Thursday, March 29, 2012

A table from Dave and a table named Dave

Tuesday I scoured the Paris Craigslist 'Garage Sale' and found a few jems that I ran around picking up yesterday. Everyone stares at everyone in Paris, part of the fun of living here is to see what everyone is wearing. I got particular stares though as I was wearing my baggy jeans, trail shoes, a woodstock t-shirt, and a hoodie while carrying a table under my arm. That's just not really done in Paris. Collecting peoples junk and making it my own is one of the things that makes me feel at home. So that's the black desk from a guy named Dave that cost me 10€. I also collected a laptop table named Dave for another 10€. The tea pot in the corner was 2€ I got some skirts 2€, a dress 5€ and a blender 8€. The guitar was given to me, it's been passed down a few times by people leaving Paris (to be reclaimed if they should return). The books were 1€ each and don't know it yet but are about to be cut up for stationary purposes.

The best thing about running around yesterday was discovering three new area's of Paris, in particular a ten minute walk from my house is a whole natural friendly area. I stopped at a place that looked like Live but food like Fresh so I felt at home and energized with a great meal (yay for good coffee, fresh juice and no white bread!) I had a great petit dejeuner for 5,50€ while I figured out the confusion of two appointments booked at 11, one for a white table named Dave and a black table from a guy named Dave. The blender was easier to pick up and gave me lots of fashionable people to check out. (thankfully I had changed for work by then) Some of the best things I saw yesterday were a lot of really cool colourful shoes and two practically shirtless really buff men walking tiny dogs. I will have to start carrying my camera around again to snap the summer trends.

I also learned this week how women with children and no car can go grocery shopping in heels: Delivery service. The Monoprix by my place has free delivery for purchases over 50€. My roommate and I loaded up the cart, brought it to the check out, then a few hour's later it was delivered right to our door. I live on the fourth floor with no elevator so lugging groceries is one exercise I don't mind erasing.

Second City Unscripted By Mike Thomas

I love the second city. I've gone to their shows in Toronto and encourage others to go. I've wanted to take a class there for years and was finally able to this past summer. I took the writing class and am slightly jealous of everyone who is continuing in all the levels. If I was in Toronto right now I would want to make that place my home and dive into the community.

Since I'm far away from Toronto I've taken to reading books by comics and specifically a book complied of interviews about the second city from those who were closest to it. It's the first time I've read a history book that touched on history I was a part of. The book starts in 1959 and through words of crew and cast takes you to 2009. How they kept their structure, who says what about whom, who held things together and how crazy the cast members could get. I like reading about how people started and so many great comics that I admire graced the stage or school of second city.

So much of it made me laugh and it was really neat to read about different sketches and characters that didn't always work on stage but made up so many popular movies and tv shows. I love the life philosophy of improvisation, the 'Yes, and...' If you're in Toronto check out the John Candy Box theatre for their Improv nights. It used to be on Monday but might have changed to Fridays at 70 Peter st.

My motto is "as long as someone's laughing" so if you have funny books to recommend please do!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Poem: On Writers Block

 On Writers Block
I'm a coffee drinking
Writing, maniac
Without the coffee
Without the writing
 I'd just be a maniac

My works are so special
that its hard to get the
words on the page
because they scatter
like roaches
when I try to grab them all at once
seen for a moment then
running away
as if catching them
on paper is a cruel
form of preservation
which wont allow them to
multiply and breed for
another ten years
there's so many out there now
so many tangents
and story lines and characters
scurrying about
surely it wont be cruel
to catch one or two
immortalize them in print
(as much as print is non-immortal)
If they just run around
They SEEM more immortal
I have to convince them,
these words.
That this is not so,
One day my brain will be
mush and dead and decaying
and all these imaginations
eaten by worms,
trapped in an unspeaking
indistinguishable  vessel.

They must come through me
all these words strung
together as a forged chain of
powerful links of prose
that runs through another's mind
like water running peacefully
or agitated over the earth
Not like water in your hands
that you can't grasp
Have I lost you yet?
Water that gets collected
in a pool thats ready for drinking
or starring into
or swimming in.  

Are you ready cockroach words?
To make such a transformation?
Water is more indestructible
then a roach so hopefully
you'll be obedient to the change
and manipulate yourself
into something others can see
not just in me
behind my eyes but in front
running off another's tongue
as you get picked up and

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Andrew Bird & a Croque Madam s'il te plait

 I'm at my favourite cafe with internet (a.k.a the only place to get internet besides McDonalds) enjoying a Croque madam with Salad and a decent coffee.

A couple weeks ago now I went to a concert here in Paris for Andrew Bird. I bought his cd at the concert and have shared it with everyone in my dropbox because I really love sharing music and he's worth sharing. What makes Andrew different is he plays violin in a really neat way. The way people play spanish guitar he takes the same approach to the violin. He also loops tracks so within a song so he can play different instruments. I was also impressed with Martin Dosh who opened the show looping percussion. I can't really find a decent video to show their looping skills but click on their names to get directly to their music. I think these might be my three faves from "Break it yourself"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Khan Academy on 60mns

I've liked Khan Academy since I saw it on Ted Talks which I posted here. (Funny enough it was exactly a year ago today that I posted the link)
This is the latest news update on its growing influence in education today.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Pilgrim’s Perspective By Jenn Ambrose

My awesome Camino friend Jenn was recently published in
I've mentioned Jenn in a previous post Will you walk with me to the ends of the earth . I hope you love this article as much as I do...

A Pilgrim’s Perspective By Jenn Ambrose

The night before I leave for Roncesvalles, I am furiously typing to my best friend: “What if it’s just a walk? What if there isn’t anything more? What if I’m trying to make meaning, and there really isn’t any?”

After four and a half long years of college I had become jaded and stuck in the world of conceptual rhetoric that comes with the ivory tower of higher education. I needed exposure to the tangible and the real, a lesson in existential geography where my learning was based in relationships instead of study guides. So, I fell victim to the same serendipity that has brought many pilgrims to the Camino de Santiago.

I had an incredible 30 days of walking 400 miles of the Camino. I found a rhythm that brought my feet to the path hours before I would have even questioned if I wanted to get out of bed that day. I met people who seemed to arrive in my life exactly when I needed them to, challenging and altering my perspectives of achievement and value. Every day, autumn leaves in the resting vineyards of La Rioja and the enchanted forests of Galicia would whisper of change and beauty.

I reached Santiago in a state of gratitude and elation that was to be expected; yet I had no sense of completion. The cathedral was beautiful, but I continued west. For three more days I walked, and at the sight of the ocean, I suddenly felt like I had walked a long way. I was overcome with something I will never attempt to explain, and wrote this:

I reach a crest and see the end of my pilgrimage. It is not a construction of man whose importance or glory has to be taught from an early age and constantly reminded by images, books, or lectures; no, it is a place whose glory is so immense that it cannot be captured in images, books, or lectures, even when we try. Meaning does exist. And we attempt to explain it with words. When our metaphor of language fails to communicate meaning, it is not that meaning doesn’t exist. It’s that our language is inadequate. 

The Camino gives space for a visceral voice to arise, one that is usually clouded by thoughts. May we all seek a truth and meaning that is grounded in our experiences. Buen Camino.✦

For the full publication click here