Sunday, March 22, 2009

Feline Invader

There's a large and aggressive cat that lurks in the stairwell of my apartment. Obviously, I am obsessed with it. 

I call it Capucine, which is a girl's name, even though I think he's probably a guy cat. Whatever. Capucine is a pretty name and I like the fact that it is totally inappropriate for this massive animal. 

Capucine regularly busts into my apartment and hangs out for as long as he wants, regardless of what I have to say about it. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy him. 

I wrote a poem about our evolving relationship that was published on my friend Kate's blog, Poetics. You can read the poem by clicking here: Obese Stray 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

French Ad Campaign Redefines Rugged Chic

Though I am loathe to admit it, my Paris eyes are not as fresh as they used to be. When I first arrived in Paris, it seemed that everything I saw begged to be appreciated, mocked, blogged about, or all three. 

Recently, it took a visiting friend to call my attention to an ad campaign that has changed my life. I still haven't forgiven myself for not noticing it on my own. And when you're blind to something like this...

... you know it's time to wake up. On our leisurely walk around Paris, we stopped for a good five minutes to analyze the flowing mane, the furrowed brow, and that far-off look that makes you wonder whether he is going to seduce you or club you to death with a blunt rock. Part-man, part-wildebeest... we had to know more. 

Once we were on the lookout, it seemed he appeared everywhere. On the corner near the Bon Marché, outside of the Institut du Monde Arabe, in countless locations throughout the Marais. At one point, we were gazing at his countenance only to see him pop up on another rotating billboard just meters away--this time in a car advertisement. It was like a dare to see who could be manlier: him... or him. Surrounded by his image, we vowed to get to the bottom of this mystery. 

We later found out that this magnificent specimen is, in fact, Sebastien Chabal--a major French rugby player. But to me he will always be, quite simply, a caveman. 

I'm not sure what Caron is thinking. If there's anyone you probably don't want to smell like, it's Sebastien Chabal. Whatever cologne he's wearing, I'll take the antidote please. Unless of course I want to smell like a saber tooth tiger after a daylong hunt.

So, I am much indebted to Ben for calling my attention to this campaign and bringing the light of Chabal into my life. How could I have been so blind? I suppose 9 months of attempting to become a blasé Parisian has made me just that... blasé.  But if assimilating to Paris means I don't instantly laugh at something like this, I'm not sure I want to be Parisian after all. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Uncle Empire

You should definitely know about Uncle Empire, edited by the brilliant Brendan Flaherty. He actually publishes my diatribes, which I appreciate. Click the following link to read: My  Dirty Parisian Romance 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tory and Atchoum: A Story of Mutual Tolerance

Spring is springing in Paris. How do I know? Because Atchoum—my French boss’ dog—has just gotten his spring fur-cut and is looking more like a Westie and less like a filthy rag. That said, he’s still filthy, and I go well out of my way to avoid touching him.

I can’t help but recall my first week at this job, when I woke up with what I initially thought was a tumor, only to realize that I had been bitten by a flea. Hypochondria quickly turned to disgust. Atchoum never owned up to it.

Since then, Atchoum has spent many days slinking around the office and throwing up in strategically inconvenient places. There is an unspoken expectation that I will clean up this vomit. I refuse, and thus my dignity remains intact—at least on that front.

I always know when Atchoum will throw up because his tiny stomach gives a Mastiff-sized growl in the moments preceding the upheaval. When I ask my boss about this bulimic behavior, he says “That’s just what dogs’ stomachs do to clean themselves.” Ah.

Then there were the long, dark winter afternoons when Atchoum would discretely curl at my feet and, before I knew what was happening, would hump his way up my leg. Thank god for tall boots.

And finally, there is the dreaming. Atchoum, like me, has vivid dreams. He scrambles; he snores; he scratches the floorboards. Each time this happens, my boss chuckles and says, “He must be dreaming about some wonderful bitch.” Indeed.

In addition to the spring fur-cut, Atchoum has spring fever… big time. I just got word that my boss might mate him with a “bitch of about the same age.”

The idea of puppies would usually inspire delighted squeals from me… but Atchoum and I have a relationship that is tenuous at best (although we are friends on Facebook…literally).

I am wary of his future spawn. Then again, who am I to stand in the way of canine romance? Especially in the spring… especially in Paris in the spring…

I wish Atchoum and his bitch all the best.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Paris Hitotoki

I wrote a little piece a long time ago that was recently published in the Paris section of the Hitotoki website.

HITOTOKI-- a Japanese noun comprised of two components: hito or "one" and toki or "time," and is often translated as "a moment." In common usage, it can be used to describe any brief, singular stretch of time.

When I read it now and think about my early days in Paris, I am amazed. I was like a newborn Paris baby. Now I'd say I'm more of an awkward pre-teen.


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