I’m going away this weekend.

I’m going away this weekend. To a place (or near a place) called Quimper. It’s in Brittany and from my half-hearted searching, famous for painted pottery. I’m going with a friend from the office to visit a friend of hers on the last open night of her father’s bar there. It’s got to close after some problems with the landlord or neighbors or both. I’m not entirely sure. It promises to be a weekend of drinking and various partying. I am slightly apathetic about it, but know that if there’s anything i need it’s a weekend away, with locals drinking and laughing. And not reading stuff on the Internet.

Meanwhile, listening to a press conference with the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (that’s quite a title) discussing the Airforce’s “rules of engagement” on the horrific occasion where they may need to shoot down a commercial plane. [Sigh].

Afterwards NPR takes us to the president’s speech at O’Hare airport yesterday. An unfortunate coupling of stories. But i think it’s a good gesture to have all the cabinet members take airplanes. I want to take an airplane. I will be on one soon.

Already i’ve consumed a dozen or so news articles and a few dozen wire stories. It’s 3pm here and 9am in nyc. People are waking up on AIM.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the guy who i had a silent exchange with from my airplane seat at JFK.

photoshop tennis ~ Fun! This

photoshop tennis ~ Fun! This goes in the top ten things to do for no good reason except it’s awesome.

speaking of tennis: somebody searched on “finding tennis partner in france” and found themsevels here. Come out come out whomever you are. If you are in paris and want to hit – e-mail me!

Sometimes one knows exactly why

Sometimes one knows exactly why blogs exist:

“I first heard Frank DeMartini’s somewhat nasely voice…”

thank you,

laura Holder not com

Also, I just got one

Also, I just got one of those notepad cubes from the office supply closet. I’ve been doodling on them all day long. I wonder if this is one of those things that i’ll forget about tomorrow, or become a nervous habit that i’ll spend 5 years trying to get rid of…

Surf in the morning… 1.

Surf in the morning…

1. CNN Presents: Beneath the Veil (it may rotate off the program’s main page soon, in which case, find it in the archives)

2. via net.narrative environments which is really informative, check it out.

3. and also, B l o w b a c k which i’ve been looking thourgh this morning.

4. Real-Life Cyborg Challenges Reality With Technology

NY Times: September 25, 2001

5. via Slashdot

6. soft music for stupid people. I like it.

7. Also been obsessively futzing around with the the blog twinning project

This is sort of bizarre…

This is sort of bizarre… and cool tool

Social Network Diagram for BIN LADEN OSAMA

via WebWord.com

Oh – and thank goodness

Oh – and thank goodness for Colin Powell:

Secretary Powell indicated that any military action in Afghanistan would not be on the scale of the Gulf War. “Let’s not assume there will be a large-scale move,” he said. “I don’t think we should even consider a large-scale war at this point.”

U.S. to Reveal Evidence of bin Laden’s Role

Barry James and Brian Knowlton International Herald Tribune

Monday, September 24, 2001

Great News! I have been

Great News! I have been granted permission to work in France by the French government (after a short health examination, that is). Woo hoo! Meaning I’ll get paid in francs, get lunch tickets, 35 hour work weeks, health insurance, and all those other good things that working legally entitles you to.

Now the only question is, should i wait until my Oct 26th trip to NY to pick up my actual Visa. Or should i move up my trip and risk missing Halloween in the motherland??

In other governemnet related news, I had to cut and paste this letter I have just written to the LA Superior Court regarding my illegal street crossing techniques:

September 24, 2001

Judges Consideration

West District

West Los Angeles Courthouse

1633 Purdue Ave.

West Los Angeles, California 90025

To Whom It May Concern:

I am living abroad at the moment in Paris, France so I am unable to appear personally in front of the court on December 4th, 2001, which is my scheduled date.

I received a traffic citation for crossing the street not at a proper intersection.

Citation No: 5780043

I promptly went to the web site, http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/, and paid my ticket ($77.00) online. I assumed the matter was resolved and thought no more about it. A few days ago I received a letter informing me that my payment was not received, there was a hold on my license, and I now owed $528.00. I checked back through my credit card statements and realized that in fact the money had not been paid out. I can only assume that there was an error during the processing of my payment on the website.

I am asking that the ticket amount be returned to the original $77.00, since I did attempt to pay within an appropriate time frame, and this seems to be the result of a technical error somehow.

Thank you for your consideration,

Neille Ilel


I wrote this last night

I wrote this last night in a fit of insomnia. I wasn’t sure about posting it. I’ve been writing a lot of things in fits of insomnia and not posting them. For fear of being stupid, cliche, self-involved. I was sitting at my computer, and realized i haven’t actually opened my mouth and *talked* to anyone really. Mostly it’s been e-mails or AIMs or posts or very stilted silent conversations with parisians who don’t know what to say, and me not knowing what to say. Sometimes i feel like my presence just bums everyone out here.

One thing that’s been helping me is listening to plenty of hippie music. A lot of Richie Havens. Maybe i am a peacenik after all. Not only does it make me think, the country has gotten through times like these before, but it also reminds me of my own more innocent days, sitting in potsmoke filled dorm rooms, thinking the world was a deep and special place, and thinking we were all deep and special people.

well here is some of it:

So yeah, kind of a break down and lose it night. I flaked on plans with some coworker friends because i was hungover from last nights sillyness, and tired from today’s errands. Errands aren’t so bad unless they’re in french. Try asking for a mag-light in a language you haven’t really mastered. Comes out something like this:

“This small thing, it lights, sometimes with keys. It is strong. For special times.”

And then you get embarrassed and try to disappear into the floor. But i found it, hallelujah. The three quarter inch screws will have to wait for next weekend.

So i was reading news and more news, and i guess, well shit, there’s going to be this fucking war now. Involving bombs, fear, blood, umemployment, scarcity… And i must have been crazy or stupid or naive or just fucking American because i realized that it never really occurred to me that this could happen in my lifetime. There was the cold war but it was far away and involved shady people doing just plain bizarre things. I have a vivid memory of sitting in my pajamas on the white carpet of my mother’s bedroom in West LA, having just paused my game of Tetris, and watching about 15 minutes of Oliver North stumbling through his testimony during the Iran-Contra hearings. I remember not really getting much of it.

And now 15 years later i’m sitting at my flea market desk in front of my powerbook in the center of a hardly furnished Paris apartment and no french to show for it, with tears running down my face, scared out of my skin about the world to come. A world that everyone else on the planet has been living in every damn day of their lives. I got this rather lengthy e-mail disagreeing with my views on the correlation between the USA’s foreign policy and the WTC attack. The writer left a lonely apostrophe where a return e-mail address ought to have been. She did manage to come up with all sorts of curious theories about how our uninvolvement actually forced the attacks. I offhandedly wrote to fellow blogger Susan,

“It didn’t bum me out much except that the writer was so heinously misinformed about her own government that it made me embarrassed for her.”

Tonight it strikes me that even though i ended up “getting” the Iran-Contra scandal, and i’ve known about our disgusting performance in Afghanistan among others (think at least half the countries in Latin America) for a nice long while now, i have been heinously sleepwalking through what history and life and every damn professor i ever had should have been teaching me.

And other people, lots of other people live like this every day. Their streets are also washed with blood and dust and sadness. And i’ve thought about it before. At least i thought i thought about it. But no, i really didn’t. I really didn’t do anything.

There’s more, there’s always more. Mostly very intense feelings of guilt. Eric aim-ed me wondering what the hell i was doing up and online at 4 in the morning. And then we had a nice chat. He analyzed me pretty well. I suppose i’m just coping by blaming myself for the things i didn’t do, for an easy and sheltered life, where bad things happened but did they *really* happen? And like a little kid, i make sense of it my putting myself at the center of the world, and when it’s a bad world, of course it’s my fault.

After reading the book review section in the New Yorker, a coupla issues back, i wanted to get the book How to Be Good by Nick Hornby. I had reservations because i guess i wanted something more serious and instructive, but anything to think about it now… I always thought my philosophy degree was a sham because so many systems of morality and ethics just seek to justify what’s already normal and accepted somehow. It was always working backwards. Even when it swore it wasn’t.

One thing that always stuck with me was by Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. It’s been a nice long while now so i can’t quote verbatim, but something along the lines that the only real philosophical question was the question of suicide. Why live? His answer is a forceful affirmation of life, and it is quite powerful. And another thing that sticks in my mind, i can’t remember if it was Camus or Kierkegaard who said that no one ever kills himself on account of a philosophy.

Because we learn how to live, before we learn how to think.

I think also on my next New York trip i will pick up my copy of The Plague and reread it. Hmm, maybe i should actually give it a go in the original french. For a girl who can’t express “mag-light”, that’d be quite a task. Anyway, I can’t recommend that book enough, for anyone, at anytime. But especially now.

Things are better tonight after an actual talk (speaking, hearing, voices, “hmm”s) with a friend. Washed clothes, visited the dutch bar Ups and downs. Sometimes anywhere’s better than here. But then one thinks about it, and realizes that mostly “anywhere” is not nearly as different from here than we might think. And i must remind myself, i think this, but do i really know it?

A Former Pakistani Prime Minister

A Former Pakistani Prime Minister Weighs In

By Benazir Bhutto

Friday, Sept. 21, 2001, at 2:27 p.m. PT