Artsy and Smart

I know, don’t say it. It’s Bastille Day and i haven’t done a thing.

What i did do is work, bordering on maniacally, on figuring out a certain right way to make my current flash project accessible in two languages (why yes English and French) in a certain way that will accommodate the art i already designed and built. It’s driving me slightly nuts and i kept having to get up from the computer and drink ice water and then flop on the bed and sigh dramatically. That was all day.

And then tonight a send of party for our friend Eric who’s off to architecture school in Houston. The festivities were thusly themed New York and Texas. I suggested a French twist as a nod to the frogs across the water, but nope. Instead there was an amazingly delicious brisket which actually led a certain Joe to announce that he was mistaken in ever thinking his mother was a good cook. What i’m saying is that it was delicious. And also there was Hormel chili with melted American cheese spread over Fritos. Yummm. And on the roof we watched The Cruise projected on to a shower curtain tacked onto the wall of the apt behind. I had seen it for the first time just a month or two earlier, but already i had filed it away in my mind as a favorite old classic.

The memorable moments in the film come every scene, but the one that struck me most was one of the less exciting. Before speed orgasmically serenades the facade of a certain New York building, he mentions that a key quality of terra cotta, the material with which much of the outer facades of the buildings in manhattan are made with, reflects light. This is as opposed to stone which absorbs it. A few months ago this struck me immediately. It seemed to crystallize the difference in feeling between the streets of New York and the streets of Paris. A sunny day in New York is blinding. It’s everywhere. the city, the sun, the life, it’s all overflowing. The same sunny day in Paris has a completely different feeling. A quieter kind of bliss. Subdued and subtle, it’s much harder to eavesdrop on the conversations of the people passing you in the street. The facades in Paris are all stone and absorb the light, as opposed to reflecting it. First there’s quality of the light itself, and then there’s how it imposes itself on the life of the street. It really is striking.

I was talking with a long lost college friend about it who had spent a semester abroad there and he agreed with my reading. But what was funny was how he said it, “Yeah, i mean i used to think talking about buildings like that is how girls make themselves seem artsy and smart, but i really get what you mean.” I could only laugh. Alot.

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