30 mai 2006

Slow come-back

Not quite fully "back" in Paris yet, so Voice of a City got a sort of a half-cooked rant, and you get a sort of a mumble.
But you know you're my favorite child, don't you.

24 mai 2006

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Today is Towel Day.
Do Douglas Adams proud and carry one around with you all day, why don't you. It might not give you the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, but, should the planet come to an untimely demise today, you'll find it can come in very handy indeed.

Now have a good weekend, everyone.

23 mai 2006


Things are a bit all over the place right now, hence the temporary silence (enjoy it while it lasts, though. Or hopefully you enjoyed it while it lasted. Whatever...). Plus I'm nursing a right arm that decided to simply quit on me over the weekend, and it turns out that my right arm, even though I'm left-handed, is evidently a lot more useful to me than I ever thought, seeing as I couldn't do much for two days, apart from whining and crying and wishing that my life was completely different and blaming it all on my parents, because somebody had to be blamed, and I don't need to remind anybody that I'm single, now, do I.
Point taken, right arm. Come back now.
When it does come back*, there are a few things that need taken care of. I am however feeling all over the place too, bordering on out of control.
Soooo... Don't mind me while I huddle into a corner and lick my mental troubles into permanent scar tissue.
Oh, and also. There is only so much "anne, you're inadequate" shoved in my face that I can take, and I had to look up "UMD" today, because the Doom DVD, and UMD then, is out in France, so that quota was reached
fast. Who on earth comes up with a technology but doesn't make sure that everybody knows what the acronym means before advertising for Doom?? And while we're on the topic. Doom??? Was there a need, a point, a redeeming feature?
Yeah, I'm in a foul mood. But you were kind of warned.
Completely off topic (or... is it?) , I'll be at my parents' for the next few days. Yeah, I take it very seriously, that
blaming game... Anyway. If you don't hear from me by the end of next week, call the police. I mean that.
In the meantime, I want, nay, I need, a new haircut. Think about it, and get back to me. Ta.

*Truth be told, it has come back. But I could still do with some sympathy.

18 mai 2006

Words of advice

It's better to have been drunk and be home when the wind's blowing like mad than to be sober and out (when the wind's blowing...). No?
That's what I thought.
Also, and let's be serious here for a couple of seconds. Are there any restaurant managers among you? Well, you listen very carefully, people. Cockroaches. They don't look too good in restaurants. I'm just saying. Especially when they're huge big ones, of the kind that's not really supposed to exist in France.
First, spotting the presence of one because it's very very close to my bag will make me suspicious of your hygiene standards, and you don't really want your customers to be suspicious of your hygiene standards, now, do you?
[Ooops, a sound very similar to a gunshot has just been heard outside of the flat. That would be way too much excitement for one evening. If people start screaming and crying now, I may never get to the end of this post.]
And second, the sheer size of it will also make me wonder if the "restaurant" operation is not simply a cover-up for a chemicals business you might have going in back. Especially considering a hugely famous actress* is having dinner in that same restaurant. Think Kate Moss meets X-Men if you're lost.
Nevertheless, if you're going to have cockroaches roaming your fine establishment anyway, you might want to tell your waiters that squashing them is not advisable. Unless you really want more of them. A lot more of them. Which is your right, after all, but you're going to have to make a choice after a while: customers or cockroaches... And William Styron wrote it better than I ever will, it's a difficult choice to live with.
The good thing about cockroaches in restaurants, though, is that if you spot them before the waiter, alcohol's on the house.
[And about that gunshot? Apparently it wasn't one. Phew.]

* Yeah, OK, maybe not hugely famous.

17 mai 2006

Da Vinci load

So... The Cannes Festival started tonight, The Da Vinci Code is about to hit the entire planet, and I'm already sick of it.
It's so unfair that, having only just escaped Tom Cruise, we now find ourselves at Tom Hanks' mercy...
The thing is, I'm probably going to go see it. I'm weak that way. And let's face it, it's not like I'm overbusy these days.
But how many unsubtitled Uzbek films will I then have to watch to make up for that? And I can't really use the obscure 'French' movie thing these days: there are no aloof pseudo intellectuals left to smoke and talk about death and sex, they're all busy trying to break some code about Jesus having sex before his death.
By the way. People, people, people. What is this thing about taking "Da Vinci Code" tours? Do you really think that the truth is going to leap at you from the Rose Line in Saint-Sulpice? Do you? Do you? Has it never occurred to you that it hadn't even fully occurred to Dan Brown? Who wrote the book? Has it never? Has it never? (Funnily enough, that doesn't sound half as snappy as "Do you? Do you?") Let's be serious for a second, now shall we.
And that stance of mine - good lord, I'm actually taking a stance - has nothing to do with the heated debate that's been featured in almost every news edition for the past week, between those who want to believe and, well, those who want to believe.
Once a year, we all believe that an initially pagan fat man in red does indeed manage to climb down chimney conduits to deposit
presents that, again, we believe we deserve. You'd think that once that little feat is achieved, we could suspend our disbelief for a couple more pages and go along with a novel.
Hold on. I'm contradicting myself here, aren't I? Bugger.

Random thoughts

Yep. That bad. And that took me about 15 minutes to write.

14 mai 2006

Ready, steady... Oh, that's right. I can't do steady.

No, this is not, in fact, a post with lots of relationship advice and the secret cure to commitment-phobia in it. Those of you who were expecting that may now move on to the next page of Google results.
So many of you take pictures without even realizing how hard it is for us normal (or... you know...) people, that you're probably never going to understand this, but anyway, here goes my cry for help, understanding and maybe a little pity. With summer come longer days, beautiful dusk and night "light", and endless opportunities to shoot away, especially at night. And endless opportunities for me to snap, tremble, delete, snap, tremble, delete, etc. And I suppose I should really be grateful for digital cameras. Just think of the number of forests for whose destruction I'd be single-handedly responsible if I was using a camera with real, processable film in it...
Still... Frankly, it's annoying. I have tried a lot of things to remedy this problem, and none of them's worked. This evening, I tried a friend's shoulder. He moved. In fact, the picture with his "help" was a lot worse than the one without. Which is just typical, isn't it. Just when you're hoping you'll be able to rely, maybe even rest, on a man's shoulder, he fails you.
Honestly, though, this isn't about relationships.
Maybe I should just wander about with a telescopic tripod. (Minds. Out of gutter. Now.* This is not about relationships, I said.) Toss it in the bag with the umbrella (just in case), the wallet, the cheque-book, the sunglasses (if I'm taking the brollie, I sure as hell am taking the sunnies), the book, the MP3 player, the lipsalve, the tissues, the cell phone, the streetfinder, the camera, the Japanese ashtray, the huge keyring... Why am I bothering with a lady-like purse or even a girlie bag? A wheeled suitcase is obviously the way to go here. And at least my pictures would be showing the actual target, instead of a blurry mass of bleeding colors.

*They weren't? Sorry. Blame Coupling.

11 mai 2006


Courtesy of Monkey0.

For Jenny, visiting her great-grandmother had always meant stories galore.
Back when photography was a novelty, Louise had perfectly understood how important it was to have souvenirs, tangible images of people and places. The way they were, that way they would always be.
All it took was for Jenny to reach into the treasure trove of photographs that her gran had accumulated over the years.
The tradition was this. If Jenny was staying the night, they would settle on the sofa after dinner, Jenny would pick a photo at random, and Louise would tell the tale. The ritual, because no tradition goes without a ritual, included hot chocolate and marshmallows, plumped up cushions, and Danse Macabre on the stereo.
That day, two pictures were sitting on top of the big leather chest that Louise used for her photos. Jenny took one look at them, smiled at her gran, and said:
"Well, I don't think I need to look any further. Now who is this dashing young man, this... Frank... pray tell?"
"Oh, Jenny, no. Please pick another one."
"Gra-a-an! Come on, you know the rules. I pick the picture, and you tell me the story..."
"This is going to be hard for me, you know. There's a reason those photos were out, but they really should have been put away."
Jenny looked closely at her gran, gave her a kiss on the cheek, cuddled up to her on the sofa and waited, head resting on the crook of her great-grandmother's neck, one hand wrapped loosely around her.
"Frank. See the ring on his wedding finger? It was a present from me. We weren't married, not even engaged. We were just very much in love. It... It was very good. He was very good to me."
Louise paused.
"But he's not Granpa."
There was no interrogation in Jenny's voice, just some sort of vague understanding.
"No. That, he was not. For some reason, our... affair... was frowned upon, to put it mildly. We had to hide every time we were meeting, we were even thinking of eloping. I was afraid it would have killed my parents, but I was willing to take that chance."
"Killed your parents? Oh come on, Gran."
"Oh it would have been terrible, Jenny, about that I have no doubt. That was three quarters of a century ago, remember. So even if it hadn't actually killed them, the shame would have been a much worse fate. Thankfully... for them, they were..." Louise's voice faltered. "... spared the indignity, I suppose."
"What happened? Gran, are you OK?"
"He got shot in a hunting accident. He hated hunting. My father had threatened him into joining. Not threatened threatened, of course, but, you know, used his position of authority, to say the least. There was never a doubt in my mind that my own father killed the man with whom I was in love. That was 77 years ago yesterday. I left my hometown after the funeral and never saw my parents again." She looked at Jenny. "I'm OK, petal. I met your great-grandfather a couple of years after that. He was very good to me too."
"Oh Gran, that's..."
Louise's eyes were filling up, but no tears were shed.
"It's OK, sweetheart. These things happened."

10 mai 2006

You're forcing me to do this

Listen, people of various charities who choose to phone at lunchtime, dinnertime, and any time in between. I respect the job that you're doing as a member of, you know, the various charities that you represent. And I wish I could give more, to all of you, and end war, hunger, poverty and sexual frustration in the world.
OK, so that last one's not a charity. But I am pretty sure that if it were one, you would raise a lot of money for that. A lot.
So, despite that obvious oversight, which I just might tackle soon, I respect you, your job, your causes, etc. Nevertheless, you are going to have to stop calling me. Honestly. Everyday, a couple of times a day? There is such a thing as overdoing it, you know.
Now, I am more than willing to contribute to a joint effort, but I cannot do this on my own.
Especially in these tax-paying times. And it does feel like you're relying exclusively on me. Which is an easy mistake, I guess, as I am a very reliable person.
However. You see, I am unemployed. In fact, there is a good chance that, if things continue down the slick, soap-covered slope they very clearly have embarked on, I might have to take full advantage from one of your charities. So you calling me at any time of day is not only a textbook example of "not efficient", but it could be construed as moral harassment. I could probably sue you for moral distraught: everyday, several times a day, you manage to make me feel completely inadequate and unhelpful. And you know, someone like me (reliable, then) needs to feel helpful. Obviously.
Yeah... So I would probably lose this particular case... and there is no such thing as bad publicity for you... Crap!
All right. Fine. Fine. I'll just take on standard telemarketers then. 'Cause there's a whole 'nother post in that.

09 mai 2006

Needles - who knew they were dangerous?

Substance abuse is no laughing matter. I know, I have it. Not one, not two, it. Name a substance, any substance, and there is a very real possibility that I will abuse it in an undefined future.
Like wool, for instance. I abuse wool. Hi, my name is anne and I'm a wool-abuser.
Knitting is all the rage right now. Every trendy girl in Paris has taken up knitting. Well, I'm not trendy, but I'm trying to cut down on the smoking.
How, you ask? Willpower, ladies and gents, willpower. And, you know, yelling at people, craving chocolate, gnawing my nails, knitting. Well, yeah, knitting: I need to keep my hands occupied...
Hence the abuse. Although it also signifies progress. I have replaced one addiction with a less health-hazardy one. Slightly less health-hazardy anyway, it is needles we're talking about, after all.
But honestly, wool has never felt so cheap than since I've started knitting again. You see, I used to knit. Well... Not so much knit as have two needles enter a deadly duel with one another, in a "I have no light saber but I like to pretend" kind of way.
However, I had to give up after a while, because my dad has never worn the bonnet that I knitted for him, and that made me realize that maybe, just maybe, the stuff I knitted was not, in fact, wearable.
But I'm nothing if not persistent, and, again, I'm trying to cut down on the smoking. So a while back, I googled "knitting" and came up with a bunch of sites explaining the various stitches (do you call them stitches in English? I googled in French. And I really can't be arsed looking up the bilingual version just now...)
It was that easy. Some leftover wool, a couple a needles, and off I went, down that heretofore untravelled (by me) road of fancy knitting. No wonder public health is going down the drain, considering the easy access to everything.
To be honest, I didn't travel that far down it. Apparently, I'm inventing new stitches. And they do not make for pretty sweaters. I might have to give up again for another five to ten years. It'll be hard to quit.
Smoking would probably make it easier.

07 mai 2006

The world might not be my oyster, but it's a definite mussel

You know that feeling you get sometimes, like you're lying in a hospital bed and your brain is superpowerful and can make planes crash just because the people that visit you get on your nerves?
No? It's just Richard Burton and me, then?
Well, count your blessings, darlings. Because I do, and it ain't a pleasant one.
Yeah, OK, it is, kind of, because of the all-powerfulness. But still.
Let's go back a couple of months. I was invited to a party that I didn't really want to go to, so when asked if I was coming, I made up an excuse that I had other plans, previously arranged, with former colleagues of mine. A lie, then, and badly fumbled at that. Shame on me, all right.
BUT...! Crime does pay some times. The same evening that I had made sure I was going to hell for fibbing, I got a text message, from a former colleague, inviting me to a party on the day that the other party was planned.
Coincidence? Probably. But spooky, right?
Well, wait, 'cause it certainly gets better.
So Friday, I wrote here that my building was on the verge of collapse, threatening "millions of innocent passers-by". I believe those were approximately my exact words?
Well, it hasn't exactly collapsed, because then I'd be in a straitjacket somewhere cackling that the world is mine, miiiiiine, mwahahaha...
Nevertheless,- No one ever uses nevertheless, it seems. Why? I think I'm going to make it my mission to use it more. Nevertheless, then, on Saturday afternoon, as I was getting ready to... oh that's right, do nothing, I got a phone call from a friend, telling me that firemen were all over the place outside of the building. Needless to say, I was outside in a flash.
Yeah, OK, so "in a flash" might be a slight exaggeration.
Hey, it was firemen, all right? You can't really blame a girl for wanting to look good in those circumstances.
So it turns out that a chunk of one of the balconies had fallen down on the pavement.
I kid you not.
After the initial shock of realizing that the building was indeed a threat to innocent people everywhere, after the initial thrill of seeing firemen and talking to them, after I'd almost fainted from hyperventilating, after all that, I felt like I was
lying in a hospital bed and my brain was superpowerful and I could make planes crash.
So now I'm thinking lottery numbers, I'm thinking imminently successful applications in New York, I'm thinking handsome men vying for my attention, I'm thinking don't screw with me, destiny, because I can certainly screw you back.

04 mai 2006

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's my upstairs neighbor!

Let me tell you more about the building I live in.
The never-ending story, part 6002. And counting, by the sound of it.
So it's crumbling down and threatening millions of innocent and oblivious passers-by, so the managing agent has done fuck-all in the past three years, and so, after 6 weeks of faffing about, we might just be on the verge of a break-through with a new managing agent - but that's only if we make the bloody decision instead of going 'oooh, I don't knoooowww...'
And. Somebody bought the garden shed a couple of months ago. Understand, this is a very elaborate garden shed, where people have lived for a long time. And they have direct access to the garden. Which is not very elaborate, but hey, it's a garden.
So anyway, some people have bought it. And they're redoing it. Completely, by the sound of the works. And those clever, clever - and cheeky, cheeky - buggers are planning on adding, get this, two floors to said garden shed. Two. Floors. And why not, I ask? Look, I'm gonna buy a parking space, add several rooms on all sides of it, and a couple floors too, and hey presto, I have me a whole fucking building!
So that's their plan. Little do they know that they are up against a couple of very determined owners who do not want what little view they have of the garden to be blocked. And we have a secret trump... The neighbor! Super-err-and-emm-girl!
She phoned me today, and honestly, if I wasn't in such dire need of entertainment, I'd have probably killed her. Well, I don't really know what I would have done, considering the resounding success that was the assassination of the other neighbor with the maddening laughter, but... Oooh, oooh, I know! I should lock the two of them up in one room and wait for the end.
And, as training, I shall let her loose on the garden gnomes first. I give them half an hour before they agree to whatever she says just, please god, make her stop!
Well that was my reasoning when she phoned me anyway. I don't know that there is anything quite as simultaneously infuriating and debilitating as someone with a high-pitched voice who doesn't know what exactly she's about to say but still cuts you short because she thinks she knows what you are about to utter. Nothing. Well, I suppose I could mention my brother trying to make me go completely mental when I was 15, and doing a fine job of it too, but what help would that be to me in my present predicament, apart from making me burst a brain vessel,
I don't know.
So yeah, twenty minutes on the phone with her and I was ready to get the blame - screaming - for just about anything, from stealing candy when I was 9 (between 7 and 12 anyway) to the entire Enron debacle.
I reckon the new owners don't stand a chance.

03 mai 2006

Here comes the sun

And it's really a good thing. I mean, now that my legs are back to a presentable state - dazzlingly white, but presentable -, it's a really good thing. You know, it's been said before, and much, much better than here, but basically, winter is fun for about a week, and then it gets real old real quick. So after the previous 730 straight days of cold-grey-and-drizzle, it's really good to see and feel the sun again.
Oh come on, of course there was going to be an 'except'. What did you think, that this had turned into The Sound of Music overnight? The sun is out, so all of a sudden I'm supposed to be all giddy? Perish the thought, my dears. Perish the thought.
Except when the sun is out and the temperature rises above the 20° (again, C., not F.) barrier, the thing that really comes to mind is to open the windows.
And the problem is that, wish as I might that I were exceptional and unique, I ain't really. No no, no use pretending, I know I ain't. And so everybody else around here thinks of the same thing. They all open their windows.
So here's the crux of the matter then. There is a not-so-cristalline sound that pierces my ears every now and again. A frequent every now and again, I might add. Often. Sometimes on a more or less constant basis.
One of my neighbours likes the sound of her own laughter. But see, I don't. And I'm in a bit of a puddle about that.
Puddle? Poodle? I so wish I could say poodle and get away with it. Anyway. Now is not the time nor the place to debate the merits of small curly dogs as metaphorical problem areas.
The puddle, then, is this. After around fifteen minutes of this "up and dow the scales I go", I'm torn between yelling a heartfelt "Shut up!" outside of my own open windows - and considering the impressive acoustic qualities of four buildings closely snuggled together around a yard, there is a very good chance that these two words will reverberate their way around and zoom across through her own windows, into her ear duct, and slam themselves right through her eardrum and into her brain, where they might be tattooed there for eternity and all I care - let me catch my breath. Aaaand ("between yelling"... and. Yes? You all with me?) running down the stairs like a maniac, slamming all doors open and shut very violently so that people know not to interfere, running up the stairs to the courtyard like 'something has survived', letting the sound guide me to the culprit's flat and, well, I don't know, kill her? That would certainly shut her up. The hitch with that option is that considering her laughter, the shrieks would probably lead me to suicide. What a waste of energy that would then have been.

01 mai 2006

Seriously, now.

There is a Robbie Williams CD, and, more shockingly, a Shakira CD on my shelf. Honestly... I know I said I had no musical tastes to speak of, but surely that's pushing it.
Let me rephrase this to reflect the fact that drastic measures have been taken. There were a Robbie Williams CD and a Shakira CD on my shelf. They've now been put away in a bag, said bag has been hidden where no one can see it, and they are currently waiting to be taken to a place where money - however little of it, let's not kid ourselves - will change hands in a very discreet manner so I can be washed clean of that particular sin.
And we need never mention this again. Ever.
With the money I get for those two, I'll buy new music, music that I won't be ashamed of, like, oh I don't know, an All Saints anthology or something. Baby steps.