Wednesday, March 15. 2006
i've been hacking on my photo gallery software some. new design and some new features.
lately, i'm finding it easier to add little blurbs to photos than to write whole stories. i added an RSS feed feature to the gallery, so that those with feed readers ("aggregators" or whatever they're called) can keep tuned in to updates to the photo site. any directory in the gallery can be monitored, and it chooses the most recent files from everything in subdirectories too. so you can stay in touch with everything new in avignon by using this feed. or if it makes you feel better:
bonus: through the magic of xsl, the same link should render well in any recent browser. so you can still stay up to date by bookmarking it and checking in there now and again.
of course, let me know if things aren't working right.
also, i'll try to post to this blog when i put up a new set of pix. i'm only three weeks behind now!
while i've got you:
i don't know if i mentioned it specifically a couple posts back, but it was chocolate yoghurt. weird. also, the yoghurt drink i tried wasn't thin like an indian yoghurt drink, it was pretty much just drinking peach yoghurt. (you can get choco flavor and the other usuals too.)
also, am i the only one afraid of a thing called an aggregator? i can draw one for you in crayon and it's pretty scary to me.
Tuesday, March 14. 2006
a couple weeks ago miss and i took a train trip to go see corey, our portland friend who's doing the same program as missy a couple hours away.
the train ride was great. an unexpected snowstorm hit as we were leaving. it got pretty intense. the train couldn't run at full TGV speed so we missed our connecting train in paris (even with a harrowing action film taxicab ride from Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse) and coerced our way into having SNCF put us up in a hotel there for a night. we had just enough time for a midnight dinner and glass of wine and some bitter cold getting lost on the walk home.
miss had a $8 cheeseburger and it really was worth it.
all trains go through paris, even if it makes the journey twice as long as it would be direct, like this time.
the next day we get to poitiers and there's lots of snow here as well. the most anyone's seen in a really long time, says carole, corey's french sweetheart. there's a small open source art conference going on in town (the other, lesser, reason for coming) so carole drops me off and everyone else trundles off to drink tea and stay warm. interesting presentations. half of them in french, the other half in english and translated into french (good practice!) learned more about some things i'd heard of but never investigated and met the folks that make em. hard to summarize. worthwhile.
that night we had a nice meal in a french restaurant that had american road signs and posters plastered inside. probably named Arizona or something. who would think to check for those things first? also the rarest steak that can exist. the french call it bleu, but that's absolutely backwards. too much for carole even, we politely ask for a little (more?) heat be applied and right on cue leather comes back. good fries though.
and then off for the real piece of resistance, the night wander! we walk through the blanketed town, bordeaux in hand, checking out the old town and cathedrals. great architecture here. the town houses have the swiss wooden X embedded in white stucco thing and severe second story street overhangs. really cozy/claustrophobic. it's saturday night, so there's a buch of other loud drunky wandery folks out too. they're friendly if we share our wine.
later: corey lives in a small room in an odd wing of the school he teaches in, which he describes as Hogwarts from Harry Potter. yeah, it really is like that, especially at spooky quiet night and we're the only ones around. we decide to snoop around the huge old school and see what corners we can poke into. mostly anything interesting is locked, but we find a cavern near the base of an out of service elevator. it's a brick arching catacomb place, not unlike in Poe's Cask of Amontillado. the floor is made of scattered old wine bottles. some of the dates on the bottles go back to the 70s. the ones with labels. so either people are drinking well-aged wine, or there's ghosts of old malcontent students about. i gather it's the "smokin' in the boys room" of france. the girls won't come in. corey and i goof a dead poet's thing for a while until the girls have had enough. i wish i could find those photos.
the next day all the snow has melted. corey and carole show us the main huge poitiers cathedral in the morning. i cram in as much art conference as i can in the afternoon before the tired train ride back.
Friday, March 3. 2006
our next door neighbors are in their 60s and pretty well-to-do. we don't see them that often; mostly we just hear when their dinner parties let out and the stairway reverbs with the boistrous end of conversations and bonne soirées. from our crow's nest windows we caught sight of the guests in the street leaving tonight's episode. nice suits and eveningwear. clean cut silver hair. real classy. i was a little sad because i realised that even in our heyday we threw way fewer parties than these guys do now. oh well.
it's almost midnight now, on a friday night. that means in exactly one hour there's going to be tons of loud singing drunk people walking below our window. you can set your watch and calendar by it. "hey, it's thursday!" "must be 1am!" to the minute accuracy. there's a second wave at 4am thursday through saturday of folks that somehow know the right people or the right places. and usually a couple stragglers now and again until 7 or 8.
makes me feel like a real square every time. they seem to be having so much fun. we were never allowed to sing in public in the states! and with my working hours being everyone else's partying hours i get a seussian grinchy attitude peering down on the whoville frolickers.
so anyway, the image. maybe it's offensive to some of you but i get a kick out of it. a german art project idea "aimed at" helping to clean up cities. it's a life-sized iconic ceramic tree that could be planted variously around urban areas. it's got a small trough at the bottom that drains into the sewer. use the canine part of your brain and you'll catch right on. some things about europe really are awesomer.
Thursday, March 2. 2006
i had three yoghurts today. everything dairy is so great here. except, for me, the milk. it's way more MILK than i'm used to, and i got out of the habit of drinking milk a while ago. i'm sure it's the same quality that makes butter, cheese, cream, and yoghurt so good.
yoghurt ("yaourt!") is more obviously a cream derivative here. you can get them that are still pretty much clotted cream. not as hard and jello-like as in the US. and new strange yummy flavors! nectarine and apricot are my favorites. also fig, nuts and grain, and the usuals.
there's cream and custard desserts, and yoghurt leans in this direction too, probably trying to be the healthy alternative or something. one of the ones i had today was chocolate truffle yoghurt. a little too weird for miss.
but she goes right for the chocolate milk. "cacolac" doesn't exactly ring my salivation bell, but it's serious chocolate and serious milk, so miss was plenty happy. i guess it translates to lake of chocolate. so it was each to their own for dessert tonight.
Tuesday, February 21. 2006
how can such a freakish amazing thing exist?
(note: read the other barcelona posts first to get the context. the main page top-post ordering kinda screws up rapid related posting, just like in email.)
the next day we set aside to see antonio gaudi's work-in-progress cathedral, the sagrada familia. it was started in 1883 and is a ways from being finished. there's still lots of skylight falling in where there ought to be roof, and the main central spire, which will be 500 feet tall, has yet to be started. and there's plenty to do before that. more impressive than the size is the style. it's instantly recognizable to any child that's ever made a sand castle by dripping wet mortar through your fingers. god did that and this is the result.
it's a construction site, really, through which you can piece together images of the future glory of the whole structure. intricate scaffolding grows up the walls 200 feet inside the curvy main vaults. the floor is full of hoists, concrete molds, and makeshift workshops. this is artist architect engineer paradise.
everything about the design is fluid and naturalistic. in form and decoration, gaudi based it all on deep research of natural phenomena. trees provide the main metaphor, with trunks as columns angled inwards to safely channel down the weights above. the nave ceilings imitate the splayed branchwork that protects while letting in dappled light. the rose windows borrow structural strength and visual inspiration from tiny ocean protozoa radiolaria. it goes on. there are informational bulletin boards inside explaining, with diagrams, many of the practical and artistic methods and decisions. i ate it up.
structurally, it was all designed as one unit. in older cathedrals, you can see the large lego pieces, how side blocks got snapped on to the main block, some neighbors differing in date and style by centuries. it's a practical way of dividing the engineering problem. the blocks don't have to interact, and can be added whenever funds allow expansion, and the architect can solve the smaller challenges of isolated forms.
it's also less efficent in terms of materials and less elegant in design, in the same way a lintel beam across a doorway compares to an arch. it was designed with the help of a crazy inverted rigging model. small sacks of shot are attached to a twine web outline of the structure. the shot pulling down impersonates the weight of the stone pushing on the finished building. it naturally stretches out the web to make the most ideal form to handle the forces. brilliant.
there's plenty more to say on it. the photo page captions get into more detail. but it was a great contrast to seeing the van der rohe the day before.
Monday, February 20. 2006
so we could talk about the art museums, how i like miró now, or how the only floor of the contemporary art museum open during rehanging packed in more than three normal museums. but boy i want to talk about architecture.
we found out that in the huge montjuic park, along with tons of other stuff, like the miro museum, is mies van der rohe's german pavilion from the 1929 international expo. some better photos than i took. he's one of the early defining modernist architects and i've been in love with some of his other buildings for a while but never seen any in person. this was billed as being one of the most important too, so i was really excited.
well, it definitely lived up to reputation, for good and bad. mostly it's a few low rectangle walls, some glass and some marble, barely holding up a rectangle roof. there's a couple shallow reflecting pools too. you can't get any sparser. it was shocking for being so barely there, yet so strongly defining the space it was in. you had to look hard to see it, but not to feel it. it's hard to photograph for exactly this reason. the difficult part for me was remembering that it was designed for people to stroll through, sip cocktails, and talk about Important things, not to live in. it works great for that, but it was so incredibly impractical for anything resembling normal human occupation. and that spun me out drawing parallels of course to writing software.
there's nothing nicer than looking at a clean algorithm, clean code where you can see the structure laid out and logical saying just what it does for anyone to read. it explains itself in the minimum number of words. that's the code everyone wants to write and read. but if you feed that code something it wasn't expecting, like "orange" instead of -34, all hell breaks loose and it collapses into a smoking pile. for instance: the pavilion didn't have a welcome mat to wipe your feet on when you walked in. i understand architecturally why it didn't, but at some point, someone's got to interact with the mathematical purity, and that's just going to mess things up unless you take care to check your input.
facing that building was facing the impracticality of idealism and that hurt. i knew i had the same fundamental problem with building. you can get away with it for a single-use structure whose point is idealism, but the real world doesn't permit living buildings or living code to operate like that. in living things, robustness is a virtue. being able to accept what the world throws at you, having that integral to the design is a different, maybe lesser, kind of beauty, but it's what we're stuck with.
Monday, February 20. 2006
it's not really spilling the beans if it's a month late i guess. miss was tired of planning our trip logistics always, so for her birthday trip she wanted me to handle everything. transport, hotel, sites to see, even the destination was to be a secret. fun! all her fellow teachers thought it was so romantic. she's writing up how it went down (spoiler warning!), but basically i walked her onto a nameless train and handed her the gift-wrapped lonely planet barcelona guide (in french) as we departed.
i'm not going to get too in-depth about the normal eating, walking and looking facts because i got so jazzed on the city that i have to run my mouth about some of that. contrasts to avignon: lots of other tall skinny friendly scruffy bearded guys (zero french guys with beards). bars are much more comfortable if you can squeeze into one and are open late. food was good but not awesome *except for tapas*. spanish doesn't come automatically if you know french.
barcelona is huge and has tons of culture of all kinds. lots of young people culture - great graffiti, lots of live music, lots of interesting looking people and cats wandering around. you could just breathe it in. partly i've been stuck in this small city for a long time, and stuck in my apartment and stuck in my head trying to get stuff done. barcelona has a lot of the same winds blowing through it as new york, but without the coffee jitters. really perked up my art/thinking-nose.
Wednesday, February 8. 2006
i'm getting a little behind here. so many great stories stored up, but january's been a busy month. let's start at the start - 1 janvier 2006, 0h00!
backstory: i've had some good new year's eves. i had a string of them over a decade ago (ugh, that long?) that got me to appreciate the holiday. it's a rolling global party! miss thinks i have a special connection to it and is a little leery of the nostalgia i have sometimes. but really it's nothing mystical.
the last couple have been of the wrong kind of silliness. some growing pains (sorry about the furniture, travis) and some misplaced bad energy at times. this year i was definitely not excited for it. i was in a winter funk, feeling very introverted and not of the necessary gregarity.
we'd had a club recommended to us a while ago. from what we heard (and were able to understand) le délirium was decorated with secondhand furniture, no two chairs alike, had lots of couches and cushions, was dimly lit, and regularly had live gypsy music. this was in direct contrast to (what corey's well described as) most french bars, which are overly-lit standing room only places for people to smoke heavily, drink bad french beer and watch television.
live gypsy music? that strikes a deep chord. when i was in high school, the family went into Boston for First Night one year. aside from the big red plastic horn i bought (*bad* thing to give to a trumpet player that knows how to use it), the highlight was stumbling on a klezmer concert. an "i had no idea music could be like this" moment. fantastic. and i've been a fan of the movie/soundtrack latcho drom and the director emir kusturica for a long time. to an uncultured american like me, they're all operating in roughly the same sonic and emotional territory. fiery passionate rooted colors.
so that's kind of a draw. but i don't have anything to wear. i brought only like four short sleeve shirts hoping to get some french swag when i arrived, but never did. a last minute shopping run doesn't net anything but frustration. so now i'm going to stand out even more in a fancy crowd. and reservations were recommended, but i was too nervous to call and make them. ugh.
i was all set to stay in, call it a night, and fall alseep before the embarassment of being lame at exactly midnight could hit. luckily, missy was in no mood for that. she had her good lipstick on already, and i learned long ago that that represents an unstoppable force. so out the door we go.
délirium is down a side alley, through an improbable door, up strange steps, down a dark hallway, and into a short line. peering through the door crack i can see folks in their 50's in tuxes and gowns, a well-stocked hors d'oeuvres table, and champagne glasses everywhere. a bouncer type peers out and announces something to the line. something about cards. oh, you're supposed to be a card-carrying member. 6'4" and american is the wrong size for right now.
well, missy's in charge and so we make it to the door, where a nice woman takes our names, (cash), and issues us cards and drink tickets for free champagne. ?? it worked!
it's nowhere near as nice as in the picture. it's not all tuxes. it's all ages (i mean from age five to 75). and most of the snacks are gone already. and it's comfortable! bianca's very much at home here. missy's not as content as i am to stand in the back corner, so she finds two cushions right up by the stage while i get our champagne.
one of my favorite games is to imagine the possibilities of the instruments on a stage waiting for the musicians to arrive. on this one there's three accordions, some with pieces off of them, a mandolin, classical guitar, a small jazz-style drum kit, and a tuba with a mic duct-tape-suspended in the bell. outstanding!
the night is billed as a cabaret. throughout the evening the attention shifts between dancers, various musical groups, projection, and jugglers. i almost don't want to call them jugglers. it's not the same activity as in even the best circuses, in the way that playing fiddle and playing classical violin are not the same. different art forms entirely. it's as much modern dance as brute mechanics. it actually made me question whether mimes might be equally misunderstood.
the music is wonderful. powerful dark dissonant uplifting stuff. the main band, est à l'ouest, plays tzigane (gypsy) flavors in the jazz format of head, solos, head, with lots of great wandering in the middle. the mandolin player encourages miss to dance, but there are enough tipsy couples doing just that in the small space, knocking over champagne flutes with flying hems.
i couldn't be happier. it's not the kind of place i could ever hope to stumble on, or even guess about the existence of. what a gift. when the countdown happens, it's rushed, disorderly, and almost an intrusion into the evening. but quick as it appears, the music flows back in after it, returning us to the unreality and time suspension that lasts for a few more hours, until the transition to the new year is smoothed permanent.
Tuesday, January 3. 2006
looked out the windows a couple days ago, and there was straight-up snow coming down! living in mild portland after spending so much time in tahoe, i'm well prepared to be excited at the first flake. so i dragged missy into her coat to wander around and enjoy it while it lasted.
there were a couple kids trying their best to make snowballs from the small amount that was sticking. mostly people looked confused and annoyed. i think it frightened a lot of people to stay inside. at least it kept the wind down. why does snow do that? i'm sure brady has a scientific explanation.
after seeing the cezanne studio and going museuming with april and missy, i was really in the mood to appreciate how radically different the quality of light can be when falling on the same objects. it's easy to forget that objects are invisible without light. you're really looking as much at the light as the object.
we had a silly game as kids when one of us found out that a red ball looks red because that's the only color that bounces off it. so really it's blue and green and everything else but red! we'd ask adults what color things were and then make fun of them for getting it backwards. that wore off quickly.
when you look at the credits in any 3D animation there's as many lighting folks as animators or modellers. it didn't make sense until i tried doing that stuff myself. it's very not easy.
anyway, it was a nice little link into monet-world, which i usually don't appreciate that much. then the sun went down and it got cold and a lot less fun. so we went inside for some tea.
Saturday, December 31. 2005
sorry, couldn't resist. missy's sis april visited us for christmas. i took a couple photos of the parts of it that i was involved in, which some of you might find interesting to look at. now with captions!
no more spoilers since i think miss is going to cover things in a separate post. it was great to have her here. i got a deeper glimpse into the wonderful world of haywards and thankfully avoided getting my butt kicked at rummy 500!
Saturday, December 31. 2005
on the st. benezet bridge, the "pont d'avignon", there's a little area where the stone, earth, and water all meet. someone has arranged a little spot with a small stone wall, heart sculpture, driftlog, and sitting stone. i've been here a number of times; it's one of my favorite avignon places.
it changes over time. the stone wall wanders like a snake yawning in the sun, but always protects the corner. the sculpture shifts. it's spotless though, free of the kind of trash that ought to float there and stay. it's being tended.
there's a note attached to an old iron spike just above. in one version or another it's been there for a long time. the fluttering white is what first drew my eye to the spot. it used to be an unprotected sheet of paper, but now for the winter it's got a plastic sheath. i think this version has got more careful lettering. i can't tell if the text has changed as well. it seems longer now.
my rough google-translate-assisted attempt:
every person has the right to take part freely in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and participate in scientific progress and the benefits that result.
seems a fair balance, and a nice new year's blessing.
also, miss uncovered some more info on the Cézanne studio. this page has a nice photo. here are some more from a different site. the "Panorama 360" link gets you a full spinning view of the main room. see why i want to live there?
Saturday, December 24. 2005
marvelous mikl sent us my camera that i left in san francisco before we left for france (d'oh!) so i've been taking more photos than writing words lately. i managed to put a bunch up for your viewing pleasure.
a little backstory for some of the categories:
SF: i had to go back to san francisco last week to pick up my long stay visa. i hadn't given myself enough time for france to process the visa application before we had to leave, so beaurocracy being what it is i had to go all the way back to get it. worse, what we thought was a confirmed flight back somehow only ended up being a reservation, so when i got to the marseille airport at 4:30am i found out i didn't have a flight and had to buy it then and there, almost doubling the price. drat. still not sure what went wrong with that. anyway, i got the same flights i'd reserved before and it all worked out ok eventually.
it was weird to be back. i didn't want to get re-sullied with my US thoughts so i tried to lay low and off the radar, with limited success. i'm almost back into the french swing of things.
aix: all the flights to and from the US were at awful hours and required staying a night close to the marseille airport either the night before i left or the night i came back since trains and shuttles didn't run early enough. so miss and i took the opportunity to take a little trip to aix-en-provence, a little town about half an hour away. it's not as ancient as avignon, but it's very pretty.
cezanne did a lot of later work there, and we got to walk through his old studio. a little walk out of town and up a big hill overlooking the town is a small two-story building he had built. it used to be the only building on the hill back in the day, and it still has a great view. the same view of Mt. St. Victoire he used as a study over and over again. neat!
the second floor of the building was his studio. a huge sparse room painted in medium grey, with immense warehouse-style windows on the north wall for maximum light. there was a special tall skinny door to the outside that he could move the large canvases out when they were finished. the place still vibrated with the guy's spirit. i felt instantly calm and productive there and really wanted to stay. he knew a good work environment, and it's rotting fruit on the tables and pictures of naked women on the walls.
holidays: avignon is all wrapped up in bows and twinkly lights. maybe it's partly the progressive portland influence, but i really appreciate the benefits of high taxes spent well by the state. between this, the opera, and the library i feel like the normal citizen is getting a lot better value for money than say emptying the budget into halliburton's pockets. why do i pay taxes again?
missy's sister april is visiting right now. she and miss took a trip to paris while i was in SF, and we're trying to show her the sights of avignon. (there's only like five!) there's a little ice skating rink set up in front of the main market we're going to go to later on. and maybe even go to a mass tonight, for old time's sake. i still get sentimental and soft on christmas eve, and they have churches here like you wouldn't believe.
well, joyeuse fêtes, as they say!
Thursday, December 8. 2005
on the third thursday of november each year (mandated by french law) the new wine is released into the world. and everyone parties. apparently half of all the beaujolais for the year is shipped or drunk that first night.
this is the same fruit that was celebrated as grapes only a couple weeks ago during the harvest festival (we just missed that one). i didn't know you could make wine in that short a time, but i guess there's a little urgency.
most of the hubub is about the beaujolais nouveau. but avignon is a little farther down the valley than those guys. our area makes some similar wines, and so the focus is on the region's own produce, calling it primeur, which apparently means generically "first fruits". i sensed a little rivalry.
that night, the whole town floods into the main square in front of the pope's (old) palace. winemakers set up tents and hand out thousands of small glasses of wine for free. we got there a little late and had to settle for tiny plastic cups. no matter. and they sell cases and cases of wine in the process.
it's a madhouse. it's like arena rock for middle aged french people. we squeezed up and got our first samples and quickly found out why everyone was so extra-loopy at 7pm. it's really strong! our french teacher had warned us about it earlier that day. she wasn't going because she didn't like new wine. too much alcohol and it tastes too young.
well, really what do i know about wine? what does "young" taste like? but we (ok, *i*) have been doing a fair amount of firsthand research on wine since we got here. estimates close to the mark are about 45 bottles so far. recycling piles up quickly. there's a little 8-slot wine rack in the kitchen that i try to keep well-maintained. the main goal going in was to get used to it, get accustomed to it quickly so that understanding could come sooner. miss and i love to dissect good food now, and i was looking for the same thing with the national icon. well it worked, and i have a fair idea of wine qualities now, even if i can't remember particular regions or vinyards exactly.
but i told you all that to tell you this: new wine really tastes new! like a brash young meerkitten it's all scraggly and feisty and bites your tail. it's bouncy and prickly and troublesome. not something i'd buy every day, but pretty fun when you roll with it.
there was also a samba band playing! they came from marseille and were dressed in construction workers outfits, with hard hats and flourescent vests. very reminiscent of the ice cream socialists, but with rhythm. they were a small outfit, but really fun. they had a capoeira group with them that dance-fought on the steps of the palace (that's the first photo). very exciting. and speaking of small outfits (yuk yuk) we felt worried for them since it was winter coat weather outside and they were in pretty skimpy duds. not south american climate, but they were moving enough to keep warm.
things started thinning out as the wine dried up. the square slowly emptied, with people carrying home white boxes, six bottles each, of the new stuff. lots of broken stepped-on wine glasses all over the cobblestones.
we walk to the main central square, the place de l'horloge ("clock square" that doesn't actually have a clock). lots of restaurants. we decide to eat at a nice looking moroccan restaurant that's not too pricey. each table has a bottle of primeur on it. oy! it was a fantastic meal. mine was braised lamb, prunes, and sliced almonds. missy got a huge couscous dish. it came in three bowls, each enough to feed two people, that you assemble on your plate. also excellent. lamb and veggie stew and couscous. it turned me on to turnips, which i've been making a lot since then. we were too hungry and amazed to get a photo of it. maybe we'll go back! we had a chat with some nice french women at the next table over who had ordered exactly the same two things.
that was about it for the night. eating took us two hours, which was pretty neat. no one pressures you to vacate, and we were in no rush. it's a nice pace; nice to give a meal that amount of time. our dinners are getting longer at home now too.
on the way i snapped the photo of hobbit-clothes, then it was quick to bed. a new early night record for me, for sure.
Thursday, December 8. 2005
i've come to accept that for the next months i'm going to be living in a world of bread crumbs. it's ok, it's the price of eating yummy crusty fresh bread every day. it's just a little shocking, the things you never expected to be shocked by.
it does make some things easier. miss was making chicken parmesean the other night. all we had to do was drop the cutlets on the dining room carpet, flip, and fry.
suresure they're all over the kitchen and dining room and all in the keyboards of our computers. that's to be expected. but i find them in stray corners of closets and in the bathtub. maybe they're mobile. maybe they attach like burrs to your clothing to gain farther reach. or catch and ride the drafts through the halls.
we've got an inside joke that it's mice. seems every time one of us buys tasty bread or chocolate when we get it home there's a small bite taken out of it. it never happens to the turnips for some reason.
anyway, this photo is about another mythical avignon creature: the halfling. there's stores that sell 1/3 scale adult outfits. and i've actually seen tiny people in the stores and in the streets. like sub-4' sized. and there's a number of them. if the archeological remains of a race of small humans was recently discovered in indonesia (and they were pretty recent), it's not unimaginable that their relatives could be living amongst us now.
Saturday, November 19. 2005
found an excellent solution to our need for plastic food storage containers. it's like a decree to eat more ice cream. it's for the good of the state!
poor missy only got to see it briefly. i must be man-struating because it hardly had time to make a home in the freezer before untimely end.
the chocolate flavor uses 70% chocolate. it actually sacrifices some creaminess to fit more chocolate into the ice cream. that's the kind of compromise i can live with. it makes good choco-economic sense — i can get my fix with 1/3 less ice cream. no need to down a pint at one sitting. i think that's representative of a lot of food here, and may be part of the french paradox of rich food == skinny people.
oh, we just found another great idea: crème brûlée ice cream! i've got a case of it on dry ice shipping to jon right now. honestly, this version isn't as good as it could be, but i've got my eyes out for other brands. there's a great love of caramel, nougat, praline and the like here, which i fully support. people must have done some crazy sugar-related experiments back in the day to get some of these great inventions. relatedly: i'm doing extensive research on chocolate bars here and will have something at a later date.
short accounts by missy and seth, at least tangentially relating to life in avignon, france.