A links post with a one day delay. I’ve officially started on a two week break (but can’t get too excited because we have two exams the week we get back) and I’m debating whether I should go to The Catacombs today or take a joint trip to Maison de Balzac and the Monet Marmottan Museum. It’s a rough life full of hard choices.
- Yara Shahidi was on Stephen Colbert, is turning 18, having a voting party, and is an amazingly well-spoken individual. I know it’s a cliche to say this, but we need more people like her in the world.
- In spite of my issues with The Shape of Water, I do think it’s a bit unfair to sum it up as ‘the film where the woman has sex with a fish’. That being said, someone designed a dildo inspired by Fish God. You can find anything on the internet and this is why we don’t deserve nice things.
- The inspiring knitwear of Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 collection.
- The Obamas’ official portraits have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. They’re both pretty amazing, both from an historical and artistic standpoint.
Buuuut: here’s a counterpoint and a deeper reading.
- Wisecrack on how Monty Python shaped modern comedy (via postmodernism, the comedy of the absurd, and political satire).
- A thought-provoking personal essay about an ‘accidental wedding dress’ and accepting that life rarely/never comes with the closure of a settled and final happy ending.
- Similarly, this comic on the numerous ways to fill your heart and live a meaningful and love-filled life.
- A surreal video of a very fluffy doggo swimming underwater.
- The Louvre has created a Valentine’s-inspired Pinterest board. I’m particularly in love (no pun intended) the Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche.
- I’m not planing on watching the newly reimagined/animated Peter Rabbit film ever, but there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about a scene involving food allergies. I don’t think there’s much to be upset about but part of the reason I am steering clear of the film is that even from the trailer it struck me as being crass and mean-spirited. And I wasn’t even a Beatrix Potter kid.
- And… a Disneyland social club is being sued for using ‘mafia-like’ intimidation tactics. What even is this world and what are people? Watch out for the White Rabbits or you’ll be swimming with the… flounder?
- Reaffirming my goal to spend less time on my phone and computer.
- I didn’t cry at this animated short, but I won’t lie- it did give me the feels.
My posts are slowly catching up to my actual life, and two weekends ago I hit four (!) museums in Paris.
Bonus tip: A bunch of museums in Paris are free the first Sunday of every month.
Where did I go?
- Musee Cernuschi: A small museum of Asian art, actually free and replete with Tang dynasty horses.
- Cinematheque Francaise: A museum of cinema history, focused on the early days of film technology, featuring a lot of very old projecting equipment. I was hoping for something a little more on the art than the tech side, but it was pretty cool.
And then on Sunday-
- Cluny Museum: The Cluny is the Medieval History Museum on the left bank of Paris. This was probably my favorite of the weekend. Lots of cool/amazing artifacts and architecture. Reliquaries, sundials, pope rings, etc.
- Musee Picasso Paris: Probably my second favorite of the weekend, even though it was super crowded due to the free day. On the other hand, it’s a small museum and I’m not generally the biggest Picasso fan, so it was the right choice for me. There was also a great exhibition going on on 1932: The Erotic Year.
Happy Friday! I have the day off, which is many kinds of wonderful (not least because I get to go out and buy a pastry and check some travel guide out from the library and maybe find a waterproof pair of boots.)
(You know, the real problem is that I just want these ten year old riding boots to be new again, or to find a pair of Chelsea boots that are pretty similar. But the Vogue right now seems to be for combat boots or boots that are combat-adjacent so I’m having some trouble).
- Collider (one of my favorite youtube channels on the film industry, frequently mentioned on the blog) doesn’t usually discuss anime, but Emma’s here to decode some common visual tropes and gags.
- More things I’ve learned from my amazing and diverse ISIPCA classmates? Dan from Australia taught me about ‘Firehawk’ raptors, which spread bushfires to flush out their prey.
- There’s a Star Wars-themed Creperie in Paris. The dishes are named after the planets by which they were inspired. Not at all vegan-friendly, but I’m so amused.
- I know I hate on GP’s goop, but this is actually a pretty good article about how our negativity is in many ways an adaptive strategy, a self-defense mechanism to protect us from past threats- and so a lot of negativity may no longer really be necessary (and may actually be counterproductive) to leading happy lives. I know I sound super woo woo so I’ll stop, but it does resonate with a lot of what I’ve observed and thought re: my own negativity and cynicism.
But yeah, no, I only skimmed the article.
- What do I really want? Continuing to love Mari Andrew’s illustrations.
- Also Poorly Drawn Lines’s send up of this classic Lion King scene.
- Screen Junkies (another favorite youtube channel on the film industry) presents their annual Screens awards for the best and worst in movies and television.
- Unforgettable movie style moments. Some (Keira Knightley’s green Atonement dress) would definitely be on my own list (which, hey, will maybe happen someday).
- I hope you made it through Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year, apparently) okay. If you’re still feeling a bit of residual down-ness, here are some lovely feel-good movie dance scenes. I still always listen to Dancing Queen when I need a boost. I have to say I think Moses Supposes from Singin’ in the Rain is actually more feel good than the title song, but whatever. Again, maybe this is a moment when a personal list is needed.
- You’ve heard of the KonMari Method. Maybe you’ve even partaken in some Swedish death cleaning (I’m only 22 and I know I have. One needs to be prepared)- now t’s time for the hot decluttering trend of 2018: American Apocalypse Purging.
- Another anticipated 2018 film (see earlier post): Love, Simon.
- I watched I, Tonya and thought it was pretty good (Blades of Glory is still the best figure skating film), but you know what I’d love to see? A film about figure skating legend Surya Bonaly. Because a backflip is almost as difficult as the Iron Lotus.
- The mindset of men and women re: sex and during sex itself, and how this influences the way women write about sex. A really interesting read.
- A very cogently written account of the issues with Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. It’s always brilliant when you find an article that explains your gut feelings. Beautiful film, serious problems.
- There’s a Colette film coming! Keira Knightley’s going to star! I’m not sure those two go together! But I love both separately!
- On Aziz Ansari and sexual assault vs sexual coercion: I don’t believe sexual coercion is sexual assault. But it’s not exactly enthusiastic consent either. I don’t think it’s too much to ask men to interpret mixed signals, particularly when sexual violence against women is so common and fear of the consequences of refusal is so real.
- If becoming a perfumer doesn’t work out, maybe I can go into gourmet ice cream.
When you think of a country you haven’t visited or spent much time in, your view is kind of one-dimensional, featuring mostly the big sights, tourist destinations, and maybe the big food exports. Or at least this is what I’ve noticed for myself.
When I thought of France, I thought of Paris. And I thought of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, maybe macaroons. And if I had a spare minute, maybe music and the fragrance industry in Grasse. And Vincent Van Gogh’s mental deterioration in the south of the country.
But when you get beyond that, like when you live somewhere (or even when you make an effort to go off the beaten path on holiday) you get a much deeper idea of a place.
Here are a few fun sightings that always make me smile:
- Kids on scooters, usually going to or from school. Especially if said kids seem to be trying to run you down. (I’m convinced at this point that this is how I’m going to go).
- People carrying baguettes on the street. People carrying baguettes anywhere. One baguette, two baguette, more baguette. Sometimes you’ll see the very disheartening sight of a baguette that has accidentally been dropped and left to languish.
- People carrying straw market bags. So many people carry them, even in the winter. You can even see elderly men carrying around baskets that remind me of nothing so much as Easter Egg hunts. Sometimes they have baguettes in said baskets.
- Huge lines in front of boulangeries and patisseries.
- The general populace pulling market hampers/carriages/trollies. Especially on market Sundays.
- Advertisements for books. Like you know how you see subway ads and street ads for films and perfume? Same here, but you also see them for tea and books.
As this is my last full day in Boston and also a blizzard day (16-18″!), and as I have no books left from the library (I had to go back and cancel my extra holds yesterday 😥 ) this list isn’t going to go through any alterations before the actual end of the break tomorrow around 7 pm (at which point I will be at the airport) (unless I finish The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur SUPER QUICKLY), I can get away with posting this a bit prematurely.
I have packed my bags and read my last book.
- The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair: An excellent and really interesting book about the histories of various culturally significant colors (like Mountbatten Pink, Lead White, Cerulean, et al.) featuring odd and various anecdotes from the past. Each color discussed gets a few pages. Very far from dry, perfect for increasing your store of random information for use at parties and family gatherings, and a very aesthetically pleasing book.
- Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy: I’m a huge children’s lit reader. Possibly more so than I was as a child (and that’s saying something). Watching the author discuss and examine childhood favorites (Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, Green Eggs and Ham) through an adult lens, with an attention to various social/cultural movements, is so fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that the author is really witty. I think I audibly chuckled a few times.
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Hyemin Sunim: Part of what inspired my very crunchy and zen resolution list (the other part being that I’m just a crunchy and zen person) (well, I try to be zen). Beautiful illustrations and lots of crunchy and chewy food for thought. So glad I stumbled on this in Shakespeare and Co. (And so glad BPL carries it!)
Contrary to my usual preferences, if was a very nonfiction-heavy vacation. But I feel edified, improved, and most importantly full of odd anecdotes to share.
I changed my desktop background (finally!). I was feeling the need for something pink and fluffy with unrealistic eyelashes.
There’s a lot to say right now, the main thing being that, because of a random five-day weekend (!) I was in Milan until a few hours ago. So all blog posts were postponed (haha, let’s just pretend I’ve been keeping up with a regular posting schedule). Also it looks like a yogurt in my fridge has gone missing.
So there will be future posts about Milan, but for now I have links crowding my bookshelf section, and it is my plan to dump those on you, as is my weekend ritual.
Good vittles, love, and kissing…
There are a few things that are harder to find here than at home, and that I find myself pining for every once in a while. A lot of them surprise even me!
- Tex-Mex: One of the few cuisines that is easier to find in the US than in France. (By the way, did you know France has the Lebanese restaurant market pretty much cornered? It’s great for me, a falafel-addict). I need a burrito- STAT.
- Vegan cheese and mayo: France rightly takes a lot of pride in some specific dairy products (i.e. cheese) and any attempt to change it up a bit is SQUASHED. At least i assume that’s why I can find no vegan cheese (or ice cream for that matter). And I guess they’re also pretty partial to traditional mayo methods? I guess they did invent mayonnaise… right? I feel like I learned that from a pirates of the Caribbean blooper. On the other hand, they’re vegan yogurt here is SO MUCH BETTER. Apparently their non-vegan yogurt is also better (I have been told).
- Body oil: I’m on the hunt for some combined body and hair oil, but I haven’t been looking hard enough. Really this is about me missing my big Target/Stop & Shop/ Walgreen’s superstores, where you can find anything under the sun, except under very unflattering fluorescent lights. I think I need a trip to Monoprix.
- Consignment stores: Paris and France in general has great vintage shops, but what I’m really in need of is some bulky lightly used knitwear. Particularly of the turtleneck variety. Having worn through two beige turtlenecks in quick succession, I’m finding the cozy side of my wardrobe uncomfortably diminished. Also consignment is just how I’m used to shopping.
- Some hipster earthy crunchy ingredients: This is probably just because I don’t know how to say nutritional yeast or vital wheat gluten in French.
- Thanksgiving: Instead the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day, which is like this weird wine-Octoberfest. Yeah, I don’t know either.
- Watching the news: Although when my hosts have the French radio is on it is so often about Trump and it’s so cringe-y.
- Saturday Night Live: SNL WHY are your youtube videos NOT AVAILABLE in this COUNTRY!?
And lots more, but that’s all that’s leaping to mind at the moment!
*On a similar note to the very narrow interpretation of certain dairy products, the French are also very specific about the things that you can and can’t do with grapes. Like you can drink wine or you can eat fresh grapes. There are no raisins here. Other dried fruit yes, but no raisins. And no grape jelly. Even though that’s the American staple jelly. But I don’t miss these things because I’m not a big fan of raisins and because I’ve already written about HOW MANY EXCITING JELLIES THERE ARE HERE. Next up: rhubarb.
No preamble. Down and dirty style.
Hey it’s November which means I should be changing my desktop background but I haven’t yet and besides I’m very into the one I have right now.
Other news: Halloween has come and gone- not a big thing in France, beyond being a theme for some parties. But now that Halloween has gone and France doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously) does this mean I can start watching Christmas movies and listening to Little Drummer Boy? I’m dipping my toe in today with Joyeux Noel, which is half war film and half holiday film. I tried watching Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas earlier, which has all the hallmarks of being something I should love (Jim Henson muppets is the only hallmark you need, really) but I only got a few minutes in. Am I getting too old?