Monday, February 23, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tee Time

There were times when I wanted to reach out and help and there times when I wanted nothing more than destruction. I could feel him creeping towards the door, one ear up against it with the other paying close attention to the air behind him. He stood there, like a defective Greek statue in misaligned contrapposto, working his shaking fingers at the keyhole. He thought he was being clever when I knew what he had been up too all along. I let him muddle around for a bit until he could compose himself. I sat there, drinking my tea and staring at the rings of residue that had built up after countless cups of the same drink. I was almost sick of it by then but I continued on. By now, I had learned to like the taste of the bitter leaves and the sour astringency that lapped my tongue. I licked the bottom of my incisors to see if they were still sharp. There was a bit of that night’s steak left in-between the gums, the blood still flavorful and packed with salinity. I smiled a salacious grin.

What seemed like years and months were only hours, or minutes. I couldn’t really remember because I was so damn busy with other things to do. Sitting, primarily. Waiting, too. Watching the clock, counting the stars, monitoring the movement of clouds. I once tried counting the lines of the wood floor below me while the fellow put on a magician’s show and slapped cards down from an incomplete deck. I could hear him picking them back up outside my door.

Someone walked by, I could hear it, and went up the stairs. For a moment it grew silent, which confused me greatly. But before I could panic or even forget to refill my cup, he was back at it again. The tension is really what got to me; I often felt like I needed to just go for a run. So I did. I hopped right up, threw on my shoes and headed out the door. I almost forgot to say ‘Hello’ on my way out the door. Maybe he was hard to notice? I was probably too enamored with my own agenda. That tended to happen quite often.

By the time I came back from the run - coated in a thin layer of asphalt, mucky toxins and a mind full of lactic acid – I decided to vomit all over his fucking face. I apologized, sincerely, but couldn’t bring myself to find a towel for the dear cad. I think I forgot to go to the Laundromat this past week? Or was that last month? I forgot the last time I threw down a few coins for a good spin and cycle. Hot or cold, it’s all gold.

As I sat down and scribbled a bit on a torn sheet of paper I found in the trash can, I remembered to check something off. Check. Step One: Done. But what about Step Two? I still wanted to help and reach out, but by now look where the problem was? No longer was it at the same spot, muddling with the keys, sweating out the dirt and stepping on my doormat. It was farther downstairs, around the corner, behind the door, in the room and on the bed. I couldn’t hear much – they were probably about 2 or 3 flights down (depending on the time of day) – and never really opened the door when I knocked. But this time I didn’t even need to knock; it sort of just permeated through the air, up the stairs, over the bunch and into my own room. I heard it, but couldn’t really do much. I had to take a shower, sing some tunes to myself and remember not to drop the soap. Speaking of soap, I could use some. Too many showers alone in this square to entertain myself lately; I liked to stay clean. Fuck. Maybe I should go get some more towels also – or at least do the laundry.

Monday, February 16, 2009




She knew was she was doing and I was fine with it. Piece by piece I'd play the game, moving from black to white and then somewhere muddled within the grays. The Gray Area: I loved that term. It was as if you could bullshit your way though any situation, mix it up however you like then shit it out in whatever form you desired. People could take it for what it was or question it for what it wasn't. Or was it the other way around? I forgot. But then again, isn't this sort of charcoal colored? 

Samuel knew what was best, but little did he know the things that were going on behind his back. Bit by bit she'd slip some here and there. She called it Coca-Cola Money. "This is for you sweetie, enjoy it while you can," she would say to me. I shook my head every time with a short smirk and a twinkle in my eye. She knew I appreciated what she was doing but I couldn't bring myself to go all the way through. We knew we were teasing each other but neither of us admitted it.

I didn't see her for awhile because I had a different path to walk down. She probably went back to doing what she did best while I opted for a more scenic route. But eventually, I figured we might bump into each other again for whatever reason. Every time was a good time - as abrupt as each meeting was.

In the meantime I spent evenings alone drinking and writing away. The weather was never too pleasant outside so my only contact was a small vent a little under half a foot. Sometimes I made it a little larger if I was getting hot, but that was only on occasion.

The floors constantly needed cleaning after having so many visitors. Some slept on the floor while others got a little better treatment. I tried to be kind to all but after awhile you begin to realize that there's only so much time. Instead I threw kind words to some, demanding requests to others and sweet, sweet nothings for only the best. I thought a lot about what I was doing and whether it was the right thing to do. I didn't want to step on anyone's toes, but then again, there still were 10 left over. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


At 3 A.M. there was the banging again. They weren’t really thuds – it was more like they were carrying pianos up the stairs. Or maybe it was down them? But the pianos of course didn’t make any noise. They were probably coffins then. Were they coffins? Who carries a coffin down six flights of stairs only to drag it along cobblestones. Wet cobblestones. Slippery fucking stones that sit unevenly on la terre, asking you to twist an ankle or stub your toe. Maybe a trip here and there? These are the times that test men's souls, aren’t they. Or was it try? No, no – scratch that. Someone famous wrote that one.

I remember the night before as if it were the night before. Dirty whores, slutty men and equestrian shoes. What about the leather? Couldn’t it have been ruined by the drink-after-drink method of ingestion? Someone was drinking a concoction that night that wasn’t necessarily natural – there was a twist or a twinge to it. If anything was clear, it surely wasn’t.

Women wore crosses to help them feel sanctified, when in reality they wanted to remain pious to a different kind of sacrifice. If He died on a cross, maybe someone else would get nailed for the people. Spears, blood and a holy cloth to decorate the scene. All we needed was a Roman or a soldier. Is that what they call them nowadays? Galluses or Gauls, one of the two surely isn’t there any more. Excuse me dear; I’ll take another 10 EUR Corona. My dearest gal is waiting at the table.

In time I realized there was an art to the pole. I stepped up, literally, and stared her in the eyes. She sort of hesitated for a little bit then backed away. Maybe she wasn’t ready for what I had in store. However, store rhymed with whore so it seemed like an open door. Wasn’t she used to the A plus B equals C combination? Or was I incompetent? I opted not to go through with it because her face reminded me of a contorted Persian boxer covered in Sephora’s discount bin. I wanted to recommend a better place to shop but I just felt sorry her. After that I really had no desire to go on. I stepped down, removed myself and let her be. I think someone ended up stuffing a few bills in her G-String later that night. I hope they had a good time sweating it out.

During the waking hours I felt it was better to walk off whatever it is I had jammed into my body the previous day, night and morning before. I kept myself quite active but only for the reason of wanting to stay busy. Baguettes were a common form of fuel as well as alcohol. The combination didn’t make much sense to anyone, but at least it did to me. Somewhat. Every now and then I’d mix it up with a slice of gateaux or some other form of cadeau to entertain myself. MC Solaar or whatever else that guy’s name was - he definitely would’ve fit in with that one store. What did I call it? “The French Version of Kohl’s?” Once again, it rains all over this place.

It reminded me of my childhood. There were dark corridors and cold, cold tiles. I stared down for a second only to be reminded I had other things to do. The morning breeze came in through the window and turned the follicles of my skin into a pasture of my own kind of cobblestones. I fucking hated those cobblestones but at the same time I loved them. There’s something about the oddities and inconsistencies that satisfied me temporarily. I soon brushed them off and went on with my day. I guess you could say I went on – instead I sort of just sat there.

Already the characters were getting closer to their set destinations. Many were mingling while others were just getting ready. Indeed there are always a few who seem to avoid all this. More power to them, I guess. The only thing is that in the end, it probably won’t work out for them. While they’re off enjoying whatever it is they do to entertain themselves, others will be honing in on the right section or quadrant that they need to find themselves in. It’s like hopscotch or four-square: Miss a step or fall out of a beat and you get it right in the face. Hold on tight and keep your eyes focused, accidents tend to happen. Before you know it, you’re on the bottom while someone else gets on top.

The cycle went on, but I still felt that I needed a glimpse of nature. I wanted to avoid the usual and move on to the days in life where I could just hand over gold bullion and nothing else would matter. I imagined the days where I’d be able to just sit there and throw shit at them. While I ate my cake and scoffed at this and that. I didn’t want the court or any of its players – I wanted the whole goddamn arena. But did I ever get it? Of course not. That would require something as epic as Gladiator. Good thing life’s not like the movies – otherwise I’d be finding a dagger right in my side, unwilling to escape or even heal up. Excuse me while I take yet another doozy doze.

“However, self-styled travelers are also outsiders, engaging with the ‘Other’; they may better be labeled ‘anti-tourists,’ since the uniqueness and authenticity they claim for their own experiences direct opposite of what they reject in ‘tourism.’ Likewise, the claim to independence does not necessarily entail traveling independently. Even when traveling in groups, they may seek to separate themselves from the shared experience; and the tourist may momentarily assume the position of the traveler. The advertising for package tours today makes much of the possibility of the unique, ‘authentic’ experience that may be found just off the beaten track.”

2 Feb 09
Beer: George Killian’s, Biere Rousse, Bière Spéciale de Tradition Irlandaise, 6.5% ABV
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 16é, Paris, FR
Price: 4,61€/6pk. 25cl
Grade: 5.7

Though I have surely had the American import of G. Killian’s, I was curious as to how they do it in Europe/France. Same creaminess, spunk and punchy cedar notes that are also ‘available’ in the U.S. version. Quite sweet though, as if they mixed in some honey for the French. I wouldn’t blame them though, all the other beers I’ve purchased here are on the ‘sweet side.’ Then again, all of the past couple of beers have been shit beers. Maybe I should change where I’m buying the beer? Nonetheless, it has baby hops and shallow taste, body and structure. Very simple-minded and straight forward: Minor flicker in the beginning, tickles the tongue then dies out into a boring wash. Some almond taste as well as clove, but as if it were haphazardly thrown into the brewing process. Sloppy brew with sloppy results.

3 Feb 09
Wine: Vin de Pays de la Vicomté d’Aumelas, Jules Vulcraud, 2007, 12.5% ABV
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 16é, Paris, FR
Price: 5,60€/750mL
Grade: 3.1

Blackberries, raspberries and black currant immediately. Not very lively at all though, quite flat and boring. Faint aroma, mostly that of cheap alcohol. Body is very shallow with little to no bite with it at all. Goes down in a insipid manner, as if it had no desire to be noticed at all. Would be ideal for mass consumption and/or pouring for undesired house guests.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rotary Coterie

Model U.N.: A.K.A. Class
Chile, Germany, New Hampshire, Sweden, Florida, Texas, Cambodia, Espana, Brasil, France, Venezuela, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Nigeria, U.K., Hungary, India, Egypt, Algeria, etc.

Urban Legend:
A Haircut Can Be Found In Paris, Sub-15€

Who Needs Sun When It Can Rain In Paris For Weeks:
An Analysis and Experimentation of Weather Forecasts v. Humans

Movies/Architecture/Shopping/Soldes Galore/Argent Epuisée

Library Hours Come and Then They Go, Quickly

It was bit nippy outside with the cliché overcast skies, dreary clouds and glum little raindrops prickling my jacket. I still couldn’t translate the temperature from Celsius so I dressed the same everyday. A uniform, if you will: Shoes, pants, shirt, sweater or cardigan, scarf, jacket, glasses or sunglasses. I had it down to a set regimen – rather militant you could say.

The walks across the Seine were enlivening some days and mundane on others. I’d count the days in my head: Lundi, Tuesday, Mercredi, Thursday, Vendredi, Samedi, Dimanche. Along the streets, I’d read off the addresses: Onze, douze, treize, fourteen, quinze, seize, dix-sept, dix-huit, dix-neuf, vingt. Twenty-one, vingt-deux, vingt-trois… I stopped around thirty. Trente? I felt like I was pronouncing my friend’s name incorrectly.

Cafés were abundant, as were the patisseries - but the prices were the ones that got to you. Every éclair, tarte aux cerises and pain aux raisin made me want to dip into my coin pocket and throw a few on to the counter. But then I’d remember there was cheap wine to be bought – and the beer, oh the beer. Those little shit-sized bottles that made you wanting more. I had downed three and it felt as through I had consumed a Capri Sun and a half. So much for my alcoholic American appetite.

When lunch came around sandwiches were all I could afford. Some days it would be au poulet, whereas other days I’d have them with oeufs or au rôti bœuf. I once ordered aux crudités thinking it was something totally different. I never ordered aux crudités again.

I came to the realization that bottled water with gas differs in no way from one another. I tried pitting Badoit against San Pellegrino and the only thing I noticed is that the latter had a bit more of that enjoyable fizz to it. Then I got bored one day and compared bottled Perrier to canned. I decided I liked bottled more than canned, just because. I never did try to discern the difference between glass and plastic bottles. I’m sure there’s some scientific explanation to the minimally different tastes.

What always amazed me was that even with all the cheese, pastries, baguettes and wine – the French always kept an ideal shape. I accepted that I was not the first to question this conundrum, but it puzzled me nonetheless. I figured that with all the walking, constant talking and lack of fast-food joints maybe that was it. But they still have McDo. And Quick. Same concept, supposedly better food, but still shitty. I couldn’t pull myself to try it. At least not in a sober state.

The drinking came in its usual fashion. Pound one down in the late morning, have a couple at lunch, maybe some more in the afternoon and swig a bottle of wine or a trinity of beers at night. All of these seemed like the usual signs of a budding alcoholic but I just told myself it was a sign that I was enjoying life. Maybe I wanted to experience le joie d’vivre. That was it. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol equated to living life. Superb.

One thing that always bugged me was that the staircase leading up to my apartment from the Seine had a mismanaged amount of steps. It went 25, strata, 25, strata, 24. What kind of engineer forgets the last step? Or maybe I was under the influence when I was counting. I should’ve gone back to count them but I wanted to hear what I wanted to hear. Plus there was a distracting mattress at the bottom of my stairs with lots of muddy footprints on top. Maybe that was the last step. Or the first? Fucking kids.

In between eating and drinking, since I had so much time to spare, there were lessons to be visited and intelligent people to be heard. From Haussman, Napoleon III and Manet to the Sumerians, Minoans, Old, Middle and New Kingdoms and then up to caliph al-Walid I and his knife and gourd mosaics – I kept myself relatively busy. One day we covered stone-carved chains. The other was about color intensities, tones, hues, shades, chiaroscuro and more. But all I could think about was Churrasco’s and their delectable fried plantains. Oh how I could’ve killed for an achiote rubbed filet of beef. But she had taught at Princeton and in Senegal - so I suppose she knew her stuff. At least it seeemed so. Oh? I guess it’s time for another beer.

I told myself moderation was the key to life. If only I hadn’t lost it after burning a hole in my pocket. Luckily the new jacket fit well.

26 Jan 09
Beer: Super Bock, Portugal
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 16é, Paris, FR
Price: 4,50€/6pk.
Grade: 5.1

Session-smession, meh.

27 Jan 09
Beer: Carlsberg
Location: AMEX, 7é, Paris, FR
Price: 4€/12 oz. bottle
Grade: 4.8

Danish shit.

28 Jan 09
Beer: Kanterbräu de Maitre Kanter
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 16é, Paris, FR
Price: 3,39€/10pk. 25cl
Grade: 3.0


31 Jan 09
Beer: Pelforth Brune
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 16é, Paris, FR
Price: 2,20€
Grade: 3.9

Bleh. Another failed French beer – this time in the form of a dark beer. After drinking copious amount of Kronenbourg (sadly what is available everywhere), this doesn’t rectify the poor opinion I have of le bier français. The taste is similar to a sweet corn, covered in a light syrup and mixed with Coca-Cola. Skunky, skunky smell and taste that is borderline sewage water consistency. Slimes down your tongue and then down your throat. It lacks any compelling bitterness, carbonation or worthwhile flavors. Instead you get a flat beer with a boring body (sludged medium-light) and weak notes of rotten cherries.

19 Jan 09
Wine: Les Alyscamps, Vin de Pays du Gard, Rouge
Location: Rue de l’Universite Bodega, 7é, Paris, FR
Price: 1,80€/750mL
Grade: 4.0

Cheap ass red with a cheap ass taste. However, better than Franzia and Carlo Rossi – any day.

19 Jan 09
Wine: Belle France Cibon Sélection, Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d’Oc, 2007
Location: Rue de l’Universite Bodega, 7é, Paris, FR
Price: 3,60€/750mL
Grade: 4.2

Like white grape juicy juice yet with alcohol. Pretty disappointing but that’s what you get when buying a cheap white.

24 Jan 09
Wine: Vin d’Alsace A.O.C., Riesling, M. Kieffer, 2007
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 16é, Paris, FR
Price: 5€/750mL
Grade: 6.0

Light but still with body, sweet little white grapes, lush floral notes and touches of very light honey. Low acidity with a crisp palette and subtle effervescence. As usual, would be great with seafood, lighter cheeses and possibly chicken with a cream or white sauce. Has the ability to cut through some sauces, but not a wine that is meant to combat or contrast with heavy dishes. A nice complement to sautéed or grilled dishes, not so much fried, baked or breaded. There are also bits of citrus that come through, more of lemon or grapefruit rind than orange or lime. A nice wine, but a bit boring at times. Shallow and a bit unimaginative. Then again, it was only 5 euro.

31 Jan 09
Wine: Bordeaux, La Vielle Eglise, Cave du Marmandais, Terroir d’Aquitaine, 2006, 12.5% ABV
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 16é, Paris, FR
Price: 4€/750mL
Grade: 3.2

Ball-sack red wine vinegar. Blergh.

28 Jan 09
Cheese: Brie L’Coulombiere, 21% M.G.,
Location: Fromagerie Maugendre, Marché, Avenue du President Wilson – Mercredi, Paris, FR
Price: 4,75€/250g
Grade: 8.0

Damn. Tastes of grass, dried hay and a real “barn-like” milk. One of the most authentic tasting cheeses I’ve had in awhile. Melt-in-your-mouth consistency with all the right touches along the way. Soft – almost too soft - at first, yet after a sampling of the soft rind it is sublime. Could have a little bit more finesse though. While thoroughly enjoyable, the overall taste isn’t necessarily anything out of this world or way out of left field. Just another “buttery brie” couisin that is quite splendid, but not supreme.

28 Jan 09
Salame: Cochonou, Savoir-Faire Authenticité, Le Classique
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 7é, Paris, FR
Price: 3,75€/275g
Grade: 7.5

Nice, but a little unctuous and fatty. Could use a more genuine “meaty” or pork taste to it. I imagine the sausage maker was thinking to himself, “Hey, maybe if I put in 60% pork products and 40% pork fat, people will eat it.” Well, they still do. It just makes us feel a little more guilty by doing so.

31 January 09
Salame: Délice de St Agaûne, Bordeau Chesnel
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 7é, Paris, FR
Price: 5,10€/200g
Grade: 7.2

Less pork taste and more of a white wine and dry taste. Minimal spice, but enough to keep it interesting. Due to less fat content, there surely is a cleaner feel to it, but in no way does that detract from the overall experience.

31 January 09
Cheese: Brillat-Savarin, Moulé à la louche, 40% M.G., Fromagerie Delin, Bourgogne
Location: Les Chevres de Saint Vrain – Herbager Fromager, Marché, Avenue du President Wilson – Mercredi, Paris, FR
Price: 4,25€/200g
Grade: 7.4

A light and white spreadable cheese that tastes strikingly similar to a normal chévre (goat’s cheese) even though it's made from cow's milk. Falls in the same family of cheese like mascarpone or even fromage frais with quite the “yoghurt-y” taste to it (triple-créme). Like a well-cultured sweet cream that would go great with salmon. A.k.a. bomb-ass lox.

31 January 09
Cheese: Tomme d’Auverge, 45% M.G., Fromagerie des Neiges
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 7é, Paris, FR
Price: 11,90€/kg
Grade: 7.6

Waxy, chewy and tastes of that real cave-ripened taste. Very earthy and a bit chalky. You can taste the stale bacteria working in from the washed rind and the pungent yet not mildly pungent spice within. Throws in that bark-like roughness with truffle and mushroom flavors. Quite pleasant.

31 January 09
Cheese: Bleu d’Auverge A.O.C., Fromagerie des Neiges
Location: G20, Rue de Chaillot, 7é, Paris, FR
Price: 8,95€/kg
Grade: 7.7

Lovely. Tangy and funky yet not out of control. A well balanced bleu with a firm body and slight mineral crunch to it. Yeasty taste too, like the base of a powdered milk of the sorts.

31 January 09
Cheese: St. Marcellin, 50% M.G., Dauphiné
Location: Ramponneau Fromagerie, Marché, Avenue du President Wilson – Mercredi, Paris, FR
Price: 1€/5cm round, 80g
Grade: 7.8

Soft dusted surface with an even more angelic consistency to it. Reminds me of those gentle tasting bean cakes or sticky rice balls in oriental cultures. Extremely smooth consistency that basically melts into the room temperature plate. Fruity, with touches of peach and lemon in it also. I could definitely get used to this one.