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January 29, 2003

Le Coca Vanille arrivera en France

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and various French-language press to which I won’t bother linking as the number of French-speakers reading this blog tends toward zero, the French unit of Coca-Cola is due to introduce Vanilla Coke here in March.

NOTE: There is not exclamation mark to indicate unadulterated euphoria after that last sentence. I enjoyed Vanilla Coke while back in the States this summer, but wasn’t particularly impressed. I guess flavored soft drinks in a plastic bottle will never compete with concoctions mixed at the local Steak ‘n Shake or Waffle House.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson introduced vanilla to the United States from France? He also brought back macaroni and ice cream from his travels in Europe. Three cheers for my favorite President, irrespective of the fact that he was an architect!

January 27, 2003

L'art moderne

A Spanish historian has discovered anti-Franco forces used modern art as torture on their prisoners during the Spanish Civil War. Allegedly the National Confederation of Workers constructed cells with tilted beds, bizarre colors, and randomly placed geometric shapes on the floors to psychologically torment captured Franco supporters in Barcelona. The Spanish newspaper El Pais states:

The avant garde forms of the moment - surrealism and geometric abstraction - were thus used for the aim of committing psychological torture.

The creators of such revolutionary and liberating [artistic] languages could never have imagined that they would be so intrinsically linked to repression.

I believe I’ll have to bring this issue up the next time one of our professors begins showing us slides of modern art. But if subjecting people to modern art is torture, I guess I’m guilty as well. So Bert or Candace, if either of y’all read this, I apologize for exposing you to the mind-bending, “degenerative art” at the Pompidou Center!

Le football Américain

So I didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night - or should I say early this morning. Being one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time here on the continent, kickoff wasn’t until after midnight. After the Falcons made their exit from the play-offs I didn’t really keep up with the NFL. (It’s NCAA basketball time, baby!) But who watches the Super Bowl these days for the football? I mean, I was able to watch the commercials online this morning and saved myself the hours of sports coverage. Who performed at half-time? I never heard anything about it.

But enough procrastination, back to architecture! We’ve got an interim pin-up tomorrow so I need to finish writing my concept statement; drawing plans, sections, and elevations; and building corresponding models. Au revoir!

January 16, 2003

Beaucoup d'Euro

The Economist Intelligence Unit has just released their semi-annual list of the most expensive cities in the world. Paris is ranked as 10th (tops in continental Europe) while New York comes in at 11th. The Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka topped the list followed by Oslo, Hong Kong, Libreville, Zurich, London, Geneva, and Copenhagen. Good ol’ Atlanta, Georgia was the cheapest American city in the poll, coming in at 68th.

NOTE: I will gladly and graciously accept monetary donations in either dollars or euros to help defray my high cost of living. And y’all in Atlanta should have plenty of currency to spare!!! (You might also send some yen to any friends you might have living in Tokyo.)

January 10, 2003

Joyeux anniversaire

Yes, it’s sad but true. On this day six years ago I FTPed my first piece of HTML onto the WWW. Thus began the process of creating what appears on your computer screen in front of you today! We had finally gotten internet access at home for Christmas 1996, and by New Year’s everything was up and running. Within a couple weeks I had downloaded enough software, viewed enough source code, and gathered up enough narcissistic pride to join the growing multitudes by making a personal website.

Want to see what this site looked like back in the day? Take a trip back to the early years of www.ocsonline.com/~kessler via the Wayback Machine!

January 09, 2003

Cette musique m'a enchanté.

Every once in a while you happen upon one of those websites where you just have to wonder, “How in the world did somebody come up with this stuff?” Eureka, I’ve found one! Otis Fodder has decided to post a new mp3 each and every day of this year, aptly entitling the project 365 days.

“So, what’s the big deal?” you might ask. “Thousands if not millions of people put mp3s on the internet.” Well, I ask you, “How many songs have you heard about understanding Marxism? How about a Beatles song in French? Wouldn’t you like to listen to a song about your home’s heating unit?”

Happy listening!

January 08, 2003

Plus froid que la Russie

It’s cold in Paris! I bought a wool scarf this morning to help fight off the bitter chill this afternoon while doing site reconnaisance in Belleville. It did help keep my neck warm and toasty, but my fingers nearly froze because I had my gloves off to take photos!

A guy stuffing our mailbox with grocery store flyers this morning told me that it’s colder here than in it is in Russia. (Note: he’s probably not a certified meteorologist.)

“France shouldn’t be this cold,” he said.

Then he started singing some little jingle about how cold it is.

FYI: The Weather Channel says it’s currently 19°F (-7°C) but it feels like 7°F (-14°C).

January 06, 2003

Un petit dialogue

Shoe Shopping on Avenue d’Italie
English translation by yours truly

V: Good evening, can I help you with something?
K: Do you have these in size 44?
V: Only in black…
K: How about these?
V: Yes, here you go.
(a minute or so later)
V: How do they fit?
K: They’re fine. I’ll take them.
(another minute later)
V: Do you have a piece of ID? (pause) An architecture student, huh?
K: Yep…
V: (examining the credit card) L.L. Bean?
K: Yes, it’s a big store back in the US.*
V: Owned by Mr. Bean?!? (chuckle) So you’re from the US?
K: Yep…
V: Why’d you come to France to study architecture?
K: French architecture is better than American architecture.*
V: Better? What buildings do you like?
K: I like the castles and mansions.*
V: Oh, the old stuff…
K: No, I like new stuff, too!
V: Like what?
K: Like the T.G.B...
V: What about the Louvre? The pyramid? (shakes his hand in doubt)
K: It’s okay, but it was designed by an American.
V: An American? Ohhh…well, here’s your card back.
K: Thanks.
V: Thank you, good evening, and good luck with your studies.

  • Comments marked by an asterick (*) do not neccessarily reflect the opinions or knowledge of their speaker - only the very limited ideas he is able to get across in a foreign language (e.g.: The word “store” doesn’t adequately describe L.L. Bean; American architecture isn’t categorically worse than French architecture; and there’s more to architecture than castles and mansions.)

January 04, 2003

Il neige et neige et neige!!!

It’s been cloudy and overcast everyday here in Paris since I returned from Austria. But (and that’s a big but) today the accompanying precipitation has magically turned to snow!!! Yeah, it can scientifically be attributed to today’s lower temperature but who wants to be a meteorologist on a day like today?!?

to be continued…

January 01, 2003

Le jour de l'an

Happy New Year everybody, or Happy Hogmanay to y’all in Scotland! Hopefully everyone’s had an enjoyable, relaxing, and merry holiday season! My parents have come and gone and Candace is only here for a couple more days… then school starts back and before I know it I’ll be inundated with assignments and who knows what happens then!