Life's our oyster and we're gonna suck that bitch down with a champagne chaser.

  • Behavioral Therapist
  • MA Developmental Psychology, Columbia
  • BS Psychobiology/ French, UCLA

  • Movies to See:
    Mission Impossible
    A Dangerous Method

  • TV Shows to Watch:
    The Life & Times of Tim

  • Book to Read:
    Game of Thrones
    by George R.R. Martin

  • Album to Listen to:
    The Black Keys
    El Camino

  • Person to Hate:
    Newt Gingrich

  • Group of People to Despise:
    Fox & Friends


Bitchin Links

Blogs and Writers of Note

Mary's Website

Mary's Blog

Ravi's Blog

Lauren's Blog

Cheryl's LiveJournal

TV Squad

The Soup


Best Week Ever

The Chive

On Location Vacations

Cute Overload

Michael Moore's Blog

Joel Stein Columns

Maureen Dowd Columns

Secular Coalition of America

Richard Dawkins

Personal Stuff

My Facebook

My Twitter

My YouTube Videos

My DVD Collection

My Books

Machatz Self-Defense

For Politics and Political Satire

The Huffington Post


The Daily Beast

The Onion

The Colbert Nation


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

For Entertainment

Ain't It Cool News


Rotten Tomatoes

DVD Active

Movie Stinger


The Daily Wav

Movie Mistakes

For Humor and Other Things

HuffPost Comedy

Funny or Die

The Lonely Island

Shit My Dad Says

F My Life

Daily Python

College Humor

Super Mario Crossover

People of Walmart

E-Mails from an Asshole

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

God Checker

Church Sign Maker

Strong Bad Email

Japander: See Actors Embarrass Themselves Abroad

Landover Baptist Church: Jesus Loves You Sometimes

For Bruins

The Daily Bruin

Bruins Nation

Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA Bruin Marching Band: The Solid Gold Sound

The REAL $UC Application

Old Stuff

March 2003

April 2003

May 2003

June 2003

July 2003

August 2003

September 2003

October 2003

November 2003

December 2003

January 2004

February 2004

March 2004

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

September 2007

November 2007

January 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

June 2010

August 2010

November 2010

December 2010

February 2011

April 2011

May 2011

July 2011


Saturday, September 30, 2006  
The Parisian Chronicles: Part VI - Deus Ex Lucis
A combination of a geriatric Alaskan cruise and the slavery that was Band Camp has rendered this website dormant. However, it's now somewhat reawakened with the reminiscings of when the skies of Paris were on fire with the celebration of their Independence Day.

We had gotten our taste of shoddy planning in our first two ventures to watch World Cup matches with the natives. We had hoped that our luck would fair better when we planned to watch the Bastille Day fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower. Evidently, as our dear professors informed us, the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower would be barricaded relatively early as the area filled up with people. She estimated around 5:30 pm whereas the actual show would begin at around 10:30 pm... it gets dark really late in Paris in the summer. "Never fear," I told my compatriots. Since I was the resident Paris expert, I would get us there with ample time to spare and a primo spot on the grass by the tower. I did not tell myself or the others at the time that I was not a Paris expert of any sort. But that didn't stop me from analyzing the Metro map to find the best metro exit to take and which would be most crowded. With our makeshift picuhnic baskets and stolen sheets from our hotel rooms in hand, we departed for the Eiffel Tower at around 4:30, set to get off, per my advice, at Trocadero station. For those who don't know, and I'm assuming that's pretty much everyone, you probably want to get off at Bir-Hakeim station to get to the Eiffel Tower since it's closest. However, I estimated that that stop would be most crowded and hence barricaded first so I made an executive decision. And I, as a certain other member of the executive branch of the United States has experienced, would soon find that that executive decision would be based on faulty intelligence.... and would also have no exit strategy.

As we exited the station with our merde in hand, the dear dear French gendarmes had already politely barricaded off the path leading directly to the Eiffel Tower. "Don't worry guys, there has to be a way around." I swallowed my chronic timidity and asked a gendarme how we could get to the tower. He said that we could take a bridge that we could see in the distance to cross the Seine and hope that it wasn't barricaded on that side yet. Forty-five minutes later, we had crossed the bridge and were sweating our asses off. Across the bridge, we passed by the Bir-Hakeim metro station, relatively vacant given the occasion. None of my companions noticed it, so I didn't mention it. In fact, I've never mentioned it to them so... let's keep it between you and me, k? After losing a couple people and sending people to search said lost people and hope they, including me, would return in time before the barricades were closed, we had established a beautiful spot on the grass where we would await the spectacle to start.

As we waited for hours for the show to begin, we chatted, lounged, photographed, were accosted by creepy people from Florida wanting us to work for their "Spring Break" company and finally there was some sort of announcement promoting a charity of some sort...and the kabooms began.

I had seen July 4th fireworks in several places. The Hollywood Bowl, the Queen Mary...and I'm sorry to tell you that these French fireworks annihalated any American fireworks I've ever seen.

(The fireworks setting on my digital camera rules by the way.)

Not only were the actual lights, shapes and explosions and the ear-popping sounds of the fireworks amazing, but the fireworks were set to classical pieces of music and each round of fireworks was impeccably synched up with the given piece of music. And of course when you turned around, the Eiffel Tower was there lurching above you.

The show itself lasted around what seemed like 45 minutes. Every round of fireworks seemed like it was the huge finale. But it wasn't. Those feisty Parisians had way more in store for us. By the time the finale came around, we were pretty overwhelmed with everything we had just seen.

It's cliche to say that it took my breath away, but by golly it took my god damn breath away. When it was over, none of us really wanted to leave, but with the mobs of people rising around us, we figured it would be better for our safety, if nothing else, to get the hell out of there. You see, the young rowdy Parisians like to throw fireworks at people's feet and if it doesn't blow your foot off, it may or may not set your hair on fire. As we made our way back to the metro station, no matter which one, there were barricades all along the road we had to cross. So we decided to hop over the fences. Guys gave the ladies a leg up, then the guys gracefully galloped over the barricade. Not three feet past where we had made Spider-Man proud, the barricades ended and non-ridiculous people were calmly walking through the opening. At least we came across in style. That's what I tell myself anyway.

We really didn't know where we were going for the longest time. There must've been thousands of people around us just walking aimlessly in one direction. There was the occasional explosion or fireball but we learned to either evade or ignore it. By the time we got to the desired metro station, there was already a barbarian horde of people trying to get in and stern gendarmes ushering them in. Past the BO and through the sweat, we made it down through the turnstyles to get on the metro. One metro came, stopped, the doors opened, and a hundred sardines frantically yelled in multiple languages,"THERE'S NO ROOM DON'T GET IN!!" And the metro took off. The next metro came 15 minutes later and the people inside wide-eyed panicked just shook their heads at us. Two of our friends got on somehow. Their faces pressed against the metro window as the metro left were worth the wait and the smell alone. The rest of us survivors gave up and went in search for a taxicab. Paris isn't exactly Manhattan where you can hail a cab but we basically had no other choice. Being the only guy with 4 girls kind of helps your odds in getting a cab. (Did I mention the 6:1 ration of girls to guys in the program yet?) It was a pleasant ride back to the Shitadines, watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle as it disappeared behind us.

We got back at around 2:30 am. Some of us went to the Pizza place by Shitadines for a late nightcap. I thought it was kind of deceitful to eat at an Italian place for Bastille Day, but it didn't really matter. We were les enfants de la Patrie, if not for a month then for one night at least.

Coming up in Part VII (hopefully not in a month): The last time any of us would ever eat Fondu EVER

2:03 AM


Saturday, September 09, 2006  
The Parisian Chronicles: Part V - Culture from the Cheap Seats
I'm writing this post, part five of the 287 part series of the Parisian Chronicles, in the wake of a week of intense procrastination and French essay writing which I literally completed in the nick of time and right before I debark on a one week Alaskan cruise. (Don't worry, I won't torture you with the Alaskan Chronicles...I think) So before I have to leave in roughly 6 hours to become more in touch with my geriatric self, I thought I'd give to you, the loyal reader (singular) the next installment in the increasingly hifalutin chronicles.

It goes with the territory that we would be exposed to various forms of French culture... and with culture, come field trips. Ever since grade school, I always loved field trips because we got to skip school and we got to go somewhere on the school's dime. Fifteen years later, field trips have lost their pizazz because you usually have to drive yourself and you usually have to write some sort of paper afterwards. But in Paris, I had very few complaints. When you're in Paris, you go places, be it on your own or with a class, despite the 175,000 degree weather (Celsius). One of our first field trips was to the Senate.

The interior of the building was amazing with the most extravagant decorations Liberace couldn't afford, but what was bizarre about the whole trip was this fat cat who kept appearing out of no where in our group, and in my pictures.

This character was lumbering around the Senate bellowing in hackneyed southern English to his personal tour guides, "Is that there some real gold or s'it fool's gold?" When we got to the main senate floor, he insisted on sitting the Senate Chairman's seat (I forget the term in French), and so he did. The guy must've been an oil exec of some sort because his guides seemed to be so appeasing to him and his fat self. I'm sure there was a Hummer parked out front to take him to a McDo after his inflated tour.

Our next field trip to the Musee de Louvre was more an exercise in fancy footwork and nasal tolerance than culture exposure. The tourguide gave us the Speed Racer digest of a couple wings of the Louvre. With so many people and so much B.O, who could blame her. We stopped to take the obligatory (illegal) pictures, where it seemed like the point of seeing these works of art was to take a picture, rather than actually look at the painting. With masses of heads all around you, though, the experience is destroyed. So I took pictures.

However, the paintings and sculptures not scarred by The Da Vinci Code could be viewed in comfort. That guy totally caught me stealing a picture of the Mona Lisa. Let the culture seep in through every orifice, I told myself.

Our first solo field trip would turn out to be one of the most hilarious and insane experiences of the trip. And to l'Opera we went. I was committed to seeing an opera in Paris at the famous Opera Garnier. That goal would become defunct as the final show at the Opera would be a ballet. So the ladies dolled themselves up, the guys polished their boots (my Adidas') and off we went, determined to get the student standby tickets. At 6 euros, we were thrilled. Even if the tickets said "Sans Visibilite." I'll let you translate. But we were at the famous Opera so we couldn't complain. A solar flare had just gone off inside the place, but it was ok. We loosened our collars, bought overpriced Perriers and toughed it out. When we actually got to our seats though, we would find out the real definition of "Visibilite Reduite."

I suppose we should've asked whether La Dame aux Camelias was to be performed mostly on the left side of the stage or the right. I have to say, though, that the 1/5 of the ballet I did see on the 1/3 of the stage that was visible was beautifully performed. "Sans Sarcasme." But in such a beautiful building...

...with some of the best performers in the world (that we could see)...

 such good company...

...the night was anything but a bust. Sure I was drenched in sweat at intermission (who isn't), but I looked so strapping with my dress shirt over my shoulder, white t-shirt and jeans outside the theater, ladies were swooning left and right.

The truth is, the highlights of the trip weren't the cultural experiences even though they were fascinating and educational, it was the journey that we took to have those cultural experiences and what happened when we got there. Getting yelled at by security guards at the Louvre saying "Pas de Photos!!!" but taking pictures anyway (no flash). The torrential downpour right when we got out of the metro station to go to Notre Dame and hiding in a flower shop till it died down. Asking tourists to take pictures of us in front of monuments, and then going through our catalog of languages to figure out which language they spoke (French, English, Korean, Chinese...). Paris is a city of astounding culture and art as well as a city filled with adventures to be had, mostly by silly and naive American students.

Coming up in Part VI: An Independence Day that puts July 4th to shame

1:28 AM


This page is powered by Blogger.Humor Blog Top Sites