for them, but double le plaisir for you!


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What Sally Field said

I don’t really know what I was thinking when I started this blog. Mostly it was an excuse to give myself something to do every day, but I may have also considered the value in a digital repository for my anecdotes. On some level I guessed that people would read it, though I wasn’t sure how they’d find me since I didn’t plan on sending the link out to anyone, not even my friends.

And yet, I was found. And total strangers started reading about the different ways in which I am an ass. And some of them even commented on my little misadventures or observations. And now, one of those people decided they wanted to share my stupidity with others by naming this very site a Liebster Blog.

So, first off, my thanks to Mylunchanddinner who found me and liked me enough to want to recommend me to her friends. Her site’s dedicated to food (cooking and eating) at home and away, and she’s been an active commenter, making me feel all warm and fuzzy every time she responds to something I post, even if she doesn’t like it.

Part of the rules of the Liebster are that you’re supposed to link to five other blogs you read which has been the hardest part for me. My online reading diet consists mostly movie news, TV news and news news. Of the personal blogs that I do follow, I’m the worst kind of reader since I tend to just lurk and don’t comment on things because I’m weird like that, but here goes anyway.

I came across 35-hour work week the same way I find most everything: I was looking for good Mexican food. The last couple weeks before I moved to Lyon (France) I ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Barcelona practically every other day. (I would have done so more often but I starting getting weird looks from the staff.) After I’d settled in a bit, I needed some enchiladas, so I googled and stumbled upon Michael’s breakdown of the Mexican options in town. He’s an American guy who moved to Lyon with his wife and he (very infrequently) posts about his cultural, language and culinary (mis)adventures.

This one may be a cheat; Scott C’s GREAT SHOWDOWNS. It’s not technically a blog, but a kind of narrative does come through when you look at the posts in sequence. Scott illustrates movie heroes and their antagonists in a sweet, weird way that always make me happy.

Polly-Vous Français? is another site I came across when looking for something food-related but as soon as I registered the pun in the title, I forgot what I’d gone there for and just started reading. Polly lived in France for a long time but she’s now writing about French culture from across the sea in a land called California. I learn something new every time.

A thing I really like online is food porn and The Pioneer Woman has some lovely examples of the genre. I find her photos of ingredients and the step-by-step process of making foods I’ll never attempt mesmerizing. Of course, she’s got a show on the Food Network and a couple books under her belt so she doesn’t need my endorsement, but if you like looking at food too, hers is a great site.

Finally, I’m going to include something I’m really excited about, Ze Frank‘s newest contribution to global happiness, A Show. Starting in 2006, I had an enormous crush on him after watching his first video outing The Show, which was hilarious and touching and informative and I loved it so much. The new show will hopefully be more of the same, but a little different.

[In case you don’t know, here’s what Sally Field said.]