Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm not dead, really.

I swear I'll have a real post soon.  Time has slipped away from me, at least that's the excuse I'll use.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving should you be in a Thanksgiving celebrating region.  Last month or not, hope it was good!

Also, why don't I look like him!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Curl into ball, sleep like kitty....

You would not believe the list of excuses I can give you for my absence.  Seriously, I took my time, and I can give you a nice organized, laminated list.  Sometimes, I think I'm better at making excuses than getting everything done that I need to in a day.  Seriously, if procrastination were an olympic sport, they'd have to mint a new medal just for me.  Gold wouldn't be enough.

Last weekend was the Armistace in France, so no one was doing much of anything.  Partner and I decided that it would be an ideal weekend to take a trip up to see family in the Center region.  Since Partner had the day off as well, we could leave on Friday afternoon and get there around 4 or 5.  It all depended really on traffic, and how fast we were planning on going.

We ended up leaving around 1:30, because well, we're good like that.  There was, happily, next to no traffic, but the weather change was hilarious.  We left Rennes with bright open sunshine.  When we finally got around Le Mans to catch the Autoroute, you could see the sky change.  There was fog everywhere and it was completely overcast.  My ears were popping as the air pressure changed, and my back, which was just getting back to normal, wasn't handling the 2 hour drive so well.

We got there in one piece though, and everything was good.  We spent some time talking and just having a good time seeing everyone.  Sister and brother in law were well.  They were just finishing up their work they needed to get done before their daughters got home from college for the holiday.  Of course, my niece was running around, but she was more excited that her sister would be bringing her boyfriend, and that meant a Wii.  Of course, that would all have to wait until after dinner: crepes.

Now, I have helped make crepes before.  I always watch for the first few and let the pan heat up, because it has to be done a certain way at first.  Once you get going, it's just a matter of getting into a rhythm and spreading the batter correctly in the pan.  It's a hard motion to explain.  The best I can explain it is that you take a ladle full of batter, start at about 10 or 11 o'clock, and spread in a circular motion back on itself.  After that, it's just a matter of getting under it correctly, flipping it, and letting the other side cook about a minute.  Here's a video I made of the process a while ago.

I was going along just fine when the last niece got back.  At that point, I had probably made a good 35 crepes, and was doing just fine.  Then we broke out the wine and I had a glass.  I was feeling so tired before that I didn't want to risk falling asleep by 9, face down in a crepe.  Unfortunately, I had also only had 5 of those little butter cookies topped with chocolate, think petit écolier, and a cup of earl grey.  I had to stop after one glass because I knew that it wold be a bad idea to go further, until I had more in my stomach.  I drank one glass, and I messed up my first crepe.  That was the perfect excuse to stop.  We had a great night of eating crepes and later playing Mario Kart.

The next day was pretty quiet.  We just talked and partner tried to study.  With everyone in the house, he only got through about 3 pages of the 15 he wanted to study.  He eventually gave up.  As for myself, I couldn't really sit down and relax in front of the computer, so I checked email and left it at that.  I watched some TV, because they have cuisine TV and telemaison.  I miss it, so much.  Later that night, was raclette.

Raclette is potatoes served with cold cuts, covered in a cheese called raclette.  It's a very particular type of cheese, from the same group as reblechon, if you're familar with it.  it has a very low melting point and a very particular taste.  the actual name of raclette when translated directly into English is squeegee.  It's named for these small, flat, wooden spatulas that you use to clean the cheese off the thing to heat it up.  It's absolutely wonderful.  Anytime when you can eat coppa, chorizo, and jambon bayonnne sandwiched between melted cheese and potato; I call that a win.  I drank less that night as to be in better form for Mario Kart.  I still...did terribly.  Give me an RPG any day of the week!

We ended up leaving the next day around 4 in the afternoon.  It was another nice opportunity to decompress.  I got a few more leads about work in Rennes as brother and sister in law are pretty well connected.  I just called today about one but got an answering machine.  All and all, I was pretty glad to have a chance to relax. The only problem is how long it took for me to get back on track.  Seriously, I spent 4 days just catching up on stuff.  Ridiculous.

So that was why I have had absolutely no drive to do anything.  I got stuck in relax mode.  I'm finally coming out of it, as my back problems are going away too.  We'll see how all this works out.  I have a few more ideas for posts and such, and I need to get back to NaNoWriMo.  I just stopped right before we left.  Anyway though, back to it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Faux Paris

Now this is pretty fascinating.  Apparently the French Government started work on a copy of Paris to trick the Luftwaffe.  It's a pretty interesting article.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Haven't Felt Like That in Years

Last night I had serious déjà vu.  I got off the metro stop, and there was Place Sainte Anne, filled with drunk and or drinking people.  All of the restaurants had that same familiar smell of fried food and alcohol.  I walked around the place a bit, just to get my bearings, and figure out exactly what was going on.  The more I looked around and the further I walked, I realized that somehow I had been transported back to High Street.

I guess I should probably explain what on earth I was doing out at midnight in Rennes.  My sister in law told me about a friend of her's who was performing that night who would be a great contact to have in the city.  He had a lot of friends and might be able to help me out in the job search.  On the one hand, this would be a chance to maybe make a connection and possibly have some work come out of it.  On the other hand, this meant navigating Rennes by night.  I had never been left to my own devices in Rennes past 3 pm.  I had taken the metro/bus system all over town, so that wasn't an issue.  The greater issue would be myself. 

Back in the day, there was very little that scared me.  I remembered walking through the creepy part of High Street between the Short North and the University District back coming back from the Gallery Hop.  Of course I was also usually drunk and as a result afraid of nothing, or with someone who was coming back to my place.  Yes, I mean that exactly as it sounds.  I never thought anything of walking back from visiting a friend that lived down on 12th Avenue past Big Four.  Hell, I even once walked the whole way back from Micro Center to my apartment on Lane.

After Partner and I moved out of the University District, I started to develop this fear of cities at night.  It's like I had reverted back to this scared kid that I was back when I started at Ohio State.  I don't know if other people have this same oppressive feeling they get, where everything is so exciting, but so scary at the same time.  I used to get this feeling when I first started going to house parties or to clubs and bars.  I get fascinated by everything and all of my senses seem to heighten.  It's like this huge adrenaline rush.  Of course, the problem is, after that's done I find myself exhausted. 

Part of me was secretly hoping that I could talk Partner into going with me.  He had just finished his mock exams this week, so he had been hitting the books even harder than normal.  I figured maybe he could come out with me and we could just walk around a bit late at night.  I would leave it up to him if he wanted to take the car or not.  After all, the metro was running until 12:45 and the buses later than that.  I was of the mindset that maybe being out in it would put him in a different mindset. 

That became a solid no when Partner came home.  he had gotten stuck in an hour long traffic jam for an accident that he never saw the remnants of.  I knew that he would be staying in tonight when he told me that he expected blood on the highway with the time he waited.  He's not a horribly violent person, but as with most French people quite the râleur.  Ok, so I would be going myself tonight, even better. 

I decided that I should leave around 9:30 since it was at 10.   The metro is pretty fast, because it's not very big of course, so really the longest parts of my trip would be walking to the station and finding La Salle de la Cité.  Google Maps made it look like it was nothing.  Seriously, it was right off the Place Sainte Anne.  How could I miss it?  So I get dinner around for us, we eat, and then I head out around 9:20.  I make it to the metro and take it down to Sainte Anne no problem.  So I start off in one direction, find the road I was supposed to take, and head down it.  I start to notice that I'm not on the Place anymore.  

I ask someone where to find it, and they have no idea where it is.  I head back to the place because I don't want to get lost.  I ask someone else, and they say to take that road over there and make a left.  Ok.  So I keep going, and well, end up somehow near a town market that I have no idea where I am, but take the next road.  Mother in Law always told me that pretty much all roads in Rennes lead you back to a Place.  I finally am within spitting distance of the place and I ask a guy walking by if he knows where it is.  He says to take this road back to the place, but keep going straight, and that I couldn't miss it.  After 20 minutes of dicking around, I finally get there. 

So it was kind of a strange night.  It was a presentation of film projects by the lycées in Rennes.  They were actually some really great movies with some great ideas.  One film was about this guy who finds a book that tells about his life.  There was another about a woman who was running from her past.  They tried to be international and spoke English in it.  The speaking would be best described as "correct," but in the French sense of correct.  Afterwards, the guy I went to see came on stage.  It was an interesting concept.  He redid the soundtrack to the movie Duel.  He built some really good tension with his use of guitars and other ambient sounds.  There was some really interesting parts like when he would change the radio, he'd switch what was playing.  Of course, the film has a lot of meaning that can be drawn from it too, so overall it was a good experience. 

At the end of the performance, I tried to find him to talk a bit. Of course, I had to keep an eye on time, and make sure I wasn't going to miss the last metro.  I waited for probably about 15 minutes outside after probably a good 20 of searching for him.  I tried to talk with a few people, but there was nothing going on, so I just said that I'd have to try and talk with him another time.  I walked back to Sainte Anne.  

Of course, things were only louder and drunker there.  People were coming off the metro in costumes, because French people don't seem to realize that Halloween is over and you can't just celebrate it the week thereafter.  I was just taking the steps down when 5 police officers were coming onto the place.  I got out of there in a hurry.  Naturally, on the train there was a kid drinking Kronenbourg on the metro, something I had assumed illegal.  He was speaking very loudly, and would have been amusing if I didn't have a problem with watching people publicly embarrass themselves.  Finally, I made it back to my stop. 

So I'm walking back and nothing's really looking familiar.  I come to a cross walk and look at one of the signs for the road.  I am at a road that is a good deal North of where I should be.  I'm starting to think that maybe I should turn around, but I don't know, that maybe I just came out at a weird place.  I walk a bit further on the same road.  I generally know where I am, so I'm not concerned about being lost.  I keep going until I see an escalator.  I had walked back an entire metro station north of where I needed to be. My metro card was still active, so I went back to the station, took the road back the right sense, and finally got back home about 12:40.  

Overall, it was a strange night.  I had a good time to be sure, and I'm glad I went.  I just haven't felt that adventurous in a while.  I don't know exactly why either.  In any case, I've conquered Rennes by night, and I got to feel like I haven't in almost 10 years.  Hope you're all doing well, I've got NaNo to get back to.....