31 December 2007

2007 Year In Review

Another year draws to its conclusion – and that can only mean one thing: Top 10 Lists!

What makes the cut and what didn't pass the mustard in the Double-Oh-Seven edition of everyone's favourite intercontinentalist? Let's have a looksee...

Out With The Old
2007 Lowlights, Fiascos, Disasters and Other Miscellaneous Imbroglios

§...Writing the second part of my grad school entrance exam on Good Friday! What kind of God-fearing Catholics are they in France to schedule an exam on the day our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did whatever he did on Good Friday? (Bad Catholics, that's what. The going-to-hell-straight-away kind of Catholics). And it certainly didn't help that the exam started at 10am and lasted until 5:30! Yikes! (What's the French translation for 'permanent nerve damage due to hand cramps'?)

§...The Coalmine, a.k.a my previous job. Oh so much to dislike. Was it the cubicles, or endless paper chase, solving problems that should have never existed in the first place? Maybe it was the hour-long commute to horrid North York? Or maybe the fact that I always felt stupid because my training was inadequate? And four people doing the job of eleven was no fun either. I could go on and on, but I'll just thank god that it's all over now instead!

§...Rdriv.sys virus – how you ruined my life! At a time when I felt "Gee, things can't get any worse," you came along and did just that. I loved paying 200€ trying to get you the hell out of my computer, and in the end you won anyway. You suck and I hate you!

§...The weather in Toronto this summer. As if it wasn't bad enough that it barely broke 25° all summer long, then I had to listen to idiots go on and on about "how nice it was that it was too hot." Uh, when you spend the other nice months of the year worrying how long it will take exposed flesh to freeze, there is no such thing as a summer that's too hot! Why can't you just enjoy it, bitches?

§...My digital camera breaking - the day after my computer died. Again, just when I though things couldn't get any worse, they did. I think I even went through the five stages of grieving when I realised what had happened. Really, the nadir of my time here in Paris (but who knows how many other unforeseen things have yet to go wrong for me in the City of Light, ha ha).

§...Le Consulat Général de France à Toronto; in particular -but not limited to- the Visa Section, the Education Section, their automated telephone system, their online appointment booking system, and all people who have ever worked there or will ever work there in the future – I hate you. Already blogged about here. I am especially upset, however, at the woman in the Education section who said I couldn't apply for French government bursaries as a foreign student if I was outside of France. In fact, I could have done exactly that. All I needed to do was to apply at the Education Section of my nearest French diplomatic mission... i.e. - it was her bloody job to tell me about the French government bursaries! She just couldn't be bothered.

§...Anything leading up to, including, and following my Toronto departure was of course a big emotional mess. Taxi to the airport: messy. Aimless what-am-I-doing-with-my-life wandering around Paris: messy. MMC's Singapore departure: very messy. Too many bloody mary's on AC880 to Paris: messy.

§...ESIT (my school), blogged about in profusion: 1, 2, 3, 4 . Okay, I know now that French universities are a disorganised nightmare. It still doesn't really make me feel any better. Further example of ridiculousness: I wondered how we were going to get the results of the exams we just finished writing. Perhaps a monk was going to transcribe them onto parchment and they would be delivered to us by carrier pigeon in six to eight months? Or maybe they would tell us to go line up in some random university administration building -open 2 to 3:30 Tuesdays and alternate Thursdays, way out in the middle of nowhere — only to get there and have them tell us that we actually needed to go to a different building on the opposite side of Paris? — I decided to ask a professor how we were going to receive our marks. She said she didn't know. So then I went to the equivalent of the registrar's office to ask them. They didn't know either! How can they not know – they're the bloody registrar!! Honestly, a level of disorganisation that would make Nicaragua shake its head.

§...Stepping in candle-wax the second time I wore my brand new shoes, thereby ruining them. –I guess it was meant to teach me a lesson about buying too-expensive, fancy shoes. What it really did, however, was make me want to go out and buy even fancier shoes.

§...The far too frequent "have-I-made-a-horrible-life-decision?" moments. While I do think translation is the answer -my school-induced traumas, the apprehension, anxiety, my crash landing, the extra year- are all making me wonder if Paris was really the question.

Hmmn, certainly a grouping of calamity skewed towards the France side of the year... On vera ce que ça donne, as my grandmother used to say (we'll see what happens). I declare 2007 to have been the year of the wait-and-see. Plenty of good stuff happened as well:

Best In Show
2007 Hit Parade, Highlights, Accomplishments and diverse Happinesses

...Tiki Hula Luau, version XXVIII. Blogged about here. Simply amazing! When Jenni said it was like Holly Golightly's party in Breakfast at Tiffany's I swooned and nearly fainted (or, I nearly Liza'ed, if you speak gay).

...Summer beachy fun with the boys, nearly every weekend this summer at Hanlan's. What better way than a photo montage to relive the melanoma-induced amazingness? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

...Waking up on Sunday morning with MMC, baking quiche and watching Project Runway on DVD. So fun and so gay! (Just like me!)

...This photo. Kawaiiiii!

...Finally! –A movie about what it's like to be me! The Curiosity of Chance hits all the right notes and deserves best picture of the year for its genuine and captivating recreation of my formative years (though the small matter of royalties has yet to be settled). Even better was that director Russell Marleau commented on my post!

... Centre Island Maze one Sunday at the end of April, the first day of real spring. The first day of spring is always fabulous, and the maze -which I had never been to before- was oozing with spookiness in the slanty afternoon light. Wandering around the creepy overgrown hedges, I thought 'either I'm going to end up in Narnia, or, none of use will ever leave here alive because of some insane axe murderer.' Good times!

...Although I have been Complainy Complainerson vis-à-vis Paris, it is still a very beautiful city. Aimless flâneuring always comes up with some charming lane or forgotten courtyard. One particularly Parisian moment involved standing at the very tip of Île de la Cité, at night, in the pouring rain, watching the bateaux-mouches gliding along the murky Seine like a real-life film noir.

...Finding out I got accepted to the school back in May. The memory has been somewhat tarnished now by the many and myriad problems since, but it was certainly great at the time.

...Buuuuufalo with MMC. Who doesn't love a good road trip – especially one that involves art, shopping, Buffalo wings, gay bars, and winning money at Casino Niagara? Special props to the Twlight Zone Buffalo downtown core, devoid of all signs of human habitation and the Twilight Zone Canadian border crossing at 4AM.

...The race for who gets to fill the last 'Highlight' slot is too close to call. I'll leave it as a photo finish and let the judges decide. Pride or Fake Prom?

Photo of the Year 2007
This section is interactive for all ya’ll! Time to vote on the year's best photos! Votes, praise, donations, and solid gold gifts can be left in the 'Comments' section.

Photo of the Year 2007
Montmartre - April Fake Prom - August Sacré-Cœur - September

Photo of the Year 2007, Portrait Category
Pride - June

Beach - August

Photo of the Year 2007, Tokyo Tintin Category

Winner due to personal bias - It's my favourite.

What was I thinking?!? 2007

Hair explosions in the Musée d'Orsay are so 2003!

Caution, this combination of eyeglasses and watch may induce seizures.

Best dressed 2007

Fake Prom (August), winner by acclamation

New Years Resolutions
As always, my New Year's resolution is to be more fabulous. Last year I said I was aiming for a "glitter" rating of fabulousness in 2007, which I feel was achieved by summertime. I'd like to thank the Academy, the producers, all the people who worked on the project, and of course my many amazing friends — I owe it all to you.

Unfortunately, intercontinental migration has since caused a steep hit in the standings, and, despite picking up glamour points from Paris and Linda Evangelista, things are currently hovering around "glint" levels. Lots of hard work ahead to get things back on track in 2008, but definitely achievable.

Happy New Year!
Bonne Année!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

23 December 2007

Pope Benedict XVI suddenly reveals his true self

I think his plan will be to make us all his slave-humans and put us to work in the xenon mines of Argus2000.

21 December 2007

Entreprise et son environnement

A funny story from the beginning of the semester that I forgot to relate because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself (and a further example of the farcical school system here):

I have a class called Entreprise et son environnement about commerce and the business world, so you can understand and then translate economicky texts. While quite often French university classes don't use a textbook, this one does. Fine, no problemo.

I didn't have a chance to go to the bookstore, but the next week of class, another student puts up her hand and says "I went to the bookstore, but they told me the textbook is out of print." To which the professor responds "Oh yes, I know. Very unfortunate. But you can't very well expect me to re-write my whole course just because the textbook is out of print. You'll just have to make do somehow."

...Isn't France ridiculous? C'est n'importe quoi ici !

16 December 2007

It's a Lacroix! (ver. II)

I brave a French supermarket with the lovely Organa to find shelves and shelves of Evian bottles designed by Christian Lacroix.

It's fabulous! Good.

06 December 2007

Yōkoso Japan

Waaanh! What am I doing in stupid France with all their chocolate eclairs and cigarette smoke? Japan is amazing! I want to go back.

View Yōkoso Japan video.