Archive for the 'Random' Category

Tasty Treats (?)

You might have caught the news a few months ago that French gastronomy was officially added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This honor of the country’s cuisine and its cultural place was filed in the “intangible” category.

I’ll let foodies have it out about what such a recognition even means, but I’d just like to display an exhibit of one questionable “food” item I recently spotted in my local Leader Price (low-cost supermarket).

Um...yum? Oh wait, I mean...YUCK!

“Intangible” wouldn’t quite be the right word for cheeseburger chips, though it somehow seems fitting. Incomprehensible, maybe?

For the record, there are French delicacies I find disgusting. Andouillette is, of course, my prime example. Basically, we’re talking pig intestines. As Wikipedia so helpfully elucidates:

“As with all tripe sausages, andouillettes are an acquired taste. Their strong smell can be reminiscent of feces and may offend people unaccustomed to the dish.”

Come now. Since when has the smell of feces been a bad thing?

When I worked at Expedia, we had a nice resto/cafe/epicerie next door, Gus (L’Atelier Gourmand), where we’d often go for lunch. Their hot food at the buffet really was kind of gourmet (for a buffet).

So often though, I’d stare down the main option of the day. “Innards,” I’d say. I just could not eat innards.

I’m not sure how I got from cheeseburger chips to innards, but anyway…here we are!

Should I unleash the floodgates? Why not? Let us know your personal gross-out food in the comments and we’ll all have a good chuckle/upchuck.

P.S. The people in line at the supermarket seemed quite confused as to why I was taking a photo of those chips. Am I the only one who thinks the picture of that cheeseburger is hilarious? “Oui, au gout de vivre moins cher,” indeed. (Crude translation: yes to the taste of living cheaply).

P.P.S. Of course, living in France rocks for food, too. Heck, 3-year olds eat better than I do most days. Check out this video about gourmet school lunches here.

Overall Mischief

In college I bought two pairs of overalls from a vintage store, one sky blue with the kid’s brand “Osh Kosh” written on the front, the other pair navy, and more of a nod to lumberjacks.

I’m not sure why I was so proud of these overalls, or why I insisted on wearing my hair in pigtails when I wore them. Was I making it clear that I was still a child at heart?

I’m more subdued in my rebellion now – though I haven’t quite come to terms with the whole adult thing yet.

I have never seen a French person sporting overalls. (I know! Where is their fashion sense?) So when I spied a whole group of them in blue overalls congregating near the Pompidou Centre, I knew something was up. Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around to see what, but I knew it was probably good.

Overall-clad French people plotting mischief

What do you think is happening or *going to happen* here? All theories welcome. (We can write a story together!)

French Forks Have At It


The observation of French women eating cupcakes with a spoon at Scarlett’s unleashed many a tale of other foods we (barbaric?) Americans normally eat with our hands given the civilized (or silly?) French treatment.

All of the following fell to the French fork and knife: pizza slices, hamburgers, mini-muffins, fruit, bagel and lox.

The Antiques Diva tweeted an example today that takes the cake, however.

Peanut Butter.

Yes. Apparently her French friend spooned peanut butter onto a plate (and not onto bread), then proceeded to eat it with a fork and knife.

Wow. Just wow.

I mean, sure, you can scoop peanut butter with a spoon. You may spread peanut butter with a knife.

But to eat just a mound of peanut butter with a fork and knife? Amazing.

Thanks everyone for your contributions!

I’m off to dinner tonight and will try to remember my table manners.

Sunday “Funnies”

Growing up I always used to look forward to the Sunday comics.

These days, I don’t even get the newspaper anymore, so all my “funnies” come from the Internet.

I could make some thin connection to Paris as this is a “weather report” from Atlanta around the time I was coming back to France. I was almost grounded because of the snowstorm, my aircraft stuck in Atlanta, yadda yadda yadda….

But nah. I’m sharing this video simply because it gave me a good laugh.


I wish all weather reports were like this:

Jingle Bells (and 100 Posts!)

Jingle bells. Today’s title is not a holdover from the holidays, nor some last desperate grasping to that “special time of year.”

No, it refers to a certain quirky detail I’ve noticed since my return to Paris. A small, but funny mystery.

My jetlagged haze might have kept me from registering this the first few days, but since late last week, I’ve been hearing an odd jingling of bells at random intervals throughout the day. The sound is audible in my apartment, though it’s not in my apartment. I have no idea the source.

These are not church bells. Nor are they like clanging cow bells (though they’re much closer to this!)

You know I don’t shy away from mysteries (and have been known to be sneaky), but I don’t even know what I’d go around doing to try to figure this one out. Listen behind neighbors’ doors? What good would that do? I already know what it sounds like! I want to see this thing.

I’m also lamenting my failure of imagination (and I call myself a fiction writer!) I cannot for the life of me imagine what these clattering bells might be.

The best explanation I can come up with is that they’re somehow attached to a toilet and they ring every time there’s a flush. The frequency of the bells, their duration, and the fact that I hear them most clearly in my own bathroom have led me to this conclusion.

Shake em...

I can’t quite fathom the contraption, though. What would clang this way? What exactly does a flushing toilet need bells for? Is this some water-saving device? Does it simply spread joy in the loo?

Another theory is that it’s somehow tied to the elevator. Some squeaky machinery that for some reason, sounds like bells to me.

I’m letting go of the questioning for now, though. Kind of a goal for this new year: accept the random, quirky joys, these little mysteries of life. Nothing wrong with jingling bells each time someone’s on the john, right? Or an extra lift in the elevator. (What will they think of next?)

Any theories? A bit afraid to ask as I’m sure there’s a simple, obvious answer and I’ll be embarrassed by my silliness. Then again, I am silly.

Any random, wonderful little mysteries in your life these days?

Oh yes! And this is post #100! Another joyful thing to me, too. Thanks to Keith for doing a nice little write-up for my blogiversary. I wonder what I can celebrate next.

A Non-Strike Subway Shenanigan

Well, on Friday the French Senate voted to pass the pension reform bill that everyone’s been up and arms about (and in the street, and blocking petrol stations, and, and, and…).

Unions are still calling for continued strikes and protests, anyway.

In the spirit of returning to more naïve times, I’m posting a random metro video that has nothing to do with the metro lines not running properly.

You may remember that I was incredibly tickled by subway shenanigans on the New York subway this summer – both a subway party I ran into and a Star Wars re-enactment. I opined that we’d be hard pressed to see such similar quirkiness in Paris.

Well, a kind reader recently provided me with some footage of a little re-enactment right here on the Paris metro to prove me wrong. It’s a scene from “Les Bronzés font du ski,” a classic French comedy.

While the music’s a bit cheesy and frankly, French comedy still leaves me scratching my head most times, you know I support just about any random activity undertaken in good fun. It’s no Star Wars re-enactment, but I still applaud the effort.


(Warning: Video in French. But you know, it’s more about seeing people in full ski attire and accessories on the subway).

More examples of Paris randomness I need to know about? Send it my way!

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On Kissing Terms

This past weekend I had a Paris breakthrough: I am now on kissing terms with the owner of my corner café.

Now before you start imagining all sorts of torrid things, let me remind you I am speaking simply of the bise (nothing like the make-out session I witnessed at the Musee d’Orsay).

Still, it’s always a minor victory when you’re finally accepted into certain bastions of French society; when you are granted entrance like an old friend.

I feel lucky to have a corner café that is always open – on Sundays, holidays, even in this ghost town of August for crissakes. As a former New Yorker used to everything being open 24/7, this tiny reminder of an everyday establishment you can rely on does my heart good.

As it is, literally, on my corner, I pass Café Lino all of the time – when I go off to do my shopping, take the metro, or head off to the market. I’m not an everyday café patron, but often enough that I’m recognizable.

My view from my writing table; a slow afternoon at Cafe Lino

Over the last few months, the owner (I think he’s the owner, at least, maybe just a proprietorial-seeming barman) has been giving me the eyes. (Not those kind of eyes, though who knows, right?) We’ve gotten to the point where we always smile and wave when I pass by.

On Saturday night as I returned from a yummy dinner of crepes, a little Brazilian concert was winding down at the café. The owner was strumming his guitar and the few clients were gathered around singing. The warm, red glow that emanates from the interior only enhanced the convivial atmosphere. Wow, I’m in France, I thought. (After four years, I still have these moments; probably always will).

I was this close to going and joining in, especially as I caught the owner’s eye. But the circle seemed a bit too cozy. Sometimes I manage the solo entry well; sometimes I do not.

So I just walked home.

The next day, I came for a tea and I was greeted like an old friend. Why didn’t you come in last night? Denis wanted to know. You doing ok? Ca va? And it was obvious we were going in for the bise, like it was the most natural thing in the world. Two air kisses on the cheek.


I’m sure those more social than me have already experienced this moment many times before. But me, this is my first time of crossing over to the bise with the people in a local establishment. Sure, nice small talk, even smiles. But the bise! As if I belonged here.

I better watch out or soon I will be kissing all of Paris. And we know that I do have my own issues with the bise. (This one was perfect, though. No complaints!)

Addendum: Um, the owner has asked me for my phone number, which I kindly declined to give. Awkwardness has managed to be avoided – thank goodness as I come here to write – but kind of changes the original dynamic, huh? Well, I am still proud. The waitresses are nice to me, too. Even the new one who had been scowling at me at the beginning of the summer. I’ll just wait another 2 years for them to start kissing me, too.

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Existential French Cat

Hi y’all. I’ve entered the grad school fog; it’s throwing havoc on my blog posting schedule. So let me just set it straight: there is no schedule.

Instead, I take many mini-breaks in between the reading/writing/thinking/pacing/despairing/aha-ing and laughing at funny clips like this:

I’ve always loved cats. And been sort of jealous of their lifestyle. Of course, I’m just sitting around most of the day, too, but my back hurts, I’m battling carpal tunnel, and my writing may never see the light of day. So, I still think their version is better.

What if they felt the full emptiness of it all, though?

What if a cat, were, (gasp!) actually an existential French cat?

Note: Subtitles in the video. And the person narrating is not a native French speaker. FYI. Enjoy!

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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