Giboulées. n. f. : Pluie soudaine et de peu de durée, accompagnée souvent de grêle. (Petit Larousse, 1997)*
A few days ago, I capitulated to the giboulées de mars. Little matter if March is almost over and sunny days lie ahead. Let’s be honest: this is Paris. And I finally have to dress for the frequent bouts of wet weather.
Tired of getting rained on, I bought an umbrella.
Tired of having water soak through the soles of my shoes, I bought these from Aigle.
Aren’t they the cutest ever? I can’t wait to wear them. Let it rain! (That is, after we enjoy this nice sunny weather for a couple of days.)
*Giboulée: n.f. : Sudden rain of short duration, often accompanied by hail. (Petit Larousse, 1997)
(définition grâce à Juste un mot.)
but you can’t take the Philly out of the girl!
Apparently my accent is "as philly as cheesesteak"!
I’d love to know what my sister or father gets on this– they each actually spent time in that fair city of brotherly love, whereas I seem to be suffering the consequences. To think, this test actually surmises that I could be from south Jersey.
I took it twice, too. I had a little trouble with number 9. The first syllable in "horrible," the way I pronounce it, does not sound like either "whore" or "hot" but rather "harlem." Actually I have a problem with the whole test. "Don" and "dawn," "stock" and "stalk," "Mary," "merry," and "marry" are all supposed to sound different! Why does it make my accent weird if I pronounce them the way they’re meant to be pronounced?
Overall, though, I guess I’d rather sound like Philly than Long Island. So, you want sauce on your steak?
|What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia
|The Inland North|
|What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Fragments of posts that won’t be further developed this week but should be shared nonetheless:
The Guardian has just run its final excerpt from slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s last book.
Olivia of Toast and Honey is one of the best writers I’ve come across lately. To wit: this recent entry.
The new Arcade Fire album, Neon Bible, is really good. Rich, full, symphonic, the way I like it. I discovered them during the summer of 2005 in the Fnac in Pornic, on the coast of Brittany, near Nantes, and have listened to their earlier album, Funeral, obsessively since then. So it’s nice to have a change.
I write on DH Lawrence, but James Wood writes better. And Lawrence trumps us both.
Try not to be alarmed by the sacrilege, but N threw out a bunch of his books not long before he met me. What can I say, some people are nuts… and some people write articles in the Wall Street Journal to justify such ill-advised decisions (I don’t understand people who don’t keep books).
I finally saw "Marie Antoinette" last night, and was dismayed to find I did not warm to it. I wanted to love it! I wanted to be moved. I wanted to be taken to a higher aesthetic plane. I wanted to feel nostalgic for the ancien régime. Instead I was checking the clock, weighted down by my own century. I did not enjoy. And that’s the most basic thing I ask of a film in our sad a-cultural epoch: at least entertain me. You don’t have to make me think. I’m not that much of a purist. Just divert me for a little while. Is that so much to ask?
The problem, for me, was the insistence on anachronism. Ok, I get it, that’s the point, that’s why the Empress of Austria is played by Marianne Faithfull and there’s so much New Order on the soundtrack. But for such a gamble to pay off, it has to work. And it doesn’t work. Here’s why: Sofia Coppola, though long on imagery, has no sense of history whatsoever. Picasso can paint a lady with an eye for a nose and three boobs, but give him a pencil and a sketchpad and he could draw her as true to life as anyone could wish. He chooses to represent her otherwise. The same principle, I suspect, is at work here. Coppola can play around with her biopic if she wants; hell, she’s Sofia Coppola. But there has to be some real meat there; she needed a screenplay made of more than just macaroons.
More’s the pity, considering her choice of subject matter, which must have been tempting to someone with Coppola’s tastes. As we know, Coppola favors an impressionistic palette to capture the ephemerality of early womanhood. She does this expertly in the film: the shots of Dunst et al cavorting around in the early morning mist around the Petit Trianon are haunting. However, when treating the years leading up to the French Revolution, a little history is unavoidable; and still, the scenes in which Louis XVI meets with his counsellors to discuss State finances and the American Revolution look and sound worse than a high school stage production. And when, during one scene, Kirsten Dunst reads aloud from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, it seems as though not a single person on-set understands what she’s going on about.
I was even disappointed by the macaroons. I was led to believe the costume and set design was "stunning" and "lavish," a pastel "confection." It may well have been, but Coppola shot it all wrong. I lack the proper technical vocabulary to be any more specific, but all I can say is "The Devil Wears Prada." Now that is a film that left me panting at the sheer gorgeousness of the clothing and locations. "Marie Antoinette" on the other hand was like being plunged into cupcake batter, swished around, and pulled back out before you could actually get a taste for it.
The whole thing was miscast to one degree or another. Judy Davis was so pitch-perfect as the Comtesse de Noailles that it was deeply bizarre to hear Rip Torn as Louis XV sounding like he just left the ranch down in Texas and wandered onto the wrong set in France. The two girls playing the Duchesse de Polignac and the Princesse de Lamballes (whose fate was to have her hear paraded around Paris on a pike) were so perfect in their parts that Molly Shannon nasally referring to another character (the Comte of so-and-so) as a "cahmpte" seems ridiculously out of place. And I think it would be reading too much into it to consider that she was playing the part of a ninny (Louis XV’s sister Victoire). I loved Shirley Henderson (that’s Moaning Myrtle to you) and thought more should have been done with her (as Louis XV’s other sister). And finally, carrying the film, Kirsten Dunst was lovely and did her best, though her Americanness
grated. "This is soooo Du Barry," she drawls during one scene, holding up a garish shoe, sounding for all the world as if she were at Fred Segal with Maggie Gyllenhaal.
If I wanted to give Coppola some credit, I would suggest that the film is actually supposed to be more about us than about them, more about our culture of celebrity than about theirs. So I’ll leave it at that and invite your responses, if you have them.
looking for some love from maitresse? today I’m at Parisist.
Hi there. I’m celebrating this Monday morning. Celebrating because I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Crans-Montana, Switzerland with N and his cousins, during which time I allowed a burly Italian man to strap long planks onto each of my feet and push me down a hill. I believe you people call this "skiing."
When one is speeding down a slope with planks on one’s feet with a burly Italian man chasing behind yelling "chasse-neige! chasse-neige!", I don’t know about you, but my reaction is to tumble over. But, finding myself in a heap in a snowbank, I was surprised to find I was more relieved than hurt. "At least that’s out of the way," I thought cheerfully, and, as if by magic, was no longer afraid of falling. And now I have a bruise the size of a fist on my shin that I keep showing to N. "See how much I love you? See what I do for you? Do you see? It’s huge! It’s a big lump! On my shin!" This hasn’t gotten old yet. At least for me.
Anyway, so celebrations are in order because I fell down and the world did not end, and I skiied and it was actually alright. I still don’t quite understand what the big deal is, though; I’m not convinced the whole enterprise is worth the time and effort it takes. Although it was kind of liberating, once I did get the whole gliding and braking thing down. "Skiier c’est etre entre le lit et la baignoire,"* said Jean-Louis, a friend of N’s uncle. I think I will allow myself to be taken skiing again.
I’ve clearly made leaps and bounds this month in my effort to keep up with my très sportif petit ami.
*Skiing is somewhere in between being in bed and taking a bath
This is part of a post I started sketching out a couple of weeks ago, and have been meaning to finish, but time has not permitted. However, given that it is Blog Against Sexism Day, I thought I might as well throw it up there, see what kind of response it inspires (if any) and elaborate another day… so, in the spirit of the day (note the slippage from a discussion of "sexism" to "feminism"), a few questions:
1. What characterizes a feminist today, in our blog-happy era? Is it (in random order):
a) Looking at absolutely everything under the sun from a woman’s perspective (cf BlogHer)`
b) Writing explicitly about your sexuality (cf Girl With a One Track Mind)
c) Being conversant in women’s studies (see bad imitations of the ever-brilliant Bitch PhD)
d) Defining yourself as a bitch
e) Writing about the joys of motherhood
f) throwing around words like twat, p***y, and c**t as if reappropriating them from some sexist masculinist discourse makes them any less offensive and crude
g) pretending a pair of 500 dollar stilettos makes you empowered
h) grown women discussing each others’ boobs like it’s a seventh grade slumber party
i) reading women’s writing
j) calling yourself a feminist (ah, the power of performative speech acts)
k) having it all
l) all of the above
m) some of the above
n) none of the above
2. Does feminism derive any power it might have from remaining an alternate discourse, or is there something to be gained from its going mainstream?
3. Should we be describing ourselves as living in a "post-feminist" era? (cf this post)
4. Do certain types of feminism give feminism in general a bad name? i.e. gimmicks like this:
photo courtesy of Hemating on Flickr.
I stood in the vestibule between the women’s and the men’s locker rooms, waiting for him to come out of the men’s showers to take me into the pool, shivering under my thin towel soaked after the mandatory pre-swim shower, my ponytail dripping cold water down my back. Where was he? It had been ten minutes at least.
Is it possible he didn’t wait for me and went directly into the pool? The thought seemed absurd. My mind raced round in circles. Of course he would wait for me, he knew I didn’t know where to go, I had never been there before, where was he? I started to shiver harder, and then, with all that shaking, out came the tears, hot on my cheeks, the only warm thing on my body. Straight across the way, on the other side of the pool, sat the lifeguards. Were they looking at me? Were they inwardly laughing at this shivering, crying girl? My cheeks burned with embarrassment and I wiped away my tears with the back of my hand.
Are you thinking I’m recounting a particularly painful childhood memory of going to the public pool with my dad or something? Because this didn’t happen when I was a kid. It happened last Saturday night, at the Club Quartier Latin in the Rue de Pontoise. N took me there so we could get some exercise. He likes to swim. He’s a good swimmer. He used to go to this pool all the time.
I was overreacting, I know. Recounting the story here, I see the humor in it. But I was honestly completely disoriented. Mock me if you will, but sports, gyms, pools– these domains of the athletic, healthy, and well-adjusted– are not for me, I am utterly lost and self-conscious in them. But I don’t want to remain this fearful little rat de bibliothèque. So it was my idea to go to the pool, knowing that N has been wanting to start going again.
From the moment we entered, everything was strange and counterintuitive. We had gotten there late; it was 6.30 and the pool closed at 7, so N was in a hurry to get down to the pool, and was not long on explanations. He bought me a little fabric cap to wear over my hair from a vending machine. I took it, and eyed it warily, turning this foreign object over in my hands, trying to decide just how dumb I would look in it. There were no locker rooms, just little changing rooms lining the two upstairs floors, which ran around the perimeter of the building, leaving a vast atrium open above the pool itself. N hadn’t said anything about bringing flipflops, and my stomach turned as I walked along the moist, grainy floor. I was baffled by the lack of keys to the changing rooms; N just pulled the door shut behind me and promised no one would steal my watch out of my bag.
He took off down the stairs, squirted some body wash into my palm, and told me to go take a shower. I dutifully lathered myself up, rinsed off what I could under the showerhead suspended from the ceiling in the gas-chamber-like shower room. A woman approached me, and she didn’t seem interested in turning on her own shower– she looked as if she wanted to be standing where I was. "Am I in your place?" I asked, getting ready to move. She looked at me like she hadn’t understood. I repeated myself. She gave me a look like I was crazy and said no, and turned on the shower next to me. Around me, women were peeling down the tops of their bathing suits, revealing the shiny flesh beneath, looking like peach-colored whales. I kept my suit on and tried not to look around, but try as I might I could not feel at ease. It wasn’t the naked flesh that unsettled me– it was a very strange feeling of being alone and yet not alone, and somehow of being abandoned. I felt like I was six years old and telling myself, "ok Lauren, be a big girl." Trying to shake this odd feeling, I toweled myself off, and went to wait for N in between the two shower rooms.
Which brings me back to the beginning of my story. He never came to get me, and finally, through my tears, I spotted someone in the water who looked like him, standing up and surveying the pool, clearly looking for someone. It was N. He gave a gesture as if to say "come on in, what are you waiting for?" I gave a gesture that I hoped conveyed "You son of a bitch, get out of the water and come get me."
Of course, once I made it into the pool, I had a lot of fun. I could only make it back and forth a couple of laps, doing my awkward breast-stroke thing, but N rocked one of the lanes, and did more laps than I could count. After awhile I just started paddling around in the middle of the pool, intently watching him swim back and forth.
But what really annoyed me, then and now, is my own stupidity. The way into the pool was through the locker room– just like at home. (Yes, I have been to indoor pools before.) But I must have been too freaked out to think straight. It was easier to get mad at N than to admit my own mental limitations.
The pool itself is really neat; it’s one of four pools built in Paris between 1929 and 1934 by the architect Lucien Pollet (the others can be found at Molitor, in the 16th, Jonquière, in the 17th, and Pailleron, in the 19th). Completed in 1934, as you can tell from the photograph here, it’s a lovely example of Art Deco design, as are the other three. I love that in Paris, even going to the local swimming pool can be an aesthetic (albeit, in my case, daunting) experience.
So I’ll be going back. This time, with flipflops, a bigger towel, and a stronger resolve to be a big girl.
Club Quartier Latin
18, Rue de Pontoise, 75005