Friday, February 29, 2008

MOTORMOUTH

I have been running my mouth off at 120mph like a runaway pickup truck on a chase for two weeks straight now to anyone who will listen. I will HAPPILY listen to ANYTHING you want to talk about. ANYTHING. In as MUCH detail as possible, start from the beginning and use as many words as possible.
I am listening and understanding every word you say to me.
And after you are done speaking, I want to discuss every possible aspect and angle of what you just spoke to me about, in as much detail and using as many words as possible.
And when you wake up in the morning, I will be on your couch, wide awake and smiling since 6:43AM and I will say to you "Good morning!" and then we will talk FOR AN ENTIRE DAY WITHOUT STOPPING.
PAR-LEZ MOI.
JE SUIS LA.

Especially shopkeepers. It took me a few days to realize what I was doing. I am just working off all the internal fear I have in Paris when approaching a shopkeeper....my internal monologue usually reading something to affect of "for the love of God PLEEEEEEEASE DO NOT SPEAK TO ME...PLEASE OH PLEASE I will do anything, I will become ANYTHING if ONLY you will NEVER EVER NOT EVER SAY ONE SINGLE THING to me....DON'T LOOK AT ME, DON'T EVEN LOOK AT ME! DO...NOT..LOOK...AT....ME!!!....oh my god she is looking at me. SHE IS LOOKING AT ME. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME???!#$! RUUUUNNNNNN!!!!!! etc etc etc."

VS.

This morning. Wandered into a bodega, spent 15 minutes leisurely looking at every bottle of juice available. Man walks by and bumps into me. I cheerily respond with an "Oops! Hiee! Excuse me!" with a smile. Saunter up to shopkeeper, place juice on counter with a huge sigh.

ME: Hi. I just LOOOVE blueberries.
SK: (half smile)
ME: Blueberries are my FAVORITE.
SK: Uh huh. (ringing up total)
ME: I think this juice is new. Like, I haven't seen this juice before I moved away. I used to live right down the street from here but now I live in France...
SK: $3.99.
ME: ..cause my husband is French and I decided to move there but I haven't tried any blueberries there yet. (handing him a $20) Sure is colder here!
SK: Uh huh. (handing change back)
(pause while I measure conversation potential, decide to drop it as the response has been lukewarm at best so far, will stop at bagel store on the way home as chances are better and there are always at least three people behind the counter)
ME: Well, it was nice talking to you! Have a great day and hey, stay warm! (said with my finger pointed at him and clicking noise made with tongue)
SK: Blank stare.

As I left the store, I thought to myself...stay warm? Since when have I EVER told ANYONE to "stay warm"? I think I am just panicking before I go back to retardation land on Monday. Gotta get all my well wishes in now.
NOTE TO SELF: Must get "stay warm" translated asap.

Friday, February 22, 2008

MOUNTAIN MAMA

TWO MONTHS AGO....

FB: "Wanna go skiing in the Alps for a week in March?"
ME: "hahahahahahahahahaha"
FB: "I'm serious. Do you want to go?"
ME: "The last time I was on skis I was 11 and it was on a small bump on the earth called Vernon Valley in Jersey. OF COURSE I'LL GO TO THE FRICKIN' ALPS!"

TODAY....

If you ever want to listen to the most annoying conversations of your life, hang out in a ski store where lots of loud rich people make stupid comments, like the woman who I could hear from across the store screaming to her husband "I DON'T KNOW WHICH LOOKS BETTAH AWN ME, THAH BROWN OR THAH BLACK!!?" to which he bellowed back "JUST BUY THEM BOTH!" (price tag on those $349 fyi, thanks for unsolicited advertisement for overt consumerism, Mr. & Mrs. Jerkoff).

I need a ski outfit. Fast. And in my naivete I thought it would be easy to find...all I want is something inappropriately tight in leopard print or fuscia where I could zip the front down after I effortlessly breeze down the bunny slope and whip out my chapstick. Oh and I want light up goggles too. What is so difficult about this???

STORE #1:
SALESLADY: Can I help you?
ME: Yeah. I don't know JACK about skiing but apparently I am going to the Alps in two weeks and I need a super hot outfit. Do you have anything more sparkly or like, WAY tighter than what's out here?
SALESLADY: No. Not really.
ME: Why is everything BROWN?
SALESLADY: (brightening) Yes, brown is VERY IN this season.
ME: I guess if you want to look like a turd rolling down a mountain. Weird.

STORE #2:
I find a one piece white snowboarding jumpsuit. I try it on and now I look like a pilot for Antarctica Air. Or an astronaut. But not a hot astronaut. Why does everyone need so much ROOM in ski clothes? I just want to look HOT. Upon exiting the dressing room:

SALESLADY: How did it fit?
ME: Really bad.
SALESLADY: Oh, I thought for SURE you would look like a a million bucks in that!
ME: Well, I looked like $1.89...
SALESLADY: That CAN'T be true.
ME: ...in a Hazmat suit.
SALESLADY: (blank stare)
ME: I'm gonna go to decontamination now, thanks anyway.

I'm running out of time here....one more store to go to tomorrow and then I might have to pull the big guns out and hike it to Jersey. They MUST have inappropriately tight leopard print there!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WHO'S THE FOX?


My mother has passed on many things to me in my life...namely....
1. All her disco dresses
2. Her cackly laugh
3. Her "I can drill a hole in your head and set you on FIRE" stare
4. Fantastic hair genes and general FOXiness

Have been in New York for a few days now and spent one night with my Mom. After showing her the above picture of me in her dress, she then found the above pictures of her taken at the same age.

Yes, I know our hair is a genetic wonder of the world (said while flipping hair back dramatically). Thanks, Mom!

Friday, February 15, 2008

LATER.

Tomorrow morning I leave for NYC for two weeks to finish recording the vocals on my album. Was just informed that the title I was planning on using (Walk It Off) is the title of the new Breeders album.
Great.
Thanks Breeders.
Why you have to rip my goods?

Yesterday was my last day of French class until April when I return from mixing/mastering in London. It was sunny outside and French Interrogator was in rare form today. I just rolled my eyes the whole class as she berated and said stuff I don't understand anyway. All I could think was, "um, aren't we supposed to be having a pizza party or something?"
Whatever, lady.
I'm OUTTA here!

Stay sweet,

Dana
(I'll be posting sporadically for the next two weeks...)
video

Thursday, February 14, 2008

CHEDDAR MAKES THE WORLD GO 'ROUND - DAY 49

My favorite shop in Paris and my most favorite store I have ever been in my life EVER - past, present and probably future is La Grande Epicerie. I know I know I KNOW, it's the "expensive/bougiiiieeeee" place to shop but every time I walk through those doors, I have the hyperventilation of a 5 year old entering Chuck E. Cheese. Despite my rudimentary cooking skills, food has always been my favorite thing/past-time/obsession in the world. I could and have spent hours in the grocery store, looking at every jar, inspecting every label, every pretty picture, imagining what's inside every package. I go at least once a week now and spend about two hours inspecting the goods and stocking up on foreign labeled goods. Just slap an "old timey" label on something and I am the idiot/sucker spending 11 euro on some butter cookies. But they are filled with REAL BUTTER. And a picture of A REAL OLD TIMEY girl with BRAIDS on the label. And it's EUROPEAN too which means it's like, WAY REALER.

The one thing in my life that I have mourned since moving to Paris though is the death of yellow cheddar. I don't know if you know personally the magic and the glory of yellow cheddar, but it can make anything taste a billion trillion zillion times better. I have heaped and melted yellow cheddar on just about every dish you can think of and it's absence has been a real blow to my innermost soul. I mean, a tuna melt with brie? Ew. A hot dog covered in roquefort? Gross.

The other day I was meandering my way through La Grande Epicerie when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the old familiar fake orange color. My heart skipped a beat and before I could convince myself it was only an apparition....there it was. Right in front of me....
YELLOW CHEDDAR COCKTAIL BITES.
THE REAL DEAL.
JACKPOT!
"OH MY GOD!" (hyperventilating) I exclaimed and actually teared up as I hugged the little container and promised to love it more than anyone could ever love it EVER.

In the privacy of my own home for the past week, I have been adding my little precious cocktail cheddars to every single meal. Did you know that yogurt tastes awesome with cheddar? How about a salad? Did someone say a CHEDDAR salad? Hmm, this steak tastes great. WITH CHEDDAR! Today I made the most delicious creation ever known to humankind and maybe even the martian world too.....

CHEDDAR SMOTHERED QUAIL EGGS


I don't care what anyone says, especially food snobs. This was, by far, the most delicious meal I ever made and I savored every last bite, crying with joy by myself in my kitchen watching French soap operas.
With cheddar.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CE QUE TU DIS

This is the first installment in a series of short films we are making entitled "CE QUE TU DIS". Inspired by my prowess in French class and my general language domination skills, it explores the uncharted territories of the great language divide.
Enjoy.
More to come....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

INTERVENTION

I am happy to report there's been a food intervention in my kitchen. Before the flames were able to engulf ALL who enter, my friend Corey showed up in France with a mission to teach this girl some cooking skills. We went exploring to some random neighborhoods and much to our delight, stumbled upon Chinatown and all the Asian markets. Corey spent a month in Thailand last year and got an amazing recipe for Tom Kha Gai soup from a family she stayed with so we gathered all the ingredients, came back to my incendiary kitchen where I stuck a video camera in her face and made her explain the whole thing from A to Z. Visual guides are KEY. When FB got home, I could see the look of relief in his eyes. It's called hope.

The next day we picked up a blank art book and Corey spent the next two days cutting out pictures from magazines, pasting and coloring to make me THIS.....
MY VERY OWN COOKBOOK. There's a new rule in my apartment. If you come to visit me, you have to write a recipe in my cookbook along with a visual demonstration of some sort.

And in return, I'll teach you how to look trés francaise.....merci, Corey....xoxo...bon voyage.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

PIANO HANDS - DAY 45

Somewhere across the ocean or on a boat in the the middle of the ocean are my beloved accordions along with all my music gear, floating their way over to me from New York. Sometimes I think about them and try to imagine where they might be, if they are cold and if they miss being played by me. Instead, I have been playing an inordinate amount of piano lately as there is a grand piano in our apartment. I have not had a real piano in 15 years as my apartments were always too small to accommodate one. The ability to sit at this piano and stare out the window while playing for hours on end has been the best gift I have received in a long, long time. Actually, maybe EVER. While I work on finishing my album in these next two months, I am learning some random obscure songs to add to my ever-growing set list and I am also brushing up on my classical repertoire.

I have been given the gift of TIME and I plan on savoring every last moment of it. Slowly letting the manic New York way I spent my life escape me and falling gratefully into the circle of Parisian time instead....lala.....merci....

I feel something waking up in me as I wrap my head around the concept of focusing only on what I love and what I am the best at...music. I am not stealing time from someone else's day, I am not trying to live two lives being exhausted after a 12 hour day at a corporate job and starting my creative life on a fixed schedule from 10PM-12AM. I don't have a boss to answer to or work email to constantly check anymore. I have had a "job " since I was 12 years old and pioneered my first company, Babysitter's Inc. (ever the capitalist, I made t-shirts, took out an ad in the local newsletter and acted as the booker for my "girls").

All this freedom is new to me and I still fight the guilty feeling, as though it will be taken away from me any moment....but it won't because now that I have it, I am going to make it stick. I'll just make some t-shirts and a newsletter, get some new girls to work for me and make this last forever.

Friday, February 08, 2008

RODIN + JETLAG

I am a firm believer in impulsive behavior. My friend Corey decided on Monday night she would fly to Paris on Tuesday to come see me. ROCK. She arrived Wednesday morning after a no-sleep flight and we decided to go the Rodin Museum. It has always been my absolutely favorite museum in Paris and after wandering through the amazing old house surrounded by incredible sculpture everywhere, I had one thing to say....HOT.
His sculptures are so incredibly erotic and beautiful, it took all my will power not to reach out and touch every single one.
Corey, on the other hand, had a slightly different reaction.....
video

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

OPPOSITE DAY - DAY 41

Some people move to Paris, take up smoking and learn how to cook amazing meals. I, on the other hand, moved to Paris, quit smoking and promptly became the worst cook on the face of the planet. This is what I accidentally made for breakfast today.

It's supposed to be toast.
Sigh.

Yes, just another day in my delicious kitchen adding yet another dish to my ever growing list of fiery disasters. I'm getting really tired of the mad dash to the kitchen window to let the smoke out but whatever. I never said I was a good housewife. Time to find out where the Chinese take-out is.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

RETURN OF THE NINJA


I'd been waiting for this moment since I arrived in Paris....maybe even for my whole life. I was starting to think it would never come. But I waited. Quietly, patiently, diligently and with the unspoken confidence that eventually....it would come.
And come to pass it DID. Yesterday the opportunity presented itself in more glory than I could have EVER hoped for.
I compared myself to Bruce Lee in the same sentence.
In French.
In conversation.
To a group of strangers.

Kung Fu Dana is BACK!
SHAZAAAAAM!

PLACE: French class
CHARACTERS:
Beaten down American girl, 30s, with Ninja roots, angry, alone, nowhere to go but UP, looking for any opportunity to pounce.
French Interrogator, woman, 50s, with balls of steel and a mouth to match
15 foreign witnesses

I have gotten used to things changing at the drop of the hat here due to the great language divide. I'll feel like the queen of the world one moment but it doesn't take much to send me reeling down in a fit of confusion. I call it the retardation roller coaster and I never know when the next giant hill is coming. Sometimes I understand a lot of what my French Interrogator (aka teacher) says, other times I come up blank and just give the vacant stare look right through her. Based on her reaction to me, I'm pretty good at the "special place" open mouthed stare. She usually calls me the American fish in an aquarium then.

So yesterday I was swimming along in a particularly low wave of understanding when the class subject turned to sports. We had to go around the room and say what sport was common in our country of origin. And it clicked. I couldn't WAIT until it was my turn...yes yes yes, Italy and football, NEXT, England and rugby, OK OK, NEXT, Australia, India, Spain, GOT IT...NEXT.....finally my turn comes and French Interrogator seizes the opportunity to make a very sarcastic statement about Americans and their "own" football.

MY TIME HAS COME.

I look her square in the eye and say loudly and confidently "Oui...mais non pour moi. Je joue LE KUNG FU. Je pratique LE KUNG FU. Je suis comme BRUCE LEE."
BAM! REVERSE HEADLOCK! HA!
"Tu connais Bruce Lee?" (You know Bruce Lee?) I innocently demand, driving my point home and turning the interrogation around. French Interrogator rolls her eyes but I read a shred of fear in them. I know what fear looks like, I happen to be a master of it. I decide to throw her another curve ball and further prove my point.
"J'aime donner un coup de pied.....BEAUCOUP." (I like to kick.....a LOT)

Game over, France.
Two points NEW YORK.

She leaves me alone for the rest of class and though I still don't understand what she says, I sit there with my victory smile for this one small battle won. After class the Italian guy in my class leans over and asks "ees thees Kung Fu thing true?"
"YUP" I say. And with that, I close my books and waltz out the door.

IT'S NINJA TIME.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Superboule

I have never, not once EVER in my entire life voluntarily watched a football game. It has never interested me in the slightest and though my entire family is full of REAL fans (my Dad happens to be king of the NY Giants tailgaiting), watching a game has always elicited a giant "this is sooooo booooooooring...whateeeeeeeeever" sigh from me.

I have no idea what happened to me last night, but apparently I channeled some kind of ancestry and watched the Superbowl at 12AM here, complete with French commentary (try THAT on for weird sometime). Maybe moving to Paris has made me nostalgic for anything "New York" but last night, I heatedly turned into a real, die hard NY Giants fan. Complete with a tear in my eye for the national anthem and outbursts like "BABE, I'm trying to watch the GAME HERE!" and "JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE! PICK UP THE BALL!!"

Maybe there's hope for me yet, Dad. I am a GIANT NEW YORKER after all. You can get me the beer tumbler for my birthday, ok?