Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Espana! A place that can kill you dead.

So Espana del Norte is terrific, and I know it better than I know France. I think if I spoke Spanish (Kindy) instead of French, I would prefer to live in Spain. The people are nicer, the weather is warmer and you can buy ice cubes. Big huge cold ones. French ice cubes are small, they are guarded as preciously as gold, and they smoke. Their ice (Damian) smokes cigarettes.
So I flew into Madrid on July 4th and met up with Antonio, who I know from New York, but who is actually from Vigo, which is in Galicia, which is in Spain at the top left. We were met at the airport by (Tressa) two other Antonios, one an (Devon) older Antonio, and one in girl form. And that is almost all I remember. At Ant's house, his dad had me try all kinds of local ciders and sausages. Ant's dad (also called Antonio), likes me a lot, largely because of my policy of "eat first, ask questions later." I adopted that policy in Africa with chicken heads and what not, and it has served me well ever since. There's nothing people like more than to see you wolf down local cuisine with great relish, real or feigned.

That night we went to the (Kryn) home of The Duke of Spain, called Alberto. He has a terrific house and a terrific grill and a terrific way to do a 4th of July bbq. (Gregan) They use two ingredients: meat and salt. (Keaton) And it is the best meat I have ever gorged on. Then it got late and I thought we would go home. I was so wrong and I would remain wrong for the rest of the trip.
We went to a bar called "Joakim the Drinkin Line." I don't know why it is called that. There is no one called Joakim, there is no line, but there is the other thing. Also the owner is called Kiko and he is a former rugby player and his favorite pastime is hitting me. A lot. And when he can tell I'm about to cry he says, "Kidding! Kidding!" which somehow doesn't soften the blows.
The next day we went to another of the Duke's residences. I met the Duke's sister, who is terrific to behold. She has a boyfriend who is a tool, but hopefully something bad will happen. Not to him, of course, but to their stupid union. (or to him.) (like he falls off a cliff and no one sees it so no one saves him and he floats away to another country) (or drowns).
The next day we got into Alberto's car and started our trip to Pamplona. First we stopped in Madrid. Went to a jazz club that was EEEper-coool (french for "fresh"), and there was this awesome band just improvising the shiz out of their set. But in the background, at first quite faintly, was this whale song. Turns out a "groupie" of sorts (more like group-ER, really(aquatic reference, again), was also freestyling, using the only instrument she knew--her voice. And what a voice it was. If you consider the three best singers of all time to be 1. Sloth from Goonies, 2. Hellen Keller, and 3. A zombie, then this lady would be right up your alley. I took a video, and will try to post it, but I'm not too good at that sort of thing. In this instance, you'll thank me.

The next morning we pressed on toward Pamplona. I tell you, the best way to travel Spain is with some Spaniards. Seems obvious, I know, but if you're just traveling with friends it's easy to forget to pack the Spaniards. Every town we passed is known for some specialty or another, so besides getting free history lessons, I also got to pull over and sample each specialty. If I had a nickle for every time Alberto said, "Eteepical Espaneesh" as he pointed to some ham or some cheese or an octopus on a toothpic, the trip would have paid for itself. Besides foods, towns can also be known for behaviors. We had to stop at Bourgos, because Antonio wanted to demonstrate something he calls "The Bourgos Stare."

He knows people from every town of Spain, sometimes several, and so his stereotypes of each town are based on first hand experience. Apparently the residents of Bourgos have a creepy way of looking past your eyes and into the back of your head. We stopped at a cathedral/bar (gotta love spain) to test the theory. The waitress came with our beverages, and I stared her down as best I could. Antonio didn't dare. I confess, I saw nothing but a waitress with an average stare. Not so much as a lazy eye. But there was a creepy feeling about the town itself. Probably all due to Antonio talking about it for the hour before we got there.

After Bourgos, the next stop was Pamplona for the great festival of San Fermin. San Fermin is Spanish for "You will never see your family again." The place is crawling with disaster. Antonio said he feels like it would have been a good place to go if we were ten years younger. I concurred thoroughly, but that didn't stop any of us from trying our darnedest to die. The drink of choice is called Kalimotxo (Kali-MO-cho), and is a mixture of cheap boxed wine and coca-cola.(Kindra) It's like sangria, but more ghetto, and it eats your stomach like Dow scrubbing bubbles. So then, you have a beverage, you are in your nice white clothes with your red belt and scarf, and you are standing around just waiting. (Damian) Waiting for your white clothes to become purple because passers by have leather sacks called Botes, filled with wine and they spray you down as if to say, "Welcome! I hate you! No, just kidding!" It's confusing. Then you dodge pieces of broken glass and projectile vomit and you walk over bodies and tell yourself they're just sleeping. Just sleeping on a comfortable bed of fresh blood, and the bed is growing steadily and their ankle is twitching but that's just the caffeine from the Kalimotxo. And this (Tressa) continues until 8am when the bulls are released. (The Twins) They block off the streets and open the gates. Everyone panicks and runs and then the bulls go past and then they go, "hmm. not that dangerous after all." So they run after the bulls and see if they can't get injured somehow anyway. Then they go home to sleep from about 10am to 5pm, then have chicken broth for breakfast and walk around gingerly until the strength to repeat the process returns. (Keaton)
So, in case you didn't realize, the "they" in that story was me. And Ant and Alberto. Along the way we met up with all sorts of characters, including Jeff, a 60-something englishman who used to be a roadie for some big metal bands. One of the first things he said to us was "Sorry mates, I haven't any cocaine on me, just hash. If you want weed, cocaine or anything else (wink), ask me son there." Don't know what the wink meant. Heroin? Also: parenting fail, anyone? His son looked like he was about 15 and had this look on his face like, "Don't leave me alone with him. You don't know what he's like." Well, we just said no of course, like my mom and the one-boobed first lady always said.

We met all kinds of lovely ladies, and I learned the most useful word in the Spanish language: Piquitos. You say it with a camera in your hand and you instantly get kissed. It's like a spell that no Spaniard can resist.
On one of the nights we went to a bullfight to see what happens to those handsome animals that sometimes kill people on their way to the ring. We got seats up with the season ticket holders, many of which are old ladies. Old, bloodlusting ladies. They sure do appreciate a good kill. Bullfighting is, and here you're getting it from someone widely suspected to be a murderer himself, a barbaric sport that can be pretty hard to watch. First a dude on an armored horse comes out and stabs the bull's hump with a long stick, which gets some applause for some reason. Once in a while the bull will turn the horse over, which is exciting. Then the guy with the little colored pokey things comes out and buries a few in the bull. Pretty cool. Then the matador comes out to finish the job. By this time the bull's pretty weak, so the matador can pull off tricks like dodging a charge on his knees or without looking at the bull. Then he takes his killing sword and tries to stick it into the charging bull's neck. Of the 6 bulls we saw, only 1 was successfully killed that way. To reward the good kill, the matador got an ear of the bull. Apparently if he does really well he gets both ears. A super good kill and he gets the ears and the tail. Such dreams! Maybe if I were rewarded with body parts I would do better at my job too, instead of blogging all day.
Ok, so that's a post for today. I still have to cover the rest of the trip to Spain and Bastille day and Beaune, but this is already too long. I sprinkled your names throughout because I know how you like to skim through and see yourselves. It's the only way to keep you interested. I want you to think about that for a while.

Forgot My Password

THAT'S why it's been so long since I posted. Couldn't log in. Just couldn't! Also, there is the fact that so many events have happened that tackling them all just seems like such a daunting task that it's better to just forget they ever happened.
Ok, I'll make an effort. Starting with my trip to Spain. Then I will cover Bastille Day. Then I will cover my first trip outside Paris but still in France. Went to a place called Beaune. Pronounced Bone. For real! Went to Bone! Anyway. I will break it into different posts for your reading convenience. Starting now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Guessing Game!

Ok, this isn't trying to pass as a real post, of course. It's mostly because Gregan was badgering me about how long it's been since I've updated. It has been a while, but with good excuse. I was gallivanting about Spain for the past week and a half. Then I got sick. Yes, the two events are very likely connected.
Also, in between Spain and sick there was Bastille Day. Pictures and videos of all that to come, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow. For today, though, I wanted to share something that I learned about the French on Bastille Day. Something that I knew my family would love. It is this:
When someone in France does something stupid, that frenchy's friends might say, "Quel blaireau."
Eleventy thousand points to whoever gets the translation first and uses it in a sentence. Twelvety thousand if they include a picture (or link to one).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Freaky Froggy Friday!

Introducing a new feature of my blog: every Friday I will educate you on the idiosyncracies of the French people. Why Friday? Because it starts with F. Of course, I will dispense with the simple things that you already know because of how accurately movies and American comedians portray these people. I will assume you already know that they are afraid of razors, deodorant and soap and water, and that the government requires each citizen to wear a beret and never be more than 3 feet--sorry, 1 METRE--from a baguette.

So, for the inaugural feature post, how about this: They freaking LOOOOVE nude stockings. Can't get enough of them. Young girls, old women, and I suspect a few of the men as well. They will wear them under jeans, under skirts, or under another pair of nude hose. When I drew attention to this phenomenon, some people suggested that it was to combat the cold, but I have seen no abatement on days that reach into the 80's--sorry, high 20's and low 30's. The only conclusion I can draw is that they think they're cool.
Well, Frenchies, I'm not one to judge, but they're totally not cool one little bit, and anyone who wears them is a bad person.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Faisons La Fete!

This is how France gets down. Every summer equinox there's this huge Fete where every horrible musician takes to the streets with his or her guitar/tambourine/dj equipment/baguette and competes for attention against every other horrible musician. I enjoyed it immensely. Here is a video of some great dancing.
Awesome, right? They think that's the correct way to do it! Silly europeans.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wedding festivities from afar

Watch my videos! Now that I know how to put them up, you'll be begging me to stop. Especially after you see the view from my balcony.

Man. Actually, you won't have to beg that much. These things take a while to load. Enjoy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jorky Jorky Jorky!

So NOOOW I learned how to put up a video that isn't just a link. Feels real good. Almost as good as a Jorkyball goal. Does anyone know what Jorkyball is? It seems like one of the twins had talked about it at some point and tried to explain it but could not. Anyway, we had an office tournament last night. Today everyone is quite sore. The Italians took first (because they cheated, as everyone knows Italians are wont to do), but me and this dude Christophe took second, and my value as a free agent is pretttty high right now. In the video you can hear me screaming for the ball to go in, and it worked, but the videographer missed the actual goal. You can also hear two people talking about whether or not I played college jorky. Pretty glorious night. Mom had asked if there's anything I do besides drink. Well now there is!
Oh, also, happy wedding day, Kin! Git some! Git it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Call for Entries!

So, old girlfriend and current regular friend Laura Leu is making a new blog called "unamusementpark.com." It's basically a bunch of shots of kids either hating something that's supposed to be fun or otherwise ruining the day by peeing/puking on things/people. Just off the top of my head I thought of Ava's chucky face on the salem days ride, and zade peeing at the church function. Got any other gems?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Look who's so fancy and knows how to do videos!

Not just Damian and Devon anymore. I'm joining the club. Watch this. Yeah, the video isn't that great, but it gives you your first glimpse of chez moi. And, as it turns out, I'm not quite on the Devon and Damian level yet. All I can do is link to youtube. It's a start.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just saying.

I took this picture, not to show you what a french girl looks like when she's trying to make a point, but rather to show you what it looks like at 10 pm in France in May. That's right. Still light out. And the days are only getting longer. Of course this means that in the winter time I'll be going to and from work in the dark, even if I get into the office at 10 and leave at 3:30, but still. Carpe diem, yes?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BLog the whatever: in which Jaron abandons that silly format and updates you on some goings-ons

Hey there! So I'm in France, as you can tell by the way I'm sneering as I type this. The first thing you notice about France is that they hate me. They hate everyone. Yesterday I was at the supermarket and I wanted to buy some apples and tomatoes. It is not an easy thing to do. You have to put them on the scale yourself and then find a picture of the food on a huge board and enter the code. The checkout girl can't be bothered. She fussed with her nails as she mumbled instructions and did everything in her power to avoid eye contact. I didn't understand at all what was going on and people behind me were getting mad. Finally I figured it out and pushed some random buttons. I think I paid for artichokes, but I was so flustered I didn't care. Then they just sit there waiting for you to bag your own groceries. They have the bags though, so they wait until you ask for them and THEN bag them. I got two flimsy plastic bags to put my 30 lbs of food into. I barely made it to my apartment when they exploded. Could have been worse. I cooked dinner for myself last night. I made a mixed greens salad with tomatoes and a vinaigrette dressing that I learned to make in New York. Just oil, balsamic vinaigre, a bit of sugar and some dijon mustard (this particular variety had pesto in it...magnifique!). I also cooked some egg rolls in the oven, which turned out disgusting. And of course a baguette. I eat every meal outdoors. I have a terrace that is simply merveilleux.
I have taken some pictures and video but the cord to my camera is in my stuff that I had shipped over and apparently it will take another month or so for that stuff to clear customs. Oh, the french! They are so slow. And there is no incentive for them to be nice to you because it's nearly impossible to fire a frenchie. The employers are obligated to pay them about 15 years' severance, so they typically just don't bother. If it's a question of poor job performance you can fire them, but then you have to prove in court that they were inept, and that is next to impossible, since the whole country is inept.
They do have a fantastic vacation schedule. This weekend is a 4 day weekend. Last weekend was a 3 day, so was the one before that. The Y&R office requires you to take one free day off per month on top of all that. All paid, of course. The French are paid for everything.
So far I still don't have a bank account or a phone. Those are important things, I think you will agree. I'll feel much more settled once I have checked off a few essentials.
As far as work goes, I love the office. We are on the first floor and to the right and left of me are big open courtyards full of smoking frenchies. They sip little espressos and chain smoke, and in their free time they do advertising.
I think I'll have the opportunity to do some good work here though. The team is structured very simply. We have one boss, and he sits across from me at my table. If any of us wants to run something by him, we just do it. Instant feedback. Good progress.
All right. I'll try to find a picture to go with this post. Maybe just go to Google and type in n'importe quoi and post the first pic that comes up.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blog the 11th: Wherein Jaron posts his next coordinates.

That's right. I have put a deposit down on an apartment. C'est un peu petit, but ca va aller. It's just for a few months until another one I like opens up.
Reading the posting, you might think that it was written by a lady who's a notta speaka english pretty good. Well, it was written by an American who has lived in Paris so long she has forgotten her native tongue. Just like that girl, Stands With a Fist. She doesn't like to make the talk.
Maybe I'll find a picture of her so this post can have a picture.

Also, I feel like I haven't been linking enough in my blog. I'll do better in the future.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Blog the 10th: In which Jaron shares some news at last.

So, it looks like I'm starting work in Paris on May 11th! That means I have a week to sell my bed, couch and TV, find an apartment in Paris, give a ton of clothes to charity (sorry, Keats, I need the tax break, Obama's breaking my back--am I right, Damian and Devon?), and watch a bunch of French films.
More later. Just thought I'd go BLAAAOOWWWW!!! Like that.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blog the 9th: in which Jaron wins a bet.

A new poll! I will now tell two jokes, and you will vote on which one is funniest. I will not tell you which joke I said is funniest, because it is obvious to me that you people will know without any prompting. I told one, and a friend told one, and she insists that her joke is funny and mine is not. I said I'd put it up to a vote, and I predicted that at least 80% of respondents would side with me. So. I'm confident. Here you go.

Joke 1.

A panda walks into a bar and orders a sandwich. After he eats the sandwich, the bartender drops off his check. The panda doesn't even look at the check. He pulls out a revolver and blasts the bartender in the face and takes off without paying. Another patron finds this behavior to be a bit extreme. Then someone pulls out an encyclopedia and turns to P, for panda. Under the listing for panda it says: Eats shoots and leaves.

Joke 2.

Why was 6 afraid of 7?
Because seven eight (ate) nine.

Now it is up to you and your good taste to settle the bet. I'm not sweating this at all. Actually, now that both jokes are in print I'm almost embarrassed to have to do this at all. But I said I would, so I am.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blog the 8th: Dance Party!!!!!!!!!

I'm still alive. Been a bit busy. But not too busy to keep you groovin'! Make 'em bounce now!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blog the 7th. In which Jaron rings the dinner bell.

Firstly, I need to express my surprise and a little disappointment that only one person voted for the black candidate. And that person was me. I initially voted polynesian, but changed it so it wouldn't look like such a landslide victory for ALL the other races.

Seriously. It's 2009. We put a black man in the White House, but you won't put one in your crock pot? Looks like we still have a looooong way to go.

Anyway, ladies and gentleman, we have a winner! Polynesian. No surprise. Fed on good wholesome foods (and a LOT of them), they tend to be perfectly marbled by nature's goodness.

Here is a recipe you might want to try.

Jaron’s Tangy Poly-Roast

1 large red onion, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 diced red pepper
1 diced green pepper
2 8oz. cans pineapple juice
3 c. shredded coconut
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 coconuts (whole)
1 refrigerator box
1 Medium-sized Polynesian (female, if you can get it), aged 18-36

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, combine oil, onion, garlic and peppers. Sautee until peppers are soft.

Into the refrigerator box, add the two whole coconuts along with the Polynesian. Roll down standard sized stair case three times or until desired tenderness.

Place tenderized Polynesian into a large Corningware roaster.

Add sautéed vegetables and pineapple juice.

Bake for 1 hr. 45 minutes, covered, then add the salt and shredded coconut.

Remove cover and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Serves 4.

Photo credit: Flickr
Photoshop credit: Jarrell. You get a cookie.

Blog the Sixth: In which Jaron proves he can keep something going longer than a week.

Here's some passover fun for you!

Cute, huh? Soooo cute!

Also, there is news. I'm moving. To Tumblr. (You thought I was going to say Paris. Hilarious!)

Apparently Tumblr is the easiest way to post photos and videos and everything else I always dreamed a blog should have. And as my last post showed, I have very little aptitude for things that are more complicated than the wheel or the lever.

I am currently figuring out how to transfer this blog over to Tumblr, and if it goes well, I will try to take the family with me.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blog the Fifth: In which Jaron discovers a site that will help him kill 8 hours, easy!

Omegle. You are instantly put in touch with a stranger from the internet! What could be safer or more fun? Here are a few screen grabs of some of today's conversations between me and some new friends. Sadly, I haven't learned how to do pictures with captions under them. The captions are at the bottom, very sloppily slopped together.
(Click to see bigger)

1. First, the age old question:

2. Then a little experiment on what it takes to silence a fool.
The first chap just gets it.

3. English as a second language meets murder as a second hobby:

4. Mind games.

5. You can find people with your same interests!

6. This guy just ran for it.

7. Have fun with strangers, but be responsible!

Now go and do!

Blog the Fourth: In Which Jaron Ponders a Career in Rap Music

Today, whilst looking for a way to kill the 8 hours I'm required to spend lounging around here, I took up rap. Turns out it's a piece of cake. Enjoy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blog the Third: In Which Jaron Attempts to Atone for the Previous Blog, Posted in Bad Taste

This is Rocky. The best Boston Terrier I have ever met. I hesitate to put him above all other dogs because I know Spiche reads these blogs regularly and she would be offended. Plus, I'm not sure if any of Rocky's tricks can top Spiche's feat of snatching a homemade tortilla from one of Mom's friends. Rocky's interests include: Balls, Yoga, Heart Attacking, Dry Food Topped with Wet Food and Microwaved for 20 Seconds, Jabberjawing with Bigger Dogs, The Sneak and Sniff (where you pretend you're not interested in sniffing another dog, and you walk past the dog, only to quickly turn around and sniff their butt, then dart away before the other dog can sniff you back), and Tug of War.

Rocky is not what you'd call "trained" in the classical sense. He's what Sue calls a free spirit, which means he can shred what he wants, when he wants.

When Rocky is caught doing something he knows will hurt someone's feelings, he becomes "bald," meaning his ears go flat on his head. As he tries to assess whether or not he has been forgiven, he will put one ear up. This phase is known as "helicoptering."

Anyway. He's quite a dog. If Spiche ever decides to finally visit me in New York (as she's been promising for the past 5 years), I will gladly arrange a meeting, and I will hold Rocky still long enough for Spiche to get equal sniffing time.

Rocky, I celebrate your courage and your strength.

Blog the Second

I could go on and on about Blog the First, Second, Third, and so on. Never giving away the topic in the title, but always reminding myself how many blogs I've done. I'll have to think about whether I want to go in that direction or whether I'll want to be clever. Oh! I've got it.

Blog the Second: In Which Jaron Debates Whether to Title Blogs or Number Them.

And now to try a photograph.

To the left, you should see a turd.

Blog the First

I have spent the morning IMing friends, asking them what I should be doing with my day. No one could help me because they are all busy working. I am not working. I am checking family blogs, failblog, and this blog about a Boston Terrier* that I have really been into. I just learned how to link. I think it adds a real dose of sophistication to a blog. Also, I will try to reference Wikipedia as often as I can.
Anyway, the point of this post, if you couldn't tell already, is that since I have nothing to do I have decided to go ahead and make a blog, so that one day when your day is slow, you might be able to peruse my blogs as I have perused yours.
Also, I think I'll be able to update more regularly than, say, Kindy (for whom I suspect blogging was just a way to kill time until she could finally post a ring shot), since I have stopped working while I wait to be transferred to Paname, (qui se trouve dans l'hexagone).
Alors. Ca commence.

*Sue has requested her due credit for being the person who introduced me to Joe Stains. I was wrong to omit her part in making that blog a part of my daily routine. You may or may not know that Sue also has a Boston Terrier. His name is Rocky, and he's not big on people, and he has a ball obsession, a lot of personality, and he's putting on a little weight, lately.