samedi, septembre 27, 2008

N.A.M.E. Festival in Lille, Day 2

I slept in until about 13h00 or 14h00. I have a hazy memory of the cleaning lady barging into my room about 12h00 and then hastily retreating, but I actually got out of bed about an hour or so later.

I had this great idea: I’ll take my computer in my backpack and head over to a café overlooking the largest city square and work on my blog notes. But there were a few problems: 1) there was some sort bizarre open-air aerobics class going on in the square that involved blasting really horrible trance (EDM music) across the square, so there was no way I was going to sit in a terrace and get any work done; 2) when I found a café on a side-street that seemed promising, I opened my computer to discover that it hadn’t actually charged during the night. Boo! Well, I finished my coffee, enjoyed the brief moment of sunshine, and then went back to the hotel and kept on working from there.

There was a roundtable discussion scheduled at 19h00 today, hosted by a philosopher called Yves Michaud, at the auditorium in the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Palace of Fine Arts). The philosopher has been apparently married to a woman from Ibiza for decades, currently lives there, and has seen the emergence and solidification of the year-round Ibiza party scene. He’s apparently writing a book of memoirs and observations on the subject, so he decided to hold this roundtable today on the subject of hedonism as a philosophy / ethic and its importance in EDM communities.

When I was heading over to the event, I had somehow forgotten that it was planned to be a round-table, and I was bracing myself for one very self-satisfied “public intellectual” holding forth for a couple of hours on a scene that he’s merely been next to. Thankfully, this was a real round-table, and the guy himself was functioning more as a moderator, so he didn’t actually speak that much, aside from posing questions and guiding the direction of conversation.

Otherwise, there were 4 speakers, one a philosopher who specializes in epicurianism and hedonism, one a classics scholar with a specialty in Latin philosophy, one the head of the local general counsel that sponsored the N.A.M.E. Festival, and one journalist that had been a “specialist” in parties and partying. As a result, the discussion was actually pretty interesting; each of the speakers geared their discussion toward a generalist’s knowledge, and they each had an interesting perspective to give on hedonism. I probably most appreciated the philosopher and the classics scholar, as they both historicized the development of hedonism and Epicureanism and explained the differences between them and what these words might mean in the 21st century.

Interestingly enough, for the first 75% of the discussion, nobody discussed illicit drug use, despite the obvious and frequent connections to hedonism (in a negative way, usually). When the moderator finally pointed it out, the rest of the discussion for the rest of the event circled endlessly around that topic. Most of them came out with the now-standard arguments for an alternate approach to drugs than full abstinence / scare tactics: harm reduction is more important; hyperbolic warnings about drugs make the entire drug education project seem disconnected with reality; the “profile” of a drug-user in politics has little correlation to the sorts of casual recreational users that make up a large portion of the EDM scene (and many other scenes); alcohol is a more potent poison than many of these drugs; etc. While most of these are good arguments and I certainly didn’t disagree with them, they didn’t really add a finessed or expanded argument from their particular positions of expertise. What does the history of philosophy tell us about tolerance for the use of intoxicants? How do various philosophies make sense of desire and need and pleasure?

The only major disappointment was during the Q&A session at the end, when some woman raised her hand and asked whether the “tribal dance style” of EDM parties might show some connection with primitive cultures. Gah. I realize that there’s a whole sub-section of the EDM scene that sees itself this way, but the unexamined colonial desire embedded in that sort of narrative is just too much for me to swallow. Thankfully, the moderator jumped in before anyone else could respond and explained to her very succinctly why the dance practices of EDM and “primitive” (shudder) communities are only superficially similar.

From there, I headed back to the hotel, grabbed a greasy but satisfying kebab on the way, and then relaxed in my hotel for a little while, until Fantô and about half of the Frenchy Krew were ready to head out for some pre-partying (the other half stayed in and wanted to sleep a bit more before the main event). We went to At Home, a bar we had visited briefly the night before. We hung out a lot more this time, visiting all the floors in the building. The owner had bought an entire tall-house and converted into a bar, where the theme was home décor. The first floor was made up to look like a kitchen, the second floor was done up like a living room, the third floor looked like a bedroom and bathroom (complete with tiles and seats made out of toilets) and the fourth floor was the real apartment, where the owner lived. It was a pretty cute idea, I must say, although his decorating style was a bit IKEA-heavy for a stylish bar.

After hanging out with the owner and his friends until about 1h00, we finally made our way over to the main festival event, again at the Tri Postal:

N.A.M.E. Festival 2008, Lille (Day 2)

(Check out this picture! I took this from the view from Fantômette's hotel room, just across the street from the Tri Postal.)

We again stopped by Fantô's apartment-hotel to drop off our things, and then headed across the street and into the bar. Unlike last night, we had arrived at high-tide, so getting through the coat check and getting our first drinks were a bit of a hassle. Nonetheless we eventually took care of that and got on the dancefloor.

!!! (chk-chk-chk)

We got in just in time to hear the last part of their set, which was predictably rock-electro fusion. It wasn’t really anybody’s cup of tea, so we headed over into the next room after a few minutes.


This guy’s set was mostly pretty hard techno, making use of some minimalism in the sense of slowly-changing structures, but otherwise using a texture and aesthetic that was more “hard” techno. It was good enough to dance to, certainly, but I’ll admit that I was mostly just waiting for the next set to start.

We noticed that, unlike last night, the bouncers weren’t hassling people very much for smoking pot or taking drugs. The night before, bouncers were constantly walking through the smoking area, sniffing the air for the scent of cannabis. If you got caught doing anything of that sort, the bouncers kicked you out permanently, without any “final warning” or anything like that. This time, they seemed to be a lot more relaxed about it.

Also, while the crowd was still pretty young and pretty intense about their partying, there wasn’t quite the same Dionysian extremes of intoxication and drink-spilling that there was the night before. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t get a drink or two spilled on me, just that it wasn’t as much and I wasn’t elbowed in the ribs nearly as often.

Oh, and here's a quick clip from his set, although I am again totally embarrassed by the audio compression on this !@#$ camera. It takes much better low-light pictures, but this audio crap is bull!@#$.

Radio Slave

I recall seeing Radio Slave at mutek as well and being pretty disappointed with his sound, so I wasn’t expecting too much from this set. Although it was still as bombastic and loud as I remembered back in June, his track selection and his mixing style managed to make it work. It felt like the tempo was a bit slower than in his previous set at mutek, and his transitions were smoother.

Ambivalent live

Ambivalent’s set was really quite nice, although Fantômette complained that it was a bit “too cold,” which I think I can understand. There was no trace of the sort of “funky” house influences that one usually finds in contemporary minimal. The style was very much minimal-with-heavy-beats, but there wasn’t much swing or groove to the sounds. I still liked it quite a bit, especially since he seemed to be very good at creating well-paced ups and downs in the set, which is difficult to do well in a live set (i.e., just working with loops rather than completed tracks).

Gaiser live

Gaiser’s set was perhaps a little bit too heavy for my tastes, but was still really well done. I only saw about 30 mins of his set, though, before I headed into the other room and discovered that Danton Eeprom was playing.

Danton Eeprom live

I remember seeing Danton Eeprom back at Mutek this June and being really blown away by his live set. It was pretty epic and large-scale, while remaining well within a certain kind of elaborately minimal sound. He created smooth alternations between heavy and light textures, giving the set a greater feeling of unity and direction. It was probably the best set of the night, and according to Fantô, it was also the best of the whole festival, both weekends.

If the SIS track, “Standing / Nesrib” was the tune of the night yesterday, Dubfire’s remix of Audio Slave’s “Grindhouse Tool” was the one tonight, being played twice by other DJs in addition to Radio Slave himself dropping it. At some point during this set, an adorable girl with a super-cute haircut was dancing next to me, clearly drunk/high and beaming with pleasure. There was a guy making his way through the crowd, pinching girl’s butts and trying to come on to them clumsily, which all of them rebuffed pretty pointedly. When he got to her, he wouldn’t leave her alone and she was a bit too tore up to put up substantial resistance, so I inserted myself between them and made it look like we were together. This had the desired effect (he left), but then she spent the rest of the night trying to make intense eye contact with me. As I’ve mentioned before, this sort of eye contact, especially when initiated by a girl, means “What’s keeping you? Jump on me, dammit.” She never actually tried to talk to me or anything, so I didn’t have to break the news to her that I liked boys.

Davide Squillace

I have only vague memories of seeing this guy play at Club der Visionäre in Berlin, and I vaguely recall liking it a lot. This context was a bit different from the low-intensity biergarten atmosphere of that club in Berlin, so his set was a lot harder and more intense at this event. Nonetheless, it was probably my favorite set of the evening, with an emphasis on melodic, rhythmically complex and bouncing basslines and reverbed, “smeared” samples above it. I’m usually not a big fan of those tracks that make heavy use of reverb and panning to create a sort of blurry echo chamber effect; I find it usually defuses the music’s drive and sort of takes it out of focus. But this set was really well done and really effective. I was dancing like a mad fool right up until the end of his set, shortly after 6h00.

[Again, OMG I'm so sorry that the audio is so awful on this thing.]


When the second room had closed, they left the first room open for a bit longer. This DJ was apparently connected with the organization putting this festival together, and his set was pretty straight-ahead techno. Well done, if a bit too heavy-handed for my liking. What was interesting was, as his next-to-last track, he put down some white label or recent release that involves Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC speech layered over a techno track, which seemed to be a direct homage of earlier House tracks that quote Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Apparently, the parallels between these two people has not been lost on Europeans, either. During that track, the video artists switched to a new set of videos, which showed Obama speaking at the 2008 DNC Convention in slow motion, while cycling through various Obama campaign posters, as well as a “Vote Obama” insignia. It was night and I appreciated the political engagement, but I wondered what good it would do at a party that appeared to be 100% European.

When things finally tapered off, we headed outside and regrouped. Danton Eeprom was going to mix at the afterparty and some of us were really determined to go see him. I, however, was already pretty tired and I knew that I would have to get up before noon to check out of my hotel, so I begged off it and headed back to the hotel for some very brief slumber.

vendredi, septembre 26, 2008

N.A.M.E. Festival in Lille, Day 1

I managed to get myself relatively early, because I had to do laundry and I was braced for it to take all morning and afternoon. The apartment doesn’t have a washing machine (which is actually pretty common in Europe, where apartment buildings rarely have common laundry areas), so I had to lug my laundry downstairs and about 20 metres up the street to the nearest Laundromat. The upside, however, was that doing your laundry in a Laundromat is freakin fast. You’ve got a whole row of washing machines, most of them unoccupied at 10am on a Friday morning, so you can just toss every load of laundry into the machines all at once, and then toss them all into one of the high-performance massive drum-barrel dryers for 20 minutes and your done. I did three loads in about 1.5 hours, including folding afterwards.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon doing a few chores and replying to some emails, and then I packed my bags and headed over to Gare du Nord. I ran into Fantômette’s girlfriend on the train platform, so we chatted a bit before getting into our respective traincars. The ride was short and pleasant, maybe an hour or so by TGV; I managed to get a bit more work done on my proposal revisions, which made me feel better about spending a weekend partying / researching.

Once in Lille, we each went to our respective hotels and dropped off our stuff. I then went over to Fantômette’s hotel and met the rest of the crew (mostly the Frenchy Krew from my Berlin summer), and we hung out and relaxed for a while. Eventually, we headed over to a little café in the old town, where a “before” party was going on; apparently, we had some stuff to drop off with the person running it.

We were all pretty damn hungry, so we found a pizzeria in the area and got some food, and then headed back to the hotel to meet some more of the crew who had arrived later. By approximately midnight, we were getting ready to head to the location of the music festival (which was just across the street from Fantômette’s hotel!). We usually wouldn’t go anywhere this early in the night, but Fantô had been here last weekend for the first part of the festival and she said that the location got packed really quickly and it soon became difficult to check your coat and get some drinks.

N.A.M.E. Festival 2008, Lille (Day 1)

The N.A.M.E. festival takes place over two weekends in Lille, France, during September every year. The festival has been around for 4 years now, and its links with city and regional government has allowed it to expand into a city-wide festival. Although the main events are certainly the 4 club soirées that take place over the two weekends, there are also workshops, seminars, concerts and exhibitions (go to the website and look at the event calendar, “Programmation,” to see their offerings). In this way, it’s actually pretty similar to Montréal’s mutek, although not yet as well-developed and far less interested in experimental music.

Anyway, one important way in which this festival is really similar to mutek is the importance placed on video and VJs for Electronic Dance Music performances. The festival has access to an event space called the Tri Postal, which is actually the city’s old mail sorting depot. They have divided the long rectangular open space of the main floor into two large rooms and mounted projection screens around probably 40% of the room (behind the DJ and along one wall). Then they had a different video artist do a set in parallel with each DJ set, which also meant that you didn’t just have one poor VJ doing all the same video for 6 hours. So you’ll notice that I’ve included a lot of pictures that I might usually throw out—blurry, underexposed, grainy—because the images on the video screens were worth keeping.

The party scene in Lille (and, according to the people I talked to, most of the North of France) is very young, exuberant to the point of approaching a mosh-pit, and very heavy drinkers/drug-takers. As a result, I got stepped on a lot, I took quite a few elbows to the ribs, I had at least two full drinks spilled on me (ugh, the stench of Red Bull), and droplets from more distant drink-related accidents all through the night. Anyway, here’s a blurry and oddly-exposed picture that probably best captures the kinetic, sweaty and chaotic aspects of the evening:


This set was rather slow and atmospheric, with very little that would motivate you to dance or throw up your hands. It was an OK warm-up set, perhaps, but it would’ve been better suited to a chill-out room or something. I managed to get some video of it, so you’ll see what I mean:

Anyway, we had arrived near the end of the set, so we just stood around and took care of our drinks until the next act started. In the meanwhile, though, I managed to get a few good pictures of the video screens.


Chloé’s live set was much more interesting than the previous one, but again it felt not very appropriate for a dancefloor. I think I would’ve loved her live set in a car, driving on the highway, or in my apartment, relaxing after a night of partying. The set started out as very abstract and atmospheric—which is not out of the ordinary for live sets—making use of echo effects on individual samples to create a sense of space. The various sounds eventually gained some sort of regularity and began to approximate a danceable beat, albeit a very slow one, but by then it was nearly 30 minutes into her set. In other words, she was halfway through her set and it didn’t feel like it had really started yet. This reminded me a lot of Chloé’s set at mutek last June, which was all downtempo and deep/dub, with her occasionally murmuring through a microphone. Again, I think the sound of it was pretty high quality, but it just didn’t work in the context provided. I’ve got a couple of clips from the set, which should give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

Sebo K

After about half an hour, I gave up on Chloé and headed over to the other room to hear Sebo K. His set was very solidly in what gets called “minimal” in Europe: minimal in the sense of slow-changing structures and sparse upper-range textures, but maximal in the sense of volume and intensity. I was thrilled to hear him spin that SIS track I have been talking about, but aside from that none of the tracks he put down really wowed me. The affective level of the whole set felt rather flat; there were no departures and returns, no shifts in texture and intensity that give shape to an overall set. Instead, the set was at a constant medium-high intensity, as if he was just showing us a bunch of tracks that he likes. Nonetheless, I did enjoy it and I got quite a bit of dancing in.


Tiefschwarz’s set was, as the French might say, très efficace. It got the crowd going and he showed great agility in mixing tracks in ways that maintained an exciting push-and-pull on the dancefloor, but I found his overall sound a bit loud and blunt. It was like he was taking minimal techno themes and setting them to bombastic “progressive house” tracks (see Paul Oakenfold). Also, he would occasionally decide to pay homage to “classic” house with vocal tracks and “funky” elements, but they generally fell very flat for me. I realize that this same tactic seemed to work really well in Berlin, but I think there was something with the choice of these “classic”-sounding tracks and the context that just made it fail for me. It was still a good set and I definitely had fun dancing to it, but the slick mixing techniques were marred by a heavy hand on the bass levels.

Marcin Czubala

I decided to take a break for a while from Tiefschwarz and watch Marcin Czubala do his live set. I had seen him perform live at the Mobilee Summer Soirée about two months ago and had really liked it, so I was looking forward to hearing what he would do here. The set was pretty similar with what he had done at the previous party, but this time he seemed less interested in maintaining a consistently danceable groove, and more interested in inserting low-intensity moments in the set where he explored reverb and distortion effects in more abstract ways. The effect wasn’t unpleasant, but I often found myself waiting for him to return to a groove that actually hung together.

Phage + Daniel Dreier

Aside from my inexplicable crush on the pair (especially Phage), I’ve been impressed by how these two mixed together when I was in Berlin. Their sets always seem to retain the finesse and subtlety of well-wrought techno while still making deft use of melodic basslines and well-times buildups to keep the crowd motivated and vibrating at a high frequency (so to speak). This set was no different, although maybe they were a bit more heavy-handed with the bass. I really enjoyed their set, and especially their attention to the sort of crackling, mid- and high-frequency rhythmic patterns that I really enjoy, but Anja Schneider was playing in the other room at the same time, so I had to move about halfway through their set.

Anja Schneider

I had also seen Anja Schneider at the Mobilee party in Berlin and had been really impressed with how her DJing skills have improved over time. Tonight’s set was probably one of the best sets I’ve heard from her and certainly my favorite of the night. She managed to shuttle between really intense, “maximal” minimal and the more delicate and subtle versions of minimal techno/house, which also gave a great overall rhythm of ups and downs to her set. Her set was at no point boring, and her selection was (mostly) excellent. He mixing skills were pretty flawless; I didn’t notice her mess up or make a rough transition, and more often I was noticing her ingenious techniques for transforming tracks into new works through the manipulation of effects and EQ levels.

At the end of the night, the bouncers immediately started shuffling us from one room to the next, past the coat check and through the doors. We eventually made it back to the hotel of Fantô and the Frenchy Krew, where we hung out for an hour or so before finally going our separate ways and getting some sleep. There was apparently an after-party going on somewhere in town, but nobody was really feeling up to it.

jeudi, septembre 25, 2008

Mushrooms and US Politics

I had a surprisingly busy day at work today. When I wondered aloud why everyone suddenly needed to get temporary accounts and online course websites NOW, I was reminded that the full batch of autumn-quarter students were to land tomorrow. Ah, I see. Good thing I’m leaving for Lille on Friday.

I made a half-hearted attempt at grocery shopping on the way home, stopping at the Monoprix near my work. I’m going away for the weekend anyway, and I’d rather make use of the farmer’s markets that are in my neighborhood, but I needed something to eat tonight, as well as some of basic staples. When I get back next week, one of my goals is to discover the markets in my neighborhood. Actually, I still haven’t gone for a good exploratory walk of my area…

I found some really lovely oyster mushrooms at Monoprix, so I decided I would do a simple poelée (a French version of a pan-fry: on lower heat, with butter, and usually finished with parsley and garlic), and then a sort of ratatouille-style vegetable ragout. I discovered that the burners on my gas stove burn REALLY hot, even on the lowest setting, so I found that the onions were browning and almost burning by the time I had prepared the other vegetables. It seems like I’ll need to peel and chop everything before I actually start cooking. Anyway, dinner was still pretty tasty (especially those mushrooms!), and I managed to eat far too much bread. I think I’m no longer allowed to bring bread home with me. Or, rather, I need to make peace with the fact that French bread won’t last the night in my place, so I need to buy it much less often. None of this le pain quotidien for my fat ass, thank you.

Aside from finally catching up on my blogging, I got very little else done today, because I turned on CNN International and was transfixed by the intricate political drama of McCain becoming all hysterical and suspending his campaign to “help” on the Wall Street bailout bill, despite the fact that he sits on none of the financial committees, and the chairs of those committees (especially the sharp-tongued sister, Barney Frank) explicitly said that his presence would only complicate matters. McCain also said that he wanted to cancel or postpone the debate coming up on Friday, so that he could “concentrate” on being the Savior of the Financial Crisis, rather than The Guy Who Thought the Economy’s Fundamentals Were Strong a Week Ago. Or The Guy Who’s Campaign Manager Turns Out To Serve On The Board For Fanny Mae. Or The Guy Currently Being Eclipsed By His Running Mate, “Churchy Spice.”

Anyway, Obama actually had the brass balls to say, “The debate is still on, asshole. With or without you.” Apparently, the plan now is that they’ll shift to a Town Hall format or an interview with Jim Lehrer if McCain doesn’t show. Some people suggested that he send his VP running mate, Sarah Palin to substitute for him, but anybody who has seen her give an interview would understand why that’s a horrible idea for McCain. Oh, and by coincidence the postponement of this Friday’s debate might require cancelling the only Vice Presidential debate…conveniently freeing Palin from ever having to come face-to-face with Joe Biden. That would really disappointment, as I had already bought popcorn in anticipation for that circus event.

Anyway, since the all-important Meeting With The Lame-Duck President was taking place while it was night over here, I had CNN on with endless talking-head coverage, and meanwhile I spent hours reading the comment threads on MetaFilter about the same thing. As you can imagine, people had a LOT to say online about this turn of events. From the sounds of things after the meeting, there had been a plan already worked out by the House and Senate on both sides BEFORE McCain showed up, and then at the meeting where McCain and Obama were present, the House Republicans suddenly decided that they had a whole new set of demands which pretty much torpedoed the meeting. Since the House Republican representative had been in a private meeting with McCain just beforehand, the speculation by critics is that the House Republicans deliberately forced the larger meeting to fail to create an opening for McCain to look like the saving hero, since the plan on the table had been agreed to well before he landed in Washington. Either way, it made for some amusing political drama. And it would be more amusing if the American and global economies weren’t at risk. And I don’t even want to imagine how the Canadian economy will do if the US collapses. Ugh.

So, after an late-night episode of As The Presidential Candidates Turn, I hit the sack.

mercredi, septembre 24, 2008

Apartment Pictures!

Woo! I finally have pictures of my new apartment. Here’s a link to the photo album I made in my PicasaWeb account, and here’s a selection of those photos:

From My New Apt!
From My New Apt!
From My New Apt!
From My New Apt!

Isn’t it great? I’ve got an ample main room with a high-quality folding bed, a well-designed kitchen with a gas stove, and a small but well-designed bathroom. AND all the utilities plus internet / tv / home phone included in the rent. I’m still discovering the neighborhood, but so far I’m loving it. My only complaint is that there is no mid-range grocery store within 5-minutes walking distance.

Anyway, today I went to a “offline meetup” of some Paris-based users of MetaFilter, which I have been a member of for years now. Since I was the one that arranged the meetup, I chose the place, which was at a café literally across the street from me called “L’Autre Café.” The place was really nice and surprisingly spacious, with pretty friendly service. We were there only for an apéro (short for apéritif, a pre-dinner drink), but after a couple of drinks we decided to go for food as well.

We had dinner at Le Marsangy, which is a restaurant that I’ve been to in the past, when I last lived here. I was really stunned by how much weight the chef/owner had lost since the last time I had seen him. Anyway, the food was lovely as usual. The highlight for me was the appetizer, which was a simple bowl of morel mushrooms, quickly pan-fried in butter, parsley and garlic.

After a good meal and a fair bit of wine (I’ll admit, I was a bit disappointed with the wine this time, but it was a good deal), we went our separate ways and I curled up in bed.

mardi, septembre 23, 2008

Tracks that I heard everywhere in Berlin

OK, today’s activities were relatively unexciting for you blog readers: I worked, I took care of some basic grocery shopping, I wrestled with getting the WiFi to work, and I had a very hard time finding some US→France electrical adapters. Then I went to sleep. Oh, and at some point I got some Chinese take-out that was pretty disappointing.

So, to make up for the boringness of today, here’s a selection of “Greatest Hits of Berlin Summer of 2008,” in order of my personal preference.

NOTE: For this first track, you need to wait until at least the 4'00" mark to hear the sample that makes this track work, and until 5'00" or so for the full groove to come in. Try to listen on a stereo with a lot of bass for maximum effect. Also, I hear that the female vocal sample comes from a 1988 Vanessa Williams track, called "The Right Stuff."


NOTE AGAIN: This track has about 1.5 minutes of build-up before everything kicks in.


There’s also this track by Stimming, called “Una Pena,” which was reviewed on Little White Earbuds and includes a full version of the track that you can listen to. You can read the comments at the end of the post to watch various EDM nerds fight about which track is already played out. If you want to hear the “Trompeta” track that they are totally hating on (by SIS, the same guy that did the first track in this post), you can listen to it here.

And, for those who missed it the first time around, here’s a link to that Resident Advisor Podcast of Stimming, which includes “Una Pena” and a bunch of other tracks that I’m totally loving.

lundi, septembre 22, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed (in the Apartment)

Again, still so behind on blogging it’s not funny. I’m going to Lille this next weekend for a music festival, so I need to get these done real quick-like. Nonetheless, there’s a fair bit of stuff to report on during the week as well, so I’m planning a sort of lock-down session Thursday night to catch up on all of this (I’m about 3 days behind).

Anyway, here’s the news for Monday: I MOVED INTO MY NEW APARTMENT!

As you might recall from the my panicked posts from the first week of September, I was having a tough time finding an apartment; and when I did finally find an apartment, it was only available from Sep 22 (i.e., today). So I’ve spent the last 3 weeks in a temporary place in the 10th arrondissement. As much as I was really glad to find a place to crash for those intervening weeks, I was getting really sick of living out of suitcases and cooking with a counter-top hotplate. In other words, I was really, really looking forward to today.

I got a fair bit of work done while at the office (most of the images and video from the Techno Parade were prepared and uploaded from work) and then headed straight over to the new apartment. I had been storing one of my pieces of luggage filled with winter clothes at work, so I took that directly over to my apartment and lugged it up the 6 flights of stairs. I was a bit sweaty at the top, but I was actually pretty impressed with myself for not being completely winded. Go sporty spice!

From there, I began making a bunch of trips between my old and new apartments, carrying my life in luggage and hauling up those same 6 flights of stairs, over and over. For the heaviest piece of luggage, I actually walked all the way between the apartments, rather than have to haul it up and down the steps of the subway system. Anyway, the work was tiring and pretty sweaty, but I paused about halfway through one of the trips to get to know one of the local boulangeries and buy a sandwich and a dessert.

When the moving part was over, I went up the street and tried out the kebab at the nearest Turkish food place. It was better than most of the kebabs I’ve had in Paris, but still nothing like the total AWESOME I regularly had in Berlin. *sigh*

Thankfully, the owner of my new place had left the TV/Internet/Phone in his name, which meant all I had to do was turn on the TV, connect my laptop to the internet box, and break open a bottle of wine. After watching BBC and Al Jazeera (in English) ravenously for a few hours, I got around to unpacking. I was convinced that if I didn’t unpack EVERYTHING and get it put away now, I would never get it done. On the upside, I had everything neatly put away before going to bed. On the downside, I didn’t get to bed until 4h00.

So that was Day 1 in the new apartment. I know that I’ve promised pictures to everyone, but I haven’t had a chance to take some pictures while the sun is up and streaming through the windows. I’ll post pictures soon!

dimanche, septembre 21, 2008

Lost Sunday

Wow, I am SO behind. It is actually Wednesday as I am posting this, so I’m keeping this short. Essentially, I slept in until midday-ish, pulled my tired ass out of bed, did some laundry, and went over to meet the owner of my new place to get the keys from him. Then, I went home, made dinner (a pile of pasta), and stayed up until very late writing up the blog notes for the Techno Parade stuff.