Friday, April 27, 2007

...pastures of undulating idylls

waiting to be consummated into writing.  Anticipation of abundance seeps through the holes in a hand woven basket full of memory.  Dissipating with weariness through the abrasion of stupor and inactivity.  Nothing remains but half impressions.  No acute carvings, just smudges onto a sandstone backdrop.

I went to the Loire Valley last weekend.  I have been meaning to give my trip the justice of detailing it in writing to its full glory.  I had so much I could say.  So much I had felt.  So, much I had absorbed.  So, much I wanted to record.  But, I gave into the idyllic/idleness and didn't.  It's funny that when you have all the time in the world, nothing is ever done.  This statement has never been proven false to me, yet, it remains just as tartly comedic every time.  I'm still trying to plan out everything as usual.  It's just that I don't have the motivation for implementation.  So, they just accrue and I just observe. I am trying to keep up this journal as well as a personal journal as well as correspondences.  I'm finally remembering how this can become much more of a strain than it seems.  I purge myself when I do these things.  Purging isn't all that easy.  It's straining.  (alas for the repetition of synonyms... rather, think of the shades rather then the meaning.)

My personal journal is the hardest for me to write.  It always takes way much more time and energy than I budget.  But, Hell! it's so necessary.  I'm constantly in my head again.  And it's really flourishing with all of the walking, the metro-ing, and alone time.  So, I have all of these things just always floating around in my head... then manifested into dreams, into naps, into subconscious thoughts.

But, here's the Loire:

We saw lots of chateaux.  Oddly enough.  In regards to the castle we stayed in, I actually slept in the stables.  Yeah, with hay and the horses.  It was really cold at night, but, we had many layers to cover ourselves.  We means John, Greg, and I.  The ride into the Valley was great!  We drove through pastures upon fields of green.   And every once in a while, a large patch of brilliant yellow would trumpet!

We got to the chateau in midst of ooo's and ahh's - as anticipated.  But, the pool was empty!  It was rather sad.  So, we decided to take a dip in the Cher river nearby.  It was highly anticipated.  But, fell much less of its assumed greatness.  We finally did this much later.  I actually had a dream last night about pools and hotels.  It involved the disappointment of a dry pool.  Then, the excitement to realize the following day (still in my dream) that there were two full pools.  It was a stupid dream.

We then had dinner aboard a ship that lazily cruised down the Cher towards Chenonceau.  It was really a 5 course meal that lasted for almost 3 hours.  We did our shamelessly tourist activities concurrently as we approached this most visited castle in France.  It felt very surreal and Mississippi-ish.  It was nice.  I would like to do this again later in my life. 

We got back and just relaxed in our stable room with some other students that dropped by to chat.  We actually followed the Bing rule of no alcohol in rooms.  It was startling!  But, yet still enjoyable.  Of course, this meant that we didn't go to be until 2am.  We had to wake up at 7:30 the following morning.  Not so fun.  But, you do what you must.  I mean, vacationing and enjoyment is tiring. 

The following day, we traveled to see the inside of Chenonceau and Amboise - it was only interrupted by a cheese and wine tasting in the Cave of Duhard near Amboise.  It was ridiculously delicious.  We only tried one varietal of wine (Vouvray from three time periods - two yrs old, ten yrs old, and 40 yrs old) with three types of cheese  (bleu,  comte, and chevre).  I brought two bottles, one as a gift to my host family, and the other for myself!  We, then, had free time for lunch and a visit to Clos Luce - the house of Leonardo da Vinci.  The town of Amboise is the complete expression of the adjective quaint!  The fortress castle provided a magnificent view of the Loire river and valley.  We returned to "our Chateau" and had two hours of free time. 

I walked to the Cher to sit and stare at the clear flowing river.  I sat near a levee of the river.  It reminded me of Vietnam and the river that I would stare at after dinner last summer.  It was so perfectly clear.  At the levee, the river picked up speed because of the different surface area beneath it.  But, it created a rapid pace that really just pulled at me.  20 feet upstream, it was only lazily moving forward, but at the levee system, it rushed, pushed, and erupted so forcibly onward.  Only to settle back to its previous pace about 40 feet downstream.  I saw fishes that were in this area of the river.  And it seemed very tiring to remain still.  Being a fish is constant work.  There's none of this idea of just allowing oneself to float aimlessly.  Just follow the river (my ass!).  They are born into constant motion.  They must always deal with it too!  Always having to swim, always exerting so much force to maintain control.  To establish life means constantly working against the flow of the river.  ....I felt like a fish.

I stared into the undulating river and felt dizzy,  I'd be a really bad fish.

That night, we had another 3 hour dinner with 4 courses at the chateau.  Servings were very modest but just enough.  Very European!  I sat next to our professor (Katchadorian) and was able to participate in good conversation all evening long.  By the way, alcoholic sorbets are ridiculously good!  It felt excessive.  But, I have been wallowing in excesses this entire quarter.  So, why complain now right?  I only have 6 weeks of this left anyway.  I might as well enjoy my youth.

Again, I had another non-alcoholic night of talk in my room with friends.  I didn't sleep until 2am again.  The castle was so much more personable at night.  I can't put my thumb on it.  Perhaps it was its lighted prominence being enveloped by the caresses of the dark surrounding forest.  Knowing that it's been here for the last five hundred years just made it so much fuller, so much more round!  It ballooned with context.  A ballooning that gave it life and intensity, Yet at the same time, a sublime subtlety.   Very late that night, we walked outside to look at the stars.  They shown just as they had five hundred years ago.  With the wind gently brushing through the trees around us and through us, I felt very alive and subdued.

We packed our stuff into the bus sunday morning and left to Chambord.  This hunting castle was my favorite.  It is surrounded by 11,000 acres of hunting grounds - now turned public parks.  The exterior was completely stunning.  The interior less so.  Again, so much history in this place.  I'll just leave it to your imagination.  Tangentially, our tour guide was this very nice woman that spoke slowly and enunciated like it was her job.  She did a great job.  Only if I could really pay attention.

We had lunch at the hotel de Chambord next to the chateau.  It was, again, really upscale, but nonetheless, delicious.   We had Loire valley pike!  Deliciousness indeed.  Afterwards, it was our chance for physical fun.  We could either row or bike.  I biked.  John bought a bottle of wine.  We biked around the castle grounds, found a great place to sit, and drank.  It was perfect.  My other friends "accidentally fell" into the water with their swimsuits.  They had fun.  But, I think I had more fun.  It was so nice.  If my allergies weren't so bad, I would have rolled around in the grass and wholeheartedly frolicked. 

To recap:
Chenonceau - elegant, feminine
Amboise - formidable, gritty
Chambord - fantastical, surreal

But like Nelly Furtado said, "all good things come to an end."  We got back to Paris around 8pm on Sunday.  I had dinner with my host family as we watched the elections results and after show.  But, I'll leave discussion of the elections to another post.  I feel like I've exhausted you.  So, I'll stop.

I'm gonna post my pictures very soon!  Just click on the link on the right panel.

A bientot.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Clear clear blue sky...

today it twas.

As I was walking in the Tuilerie, the sky was just so fiercely bright.  The flowers are blooming unabashedly, well.. actually very pretentiously.  As if they're self aware of their own splendor.  Plus, as the whole, the entire gardens was a very unapproachable, abstractly and legally.  Guards are there to maintain the teeming crowds of gawkers.  The arrogance is a tad disgusting for me, but the aesthetics sometimes is enough for me to overlook its evil.  Which makes me aware at how bad it is for be to be forgiving to such things.  Damn my fickle inconstant self.  Too bad, I don't really want to change too much now.  I'm okay with my inconsistencies.  They make me special. Plus, it takes away the burden of conviction.  I'm paradoxical enough to almost justify anything!

And so, I superfluously digress.... (just like the usage of that word.)

But now, it's over.  I apologize.  I walked through the entire Ile St Louis yesterday.  It was very windy and nippy... not chilly.  But, overall enjoyable.  I read some French and then some Laclos.  Les Liaisons Dangereuses is tedious.  Very very long and tedious.  I guess that was the point.  I re-watched "Cruel Intentions" or for the French "Sex Intentions."  Needless to say, it was interesting.  And Sarah Michelle Gellar, she's a petite girl but damn! she has really huge, huge eyes.  Reese Witherspoon was dry.

I also went to l'Opera Garnier yesterday to see Cendrillon (Cinderella) by Nureyev.  Though not utterly spectacular, it was very enjoyable.  First off, this opera house is way (over the fence down the river and into China) overdone.  It's Rococo gone crazy - it's like... imagine how a "fat kid loves cake."  now, imagine that while this fat kid was in his prime age for the eating of cakes, he develops acute diabetes.  But, adhering to the justice of childhood, he is granted by his tooth fairy a day to eat anything he wants without consequence.  Now, imagine the kid rolling around in layers and layers of cake - stuffing his face in the process.  Now, for the hell of it, pour crude oil on him and sprinkle in lots of sparkly diamonds (say he also developed a taste for oil and diamonds as well).  The opera house would feel like that. 

There is a thematic motif to this post, bear with me now.

Second, the ballet was very playful and creative.  It was set in 1950's Hollywood.  And had a modern twist at the end.  The dancing was ballet twinged with lots of contemporary elements.  I liked it.  It was a good way to start the night.  Some of us got some beer afterwards.  I tried my first white beer last night at an overpriced bar.  It was good.  It was wheat instead of barley.  I was hungry, so, it didn't take much.  I got home, ate a late dinner at midnight and wen to bed.  Glorious indeed.

Last week, we had our welcome dinner at a small cous cous restaurant in the 10th.  Then we all wanted to go this a club on the Champs because we got free ticks.  Only Grace and I got it.  It was mildly fun.  I got home very late because the Noctilien is slow and sucks.

On Friday, I went and drank at the Eiffel tower.  Boy was I in for a surprise!  It sparkles at the hour.  It was incroyable!  Some french wannabes dropped by to give us the words up the streets yall.  They were "gansta for life man."  That was probably even more enjoyable than the sparkling tower.  They meant well.  They were just starved for authentic american validation for their exterior existence.  Little did they know that being a gangsta is all about being true in the heart.  It's all about being real with your hommies.  It takes no need of approval, but only a sincere belief of your values and brand of clothing.  Plus, we were a bunch of kids from Stanford eating an assortment of chocolates while drinking wine on a picnic cloth.  Yeah, we real thug!

Saturday, I went out with partying with my language partner again.  Now, this time with Grace's language partner as well.  It was fun.  I started with dinner with John at a Thailandais restaurant near the Pantheon.  Then, we went to this really cool irish pub called the Bombardier right across from St. Etienne-du-Mont.  It was very genial.  Then, we went to a rock club that I forgot the name of then we went to Triptik.  I want to go back to the rock club... someday... prob. the following week.

So, that's been my week so far.  For all the time I didn't account for, insert "Tri sitting by the Seine reading or staring into the water listlessly or both."  Now you've completely experienced my last week.

Back to the motif, I'm going to the Loire valley this weekend and staying in a castle, having boat tours with dinners, and touring other castles.  Superfluous? 

Enough said.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Creme Caramel and Art

The former to eat and the latter to digest.

For those who know my penchant for midnight hunger, you should be proud that I've refrained almost completely from this hobby. But, help me god if I had to go turkey. I like it with warm mashed potatoes. And creme caramel has become that mashed potatoes substitute. So, a delicious cup of this taters sustains me through the long cold Parisian nights.

But, enough! with this eating business. I've been cooking a lot nowadays. I finally finished my half kilo of beef I bought on Friday on Monday night. I got it from a meat shop near Denfert-Rochereau. Real fresh and unbelievable tender and sweet. I'm meant to be in Europe - this is only another divine sign. But, I had dinner with my host family's son and his friends yesternight. He steamed some shrimp dumplings, fried some eggrolls, and sauted some beef and onions for the rice that I cooked.

It was the first time in a long while that I was really quiet at dinner unwillingly. I could only look on and perk up my ears to their very quick talk. I hated it. I felt so mute! And it involved so much straining and concentration. It wasn't worth it while eating. I can't multitask very well - so, I picked one. I think you know which one. But, it was cool to be in the middle of real French young adults - be it that they were all about two years older than me, I still felt pretty equal. I did speak though - however, it was merely to assert to them that indeed I wasn't mute and dumb. But, I don't think I delivered the second adjective.

Today, I am officially an "art history student." Doubt me not for I have a card to prove it - Louvre certified too. I don't know how I feel about this art history thing. I don't know if we really both want the same things in this relationship. I think I need to have a "sit down" with art history and explain to it what I'm looking for and if it's okay with it.

"I'm only here for a short time and I just want to have some fun. I don't think I can commit. It's too much to ask from me. I can't see myself with you in the long run - say ten years down the line. I just don't think we would be happy then. And think about the logical things, I just don't think we could support each other. But, don't let that stop us from spending this wonderful time together now. I really like being with you. And even if it's for another 8 weeks. It's something that I'll always have fond memories of. So, I hope you can understand me and that we can still keep this up."

Now, I just have to memorize this and have the conviction to deliver it when the time comes.

I finished Manon Lescaut today. I really loved the tragically beautiful ending scene. Two passionate and fucked-up lovers next to each other in a vast field of flowing grass in the wildness of 18th century New Orleans... one naked and the other dead. Very plaintively sweet and perfect. It was the most Romantic element in this novel - the return to the nature to love and to die. I couldn't get my eyes off of the book in the end. I finished it walking up to the glass pyramid at the Louvre courtyard. All in all, I want to be fucked up.

When I was done with the novel, I looked up and Bam! That huge contemporary glass structure being embraced within the outstretched arms of classical Louvre. It was so conflictingly raw! But, it was such a kind consolidation of the archaic with the sterile nouveau. After Manon and the I.M. Pei, I was put into a mild trance of Romantic grandeur ... something I am usually very fond of.

Alors, I think that's all for now.

"... you were the last high."
(the Dandy Warhols)

Monday, April 09, 2007


Pun-tastic!  (brought to you by Lily)

That's what I did yesterday for Easter... among many other things.

I was suppose to wake up early on Sunday so that I could go to the 11:30am mass at Notre Dame.  As early as that is, I still woke up late.  10:15am isn't enough time to shower and to break night fast - since I haven't mastered the art of eating whilst asleep.  So, I got to the cathedral at around 11:35am.  Both David and Lindsey were late as well.  All the seats were taken by the time we got there.  We had to stand on the sides with tourist walking around the perimeter of the church - snapping pictures and stepping in front of us to peer at the mass.  The choir was amazing.  I really liked the pieces that they performed.  And hot-diggity!  The organ was great - bloodcurling, mysterious, and wrathful, and ever so ephemeral.  During communion, the choir did this really dissonant piece that was perfect because 1. it was beautifully written and performed and 2. communion in France is so freaking disorderly.  There is no format, no plan, pure chaos.  There were so many spectators in the crowd that we didn't know who to follow and if it was even a line at all!  But, David did receive his sacrament.  Then, the mass was ended with the soothing words of "please exit quickly through both doors on the sides because the following group is coming in now for the next mass" by the Monseignor.  Damn!  They were pumping the public in and out like a theater company - probably faster too.  You got your spiritual ration for today, now SCRAM! 

So, we did.

Then, we had our picnic in Parc de Monceau.  It was a glorious day for partaking in such things.  We had brought lots of baguettes, cheeses, meats, creme de canard, fruits, and chocolates.  The sun was perfectly lazy, gently caressing, and very aware of the meandering breeze that weaved through our picnic area.  It was cool to just eat and relax with new friends. 

I thought for a few minutes I had lost my wallet.  That caused me to panic and become unease.  But, equilibrium was re-established when I found it in another fold of my messenger bag.  And then, the day was better because I had NOT lost my wallet. 

Following our somnolent picnic (bread makes you sleepy), I followed Sarah and Lily to an English bookstore, Shakespeare and something.... We were lost in it for a while.  It was kept by an older man with his daughter - both English.  And there was a cat and crowded shelves and books everywhere. It was excellent.  We then walked through along the Seine onto Ile de St. Louis.  I got some citron gelato and my friends browsed through lots of jewelry shops.  Then, we ended at the bridge connecting St. Louis to Ile de Cite.  Just relaxing.  I actually sauntered today.  Even though tourist were abounding, we managed our own peace about us.  Sarah was then ambiguously "hit" upon by a man in his mid-thirties who was accompanied by his parents.  Very awkward indeed.  We left shortly after.

I went to La Monge after this for Easter dinner at Aisha's apartment.  It was great.  I had wanted to bring a rotisserie rabbit, but oddly enough most charcuteries were closed on Easter.   So, I just bought an assortment of pastries.  The rabbit got away.  It was a hecka nice apartment and we all felt like adults having a dinner party and talking.

We then went to a hookah bar named "Sahara" near Odeon.  And we wallowed in smoke for the next two hours before I left for home.  What I got from this... I like talking to Grace.

Saturday: I woke up, ate breakfast, went to Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur, hung out with Micheal+Lindsey+David, had dinner with Alex, drank with Lev, and went out dancing at Sanz Sans with Stanford kids.  It was good.

Friday: I woke up late, ate breakfast, read at the Eiffel tower, found the market, made dinner by myself, had beer near Les Halles, played pool and beer pong at the 5th bar on Mouffetard with Jin+John+Grace, went home very drunk.

So, that's enough eh?  Cuz, that's all I got for now.

I'll be back soon.

Friday, April 06, 2007

"Apres moi, il n'y a rien."

A twist of Madame de Pompadour, but all the same.

After this rather long hiatus, I want to pick things up again. At least for a little while. This being abroad thing is really making me think and stuff again. So, with my little fragments of thoughts that swish around in my head, I bring to you this thing... my blog.

So, Paris. I'm here.

I went to a club last night. It was free for international students last night. Being an international student now, I was compelled to go. Free was more compelling actually since I've been spending a barrel of money everyday. I got to cut back before I run out of money buying barrels.

Le Mix: It played different types of music - just to qualify its name. Free is synonymous to very crowded. But, all in all, I had a blast. I haven't been dancing for a long time and it was nice to do it without being ridiculously wasted or acutely sober. I found a nice medium. On the by and by, I was approached by this girl who looked like she had been on a trip for the last two days. She asked me if I had 'x'.

Spanish girl: really?
me: nope.
Spanish girl: (looks around anxiously) are you sure you don't have 'x'?
me: (laughingly) no. Sorry. (pause) oh, good luck in trying to find some.

Lily also had the same problem.

I left around 1:20am-ish. I walked home from the Gare Montparnasse to my home in the 14th. It was a brisk walk. I should have enjoyed more of the night. My family is now away for their Easter break. away for the entire next week. So, I'm home alone. It's like having an apartment in Paris to myself. It's nice. I made some brunch today and am now anticipating a day to wander the streets to buy some foods for tonight's dinner.

I'll rewind sometime in the future. But, I don't want to now. It would involve too much digging. I did a good enough job burying and moving on... I don't want to undo it just yet.

Maybe I'll go read in the Tuileries today.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Sinewy humanity against NATURE

What a fight! It's gone on for decades. We poison little by little, while "she" kills buckets-full at a time. But, for strict analytical purposes, I narrowed this war into two poems by Coleridge for comparison.

So...that's where you can get my title. Oh, speaking of titles. The last title is also the title of an awesome song by "Oasis."

"...Little by little,
I gave you everything you ever dreamed of. "

and the rest of the lyrics is good too.

But yeah....There have been lots to do recently. I have two big research project/papers to finish soon. I also have an English paper due next week. It really isn't that bad. But - I was kinda freaking out a bit....All in due time, things will be done.

I had Relay for Life this last Saturday. Thanks to everyone who donated money. From our dorm team of 11 people. We raised over $2k. And compositely covered over 200 miles over 24 hours. There were so many punk bands that performed! And they all looked the same - haha - all going for the same look. They mostly seemed like really sincere kids. I got to talk to some. I guess it's kinda like living on the verge of a threshold when you're a young band. So Relay for Life - It was harsh though. But, for the most part, I had fun. I wish I got more sleep. Then, I wouldn't have felt so sick at the end. I had a 6am walk shift and I was counting the minutes until the hour was over. My head and feet were pounding simultaneously. And the loud movie only added to the pain. But, otherwise, I enjoyed everything. I did wish that it was more publicized. Not very many people were there. And only a few actually committed to the 24 hour thing. So I end with - my tent was really mildewy.

I went to the Big Dance last friday. It was big and had lots of live bands playing. It was enjoyable. I wished Olivia wasn't in Sacramento for a competition. I think it would have been more fun with a forced partner. (joke...followed by forced laughter) But, yep, it was very nicely done. I heard Vienna Tang for the first time - also live. She was good.

The weekend before:
Fri - something I forgot....
Sat - Went to an Artspan event to see kids that didn't have an arts program at their school perform. Helped out with Nick M. Then went with him to the Stanford POW-WOW. Was mildly disapointed. Got some fried bread. That was okay. Visited the "Angel of Grief" and the Cactus Garden on campus. Feet hurt. Saw Stanford Taiko perform that night - missed meeting with friend because over-napped. Went home and watched movie. I saw "Far from Heaven" and "Farewell my Concubine." They were good.
Sun - worked on stuff, saw Stanford Talisman acapella group. Long, but good.

And know I must get to some working.

Thanks to the previous comments. I appreciate them. You can even tell me who you are, previous anonymous.

I think I'm ready to end my Frosh college experience.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Little by Little.

I'm starting to get it. Whatever that could ever mean....

This quarter is so forward going. There are quite a few performances that I want to see left in the quarter. Stanford has this really big "POW-WOW" thing every year with lots of Native-American groups convening for a big festival. I look forward to it a lot. There's also this dance thing our dorm and others are doing on a boat soon floating around in the San Francisco Bay. It should be amusing. I'm also involved with relay for life again this year. So, it should be immensely fun. We just need a good turn-out. It sure does seem like very thing just depends on a good turn-out. The faceless masses are so necessary. AHA! This is the purpose of a surplus of population!!! Why didn't I think of this before? (hahah....I hope you, the intelligent reader, can sense my sarcasm) But yeah....

Lots to do... to say the least.

I'm also doing Stanford Admit Weekend. I guess I'm gonna be a summer camp counselor/helper for at least a weekend. Because, everyone knows Stanford is super-uber-fun. Haha. Pile maybe two feet of work on top of that fun though. It's all good. I shouldn't complain. I really shouldn't.

AHHHHHH! I love the Romantic Period! More so everytime I get back into it. I think I might never "grow" out of this period. *audible sigh* I should grow up though. But....ahhhhhhhh......Wordsworth....Coleridge.....Keats......

Poetry is really giving me a boost.

Jumping around again. I saw some movies this weekend. I saw a Chinese "chick-ish" flick - "So Close" - the girls had such fine hair...........pause..... and "The Day After Tomorrow." I should try to finish "Shawshank."

Tonight, being a Saturday night, I should come out of my hole and do something fun. I am going to this Japanese Culture event tonight with Olivia, my beloved rowing Frenchie! But, I want to have some fun too. Haha. I wish I had gone out for dinner last night with someone.....

I talked to an Emily from San Francisco last night. It was rather random....Just kinda talked in the hallway about how Stanford Life is quite "unsavoring" and even "depressing." We're such hopeful, optimistic people.

Wow, my writing is going down the latrine. I should do better. Now, it's just me blabbering....blab....blab...blab...

So, I'll let you go.....

Or you don't have to. I also have other methods of communication too.

I leave you with a great Chinese proverb:
"Money is good."

Do think about it.... it's a toughie.

Here are some random thoughts from Tri:

draw groups suck, friends are so elusive, NO ONE KNOWS ANYONE, people can't commit, "Why do birds suddenly appear?"........