November 27, 2008

you know what I’m NOT thankful for?

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 8:35 pm

So I came home and there was a huge red spider on the wall. On the very tippy top where the wall meets the ceiling. It was red and almost translucent and freaking huge (i realize this is just a dramatic repetition of the first sentence. deal with it). It was at least an inch long, had thick legs, just really really sick. I was going to take a picture, and then thought… really? Why do I need to document this? Well, folks, I should have taken that picture. Do you know why? because my taller neighbor wasn’t awake to help me kill it, so when I climbed on my window sill to try to get it with my shoe, my leverage all off because I’m 5 feet tall, I reached with fully extended arm holding onto the curtain rod for balance, and the thing just scrunched up in the corner where my shoe didn’t fit.  Then, when I tried to force the tip of my sneaker into a right angle, it just shook the spider loose and spider fell. Fell. No web to follow. Fell into the oblivion which was below which is of course my BED. OR red curtains. So he camouflaged into the curtains, which I checked, or he’s underneath the radiator, or he’s in my bed. Or on the floor… HE COULD BE ANYWHERE, and he can move because I didn’t injure it AT ALL.

So I am trying to convince myself that it’s no big deal. I bet we all have spiders in our rooms and we just can’t see them and so I try to tell myself to just pretend it’s not here. But I am still sitting on the edge of my chair for fear that touching anything more than totally necessary will allow it more chance to get to me, and I’ve pulled my bed away from my walls just in case the myth is true about how many spiders we eat each year. I know I know, it’s just a spider, but what could his reddish hue be other than HUMAN BLOOD? And I keep remembering the story of the guy who got bit by something and went to the doctor and the doctor said, oh that’s fine, and then it really wasn’t fine and he went to the emergency room a couple days later and found out he could have DIED because he was bit by a brown recluse. (elaine, I think it was you who told me this, or someone related to you… Do you remember?) How can I live like this?? Always in fear that I’ll find it in my purse or that the itch on my foot is actually a living creature crawling CRAWLING. And so I tried looking for it online. And the closest I could find was a woodlouse spider (which according to the map IS found in France, doesn’t make webs, and is out at night. Fantastic). I can’t put the picture up it’s too disturbing. First I read, “not dangerous to humans.” Phew. Then I found more stuff and read on: “…only eats wood lice.” Great. Then I kept reading… “venom not generally dangerous…” uh huh… “…however, in very rare occurrences it can be fatal as a result of an allergic reaction.” Are you freaking. kidding. me. Mosquito bites that had been dormant for days started itching just at the thought of sleeping in the same room as this… this elusive (I just thesaurused ‘creature’ and got this:) lower animal (ha). And then I thought… what if this mosquito bite is actually a woodlouse spider bite?? And I’m having an allergic reaction?? I guess you’ll know soon enough. Oh wait, no you won’t because I’m on a DIFFERENT CONTINENT. Send the medics if you don’t hear from me.


November 25, 2008

so much better than snow and/or laundry

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 5:30 pm

Because I got freaking robbed!  Well not really, but close, and I would have if there hadn’t been undercover cops at the train station.  So I was walking through the train station to get to the metro and all of a sudden these two guys start yelling, “Madame! Madame!” and I didn’t really listen to them because I didn’t really care about what these guys in Yankees hats had to say to me. Then I realized that they were actually talking to me and they kept saying they were the police and so I stopped. Was I getting arrested? Did I accidentally forget to pay for the kebab I was about to eat?  Then I noticed the old woman that they were holding on to and they told me that they watched her as she opened up all the zippers on my backpack and stuck her hand in all the pockets looking for what she thought was a cell phone, which was really just my outlet converter thing because I had brought my laptop to work and needed the converter to plug it in.  I hadn’t noticed ANYTHING.  So then I had to go to this weird secret part of the metro station which is actually police offices and they asked me questions about what had happened, but really I hadn’t seen anything, it was only the cops that had seen stuff.  And the worst part is is that it was like 3:30 and I hadn’t eaten and my food was just sitting there next to me, and it kinda stunk because it’s a freaking kebab and then I got all self-conscious because French people sometimes give you this weird look if you’re not eating at the exact times dedicated to meals.  But then this one cop found out I was American and started talking to me about Michigan and I felt better.  And then it kinda got fun – hangin out with the cops, takin pictures, jokin around.  But I had to take all the pictures on my phone because my camera battery ran out (and I don’t have the cord to put my phone pictures on my computer, so it’ll just have to wait).  Then they said, “Hey don’t post these on the internet,” and I said, “You better believe these are going on the internet,” and they said, “Alright fine,” and wrote down my blog address. So, Enzo, I hope you’re really reading this.

And then when I got home I realized what I really should have done was take a picture with the lady that tried to rob me.  I imagine the photo of us re-enacting the scene but with both of us smiling really big at the camera, her hand rummaging through my stuff, me oblivious.  It would have been so good.  Anyway, when I saw her in the hallway I looked at her and she just shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “Sorry dude, I had no other choice,” and that I imagine with some sort of weird surfing accent.  I wanted to get all 1st-grade teacher on her and tell her she needed to apologize, but I was having too much fun I didn’t want to ruin the mood.  So when I got home I tried to find pictures online that would resemble her and so I think I’ve boiled it down to a combination of her:

steinem_gloria and her:   robber

Yeah that’s pretty accurate.  I guess when she found out that my plug thing wasn’t really a phone, she just put it back and started looking for other stuff.  And apparently she does this all day long… that’s what they told me.  (But how could that really be true? She just goes back to that office like every other hour?  I don’t understand…)

So I finally have a story about being pick-pocketed in France, because for some reason people always tell me stories like this and I never have anything to share, but now I finally can.  And I’m glad it ended well; nothing was actually taken.  Thanks, policemen!

November 23, 2008

um, wait… it snows here?

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 3:20 pm

I’ve lost one of the most important things I acquired during my 8 years in Buffalo: tolerance to the cold. The mild Utah winters spoiled me with its lack of wind and its fluffy snow. Buffalo knew how to make a winter: 4 ft of snow in an hour, 40 degrees below zero, snow days, cold days, power outages, the best of the best (of course, that’s a reference to the Eric Roberts movie that we would watch on days off). And I stood up to those winters well; I even remember occasionally wearing flip flops to school during the season.

Typical Buffalo winter scene: picture1

Below is a picture of the day it snowed about 3 feet in couple hours during rush hour. The cars you see are abandoned in the road. My dad had to do this as well (if I remember correctly, right dad?), and he walked to a hotel while leaving his car on the road. My mom slept at work that night. And while I dropped a friend off at her house, the time it took her to get out of the car and get into the house, it snowed so much that my car was stuck in the driveway.

But I digress. The point is, I was trained by some rough winters. And shamefully, I show nothing from it! I’m cold and sad about it. However, I think I’m doing better than they who titled this news release about the 3 inches that fell today in Lille:

The translation of the headline is something dramatic like “Violent snowfalls in the region.” Please.

November 17, 2008

thanks for introducing me to This American Life, brandon.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 7:36 am


Dear Ira Glass / This American Life,

I don’t know how else to say it, other than I love This American Life. I listen faithfully every week, and even during those hard times where I had deal with a lost iPod, I still diligently downloaded and put them on CDs or would stay up late to hear the priceless characters portrayed on the show. Thank goodness for overspending drug companies that handed out a free iPod shuffle to my mom at Dietitian’s conference, who then selflessly sent it to me in France. Now during my hour and a half commutes to work on metro, train, and tramway, I can finally hear my beloved radio broadcast.

The reason I am writing this is because you have reached a new level in my life, and you’ve already hit a lot: Financially, I’ve donated to This American Life. Professionally, I jot down notes and ideas for the internship application essay, if I ever decide to turn it in. Emotionally, people witness me crying in public transportation every week (recently because that one kid in the Halloween show who cried in his brother’s pillow, or that lady who witnessed Martin Luther King Jr. get beat up). But last night, you have finally entered my subconscious, and have graced my dreams. I dreamt that my co-worker was doing a radio program with you, Ira Glass, and I was so giddy with excitement that someone in my loose entourage was going to a part of This American Life that I couldn’t even speak. In my dream! I was stuttering and stammering and couldn’t even begin. The funny thing is, is that I didn’t actually see you in my dream, or get to choose a story for the program or something, it was just some loose connection that got me all worked up.

Just thought I’d let you know. In any case, thanks for making a great show. The crying every week is because there are usually one or two people that are so honest and sans bullcrap that it just breaks my heart a little bit, but in a really good way. Like Joshua’s mom in epiosde #334 “Duty Calls,” or that woman that got attacked by a rabid raccoon in #319, “The Call Was Coming From the Basement,” OR on that guy on the Showtime version that cloned his pet bull. I love them.

So, thank you.

November 14, 2008

just to be clear.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 5:27 pm

Okay, first of all, this is not about being spoiled. I dry my clothes on a drying rack too. In fact, I am SO cheap, that I actually wash my clothes by HAND. Laundry on the outside is like 8 euros a load here, totally not worth it. And hey, I’m not complaining about the hands-on laundry. I really don’t mind. I got the time. It’s the fact that they have had the same clothes on the rack OUTSIDE for weeks. And it’s not nice and sunny here, it rains at least every couple of days. Why not just bring it inside?? Or at least after the first couple of times, you realize… right? Sometimes I think that they must have just forgotten… but then I think, if it were me, I would notice that many of my clothes were missing. It’s not a couple pairs of socks out there, it’s many pairs of jeans, and sweaters and shirts and all sorts of stuff you wear every day. All I’m saying is, if I couldn’t find a sweater for three weeks, I’d look on the freaking drying rack, realize what a dumb I am, and bring all my clothes inside. What could these people be possibly thinking?

This got way out of hand. But really, can you blame me??

November 12, 2008

out of material.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 4:42 pm

I can’t think of anything to say except this: the people that live on the bottom floor of my building have access to the outside garden. This is where they have decided to put their drying rack and hang their wet clothes. This is also where they have left the drying rack (if we can call it that anymore) for 3 weeks, with enough time for the clothes to dry, get rained on, dry, get rained on, etc, etc, repeat, repeat.

Apologies.  It’s the best I got.

November 7, 2008

the Louvre in pictures

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 9:58 am

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I love portraits.

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Crowds for the Mona Lisa, which is against the wall in the first picture.

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Picasso – Delacroix exhibit

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One of my favorites. I swear I liked it before Coldplay used it as their album cover.

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