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November 2006 Archives

November 1, 2006

Yesterday I saw a guy in Toulouse yelling at a McDonald's bag, accusing it of being sexist

While some of you are busy writing novels, I'll be celebrating NaNoJerMo where during the course of November I will not churn out a novel. I'll be abstaining from "churning out" period. So far so good.

I drank the most delicious bottle of what I like to call "alone wine" in ages.

My "Maroon Ghost With An Erection" costume didn't happen because I didn't want my bed sheet to get dirty and have holes in it. Halloween was depressing, really.

Before I left Montauban for my mini-vacation to Pierrelatte to visit Justin and Mael (whose house is lovely, by the way; complete with nails on window sill to detract pigeons, episodes of Weeds, CivIII for Mac, and a seriously nice home) after my day in Toulouse, I left my passport at home because it seems ridiculous to carry it with me everywhere. It's like what will happen: Magic French Immigration Police will question me about why I'm moving around the country? They don't do that. (Do they?) People can travel around. Who's going to stop me and why?

I really smell bad. More so than usual. All the time now.

Eating all these baguettes makes my throat really dry.

November 3, 2006

Pierrelatte Bodyrock

Pierrelatte bodyrock on Vimeo

November 10, 2006

I really need a haircut

My landlord has been extremely generous. First he allowed me to put off paying the remainder of my security deposit. Then he gave me a microwave, took me hunting for mushrooms, gave me wine, took me to a rugby match and to the market. Last week he gave me a tv. I resisted at first, because you have to pay an audiovisual tax, but I discovered it's just one of those things you report. It connects to an outlet in the wall that's like cable, but there are only 8 channels. Two of them are Canal+ and only work for about 2 hours a day, two of them are France 2. So really, there are only 5. But in those 5 channels I can watch French game shows and talk shows, Walker Texas Ranger, Prison Break, Les Experts (CSI), NCIS, Grey's Anatomy and porn at 12:30 on Sunday night (a happy accident). Oh, and news. I mainly use* it for news and to improve my comprehension. *Notice I said use, because tv is a tool!

On top of that, my landlord gave me a washing machine on Wednesday. It's old, but now I can wear clean pants and my underwear won't smell like raspberry dish soap. Afterwards, we ate pumpkin soup and watched the (1st) season finale of Prison Break (incredibly huge here) and the debut of the second season. What's great about this is, they don't know when they'll play the rest of the second season. So, they're faced with an odd non-cliffhanger end of season followed by the beginning of the next season and that's all. However, I'll be getting the internet relatively soon as my landlord works for France Telecom and has gotten me discounts left and right but now has more incentive for me to have it since I'll be downloading Prison Break for him.


I saw this in Arles on my way to visit Justin and Mael in Pierrelatte.

This is an asian food restaurant (asiatique, not chinese or japanese) with a sensitive mascot in Pierrelatte.

This will never get old to me. (pain=bread)

On the River Tarn there's this balcony and I swear those are penises.

I talked to another assistant who isn't making French her life, but came here because of what it is: a cool job in France w/o much hassle. I've been doubting myself to even start trying to make an effort. So I'm trying to rethink it all. I was supposed to read Paul Auster's "Brooklyn Follies" but the professor gave it to me in French and I was too frustrated to read it. Yesterday we met to discuss a lesson for today and I read the first chapter in English and we talked about doing a 'who, what, where, etc.'.

But today, for the first time, I taught the shit out of that class. I didn't do what we planned on per se, but it worked out. I delved into all this culture and trivia about New York I didn't realize I knew and went on and on about the importance of New York to rap music, and then into gang violence, finally teaching them how to spell Blood with their fingers. I think I should retire now.

November 15, 2006

In France

Students change classes every hour and go to different rooms with different professors teaching different subjects. BUT THE STUDENTS STAY WITH EACH OTHER ALL DAY. And each group of 30 or so has a number.

Teachers change classrooms in the junior high and high school. I just don't see the point.

At my junior high at the start of the day and after breaks, students line up in this shelter-area with numbers above it that designate which class it is. Then the teacher comes to get them to take them to class. I've been told this is because the kids would get too confused trying to find their own classes. Perhaps if the teachers stayed in the same room all day (I don't see wy they don't) this wouldn't be a problem. Those French!


Using Jack Handey's 'Deep Thoughts' for short passages in English proved disastrous yesterday. "No, these aren't poems." "We think they're funny in America." "I don't know why, wikipedia says it's surrealist humor."

The one they made them mad was:

"I guess of all my uncles, I liked Uncle Caveman the best. We called him Uncle Caveman because he lived in a cave, and because sometimes he'd eat one of us. Later on, we found out he was a bear."

I should have realized I'm in over my head.

November 22, 2006

Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse

First, there's this.

Yesterday I decided that I'd spend my upcoming windfall (tutoring tomorrow) on a haircut. (do you say "spend a windfall"? probably not) When discussing it in French with the Chileans I was having trouble with the vocabulary. I said something like,
"I cut my hair something like 3 or 4 times a year. I don't style it. But I let it...cultivate. I just let it cultivate and-"
"No, I don't think it's cultivate."
"I know it's not that, but I don't know how you express that. I let my hair become long."
"Good enough."
"I prefer cultivate. I cultivate my hair and then at the end of the season I harvest it."

Thankfully (yuk yuk) I learned some useful words from my Thanksgiving presentations.

November 27, 2006


Today is a very important day. I was paid sometime between Friday and tomorrow. This means my diet will be replenished with vegetables, cereal, cheese, etc. I've survived November on rice, couscous, pasta, muesli cereal, Halloween candy sent by Rae and my parents and the meals Natalia makes in exchange for my A/V services. I've been fine and have been eating. But now I get to return to the grocery store and then the market for real food again. (I also hope to get pictures for a neighborhood entry...)

This weekend also marks my return to being social. I've been enjoying a bit of a hermit's life reading, watching, not showering, lounging, etc. Mainly because I'm incredibly nervous, self-conscious and shy. I'm not alone here, though at times I feel the need to force myself to be. I always refer to Francisca, Natalia or my Chilean friends. I bring over a recently downloaded episode of Lost or DVD and Natalia makes dinner for all. It's been a nice agreement. Friday I had my first migraine in about 6 months and it started when I thought the fluorescent lights at a store were screwing with me, but I realized I was getting the fun halos. Then it turned into a headache when the junior kids were screaming and luckily subsided into a general aversion to light when my class of 11th graders didn't show up at the end of the day I so left early to sleep for about 12 hours.

THEN! On Saturday night I joined Francisca, Natalia and Karen (from Nicaragua) for dinner and then to Toulouse where we met up with other assistants (English and mainly Spanish). People. Oh, god it's good to see people who aren't expecting some kind of work out of you. It's good to talk, ask questions, answer questions, quip. Oh! The quipping!

Francisca, Natalia, almost me

Carmen, Francisca, Natalia, Karen, Hugo

After a few "Tequila de la Muerte"'s


My dad sent me a picture of my niece Livya. Cousin Molly said in an e-mail, "Should we be calling them [Livya and her brothers Max and Alex] the Aryan triplets now? They've taken the title from the Benningfield kids." (My dad used to refer to her and my cousins Andy and Emily as the Nazis)

And George!

November 29, 2006

Le Clown

While walking in the city center this afternoon an old woman wearing a big red nose and hobo-clown clothes jumped in front of me and screamed, "L'AMOUR!! [something something something] AMOUR?" Before I could react she handed me an envelope full of condoms and literature about preventing AIDS.


The war on Christmas is fought abroad too, you know. Here in France, where more than half the population is atheist or agnostic, they say,"


instead of just "Joyeux Noël", because, as a teacher clarified, they're specifically including New Year's. Never mind that 3/4 of the school holidays I'll be enjoying are religiously named ("All Saint's", "Christmas", "Easter") or that the calendar of saints shows up on business calendars and even on the weather forecast. France is a secular society that feels religion is a personal, private affair. They're respectful of traditions and acknowledge the Christian history, but keep it secular. I rather like it. If only those Muslim traditions would get secularized around here.

About November 2006

This page contains all entries posted to spacebase in November 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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