Archive | December, 2012

Zeitgeist 2012

19 Dec

One of the more predictable things about December is the year end round ups. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting at least three “best-of” lists. Heck, I’m probably going to make one for the blog. (Don’t judge me, I need filler for my Christmas vacation.)

One of the better ones is definitely Google’s Zeitgeist, which looks at how we searched in 2012. It’s an ad for Google, Youtube, and G+, but it’s a good one, so I’m going to let it slide.


Man’s Best Friend

17 Dec

I’d like to introduce you all to the newest member of my host family, Alfie.  They got the 8-year-old a dog for Christmas.


She’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  And tiny.  I feel very, very uncomfortable with little dogs.  (I feel like I’m always going to step on them.)

Only time will tell how this turns out. I can report that she is indeed “trop mignon” (super cute), but my adoration has dimmed substantially after every time I get to clean up after her little puppy messes.

Perhaps I’ll warm up to her after she’s house trained.


Maybe not.

Food Friday: McDonald’s

14 Dec

I’m should probably start by saying that I’m sorry. I’m living in Paris, one of the culinary capitals of the world (supposedly, anyways), and I resurrect Food Fridays with McDonald’s? Clearly, I need to explain.

Like many international brands, McDonald’s adapts to the local market desires. Yeah, you can get a cheeseburger at any Micky D’s in the world, but international franchises have different menu options. Australia has the McOz, which is a burger with beets. Chinese McDonald’s are primarily chicken sandwich items, with taro and red bean pastries instead of mini apple pie bars. You can also get congee on the breakfast menu. My favorite local item was probably the limited release riceburger in Taiwan – two rice patties with steak and onions in between. It sounds weird, but the thing was amazing.

French McDonald’s has the bagel burger. Yeah, that’s right, a McDonald’s bacon cheeseburger… on a bagel.

I don’t even know, man.

bacon burgerThe must-taste bacon bagel.

It was, uh, edible? The burger was pretty cold, temperature wise. I was unimpressed with the whole thing. The bacon tasted fake. The sauce was unappealing. The bagel itself tasted like a regular hamburger bun forced into an unnatural shape. I’d rate it a solid “would not recommend”.


The sides, on the other hand, were amazing. I freaking loved the steak fries. (Shut up, the other order of fries belongs to my friend Gabriella.) The cookie stick tasted much like reheated, mostly cooked cookie dough. So, delicious. My only problem was that they gave us salad dressing instead of ketchup for the fries. I’d definitely get those again next time. Not that I eat at McDonald’s often or anything. /shifty eyes




Shaka Ponk

12 Dec

I listen to a lot of French radio. There’s a radio in the kitchen and I usually have it on when I’m cooking or doing the dishes. Most of the music is surprisingly in English; American and British domination of the world’s music stage is pretty well documented at this point. But I have managed to find some local bands, including Shaka Ponk. They’re playing in Paris next month, so the local station is hawking the show constantly. I’d go, but a 35 euro ticket is a bit much for two songs.

They’re pretty ridiculous, but genuinely good fun. Here’s their major hit, “Let’s Bang”.


Another song which appears to be big right now is “I’m Picky”.



10 Dec

Surprisingly, I’ve kept up my knitting despite all the fascinating things going on in my life. Well, it’s not that surprising: I didn’t have regular internet access in my room for a long time, so I usually ended up listening to Radiolab podcasts and knitting at night. After two months, I finally finished my project: a nice blue scarf.voltaire in blue

I’d like to say I’m above petty things like picking a pattern because of the name, but I’d be lying. The Voltaire scarf is a reference to Zadig and Voltaire, the French clothing line, and not the satirist. I don’t mind. It’s a fairly simple pattern and it’s got a really cool texture on both sides. I decided against turning it into a cowl of some kind – that’s my next project. I’m glad I finally finished the dang thing – Paris has gotten cold in the past week.

Let it Snow

7 Dec

I was going to restart my semi-regular feature, Food Fridays, today. Instead, Mother Nature graced us with the first snowfall of the season. It wasn’t much, just a few centimeters of snow that swiftly melted away as the day went on, but waking up to a bright white backyard was astonishingly refreshing.

P1060885The view from my window. I have a cute little skylight that opens onto the roof.

attic windowAlso from my window.

The last time I saw snow, I was in Huanglong, Sichuan, over a year ago. So I was definitely happy to see some today and so were the kids. We’re supposed to get even more tonight!

The Hawkeye Initiative

5 Dec

The Hawkeye Initiative is an excellent example of everything that’s right on the internet.

Comic books fans are pretty used to the ridiculous poses that female characters are put into to show off some T&A, oftentimes disregarding basic anatomy and perspective. Nothing says female empowerment like a broken spine! Seriously, Gabs and I were in a comic books store and we started trying to copy poses they had the ladies in and they were very much impossible unless you were Elastigirl. (Hint: the character in question was not Elastigirl.)

In the past few days, the Hawkeye Initiative has exploded over on Tumblr. Their mission? To replace every improbable posed and scantily clad comic book lady with the Avenger Hawkeye. You remember, he was the dude with arrows in the Avengers movie played by the well-muscled Jeremy Renner.

It all started with this post by Blue.

hawkeye blue

hawkeye blue original

The rest of the internet (at least, the parts of it with a sense of humor) has taken this idea and run with it. There’s already 19 pages of backlog over at the Initiative, full of some really hilariously drawn Hawkeye. There’s just something about putting Clint Barton into a Strong Female Character‘s pose makes it even more ridiculous. If you’ve got some time and have ever had a passing interest in comics, I suggest you head over there and be ready to laugh.  (I’d post my favorites, but I’m having technical difficulties.  WordPress!)

Also, who’s up for sending the really egregious offenders some anatomical reference books? Do they even know how perspective and the female body works? Because you cannot show both T&A head on with a properly adjusted spine on a real human body, regardless if the lady is a blue mutant or a cat burglar or an alien.

Ad Astra

3 Dec

I don’t even care about how cliched my love for time-lapse videos is.  For your viewing pleasure, the world as seen from the ISS.

h/t The Hairpin