mardi, octobre 03, 2006

Clear Channel ate my Balls

Remember when " ate my balls" was this weird internet meme that was everywhere?

Anyway, all of that came to mind this morning when I was walking across the construction site that is the place in front of my building, and I spotted this:

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Oh, what's so wrong with this picture? I don't see—hey, wait a minute...

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WTF?! What are they doing here? For those of you who aren't familiar with their work, Clear Channel is a company that owns most of the radio stations in North America, a sizeable chunk of public-space advertising, and apparently the rest of the freaking world. I was aware of their stranglehold on radio broadcasting, but I didn't realize they had their fingers in France. So I go to their website and find this bit of info:

Clear Channel handles exclusive advertising rights to poster advertising throughout the SNCF network. This includes 20,000 sites located in 800 stations and 24,000 sites inside trains.

OK, SNCF is the national train company, which includes all train lines and stations in France AND the RER commuter train system in Paris. They have exclusive rights? I thought the only monopoly in France was a state-run monopoly. Ah, France, you were leftist once.

So my day was actually pretty unexciting. Or, rather, there was plenty of excitement at work, but I'm not blogging work directly for a while. The highlight of the day was when I went grocery shopping. I successfully made it past the chocolate aisle without buying anything (a significant achievement, for those who know me well) and I picked up some lovely Lavallée grapes (dark violet). When I got to the cash, the chicken that I was trying to buy (I'm buying a whole chicken to make ají de gallina) wouldn't scan into the register, and the cashier refused to give up trying. As the line got longer and more pissed off, I kept insisting that it was all right if I couldn't buy it today, and she kept trying to scan it anyway. After a while, she decided that I should try buying it at the customer service desk, so I acquiesced and finished paying for the rest of my stuff...if only my credit card worked! My credit card has worked in several places here—notably the same grocery store just the other day—so I'm not entirely sure what the problem was. Nonetheless, the cashier kept on swiping; she didn't have the slightest idea what to do with my card, since it has a magnetic strip rather than the "smart" chips that all French cards have. I didn't quite know how to explain "punch it in manually" to her, and I wasn't about to try at that point. Thankfully, I had enough cash on me, so I just dug it out and gave it to her. Then, when I tried to pay for my chicken at the customer service desk, there was no-one there and 2 other pissed off people waiting as well. At that point, I left the chicken there and went on my way. My ají de gallina can wait.

I noticed today that most Parisians run to catch the subway. Even during rush hours, when a train arrives literally every 40-60 seconds, I see people running down escalators and flinging themselves between closing doors. Why risk falling down stairs or getting trapped in automatic doors when there's another train coming in less than a minute? I don't get it. I even found myself doing it. I saw everybody scurrying as they saw the train pull up to the quay in the distance, and I ran as well. A few minutes later, I would ask myself why I had broken a sweat over it. Now that I've become more aware of it, I've decided to never run for the train, unless it's the last one of the night. The folks at work don't mind if I wander in a bit late, and I'm never in a hurry to get home.

On a related topic, I realize that I'm doing the "live here, not a tourist" thing with Paris. When I lived in Toronto, I did less sightseeing during my 5 years there than I had in all my previous and subsequent visits. Same with Chicago; as soon as I arrived, my tourist impulse dissipated. Part of it is that, when you're living somewhere, you don't have the same "holycrapIonlyhave7dayshere!" pressure that forces you to schedule your days around tourism. Also, I do have a job here, which means that prime sightseeing hours are taken up by work. And after work, I usually want to go home and take care of my OTHER work (i.e. doctoral stuff). And somehow, my weekends seem to fill themselves....

This saturday? Richie Hawtin, Matthew Dear and Heartstrob at Nouveau Casino!

3 commentaires:

wayne&wax a dit…

"I never run for a bus."

- the 2000 year old man

leo a dit…

Yeah you know, I noticed the same thing about running in London. When I was there I got really caught up in it too, and so I started running EVERYWHERE, particularly when public transportation was involved. I have no idea why. And it's funny that I didn't really stand out - there were tons of young, fashionably dressed people running down the sidewalks, up and down flights of stairs and escalators, etc. And looking back on it (this was 6 years ago), I can't believe I didn't die. I mean, how did I RACE through London every day for 3 months and not get hit by a car or a bus or something, or go plummeting down a flight of stairs in a tube station and get run over by the train or at least knocked unconscious and then pecked to death by rabid pigeons??? And WHY oh WHY was I running? I was a STUDENT! Going to MUSEUMS and things! I didn't need to hurry!!! Oh, and I lived on the 6th floor of our building, with no elevator, so I ran up and down those spiral stairs at least 10 times a day, too. When I got home I was thin as a rail, but man, I would rather be relaxed and gain all that American weight back than run around in a frenzy on the verge of having a heart attack all the time.

Wow, that turned into quite the comment. I think I need a shrink.

LMGM a dit…


We all have our little Generalized Anxiety Disorders, no?