samedi, avril 28, 2007

Cooking, Drinking, Clubbing

Well, today started out as a low-intensity day and turned into a rather packed one. After getting out of bed rather late in the morning, I headed off to the open-air market at Belleville to do a bit of food shopping. I was having brunch at a friend's house the next day, so I was hoping to find the necessary foodstuffs to make a few dishes for tomorrow. In the end, I picked up a huge handful of hot red peppers and some brousse sheep's-milk cheese for salsa huancaína, a few mangos and some more peppers for my mango-jalapeño salsa, and a bunch of cilantro for a chimichurri-style onion pickle.

I took a break and had some tom yum soup and green papaya salad at a Thai restaurant in that neighborhood, then headed back home, with a stop by an Antillean store to buy some cassava/yucca/manioc. I spent the rest of the evening preparing as much of the food as possible for Sunday morning. Ironically, I almost forgot to make anything to eat for dinner. At the last minute, I whipped up some quinoa noodles (interesting, but I don't think I'd buy them again) and then headed off.

La Petite Maison Electronique @ On Cherche Encore

Nathan and Fantômette of Be My Chose were running another one of their "pre-clubbing" events at On Cherche Encore, so I headed over there to hang out and say hi. When I first got there, around 23h00, Nathan and Fanto weren't spinning quite yet (another DJ, 3c was on the decks), so I hung out with both of them and chatted for a while about what they had been up to since last Friday.

By around midnight, the Be My Chose duo took over the decks and started spinning. They use Final Scratch (a digital-via-vinyl mixing interface and program similar to Serato Scratch, discussed yesterday), so I spent a fair bit of time peering over their shoulders and watching them work. As far as I could tell, the interface was very similar to Serato Scratch, but without as much of the "visual aids" for mixing that Serato offers. Nonetheless, it was interesting to watch them a bit more closely and see how they organize their sets and how they manage transitions.

Transitioning between tracks, which is probably THE central act of mixing, is actually an interesting and challenging problem. Well after you've beatmatched your two tracks (i.e., adjusted the tempo of the incoming track to match the playing track and then lined-up the beats between the two), you have to consider how to bring the two tracks together. The most basic options you have include simply doing an abrupt cross-cut--cut the old track and bring in the new at the same time--or gradually fade in the new track into the old one, wait for a little while, and then fade out the old track.

However, not only are these methods a bit boring when used excessively, but they pose potential problems when elements from one track conflict with elements of another track. It may be that a set of musical chords from one track is in a different key than a melody in the other track. Or, perhaps there's some rhythmic ornamentation in the mid and/or upper freq's on one track that sound lovely on their own, but sound out-of-place when superimposed on those of the other track. Most importantly--especially if you're mixing without the help of visual aids for beatmatching--since the bass kick drum is almost always 4/4 in techno and house (and various other EDM genres), you risk creating some really awful beat collisions if your tracks are even microscopically out-of-sync. In this last case, the common solution is to "kill" the bass on one of the tracks (using the EQ knobs on the mixer, usually), mix them together, and then mix out the old track. However, there are many more problems and possible solutions to this situation, most of which involve manipulating the levels of various frequency bands (usually hi, mid and lo), using filters, and taking advantage of the structure of the tracks to mix in/out during texturally sparse moments, such as the breakdown or the intro.

So, it was great to watch Nathan and Clothilde doe their work and see how they make bring tracks in and out. While my dissertation project doesn't focus as much on the specificities of DJ technology, Mark Butler's upcoming book will apparently cover a lot of this topic. Plus, that boy has what appears to be many, many DJ sets videotaped with a good view of the gear, so he has a very enviable archive. At least I covet it...

Anyway, I didn't just exclusively trainspot on my friends. I did chat a bit with a few folks that I recognized from last Friday or from previous events. As is often the case here, discussion tended to revolve around travel and work: where you're from, where you want to go, how the club scene compares in various cities, what you do for work and/or what you want to do for work, what you study or did study, etc. As formulaic as it may sound, there's something pleasant and intimate about these rituals of mutual discovery.

By approximately 1h00, I headed off toward Le Rex to hear Apparat and Modeselektor....

Apparat vs. Automatik @ Le Rex: Apparat, Modeselektor, Das Glow

[In case you're wondering, I haven't been posting flyers as frequently as before, because Flyerweb database hasn't been as comprehensive as before. Not sure why...]

???-3h00: Apparat

I'm not sure if someone was spinning earlier as a warm-up, but I got there too late to catch that. In fact, I only really caught the last 30 minutes or so of his set.

Even though I arrived there around 1h30, the line was surprisingly long. Clearly, Apparat and Modeselektor can draw a crowd. I ended up, oddly enough, sandwiched between a group of kids from the Berry region of France, and a group from Bayonne (France / Basque region). One of the guys from Bayonne liked my zip-up top and said so, which started a chain of conversation about where I got it (Chicago), where I'm from (Canada), how I know Chicago (school) and why I'm here (see before), and so on. As soon as I declared that I was current living in Paris, he asked me if I knew how long this lineup would take. Well, normally this would've been a 30-minute wait, but things were just a bit too busy for this early in the evening. Anyway, I said it would take probably more than 30 minutes, but even I couldn't have predicted that it would take almost an hour...

While we were waiting in line, the two groups of people started chatting a bit and making jokes about each other's regions. I've noticed that most of these sorts of regional conversations in France revolve around food: "I love that ham you guys make in Bayonne, but what's up with that cheese you make?" "Oh whatever, does your region even have cheese?" "Are you nuts? Haven't you even heard of the crottin du Bery?! Hey, Alice, check this out: this guy is insulting our cheese!" "Oh, now it's ON." And so on... Anyway, it all seemed like good-natured fun, as evidenced by the fact that both groups were soon sharing beer and joints while waiting in line.

When we finally got in (2h30!!), I parted ways with the group (they were busy trying to get bottle service), checked my coat, and then headed over to the front of the club to see what was going on. The guard at the door had told me there were no pictures allowed, so I had to be pretty stealthy about taking photos and video. As a result, I don't have any good photos of Apparat, and the only video I have of him actually shows more of the two guys from Modeselektor in the foreground, with Apparat (in the black shirt, scraggly hair) working on his laptop in the background.

Apparat's set (what I heard of it) was really good, but not particularly danceable. Although everyone around me seemed to be very much enjoying his set, it was hard to be inspired to do much more than bob your head rhythmically. The set seemed like somewhere between "atmospheric" broken-beat and trip-hop. Lots of long, sustained effects over churning but somehow static beats. Anyway, I managed to sneak a video, so you can get an idea of the sound:

3h00-5h00: Modeselektor

By the time Modeselektor came on, the house was PACKED with people, so I barely moved at all from my spot. I only shifted back and forth to avoid this one group of guys near me that were determined to start a mosh pit (yeah, you can imagine how well that went down). Also, there was this tall guy next to me who nearly took my eye out with his elbows. Oh, and there was this other really drunk guy who had a lit cigarette in his hand as he danced, waving it around at eye-level. I began to feel very protective of my eyes...

Anyway, Modeselektor's set was mostly fantastic. The majority of the set fell within that "minimal" category here in Europe that seems to sit somewhere between minimal techno and microhouse. However, this was definitely one of those minimal-maximal sets, where the textures and structures might be minimal, but the sound was set for maximum intensity. They kept the bass LOUD for the entire set, while managing to keep the hi's and mid's at a level that wasn't hard on the ears. I could describe their sound more, but I actually managed to get a whopping 7 snippets of video of them, so you can listen yourself. Unfortunately, my camera doesn't pick up bass very well, so you have to imagine a very heavy bass kick under all of this. It's amazing how different a track sounds when you cut out all the bass frequencies.

Either way, it was a very high-intensity set, and everyone was going crazy. Both members of the duo had great stage presence as well, yelling at the crowd, gesturing, mimicking ass-slapping, and generally looking like they were having a great time. They were also wearing these cute t-shirts that said "I am Gernot's left hand" and "I am Szary's right hand." I'm guessing that this had something to do with Gernot's hand being bandaged (the guy with the shaved head); apparently there were supposed to have done a live set, but instead they did a vinyl set because Gernot's hand was all busted.

Toward the end of the set, things took an odd but amusing turn, as they moved through classic Detroit techno (Jeff Mills!) through to happy hardcore and gabber, through to French rap tracks, and ending with this hilarious and campy electronic version of J.S. Bach's Prelude in C that sounds a lot like something Wendy Carlos did. In the last three videos below, you can hear them drop two classic techno tracks (Jeff Mills' "The Bells," and I think "Jerical") as well as a hardcore track. This last recording is muffled and black because the security guards had seen me taking video and told me to put my camera away. Nonetheless, I couldn't resist recording some of that! Also, one of the French rap tracks they played is currently available to listen on their Myspace page (click on "BANDE DE MECS SYMPA").

5h00-6h00: Das Glow

At least, I think it was Das Glow. Anyway, he started up a relatively hard techno set, which quickly got rather noisy and then made its way into a bit of electro and house. In another situation, I might've really enjoyed it, but I was already a bit tired from the madness that was Modeselektor's set, so I started to get ready to leave.

As I was heading out of the club, who should I see but Nathan! Since he hadn't actually slept since Friday, he had told me back at On Cherche Encore that he was going to bed after his set. Somehow, he had managed to find a second wind, as he was cheerfully dancing up a storm. He introduced me to a bunch of his friends, who I recognized from On Cherche Encore earlier that night. I stayed with them for a little while and danced, but then eventually threw in the towel and headed home.

Getting home was a bit crazy. I tried to take the night bus and some guy tried really aggressively to sell me hash. When it became clear that he wasn't going to leave me alone, I headed off to the métro station to wait for the métro to start running. At 5h30, the station opened and headed in. For some reason, the first train took nearly half an hour, and when it did come, two guys were about to have a fight in my car. As is almost always the case, it was less a violent encounter and more an opportunity for both males to grandstand and show off their manly selves in front of their friends, who were making a big show of holding them back. When I got off several stations later, they were still yelling at each other, with not actually physical contact. Boys!

vendredi, avril 27, 2007

Oh, and by the way

...the post for last Friday's night out is ready! Actually, it's been ready for almost 4 days, but I kept forgetting to mention it.

Spinning and post-partying

Well, I ended up not going out last night (Thursday), since I hadn't seen anything that caught my eye. I had given a moment's thought to Le Pulp, but since they had been threatening to close since February, I just presumed nothing was going on. As I found out today, both Miss Kitten and Scratch Massive were playing that night and apparently the place was rammed with people. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

Anyway, I had been invited to go over to F.'s place (a guy I met and hung out with last Friday), so sent him a text message this morning to see what he was up to. As it turns out, he had gone out the night before to Le Pulp (after ditching Le Rex, because it was apparently not very good), and was currently hosting a little after-party at his place. It was already 11h00 when he called me to tell me this, so clearly they had been going strong since last night.

I got myself together and headed over to his place, which was a bit far away (on the other side of the city and actually outside the city proper), so I got there at almost 14h00. Most of the other party-goers had gone home, except for one of F.'s co-workers, who was sort of half-crashing, half-chilling on his couch. F. had apparently been spinning on his decks since they got back from the club, and he was eager to have me join him. It was actually really nice to get to spin again. I left my turntables and vinyl back in Chicago, so I haven't really been able to do much of any of that here in Paris.

F. was using Serato Scratch Live, which is a cheaper clone of the very popular DJ software Final Scratch. What both of these programs do is allow you to work with your digital music through vinyl. Effectively, you get two vinyl records that transmit timecodes instead of sound. Then you connect the output of these records to your computer (through a firewire box specially made for the program), which takes these time codes and sends back out the corresponding audio for a digital track that you have on your laptop. If you change the speed of your turntables, stop or rewind your records, the digital recording will do the same. For DJ's who are used to vinyl, this allows them to access all of their digital tracks and actually mix them with their vinyl recordings as well. What's particularly great about it is how a DJ can still use the very intuitive and tactile interface of the vinyl record, but get access to digital recordings at the same time. One final advantage of all of this is that you can travel with one pair of records and your laptop, rather than many pounds of records.

When I first started spinning tracks with F., my mixes were really rough and a bit late. This was partially because the headphones were dodgy and the Cue levels were post-EQ, but mostly because I haven't touched a turntable since last summer. A while later, I noticed that F. was looking at the computer screen a lot while beatmatching, and I realized that Serato Scratch comes with a whole bunch of visual aids that I had not been using. There's this really convenient "tempo" display up top that shows how the two tracks do (or don't) line up, using automatic beat-detection to represent the tempo in colour-coded spikes. All you have to do is slowly shift the pitch on your turntables until the two tempos line up. Once they're at the same tempo, there's another field in between the two tracks that shows the main beats of both tracks as they're happening. You can use this representation to bring the two tracks into sync. It's amazing how much this visual aid helped me spin. (You can see what I'm talking about by downloading the Demo video called "Visual Aids" here.)

That much being said, I'm still a bit embarrassed that I couldn't do it all by ear.

I hung out with F. (and his girlfriend / my co-worker, G.) until about 17h00, and then headed home. It was really fun to hang out with the two of them, and I'm looking forward to hanging out with them again soon. When I got home, I took care of a bit of blogging, a lot of emails and reading, and then thought about going out. For some reason, I just wasn't feeling up to it--not sick, just tired--so I hit the hay and promised myself that I'd go out Saturday night. On the other hand, what I did do that night was book tickets to spend the weekend in Berlin next week. YAY!! I can't wait.

jeudi, avril 26, 2007

A pseudo-brush with American politics

Or, how I sort-of met Karl Rove's political doppelgänger

So, I had to help the U of C folks film a part of this all-day ceremony to celebrate the signing of a rather substantial sponsorship contract between the Fondation des États-Unis (a dorm / cultural centre in Paris for US students) and the University of Chicago. Part of the ceremonies involved a round-table with a well-known economist giving a 45-minute talk, followed by a string of sychophantic "responses" by former pupils and colleagues, and then some Q&A (which was really just one question, since we ran over on time).

That lecture itself was a bit boring and mostly fiscal-conservative progressivist optimism: the human body has increased in size and health of the last few centuries! This means we'll be 30-storey super-beings with telekenetic powers by next month! OMFG!! Technology is advancing rapidly!!! Soon we will exceed the orbit of natural evolution!!! ZOMG!!!1!!

My favourite part was when he claimed that, since the discrepancy between life expectancy of lower classes and upper classes has narrowed drastically in the last century, clearly we are currently only "fine-tuning" social justice; we don't need to feel any urgent need to devote, you know, resources to fighting inequality. Katrina survivors, for example, are just being difficult and demanding. One of the few trenchant remarks made by one of the respondents sort of adressed this issue: There's a discrepancy of 3 years of life expectancy between Continental Europe (longer) and the USA (shorter). A survey done by Statistics Canada and a parallel organization in the US comes to the conclusion that the discrepancy disappears when you exclude the un- and under-insured from the statistics. This provides a great look into the differences of Canadian and American politics (at the federal level, at least):

Survey says: If you exclude the un- and under-insured, there is no discrepancy in life expectancy between the Americas and Europe. If you do, the US is 3 years shorter.

Canadian response (at least, before this current Prime Minister): Let's offer 3x the salary and billing options to doctors who will work in under-serviced areas.

American response: Fine, let's not count them, then.

Anyway, at some point during the paper, a group of people bustle in, including a man who looks like a slightly less pudgy Karl Rove and a cluster of bodyguards with earpieces. I was almost certain that it was Karl Rove, until later on my co-workers told me that the American ambassador to France had been expected that evening. Nonetheless, the guy does look pretty similar to him (picture here, I'm not posting that thing on my blog); apparently, all Bush appointees look the same.

mercredi, avril 25, 2007

El Picaflor: Would my Mom like it?

So, DJ and I were overdue to go out for dinner, especially since DJ had been at an ethnomusicology conference, and he needed to update me on all the gossip (yes, even we have gossip). There is this Peruvian restaurant, El Picaflor, that I have been meaning to try pretty much since I got here. You see, I have variable success with Peruvian restaurants. There was a place in Toronto, El Bodegón, which always served up delicious and unpretentious Peruvian comfort food. When I moved to Chicago, I tried the better-known Peruvian place, Rinconcito Sudamericano, but the food was "meh" and they were trying far too hard to be "fancy;" the result was that they had a menu that consisted of almost exclusively expensive and "high-class" Peruvian cuisine, but very little of the comforting stuff like yucca frita or carapulcra. I later found a place in Chicago on the extreme North side, called Ay! Ay! Picante (really, that's its name), that served a wider (and more representative) spectrum of Peruvian cuisine, although the prices were a bit high.

So it was with trepidation that I took DJ out to El Picaflor. We walked in and, after waiting for a long while as the waitress didn't see us from her station, we walked to the back and asked to be seated. We got an intimate (read: small) table near the kitchen and started looking at the menus. They had a great "Piqueo" ("nibble") menu for two people at 39€ each (alas, a reasonable price in Paris), which included an apéritif of pisco sour and empanaditas (little empanadas), an appetizer platter with 5 elements, a main dish with 3 elements, a digéstif of passionfruit sorbet covered in pisco, a dessert dish with 4 elements, and coffee or maté de coca (I don't think there were real coca leaves, though...). So we ordered that, obviously.

When I tried to order drinks, I asked if they had chicha morada; the server said "No." Uh oh. My experience has been that any Peruvian establishment that considers itself above serving chicha morada is also going to be insufferably fussy. In a way, it was true: this restaurant clearly wanted their French customers to take their food seriously. But the menu we were having included a lot of rustic dishes, so I wasn't too worried. I ordered a half-litre of the Peruvian wine (Tacama) and we awaited our food.

The apéritif of pisco sour was very well done; the taste of the pisco wasn't overpowering, and the crown of fluffed egg-whites were not too stiff or too soft. The empanaditas had wondrously light and fluffy dough--nothing like the bread-y dough you usually get--but the meat filling could've used a bit more onion to keep the beef moist.

The entrée included a few sticks of fried yucca (manioc root), and petri-dish-sized serving of salsa huancaína, some causa limeña, some guacamole and tortilla chips, and ceviche de pescado. The yucca sticks were cut a bit too thin, which meant that by the time the outside was fried golden brown, the centers were no longer flaky and moist. Despite the loss of mouthfeel, the taste was there and it the salsa huancaína that went with it was great. Mind you--and this is true of the entire meal--spicyness levels were clearly lowered for French palates. Nothing we ate tonight would qualify as "spicy" to a chile-eating American. Anyway, the causa was lovely if a bit too mild (it needed more lemon juice, in my opinion), and the guacamole may have been unexceptional in a North American context, but was simply the best guacamole I've had in Europe. The ceviche, however, was GREAT. The fish (which I think was sole or tilapia) was sliced thinly and left to quickly pickle in a batch of lemon juice, garlic, ginger and various other spices. I missed the presence of cilantro in the mix, but otherwise the texture and flavour were great.

The main dish included servings of ají de gallina, roasted pork with quinoa, and "ceviche de pato" (which wasn't really ceviche, in my opinion). The ají de gallina itself was probably the weakest dish on the menu; it certainly wasn't much like my recipe or my mom's. A quick check of their menu (available online) explains why: their ají de gallina involves only white meat chicken and a slightly spicy cheese sauce. My ají de gallina (which I consider to the platonic ideal) involves crushed walnuts, lots of hot peppers and tumeric, a whole hen (not a chicken...too delicate), and is thickened with bread and milk. Anyway, it was OK but not amazing. The pork was delicious, and the bed of quinoa it came on was exquisite (but I tend to always be delighted by the taste of quinoa). The "ceviche de pato" was actually somewhere between a lomo saltado preparation and an anticuchos preparation. Like lomo saltado (the Peruvian equivalent of steak frites), the duck breast was sliced and cooked with onions in a savoury sauce. Like anticuchos, the the meat seemed to have been marinated in something acidic and smoky, with a heavy dose of coriander. This last duck-saltado-anticuchos was really, really tasty. Possibly my favourite part of the meal.

The digestif of passionfruit sorbet covered in pisco came and went (and I managed to spill a fair bit of it on myself). The dessert plate came with four items: some quinoa con leche (rice pudding, but with quinoa) covered in a mousse of lúcuma, a bit of mango ice cream, some rice pudding, and alfajores. The quinoa with lúcuma was a favourite for both of us; it was creamy and thick but not too sweet and the lúcuma wasn't too strong (it's a fruit that not everyone enjoys). The mango ice cream was mango ice cream (perhaps it was homemade? I dunno, but it wasn't any better than what Berthillon can do). On the other hand, I really enjoyed the alfajor cookie; my only complaint was that they made it way too small. It was teardrop-shaped and about the size of my thumb, rather than thick, round, the size of a jam jar lid, and STUFFED with manjar blanco. The rice pudding was quite nice, but didn't have the sharp note of cinnamon and nutmeg that I was used to in my mom's version.

In the end, was this as good as mom's cooking? I've discovered that that question is couter-productive. Nothing will ever be as good as mom's cooking. However, would my mom approve? Yes, although she might have a word with the cook about the ají de gallina.

After dinner, DJ and I wandered off in search of a drink, and found a little bar called L'Envoi Québécois. As you can imagine, it's a québécois bar, which had the distinct benefit of serving almost the entire line of Unibroue beers. The interior of the bar was an amusing performance of ex-pat nostalgia and separatist sentiment. There was a huge québécois flag hanging on the ceiling, but there were no Canadian flags or even maple leafs anywhere to be seen. One wall had a large mural with a quintessential scene from Montréal, including the split-level houses with the stairs at the front, the dépanneur selling beer, and a young guy carrying a 2-4 of beer. More amusingly, DJ and I noticed that the bar flew the flags of other separatist groups, including Corsica and Brittany. Oddly enough, we couldn't find the Basque flag or the Texan flag. We'll have to mention this to the owner next time we go there.

As we were drinking our beers, we noticed that the owner/bartender had a very controlled accent. You could perhaps guess that he was québécois if you knew to listen for it, but it was otherwise just a light brogue that hinted generally at "not from Paris." However, as we were leaving the bar and making our goodbyes, the owner said, "Bonne fin de soirée!" -- and out came all the nasalization, dipthonging and other phonetic magic that makes Quebec French so québécois.

mardi, avril 24, 2007

Lentil Dal and Björk video

After work today, I headed home, with a quick stop by Franprix to get a few necessary food items for dinner tonight. During the bus ride home and in the grocery store, I was forcefully reminded that along with summer (it was 27C today) in Paris comes the pungent, eye-watering smell of sweat. At least now I know to take the bus; the smell of dank crevices and chafing is even stronger on the métro. Mind you, it isn't always horrible, but it just takes one or two particularly fragrant individuals to hold an entire bus or train car hostage.

Anyway, on that delicious note, I headed home and started making lentil dal. The results weren't perfect, so I'm not going to post the recipe quite yet. I used far too much lentils, and I could've added more spices to it. Also, it needed more butter, but all things Indian need a lot of butter.

So the video for Björk's first single from her next album came out on iTunes today, and I'm a bit underwhelmed. The new album is called Volta, and the track is called "Earth Intruders." I was really excited about the track when it came out about two weeks ago, but the video seems a bit...well...crappy. I mean, check out the bright-coloured cuteness of the album cover, and then compare it to the video. (NOTE: the video wasn't my upload and I don't know how long YouTube will keep it up, so check it out now)

The oil-slick psychedelic background seems a bit hokey, the black-silhouette landscape and figures in the foreground create too much negative space in the frame, and the choreography is pretty uninspired. Add to this the fact that there is a distinct primitivist / tribal trope going on here -- and one where the "primitives" only appear as faceless shadows. On the other hand, I do like how it's not entirely clear if this marauding group of "earth intruders" are destroying the earth or humanity. Right around 1'25", the group of dancers destroy what looks like a large statue of a person astride a horse. Considering that Björk herself described the inspiration for this track as a dream she had of a wave of third-world people crossing the ocean and wiping out the White House, it's even less clear whether this story is about environmentalism or global politics (obviously, it could very well be both).

Anyway, that's all for today.

lundi, avril 23, 2007

Hispano-Moroccan Salsa Goodness

So, work today was one of those days that should've been short and light, and turned out long and heavy. Once all of that was taken care of, I headed home to get some work done on my blog. I still had the latter part of last week and the big night out on Friday to write up, so I was pretty behind.

Nonetheless, I did take some time out to make a bit of food. I'm on a raw and veggie kick this week, mostly to compensate for what I've been eating this past month as people have come to visit me. With Carla planning to return in May--hopefully free of her diet restrictions--I may just have to subsist on water and celery sticks till then.

So today I had some tomatoes that were delicious but on the verge of going bad, a delicious new cucumber, a big bag of onions, a handful of hot peppers and some lemons. It's salsa time! This particular salsa preparation was inspired partly by the delicious salsa-like preparations that I've found at Moroccan restaurants here. After dicing all of the veggies and sprinking with a bit of salt and a fair bit of lemon juice, I added a ton of ground cumin and a drizzle of olive oil. It was perfect.

dimanche, avril 22, 2007

P.S. Björky goodness

By the way, if you haven't heard Björk's new single, Earth Intruders, for her upcoming album, Volta, check it out. There's a good mix available on iTunes, or you can download a lower-quality version from a few music blogs, including this one. The music video has appeared in fragments on YouTube, and should be out sometime soon as well...

Like any other Sunday

This Sunday, like many before it, was pretty un-special. I got up and dragged myself outside to the market at Place des Fêtes to stock up on veggies, but also bought one of those delicious roast chickens that they are always selling at the butcher stands. I didn't realize just how big it was until they put it in my hands. Back home, I tore all the meat of that sucker and ate it all up, and I wasn't hungry for the rest of the day. Next time, I'm going to make a killer warm chicken salad.

Otherwise, the rest of the day was spent working on my blog, updating things, filling out applications for various things, and otherwise being productive.

The one big event of the day was the first round of the presidential elections here in France. The end result was that Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal made the cut and will be facing each other in the final run-off election in a few weeks' time. For many socialists (the analogue to Democrats or NDP in the US or Canada, respectively), this was already a great victory. The right-wing / left-wing showdown allows them to gather all of the leftist votes that had been previously split up among the many left-wing candidates, while also taking advantage of some of the centrist voters who are scared of Sarkozy. That much being said, there's no telling where this is going to go now...