Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Nice to meat ya!

1. I'm official and legal and all that. Today I picked up my carte de sejour with TWO unexpected bonuses!: my work permit, which I didn't know I needed, and my rail discount pass, which fell out of my pocket and some kind soul turned into the mayor's office.

Of course, I already bought my replacement, since I needed it to scam SNCF and get my brother a discount, too. This isn't too far off from the situation with my cell phone. Remember how I said I thought it fell out in that guy's car? And how I saw him and asked him to look in his car? Well, it was in his car. Under the seat. He found it on monday.

Anybody need a french cell phone?

2. I stopped eating meat when I was.... uh, 19? It was a gradual process, where I ate less and less, at the same time meeting more vegetarians. Eventually, it felt right to stop, so I did. I'm not a huge animal-rights activist, but I'd be lying if I said that the conditions in which animals are raised don't disgust me. The only way to explain this choice is that it feels better to me -- healthfully, environmentally, ethically, and, dare I say it, karmically. I learned how to cook (well) after I stopped eating meat, so I don't really know how to prepare it, nor does it ever occur to me.
Before I arrived in France, I knew that being vegetarian would be a challenge. It is. I also knew that it would be best for me to follow my instinct in each individual situation. I have, and it's meant that I've eaten meat a few times. This may not seem like a big deal for you, but being vegetarian was (is!) important to me, and I feel ... god, I don't even know how to explain it ... like I've invalidated my last five years without meat.

I'm not tormented, though, and I feel good about my decision. The decision, by the way, was to continue choosing and preparing food for myself as normal (or, vegetarian. This includes at restaurants, too.) and to eat anything given to me at someone's home. Eating meat is still not entirely natural to me, and god knows it does a number on my digestive system the next day. Luckily, the times I've eaten it are: 1. rare and 2. of the highest quality. Food is an extremely important part of French life, and if I didn't experience it, I would be missing out. The meat that I've eaten is not the average shake-and-bake; it's wild pork terrine, homemade foie gras, duck confit, oysters, duck liver, fish freshly caught in the south of France, and a few little bits of ham in tartiflette. The funny thing is, I've never eaten duck OR liver, and here it is, three times in 4 months. For the most part, it's a few bites of each and no more.

It may seem like I'm justifying this to you, like I'm covering my vegetarian-cred. I'm not, though. Like I said, I feel comfortable with my decisions. I just thought that you'd be interested...especially Mike, who has been trying to get me to eat bacon for, what? three years now?

3. Do you have any recommendations for a really good song? I'm doing something with a few classes where two kids bring in music each class, and I'd like to share something as well. My problem isn't that I don't know enough good songs; it's that I simply can't choose any. My first instinct was "Ziggy Stardust!" then "Jocko Homo!" then "Jesus, Etc.!" but.... I'm not sure if these are the best choices. I want something an average 20-year-old french kid can enjoy. Any ideas?

4. Do you listen to Radio DavidByrne? You should. He's quite the looker, but that's not quite the point. Last month was classic country. This month it's country since the 60's. Before, he had a playlist of all Missy Elliot... You can listen on his website or on iTunes, under Radio, then Eclectic, then Radio DavidByrne. This list includes the song "Red Dirt Girl, " which is one of my absolute favorites after hearing it for the first time in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. I was with a group of students at a otherwise-local open mic night at the one restaurant in town. Someone sang that song, which is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. Someone also sang a song they wrote in honor of Dale Earnhardt.

Speaking of Davie, I had a dream a few nights ago that I was visiting someone in New York and we went to a party. I was talking to this friend and some other guy when "Artists Only" came on. I expressed shock that this was getting play, then said how much buying "More Songs About Buildings and Food" improved my life. This other guy said, "Well, this isn't the only one. 'The Book I Read' is, like, really popular right now."

Two other dream fragments :
- fell asleep with the phrase, "My name etched in with Royal icing."
- woke up with the phrase, "puppy ragnarock."

I'm pretty bummed that I don't remember the backstory for either.

5. These pictures were taken in the last days of December. It snowed for 3 days; was bitter cold. Then the rain came. It's not as pretty now.
This is a small chateau, from my best estimates. It's located in Vaux-sur-Poligny, a small hamlet a mile outside of Poligny.


At 1:11 AM, Anonymous neopolitan buds said...

shake n' bake = awes
david byrne = withered warlock
puppy ragnarok = cutepocalypse

...i'm still at work, and my brain is currently in safe mode, during which it can only make basic analogies.


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