Nov 26, 2007

La Tramontane

I live in one of the sunniest regions in France. The wind is constantly blowing, sweeping the clouds away and recycling the air, leaving us with a clear blue sky most of the year. Sounds nice, but when 42°F feels like -5° you stop liking it.

70mph gusts of wind are expected for tomorrow.
My dad said i'd better put some coins in my pockets when i go outside, so i don't catch a windride.

"Le vent qui vient à travers la montagne me rendra fou" Victor Hugo. I'm right there with him.

Work it out dad

Physics on a saturday morning:

You had no idea until i pointed it out, sacré papa!

When you pick up your pencil and draw:

Nov 24, 2007

Blue chair jams

Shit, just when i decided to curb my consumption of bread, i got a package in the mail from my friend Rachel: 12 jars of the best jams ever. No kidding - if you don't believe me go try them. Rachel's Blue Chair jams from Oakland and Peyriac-Minervois' country bread are the best combination ever. Oh, did i forget to mention BUTTER?! That thin layer of FAT between the bread and the jam.
I recently noticed that my skinny pants started "grabbing" my calves when i walk. Grab right, grab left, grab right and left, grab right-left, grab right-left, and grab right...(as i'm slowing down) and left... no more grabbing for a moment - i'm standing still. Those pants must've shrunk or something.
12 original flavors in each jar:
- Strawberry – Meyer Lemon w/ Rose Geranium
- Strawberry – Santa Rosa Plum w/ Rosemary
- Apricot Rose
- Tayberry
- Wild Blackberry
- Quince Marmalade
- Flavor King Pluot
- Greengage
- Brown Turkey Fig w/ Sherry and Fennel
- Black Splendor Plum
- Spiced Holiday Plum
- Damson Plum

Nov 21, 2007

The old man and the cat food

An old man and a shopping cart
Filled to the top with cat food cans
When asked how many cats he owned
His answer was an embarrassed "no"
An old man shopping for his friends
The neighborhood cats.

Nov 19, 2007

La Redorte: vide-greniers

A €2 Plastic Bertrand pink vinyl LP is found at a stand amongst many other crappy stands and sold by a gypsy woman whose wide, tanned and rough hands say a lot about an itinerant lifestyle more than likely stripped of basic comfort.
The gypsy settlements outside of the local villages, never too close to other habitations, remind the passer-by of the long history of a shunned community.

As a child, in my grand-parents village, right behind a big maison bourgeoise and next to the edge of a vast vineyard, stood a trailer that was the object of my curiosity. I was told by the other kids to be wary of the gypsies living there. That's my oldest memory of being brainwashed. We wandered several times around that trailer trying to catch a glimpse of a different people, a different lifestyle. I saw two of them once, and while feeling both exultation and fear, i left the scene taking something away with me: the guilty pleasure of having gotten close to something i was supposed to stay away from, and the fertile imagery of an unknown and mysterious world.

Nov 15, 2007

Mid november

It snowed in my backyard today.

Nov 14, 2007

The old lady and the old man

At the village supermarket, if there's an old lady behind you with a single article in her hand, don't bother offering her to go ahead of you because she's already handed her item to the cashier. It's done so naturally that you can't seem to think it should've happened any other way.
There's also this old guy who comes around just to check what's in your cart and what's in the store. He'll actually stand in line with no items in hand and wait for his turn (or something). Today i saw him walk down the road and flick a dead leaf with his cane; he looked so angry at the leaf that he must've used all of his strength to move it out of his way. Who knew an old man's irascibility could stem from one red dried dead leaf.

Nov 13, 2007

Carcassonne's fancy bookstore

A quiet saturday afternoon in the garrigue

San Francisco: an eighteen year old young man gets shot by a fifteen year old teenager because he isn't going down the escalator fast enough.

Nov 8, 2007

Olonzac: vide-greniers (the organized garage sale)

the 1€ stack of 70's cocktail cards.

The one euro Dallas 45 rpm.
I found the soundtrack (french version) to Dallas, in the smallest village in the south of France.
Dallas, one of the many american t.v series that played on french televison. Also the only t.v series translated into french, on moroccan televison in 1979; the one that i would go check out at my girlfriends' when i was 8 years old. My two girlfriends and i played grown ups (my mama's high heels did a lot of back and forth to the candy store) and we'd name ourselves after the texan characters.
When he was a little boy, my friend Patrice got denied his "Dallas" night out at his friend's for having been naughty. He had a fit in his backyard, wearing only his underpants. So gay.
The american soap opera pop culture has left an indelible print on the french mentality; a lot of the later shows such as Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Sex and the City have inspired lower middle class french housewives in the naming of their offspring. The names of some of today's teenagers are the scarlet letters of their mother's addiction.
If you meet a girl named Sarah or Jennifer while visiting France, there's a chance her mother was watching t.v between 1 and 3pm.

French cats

French cats aren't picky.
Soon, the one that's been hiding in the garden and that we've all been feeding unbeknownst to each other will have a seat at the dining table and his own napkin ring. But maybe he'll explode before that, he's probably over a month old and his belly's way larger than his head -shouldn't it be the other way around at that age?
They eat the stinky stuff (cat food) and the good stuff too: saffron rice, green beans, pimientos, mussels, gambas and calamaris (and yes, should you ask, that was paella we fed them.)
They like cheese too (french cats fer sure), steamed potatoes, walnuts... What else have we been feeding those creatures... Expired dairy (still edible though, wouldn't want to get them sick) and we'll come up with new ideas that will keep us astonished in seeing what a cat will actually eat.

10 days later...
They eat lentils too (actually it was lentil soup so that means that they also ate celery, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, paprika and cumin), green peas, raw eggs...

Way later...
Broccoli. The kitty's way bigger, he has a big belly and a round head. His eyes look like marbles, he's round all over, he reminds me of an owl.

A month later...
They eat cauliflower too.
The kitty's legs seem too short—his belly brushes the ground.

Nov 3, 2007


There's a red marble quarry right above the village,
A 40 min walk from our house.
It's an amazingly peaceful place at dusk.
The three of us left alone in a vast, silent pink pit until the sun had set,
Feeling like time had stopped for a precious moment.