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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It’s that time of year again


Wool knit cap with shearling fleece lining, cashmere scarf, medium-weight insulated 3/4-length coat, wool-blend hooded sweater, t-shirt, wool skirt, medium-thick tights, leather shoes, fleece gloves.

People I passed on the street:

1. Shorts, sneakers, windbreaker. (Not exercising, just an old guy who didn’t give a merde.)

2. Linen blazer, kicky short skirt, ballet flats.

3. Short-sleeve shirt, corduroys, suede shoes.

4. Button-down shirt dress with a skinny belt, leather strap sandals.

5. Turtleneck shirt, jeans.

6. Silk dress, matador jacket, panty hose, heels.

Moral of the story

Spring came! We’re saved!

Actually blooming things near my house.

Actual blooming things near my house.

Well, except that we’re going to die

Looking out the window, I was so pleased by the change in weather that I decided to pull my bike out and go for a ride. Luckily, I listened to the radio just before heading out. After the forecast, they said that the government was advising people not to exercise outdoors or engage in any physical activity that may be taxing due to TOXIC AVENGER-like air pollution levels. They recommended that neither children nor the elderly should go outside. I decided that, while technically not a member of either demographic, I would hide indoors and not get cancer just from breathing, thankyouverymuch.

You can read more about this at the NYT, see pics on BuzzFeed, read about measures being taken on France Info, revel in The Guardian’s glee at how pissed the French are about those measures, or check out another story that has lots of links.



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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Loot 5, Part Deux: The Winter Soldier

Oh man, am I excited about it getting colder this year. I’m not saying that only because it’s been stupidly hot here, frequently in the 90s, but because I can’t wait to deploy my new leg-warming strategies!

Cutting-edge technology I will be sheathed in for the first time this year includes Spanx (falling down tights are among the worst things), SmartWool® (applied fancy sock science) and tights that have fleece inside them! You read that right — there is FLEECE lining the tights. It is entirely possible that these things will surpass the iPod as the thing which most drastically improved my quality of life because FLEECE! + TIGHTS! could = BLISS.

Winter loot


Word Mystery: blizzard / tempête (de neige) / nevasca

2012 Nemo snow dog 1

Happy dog in Nemo snow, February 2013

Word mysteries are where words in languages that I know don’t correspond to each other at all despite those languages often sharing lexical histories. These words are both mystifying (why are they different?) and annoying (why must you be different?!).

A big winter storm hitting the Eastern seaboard of the US meant another chance for me to lament that I don’t live in a place with more snow, but it also got me thinking about how to talk about the white stuff. Continue reading

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What season is it?

[WARNING: This post is rated R for strong language. If you are offended by this kind of thing, stop reading and come back tomorrow. — Ed.]

High-school-football-in-the-Midwest is my favorite season. This is a pretty specific and small window that begins sometime near the end of September and lasts through mid-November if you’re lucky. You can recognize this time of year by your ability to still wear short sleeves during the day and then need a jacket and maybe a hat at night. The air is crisp and the pollen count is low and it’s a glorious time. There’s also good stuff to eat at the markets since all the squash is coming in. Oh, and there’s this:

It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.

BY Colin Nissan

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, “Aren’t those gourds straining your neck?” And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.” Continue reading