Finally, due to the kind heart of one of my lab mates, I now have a TV tuner for my computer! What does this mean? Well, it means I can finally watch live French TV!!! So yesterday, I got it all hooked up and channel surfed over to M6. I don't know what the M stands for, but that's the name of the 6th channel. Anyways, on the recommendation of the same lab mate, I watched Top Chef (the French version). Having enjoyed the American version in the past, I thought I knew what I was getting into. Well, I wasn't quite prepared for a 3-hour episode (really, it went from 9pm to midnight and that was "normal"), nor was I ready for a challenge involving cooking desserts from fish or a challenge to cook tête-de-veux (veal head). Plus, you can get all the recipes online! Oh, the joy! :-P
The good news was that I was actually able to follow a surprising amount of the show. It was unclear how much of that was due to my listening abilities vs the inane dialog of reality TV. Also, in the end I found out that I liked the same chefs as my lab mate, and we both disliked the same ones. Once again, I'm not sure how much of this was me understanding them versus the subtle shift in music when each on of them was talking. I probably wouldn't have noticed the music change if I could listen to what they were saying more. So I wonder how much "free will" we really have when watching reality TV!
Last weekend, my friends Adrienne and Andy were in my neighborhood, so they invited me to have dinner with them at a cafe they had been wanting to try.
Cafe Constant is one of several restaurants by Chef Constant, three of which are just a block from my apartment. It was already packed by the time they opened at 7pm (unusual in Paris, where the normal dinner time is 8-9pm), but luckily A&A got seats before I could walk there.
The food was fairly traditional French-style cafe food, but with extra attention to detail. Everything we tried was delicious, and topped off by incredible desserts. Although not budget-level, this cafe was well-priced for the food, with main courses around 15 Euros. I'm looking forward to going back again soon!
Sorry for the silence, but I went to the States for 10 days for a conference. All was well - my research was well-recieved, I made more good contacts, chatted with old friends, it was a great time.
The biggest adventure by far was the trip back to Paris.
And after I tell you this, we will never speak of it again. I am still recovering. If at some point in the future I would like to talk about it, *I* will bring it up. Otherwise, read on because you want to know, not because you want to have some in-depth conversation with me about this later...
People who know me well know that I hate to fly. Like, HATE. I was fine with it when I was a kid, but in college, I just decided I had enough. Enough. I found out from my Aunt that she used to like flying and then suddenly didn't. I wonder if something about it is heredity. Or maybe its just the sign that I was growing up and thinking that being in a tin can 30,000 feet in the air didn't sound like the path to longevity.
Anyways, I hate flying. I have all sorts of tricks to try not to hate it as much. I knit. I always sit on the aisle. I meditate. Well, let's just say that this flight, this 6 hrs of amazing airborne-ness from one continent to another, was not going to let me have my peace. The first hour was fine. And then the hell started. The following 4, yes, FOUR hours of the flight were spent in the worst turbulence of my life. (Keep in mind that despite my hatred of flying, I do it frequently, on average more than a flight a month for the past several years.) So for me to say this was the worst, it was BAD. I'm not even sure how I made it through. Somewhere in there I decided that I had to keep myself distracted so I spent time visualizing all sorts of engineering things and doing engineering estimations. So I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that the natural frequency of an Airbus 340 jet is around 1.5 Hz. I can also tell you that, by my estimates, 1/4 to 1/3 of the passengers on my flight used their airsickness bags. This was from direct observation of the surrounding seats. Oh, and I was in the absolute last row of the plane, so I had a really good view of everyone ahead of me.
So anyways, you can imagine how excited I was when the plane (the entire plane, in one piece) landed at the Paris airport. So I am back. And I will be posting more often. About fun Paris things. I promise!!!