Tuesday, February 21, 2006

a healthy mistake

So the other day I make my way over to the gymnasium to do some lifting. Nothing fancy, just bicep and back day. Good times. On my way out of the very very stinky locker room, I run across a young lady I know, I believe Lucy is her name. I get accosted. Next thing I know, she's badgered me into going to a class called "body pump". I'm aware of the gayness involved in taking classes at the gym, let alone ones called "body pump".

5 minutes later, I'm standing in a room consisting of about 3/4 young ladies, doing crazy exercises to the WORST GODDAMMED MUSIC IN THE WORLD. An assortment including: I'm too sexy, a couple C&C Music Factory Songs, and a lot of Madonna. Upside: It was at led by an incredibly attractive ripped to shreds blonde woman yelling in French. Downside: She frequently sang along to the songs.

This workout ended after 45 minutes, and my wobbly ass legs were unprepared. So now my fucking buttcheeks hurt like someones been punching me in the buns for the past week, and I can't walk all that well. So instead of going to Paris and gettin' some culture, I will sit around and play video games in French. This is what I get for doing something different.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dude. Whoa.

I was walking home from a cafe in Vieux(old) Lille last night around 5 PM when I was suddenly confronted with a huge crowd gathered at an intersection in the Grand Place. (Grand Place is like the Times Square of Lille, a big old European city square)

So, assuming there was some sort of Mime show going on, I made my way towards the blob of people. As soon as I got there I realized a problem - I couldn't tell what everyone was looking at. Then, suddenly, like a gift from god, the thin end of a large wooden kitchen table appeared in a window four stories up, on the other side of the street. Sounds of grunting echoed down to the onlookers. Then, BLAMMO. The table was shoved out of the window to shatter on the pavement below. Big table. I resisted the urge to cheer, because the blond headed, red shirted young lady didn't look like she was doing this for fun.

But she was just getting started. Five minutes and a whole lot of furniture later, she's got a TV on the ledge, the audience is either sighing or holding their breath, aaaannnnddd.. BOOOM, she hefts it out. I started clapping and yelled "awesome". I was being a bit ironic, but I was really hoping to start some kind of chant, or at least a group clap. Instead, everyone looked at me with confusion/distaste. I thought it was a good move though.

Eventually, the fire department came, and they simultaneously kicked down her door and worked the peach basket up to her window.

The question remained as to just what led her to this kind of mania - I think most people's first thoughts would revolve around an unfaithful lover. I agreed at first, but when the Fire and Police Dept. got her downstairs, she persisted in shoving them and even shoving a few passers by. Why they didn't cuff her, I don't know - anyone who tosses huge, heavy objects onto a busy street should be taken straight downtown. In any case, she seemed really hysterical - and thoroughly loony. Maybe she was just off her meds.

Highlight of the whole episode was after she was gone, and a woman of at least 30 waded into the wreckage area and snatched up a power cord and nonchalantly walked into the crowd. Awesome.

Hillary in Europe

Discussing American politics with Europeans generally, and rightfully, turns into a discussion of the 2008 election, and how we are going to get Georgie boy and the Republicans out of office. Everyone I've spoken to refers excitedly to Hillary Clinton, and seems to want her to run. I think a lot of this has to do with their very very positive view of Bill Clinton - people really like him here.

Personally, I don't think she would win, and I don't particularly like her. Why don't I like her? First, because she advocated censorship and generally gave too much of a shit about that whole "Grand Theft Auto Sex Scene" thing, going so far as to instigate the investigation. Second, because she voted in favor of the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. And finally, because I think she can't win the election, and she will probably still run.

While looking for more information on Hill at Wikipedia, I did find this gem...

"Clinton came under criticism in 2004 after saying that Mahatma Gandhi "ran a gas station down in Saint Louis." Many took Clinton's words as stereotyping South Asians living in the United States. Clinton apologized, blamed "a lame attempt at humor," and claimed that she "admired the work and life of Mahatma Gandhi and had spoken publicly about that many times [29]." Michelle Naef, administrator of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence said she didn't think Clinton was trying to demean Mahatma Gandhi and credited both Clintons as long having supported the Gandhi message. However, Naef said that Clinton's remarks were offensive and could be "incredibly harmful [30].""

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

AHAH
ha.

I love insensitive humor so much that this makes me want to vote for her.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Superbowl a la Francais

I spent last night in an Australian Bar, (cleverly called "The Australian Bar"), watching a British broadcast of American Football with a Dutchman and a Russian, and ordering my drinks from a Canadian. God Bless Globalization.

The game started at midnight, and by that time I had already had about 5 drinks, so I was properly loud and American. My own loud American voice was drowned out by the group of 250 pound Massholes that were in town for a business meeting. Nice people. Dumb as bricks, but nice people. They were aware of their obvious Americanness, but they didn't care. In my opinion, that makes it a bit less obnoxious, because oblivious behavior is far worse than anything else. Anyway, I chatted with these guys for a good ten minutes, typical american guy smalltalk about "where we can find some ass" and our preferences for NFL teams. It's funny how easy it is, almost ritualized like the french double cheek kiss thing, except I think it's designed to feel out if everyone involved is straight and manly. All of our later conversations revolved around similar meaningless (but entertaining) manly talk. The other topics were as follows:

-How much do you weigh?
-How much can you bench press?
-Did you play sports in College?
-If yes, what sports did you play, and what positions?
-How many Ice Beers can you name, and which ones were your favorites in High School?
-Argument over Keystone Ice vs. Natural Ice, focusing mainly on which is cheaper and which gets you drunker.
-What factor, which was completely out of your control, kept you from being the best player of your sport in your college/county/state, etc.
-More on how much you weigh.
-How much do you eat?

My favorite, most awkward and entertaining part of the evening, was when the HUGE Asian guy started talking about American fighting and how he felt a connection with us. This topic was used to segue into how he grew up in the ghetto and got stabbed in the arm. The other Huge guy kept talking about how Dutch he was to the Dutchman, who thought it was hilarious that anyone should be proud of being Dutch.

Wow. I guess I have to take back some of my hatred of meaningless female conversations, because that was one hell of a couple hours.

Grand Finale of the night was a group of guys from Atlanta, all around 40, who were there for some kind of business meeting. There were three of them, one boss and two relatively new underlings. As they were preparing to kick us out of the bar, the two underlings started to go outside, and told the boss, who was now sitting with me and the international crew, that the taxi was there. He promptly turned to me and said, and I quote - "Buncha fuckin' pussies" - then turned back to the henchmen and said "go wait in the car, I'll be there when I'm ready". He was very congenial in tone, but it was hilarious. Reminds me to never stop drinking before my boss. Good business skill, alcoholism.

I talked with the International Crew, (from here on out to be referred to as the UN), and they are all excited to meet some authentic, big, dumb, homophobic Americans. So, I suppose tonight will be another night of hanging out with them. I look forward to watching the reaction of Lille's French population to having these roided out psychopaths visiting their fair city.

Yay.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Angry dating!

Inspired by somewaterytart's recent post on attraction, I thought I'd repost something I wrote while doing online dating last year. I wrote this about American girls for my MySpace profile. It's mean, and funny.

I'm looking for the following:

Step One: Have fucking eyebrows. No painted on bullshit, and you don't slop pounds of shittily done makeup on a fake tanned face that is going to be puffy with botox as you place nerve destroying bacteria into your goddammed forehead to fight off the inevitable decay of your one feature besides your plastic tits that anyone ever liked about you.

Step Two: Something that resembles proper English in typed form. ie: Nobody who uses 2 for to, can't get the three "there's" straight, puts any form of heart or symbol around their name, or uses the terms "Holla", "Hella", "Wudz up", "Partaay", or any other form of stupid garbled ebonics surfer jargon that has somehow become not only an accepted way to speak, but a preferable one. Unless you are doing it ironically.

Step Three: You have a strong sense of self-respect. You have not had a "bad boy" phase, wherein you want to be around men who treat you like shit. No matter what Cosmo or your best friend the whore tells you, that shit is stupid. Even for 5 minutes. You do not need to grow into self respect and dignity as an adult, you should have it already. I never had an "I want to fuck dumb bitches with no self esteem" phase, so why the hell are you entitled to equivalent stupidity? That, and I really don't want to have to take care of the remnants of your shattered, miserable, superficial little soul after you decided that you wanted to suck the dick of some guy who drives a huge truck and occasionally gives you a thorough choking because you didn't like the fact that he fucked your sister in your bed.

Step Four: You read. Big books, little books, short books, tall books. It doesn't have to be the same thing I read, but I need some education with my intelligence, otherwise we won't have anything to talk about. Well, you won't, because you were too busy reading magazinges and trying to decide which Sex and the City character you most resemble to actually develop yourself as a human being and not just another boobed object.

Step Five: Be kind. Bitchiness is a little funny, but it's not a characteristic I want to spend time around. Loving and caring for people is an area wherein women have had it right for years, don't let the idea of liberation take away something good. Which brings up another point - you are vaguely disgusted with the new feminism. Like I said before - equality and rights for women do not mean that you have to adopt the worst characteristics of men, such as meaningless sex, physical objectification, and the leading of shallow superficial lives.

Step Six: "Shopping" is not one of your interests. Since when did that become acceptable, and something you could actually say without joking and hold your head up high? There is so much more to life than shoes, bags, clothing, and filling up your shallow life with more crap.

The responses I got were few, but most of them were pretty cool, and ended up being my friends, which was nice. Bitterness doesn't sell well, even to cool girls, and I knew that then. But San Diego created a lot of frustration because most people seemed so consistently empty. France is much better, and the East Coast was always good as well. It's amazing how different white people can look when they stop dying their hair blonde and wearing only varying shades of pink and white.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Ici

Did I ever tell you that the French kind of suck at doing stuff? They are excellent at Food, Wine, Fashion, Beauty, and staying up until crazy hours of the night all the time, but they really suck at most everything functional. The reasons for this are probably many, although they definitely have different priorities and a significant "we have lost all of our former power" axe to grind.

Exhibit 1: Very few French people actually speak English. I do not complain about this, but the group of Europeans I hang out with who come from all over Europe do. Apparently the French are known for having the worst English on this continent. The Fin, the Swedes, the German, and the Dutchman are always bringing this up, because they do not speak much French. My theory on the matter is that the French long for the days when they were actually significant, and in response to increased globalization and business pressures, are counterattacking with a staunch refusal to learn the new 'Lingua Franca'. This is a significant problem for their economy, which holds almost 10 percent unemployment and doesn't grow.

Exhibit 2: Did any of these morons ever realise that the best way to make money from business is TO ACTUALLY BE OPEN. Stores here are closed on sundays. Everything except the bakeries. Even the grocery store isn't open, and about 3/4 of the restaurants are closed. Historically, this might have been a religious inclination, but seeing as most of the French are now devout Atheists, I think they are just doing it to piss me off. I mean why the fuck would you close a store on Sunday? The work week is the same (although only 35 hours), and people aren't doing anything. Why has nobody come on the scene to open a store on Sundays? French Labor rights are probably to blame. In France it is nearly impossible to fire someone, and everybody has a Union, all of which would sooner stand out in the cold on strike on Sunday than actually work. This also contributes to their shitty economy. And shut up if you are someone who has ever decided to participate in a "buy nothing day" or a "don't fill up your car with gas day". Being able to consume whenever I want to is important to me.

Exhibit 3: Nonexistent customer service. For some reason, Lille is an extremely friendly place. I was told by many people that the French were rude before I came here. This has not been borne out, except in the business world. My school is slower and more bureaucratic than I could ever believe. They do not even have a complete schedule posted yet, and it is now a MONTH into the semester. Any questions regarding anything are met with either a blinking stare, a confused shake of the head, or redirection to another person or department. The goddammed international student advisor didn't even know how the credits here transferred to US credits. She informed me she would fix it in two weeks. Then she didn't. Going to any large store represents the same problem. Carrefour, the large and entertainingly poorly run grocery store, is the worst place to shop in the world. At no time of day will you wait less than 10 minutes in line, you have to bag your own groceries, and all the employees are either on rollerskates or sitting on their ass looking confused. Actually, I take that back, I found one guy who smiles and scans shit quickly, and since I know he works on Fridays between 1 and 5 in aisle 22, I only go to the grocery store at that time, and only go to him. But back to the bagging groceries thing. Back in the states, they use the mentally retarded. It works great, and gives them something to do. I know they have some damned high unemployment rates here in France, so why not let 'em bag groceries? And if you can't find them, just use fucking teenagers. It's faster, and in a high overhead business they will save money through increased efficiency. The foreign kids said that if Carrefour wanted to improve they should just imitate a US business. In an entirely non-culturally imperialistic way, I agree. If there is one thing we are good at in the US, it's making money.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Francais

Lille is a lovely town in the North of France. It's of decent size, around 300 thousand, with a very large student population and a reputation for being a great party town. The bars are many and varied, they close at 3, and the clubs are open until 8 or 9. It's fun. My personal favorite moment is at around 6 AM the staff of the club emerges from their holes and starts distributing croissants. I have yet to be able to eat one, because both times I have witnessed this event I was too drunk or too busy dancing my big muscular butt off.

But I digress.

Sadly, one half of all of the French People I actually spend time with is disappearing in a week. Last summer I met a number of French people at a wedding in Montreal. They were all very nice, and after talking with them for a while they convinced me to move to Lille instead of Rotterdam for my study abroad. The man I got to know best is named Laurent, and he is easily one of the nicest people I have ever met. He grew up in Lille, has traveled extensively, and is generous, open, and knows how to party. His girlfriend kicks ass as well, and they are one of those couples that is simultaneously fun to be around and extremely loving toward each other. It's thoroughly enviable. They are kind enough to speak drunken French with me, although most of our conversations consist of us exchanging compliments. When I think about the words exchanged it all seems rather ridiculous and simple, but the feeling of hanging out with them is one of instant, welcoming comfort. I love spending time with them, but sadly, they are leaving next Sunday to go to India and Thailand for the next 10 months. A combined vacation/work/romantic getaway I think. More envy.

So Farewell to Laurent and my best hope of learning French, for now I am left with a book on Postwar Europe to take his place.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Le Premier

This being my first blogging post ever, I should introduce myself to my new mass readership, the entire of which knows me personally already.

I'm Eric Holt. I am 25 years old, and I am currently doing a study abroad in France as a part of my MBA program. Before moving here, I lived in Missouri, Upstate New York, Illinois, Montreal, Colorado, Benin, and San Diego California. I'm self-centered, arrogant, egotistical, over confident, chauvinistic, and generally value my life based on how other people think of me. I'm also a lot of fun, so you will hopefully forgive my faults in exchange for a drunken headbutt and a funny story about physical or mental masturbation.

I know fuckall about html, so until I do this page will look like some kind of diary.

Love,

Eric