Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Where is Exotic/Mundane?

June 27, 2007

Well, I pretended that I would post to both blogs, but I’ve failed. If you’ve been reading and want the updates, try the new and improved (and hopefully a little profitable) Exotic/Mundane.

Sorry for the trouble.

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Update without actual content

June 15, 2007

Right, I’m incredibly busy right now so I haven’t written. Sorry. It keeps raining, the patisserie is closed until the 28th, and while the Grease reality show is over, there is now a fabulous and addictive replacement: Britain’s got talent. Holy cow! It’s great. While there are arguably people with more actual talent, my favorite is Damon Scott – I call him the monkey guy.

I like fake monkeys, so I feel a certain kinship to Scott. I laughed till I cried watching him. Here’s a linky: Damon Scott, Monkey Guy .

Watch it, it will change your life. Okay, maybe not – but that 3 minutes will be better.

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Dreaming

May 23, 2007

Most of the time my dreams are clearly my brain jamming everything I’ve thought about or noticed into one scene.

An example: Last night I dreamed that I had been recruited to take my Grandmother to the hospital for a checkup. I agreed with my Mom to stop at a local NE Ohio grocery to pick up supplies on the way home. I arrived somewhere to get my Grandma but she wasn’t there, so I went to another hospital to talk to my Grandpa about it. Their house was just down the street but I didn’t stop there. The trip was to take two hours and we were leaving at 9pm. I called everyone but couldn’t find my Grandma.

Finally she came to the hospital at 10pm. I was angry but didn’t ask for explanations and none were volunteered. Several cousins (from both sides) were coming along, as were some anonymous French people. They were necessary because when I asked my Grandma where we were going, she said Menton (in France)! I tried to explain that driving to Menton took a lot longer than an hour, but they all acted like I was making a big deal out of nothing. I asked the French people and they agreed with me, we’d never make it.

As the van was getting loaded I turned around to talk to my cousin, so I was sitting cross legged with my back against the steering wheel. Apparently my grandfather decided we’d waited long enough because he started the van from the co-pilot seat and managed to get us onto the road.

I was struggling to turn around in the seat but there wasn’t enough room. We were approaching an intersection with traffic and it was urgent that we stop, but my feet weren’t anywhere near the brake pedal. No one else in the van seemed at all concerned and I couldn’t make them understand the danger. I finally got turned around, but not seated, and jammed my foot down where the brake should be. As it turns out, someone had exchanged the brake pedal for a stack of red Wendy’s chili cups which I had to push into the floor to brake. But I couldn’t get the angle right and kept crushing the cups.

That’s pretty representative of most of my dreams. But a few nights ago, my dream actually made sense. Someone asked me what I was going to do after I made a million (presumably dollars, though I’d prefer Euros at this point) and I said, I’m going to sail the world, but not in a sail boat – on a big ship. And even if I were awake, that’s exactly what I’d have said even though I’d never thought of it before.

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My Soapbox

May 16, 2007

I was going to write a wonderful post about the delight that is 50% off day at our local patisserie, but that will have to wait. I’m dizzy with anger and I’ve got to say something.

4 year old Madeleine McCann was stolen from her room in Portugal nearly two weeks ago. This is a tragedy, but that’s not what I’m angry about. I don’t know how much press this case is getting in the States, but here in Europe it’s a very big story.

Two days ago, the English news media announced that there was an official suspect. I certainly hope this man is guilty, as his life is never going to be the same again. His name, face, family and personal history has been broadcast all over the news.

The sewer rats that are ‘the press’ have proceeded to dig up his history, interview anyone who’s ever had contact with him, and ruin his reputation. Everything he’s said in his own defense is printed in quotation marks to ensure the impression that he’s guilty as sin. It makes me sick.

It feels good to believe that police around the world will only name a suspect if there’s a good reason. It feels good to think that innocent people won’t be accused of crimes if there isn’t reasonable suspicion. It is decidedly uncomfortable to believe that completely innocent people can be named in criminal cases without any good reason. If we admit to ourselves that this can happen, that means it can happen to us, and we don’t want that.

The end result is that this man has been convicted by public opinion, despite the fact that the police say openly that they don’t have enough evidence to gain a court approved charge against him.

“But,” you might say, “they must have good evidence or they wouldn’t have named him a suspect.” You aren’t alone, this is something I’ve heard (or read) on more than one occasion about this crime and others. It’s the excuse people give in order to feel safe in their environment.

The Portuguese police might indeed have such evidence, but if they do, they aren’t saying anything. And I take it as a given that innocent, completely innocent, people are arrested all over the world all the time. If you have any doubt about that, have a look here.

That site, FTA, only talks about the lucky few who are fortunate enough to find and make contact with them. The rest are dangling in the winds, subject to the whims and political maneuverings of the corrupted (or inept) individuals that comprise many of the world’s justice systems.

There are many reasons why the police might have taken this step. One is that they actually have some reason to believe that he’s involved in Madeleine McCann’s abduction. They also might have felt desperate to take some action in a case with no leads growing increasingly cold. They might have decided to take the first person who was close to the case. They might be bumbling idiots.

I don’t know. For me that’s key. The teeming masses don’t know either, but they think they do; they want to think they do. It’s a scary world when not only can our police not solve crimes, but also can destroy innocent people without any reason.

I’ve got news: we live in that scary world.

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It’s All Over (even the singing)

May 13, 2007

So, the chubbier and less talented Serbian version of k.d. lang won.

We didn’t watch the whole thing because Grease is The Word was on. Reality TV has never been my thing, but I’m a new person. Who wouldn’t love to watch people competing to win a year’s contract to star in a London stage production? It’s addictive. I did see enough Eurovision to make some observations.

I wrote before about how the Greek presenter’s enthusiasm nearly brought me to tears. The Greeks were really invested in their 2005 win, emotionally. And the new trend of Eastern Bloc countries swarming the Eurovision Song Contest tells me that they are also emotionally invested.

The general feeling among Western European grown-ups I know is that Eurovision is awful (but they watch it anyway.) Last night Terry Wogan was the British announcer, and he was full of disdain for the entrants, the voters, and the contest itself. He was funny and cynical – I think his attitude is more closely aligned with Western Europe, where Eastern Europe (and Greece) are still in awe of Eurovision. The contrast was interesting.

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The Internet Ate My Homework

March 28, 2007

I spent an hour hammering on this ?/§!&! French keyboard and hit save. It didn’t save. Suffice it to say we’re in France. More when I’m back on my own keyboard

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Passports lost = 1

March 21, 2007

I lose things all the time. I have probably 20 lighters ‘in circulation’ at any given time, but often I have to go in search of one. Every time I wrap a package, I buy a new roll of tape because I have no idea if I have any or where it might be. I’ve solved my lost socks problem by buying 2 dozen pair, all the same kind at the same time and throwing the old ones away. Not only do I never miss a missing sock, but I spend no time matching or sorting, so I pat myself on the back for practicality.

One might think I’m a scatterbrain, but that’s not true; at least it’s not true when I’m firing on all cylinders. I don’t care about the lighters or the tape, so I don’t exert myself tracking them. But when we’re headed out the door for the bank and R says, “where’s my bankbook?” I can give explicit directions, and I’m not even the bankbook’s keeper.

Once when I was in college, I opened my cupboard to discover an entire loaf of bread was missing. I was disproportionately distressed about that bread, because it wasn’t where I knew it was. By the time my roommate came home and told me that she’d thrown the bread away because her cat had been gnawing on it, I’d already searched the house (including the basement and under the couch.) Not because I thought I might have put the bread under the couch, but because if it wasn’t where I’d put it any alternative location seemed possible.

Slightly more important than a loaf of bread, my passport has never been something that I need to look for. Much like my foot, I just know where it is – always. So today, around the fourth time I re-affirmed that R had his passport (I mean, he does forget where he puts his bankbook, after all) he demanded that I produce mine. When I opened my wallet, it’s absence was so shocking that I closed and reopened my wallet three times, then checked the zippered compartments so small that a passport would have to be cut in thirds to fit. Nope, nada, zilch.

Things have changed since college; I didn’t look in the basement. I did call a friend with a very messy car to see if it had fallen on her floor, and when she said no, I didn’t believe her.  R kept saying the most ridiculous things, like, “It is here, you just have to find it.” IT’S NOT A ROLL OF TAPE! If it wasn’t in my wallet, it was gone. Not that he was all positive – it was well mingled with angry comments about how someone could lose something so important.

But because he kept yammering about it, I thought to pacify him I’d browse through various important paper piles. When I still didn’t find it, panic finally set in and I cried a little. Disgusted with my lack of positive thinking, he went upstairs. He said something I couldn’t hear, so I went to the base of the stairs. While standing there, I fiddled with a National Geographic laying on the bookcase. Do you know where this is going yet?

Right. My passport was lying under the magazine. Two things are important to note. First, that particular magazine has been in the same place for 6 months. Second, I NEVER hide things. I might put them away, but I don’t think under a National Geographic can be considered ‘away.’ All I can think is that I must have put it there on my way to the street market (I never take anything of real value with me because it’s very crowded and I look like a tourist) when I was lacking sleep and running late.

That my passport was lying there under a never-touched magazine is as likely as that I’d find my loaf of bread under the couch. But this time, I don’t think anyone’s going to be able to blame it on a cat.