Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An unexpected trip - Part II

What is it about Paris that brings couples together? I saw many couples all over each other in our walk around the city. It made me wonder - was this Parisians acting Parisian, or was it people assuming "hey, we're in Paris, we can slobber on each other on the streets!"?

Love seeing all sorts walking carrying bread in small paper wrappers, some just randomly taking bites now & then. One guy who looked rather "butler-y" carrying several loaves, perhaps for a dinner party.

Book #8 - Angel Fire East by Terry Brooks. I love this series - and people following the books I read know that. Some themes that stood out to me in this one: 1 - Nest's strength in the face of utmost adversity/ evil. Long caught up in the ultimate battle between the Word and the Void, Nest faced down several demons without taking any smack. She pulled from her core and refused to waver from what was right. 2- I wrote down "Good fooling evil - will get you back" - and I'm not totally sure who is getting who back so that's a bit vague. 3 - O'olish Amaneh - his persistence but in an insubstantial way - a native from an ancient tribe near Nest's home and a servant of the Word, though not a Knight like key character John Ross - O'olish Amaneh is solid as a great tree and yet can disappear on the breeze. I like his "quiet" approach to the fight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

An unexpected trip - Part 1

So the trip to Paris started off rather inauspiciously with an 8 hour flight from Chicago to Dulles. Yick. Missed the flight to Paris, had to get rooms for the night, and the next afternoon flew from Dulles to Ohare (yet again) to Paris. After all of that, I decided to stay until Saturday instead, so that I could decompress before dealing w/ the airlines again.

Finished Book #7 on the trip from Chicago to DC - Eugene Onegin: A novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin - translated by Douglas R Hofstadter. Had this been written in prose, I would have struggled with it, I'm sure. It could have ended up like the Austin novels that I just can't get into. In verse, however, the stuffiness fades quite a bit and the fondness of author and translator for language comes to the fore. Hofstadter is very fond of wordplay, but considers this faithful to the original, as Pushkin used many plays on words himself. The puns, goofy rhyming, and what Hofstadter calls "poetic lie-sense" brought several smirks to my face while reading.
The story itself is one of missed opportunities and stubbornness blinding people to the happiness right in front of them. One trouble spot I had was in the final chapter, where Pushkin jumps ahead and seems to leave out a section of the tale.

Did a ton of walking around Paris. Love the city, but the homeless seemed more prevalent than I remember - of course I did not spend a ton of time in tourist spots when working there, but still. I was struck by their plight. I felt for those caring for pets. The woman with a very young baby almost brought me to tears. And I kick myself now because I just kept going. Was it because a band of girls with the same note written in English about Dad dying and having no food approached first to scam money, and so I felt I needed to guard against appeals? Maybe partly. I was stressed about how much I had and what I needed for the little spending I was doing a bit too. Still, to go back and give, just what I could spare.... In any case, it was tough to see and I wondered about the stories behind the lost eyes...

Good numbers of smart cars, more than here, definitely more than Dublin, but less than expected. Lots and lots of scooters and motorbikes - definitely more than when I was last here. Trouble is, a Parisian driver on a motorbike is still a Parisian driver and can squeeze through more spaces and pull in and out of traffic even more easily than in a car. Chaos ensues.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Travelling to Chicago for work. I love the opportunity to mix things up, get out and about, but I feel like things have been non-stop lately, that I need time to retreat from practically everything. So I’m not super excited to be going. I’m hoping the research itself is really insightful so it feels like the craziness and stress I’m imposing on myself (yes, I know it really is all in my head) is worth it.

[Two days later] So, Chicago yielded good insights and now I'm off to Paris - which I didn't know til yesterday. Between groups I ran out and bought more clothes. I'll definitely need at least one more book, but maybe I'll buy it there. To Paris! Just a few days - one to recoup from travel and explore a bit, one full of groups. Haven't been in 14 years (woah). Looking forward to it.

Book #6 Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I haven't seen the movie yet. Found this quite striking but not in a total downer perspective friends who have seen the movie felt. The alternate history brings intriguing subtleties to the story. While ultimately, I felt some better justice could have been served without the media disaster anticipated, overall the story was super compelling and I loved the format.

Taking Eugene Onegin and Angel Fire East on the trip.
More from the City of Light!