Archive | April, 2013

Paris Haute Couture

29 Apr

On Saturday, I went to the “Paris Haute Couture” exhibit at the Hotel de Ville with a friend. It was really fun, despite the hour long wait in line outside in the cold. (What gives, Paris? It was 75 last week, now you’re back to the low 50s? Mean.) My friend is a bit of a fashion maven and the tickets are free, so it was a match made in heaven. paris haute couture

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Paris in Spring

26 Apr

I had a good day yesterday after my test. I grabbed a sandwich from my favorite boulangerie and headed over to the river after class. I wandered along the Seine before settling down at a little park across from the Notre Dame. Basically, I want you all to see this so you can be jealous of my glamourous life.

This was my view every time I looked up from my book. Speaking of, I highly recommend Robin Hobb’s Rain Wild series. It’s really engrossing and now I need to track down book 3 from one of the English bookstores here.


After the jump, a view from along the Seine.

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France says “Oui!” to Marriage Equality!

24 Apr


Image from All Out.

After months of debates and marches, protests and counter-protests, the French legislature finally voted on the marriage equality bill yesterday. It passed 331 to 225, a resounding yes in favor of equality. This makes France the 13th country in the world to legalize same sex marriage. While it has passed both houses of Parliament, there may be some procedural hurdles to jump before becoming law, but most the people have spoken and that has the most weight.  That being said, bigots were still planning on a march this week to protest, despite losing the vote in Parliament.  Whatever, they’re totally on the wrong side of history and we all know it.

Sichuan Earthquake 2013

22 Apr

My old hometown of Chengdu was rattled badly on Saturday with a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter was to the west in Ya’an, which sustained the worst damage. They’re reporting over 200 deaths, 12,000 injuries, and an estimated 100,000 people have been left homeless.

 chengdu earthquake mapMap via GoChengdoo


This is the same province that was hit by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people, many of them schoolchildren. The reduction in the mortality rate this time around has been credited to an aggressive earthquake safety program enacted by the government.

Life in Orbit

19 Apr

Commander Chris Hadfield continues to be awesome. As an astronaut currently living on the International Space Station, he’s already cooler than pretty much everyone else on the planet. He’s tweeted with Captain Kirk, he posts pictures of the Earth from orbit on his Tumblr, and this week, he did SCIENCE with Canadian high schoolers.

Commander Hadfield did a simple science experiment designed by tenth graders Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner. The students from Fall River, Nova Scotia won a national science contest held by the Canadian Space Agency with their experiment on surface tension in space using a wet washcloth.

Coeur de Pirate

17 Apr

This next artist is one that I’ve loved for ages and ages. Coeur de Pirate (Pirate Heart) is a French Canadian singer who puts out absolutely lovely music. Her eponymous first album basically lived in the kitchen cd player until the rest of the family revolted. So the fact that her music is on the radio here in France pleases me greatly.

This song is from Blonde, her latest album. “Golden Baby” runs along the same lines of her previous hits: a peppy beat, a fun piano background (this time on the keyboard), and quick sappy lyrics.

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Calming Manatees

15 Apr

Today was an intermittently bad day.  I don’t want to talk about it.  Have some calming manatees.




Musée d’Orsay

12 Apr

I wandered past Solferino yesterday and had the vague desire to do something productive with my time after class, so I went into the Musée d’Orsay on a whim. It’s a pretty impressive building over on the left bank of the river and I’ve never been. (I know, I know. That’s what happens when you live long term someplace, you put off all the touristy things.) Thanks to my handy residence stamp, I got in free of charge. I’m really, really liking the “free entrance to museums for people under 26” thing.

The Musée d’Orsay is actually an old railway station that was retrofitted to hold some of France’s best impressionist and post-impressionist art. For those of us who fell asleep during art history, this means it’s got a lot of Monet, Degas, Renior, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and a bunch of others who you might have heard of. It’s also got a lot of French sculptures. The building itself is stunningly beautiful, in a way that makes you wish Grand Central or Penn could be. I’ll grant you Grand Central has that awesome hall that shows up in movies, but let’s get real: no one stares at the ceilings of the LIRR waiting room in awe.

The museum is pretty strict about their “no photography” rule which does add to the experience a little, since you’re not agonizing over every photo and can actually appreciate the art. Instead, I wandered around writing down the names of paintings that I liked. In no particular order, here’s what I enjoyed. (Images blatantly stolen from around the internet.)

L’Enigme by Gustave Dorél'enigme dore Continue reading


10 Apr

Today’s artist is Woodkid, a French artist/director who I’ve loved for a couple of years now. He’s got a new album coming out soon and his latest single is playing all the time on the radio. I’ve basically listened to “I Love You” on continuous repeat for the last week. I’d like to say that was hyperbole, but it really isn’t.

His videos are a little weird, but shot in a beautifully cinematic black and white universe.

“I Love You”

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Tadpole Socks

8 Apr

I’m still on a knitting roll. I managed to finish a pair of socks in under a month (one sock in a week!) due to the March vacation. This time around I tried this tadpole pattern off Ravelry. It’s a fairly simple pattern to memorize and I like how you only work the pattern on two sides, not all four.


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