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Archive for March, 2012

 

Last year I posted about a few cameras that I had picked up second hand. I never got around to posting the (scanned) photos I took with one of the Zenith SLR cameras…until today. All the photos were taken in the 13th arrondissement of Paris – the Butte aux Cailles neighborhood in the southern part of the city.

It was a grey, sunless day, but the warm tones of the objects in each photo are almost like their own sources of light. While walking around trying to find a theme for my roll of film, I became obsessed with all of the discarded and disused items on the streets. Feel free to take a peek the whole roll on my flickr page here.

I really like shooting with my film cameras. They force me to reflect and focus on the frame as a whole image. Before shooting a single frame, I account for all of the elements in my viewfinder – it’s sort of like meditation.

Enjoy your weekend.

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the dishwasher

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This weekend I was reminded how wonderful friends and family are…especially when they get together (with some coming from Berlin and Paris) to celebrate something. This weekend: Jim’s birthday.
On Friday night we hosted a dress-up-ish birthday party – Socialists and Socialites. I was dressed as Sylvia von Harden. Others came dressed as the flag of the USSR – with handmade aluminum and cardboard sickle and hammer. Jim was a French modern socialist in the vein of François Holland – corduroy jacket and all. There were gin and tonics for refreshment and we had Russian vodka and Cuban rum on hand for any socialists/communists that may have been thirsty.

Saturday we (Jim, Paul, me) explored Strasbourg. The weather was amazing – 24 degrees and sunny. We climbed the cathedral and found some 400 year old graffiti. We had lunch and a bottle of pinot blanc at the Épicerie. Visited the Musée des Beaux Arts and the Alsatian Museum. For dinner we grabbed a burger and crashed by 11 p.m. Good thing because…we “sprang” forward 1 hour!!!!!!

Sunday morning, we all (Jim, Paul, Nora, Alex, me) got up early for a hike in the Vosges. Our destination was the Mont Sainte Odile. We parked the car at Barr and then began the climb. Jim was initially worried we’d miss the “pilgrims’ lunch” at the monastery because of our pace. It turns out we were an hour ahead of schedule and made it with loads of time to spare. The food was amazing…here’s some of what we ate: turkey cordon bleu, bouchée de la reine, Loraine sausage, strawberry tarte, coffee, local white wine…the challenge after our gluttony was to get our bodies going again, but not before a short nap in the sunshine and a visit of the monastery.

On our way down the mountain – I won’t blame anyone (it was probably me) – we got lost…only about 5 km out of the way. So what did we do? Well, I ran to the correct village, picked up the car and drove to pick up the gang at the edge of the town. No harm done and we still dropped off the car on time.

It was one of the best (and most exhausting) weekends I’ve had in a while.

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Tonight I went to see Rio Bravo with Jim (from the Panhandle). It was being shown in one of the university amphitheaters. We arrived too late to catch the “American apéro”, but just in time to find a seat before the movie started. My favorite scenes were with Angie Dickinson as Feathers, a sassy gal who came in on the stagecoach, and the short musical interlude with Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson who played the deputy sheriffs (watch below).

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I’ve visited Séléstat once before this year with my sister while she was visiting from the States. This Saturday I returned with Alex – I was summoned by the Médiathèque de Séléstat (the city’s public library) to pick up a book, Le secret de Monsieur Nostoc, that Jim had ordered on our last trip and promised to pick up once the book was signed by the author.

We took our time getting to the médiathèque. There were two beautiful Romanesque churches to visit and plenty of teahouse windows to oogle at. First we went to the Eglise Sainte-Foy.

The sunshine was streaming in through the stained glass windows, casting beautiful shadows and highlighting the fine details of the architectural elements. Alex found the entry to the crypt and said, “As a historian, there is no barrier to discovering every corner of this monument.” Then she forced the wrought iron gate open and descended the staircase. I hesitated before following her. It was very small with a lovely altar depicting the crucifixion.

The Madonna and Child in the Eglise Saint-Georges reminded me of the Family Guy…they look remarkably like Stewie and Lois (click here to see) circa 13th century.

Also, I ate eisbein, drank some Muscat and had a piece of “Le Chevalier de Sainte-Foy” cake. Oh, and Alex pretended to be French, discussed politics and scored me a François Holland campaign poster for our Socialists and Socialites party this Friday.

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I have a strange relationship with mornings. I love the feeling I get when I see the first light of day or busying myself before the world starts moving around me, but this is mostly in theory and not so much in practice. However, this morning I was up before the sun had peeked over the horizon. By 6:45 a.m., I was sitting at the kitchen table enjoying my second cup of coffee and finishing a biography on Jules Guesde. Fifteen minutes later the sun was streaming in the kitchen; I was compelled to take some photos.

I re-potted a thyme plant that had been battered by the winter cold, and now it sits outside the kitchen window warmed by the sun.

Have a beautiful day.

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For nearly two months some friends have been trying to organize a bowling event à la Big Lebowsky. It was going to involve White Russians and bathrobes and someone wearing a purple jumpsuit and hairnet. The Big Lebowsky part didn’t come together, but the bowling did. On Tuesday night I got a text message saying “Would you like to go bowling tomorrow?”. I also heard a voice in my head telling me, “Melissa, arise and go forth from your apartment. Do not be a dullard.” Invitation accepted. The next morning I passed along the message to another friend. She responded with, “I’m in. U wanna grab a bite ce soir?”. Of course I wanted to grab a bite.

That night, we dined at 231 East St. (the site intro is a little cheesy.) Oh so delish! The menu has three kinds of burgers: hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon burger. They offer fries and cans of soda or Budweiser (brewed in St. Louis, MO). Decisions are easy for me in a place like that.

After the burger it was on to bowling at the Orangerie. A bowling alley is a strangely familiar place – mostly because every Saturday night as a kid I used to run wild with all of the neighborhood kids inside the bowling alley while our parents played on bowling league. Though maybe an element was missing, like bad 80s rock (instead it was synth-pop) coming from the jukebox or the smell of stale cigarette (smoking ban in France since 2008).

I bowled a 94 (left-handed) for my first and only game of the evening.

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